Associate Dean Jack Leong organizes 2022 Canadian Comparative Literature Conference  


This year’s theme was “Divergence and Convergence of Comparative Literature” and the event took place from June 20 to 24, advancing equity, diversity, inclusion and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) regarding equality and world heritage.  

Leong is serving as the vice-president and program chair of the Association from 2021 to 2023.  

This program corresponds to York University Academic Plan 2020–25 that “confirms and expands our commitment to building a more prosperous, sustainable and inclusive world by focusing on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and the grand challenges facing our society,” shares Leong.  

The CCLA gathers scholars across Canada interested in comparative literature and organizes yearly meetings at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. The wide community of comparative literature has allowed scholars to embrace a close reading of expressions from all over the world, which relates to many areas of knowledge and belief in humanities, social sciences and natural sciences that diverge and converge at different times, locations and contexts. 

The conference hosted more than 48 presentations on multilingualism, interdisciplinarity, transmedia, and transnational and transcultural thematic or stylistic divergences and convergences within the context of equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism. 

“The success of this conference would not be possible without our CCLA/ACLC Executive Committee’s great support and the wonderful presentations and conversations by scholars from all over the world, that generated a series of productive and critical dialogues around the theme of divergence and convergence in Comparative Literature,” says Leong.  

The conference began with the keynote address by Professor Haun Saussy, university professor of comparative literature at the University of Chicago. York University presenters included English PhD candidates Zaynab Ali, Carolina De Souza, Ayse Karabag and Rachel Wong, Humanities PhD candidates Lee Dylan Campbell, Shlomo Gleibman, Sobia Kiran, Josh Trichilo and Sadia Uddin, Social & Political Thought PhD candidate Kurosh Amoui Kalareh, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS) professors Mehraneh Ebrahimi, Susan Ingram, Jessica Tsui-yan Li and Marie-Christine Leps; as well as LA&PS faculty member Khatereh Sheibani and Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change faculty member Mark Terry.

The engagement provided by faculty and students provided the opportunity to highlight York faculty’s diverse areas of research and expertise while bringing national and international attention to the University.  

Following the event, Leong will be editing a special issue of the Canadian Review of Comparative Literature/ Revue Canadienne de Littérature Comparée (CRCL) on the theme of divergence and convergence in comparative literature from selected and revised conference papers.