To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Department of Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade, an international academic conference Encompassing Comparative Literature: Theory, Interpretation, Perspectives, was held from 24th to 26th October 2014, at the Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade.
Keeping in mind the tradition of literary and theoretical research, as well as the tradition of teaching of comparative literature at the University of Belgrade since 1873, and particularly from its renewal in 1954, the conference celebrated diversity and richness in the research of many present scholars. The conference consisted of presentations of papers and vivid academic discussions, encompassing topics from the concept of comparative literature, the position of the discipline nowadays, especially in relation to cultural studies and philology, to the comparative literature and the new worlds, including challenges that come from gender theories and digital humanities.
In the session “New Courses and Uncharted Territories: Digital Humanities”, which was devoted to questions and problems that close relationship between comparative literature, on the one side, and gender theories and digital humanities, on the other, might raise, four panelists presented their research projects: Anne Birgitte Rønning and Biljana Dojčinović, as well as Saša Rudan and Evgenija Kelbert.
Biljana Dojčinović, from the University of Belgrade, talked about the history of gender theories in Serbian context, with the special focus on digital humanities as its most recent phase. More precisely, this introductory presentation “A History of Discipline Which is Not One – From the Notion of Gender to the Digital Humanities” focused on the connection between digital humanities and transnational research of women's writing from the point of view of the project Knjiženstvo and the history of feminist criticism in Serbia.
Saša Rudan, from the Universty of Oslo, and Evgenija Kelbert, from the Yale University, in their joint presentation, “Use of Digital Humanities techniques in the context of (self-) translation and bilingual writers”, focused on three different domains: translational process (analyzing novel Anna Karenina in different translations); self-translation (Russian bilingual writers – Vladimir Nabokov, Joseph Brodsky); and an initial research in the domain of Serbian literature.
Anne Birgitte Rønning, from the University of Oslo, presented the paper “The Female Robinsonades: A Challenge to Comparative Literature and the Potential of Digital Tools”. Her elaborated concept of the “female robinsonades” includes shipwreck narratives by female authors and/or with female protagonists; she also gathered bibliographical data on 95 works and 350 editions (Female robinsonades, a bibliography). Anne Birgitte Ronning’s presentation showed that the corpus consisted of various female robinsonades is an interesting object of comparative literature as it raises basic questions of genre and gender, and also touches upon cultural history as well as translation studies. Working within digital humanities makes it easier to pursue several aspects of the corpus.