Links und Funktionen

Sie sind hier: Startseite / Call For Papers / Call for Papers (English)


Call for Papers (English)

From the 17th to 19th of June 2016, the 7th annual Students’ Congress of Comparative Literature (SKK) will be taking place at the LMU in Munich. Since the first SKK in Vienna in 2010, the congress has stood in the tradition of promoting professional exchange and networking amongst students from German-speaking universities. Hence, it not only caters to students and PhD candidates of comparative literature, but also to those of neighbouring disciplines, insofar as their methodology shows modes of operation akin to those employed in comparative literature. The presentations can be based on already existing term-papers or research, but they do not have to.

This year’s SKK aims to continue this interdisciplinary line of tradition with its topic of Literature and Labour. Through this topic, a thematic complex was consciously chosen in order to provide an ample field of work, while directly connecting with current debates in literary studies and public discourse. We thus aim, on one hand, to gain insights into the conceptualisation of labour in literary texts and to ask about their historic modes of representation, and, on the other hand, to focus on the labour on the text, both on the level of literary production and reception.

Labour in Literature

Throughout its history, the motif of Labour has gained manifold entries into Literature. It became a topos which spans from Hesiod’s account of the Herculeian Labours, the praise of labour in protestant literature and socialist realism, up to neo-liberal narratives of labour as a means of self-realisation.

Starting from these considerations, we want to invite the participants to engage with the different modes of literary representation of labour in the broad sense. How is labour being represented in literature, and what value is assigned to it? Which compounds is it engaging in with other topoi, and what positions do they occupy in the resulting dynamics? Which part does contemporary literature play in poetisising (post)modern cultures of labour? Can the relation between labour and literature breed new genres? How can employee- or internship-novels be conceptualised according to a theory of genre?

Labour on the Text

In addition to considering Labour in the text, participants are invited to work on the topic of Labour on the level of the text. This leads us to asking whether the production of literature between the poles of ποίησις and τέχνη is compatible with an economic notion of labour. How does the author “work” on the text? Does the text function as a commodity, and if so, can concepts native to the analysis of commodities, such as that of surplus-value, be transferred onto the text?

Here, one can also think about examining the possibility of literature as labour. In which historic-economic constellations can the production of literature be treated as socially validated labour? Which consequences arise for the production, reception, and the very theme of literature through its inclusion in a system of economic circulation? Can and should the worker become an author if the author has already become a worker?


Are there ultimately texts that call for a completion even after they have been written, an act of active labour not only by the author, but also on the part of the reader? Can this reader thus be transformed from consumer to poetic co-author? Wolfgang Iser’s theory of the gap and the prose of Alexander Kluge shall be mentioned here only as punctual examples for concepts of literature in which the reader performs a form of labour. Here one also has to ask how this labour interacts with the “raw material” of the text, and what – possibly consequently ephemeral –- textual variants are produced thereby.

Likewise, the preceding considerations open up links that allow for a questioning of the relationship of classical philological hermeneutics to the concept of labour. How does the protestant work-ethic relate to Schleiermacher’s hermeneutic labour on scripture? In contrast to that, what concept of labour can underlie an exegesis of the Talmud? Once again, those are only exemplary questions that should help at developing presentations that would be relevant for the congress.

Thus, a multitude of different approaches can be considered. They are all linked by the fact that they rely on the methodology of comparative literature to yield the best results. All of them invite interdisciplinarity and changes of perspective. The inquiries presented here aim only to offer a system of coordinates alongside which a presentation that is submitted to the congress can be located.


Applicants for a presentation at the SKK in Munich are required asked to send the following material to by the 31st of January, 2016:

            A preliminary title

            An abstract of about 300 words

            A selection of the bibliography

            Biographic details

Each presentation is awarded a 20 minutes timeslot. Costs of transportation and accommodation cannot be covered, but private accommodation with students of the LMU will be offered. Presentations can be held in German or in English.



Passwort vergessen?