About the Program

Global & Postcolonial Studies

The Program in Global & Postcolonial Studies (GPS™) offers an interdisciplinary lens on internal and external forms of colonialism through the study of literature, culture, and theory. In addition to exploring the intersection of postcolonial studies with the “Global South” and diaspora studies, GPS turns to new areas of study associated with globalization: emergent notions of “World Literature,” critical studies of the future, digital humanities, and the evolving landscape of postcolonial cultural expressions. The program provides a forum for extending our understanding of core issues in the humanities via global narratives of race, power, and identity.

GPS involves Emory faculty whose work focuses on one or more of the following areas of research and publication: postcolonial literatures and cultures in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas; African American, Native American, and Migrant studies; Globalization and Transnational phenomena. The program sponsors an ongoing series of lectures, colloquia, and seminars for the Emory and Atlanta community.

GPS outreach welcomes faculty and students from the Atlanta-wide academic community.

Emory Faculty

Deepika Bahri: Postcolonial studies, Global literature, South Asian, African novel, Aesthetics & Politics
Munia Bhaumik: Postcolonial studies, comparative racialization, queer feminism, American and World literatures
Michael Elliott: Native American literature
Susan Gagliardi: Arts in West Africa, Museums and Display Methods, Patronage
Robert Goddard: Caribbean Nationalism; Sugar Capitalism
James Hoesterey: Islam; Popular Culture; New Media; Moral Subjectivity; Religious Biography; Religious Authority.
Dilek Huseyinzadegan:Social and Political Thought, Kant and German Idealism, 20th Century European Philosophy, Feminism, Philosophies of Race.
Arun W. Jones: Christian Missions, History of the Church in North India
Scott Kugle: Sufism, Islamic society in South Asia, Gender and Sexuality.
Valérie Loichot: Anglophone and Francophone Caribbean literatures, global South relations
Sean Meighoo: Race and postcolonial studies; Feminism and queer studies; Post-Humanism and animal studies
Dawn Peterson: Race, Gender, Kinship, U.S. capitalism, Settler colonialism, Slavery in the post-Revolutionary period
José Quiroga: Latin/o American Literature, Cuban and Caribbean literatures and cultures, queer theory
Falguni Sheth: continental & political philosophy, legal and critical race theory, and philosophy of race, post-colonial, theory, and sub-altern and gender studies
Nathan Suhr-Sytsma: Postcolonial studies, Nigerian literature
Craig Womack: Native American studies and literature
Subha Xavier: Global French literature, migration and diaspora studies, Postcolonial studies

Project Profiles

Franck Andrianarivo:  Colonial and Postcolonial studies, Indian Ocean studies, French and Francophone studies, African studies, Island studies, Francophone films, gender studies, pedagogy.
My current project looks at literary and other artistic productions  from the French and Francophone islands of the Indian Ocean (Madagascar, La Réunion, Maurice) in relation to those of the Caribbean. I am pursuing a certificate in Film and media studies to study Films from Francophone Africa. I am also interested in gender studies and in pedagogy, especially in Second Language Acquisition.

Brenton Boydblack queer/trans* diaspora studies, Circum-Caribbean cultures, black ontology and creolization, dancehall culture, modernity/(de)coloniality, coastal aesthetics and tourism, US South-Caribbean transregionalism
My current work interrogates the paradoxes, epistemologies, and violences that constellate around the quotidian experiences of black queer/trans* subjects in geographical sites of creolization (e.g. the Anglo- and Francophone Caribbean, Louisiana, and the Sea Islands). Thinking beyond academe and with/from such spaces as the dancehall and the Vodou peristyle, I trace global discourses that throw knowledge, language, and ultimately ‘the human’ into crisis when met by the (im)possibilities of black queer/trans* life in the Tropics.

Alyssa Stalsberg Canelli (Ph.D.):  postcolonial theory, settler colonialism, imperialism, national narratives, imagined communities, desire.
My dissertation proposes a term, “imperial postcoloniality,” which describes the particular situation of settler colonialism in which independence is simultaneously elaborated through new configurations of colonialism, imperialism and radicalization. By analyzing texts written by J.M. Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer and Zoe Wicomb to Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson and William Apess, I argue that at the heart of the imperial postcolonial nation’s imagined community lies an anxiety over the origins and reproduction of the nation. Further, it is precisely this anxiety that exposes the modes of racialized desire that are central to the nation’s ideological and material reproduction. However, this white settler narration is continually unsettled by other voices and presences, including its own fictions of whiteness.  In fact, the cohesion of national narratives is always threatened by the historical reality of non-linear, dispossessed, obscured and rerouted lines of descent.

Tesla Cariani: Visual Culture Studies – Queer/Trans* Studies, Theory, and Literature – 2Sprit/ Indigenous Studies – Queer Globalization
Divided into four chapters that focus on culturally significant embodied experiences of LGBTQ2IA+ subjects (illness, violence, transition, and pleasure), my dissertation points towards instances of visual representation that imagines ways of being that do not fit neatly into familiar narratives of gender or sexuality. By turning to queer, trans*, and 2Spirit artists who work in framed mediums (comics, photography, and film), my project analyzes strategies of visual representation that challenge the limits of each medium and open up possibilities for nonbinary embodiment.

Natalie Catasús: Cuban and Caribbean literature and visual culture; postcolonial theory; poetry and poetics; oral history; migration, diaspora, and exile studies; trauma and memory studies
My current project explores the legacy of the balseros (Cuban Rafters) in literature and visual culture in the United States, Cuba, and the Cuban diaspora. The project centers on questions of memorial, dispossession, and the relative (in)visibility of migrant death at sea in public discourse.

Joseph Fritsch:  poetry, poetics, postcolonial theory, media studies
I study the ways poetry circulates through transnational print cultures and how these material realities inform both composition and reading practices.

Roselyne Gérazime (Ph.D.)Postcolonial studies, artistic and literary productions of the African Diaspora (French, Spanish, and English speaking Caribbean studies, American studies), francophone Africa, psychoanalysis and visual arts.
I am currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in the department of French and Italian at Emory University.  My dissertation focuses on the expression of spiritual beliefs in Caribbean and American art & literature. My academic interests encompass Postcolonial studies, the Caribbean (French, Spanish and English speaking), African-American culture and literature, Psychoanalysis and Visual Arts.

Hannah Hjerpe-Schroeder: Caribbean literature and culture, queer theory, women’s narratives, postcolonial literature and theory, island narratives, Afrofuturism and Black speculative fiction
I am interested in the ways in which Caribbean literature challenges Western narratives of modernity, and what these challenges can suggest about contemporary notions of navigating Anthropocentric entropy.

Amir Hussain: Nineteenth and twentieth century poetry, comparative and global poetics, historical materialism, cultural theory
My dissertation is a comparative study of three modern poets—Oscar Wilde, Muriel Rukeyser, and Bertolt Brecht—at the intersections of poetry and history. As Wilhelm Dilthey has argued in Poetry and Experience, in modern times “poetry is not an imitation of a reality which already exists prior to it” but rather poetry becomes one of multiple modes, including with history, of interpreting experience and “viewing the world” (12). For my project methodology, I draw on Dilthey and on historical materialist critics like Walter Benjamin who foreground an interest in class and the socially oppressed. Combining close reading of poetry with historical interpretation and a comparative selection of poets, I read not only lines of poetry but also the lines between poetry and history, inquiring into how history is broken into poetry as a mode of (re)interpreting personal and historical experience. My project, like the art of poetry in general, begins with the details of specific poems by Wilde, Rukeyser, and Brecht, and out of these details positions them as poets within a wider tradition of historical materialism. I argue that their poems in particular, which in the case of Wilde and Brecht are underrepresented in scholarship in relation to their other works, provide an arena to think about how modern poetry materializes a history of the downtrodden.

Stephanie C. Iasiello (Ph.D.): neo-slave narratives, neo-abolition, Zong massacre, Back Atlantic
In my dissertation, “Slavery and its Afterlives: Contemporary (Re)imaginings of the Zong Massacre,” I examine representations of the 1781 Zong massacre, a crucial episode in the history of the abolitionist movement. I include 21st century works of art, literature, theater and film from across the Black Atlantic, all of which have taken the Zong as their subject. I argue that it is precisely this multiplicity of representations that affords us the opportunity to see in ways that would be challenging if we confined our inquiry to a single form, as each genre engages different imaginative capacities thereby enabling us to understand both the Zong and our present moment in new ways. Because the Zong incident was unquestionably integral to the abolitionist agenda, then we ought to view the renewed interest in the event as a neo-abolitionist gesture. Ultimately, I argue that this assortment of works enables us to see and understand our current moment as an ideologically cognate to slavery thus allowing us to look to the past to envision the ongoing necessity of abolitionist work.

Yazan Kamalulddin:  postcolonial studies, North Africa, migration, identity
My project is still in its early phases, but I am currently focusing on questions of migration, identity and belonging, especially in the context of French secularity (Laïcité) in relation to North Africa.

Rebecca Kumar (Ph.D.):  Postcolonial Literature and Shakespeare
From Aimé Césaire’s 1969 seminal Caribbean reworking of The Tempest, Une Tempête (1969), charged with the markedly homosocial politics of “Negritude”, to more recent Bollywood film adaptations of Romeo and Juliet, animated by campy song and dance routines, postcolonial authors have long engaged with gender crossing and non-normative sexuality as modes to critique the so-called colonial “Bard”. These rewritings are what I call “loose translations” of Shakespeare – sexual implications of descriptor intended – because they foreground queer desire as a means to productively “loosen” “straight” and stable notions of national identity across different temporalities, histories, and geographies. And yet, literary critics have largely ignored the sexual dimension of these culturally hybrid works. My project highlights how this oversight is a trend in postcolonialism, rooted in a refusal of colonial pedagogies of Shakespeare that were used to construct differences between the sexually “civilized” West and those perverse and debauched “others”. Ironically, in its effort to disavow what the West seemed to view as sexual deviancy, postcolonialism has actually reproduced colonially inflected erotophobias, rarely moving beyond heteronormative assumptions, even when queer desires, particularly the disciplining of them, remain integral to maintaining oppressive orders after Empire. My dissertation contends that any investigation into the ways in which world writers “write back” to Shakespeare must consider the representation of queerness in these translations – or it remains complicit in the continual subjection of bodies to colonial codes of sexual civility and dismisses contemporary modes of resistance against Eurocentric mores.

Mike Lehman:  postcolonial theory, migration studies, border theory
My current project looks at the representation of organs and organ transplantations in postcolonial literatures and the implications this has for a theoretical approach that questions the current structure of the world.  My project specifically looks at what is/is not allowed to cross borders and explores the ability to cross borders in strange ways.  

Judith Levy:  race, gender, diasporic literature, memory, temporality
My dissertation brings the work of Algerian-born philosopher, novelist, and playwright Albert Camus into conversation with postcolonial literature of the Caribbean. This involves an analysis of time’s functionality in history and memory, especially in regards to the topics of race, gender, migration, and exile. By tracing the ontological modes of imperialism and colonialism, I analyze fabricated teleological, linear conceptions of time and compare them to the anomalies posed by the literature of various postcolonial authors.

Aruni Mahapatra: the novel, book history, genre, intertextuality, reading, nationalism
In my research I ask how communities are destroyed and re-made by technologies of printing. How do methods of reading and writing move, as people and technologies do? I trace inter-continental movements of people, technology and culture to investigate how global forces act on local provinces, and the violence of colonial rule often gives societies new ways to imagine communities.

Suzanne Persard: queer Caribbean/feminist/literary/post-colonial studies and these intersections; diaspora and empire/citizenship. decolonial politics.
I am interested in the production and problematizing of citizenship with regard to theories of gender/sexuality, and these entanglements in queer post-colonial theory.

Karlie Rodriguez: comparative theory, spacetime studies, globalization, diasporic and colonial aesthetics, and American || Puerto Rican studies.
My current intellectual and creative projects center around the notion of “Transtime” (my term–currently under development).

Caroline Schwenz (Ph.D.): postcolonial studies, Caribbean literature, diasporic literature
Caroline Schwenz graduated from Emory University in 2017. Her dissertation forwards a postcolonial theory of laughter and comedy that attends to the reasons why such literature frequently turns to comedy instead of tragedy. She was a Mellon Graduate Teaching Fellowship at Dillard University. Her research interests are in postcolonial studies and theory, Caribbean literature, diasporic literature, comedy and laughter theories, assessment, and teaching and learning.

Ishanika Sharma: Victorian and postcolonial literature, literary theory, psychoanalysis; film and media studies
I am interested in how texts complicate questions of identity, self-determination, and violence in the postcolonial context. I study how literary theory both engages and delimits our conceptions of this violence.

Molly Slavin (Ph.D.): postcolonial studies, urbanism, criminality
My dissertation, “Criminal Cities: Postcolonial Crime in the Contemporary Novels of London, Belfast, Bombay, and Johannesburg,” looks at portrayals of crime and criminality alongside theories of urbanism in the late-twentieth and early-twenty-first century novels of London, Belfast, Bombay, and Johannesburg.

Angelica So (Ph.D.): Postcolonial studies, critical race theory, French Indochina, Southeast Asian studies, memory and trauma
I am currently a PhD candidate in French Literature at Emory University and a Mellon Graduate Teaching Fellow at the University of New Mexico. My dissertation focuses on métissage and trauma in Southeast Asian Francophone literature. My teaching and research interests include 20th and 21st century Francophone literature, whiteness studies, French Indochina, and Southeast Asian studies.

Marlo Starr (Ph.D.):  archipelago, indigenous feminisms, gender, settler colonialism, creolization, Pacific Studies, Caribbean Studies
My dissertation, tentatively titled “Blue Caribbean/Black Pacific: Navigating Contemporary Women’s Poetry,” focuses on anglophone poetry primarily from the 1970s to the present. Though the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands rarely appear in the same critical conversations, I argue that both regions are marked by archipelagic histories, and by looking exclusively at women’s poetry from these regions, I investigate shared experiences of marginalization based on double jeopardies of European colonization and local gender hierarchies. Ultimately, I contend that through women’s shared experiences of marginalization on both local and global scales, affinities emerge between disparate ethnic identities — between native and creole and between Pacific and Atlantic.

Palak Taneja: Partition, Memory Studies, Objects, Postmemory, Home, Nation, Trauma
My research project titled “Material Memory and the Partition” seeks to bring to the fore and study objects and things that act as aids, trigger, and interact with the human subject to create, maintain, and even transfer memories of a traumatic event like the Partition of India.
I am analyzing the objects that people left behind while fleeing their home, the ones they brought to their new country, and even ones they pass onto their future generations that become part of their legacy. These objects, like dressing tables, sewing machines, jewelry, and clothes can be found in literature, folk art, popular culture, and newly inaugurated museums. My dissertation uses interdisciplinary source material and depends on a similar range of theories as well from trauma, cultural memory studies, gender studies to object-oriented ontology, thing theory, and theories of materiality. It is an attempt to understand what kind of memories do these objects create and shape, and how are these memories to be understood and passed on seventy years after the event?

William Tolbert:  American imperialism, postcolonial theory, politics of representation
I am currently working on a PhD with research interests in American imperialism, postcolonial theory, and the politics of representation. Methodologically, I am interested in critical discourse analysis and quantitative analysis.  As a life-long learner-educator, I am committed to reversing top-down models of knowledge transmission and empowering students to continually revise social constructions.

Marion Tricoire (Ph.D.): Sub-Saharan African literature, Francophone Studies, Urban Humanities, Postcolonial Literatures, Migration and Diaspora Studies, Literary Translation
I am currently an Assistant Professor of French at Grinnell College where I teach and research African Literature and/of the Francophone world.  My current research project explores how contemporary urban literary fiction from Africa reimagines the city for its many hidden possibilities. In particular, my scholarly work discusses novels set in Dakar, Kinshasa, Douala, Lagos, and Luanda. I have published an article in French Review entitled, “Trajectoires Urbaines: Dakar au prisme d’Aller et Retour de Ken Bugul” (2019) and my article “Article 15 and the shégués children in Marie-Louise Mumbu’s Samantha à Kinshasa” is forthcoming (Fall 2020) in Research in African Literatures.

Julianna Blair Watson (Ph.D.): postcolonial studies, migration studies, literature and cinema of the African diaspora, and contemporary French and Francophone film
I recently received my Ph.D. and am currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Emory University in the Department of French and Italian.  My primary research focuses on the intersection of criminality, immigration, and violence. I work on colonial paradigms of racism and discrimination through the phenomena of physical, psychological, and linguistic violence. I investigate the manners in which these paradigms are transmitted and perpetuated in neocolonial and post-colonial frameworks. I primarily examine literature and film by African diasporic artists from the Maghreb and from Sub-Saharan Africa, although I include voices of European artists as well whose works address questions of migration, race, and violence.

Courses at Emory

For more information about courses taught at Emory in postcolonial studies or related topics, click here.

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