11th International Conference of Baltic Literary Scholars

Global Contexts, National Literatures

Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore (ILLF)

26-27 October 2017, Vilnius, Lithuania

First launched in 1995, conferences of Baltic literary scholars have been organized in Tallinn, Riga, or Vilnius every two years. They have focused on a circle of issues related to the memory of the Soviet period that is common to all three Baltic countries. At the most recent conference in Riga in 2014, The Changing Baltics: Cultures within Cultures, a suggestion was put forward to complement the issue of memory with that of the identity in the global context and to pay more attention to comparative studies of contemporary literatures of the Baltic countries.

The 11th International of Baltic Literary Scholars Global Contexts, National Literatures invites the scholars to conceptualize twenty-first-century Baltic literatures through the juxtaposition of the local and the global, and to unify historical, cultural, social, and literary strategies of text analysis. The conference targets two fields of issues at the same time: it undertakes the task to examine national literatures in the contemporary mobile world and to demonstrate the effectiveness of comparative studies as an interdisciplinary approach.  The themes proposed for the academic discussion of the conference concentrate around the aspects of cultural ambivalence and identity conflict in literature, which has become especially relevant in the current socio-political and ideological context of the Baltic region. The participants are invited to critically reflect on what sort of values are gaining prominence in recent literatures of the Baltic region: is it the diversity of cultural traditions and their universal meanings, or regional idiosyncrasies, singularity, and authenticity of the tradition of a national culture?  Are these models conflicting or coexisting? Do they vary across the literatures of individual Baltic countries? The junctions of multiculturalism and different ethnicities are particularly obvious in the latest émigré prose. How does rising multiculturalism change the literature of the Baltic countries: is it becoming closer to the world or is it still a rather isolated sub-culture that is interesting only to ourselves?

Relations between one’s own and other cultures are proposed to be analysed from the point of view of the theory of comparative research by discussing the theoretical and practical aspects of its application. It is also suggested to focus on the topicalities of comparative research in literature, to analyse which comparative motifs of cultures dominate the most recent works of fiction, and to identify the key issues in contemporary comparative studies and research. How can comparative literary studies contribute to the dispersion of the literatures of the Baltic countries?  The conference is open to the broadest range of research methodologies, historical, anthropological, sociological, linguistic, gender-oriented, comparative, cultural, and interdisciplinary among them.

The themes we invite you to discuss at the conference are the following:
·       Literature of the Baltic countries in the contemporary context of cultural exchange and integration
·       Issues of European, cosmopolitan, and national identity in literatures
·       Correlations of national, international, and transnational aspects 
·       Dynamics and statistics in twenty-first-century literatures of the Baltic countries
·       Parameters of locality, nationality, and regionalism vs. the mobility of meanings
·       Relations between the centre and the periphery
·       Changing geography of the literatures of the Baltic countries. Crossing the boundaries
·       Collision of Euro centrism and ethnic nationalism in literatures and its impact on coparative research
·       The Baltic identity and its reception in multicultural Europe
·       Comparative motifs of the cultures of different countries in fiction
·       Current issues in comparative literary studies and research

Conference Academic Organizing Committee:
Aušra Jurgutienė (ILLF)
Algis Kalėda (ILLF)
Benedikts Kalnačs (University of Latvia)
Laura Laurušaitė (ILLF)
Anneli Mikhelev (Tallinn University)
Jūratė Sprindytė (ILLF)
Manfredas Žvirgždas (ILLF)