New Research Program on Gender and Literature with CEU’s Department of Gender Studies Builds Upon History of Cooperation

Initiating the four-year research project EUTERPE (European Literatures and Gender in Transnational Perspective), consortium members from eight universities gathered at Central European University (CEU) in Vienna this fall to begin work on the Horizon Europe Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Doctoral Network program. The project has been awarded a grant of 2,316,333 euros by the European Commission, with additional funding by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). CEU is the coordinating institution for the research with Department of Gender Studies Professor Jasmina Lukic serving as Principal Investigator. As a complex, interdisciplinary project, EUTERPE brings together literary and gender studies, as well as transnational studies, translation studies, migration studies and European studies.

Partners include University of Bologna, University of Łódź, University of Granada, University of Oviedo, Utrecht University (funded by the European Commission), and Coventry University and University of York (funded by UKRI). CEU’s researchers on the project are Sanjay Kumar, Borbala Farago, Oksana Sarkisova; the Project Manager is Petra Bakos and the Project Administrator is Edit Jeges.

“EUTERPE consortium has a long, extremely successful history of cooperation. This is the seventh European project we have won together as partners, bringing feminist methodology in research, and practicing it with lots of feminist friendship, support and collegiality,” comments Lukic. She adds, “The learning experiences gained through being a part of GRACE and GEMMA over the last 16 years were critical to the collaborative practices helping us to undertake this project.”

EUTERPE will run from October 2022 – September 2026 with the goal of offering an innovative approach to rethinking European cultural production in the light of complex social and political negotiations that are shaping European spaces and identities at present. It also aims to bring together gender and transnational perspectives within an interdisciplinary approach to literary and cultural studies. Lukic notes that the complex EUTERPE project has been greatly supported by CEU’s Academic Cooperation and Research Support Office (ACRO) and in particular its EU Project Officer Noemi Anna Kovacs.

“Marie Curie Training Networks are one of the favorite EU schemes of ACRO. Having been a part of managing 7 such networks over the past 20 years, we have witnessed the excellence of students and the enormous opportunity the grant has provided them through acquiring an international academic network from the onset of their studies,” comments Kovacs. She notes that ACRO has been involved in the Marie Curie doctoral networks from the very beginning of the proposal writing, thus enabling colleagues to understand the gist of such a project and equip them with a clear insight to its financial management and a dedication to its implementation.

The project will yield 11 PhD theses, an open-source Dictionary of Transnational Women’s Literature in Europe published by CEU Press, and a Digital Catalogue and Podcast Library, making accessible all relevant material collected during the creation of the Dictionary in the spirit of Open Science methodology.

Regarding the forthcoming Dictionary, Lukic highlights, “We are contributing to an alternative view of literary theory which aims to offer new tools for literary interpretation and to set a frame for the potential history of transnational women’s literature in Europe.  As EUTERPE is also mapping the field for future research projects, it does not aim to be an exhaustive project but rather one which opens more questions than it attempts to answer.” Lukic also hopes that the project’s framework will engender productive ways of moving beyond the boundaries of national literatures and thus allow for a better understanding and interpreting of writers who model relatively recent migration patterns, coming from one country to live in another and writing between languages, nations or states. She explains, “The concept of transnational literature is focused on the problematization of state borders and the complex identities produced by movement across them. EUTERPE deals with recent literary and cultural production looking into intercultural processes and transculturation as an outcome of globalization in its various forms.” This brings into focus those who have been, and continue to be, marginalized by mainstream establishments of national literatures, such as women or migrants.

A specific platform for this research will be offered within EUTERPE’s Transnational Literary Research Laboratory, with an emphasis on transculturation, multilingualism, multiple identities produced by migration and diverse forms of translation that are inherent in the transnational perspective. “A transnational approach understands the border not as a line of division, but as a space of the encounter, which requires translation and rethinking identity as an open and potentially pluralistic concept” notes Lukic, adding, “The border is a meeting place and it produces border culture and with it new forms of thinking and understanding.”

A call is currently open for 10 Doctoral Candidates (a call for Utrecht University id already closed) who will be trained in interdisciplinary, transnational, gender focused literary studies through the project with two of those candidates placed at CEU. The researchers will participate in a compulsory secondment period at one of the partner institutions and undertake an industrial internship at an associated partner organization (including libraries, publishing houses and other cultural institutions), enhancing employability of the researchers inside and beyond academia. The deadline for applications is January 3, 2023.