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: 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.
Valerie 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

Student 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.

Alyssa Stalsberg Canelli:  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.

Roselyne Gérazime:  postcolonial studies, Caribbean literature, African-American culture and literature, psychoanalysis and visual arts
I am currently a PhD candidate 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.

Amir Hussain:  literary mimesis and historical approaches to literature; Frankfurt School/critical theory; postcolonial and anticolonial thought
My project is still in its early phases, but I foresee engaging with several literary and theoretical figures in my project, including Gayatri Spivak, Walter Benjamin, Georg Lukacs, and Muriel Rukeyser around questions of representation.

Stephanie C. Iasiello: 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:  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:  social movements, diaspora and migration, borders/crossing borders
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, identity, trauma and memory, temporality
I study North African and Caribbean post-colonial literature, investigating what happens to time when one articulates a wound. This involves posing questions of race, gender, identity, trauma, and memory, and often autobiography against ontological modes of imperialism and colonialism that have fabricated teleological, linear conceptions of time. My project’s goal is to trace temporality’s potential to silence subjugated peoples and its ability to be fragmented, reworked, or played with in a way that simultaneously exposes wounds and opens up considerations of healing.

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.

Caroline Schwenz: 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.

Molly Slavin: 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:  Postcolonial studies, French Indochina, memory and trauma
I am a fourth-year PhD student in French at Emory University. My research project focuses on métissage in colonial and postcolonial Francophone literature from the 20th and 21st century. My research interests include: Contemporary Francophone literature, trauma, critical race theory, and diasporic literature.

Marlo Starr:  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, Literary Gerontology, Trauma, Emotions, Subaltern Studies
I study Partition literature of India with special attention to the subaltern narratives of the event. Right now my focus is on the aging characters in the partition, uprooted after spending a good part of their life in one place. How do we make sense of the crisis of identity, faith, and life of these characters? By using literary gerontology as the main lens to look at this catastrophic life event, I intend to explore the questions of the crisis, trauma, and collective pain and hopefully contribute a new thread to the afterlife of Partition.

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: postcolonial studies, African literature, urban studies, translation and World Literature
I am a fourth-year Ph.D. student in French, pursuing a certificate in English. My dissertation, tentatively entitled “Navigating the Intersti-City: The Urban Literary Imaginary of Contemporary Sub-Saharan African Fiction,” proposes to study contemporary African fiction set in Dakar, Douala, Kinshasa, Yaounde, Luanda and Lagos to show how those novels challenge traditional perceptions of the city and create a new urban literary imaginary where the city itself acts as a vector of unforeseen possibilities. This dissertation goes beyond national or linguistic boundaries and examines fiction published in French, English, and Portuguese and influenced by many other African languages.

Julianna Blair Watson: postcolonial studies, migration studies, the African diaspora, and contemporary French and Francophone film
I am a 5th year in the Department of French and, pursuing a certificate in Film Studies. My dissertation under the direction of Dr. Subha Xavier is currently entitled “Criminality in Transnational Francophone Film and Literature.” My interests include postcolonial studies, migration studies, the African diaspora, and contemporary French and Francophone film.

Courses at Emory

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

Past Events →