Christian Howard and Samantha Wallace collaborate on a podcast about public humanities and global literature.
Generously funded by the Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures at the University of Virginia as a part of the Public Humanities Lab, Circulating Spaces: Literary and Language Worlds in a Global Age explores what it means to engage with literature as a global-scale community through a series of podcasts. We aim to discuss how literature — especially world literature — brings us into contact with one another, and how our shared interests might help illuminate larger networks of people around the world invested in protecting and supporting the arts. Rather than offering a definition of world literature as a genre for classifying texts, our project connects translators, teachers, scholars, writers, and beyond, in order to explore the implications of the larger literary ecosystem.
By recording these conversations with guests and making them available as a podcast, we hope to embody the idea of literature as an ongoing discussion that is constantly being reexamined and revised. In so doing, we aim to connect with audiences from all over the world, to stress the importance of open, free communication for everyone, and to create a digital archive for listeners in the future.
Podcast speakers come from a variety of positions – both public and academic – within the global literary network. As such, guest speakers will include such diverse figure as translators, academics, writers of poetry and prose, and elementary school teachers. Even as each guest will be asked to engage with the fundamental question of how they conceptualize their own position and work within these complex literary and language worlds, so too will guests discuss the changing face of literature.
In this way, Circulating Spaces addresses the complex network of fields related to the global literary ecosystem broadly, including the role of the publishing market in disseminating foreign literature, the challenges of teaching a global corpus, and the transformation of global spaces through the growth of online, digital networks. We collectively explore how diverse perspectives might address the value of literature, and we advocate for the humanities in a period of budget cuts, growing economic inequalities, and continued pressure to consider the humanities as a hobby and not as a career or a means of serious political intervention.
As part of this ongoing conversation, we encourage your participation! Please contact us with any questions or suggestions for future speakers or topics of interest.
We hope you enjoy the show!