What is the Contemporary?’ was a multi-disciplinary international conference hosted by St Andrews University School of Modern Language’s Institute for Contemporary and Comparative Literature (ICCL) on 1-3 September 2014.

The full programme and individual abstracts can be found on the subpage attached to this one. A report on the conference from Birkbeck’s Centre for Contemporary Literature can be found here.

The conference explored:

‘The Contemporary’ through Time. What did the term, or its (near) equivalent(s), mean in – for example — Ancient Greece, Renaissance Italy or early twentieth-century Iran? Are other terms – e.g. ‘modern’, ‘new’, ‘original’, ‘novel’ — homologous to today’s ‘contemporary’?

‘The Contemporary’ across Disciplines. Seeks to explore the term as it is applied to a broad range of disciplines. What and when are contemporary art, dance, music, architecture, history?

‘Contemporary’ Literature and the Canon. How is such a body of work (‘contemporary literature) to be defined? Is the term ‘contemporary canon’ quite simply oxymoronic?

Practising the Contemporary. How does working on the contemporary call for particular research methodologies and pedagogical practices?
Keynote speakers:

James English, John Welsh Centennial Professor of English and Director of the Penn Humanities Forum, University of Pennsylvania;
Lionel Ruffel, University of Paris 8, Dept. of Comparative Literatures.
Armand d’Angour, Jesus College, Oxford