Skip to content
Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter August 17, 2021

Against Global Literary Studies

Jacob Edmond
From the journal New Global Studies

Abstract

Literary studies has taken a global turn through such institutional frameworks as global romanticism, global modernism, global anglophone, global postcolonial, global settler studies, world literature, and comparative literature. Though promising an escape from parochialism, nationalism, and Eurocentrism, this turn often looks suspiciously like another version of Anglo-European imperialism. This essay argues that, rather than continue the expansionary line of recent decades, global literary studies must allow other perspectives to draw into question its concepts, practices, and theories, including those associated with the terms literature, discipline, and comparison. As a settler colonial (Pākehā) scholar in Aotearoa New Zealand, I attend particularly to Māori literary scholars from Apirana Ngata, Te Kapunga Matemoana (Koro) Dewes, and Hirini Melbourne to Alice Te Punga Somerville, Tina Makereti, and Arini Loader. Their work highlights the limitedness of global literary studies in its current disciplinary guise. Disciplines remain important when they bring recognition to something previously marginalized, as in the battle to have Māori literature recognized within Pākehā institutions. What institutionalized modes of global literary studies need, however, is not discipline but indiscipline: a recognition of the limits of dominant disciplinary objects, frameworks, and practices, and an openness to other ways of seeing the world.


Corresponding author: Jacob Edmond, Department of English, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, E-mail:

References

Allen, C. 2002. Blood Narrative: Indigenous Identity in American Indian and Maori Literary and Activist Texts. Durham: Duke University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Allen, C. 2012. Trans-Indigenous: Methodologies for Global Native Literary Studies. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Search in Google Scholar

Allen, C. 2014. “Decolonizing Comparison: Toward a Literary Studies.” In The Oxford Handbook of Indigenous American Literature, edited by J. H. Cox, and D. H. Justice, 377–94. New York: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Anam, N., ed. 2019. “Forms of the Global Anglophone.” Special online feature of Post45, .Search in Google Scholar

Beecroft, A. 2015. An Ecology of World Literature: From Antiquity to the Present Day. New York: Verso.Search in Google Scholar

Bergren, K. 2019. The Global Wordsworth: Romanticism Out of Place. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Bergren, K. 2021. “Global Romanticism: Out of Bounds in the Transnational 19th Century.” Literature Compass 18 (2): e12615, https://doi.org/10.1111/lic3.12615.Search in Google Scholar

Biggs, B. 1964. “The Oral Literature of the Polynesians.” Te Ao Hou 49: 23–5, 42–7.Search in Google Scholar

Brathwaite, K. 1968. “Jazz and the West Indian Novel III.” Bim 46: 115–26.Search in Google Scholar

Brathwaite, K. 1971. The Development of Creole Society in Jamaica, 1770–1820. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Search in Google Scholar

Brathwaite, K. 1974. “The African Presence in Caribbean Literature.” Daedalus 103 (2): 73–109.Search in Google Scholar

Brouillette, S. 2007. Postcolonial Writers in the Global Literary Marketplace. London: Palgrave.Search in Google Scholar

Brown, Kirby. 2017. “Indian Modernities and New Modernist Studies’ ‘Indian Problem’.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 59 (3): 287–318, https://doi.org/10.7560/TSLL59303.Search in Google Scholar

Buck, P., and A. Ngata. 2013. Na To Hoa Aroha; From Your Dear Friend: The Correspondence of Sir Apirana Ngata and Sir Peter Buck, 2 vols., edited by M. P. K. Sorrenson. Auckland: Auckland University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Burt, S. 2016. “What Is This Thing Called Lyric?” Modern Philology 113 (3): 422–40, https://doi.org/10.1086/684097.Search in Google Scholar

Culler, J. 2015. Theory of the Lyric. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Damrosch, D. 2003. What Is World Literature? Princeton: Princeton University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Damrosch, D. 2020. Comparing the Literatures: Literary Studies in a Global Age. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Dewes, T. K. M. (Koro). 1974a. “Māori Literature: Ngā Waiata Haka a Hēnare Waitoa o Ngāti Porou.” MA thesis, Massey University. Also available at .Search in Google Scholar

Dewes, T. K. M. (Koro). 1974b. Māori Literature: A Tentative Framework for Study. Wellington: Department of Anthropology and Maori, Victoria University of Wellington.Search in Google Scholar

Dewes, T. K. M. (Koro). 1977. “The Case for Oral Arts.” In Te Ao Hurihuri: The World Moves On: Aspects of Maoritanga, edited by M. King, rev. edition, 55–85. Wellington: Hicks Smith, Methuen.Search in Google Scholar

Domínguez, C., H. Saussy, and D. Villanueva. 2015. Introducing Comparative Literature: New Trends and Applications. Abingdon: Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

Dowling, S. 2018. Translingual Poetics: Writing Personhood under Settler Colonialism. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press.Search in Google Scholar

Edmond, J. 2016. “No Discipline.” Comparative Literature Studies 53 (4): 647–59, https://doi.org/10.5325/complitstudies.53.4.0647.Search in Google Scholar

Edwards, B. H. 2003. The Practice of Diaspora: Literature, Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalism. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Friedman, S. S. 2015. Planetary Modernisms: Provocations on Modernity Across Time. New York: Columbia University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Gates, H. L.Jr. 1988. The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism. New York: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Gikandi, S. 2001. “Globalization and the Claims of Postcoloniality.” South Atlantic Quarterly 100 (3): 627–58, https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-100-3-627.Search in Google Scholar

Gikandi, S. 2014. “Provincializing English.” PMLA 129 (1): 7–17, https://doi.org/10.1632/pmla.2014.129.1.7.Search in Google Scholar

Gildea, A. 2018. “Kōiwi Pāmamao: The Distance in Our Bones.” Pantograph Punch. 2 April, .Search in Google Scholar

Gilroy, P. 1993. The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness. London: Verso.Search in Google Scholar

Gottlieb, E., ed. 2014a. Global Romanticism: Origins, Orientations, and Engagements, 1760–1820. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Gottlieb, E. 2014b. Romantic Globalism: British Literature and Modern World Order, 1750–1830. Columbus: Ohio State University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Grey, G. 1853. “Preface.” In Nga Moteatea, me nga Hakirara o nga Maori, edited by G. Grey, i–xiv. Wellington: Robert Stokes.Search in Google Scholar

Grey, G. 1855. “Preface.” In Polynesian Mythology and Ancient Traditional History of the New Zealand Race as Furnished by Their Priests and Chiefs, edited by G. Grey, iii–xiii. London: John Murray.Search in Google Scholar

Hall, S. 2005 [1980]. “Cultural Studies and the Centre: Some Problematics and Problems.” In Culture, Media, Language: Working Papers in Cultural Studies, 1972–79, edited by S. Hall, D. Hobson, A. Lowe, and P. Willis, 2–35. London: Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

Hart, M. 2010. Nations of Nothing but Poetry: Modernism, Transnationalism, and Synthetic Vernacular Writing. New York: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Hayot, E. 2012a. On Literary Worlds. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Hayot, E. 2012b. “Chinese Modernism, Mimetic Desire, and European Time.” In The Oxford Handbook of Global Modernisms, edited by M. Wollaeger, and M. Eatough. 149–70. New York: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Hayot, E. 2015. Foreword to Persistent Forms: Explorations in Historical Poetics, edited by I. Kliger, and B. Maslov, vii–xv. New York: Fordham University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Hayot, E. 2016. “Against Historicist Fundamentalism.” PMLA 131 (5): 1414–22, https://doi.org/10.1632/pmla.2016.131.5.1414.Search in Google Scholar

Hayot, E. 2021. Humanist Reason: A History. An Argument. A Plan. New York: Columbia University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Hayot, E., and R. Walkowitz, eds. 2016. A New Vocabulary for Global Modernism. New York: Columbia University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Hessell, N. 2018. Romantic Literature and the Colonised World: Lessons from Indigenous Translations. Cham: Palgrave.Search in Google Scholar

Hoggart, R. 1957. The Uses of Literacy: Aspects of Working-Class Life, with Special Reference to Publications and Entertainments. London: Chatto and Windus.Search in Google Scholar

Hong, C. P. 2014. “Delusions of Whiteness in the Avant-Garde.” Lana Turner 7, 3 November, . Archived at arcade .Search in Google Scholar

Huggan, G. 2001. The Postcolonial Exotic: Marketing the Margins. London: Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

Jackson, V., and Y. Prins. 2014. “General Introduction.” In The Lyric Theory Reader: A Critical Anthology, edited by V. Jackson, and Y. Prins, 1–8. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Jaillant, L., and A. E. Martin, eds. 2018. “Global Modernism.” Special issue of Modernist Cultures 13 (1).Search in Google Scholar

James, C. L. R. 1963. Beyond a Boundary. New York: Pantheon.Search in Google Scholar

Kamugisha, A. 2013. “On the Idea of a Caribbean Cultural Studies.” Small Axe 41: 43–57, https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-2323310.Search in Google Scholar

Kāretu, T. 1995. “Waiata-ā-Ringa: Will Waiata-ā-Ringa Replace Classical Chant in the New Century?” New Zealand Studies 5 (2): 8–12.Search in Google Scholar

Kāretu, T. 2002. “Māori Print Culture: The Newspapers.” In Rere Atu, Taku Manu! Discovering History, Language and Politics in the Māori-Language Newspapers, edited by J. Curnow, N. Hopa, and J. McRae, 1–16. Auckland: Auckland University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Keesing, F. M. 1928. “The Maoris of New Zealand: An Experiment in Racial Adaptation.” Pacific Affairs 1 (5): 1–5, https://doi.org/10.2307/3035171.Search in Google Scholar

Krishnaswamy, R. 2010. “Toward World Literary Knowledges: Theory in the Age of Globalization.” Comparative Literature 62 (4): 399–419, https://doi.org/10.1215/00104124-2010-024.Search in Google Scholar

Loader, A. 2013. “Tau Mai E Kapiti Te Whare Wananga o Ia, o te Nui, o te Wehi, o te Toa: Reclaiming Early Raukawa-Toarangatira Writing from Otaki.” PhD thesis, Victoria University of Wellington.Search in Google Scholar

Lowe, L., and K. Manjapra. 2019. “Comparative Global Humanities After Man: Alternatives to the Coloniality of Knowledge.” Theory, Culture, and Society 36 (5): 23–48, https://doi.org/10.1177/0263276419854795.Search in Google Scholar

Macaulay, T. B. 1965. “Minute by the Hon’ble T. B. Macaulay, Dated the 2nd February 1835.” In Bureau of Education. Selections from Educational Records, Part I (1781–1839), edited by H. Sharp, 107–17. Calcutta: Superintendent, Government Printing, 1920. Reprint. Delhi: National Archives of India.Search in Google Scholar

Mahuika, A. T. 1974. “Ētahi Kōrero mō Tēnei Pukapuka.” Foreword to “Māori Literature: Ngā Waiata Haka a Hēnare Waitoa o Ngāti Porou,” by T. K. Dewes. MA thesis, Massey University. Also available at .Search in Google Scholar

Makereti, T. 2018. “Māori Writing: Speaking with Two Mouths.” Journal of New Zealand Studies 26: 57–65.Search in Google Scholar

Makereti, T. 2020. “Indigenous Literary Studies in Aotearoa New Zealand.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia, Literature, https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190201098.013.984.Search in Google Scholar

Mason, N. 1998. “Hotere and Mōteatea – Hei Kōrero.” In Hotere: Seminar Papers from Into the Black, edited by R. Taberner, and R. Brownson, 57–62. Auckland: Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.Search in Google Scholar

Melbourne, H. 1991. “Whare Whakairo: Māori ‘Literary’ Traditions.” In Dirty Silence: Aspects of Language and Literature in New Zealand, edited by G. McGregor, and M. Williams, 129–41. Auckland: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Moody, A., and S. J Ross, eds. 2020. Global Modernists on Modernism: An Anthology. London: Bloomsbury.Search in Google Scholar

Moretti, F. 2000. “Conjectures on World Literature.” New Left Review 1: 54–68.Search in Google Scholar

Ngata, A. 1928a. “Nga Moteatea: He Whakamarama.” In Nga Moteatea: He Marama Rere no nga Waka Maha; He Mea Kohikohi, i–vi. Hastings: Poari Whakapapa/The Board of Maori Ethnological Research.Search in Google Scholar

Ngata, A. 1928b. Foreword to The Changing Maori, edited by F. M. Keesing, vii. New Plymouth: The Board of Maori Ethnological Research.Search in Google Scholar

Ngata, A. 1943. The Price of Citizenship: Ngarimu, V.C. Wellington: Whitcombe & Tombs.Search in Google Scholar

Ngata, A. 1951. “Introduction to Māori Poetry.” Translated by W. T. Ngata. Arachne 3: 2–7.Search in Google Scholar

Ngata, A. 2004. “Introduction by Sir Apirana Ngata [1972].” In Ngā Mōteatea. 3rd ed., Vol. 1, edited by A. Ngata, and P. Te Hurinui Jones, xxxiii–xxxviii. Auckland: Auckland University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Papesch, T. R. 2013. “Waiata.” In Kia Rōnaki: The Māori Performing Arts, edited by T. Ka’ai, R. Ka’ai-Mahuta, and J. C. Moorfield, 117–28. Auckland: Pearson.Search in Google Scholar

Pawley, A. 2019. “Biggs, Bruce Grandison.” In Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, .Search in Google Scholar

Pittock, M. 2011. Robert Burns in Global Culture. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Pollock, S. 2006. The Language of the Gods in the World of Men: Sanskrit, Culture, and Power in Premodern India. Berkeley: University of California Press.Search in Google Scholar

Potae, Henare, and Mohi Ruatapu. 1928. “Ko Rua raua ko Tangaroa: Te Takenga Mai o te Whakairo Rakau.” Journal of the Polynesian Society 37 (3): 259–60.Search in Google Scholar

Pottinger, Stephanie. 2009. “Spivak (Re)envisions ‘Global Humanities’.” Brown Daily Herald 6 February, .Search in Google Scholar

Prentice, C. 2003. “Critical Transformations: New Zealand Literary and Cultural Studies.” Journal of the Australasian Universities Language and Literature Association 100 (1): 134–46, https://doi.org/10.1179/aulla.2003.100.1.014.Search in Google Scholar

Ramazani, J. 2006. “A Transnational Poetics.” American Literary History 18 (2): 332–59, https://doi.org/10.1093/alh/ajj020.Search in Google Scholar

Ramazani, J. 2013. Poetry and Its Others: News, Prayer, Song, and the Dialogue of Genres. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Search in Google Scholar

Rapatahana, V. 2011. “A Tribute to Te Kapunga Matemoana (Koro) Dewes.” MAI (Māori and Indigenous) Review 1, .Search in Google Scholar

Rapatahana, V. 2015. “Introductory: Toward an Aotearoa Poetic?” Jacket2, 3 September, .Search in Google Scholar

Rewi, P. 2010. Whaikorero: The World of Maori Oratory. Auckland: Auckland University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Robbins, B. 2012. “Uses of World Literature.” In The Routledge Companion to World Literature, edited by T. D’haen, D. Damrosch, and D. Kadir, 383–92. Abingdon: Routledge. Also available at .Search in Google Scholar

Rohlehr, G. 1967. “Sparrow and the Language of the Calypso.” Chaired by John La Rose. April 7. Cassette tape recording (copied from original reel-to-reel). Caribbean Artists. Subsequently published in Savacou 2 (1970): 87–99.Search in Google Scholar

Rudy, J. 2019. Review of Brown Romantics: Poetry and Nationalism in the Global Nineteenth Century, by Manu Samriti Chander; Romantic Literature and the Colonised World: Lessons from Indigenous Translations, by Nikki Hessell; Colonial Literature and the Native Author: Indigeneity and Empire, by Jane Stafford. Victorian Studies 61 (2): 341–44.Search in Google Scholar

Saussy, H. 2011. “Comparisons, World Literature, and the Common Denominator.” In A Companion to Comparative Literature, edited by A. Behdad, and D. Thomas, 60–4. Chichester: Blackwell.Search in Google Scholar

Saussy, H. 2019a. Are We Comparing Yet? On Standards, Justice, and Incomparability. Bielefeld: University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Saussy, H. 2019b. “Recent Chinese Literary Histories in English.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 79 (1–2): 231–48, https://doi.org/10.1353/jas.2019.0008.Search in Google Scholar

Shih, S.-M. 2013. “Comparison as Relation.” In Comparison: Theories, Approaches, Uses, edited by R. Felski, and S. S. Friedman, 79–98. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Shih, S.-M. 2015. “World Studies and Relational Comparison.” PMLA 130 (2): 430–38, https://doi.org/10.1632/pmla.2015.130.2.430.Search in Google Scholar

Smith, L. T. 1999. Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. London: Zed; Dunedin: University of Otago Press.Search in Google Scholar

Smith, L. T. 2012. Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples, 2nd ed. London: Zed.Search in Google Scholar

Smith, L. T. 2021. Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples, 3rd ed. London: Zed.Search in Google Scholar

Sorrenson, M. P. K. 1982. “Polynesian Corpuscles and Pacific Anthropology: The Home-Made Anthropology of Sir Apirana Ngata and Sir Peter Buck.” Journal of the Polynesian Society 91 (1): 7–27.Search in Google Scholar

Spivak, G. 2012. An Aesthetic Education in an Era of Globalization. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Srinivasan, R. T., ed. 2018. “From Postcolonial to World Anglophone: South Asia as Test Case.” Special issue of Interventions 20 (3).Search in Google Scholar

Stafford, J. 2016. Colonial Literature and the Native Author: Indigeneity and Empire. Cham: Palgrave.Search in Google Scholar

Suhr-Sytsma, N. 2019. “Theories of African Poetry.” New Literary History 50 (4): 581–607, https://doi.org/10.1353/nlh.2019.0058.Search in Google Scholar

Te Whatahoro, Hoani, Nepia Pohuhu, and Te Matorohanga. 1913. The Lore of the Whare-Wananga, Volume 1: Te Kauwae-Runga, Or ‘Things Celestial’; Or Teachings of the Māori College on Religion, Cosmogony, and History. New Plymouth: Polynesian Society.Search in Google Scholar

Teaiwa, T. 2010. “What Remains to be Seen: Reclaiming the Visual Roots of Pacific Literature.” PMLA 125 (3): 730–36, https://doi.org/10.1632/pmla.2010.125.3.730.Search in Google Scholar

Te Punga Somerville, A. 2007. “The Lingering War Captain: Maori Texts, Indigenous Contexts.” Journal of New Zealand Literature 24 (2): 20–43.Search in Google Scholar

Te Punga Somerville, A. 2012. Once Were Pacific: Māori Connections to Oceania. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Search in Google Scholar

Te Punga Somerville, A. 2016. “Te Ao Hou: Te Pataka.” In A History of New Zealand Literature, edited by M. Williams, 182–94. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Te Punga Somerville, A. 2018. “Searching for the Trans-Indigenous.” Verge: Studies in Global Asias 4 (2): 96–105, https://doi.org/10.5749/vergstudglobasia.4.2.0096.Search in Google Scholar

Te Punga Somerville, A. 2021a. “English by Name, English by Nature?” In Ngā Kete Mātauranga: Māori Scholars at the Research Interface, edited by J. Ruru, and L. W. Nikora. 93–103. Dunedin: Otago University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Te Punga Somerville, A. 2021b. “OMG Settler Colonial Studies: Response to Lorenzo Veracini: ‘Is Settler Colonial Studies Even Useful?’” Postcolonial Studies 24 (2): 278–82, https://doi.org/10.1080/13688790.2020.1854980.Search in Google Scholar

Thompson, E. P. 1963. The Making of the English Working Class. London: V. Gollancz.Search in Google Scholar

Viswanathan, G. 2015. Masks of Conquest: Literary Study and British Rule in India. New York: Columbia University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Walker, R. 2014. “Māori Studies: Ngā Tari Māori.” In Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, .Search in Google Scholar

Wang, D. J. 2014. Thinking Its Presence: Form, Race, and Subjectivity in Contemporary Asian American Poetry. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Williams, M. 2018. “The Continuum, the River: On the Need for Critical Writing on Māori Art.” Counterfutures 5: 59–68, https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429479786-8.Search in Google Scholar

Williams, R. 1958. Culture and Society. London: Chatto and Windus.Search in Google Scholar

Williams, R. 1961. The Long Revolution. London: Chatto and Windus.Search in Google Scholar

Wollaeger, M., and M. Eatough, eds. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Global Modernisms. New York: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Womack, C. S. 1999. Red on Red: Native American Literary Separatism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Search in Google Scholar

Received: 2021-07-02
Accepted: 2021-07-15
Published Online: 2021-08-17

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston