comparative literature

Conference Proceedings, 2013 (and publishing opportunities)


We are proud to announce the first conference proceedings from the 15th Annual MLL Graduate Conference, “Good Laugh, Bad Laugh, Ugly Laugh, My Laugh”. The proceedings are housed at scholarship@Western, an online academic repository supported by the Western University library system, and are searchable through Google Scholar. They can be found at:

The proceedings have been considered as pre-publications, meaning that the authors keep the authorship rights and are free to submit versions of their own work to journals, or to post in blogs.

In addition, we will be looking for papers to publish in the conference proceedings for the 16th Annual MLL Conference on Brevity, which will take place on March 6-8, 2014. Those who are interested in presenting a paper and, eventually, be published can submit an abstract at by January 1st, 2014.

Finally, we would like to thank Jaime Brenes Reyes for his support and contribution to the project.

Natalia Caldas and Andrea Privitera


Call for Papers / Convocatoria [EXTENDED DEADLINE: January 1st, 2014]


16th Annual Graduate Student Conference
Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
Western University, Canada

 Keynote speakers: Luca Somigli (University of Toronto); Mark McDayter (Western University).

 “Cuando despertó, el dinosaurio todavía estaba allí” [When (s)he woke up, the dinosaur was still there]. This is the entirety of a 1959 short story by Augusto Monterroso. It could easily fit in a Twitter status update almost three times over.

Brevity can be interpreted in many different ways – from a sense of briefness and urgency to an economization of words. At times, brevity may be perceived as superficial or frivolous, except to those of Spartan sensibilities. To others, such as Polonius, “brevity is the soul of wit [/ And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, / I will be brief: your noble son is mad]” (II, ii).

Brevity can also allow us to linger on thought.  In his memo on quickness, Italo Calvino interpreted it as festina lente (“make haste, slowly”). Rapidity (and brevity) are seen to alter time, so that we can thoroughly reflect on concepts.

 And so we welcome you to the 16th Annual Graduate Student Conference hosted by the Comparative Literature and Hispanic Studies programs at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada. This year we will focus on brevity: its possibilities, its requirements, and its ramifications. From the concise forms of the Antiquity to digital forms of the 21st century; from carpe diem to YOLO; from haiku to Twitter; from the wise aphorisms of Seneca to Oscar Wilde’s witty quips and today’s Internet memes.

The Conference will take place on March 6 – 8, 2014. The conference organizers particularly welcome papers that are interdisciplinary, including but not limited to literature, theory and criticism, cultural studies, film studies, visual arts, music, theatre and popular culture. Suggested paper topics may include, but are certainly not limited, to the following:

  • Narratives of brevity: short stories, novelle, fabliaux, fairy tales, short novels, entremeses.
  • Brevity in poetry: haiku, labor limae, modernist poetry, Ermetismo, Symbolism, fragment(ation)s.
  • Brevity of thought: aphorisms, maxims, proverbs, manifestos.
  • Thoughts on brevity: epitaphs, elegies.
  • Brevity in the  arts: short films, music videos, advertisements, miniseries, photography.
  • Brevity in linguistics: brevity in translation, discourse analysis and sociolinguistics; economy of language, elisions, abbreviations, pronouns, parataxis, nicknames, endangered languages.
  • Brevity as a good thing: brevity vs. nonsense; simplicity and clarity.
  • Brevity in new media: communications in instant messaging, Twitter, chats, hashtags.
  • Brevity as transience: impermanence in works of art, temporary exhibitions, happenings, trends, fads, movements, waves (both in commerce and literature), ruins.
  • Brevity in cultural studies and folk culture: proverbs, idioms, patronymic, epithets, disappearance of oral memory.
  • Visual arts: minimalism, conceptual art.

 Those interested in presenting 20-minute papers are asked to submit a 300-word abstract to by January 1st, 2014 (please note the extended deadline). We ask participants to please include name, affiliation, technical requirements and a 50-word bio, with their abstract. As this is a conference organized by two programs, we will accept abstracts and papers in both English and Spanish. For further information, please check out our Blog (, Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @BrevityWestern.

Selected papers will be published.

 tl;dr: conference on brevity. Send us 300 words max by January 1st, 2014. go!

 The organizers:

Natalia Caldas and Andrea Privitera




16th Annual Graduate Student Conference
Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
Western University, Canada

 Ponentes plenarios: Luca Somigli (University of Toronto); Mark McDayter (Western University).

 “Cuando despertó, el dinosaurio todavía estaba allí”. Esto es el cuento completo de Agusto Monterroso publicado en 1959. Posiblemente el cuento mas corto de todos. Se podría poner en un status de Twitter. Técnicamente se puede meter en el status casi tres veces.

 ‘Brevedad’ se puede interpretar en diferentes maneras – desde la urgencia, la sensación de brevedad temporal hasta la economización de palabras. Para unos, lo breve se puede entender como algo superficial y frívolo, si no eres un espartano. Para otros, como Polonius, “brevity is the soul of wit [/ And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, / I will be brief: your noble son is mad]” (Hamlet, II, ii).

 Brevedad también nos permite reflexionar sobre una idea. En su memorándum, Calvino interpreto velocidad como festina lente (“apresúrate lentamente”). Rapidez (y brevedad) pueden alterar el tiempo, para mejor pensar y reflexionar sobre un concepto.

 Las y los invitamos a la Decimosexta Conferencia Anual de Estudios de Posgrado en Literatura Comparada y Estudios Hispánicos en Universidad de Western. Este evento tendrá lugar del 6 al 8 de marzo de 2014. Los organizadores de la conferencia acogen particularmente ensayos interdisciplinarios, incluyendo pero sin limitarse a la literatura, teoría, estudios culturales, estudios fílmicos, artes visuales, música, teatro, lingüística y cultura popular.

 Temas sugeridos para ensayos incluyen pero no se limitan a los siguientes:

  • Narrativos de brevedad: cuentos, novelle, fabliaux, cuentos de hadas, novelas cortas, entremeses.
  • Brevedad en poesía: haiku, labor limae, poesía moderna, Ermetismo, Symbolismo, fragmentation(es).
  • Brevedad de pensamientos: aforismos, máximas, proverbios, manifiestos.
  • Brevedad en pensamientos: epitafios, elegías.
  • Brevedad en las artes: cortometrajes, videoclip, publicidad, miniserie, fotografía.
  • Brevedad en lingüística: traducción y brevedad, análisis de discurso y sociolingüística, economía de lenguaje, elisión, abreviación, pronombre, parataxis, apodos, idiomas amenazados.
  • Brevedad positiva: brevedad vs. Bullshit; simplicidad y claridad
  • Brevedad en medios de comunicación: comunicación en mensajería instantánea, Twitter, chat, hashtag.
  • Brevedad en transitorio: la impermanencia de ciertas obras de arte, exhibiciones temporarias, happening, modas, movimientos (literatura, economía, etc.), ruinas.
  • Brevedad en estudios de cultura y cultura popular: proverbios, modismos, patronímico, epíteto, la desaparición de la memoria oral.
  • Artes visuales: minimalismo, arte conceptual.

 Aquellos interesados en presentar un ensayo de 20 minutos deben enviar un resumen de 300 palabras a La fecha tope es el 1º de enero 2014  (tomar nota que es el último plazo para enviar el abstract). Por favor incluir nombre, afiliación, requisitos técnicos y una autobiografía breve (no más de 50 palabras). Debido a que esta conferencia está siendo organizada por dos programas académicos, aceptaremos resúmenes y ensayos en inglés y español (con paneles exclusivamente en español). Para más información, por favor chequeen nuestra página de Facebook, Blog (, y Twitter @BrevityWestern.

 Ensayos elegidos serán publicados.

 Tl;dr: conferencia sobre brevedad. Envíanos 300 palabras máximas para el 1º de enero 2014.

 Los organizadores:

Natalia Caldas y Andrea Privitera