Abstract: In their article “The Contextual Study of Literature and Culture. Globalization, and Digital Humanities” Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek and Louise O. Vasvári discuss the situation of the humanities with regard to the discipline of comparative literature and the fields of world literature, cultural studies, and comparative cultural studies. Their postulate is that in order to make the study of literature and culture a socially, politically, and economically relevant activity of scholarship today, humanities scholars ought to turn to contextual and evidence-based work. Further, they argue that comparative cultural studies—an approach that is inter- and multi-disciplinary and employs new media technology—would achieve global presence and social relevance for the humanities with in-depth scholarship.
The perspective of comparison in scholarship has been (and continues to be) widely employed in various disciplines. Among several compelling lines of argumentation put forward of recent are, for example, by Marcel Detienne in his Comparing the Incomparable, George M. Fredrickson in his The Comparative Imagination, or as Richard A. Peterson states, “comparison is one of the most powerful tools used in intellectual inquiry, since an observation made repeatedly is given more credence than is a single observation” (257). At the same time, in and about the discipline of comparative literature it remains a recurrent view that it is lacking definition, has no or only a partial framework of theory and/or methodology, and that for these reasons the discipline remains with a history and presence of insecurity (see, e.g., Grabovszki).