Untold Returns: Literary Dialectics in a World-Historical Frame

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Date: Tuesday, 26 October 2010 @ 5 p.m.

Venue: Room H204, UCD Humanities Institute seminar room

Professor Laura Doyle, Professor of English, University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Leverhulme Professor, University of Exeter (Autumn 2010)

Laura Doyle is Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and convener of the Five College Atlantic Studies Research Seminar.  She is author, most recently, of Freedom's Empire: Race and the Rise of the Novel in Atlantic Modernity, 1640-1940(Duke 2008).  Her other books include Bordering on the Body: The Racial Matrix of Modern Fiction and Culture (Oxford 1994, Perkins Prize Award); Bodies of Resistance: New Phenomenologies of Politics, Agency, and Culture (Northwestern 2001); and, as co-editor,Geomodernisms: Race, Modernism, Modernity (Indiana 2004).  Doyle's scholarship combines political history, literary history, and philosophy to study the transcultural foundations of English-language literature.  Her lecture will be based on her current book project, supported by an ACLS Fellowship as well as the Leverhulme Foundation.

Title: Untold Returns: Literary Dialectics in a World-Historical Frame

This Leverhulme lecture outlines a methodology for global literary and cultural studies.  Drawing on recent work by scholars of political ecomony and world history, it revises postcolonial models of literary study that focus bi-laterally on 'the west and the rest' and often fashion postcolonial literature as a project of 'writing back' to 'the' empire.  Instead the lecture lays out a paradigm of multiple, jockeying empires over a very longue durée and in volatile relation to anti-colonial insurgency movements.  It then develops the idea of an 'inter-imperial' positionality for all of the world's states, communities, and citizens, including writers, in order to trace in broad terms the travelling legacies of genre that have shaped and been shaped by this positionality, issuing in 'modern' vernacular literatures.  Finally, in light of these ideas, the lecture reframes the relation between Anglophone modernist and postcolonial texts.