Scholar Bio

 
 
Presenting at the Certosa di Pontignano (near Siena, Italy) for the "Synapsis" European School for Comparative Studies, co-convened by the International Network for Comparative Humanities. Photo by Kamelia Spassova.

Presenting at the Certosa di Pontignano (near Siena, Italy) for the "Synapsis" European School for Comparative Studies, co-convened by the International Network for Comparative Humanities. Photo by Kamelia Spassova.

Scholar Biography

PhD/MA English, Princeton University; BA English, Carleton College

In its broadest outline, my scholarly work investigates how the deep structures of literary form shape perceptions of the world and personal identity. Although sometimes considered an old-fashioned topic in contemporary criticism and theory, the question of form always seems to stand at the center of my inquiry, regardless of whether that inquiry concerns representations of time, subjectivity, or indeed subjecthood itself.

Recently, I have become particularly fascinated by the problem of world literature. More specifically, I’ve developed an interest in what we scholars mean by world when we talk about “world literature.” What does that world look like, and why? Which writers (and from where) are included in that world? What are the requirements for citizenship in the so-called “world republic of letters”? Who makes or enforces those requirements? These questions precipitated an article on what I called “the introverted novel,” which appeared recently in PMLA. These questions also continue to drive my current scholarly work, though perhaps in less obvious ways.

Broadly speaking, my areas of research include African literature and culture (Anglophone, Francophone, Swahilophone), postcolonial literature, global modernisms (including British and American), ecophilosophy, and theories of the novel. I have published and presented on writers as diverse as Samuel Beckett, Driss Chraïbi, Willa Cather, Joseph Conrad, Martin Heidegger, D. H. Lawrence, Emmanuel Mbogo, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Ferdinand Oyono, and Said Ahmed Mohamed.

Curriculum Vitae