World Literature and Dissent

School of English Research Colloquium, 17–18 June 2016

Invited Speakers

Dr Anna Bernard

Dr Anna Bernard, King’s College London

Anna Bernard is Senior Lecturer in English and Comparative Literature at King’s College London. Her research sits at the intersection of postcolonial studies and Middle Eastern literary and cultural studies. She is particularly interested in the literature and culture of Israel/Palestine, the international circulation of Arabic and Hebrew literature in translation, and transnational cultural advocacy and activism, especially in relation to the Palestinian international solidarity movement. Her first book, Rhetorics of Belonging: Nation, Narration and Israel/Palestine (Liverpool University Press, 2013), examines the diverse ways in which Palestinian and Israeli writers have responded to the expectation that their work will “narrate” the nation, invigorating critical debates about the political and artistic value of national narration as a literary practice. Currently, Dr Bernard is working on a book project, International Solidarity and Culture, which considers the uses of literature and culture in major international solidarity movements after 1975.

Professor Timothy Brennan

Professor Timothy Brennan, University of Minnesota

Timothy Brennan is Professor of Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies, and English at the University of Minnesota. His research is focused on the relationship between comparative literature, world literature, and global English. His publications and teaching deal with issues of intellectual history, cultural theory, the Marxist and phenomenological traditions, the avant-gardes, theories of colonialism and imperialism, problems of translation, and popular music. He is the author of Secular Devotion: Afro-Latin Music and Imperial Jazz (Verso, 2008), and has edited, introduced, and co-translated the first English edition of Alejo Carpentier’s classic study, Music in Cuba (U of Minnesota P, 2001). Other books include Wars of Position: The Cultural Politics of Left and Right (Columbia UP, 2006), Empire in Different Colors (Revolver, 2007), At Home in the World: Cosmopolitanism Now (Harvard UP, 1997), and Salman Rushdie and the Third World: Myths of the Nation (Macmillan, 1989). In 1989, he received an award from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals for his special issue of Modern Fiction Studies titled “Narratives of Colonial Resistance“ (1989). Professor Brennan is a recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, and the McKnight foundation, and has taught at Cornell University, the University of Michigan, and the Humboldt University (Berlin). He was Director of the Humanities Institute between 2002 and 2004, has chaired the Sociological Approaches to Literature Division of the Modern Language Association (MLA), editing a book series “Cultural Margins” at Cambridge University Press between 1997-2003. His most recent book is Borrowed Light, Vol. I: Vico, Hegel and the Colonies (Stanford UP, 2014) and his current project is Borrowed Light, Vol. II, Imperial Form. He was named Russell Chair in the Humanities in 2014.

Dr Sharae Deckard

Dr Sharae Deckard, University College Dublin

Sharae Deckard is Lecturer in World Literature at University College Dublin. Her research interests intersect environmental criticism and world-systems approaches to ecology, world-literature, and culture. Her monograph, Paradise Discourse, Imperialism and Globalization, was published by Routledge in 2010, and she is a co-author with WReC of Combined and Uneven Development: Towards a New Theory of World-Literature, published by Liverpool UP in 2015. She recently edited a special issue of Green Letters on global and postcolonial ecologies, and co-edited a special issue of The Journal of Postcolonial Writing on “Postcolonial Studies and World Literature.” She has published multiple articles on postcolonial ecocriticism and world-ecology in Green Letters, Moving Worlds, Interventions and several edited collections, and is currently working on a new book project exploring representations of neoliberal ecology and crisis in world-literature.


Dr David Farrier

Dr David Farrier, University of Edinburgh

David Farrier is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. Before being appointed at Edinburgh in 2010, he was Lecturer in Postcolonial Literature for four years at the University of Leicester (where he was awarded a University Teaching Award in 2008). He is the author of monographs on nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century Pacific travel writing (Unsettled Narratives, Routledge, 2007; paperback 2014), and on representations of asylum seekers and refugees in contemporary literature, visual art and film (Postcolonial Asylum, Liverpool University Press, 2011; paperback 2013. Written with the assistance of AHRC research leave). He has also published articles and chapters on Derek Walcott, Michael Ondaatje, Robert Louis Stevenson, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Caryl Phillips, the filmmaker Michael Winterbottom, Mourid Barghouti, Herman Melville, various aspects of asylum seeker narratives, the playwrights Sonja Linden and Jez Butterworth, Giorgio Agamben, Edward Thomas, and Alice Oswald. David convenes the Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network and is a co-investigator on the multi-disciplinary AHRC-funded project ‘Caring for the Future Through Ancestral Time’. In 2012-13 he was part of a Creative Scotland funded project, Making it Home, which used poetry-based film-making to build bridges of shared experience, dialogue and integration between two diverse groups of women in Scotland: women who are refugees, supported by the Maryhill Integration Network in Glasgow; and local women from Women Supporting Women in Pilton, Edinburgh.

Professor Djelal Kadir

Professor Djelal Kadir, Pennsylvania State University

Djelal Kadir is the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at Penn State. He is the Founding President of the International American Studies Association (2000), and has served on a number of boards of international organizations: Synapsis: The European School of Comparative Studies (2000-2011); Stockholm Collegium of World Literary History (2008-present); Fundación Xavier de Salas (Spain, 2002-present); Jorge Luis Borges Center for Studies and Documentation, Romansk Institut, Aarhus University, Denmark (1996-2006); The Center for American Studies and Research, American University of Beirut (2004-2013); UNESCO Commission for Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems, Social Sciences and Humanities, 2005-present); American Comparative Literature Association (2007-2011); Institute for World Literature, Harvard University (2010-present).

Professor Kadir is a literary and cultural comparatist, whose scholarship and teaching traverse disciplines, theoretical and critical discourses, genres, chronological epochs, and literary traditions. His scholarly focus has ranged geographically from the Americas to trans-oceanic and intercontinental flows. Professor Kadir is the author of Juan Carlos Onetti (Twayne Publishers, 1977); Questing Fictions: Latin America’s Family Romance (University of Minnesota Press, 1986); Columbus and the Ends of the Earth: Europe’s Prophetic Rhetoric As Conquering Ideology (University of California Press, 1992); The Other Writing: Postcolonial Essays in Latin America’s Writing Culture (Purdue University Press, 1993); and, most recently, Memos from the Besieged City: Lifelines for Cultural Sustainability (Stanford, 2011). He is also co-editor of The Routledge Companion to World Literature (2011), the Longman Anthology of World Literature (2008), and Other Modernisms in An Age of Globalization (2002). Professor Kadir has edited more than twenty volumes on world literature and modern authors from around the globe as Editor of World Literature Today and as guest editor of a number of scholarly journals.


Dr Oisín Keohane

Dr Oisín Keohane, University of Dundee

Oisín Keohane is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Dundee. His research primarily explores issues of linguistic justice, philosophical nationalism, and the philosophical dimensions of English as a world language (‘Anglobalisation’). Dr Keohane is currently working on a book project that examines both the national character of philosophy (e.g. the very idea of ‘German Philosophy’ or ‘French Philosophy’) and the philosophical character of the national. It focuses on Kant, Fichte, Tocqueville, and Emerson, as well as Derrida’s unpublished seminars on philosophical nationalism. Concurrently, he is working on a second book that argues that rather than being simply for or against English as a world language (what he calls ‘Anglobalisation’), one needs to find, in specific contexts, the best negotiation between linguistic justice and transnational democratic needs. This research can be divided into four aspects: 1) reconceptualising languages in the age of ‘Anglobalisation’, 2) the philosophy of globalisation, 3) linguistic justice, and 4) philosophical untranslatables. The book revisits some of the major ideas of the linguistic turn via the emerging field of linguistic justice, with a view to providing solutions to the dominance of English in philosophy and the world at large.


Dr Wendy Knepper

Dr Wendy Knepper, Brunel University London

Wendy Knepper is Senior Lecture in English at Brunel University. Dr Knepper teaches and researches in the area of globalizing literary studies from the modernist period to the present. She is the author of Patrick Chamoiseau: A Critical Introduction (2012) and the York Notes Companion to Postcolonial Literature (2011). She has published widely in the fields of world literature and postcolonial studies with particular focus on Caribbean and black British fiction as well as contemporary women’s writing. At present, she is working on a book-length project about world literary mappings of terror and cataclysmic events in contemporary Caribbean writing, the Palgrave guide to Caribbean literature and a collection of articles the role of literary experimentation in a globalizing world.


Dr Nick Lawrence

Dr Nick Lawrence, University of Warwick

Nick Lawrence is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick. His research interests lie in the materialist recasting of comparativist methodology in order to explore the origins of modernism in the C19 world-literary system, its development in the C20 moment of ‘three-worlds’ culture, and its recurrent crises in the wake of the postwar Long Boom. Dr Lawrence is the author of the forthcoming monograph How to Read Adorno and Horkheimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment (Pluto Press, forthcoming) and co-author, with the Warwick Research Collective, of Combined and Uneven Development: Towards a New Theory of World-Literature (Liverpool UP, 2015).

Dr Lawrence’s work gives special emphasis to poetry as a privileged medium for construing the challenges of global consciousness, primarily in poetry’s manifestation as entailing a specific form of address. These interests are reflected in three ongoing studies: World Literature and the Origins of Modernism, which attempts to map the emergence of a C19 global imaginary in poetry through studies of Whitman, Baudelaire, Martí and others; United Nations Literature, a comparative examination of international literary relations in the aftermath of the founding of the UN; and Post-Capitalist Aesthetics, a preliminary survey of the cultural prefigurations of a world order beyond the present era of neoliberal capitalism. Dr Lawrence has also written on Whitman, Hawthorne, Frank O’Hara, C21 graphic narrative, the history of the Frankfurt School and post-work and ambient aesthetics.

Dr Dominic Smith

Dr Dominic Smith, University of Dundee

Dominic Smith is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Dundee. He has published on Deleuze and Badiou, and is currently working toward papers on Deleuze’s relationship to Sartre and the changing status of thinking in the age of the Internet. His big project concerns Internet technology (how the idea of the Internet functions to shape contemporary human behaviour). Dr Smith’s research focuses on literature and how it can develop philosophical ideas, in particular, work of Proust, Perec, Céline, Vonnegut, Foster Wallace, and the poetry of Dylan Thomas.

Professor Mads Rosendahl Thomsen

Professor Mads Rosendahl Thomsen, Aarhus University

Mads Rosendahl Thomsen is Professor with Special Responsibilities in Comparative Literature at Aarhus University, Denmark. He is the author of Mapping World Literature: International Canonization and Transnational Literature (2008), The New Human in Literature: Posthuman Visions of Changes in Body, Mind and Society (2013), and the editor of several volumes, including World Literature: A Reader (2012) and The Posthuman Condition: Ethics, Aesthetics and Politics of Biotechnological Challenges (2012). He is a member of the Academia Europaea and an advisory board member of the Institute for World Literature at Harvard.

Professor Galin Tihanov

Professor Galin Tihanov, Queen Mary University of London

Galin Tihanov is the George Steiner Professor of Comparative Literature at Queen Mary University. He was previously Professor of Comparative Literature and Intellectual History and founding co-director of the Research Institute for Cosmopolitan Cultures at the University of Manchester. His most recent research has been on cosmopolitanism, exile, and transnationalism. His publications include four books and nine co-edited volumes, as well as over a hundred articles on German, Russian, French, and Central-European intellectual and cultural history and on cultural and literary theory. Some of his work has been translated into Bulgarian, Chinese, Danish, French, German, Hungarian, Macedonian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovene, and Spanish. Professor Tihanov is winner, with Evgeny Dobrenko, of the Efim Etkind Prize for Best Book on Russian Culture (2012), awarded for their co-edited A History of Russian Literary Theory and Criticism: The Soviet Age and Beyond (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011). He is Honorary President of the ICLA Committee on Literary Theory (since 2008), Member of Academia Europaea (since 2013), Honorary Scientific Advisor, Institute for Foreign Literatures, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS, since 2014), and member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for World Literature (IWL) at Harvard. Professor Tihanov is author of the forthcoming monograph Regimes of Relevance: Russian Literary and Cultural Theory between the World Wars (Stanford UP), and of The Master and the Slave: Lukács, Bakhtin, and the Ideas of Their Time (Oxford UP, 2000). He is the co-editor of A History of Russian Literary Theory and Criticism: The Soviet Age and Beyond (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011), Enlightenment Cosmopolitanism (Legenda, 2011), Critical Theory in Russia and the West (Routledge, 2010), Gustav Shpet’s Contribution to Philosophy and Cultural Theory (Purdue UP, 2009), A Companion to the Works of Robert Musil (Camden House, 2007), The Bakhtin Cicrle: In the Master’s Absence (Manchester UP, 2004), and Materializing Bakhtin: The Bakhtin Circle and Social Theory (Macmillan and St. Martin’s Press, 2000).

Professor Robert Young

Professor Robert Young, New York University

Robert Young is Julius Silver Professor of English & Comparative Literature at New York University and Dean of Arts and Humanities at NYU-Abu Dhabi. A pioneer of postcolonial studies, Professor Young has always been concerned in his work with writing and knowledge that falls outside the mainstream of contemporary thinking, particularly in the context of the history of colonialism. His first book, White Mythologies: Writing History and the West (1990), analyzed the extent to which the philosophy of history was based on the implicit premise that history was fundamentally European. Later books have been concerned with theories of race in the nineteenth century (Colonial Desire: Hybridity in Culture, Theory and Race, 1995), the history of anti-colonial struggles (Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction, 2001), and the relation of postcolonial theory to the everyday experience of people living in the Middle East (Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction, 2003). He is currently writing a book on theories of cultural translation, with a particular focus on questions of languages and power. He is also editing, with Jean Khalfa, an edition of the uncollected writings of Frantz Fanon (Paris: Editions La Découverte).

Professor Young is a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, and a Fellow of Academia Europaea, the Academy of Europe. His work has been translated into over twenty languages, including Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Turkish, and he is General Editor of the journal Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies.


Dr Lorna Burns

Dr Lorna Burns, University of St Andrews

Lorna Burns is Lecturer in Postcolonial Literatures at the University of St Andrews. Her research interests lie in postcolonial literatures and theory, contemporary world literature and continental philosophy. Her work focuses on the points of intersection between literature and philosophy, and she is the author of Contemporary Caribbean Writing and Deleuze: Literature Between Postcolonialism and Post-continental Philosophy (Continuum, 2012), as well as numerous articles on Caribbean writing, postcolonialism and the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, and theories of world literature. Her current book project, Postcolonialism in an Era of World Literature: Towards an Aesthetics of Dissent, seeks to unite postcolonial studies and contemporary theories of world literature through a philosophically informed concept of dissent as well as a global range of contemporary writers.

Dr Katie Muth

Dr Katie Muth, University of St Andrews

Katie Muth is University Teacher for the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities and teaches twentieth and twenty-first century literature at the University of St Andrews. She has written on ethics and the millennial novel, on critical theory and narrative in experimental fiction of the seventies and eighties, on world literature and the philosophy of language, and on Thomas Pynchon’s work for Boeing in the early 1960s. Her current research project focuses on the intersection of technical and commercial labour, media studies, and the postwar novel in the United States.