FILLM Studies in Languages and Literatures

The main aim of the UNESCO-affiliated Fédération Internationale des Langues et Littératures Modernes (FILLM) is to encourage dialogue between scholars from all over the world. (Full details of how the Federation goes about this are to be found at www.fillm.org.)

By the end of the twentieth century, FILLM’s mission was taking on considerable urgency. Linguistic and literary research had become steadily more professional and specialized, a development which, though significantly raising overall standards, also tended to divide scholars into many separate and often smallish groupings between which communication was rather sporadic. Over the years this amounted to a serious handicap, not only in terms of new ideas and findings which never got cross-fertilized, but also in terms of the hard economic facts of disciplinary survival. Scholars who concentrated all their attention on just some single area of expertise sometimes found it difficult to convince the holders of governmental or university purse-strings that education and research in languages and literatures was a worthwhile investment.

In the world’s current phase of hyper-rapid globalization, the relative lack of contact between scholars in different subject-areas is a more glaring anomaly than ever. In setting up FILLM Studies in Languages and Literatures, FILLM is intensifying still further its efforts to foster a world-wide community of scholars within which a rich diversity of interests will be upheld by a common sense of human relevance. Books published in the series will be about languages and literatures anywhere in the world, and will be written in an English that is immediately understandable and attractive to any likely reader. Every book will present original findings – including new theoretical and methodological developments – which will be of prime interest to those who are experts in its particular field of discussion, but it will do so in a way that can also engage readers who are not experts.

This dual address is the series’ chief hallmark. The overall goals are, on the one hand, to spread detailed insights on particular phenomena from many different countries and, on the other hand, to guard against scholarly provincialism and overspecialization. In this way FILLM is hoping to promote a universal dialogue about linguistic and literary studies which, by clarifying their human raison d’être, will consolidate their professional legitimation.

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