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New Book by Prof. Eric Calderwood

Mar 15, 2018

Through state-backed Catholicism, monolingualism, militarism, and dictatorship, Spain’s fascists earned their reputation for intolerance. It may therefore come as a surprise that 80,000 Moroccans fought at General Franco’s side in the 1930s. What brought these strange bedfellows together, Eric Calderwood argues, was a highly effective propaganda weapon: the legacy of medieval Muslim Iberia, known as al-Andalus. This legacy served to justify Spain’s colonization of Morocco and also to define the Moroccan national culture that supplanted colonial rule.

Writers of many political stripes have celebrated convivencia, the fabled “coexistence” of Christians, Muslims, and Jews in medieval Iberia. According to this widely-held view, modern Spain and Morocco are joined through their shared Andalusi past. Colonial al-Andalus traces this supposedly timeless narrative to the mid-1800s, when Spanish politicians and intellectuals first used it to press for Morocco’s colonization. Franco later harnessed convivencia to the benefit of Spain’s colonial program in Morocco. This shift precipitated an eloquent historical irony. As Moroccans embraced the Spanish insistence on Morocco’s Andalusi heritage, a Spanish idea about Morocco gradually became a Moroccan idea about Morocco.

Drawing on a rich archive of Spanish, Arabic, French, and Catalan sources—including literature, historiography, journalism, political speeches, schoolbooks, tourist brochures, and visual arts—Calderwood reconstructs the varied political career of convivencia and al-Andalus, showing how shared pasts become raw material for divergent contemporary ideologies, including Spanish fascism and Moroccan nationalism. Colonial al-Andalus exposes the limits of simplistic oppositions between European and Arab, Christian and Muslim, that shape current debates about European colonialism.

New Book by Prof. Lilya Kaganovskt

Mar 15, 2018

As cinema industries around the globe adjusted to the introduction of synch-sound technology, the Soviet Union was also shifting culturally, politically, and ideologically from the heterogeneous film industry of the 1920s to the centralized industry of the 1930s, and from the avant-garde to Socialist Realism. In The Voice of Technology: Soviet Cinema’s Transition to Sound, 1928–1935, Lilya Kaganovsky explores the history, practice, technology, ideology, aesthetics, and politics of the transition to sound within the context of larger issues in Soviet media history. Industrialization and centralization of the cinema industry greatly altered the way movies in the Soviet Union were made, while the introduction of sound radically influenced the way these movies were received. Kaganovsky argues that the coming of sound changed the Soviet cinema industry by making audible, for the first time, the voice of State power, directly addressing the Soviet viewer. By exploring numerous examples of films from this transitional period, Kaganovsky demonstrates the importance of the new technology of sound in producing and imposing the "Soviet Voice."

Ethan Madarieta awarded the Gendell and Shiner Fellowship

Feb 27, 2018

Ethan Madarieta has been awarded the Gendell and Shiner Fellowship for the Fall Semester of 2019-20.


Alex Van Doren selected for International Women's Day Award

Feb 27, 2018

Alexandra Van Doren was selected for the International Women's Day Award.


Prof. Rushing receives Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching awards

Feb 26, 2018

Prof. Robert Rushing has received both the campus-level Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award and the LAS Dean's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

Article about Prof. Hilger's New Book

Feb 14, 2018

An article, "Bridging the gap between medicine and literature" about Stephanie Hilger’s new book “New Directions in Literature and Medicine Studies” is featured on the college homepage. 

Prof. Rini Mehta awarded the 2018-2019 IPRH Faculty Fellowship

Feb 09, 2018

 Professor Rini Mehta has been awarded the 2018-2019 IPRH Faculty Fellowship for her project "Mens Hierarchicus: Race’s Intellectual Labor and the Global Right."

Eric Calderwood selected as a Lincoln Excellence for Assistant Professor Scholar for the College of LAS for 2017-2019.

Dec 15, 2017

Prof. Eric Calderwood has been selected as a Lincoln Excellence for Assistant Professor Scholar for the College of LAS for 2017-2019.

New Book by Prof. Rachel Harris: Warriors, Witches, Whores: Women in Israeli Cinema

Nov 20, 2017

A Symposium Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Comparative & World Literature at Illinois

Nov 20, 2017

Comparative Literature in Historical perspective

Stephanie Hilger awarded the CAS Fellowship for 2018-2019 for her project, "Liminal Bodies: Hermaphrodites in the Eighteenth Century."

Oct 15, 2017

I am thrilled to report that Professor Stephanie Hilger has been awarded the CAS Fellowship for 2018-2019 for her project, "Liminal Bodies: Hermaphrodites in the Eighteenth Century." 

Learn more about CAS Fellows

Prof. Lilya Kaganovsky receives the Provost's Campus Distinguished Promotion Award

May 10, 2017

Congratulations to SLL faculty member Prof. Lilya Kaganovsky, who is receiving the Provost's Campus Distinguished Promotion Award.  The Campus Committee on Promotion and Tenure, in forwarding her case for promotion to full professor to the Chancellor, identified her as one of a set of scholars up for promotion "whose contributions were truly exceptional in terms of quality of work and overall achievement."

Congratuations to our new full professors: Lilya Kaganovsky, Robert A. Rushing, and Robert Tierney

May 10, 2017

Everyone please join me in congratulating our new full professors Lilya Kaganovsky, Robert Rushing and Robert Tierney!

Robert A. Rushing’s book, Descended from Hercules: Biopolitics and the Muscled Male Body On Screen, won the Film and Media Studies book prize at AAIS

Apr 25, 2017

Professor Robert A. Rushing’s book Descended from Hercules: Biopolitics and the Muscled Male Body On Screen just won the Film and Media Studies book prize at the AAIS (American Association for Italian Studies).

Eric Calderwood awarded Criticism and Interpretive Theory Junior Research Fellowship for 2017-18.

Apr 13, 2017

Eric Calderwood has been awarded a Criticism and Interpretive Theory Junior Research Fellowship for 2017-18.

Robert Rushing's New Book, Descended from Hercules: Biopolitics and the Muscled Male Body on Screen

Apr 10, 2017

Muscles, six-pack abs, skin, and sweat fill the screen in the tawdry and tantalizing peplum films associated with epic Italian cinema of the 1950s and 1960s.Using techniques like slow motion and stopped time, these films instill the hero’s vitality with timeless admiration and immerse the hero’s body in a world that is lavishly eroticized but without sexual desire. These "sword and sandal" films represent a century-long cinematic biopolitical intervention that offers the spectator an imagined form of the male body―one free of illness, degeneracy, and the burdens of poverty―that defends goodness with brute strength and perseverance, and serves as a model of ideal citizenry.

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Prof. Waïl Hassan Elected Second Vice President of ACLA

Apr 09, 2017

Prof. Waïl Hassan has been elected Second Vice President of the American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA). He will serve in that capacity for the first of a three-year term on the Executive Committee (2017-18). In the second year (2018-19) he will become Vice President, then President in the third year (2019-20). After that, Prof. Hassan will become a member of the Honorary Committee as a past president.

The ACLA was founded in 1960 and is the largest professional association representing the discipline in North America, although its membership of over 2,000 includes many who travel to its annual conference from Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America. The ACLA also holds occasional conferences abroad, with the 2017 meeting taking place in Utrecht, the Netherlands, in July. 

Alex van Doren awarded the Graduate Student Leadership Award

Apr 09, 2017


We're pleased to announce the winner of the Graduate Student Leadership Award: Alexandra Van Doren, a doctoral student in Comparative and World Literatures. 

During the Syrian refugee crisis of 2015, Alexandra realized there was no refugee welcome center in Champaign or Urbana, and decided to take action. In January 2016, she founded the non-profit Three Spinners Inc. with the help of fellow graduate student Meagan Smith and her husband Tim King.

Matthew Nelson was awarded the SLCL Dissertation completion fellowship for 2016-2017

Jul 26, 2016

Matthew Nelson was awarded the SLCL Dissertation completion fellowship for 2016-2017 for his dissertation, "Translingual Nostalgias in Modern Sanskrit and Indian Poetry in English" 

Ethan Madareita receives Honorable Mention for the 2016 IPRH Prizes for Research in the Humanities.

Jul 26, 2016

Ethan Madareita's essay, “Unbordering the Body: Raúl Zurita’s Utopian Performance Under Dictatorship,” received an Honorable Mention for best graduate student research for the 2016 IPRH Prizes for Research in the Humanities.

Hapsatou Wane has accepted a position at Armstrong University

Jul 26, 2016

Hapsatou Wane has accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature in the Department of Languages, Literature and Philosophy at Armstrong University.

Waïl Hassan named University Scholar

Jun 18, 2016

We are pleased to announce that Prof. Waïl Hassan has been named University Scholar for 2016-2017.

Rini Mehta honored at Women's Resources Center International Women's Day Celebration

Mar 09, 2016

The Women’s Resources Center within the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations selected Prof. Rini Mehta as a 2016 honoree at the International Women’s Day Celebration. Prof. Mehta was recognized for her "..invaluable work on behalf of women internationally." This year's honorees represent a wide-range of achievements within the fields of education, healthcare, policy, history, and social work.

Learn more at the Women's Resource Center

Waïl Hassan Awarded ACLS Fellowship

Feb 29, 2016

Prof. Waïl Hassan has been awarded the ACLS Fellowship for 2016-2017 for his project, "Arab Brazil: Literature, Culture, and Orientalism in the Racial Democracy.” 

Eric Calderwood Receives NEH Fellowship

Jan 23, 2016

Eric Calderwood is one of five University of Illinois faculty to be awarded an National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship. Eric's project is “The Memory of Al-Andalus and Spanish Colonialism in Morocco, 1859-1956.” This book will be the first study of Spanish colonialism in Morocco (1859-1956) to be based on both Spanish and Arabic sources. The book explores how Spanish and Moroccan writers used the history of al-Andalus – medieval Muslim Iberia – as a framework for understanding Spanish colonialism in Morocco, and how the historical memory of al-Andalus has been used to structure debates about Europe’s evolving relationship with the Muslim world.

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