Colonial and Postcolonial Literature

Recent Dissertations in Colonial and Postcolonial Americas

  • Kristina Bross, "'That Epithet of Praying': The Praying Indian Figure in Early New England Literature" (1997).
  • Elisabeth Ceppi, "Unnatural Bonds: Servitude, Rank, and the Family Covenant in Early American Culture, 1662-1790" (2000).
  • Jonathan Field, "The Grounds of Dissent: Heresies and Colonies in New England, 1636-1663" (2003).
  • Thomas Krise, "Representations of the British West Indies from the Restoration to the American Revolution: Prolegomena to the Field and a Critical Anthology of Early Jamaica" (1995).
  • Hana Layson, "Injured Innocence: Sexual Injury, Sentimentality, and Citizenship in the Early Republic" (2002).
  • Trish Loughran, "Virtual Nation: Local and National Cultures of Print, 1776-1850" (2000).
  • Yvette Piggush, "Governing Imagination: American Social Romanticism 1790-1840" (2007).
  • Sarah Rivett, "Evidence of Grace: The Science of the Soul in Colonial New England" (2005).

Edgar Garcia

I teach, research, and write about hemispheric literatures and cultures of the Americas, principally of the twentieth century. My inquiries have mostly taken place in the fields of indigenous and Latino studies, American literature, poetry and poetics, and environmental criticism, with the following questions focusing my work: How is it that conceptions of difference mediated by literary form(s) create feelings of belonging outside of national paradigms, particularly in kinship networks of race and ethnicity? And how do these values (values of what my colleague at Chicago Marshall Sahlins has sharply termed "cosmographies of difference") shape contestations for power?

Janice Knight

Janice KnightMy research and teaching interests are localized with respect to historical period-Early American Cultures-but broad with respect to interest in discourses, peoples and cultures of the colonial period, and with respect to scholarly method. My current research focuses on what might be called the "culture of religious emotion" in the context of women's experience in Early America. I am interested in reflecting on expressions of spiritual ecstasy, melancholy, hauntedness, and possession as they are embodied and contained within such conventional genres as narratives of conversion, captivity, revelation, and spiritual disease.

Michael Murrin (emeritus)

Professor MurrinMy contribution to the medieval and Tudor-Stuart periods is comparative. Since English really did not develop a free-standing tradition before the late sixteenth century, authors normally had to consider other language traditions when they composed their works. The action of Beowulf takes place in Denmark and modern Sweden; Chaucer drew his models from France and Italy; Malory translated mostly French romances; and Spenser and Milton for the long poem looked to Italy.

Eric Slauter

My scholarship focuses chiefly on transformations in political thought and behavior in the eighteenth century. My first book, The State as a Work of Art: The Cultural Origins of the Constitution, examined the relation of culture to politics in revolutionary America. I was especially interested there in how the emergent state was challenged in its effort to sustain inalienable natural rights alongside slavery and to achieve political secularization at a moment of growing religious expression.

Richard Jean So

Richard So
I work mainly on modern American culture and literature, focusing on questions of race and internationalism.  I also do research on Republican-era (1919-1950) Chinese culture, within a Transpacific context in particular.  Methodologically, I initially trained as a cultural historian and literary critic.  Recently, I’ve shifted to computational and quantitative methods (the “digital humanities”), retraining in computer science and statistics.  My recent work leverages large digitized corpora, combining computational and critical methods, to write new histories of 20th century U.S. culture.

Christopher Taylor

Christopher TaylorMy research and teaching focus on the hemispheric Americas in the nineteenth century. While the British West Indies is my primary area of focus, I am interested in how these islands were linked to worlds beyond the boundaries of the British Empire. Working at the edges of economic history, political theory, and literary studies, I study how West Indian creoles drew on the ideas and texts that circulated through these entangled worlds to develop norms and model polities opposed to slavery, economic liberalism, and expansionist imperialism.

Sonali Thakkar

Sonali ThakkarI write and teach about global Anglophone and postcolonial literatures, and contemporary transnational culture. Currently, I am exploring these interests in the form of two projects: The first, Continental Drifters, is a book-length exploration of the political, intellectual, and affective influence that the cultural memory of the Holocaust exerts on postcolonial writers preoccupied with migration to Europe from the former colonies after 1945. I am interested in how migration creates unexpected constellations and solidarities between different diasporic communities in postwar Europe, and undoes the seeming fixity of racial or religious identities. I examine how literary works, primarily novels, generate forms and figures with which to think critically about concepts such as assimilation, recognition, and multiculturalism.
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