The Program in Comparative Literature mourns the disappearance of our beloved colleague Édouard Glissant. Between 1988 and 1995, Glissant taught in the Department of French Studies and in the Program in Comparative Literature at LSU. We honor his memory as a colleague who made us aware of the importance of studying the Caribbean basin in its relationship to the Americas, and to the Atlantic World. Several members of the Comparative Literature faculty worked closely with him. Femi Euba, Louise and Kenneth Kinney Professor of Theatre, produced Glissant’s magnificent play, Monsieur Toussaint. In 2006, LSU Foundation Professor Jeff Humphries translated Glissants poems with an introduction : The Collected Poems of Édouard Glissant, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). Most recently, Alexandre Leupin, Florence Kidd & Isaac M. Gregorie Sr. Professor published the account of their sustained dialogue : Édouard Glissant, avec Alexandre Leupin, Les entretiens de Baton Rouge, (Paris : Éditions Gallimard, 2008). All of those who benefited from his presence amongst us will continue to remember and support his incredible contributions to culture, literature and scholarship. We all owe the expression of our gratitude and affection to Edouard.
Recent Faculty Honors
Recipient of LSU's 2010 Distinguished Masters Award. Cope, a professor of English, received a bachelor’s with honors in English literature and philosophy from Pitzer College, and a master’s and Ph.D. in English and American literature and language from Harvard University. An author of books including “Criteria of Certainty,” a study of the art and rhetoric of philosophical explanation during eighteenth century Britain, and more recently, “In and After the Beginning,” which examines the uniquely modern concern for beginnings of all types, Cope is a widely renowned scholar of eighteenth century literature and intellectual history.
Currently president of the LSU Faculty Senate, Cope founded and continues to edit the journal 1650-1850, now in its eighteenth year of publication as a widely-read outlet for interdisciplinary studies. He also serves as the general editor of ECCB: The Eighteenth-Century Current Bibliography, which is considered the premiere interdisciplinary review and bibliographical journal for all aspects of Enlightenment studies. He came to LSU in 1983 and has maintained an extremely active research, publication and service record, having produced more than 100 articles and reviews and directing or organizing nearly a dozen academic conferences, among many other impressive accomplishments.
Brenda Marie Osbey
Professional-in-Residence of English, French, and Comparative Literature is currently a distinguished visiting professor at Brown University. She, along with fellow authors Chinua Achebe and Gabriel Okara, are honored to have been asked to lead a discussion on "Voice and Memory in the Poetic Imagination" on September 26, 2011.
Pius Nkashama Ngandu
Professor of French Studies and Comparative Literature was honored recently. This past fall two universities honored Professor Ngandu: The University of South Africa (Pretoria) bestowed their “Diplôme d’Honneur” upon him; and he received a Doctorate Honoris Causa from the Université Omar Bongo (Gabon).
Recent Faculty Publications
Doubt and Skepticism in Antiquity and the Renaissance (Forthcoming June 2012. Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 9781107024656)
This book is an interdisciplinary study of the forms and uses of doubt in works by Homer, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Cicero, Machiavelli, Shakespeare, and Montaigne. Based on close analysis of literary and philosophical texts by these important authors, Michelle Zerba argues that doubt wears many faces and is a defining experience in antiquity and the Renaissance, one that constantly challenges the limits of representation. The wide-ranging discussion considers issues that run the gamut from tragic loss to comic bombast, from psychological collapse to skeptical dexterity, and from solitary reflection to political improvisation in civic contexts. It puts Greek and Roman treatments of doubt into dialogue with not only sixteenth-century texts, but with contemporary works as well. Using the past to engage questions of vital concern to our time, Zerba demonstrates that although doubt sometimes has destructive consequences, it can also be conducive to tolerance, discovery, and conversation across sociopolitical boundaries.
Pius Nkashama Ngandu
The following list of titles represents critical and creative works which our prolific colleague Pius Ngandu has published recently:Dialogues et entretiens d'auteur, (Paris, L'Harmattan, Coll. "Etudes africaines", 2012); Guerres africaines et écritures historiques (Paris, L’Harmattan, Coll. “Études africaines”, 2011, 292 p.); En suivant le sentier sous les palmiers (Paris, L’Harmattan, 2011);Constellations Abroad (Translated in English by Sylviane Ngandu Kalenga, New Orleans, University Press of the South, 2010).
John D. Pizer
Imagining the Age of Goethe in German Literature, 1970-2010 (New York: Camden House, 2011)
Publisher's Description: The age of Goethe is widely viewed as the apogee of German culture. Its writers and thinkers, especially Goethe, have been exalted as role models for life and art, particularly after 1945. Yet in the 1970's, a new generation of German writers in both East and West rebelled against the postwar hagiography, taking up a tradition of imaginatively engaging with the giants of the period, casting them in major roles in their works in order to critique the nation's past and its present, a tradition that has been carried on by more contemporary writers. This is the first book-length study devoted to modern German "author-as-character" fiction set in the Age of Goethe. It shows for the first time in a sustained manner the powerful hold the Goethezeit continues to exercise on the imagination of many of Germany's leading writers. This inner-German dialogue across the ages provides an important corrective to the dominant critical view that contemporary German-language literature is composed primarily under the sign of both globalization and the influence of mass American culture. The book will be of interest to both scholars of the Goethezeit and of contemporary German literature and culture.
Placing the Modern Chinese Literature in Transnational Literature (London & New York: Palgrave/Macmillan,2011)
Publisher’s Description: This is the first systematic study of the vernacular movement in modern Chinese literature of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries from the perspective of comparative literature. Drawing on the experiences of vernacular movements in other times and societies (Italian, French, German, English, Japanese, Indian, Arabic, Turkish, Vietnamese), and on the concept of world literature, this book is a new and radical rereading of the origins of modern Chinese literature. Examining the Chinese literary revolution in the context of vernacularization in Renaissance Europe, the genbun itchi movement in Meiji Japan, modern Turkish language reform, and the revival of classical Hebrew in modern Israeli society, this book situates the "triumph" of the vernacular in modern China in a truly global comparative setting.
Theorizing a Colonial Caribbean-Atlantic Imaginary: Sugar and Obeah(London: Routledge, “Routledge Research in Atlantic Studies” 2010)
Publisher’s Description: This book develops a theory of a Caribbean-Atlantic imaginary by exploring the ways two colonial texts represent the consciousnesses of Amerindians, Africans, and Europeans at two crucial points marking respectively the origins and demise of slavocratic systems in the West Indies. Focusing on Richard Ligon’s History of Barbados (1657) and Matthew ‘Monk’ Lewis’ Journal of a West India Proprietor (1834), the study identifies specific myths and belief systems surrounding sugar and obeah as each of these came to stand for concepts of order and counterorder, and to figure the material and symbolic power of masters and slaves respectively. Rooting the imaginary in indigenous Caribbean myths, the study adopts the pre-Columbian origins of the imaginary ascribed by Wilson Harris to a cross cultural bridge or arc, and derives the mythic origins for the centrality of sugar in the imaginary’s constitution from Kamau Brathwaite. The book’s central organizing principle is an oppositional one, grounded on the order/counterorder binary model of the imaginary formulated by the philosopher-social theorist Cornelius Castoriadis. The study breaks new ground by reading Ligon’s History and Lewis’ Journal through the lens of the slaves’ imaginaries of hidden knowledge. By redefining Lewis’ subjectivity through his poem’s most potent counterordering symbol, the demon-king, this book advances recent scholarly interest in Jamaica’s legendary Three Fingered Jack.
Recent Student Honors
Juliana Reineman's 2011 doctoral dissertation, "Hear (No) Evil, See (No) Evil, Speak (No) Evil: Artistic Representation of Argentina's "Dirty War"" was nominated by the Program in Comparative Literature and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences for the LSU Alumni Association Distinguished Dissertation Award. She received a Certificate of Exemplary Achievement from the Graduate Faculty. She has recently published “Between the Imaginary and the Real: Photographic Portraits of Mourning and of Melancholia in Argentina.” International Journal of Psychoanalysis 92.5 (October 2011).
Richmond Eustis, Jr.
Richmond Eustis's doctoral dissertation, “Reading Out of Doors: How Nature Becomes Text and Vice-Versa,” was nominated by the Program in Comparative Literature and the College of Humanities & Social Sciences and awarded the LSU Alumni Association Distinguished Dissertation Award for the most outstanding thesis of 2010
Rachel Spear's dissertation, “More Than Words, More Than Wounds: (Re)Writing ‘Wounded’ Women and Healing Pedagogies” won the Ann Simon Award for the most outstanding thesis in the area of Women’s and Gender Studies at LSU.
Recipient of the 2011 Tom W. Dutton Award: Presented to female undergraduate and graduate students who have demonstrated a commitment to community service. Also a recipient of the 2011 Women and Gender Studies Award for Outstanding Graduate Minor. Voted Best Teaching Assistant in Women and Gender Studies.
New Support Groups for the Program in Comparative Literature at LSU
Two new support groups are being organized for the Program in Comparative Literature at LSU. The first is an Advisory Board consisting of internationally recognized scholars, business and professional leaders who will help advise us on curricular issues, fund raising and help us disseminate information about our faculty and students. Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Gaines M. Foster, has approved this initiative. We are working with the Development Officer in Humanities & Social Sciences to identify individuals who would be interested in helping us.
The second is a new graduate student organization: Comparative Literature Graduate Organization (CLGO). This is an organization that has been created specifically for graduate students in the Comparative Literature Program, yet the organization welcomes any LSU affiliated student, staff, and faculty who are interested in Comparative Literature to join.
The purpose of the organization is (as taken from the constitution): “The CLGO [comparative literature graduate organization] is established with the express purpose of facilitating professional development amongst graduate students interested in Comparative Literature, and to serve as a liaison to the Faculty of the Comparative Literature Department”.