— David Damrosch
The discipline of Comparative Literature developed in tandem with the European nationalism that it at once embodied and opposed. In the postwar era, postcolonial studies opened a far wider frame of reference, while still largely following established colonial trade routes in exploring literature in the imperial languages. A fully global literary studies will need to become more multipolar, as Jan Nederveen Pieterse has argued, both in terms of the materials studied and the methods we use. Literary and disciplinary nationalism need to be engaged in new ways, not by abandoning nations and disciplines but by new modes of analysis. This talk will discuss the possibilities for global literary studies in three disparate eras: the prenational and preglobal literatures of antiquity; the globalizing literature of the modern imperial age; and the site-specific, postnational literature of the Internet age today.