Call for papers for the 25th issue of TRANS-: “Insularities /Archipelagos”

In Philosophie de la Relation (Philosophy of Relation), Édouard Glissant defines archipelagic thinking as hesitant intuitive thinking that can be opposed to continental ways of thinking, which above all rely on systems:
"With continental thinking, the mind runs with audacity, but we then believe that we see the world as a block, or at large, or at once, as a kind of imposing synthesis, just as we can, by way of general aerial views, see the configurations of landscapes and mountainous areas as they pass by. With archipelagic thinking, we get to know the rocks in the rivers, assuredly the smallest rocks and rivers".[1]
Within a globalized context, Édouard Glissant’s “one-world” can only be the network of its worlds[2]: the archipelagic relation cannot therefore happen without the narrative reconfiguration of the world, and this reconfiguration must necessarily occur through an ethics of the relation to the other. The opposition between “the continent” (figure of totality) and the “island” (open figure of fragmentation) implies considering the relation in its totality, on the physical, linguistic, intellectual and cultural levels. Between distance from the other (and placing value on this distance as constitutive of a radical identity) and relation, can the metaphor of insularity also allow for the construction of a comparative ethics of relation?
Indeed, with both diachronic and synchronic dynamics, comparatism is truly a “hermeneutics of defamiliarisation” – in the words of Françoise Lavocat following the publication of Death of a Discipline by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak[3]. Insularities constitute a major issue in our discipline, which is strongly influenced by the questions of both heteroglossia and subalternity. Considering insularity means thinking about distance, the attention we give to isolation – as a critical approach to our own reflexive position – ; but also questioning the metaphoric status of the shores that surround the island and of insular ensembles. What movements? What stases? Can islands still be put in relation?
This call for papers of the journal Trans- proposes to go beyond the analysis of the works of Édouard Glissant, and to envision notions of insularity and of archipelagos as tools for analysis and of critical methodology in comparative literature. If Édouard Glissant laid out the notion of archipelago as the refusal of all “system thinking”[4], it is because the archipelago allows us to think through plurality and diversity and to take into account different insularities. It is because Glissant’s use of the metaphor of insularity functions to put in contact a plurality of worlds that archipelagic thinking can also contribute to epistemological considerations on the stakes of comparatism.
In this issue of the journal Trans-, it will be a matter not so much of studying glissantian archipelagoes in their thematic or symbolic dimensions, as of considering what the concept of archipelagic relation can do for the discipline of comparative literature, in analyzing the ramifications and the becomings of this concept in key texts and positions. Contributors to this issue are therefore invited to connect and disconnect the questions raised by the notions of insularity and archipelago, to be considered less as thematic and metaphorical ideas in literary works than as tools for analysis and of critical methodology for our discipline. We will in this way attempt to consider the ways in which the image of insularity/ies can inform our position as researchers in comparative literature.
Proposals for articles (3000 characters), along with a brief bibliography and short presentation of the author must be sent before May 19th 2019 in .DOC or .RTF format to The articles selected must be submitted by September 15th 2019. We remind you that the journal of comparative literature TRANS- accepts articles written in French, English, Italian and Spanish.
[1] Our translation. “Par la pensée continentale, l’esprit court avec audace, mais nous estimons alors que nous voyons le monde d’un bloc, ou d’un gros, ou d’un jet, comme une sorte de synthèse imposante, tout à fait comme nous pouvons voir défiler par des saisies aériennes les vues générales des configurations des paysages et des reliefs. Par la pensée archipélique, nous connaissons les roches des rivières, les plus petites assurément, roches et rivières.” GLISSANT, Édouard, Philosophie de la relation : poésie en étendue, Paris, Gallimard, 2009, p. 45.
[2] GLISSANT, Édouard, Tout-monde, Paris, Gallimard, 1995.
[3] SPIVAK, Gayatri Chakravorty, Death of a Discipline, New York, Columbia University Press, 2003.


[4] GLISSANT, Édouard, Introduction à une poétique du divers, Paris, Gallimard, 1996.


Wednesday, March 13, 2019 - 10:15


Sunday, May 19, 2019 - 10:15

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ENN is the European Narratology Network, an association of individual narratologists and narratological institutions. ENN aims to foster the study of narrative representation in literature, film, digital media, etc. across all European languages and cultures.