Unofficial English Version of the Statutes Approved by the Executive Council

Statutes-PDF version

The Statutes of the International Comparative Literature Association adopted by the General Assembly held in Venice on September 28, 1955, and amended in Fribourg on September 5, 1964, in Bordeaux on September 5, 1970, in Innsbruck on August 20, 1979, in New York on August 28, 1982, in Paris on August 20, 1985, in Munich on August 22, 1988, in Edmonton on August 15, 1994, in Leiden on August 16, 1997, in Paris on July 23, 2013, in Vienna on July 27, 2016 and in Tbilisi on July 28, 2022.


Objectives of the Association: The International Comparative Literature Association seeks to foster the study of literature undertaken from an international point of view. It attempts to realize this objective through international cooperation.

The Association shall organize international congresses, usually every three years.

It determines the organization of each congress and publishes the proceedings. It fixes the time and place, encourages the formation of a national organizing committee and prepares the program for each congress in cooperation with that committee. The Association also promotes the organization of regional and specialized meetings in the field of Comparative Literature.


Connection with the International Federation of Modern Languages and Literatures (FILLM): The Association belongs to the International Federation of Modern Languages and Literatures. It is represented on the Executive Committee of that Federation by the ICLA President or a designated representative.


Membership in the Association: The Association is open to all persons who, by reason of their scholarly work, teaching or any other form of intellectual activity, are interested in the study of Comparative Literature. It brings together the existing national associations of Comparative Literature and encourages the formation of new national associations. It holds a General Assembly at the time of each statutory congress.

Academic institutions and learned societies may also become members of the Association. If they wish to be represented at the General Assembly, they may appoint one representative, who will enjoy the same rights as a regular member. These members (individuals and institutions) constitute the body of active members of the Association.

The Association also recognizes as nonvoting members benefactors who, in order to support the work and the projects of the Association, make an annual contribution amounting to at least thirty times the fees of a regular member.


The Executive Council of the Association: The Executive Council of the Association is elected by the General Assembly, which is made up of the members of the Association in attendance and absent members who have voted by electronic ballot according to the procedure established by the Executive Council.

The Council of the Association consists of an Honorary Committee of persons chosen by the General Assembly, a President, four Vice-Presidents, two Secretaries-General, three Treasurers, and an Executive committee of eighteen members. Sixteen members of the Executive Committee will be elected by the General Assembly. Two more members from the remaining slate of candidates will be elected by the Nominating Committee in consultation with the incoming President immediately after the elections and before the presentation of the new Executive Council to the General Assembly.

The Council, whose members must be members of the Association in good standing, is empowered to act on the most urgent matters during the interval between General Assemblies. It controls the management of the Association’s funds and makes financial reports to the General Assemblies. In conformity with the Statutes, it undertakes all legal actions in which the Association is engaged. Council members shall abstain from voting on their own reports.

The members of the Honorary Committee are chosen for life and are invited to attend the meetings of the Council in an advisory capacity. The other members of the Council are elected for a three-year period or for the interval between congresses. They are eligible for reelection. An individual who has served for two terms on the Council may serve for a maximum of two additional terms in another function or other functions. The President may serve only one term in that office. An individual who has already served on the Executive Council in other capacities than that of a President for the aggregate of the allowed maximum of four terms is not excluded from standing as a candidate for President.

The Council may invite any member of the Association to attend its meetings as an observer.


Seat of the Association: The seat of the Association is in Paris.


Contributions and Dues: The amount and the method of collecting dues and contributions are specified by internal regulation and, if necessary, modified by the General Assembly.


Committees: The Council may establish (1) Advisory Committees (2) Standing Research Committees that oversee long-term research projects, and (3) Research Committees with well-defined and limited research objectives of kinds that can be realized in two, or at most three, three-year terms. The composition of committees and their assignments or objectives are subject to approval by the Council.

The chairs of Advisory Committees are appointed by the President of the Association in consultation with the Council. The President and the chair will then select the members of the committee in question.

The Council may authorize Standing Research Committees and Research Committees to operate under its auspices, with the Standing Research Committees governed by by-laws which they themselves devise and which the Council approves. Each committee is responsible to the Council and must submit a formal account of its activities on an annual basis. The Council has the right to dissolve any committee.

The chairs of all committees and the editor of the Association’s official journal are invited to attend meetings of the Council and to take part in its discussions. The chairs of the Standing Research Committees have the additional right to vote on all issues that come before the Council, except for their own reports, on the condition that the General Assembly has ratified their position as chair.



Amendments to the Statutes: Amendments to the Statutes may be proposed by the Council to the members of the Association up to two months prior to a General Assembly. The General Assembly has the sole authority to adopt or reject such amendments by a majority of votes cast.

In anticipation of a General Assembly, members of the Association may convey suggestions regarding Association procedures or amendments to the Statutes to the President or one of the Secretaries-General.


Dissolution of the Association: The Association must declare itself dissolved if the number of countries represented falls below five.


The Executive Council of the Association is elected by the General Assembly, which is made up of the members of the Association in attendance and absent members who have voted by electronic ballot according to the procedure established by the Executive Council.


The Executive Council of the ICLA has adopted following by-law designed to clarify the procedure described in article 1 of the statutes of the association relating to the organization of the congress that is held every three or possibly four years:
“The executive officers of the Association, in consultation with the Executive Council, designate the committee to be charged with organizing the next congress at a time at least three or four years in advance.”