Vernacular Worlds, Cosmopolitan Imagination


This collection addresses broad questions of ethics and aesthetics in the framework of vernacular cosmopolitanism. With a common anthropological focus, the essays map literary and artistic practices involving cross-cultural transactions shaped by social forces, institutions, and the multiple mediations of the imagination. Some essays are based on community-based fieldwork, while all encompass an affective immersion in the places we inhabit, and the claims these make on the body’s intelligibility.
The authors consider the role of artists, writers, and literary scholars as cultural actors in a variety of settings, grassroots, regional, trans-regional, and global. Topics include: the role of social and cultural activism; the problematic dimensions of national belonging; the plurality of knowledge-systems and inter-language environ-mental learning in South Africa; the vernacular imagination in Papua New Guinea Anglophone fiction; pulp fiction and chick lit in India; transformative artistic motifs of Australia’s nomadic Tiwi community; life writing as a reconfiguring of postcolonial or cosmopolitan paradigms; southern African supernatural belief-systems and the malign magic of the global economy; Canadian First Nations literature read against the struggle for self-determination by India’s castes and scheduled tribes; feral animals in relation to the indigenous exotic; and the imbrication of the vernacular, national, colonial, and cosmopolitan in perceptions of homecoming in the eastern Mediterranean. The collection as a whole thus provides manifestations of poesis in relation to theory and praxis and articulates perspectives that expand, challenge, strengthen, and renew the potential for growth in contemporary world literature and culture.

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Stephanos Stephanides is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Cyprus. He is a poet, critic, translator, and documentary filmmaker.

Stavros S. Karayanni is Associate Professor of English at European University Cyprus. He is managing editor of the multilingual journal Cadences: A Journal of Literature and the Arts in Cyprus.
" Vernacular Worlds, Cosmopolitan Imagination is an impressive collection for its recondite arguments and relevant case studies of translational transcultural exchange that collectively endeavour to reconfigure the vernacular and the cosmopolitan. In sum, it expands and challenges cosmopolitan’s post-Enlightenment positioning and embrace of hybridity, transculturalism, and citizenship in relation to the vernacular, while McDougall’s concluding integrationist angle moves the debate into another, related realm of enquiry. This excellent scholarly volume is a tribute to its ACLALS editors and contributors and a worthy successor to others in the Cross/Cultures series."
- Janet Wilson ( University of Northampton), Recherche littéraire, literary research 34, Summer 2018.
STEPHANOS STEPHANIDES AND STAVROS S. KARAYANNI: Introduction: Vernacular Worlds, Cosmopolitan Imagination:The Intimate Estrangement of Homecoming
GEOFFREY V. DAVIS: Doing the Right Thing: ACLALS, Social Change, and Cultural Activism
ELSIE CLOETE: “There’s a Meat Down There”: An Essay on English and the Environment in Africa
DIANA WOOD CONROY: Vernacular Patterns in Flux: Mirroring Change in an Aboriginal Workshop, Tiwi Designs, Northern Australia
FELICITY WOOD: Wealth-Giving Mermaid Women and the Malign Magic of the Market: Contemporary Oral Accounts of the South African mamlambo
“Travelling Knowledges”: ‘Practising’
DEBASH REE DATTARAY: Indigenous Literatures in the Indian University
PADMI NI MONGIA: What About Shobhaa Dé? Indian Pulp Fiction Meets Indian Writing in English
PAUL SHARRAD : “Ghem pona wai?”: Vernacular Imaginations in Contemporary Papua New Guinea Fiction
PAUL STEWART: Samuel Beckett and J.M. Coetzee: Narrative Power and the Postcolonial
VICTOR J. RAMRAJ : Language and Perception: Reinstating the Individual in Postcolonial Literary Studies
RUSSELL MCDOUGALL: Indigenous Exotic: Cosmopolitan Dingoes and Brumbies
All interested in postcolonial literature and theory, the theme of vernacular cosmopolitanism and colonial discourse, and anyone investigating ecology, native art, and language in a postcolonial context.