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Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies (CCLPS)

CCLPS Critical Forum

Wednesdays 13:00-15:00, Room 4418
Convenors: Dr Karima Laachir

The aim of the CCLPS Critical Forum is to foster a culture of research and critical debate across SOAS in which the idiomatic differences of regional expertise are articulated and brought to a focus through debates over comparative critical methods and the examination of theoretical, critical, ideological and cultural premises underlying the academic disciplines of Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies and Postcolonial Studies.

  • The Forum is designed to be congenially informal and is to be distinguished from other formal seminars and lecture series.
  • The Forum will offer a context for CCLPS members across the faculty and for Second and Third Year PhD Candidates to come together and present briefly on the critical methods and theoretical frames relevant to their research projects.
  • The discussions that are hoped to follow these brief presentations will be guided in two directions:
    • The laying of grounds for future comparative projects and publications, highlighting the unique range of expertise at SOAS, through which veritable contribution to the main stream of critical and theoretical debates in the three disciplines is potentially outlined.
    • Offering and demonstrating a range of research skills and analytic tools through which PhD Candidates are able to place their work and plan their research careers under one of the disciplines.
  • The Forum is also hoped to begin the work of outlining the Agency of non-European critical traditions:
    • First making these traditions available in translation and in debate.
    • Bringing these traditions into genuine debate with western theory and critical methods.
  • In all three disciplines, the state of the art is determined by the powerful imprints of a few figures - from Auerbach to Said - offering various modes of engagement and analytic and critical insight. But no one has so far offered a viable and consistent methodological insight as to how to work with different literatures, languages and traditions.
    • The most recent (Moretti, Damrosh, Spivak, Apter) have offered extended critical theses and analytic readings proving the need for methodologies in working across languages and traditions.
    • These can be most fruitfully examined as suggestions toward a methodology.
    • Ultimately, the goal of the CCLPS Critical Forum is to examine the different critical and theoretical attempts, drawing strongly on the unique concentration of expertise at SOAS, in order to begin to outline a critical methodology, which is not an easy task, and certainly beyond the reach of individual scholars (as earlier attempts have confirmed).
    • This will constitute the centripetal force of the Centre’s intellectual and methodological visions, which must involve the work of all CCLPS members.

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