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Society for Intercultural Studies

About the Society

[ Rationale | Administration | Conference Organization | Contact Information ]


Decades ago, René Wellek wrote that comparative studies necessitate moving beyond European literature to engage fully with Eastern cultures. Although comparisons of Western cultures and the traditions of China, Japan, and Korea made promising gains in the years since, Wellek's vision remains largely unfulfilled. Recent trends in the humanities, however, suggest great potentials for a mode of comparison that traces similarities and differences across disparate cultures, times, and spaces. The growing body of theories positing peripheries and subalterns represents the possibilities for reshaping the landscape of contemporary discourses and giving new immediacy to such studies. The Society for Intercultural Comparative Studies aims to cultivate a community of future comparatists and to stimulate interest in this type of intercultural comparison. 

Comparative studies critically interrogate at least two traditions to gain new perspectives on both while revealing valuable insight on the act of comparison itself. Recent studies achieve this goal through a strategy of comparative reading which, though historically informed, does not depend on an historical connection or influence for comparison. This growing stream of scholarship heralds the advent of an intercultural comparison that, as a budding field, lacks an institutional structure for training scholars. The Princeton Graduate Symposium will provide a forum for energizing the increasing number of scholars-in-training towards fresh directions in intercultural studies. 

This highly interdisciplinary forum will enrich the scholarly community by bringing together students and scholars from a diverse array of fields, ranging from the social sciences to the humanities. As graduate students developing a professional specialization, we too often fall prey to compartmentalization within our disciplines. Conferences organized around an inclusive, yet focused theme will promote a productive dialogue among students by breaking down this isolating tendency. We hope to continue this project in the future both as a bi-annual event which will make regular contribution to Princeton, and as the on-line database of the East-West Bibliography which will serve scholars from all universities.


Born out of the shared interests of several members of the Department of Comparative Literature at Princeton University, the Society is currently administered by Jonathan Abel, Shion Kono, and Kevin Tsai.

Conference Organization

Conference Committee 
Jonathan E. Abel
S-C Kevin Tsai
Shion Kono
Stacy Nakamura
Haiyan Gu
Faculty Steering Committe
Prof. Andrew Plaks
Prof. Earl Miner
Prof. Richard Okada
Prof. Sandra Bermann

Contact Information

Society for Intercultural Comparative Studies
133 East Pyne
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ   08544

FAX: 609.258.1873

2000 The Trustees of Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton, New Jersey 08544 USA 
University Operator: 609/258-3000