CFP: New Critical Currents in Global South Studies in CLS

Call for Papers

CLS: Comparative Literature Studies

Special Issue: New Critical Currents in Global South Studies

Edited by Magalí Armillas-Tiseyra (Penn State University) and Anne Garland Mahler (University of Virginia)


In recent years, the Global South has emerged as a predominant critical concept in academic circles and public discourse. The journal The Global South, founded in 2007, is entering its second decade. Global South centers and institutes have been established at academic institutions around the globe. In 2014, the MLA approved the creation of a Global South forum under the rubric of Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies. New positions in literary and cultural studies are increasingly framed under Global South studies, and there is a host of scholars working in this emergent field. Most importantly, there has been a proliferation of single-author critical studies, edited volumes, and digital scholarly projects concerned with both the Global South as a concept and as an organizing matrix for South-South comparative work. This special issue takes as its starting point that it is time to take stock of the scholarly impact of this work on the field of literary and cultural studies, and comparative literature in particular.


“New Critical Currents in Global South Studies” builds on prior scholarship in this field — which has often focused on defining the concept and its history — in order to trace the various and fruitful ways in which the Global South is being used as a framework for comparative literary and cultural analysis across a variety of intersecting fields of inquiry. Overwhelmingly, the most promising scholarship within literary and cultural studies on the Global South does not employ this concept simply as a place-name nor as a post-Cold War substitute for the Third World. Rather, in this work the Global South is used to address spaces and peoples negatively impacted by capitalist globalization, including within the borders of wealthier countries. This usage relies on a longer tradition of analysis of the North’s geographic Souths, where the “South” has long represented an internal periphery. The modifying term “global,” however, disconnects this subaltern relational position of the South from any one-to-one relation to geography. In this sense, it is a relational rather than locational term. This deterritorial notion of the Global South is rooted in the history of Cold War internationalisms through which the concept emerged to refer to the resistant political imaginary that arises from the mutual recognition of analogous circumstances by marginalized or dispossessed groups throughout the world. Through this frame, the South has been conceived as a productive situational site from which to theorize alternative futures (as in “Southern theory”) and is used to trace contemporary South-South relations –– or relations among subaltern groups –– as well as the histories of those relations in prior forms of South-South exchange.


This special issue of CLS begins from the premise that such understandings of the Global South offer a dynamic framework for the analysis of literature and other forms of cultural production. It provides an opportunity to shift the scale through which we compare, in which North-South or South-South analysis may occur across national or regional lines. The issue editors seek papers that enact and theorize these principles of analysis across or within a variety of localities as well as those that consider its limitations. We conceive of Global South studies as a series of directions or movements, a confluence of critical currents emerging from a variety of already existing fields, including (but not limited to) comparative literature, world literature, Cold War studies, new Southern studies, postcolonial studies, diaspora studies, energy humanities, and oceanic studies, as well as the outer edges of regionally-focused area studies. “New Critical Currents in Global South Studies” will map those critical currents for a broad readership and offer insight into significant changes in comparative literary studies today.


Abstracts of 300 words due March 1, 2020 to and

Contributors will be notified of preliminary acceptance of their abstracts by March 15, 2020.


Full essays of 6,000 words will be due June 1, 2020. They should follow CLS guidelines (endnote style of MLA):