Call for Papers: “East Asia and Southeast Asia in the World Literary Space,” a special issue of Archiv orientální

Guest-editors: Kuei-fen Chiu (National Chung Hsing University, Taiwan) Táňa Dluhošová (Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic)
Archiv orientální , an indexed, peer-reviewed academic journal (A&HCI, Scopus, and ERIH Plus) published by Oriental Institute (Czech Academy of Sciences) dedicated to the cultures and societies of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, invites submissions to the special issue “East Asia in the World Literary Space” scheduled to be published in August 2021.

As discussed by the late French literary critic Pascale Casanova in her widely quoted book The World Republic of Letters, the world literary space is one of unequal structure in which a set of criteria of literary modernity are established to estimate the literary performance of works that try to enter this space. Writers from peripheral, dominated spaces make use of, or challenge, the criteria prescribed by the literary center as they try to carve a niche for themselves at home and in the dominating literary center. East Asian literatures often assume the position of “small literatures” in this world literary space—small in the sense of being literarily deprived. They are “small” because the languages and the cultural resources the writers draw upon are hardly recognized in the international literary world. If the Nobel Prize of Literature embodies the arbiter of literary legitimacy and consecration in the world literary space, the “smallness” of East Asian literatures is reflected in the number and countries of the East Asian and Southeast Asian writers who have won the Nobel Laureate. Out of a total of 114 Nobel Laureates from 1902 to 2019, only 3 are from East Asia (Yasunari Kawabata and Kenzaburō Ōe from Japan, Mo Yan from China, if we discount Gao Xingjian who was a naturalized French when he won the prize), and 1 from Southeast Asia ( Rabindranath Tagore from India). Compared to 87 European Laureates (from 22 European countries) and 19 North American Laureates (9 countries), these figures speak volume about the dominated spaces of East Asia and Southeast Asian literatures in the world republic of letters.

As writers of small literatures, East Asian and Southeast Asian writers often find themselves in the so-called Ramuz’s dilemma: “one has either to embark upon a career and first of all yield to a set of rules that are not only aesthetic or literary, but social and political as well, even worldly; or deliberately to break with them, not only by exposing, but also by exaggerating, one’s own differences,” as Charles Ferdinand Ramuz remarked. At the same time, the appropriation of established literary forms and genres from the dominating literary spaces should not be understood in totally negative terms. It often works as an instrument for the writers of small countries to challenge the rules of the “literature-worlds” in the national literary space, which has its own rules of literary legitimacy and consecration.

This special issue invites research papers that reflect critically on the following issues by positioning East Asian and Southeast Asian literatures in the world literary space:

1. Littéation: operations that render a text (or texts) from East Asian and/or Southeast Asian regions as recognized literary texts in the world literary space.
2. Studies of world literature writers from East Asia and/or Southeast Asia
3. Defining/challenging the “smallness” of East Asian and/or Southeast Asian literatures
4. Translation and circulation
5. Theorizing East Asian and/or Southeast Asian literatures in the world literary space
6. The impact of the appropriation of literary forms or transplantation of literary trends from the dominating spaces
7. Teaching East Asian and/or Southeast Asian literatures
8. Dissemination of East Asian and Southeast Asian literatures in the age of the Internet and media technologies
9. National versus international writers
10. Globalization of publishing

Please send an abstract of 500 words along with a biographic note of 50 words to both guest editors: Kuei-fen Chiu ( and Táňa Dluhošová ( by January 15, 2020. We anticipate each article to be between 7000 (minimum) and 9,000 (maximum) words (including bibliography and notes). Accepted abstracts will be invited to submit full manuscripts by October 30, 2020 for peer-reviews. Thee special issue is expected to be published in August 2021 (Second Issue).

Abstract submission deadline: January 15, 2020 Notification of accepted abstract: March 1, 2020 Full paper submission deadline: October 30, 2020 Notification of accepted peer-reviewed submissions: February 15, 2021 Revised manuscripts due: April 15, 2020 Publication: August 2021

Archiv orientální, Oriental Institute, The Czech Academy of Sciences
Pod vodárenskou věží 4, 182 08 Praha 8, Czech Republic | e-mail: | (+420) 266 053 111

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