World-Literature and the Warwick Research Collective

The Warwick Research Collective (WReC), formed in 2007, pursues collaborative work among members of the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies who share an interest in recent theorisations of world literature. Following an inaugural talk by Benita Parry (“Is There a Third-World Aesthetic?”), WReC has established a research agenda based on the challenge of theorizing a world-literary system that is, in the words of Franco Moretti, ‘simultaneously one, and unequal.’

The collective is made up of specialists in a variety of sub-fields, including colonial and postcolonial studies, American studies, and modern European and British literatures. Although we bring disparate backgrounds to bear upon the question of what might constitute global literary studies in the twenty-first century, we share a materialist commitment to pursuing the cultural implications of theories of combined and uneven development.

In 2015, WReC published Combined and Uneven Development: Towards a New Theory of World-Literature (Liverpool University Press). The ambition of this book is to resituate the problem of ‘world literature,’ considered as a revived category of theoretical enquiry, by pursuing the literary-cultural implications of the theory of combined and uneven development. This theory has a long pedigree in the social sciences, where it continues to stimulate debate. But its implications for cultural analysis have received less attention, even though the theory might be said to draw attention to a central – perhaps the central – arc or trajectory of modern(ist) production in literature and the other arts worldwide.


For more information on the members, activities and research developed by the Warwick Research Collective, click here to see our website, hosted by the University of Warwick.