Listen: Susan Stanford Friedman '65 on "Cosmopolitanism in Transnational Literary Studies"

Susan Stanford Friedman '65 provided the keynote lecture for an international conference on transnational literature and translation held at Swarthmore in February 2015. Friedman is the Virginia Woolf Professor of English and Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her interests include modernism/modernity, feminist theory and women's writing, cultural theory and world literatures in English, diaspora and migration, and religious studies. 

In the past 20 years, after more than 150 years of scholarship dominated by a focus on national literatures, the study of transnational literature has significantly expanded understanding of literary processes and creation. In the new social reality, in which massive migration has profoundly changed cultural landscape, the concept of national literatures has partly lost its power to organize literary studies. Addressing some of these questions, as well as the questions that arise from current globalization and profound reshaping of academic disciplines and disciplinary borders, a transnational approach promises to offer new theoretical and methodological perspectives. At the same time, Translation Studies has begun to flourish as a discipline that opens consideration of the circulation of literary works across national and linguistic borders. These two fields that have so much to contribute to each other have not yet been brought into proper dialogue. This small conference, involving scholars from Europe and the U.S., takes a step in that direction.