Introduction: Globalizing Literary Genres
Pages 14

Focusing on the relation between processes of globalization and literary genres, this collection of essays raises the following question: in our globalized world, why should we study literature and its genres? If our world is the accelerating world of globalization, why bother with something as constant, inert even, as literary genres? A possible answer, one particularly important for this collection, would be to turn the question around and scrutinize the very premise that globalization is a recent phenomenon limited to our present world. It is precisely by studying such lasting formations as genres that we can hope to defamiliarize conventional self-positionings such as “in our globalized world,” a topos we tend to use to open any discussion nowadays, not just the one on globalization. The very persistence of generic structures within the rapidly changing literary and cultural production can help us acknowledge that economic and political globalization too reach well beyond the two or three decades that we usually call “our globalized world.” Ultimately, the study of genres should be able to estrange the assumption that only “our” world, today’s world, is a truly globalized world and that as such it is the obvious opening of any discussion.