Comparisons and Interactions Within/Across Cultures.
Ed. Ludmilla Kostova, Iona Sarieva and Mihaela Irimia.
Veliko Turnovo: St. Cyril and St. Methodius University Press, 2012. 314 pages.
The contributions to this volume are for the most part a selection from the papers presented at the interdisciplinary travelling conference Comparisons, Interactions and Contestations Within/Across Cultures, which was organized by scholars from the University of Bucharest, Romania, and the University of Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria, and was held on three campuses, Bucharest, Romania, Ruse, Bulgaria, and Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria, on 17–20 June 2010. The conference attracted participants from a wide variety of fields, ranging from English studies, itself a cross- and interdisciplinary area of growing complexity, to art history and European identity studies.
The title of the volume is somewhat different from the original topic of the conference. The change is part of an attempt to highlight the key concepts of comparison and interaction, on which most of the forum’s presentations and discussions focused, and to stimulate further reflection on their meanings and roles within contemporary intra- and intercultural research.
The Introduction to the volume examines some interpretations of these concepts. The examination is intended to serve as a theoretical background to the essays in the volume. Without directly engaging with the general points made in the Introduction, they illustrate significant practices in comparative literary study, contrastive linguistic exploration and other areas of socio-cultural research. The essays have been grouped in five sections which, for the most part, cut across the boundaries of specific fields of inquiry. The volume’s editors have sought to organize contributions around recurrent themes in the humanities, such as construction and comparison of identities within/across languages and cultures, interaction with texts and comparison of contexts, the imaginative construction of cultural others, exploration of the past through the lens of the present and, last but not least, the relationship between politics and aesthetics in culturally and temporally different milieux. This list of topics is by no means exhaustive and is open to modification in future books of proceedings. Readers will probably notice some overlapping – in the sense that certain papers could easily fit under two or more of the suggested headings. Far from being a defect, this testifies to the complex thematic structure of the submissions and to the fact that they could be approached from different viewpoints.
Readers can access the volume and read some of the essays at: