Call for papers

Worlding (Semi)peripheral Literatures        

International Conference

Cluj-Napoca, Romania, November 4-5, 2022

In the past decades, literary studies have been decisively reframed by world-system approaches (with their global and/ or transnational variants) that overtly acknowledge the power relations between cultural cores and peripheries which the former Eurocentric canon had assumed as implicit and undebatable (Saussy 2006, Heise 2017). The world frame of reference, inspired by Wallerstein’s take (1974, 2000) on global capitalism as a system characterized by the pressure of economic relations upon cultural production and diffusion, is bound to reform comparative literature and national literary histories. Worlding deconstructs the built-in understanding of culture as a non-conflictual field of humanistic values, Romantic universalism, and pacifist transfers from major to minor cultures. Recent world literature approaches have exposed precisely the power relations between cultures, marked by struggle, conflict, domination, as shown in the influential accounts provided by Franco Moretti (1998, 2000, 2013), Pascale Casanova (2004), David Damrosch (2003, 2009).

The aforementioned theoretical goals, bent on deconstructing implicit hegemonies and extending the modern canon beyond its Western core, have not yet been completed by full analytical counterparts to the inadvertent reinforcement of assumptions that they set out to dismantle, by acknowledging the role of peripheries in the world cultural dynamics.

Our conference, an event of the Metacritic Journal for Comparative Studies and Theory ( invites both theoretical reflections and analytical approaches on core–periphery relations, as well as on the multi-dimensionality of cultural transfer processes. The conference aims at deepening the analysis of semi-periperal literary systems and at providing a consequent approach to creative productivity.

Possible topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • close examinations of alternative modes of cultural transfer in (semi)peripheral literary cultures (diffusion, synchronization, others)
  • contentions on shifts in status  between “central,” or internationally recognised, and (semi)peripheral, or regional
  • descriptions and analyses of the mechanisms that enable system positions
  • proposals of a new critical vocabulary describing the peculiarities of literary (semi)peripheries, building on former proposals such as “in-between peripherality” (Tötösy de Zepetnek 1999), “temporary subcentres” (Thomsen 2008, 2017), “worlded peripherality” (Juvan 2019);
  • profiles of particular (semi)peripheral systems (Eastern-European or non-European)
  • further theoretical and methodological proposals on the workings of literary networks as systems

Conference organizers

The conference is an event of the Metacritic Centre for Advanced Literary Studies, supported by the Faculty of Letters (Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca), and chaired by Alex Goldiș and Mihaela Ursa, editors-in-chief and professors at the host institution.

Confirmed keynote speaker

  • Galin Tihanov, Queen Mary University of London, UK, Institute for World Literature

Guide for authors

The official language of the conference is English. We welcome proposals for papers and pre-constituted panels (3-4 panelists). Please submit: name and affiliation, a paper title, a 150 words proposal with 5 key words, and a 100 words bio-note. For panels, please submit: name and affiliation and a 100 words bio-note, the panel title, 3-4 names of panelists, each observing the above requirements for paper proposals. Each paper will be allotted 20 minutes for presentation.

Submission address:

Important dates

Deadline for proposal submission: October 1, 2022

Notification of acceptance: October 10, 2022

Conference registration deadline: October 18, 2022

Conference days: November 4-5, 2022

Other important Information

The conference fee is 80 €, payable online. For PhD students under 26, the fee is 40 €. It includes conference dinner and access to all conference activities and materials. The conference’s venue will be at the main building of the Faculty of Letters, Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 31 Horea St.

Conference website:

Publication of conference proceedings

We plan to publish a selection of the presented papers in the peer-reviewed Metacritic Journal for Comparative Studies and Theory (indexed WoS, SCOPUS, ERIH+, EBSCO, and others, see here:
A separate volume edited by the organizers is to be published at an international publisher, pending on the range and quality of papers. For further details, please contact professors Mihaela Ursa or Alex Goldiș at e-mail:,

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