School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

Postcolonial Literature

Postcolonial Literature

Interests and expertise in this research cluster range across the literatures of Africa, South Asia and the Caribbean, and include diasporic writing and black British writing.

At the core of the work done by the group is a concern with archives, readers, and the historical contexts of literature.

Alongside her work on Antonio Gramsci in the context of postcolonial theory, Dr Neelam Srivastava has done important research on colonial histories as embodied in culture, particularly in Indian literature in English. Her work on Italian colonialism was funded by a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship (2012-13), and she was Principal Investigator for a second Leverhulme award supporting a research network on 'Postcolonial Translation: The Case of South Asia' (2008-11) bringing together researchers from Newcastle, SOAS, Delhi and Jawaharlal Nehru universities.

The research of Dr Fionnghuala Sweeney focuses on slavery, and nineteenth-century Caribbean and African-American literature. Her current work is on Afromodernist London, and she was awarded a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship (2012-13) to investigate the British capital as a site of black, largely male, diasporan political and artistic activity between the wars.

Dr James Procter's work has focussed on audiences and particularly, in his AHRC-funded 'Devolving Diasporas' project, on non-metropolitan migrants' own relationship with postcolonial fiction. His new research, for which he has received a Leverhulme Fellowship (2013-), is recovering the cultural history of West African and Caribbean writing at the BBC in the period from the 1930s to the 1960s. The research will draw on unpublished and unstudied scripts, by authors such as Naipaul, Walcott, Achebe and Soyinka, held at the BBC Written Archives in Caversham.

Dr Robbie McLaughlan also works on postcolonial cultural histories. His recent book, Re-Imagining the 'Dark Continent' in fin de siècle Literature looks at representations in Africa, in adventure fiction, magazines and missionary literature for instance, to re-think the ways in which the idea of Africa was understood and presented in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and what impact this had on the development of Modernism.

As with other research groups in the School, our critical work on the postcolonial connects compellingly with our creative work. Professor Jackie Kay was a Co-Investigator on James Procter's 'Devolving Diasporas' project, co-editing and contributing to the major anthology of British Black and Asian poets, Out of Bounds.

Dr Anne Whitehead works on contemporary postcolonial fiction. With Neelam Srivastava, James Procter and Jackie Kay, and the NCLA, she has organised a number of international and high-profile events, bringing authors, and debates about postcolonial literature, to a wide audience in North-East England. In 2008, for instance, colleagues organised a major literary festival of writing from the Indian subcontinent held at the Sage Gateshead and featuring, among many other distinguished international authors, Mohsin Hamid, Amit Chaudhuri and Pankaj Mishra.