Literature in the World: A Critical Discourse Study of World Literature Pedagogy

Elisa Cogbill-Seiders


“Literature in the World” is a critical discourse analysis of world literature pedagogy in U.S. higher education. It investigates the ways discourse communities in higher education produce and shape the field of world literature. The dissertation begins by establishing and analyzing the generic conventions of university mission statements, finding they are primarily dominated by discourse on global learning. It follows with an analysis of world literature course descriptions from the same schools. World literature course descriptions alternatively replicate, resist, or subvert global learning discourses. The last chapter uses findings from the first two chapters to trace how university and instructor discourses shape world literature reading lists, and thus the field of world literature at the textual level. By analyzing global learning and world literature within various academic discourse communities, I find that pedagogical discourse has a strong influence on world literature texts. I therefore recommend that pedagogical praxis be taken under more serious consideration in both course design and literary generic conventions.