Laboratori d'Estudis Literaris Globals

Main investigator:
Roig Sanz, Diana
Arts and Humanities
Area of specialization:
Languages and cultures
Affiliation center:
Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3)
  • Global novel
  • Sociology of translation

The Global Literary Studies Research Group (GlobaLS) focuses on the study of literary history from a global perspective, which we understand as a research approach that looks at cross-border cultural and literary phenomena beyond the national framework. Accordingly, this group has four main scientific objectives:

  1. To review existing theoretical frameworks dealing with the notion of the “global” in order to further its application within literary studies, taking on new analytical units such as cities, regions, rivers, seas, and oceans.
  2. To promote the global study of literature from an interdisciplinary perspective within the humanities and the social sciences.
  3. To contribute to the analysis of literary processes, places and actors at a local and global scale through different case studies.
  4. To contribute to the advancement of the global study of literature using macro- and micro-historical analyses and computational tools within a digital humanities framework. These scientific objectives will be tested by means of a triple research focus: global literary environments, the global novel and global translation flows.

Global literary environments

This research focus examines the uses and representations of global environments in literature and film, and uses those under-examined spaces as the keys to examining the contradictions and ambivalences produced by spaces that are defined as international, and therefore paradigmatically “global”. Of special interest are those global environments that have been conceptualized as “global commons”. These are mostly ambivalent sites, because they are simultaneously conceived as social (including national) and as “wild” (as “out of social constraints”, or belonging to “nature” and therefore rightly shared by every human being).


At the crossroads of geography, ecocriticism, and comparative literature, this research focus addresses spaces that have been imagined regardless of nationality, and specifically those that have been imagined as “wild spaces” like oceans, woods, rivers, deserts, icescapes, or outer space. How have global environments been represented in literature? How does their condition as global spaces, many of them being legally designated as “global commons”, challenge the social structures determined by national states, and how does literature present these spaces as historically problematic in human interaction and cross-cultural conflict? How can those spaces challenge and advance our critical perspectives in Global Studies?

The global novel

This line of research focuses on the novel from a global perspective. Aiming at a global history of the genre through the study of crucial transnational literary periods and spaces, the goal is to investigate the emergence and transformations of the modern and contemporary novel in its articulations across Europe and the world.


The scope of research encompasses both comparative literary history and theory, and it ranges from cross-national analysis of the history of the novel considered in its longue durée, with special attention to the problem of historical change, to examinations of the novel and the representations of space, assessing the new tropes, forms and plots of the global novel. This research line also contributes to contemporary debates about the place of the novel within the canons and theoretical models of world literature, whilemaintaining a critical perspective on the role attributed to the novel in the historical processes and narratives of globalization.

Global translation flows

This line of research builds on cross-border studies and their criticism of a nation-centred research lens and focuses on dealing with circulation, mediations and mediators related to global literary translation flows and their transnational agents and agencies (translators, publishers, literary agents, institutions and book fairs). Many studies on translation and cultural mediation still favour the major metropolises of Paris, London, and New York, as centres of cultural production. However, other cities and megacities that are not global centres of culture also feature vibrant translation scenes, eg Buenos Aires, Trieste, Cape Town and Lahore.


Thus, this line of research focuses on these other dynamic translation venues in order to rethink the role of major national literatures and broader regional configurations, as well as the place of smaller literatures and how they relate to the wider world. Comparative literature, world literary studies, and translation studies have generally focused on central languages or, at best, on the relationships between central and peripheral literatures, but there is still a lot of research to be done with regard to inter-peripheral literary exchanges. In that respect, this line of research intends to abandon the focus on “innovative” centres and “imitative” peripheries and aims to study new or lesser-known translation zones and processes of cultural exchange as they develop.