Theories of the Global, Global Literature, and American Literature in a Globalizing Age


Ulfried Reichardt
Universität Mannheim

Theories of the Global, Global Literature, and American Literature in a Globalizing Age

Abstract: The paper discusses theories of the global and approaches to the concept of the world, presents definitions of literature in a globalizing age, and examines proposals how to approach world literature in literary scholarship, including ones that regard world literature as a system and ones that focus on individual texts. Finally, the essay argues that in our digitally restructured knowledge world, contemporary novels reflecting on the transformations of media and of knowledge formation have to be considered as versions of world literature as well.

Keywords: World Literature, globalization and literature, theories of the global, concepts of the “world,” digitalization


World Literature; globalization and literature; theories of the global; concepts of the “world; ” digitalization

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Published : 2017-06-30

ReichardtU. (2017). Theories of the Global, Global Literature, and American Literature in a Globalizing Age. Review of International American Studies, 10(1). Retrieved from

Ulfried Reichardt
Universität Mannheim Amerikanistik  Germany

Ulfried Reichardt is Professor and Chair of North American Literature and Culture at the University of Mannheim, Germany, and was founder of the university’s Graduate Collegium “Formations of the Global.” His publications include Postmodernity Seen from Inside: The Poetry of John Ashbery, A. R. Ammons, Denise Levertov, and Adrienne Rich (1991), Alterity and History: Functions of the Representation of Slavery in the American Novel (2001), and Globalization: Literatures and Cultures of the Global (2010), all three in German. He edited Mapping Globalization: Cultural Studies Perspectives (2008, in German), and co-edited a special edition of Amerikastudien/American Studies on Network Theory and American Studies (2015). Currently, he is working on projects focusing on “Post/Individualism – American Culture in a Global Context” and “The Quantified Self.”

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