Penn State University


Special Issues

Cultural Revolutions: East and West

Guest Editor: Wang Ning (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai)

The term "cultural revolution" usually refers to one of two things: the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, which was actually a social-political movement that took place in China from 1966 through 1976; or, any revolution in the world that starts from the cultural sphere, including the French May Storm, its German and American progeny, and Iran's Islamic Cultural Revolution, among others.

Within current academia, discussion of cultural revolution, especially of China's Cultural Revolution and of the French May Storm has become an ever more attractive topic for scholars both in Asia and in the West. It is indeed a cutting-edge theoretical topic that has not yet received adequate discussion. It is true that a Marxian cultural revolution appeared in China and soon swept the whole world almost instantaneously. In China, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution launched by Mao Zedong started in 1966 and came to an end in 1976 after Mao's death, which is obviously the longest and most influential "cultural revolution," as well as being a social and political revolution. From today's point of view, we have no difficulty finding that the legacy of this sort of cultural revolution has not yet been fully recognized, either historically or academically. It should not be regarded simply as a disaster brought to the Chinese people, paralyzing the country politically, socially, culturally and economically, but also should be viewed as a unique global, Marxian revolutionary experience with Chinese characteristics which certainly helped form a "sinicized" Marxism: Mao Zedong Thought (or more simply, Maoism).

After the victory of the Chinese revolution, Mao's thought was more and more admired by those Western Marxists who also wanted to practice Marxism in their own social and cultural revolutions. In this sense, the Maoist Cultural Revolution in China has in turn influenced those Western Marxists and left-wing intellectuals and writers. The famouse May Storm in France in the 1960s was such an outcome, which in turn also impacted US and other societies. During those years, some of the former structuralists did think that if they could not shake the state apparatus politically, they would at least shake the structure of language and culture. Hence the appearance of poststructuralism. So in this way, we may well sum up that in China, the Cultural Revolution has brought tremendous transformation in politics, economy, culture and society, while in the West, the Marxist doctrine, including the Maoist Marxism, has helped the birth of Marxism at the university campuses and the intellectual circles. That is one reason why many of today's leading intellectuals in North America are influenced by Marxism.

Papers are sought for this special issue that focus on how these revolutions are represented in literary works, and/or on how literary creation, criticism, and theory are impacted by this global left-wing movement.

Submissions protocol: Those submitting manuscripts should create an account on Editorial Manager, where you must register before uploading your submission. Please select "special issue article" for the article type. Individual articles should not exceed 7000 words and should conform to the journal's style guide. Completed manuscripts must be submitted by June 31, 2014.

Abstract: Optionally, authors may submit a 250-word abstract and CV before March 31 to the guest editor, Professor Wang Ning, at

Submissions deadline: June 31, 2014 for completed papers
Issue to appear in February 2015


Beyond the Anglophone: Comparative South Asian Literary Studies

Guest Editors: Amritjit Singh (Ohio University) and Nalini Iyer (Seattle University)

With the advent of postcolonial studies in North America in the 1980s, there has been significant scholarly output on South Asian literatures. However, literary criticism and commentary have focused mostly on Anglophone writing from South Asia and in the diaspora. At the same time, some two-dozen literary traditions in the Indian subcontinent continue to display remarkable energy, innovation, and historical consciousness. For a special issue of Comparative Literary Studies, guest editors invite essays that examine literatures since 1850 in South Asian languages in fresh comparative frameworks. Contributors are encouraged to consider one or more of the following topics: neglected literary canons/traditions; Islamic Literary Cultures; gender, sexuality, class, and caste; "postcolonialism" in non-Anglophone writings; interplay between English language and indigenous literary traditions; translation theories and praxis.

Submissions protocol: Please submit abstracts of 500-1000 words along with a 2-page CV by October 15, 2014 for critical essays of 5000-8000 words. For a detailed CFP and other queries, contact guest editors Amritjit Singh (Ohio University; and Nalini Iyer (Seattle University;

Authors encouraged to submit full manuscripts will be asked to do so through the journal's editorial manager website (CLS Editorial Manager). When registering on editorial manager, please select "special issue article" for the article type. Submissions should conform to the journal's style guide. Date for first drafts of completed papers: February 15, 2015.

Submissions deadlines: October 15, 2014 for abstracts and CVs; February 15, 2015 for first drafts of completed papers
Issue to appear in February 2016



Updated 7 November 2014 by Elizabeth Hayton