School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

Staff Profile

Professor James Procter

Prof of Modern & Contemporary Lit

Background

Research Websites

Background

I joined the School of English at Newcastle in 2006 after 7 years at the University of Stirling. Before that I was a postgraduate in the School of English at the University of Leeds.

School Roles

I am currently Director of Research for the School.

I was Postgraduate Director between 2010-2014.

External Roles

I have previously served as external examiner on undergraduate and postgraduate degrees programmes at the University of Birmingham, University of Nottingham, University of Stirling and University of Leeds. I am currently external examiner on literature degree programmes at QMUL, University of Essex and the Arab Open University.

I was Team Leader of the Quality Assurance Review of the Department of Literatures in English, University of the West Indies (Mona) in November 2013

I have been an external examiner for PhD and MA candidates at 11 different institutions in the UK, Luxembourg, Australia and India.

Recent and upcoming activities

April 2017 'Pneumatic Print: Late Colonial Writing on Air', Postcolonial Print Cultures Workshop, New York University

January 2016 - 'Wireless Empire: Radio Literature and the Sonic Imagination', Perne Club, University of Cambridge

November 2015 - Seminar in the 'Diasporic Trajectories: Transnational Cultures in the 21st Century' series', IASH, University of Edinburgh

October 2015 - Keynote at 'Interpreting Communities: Minority Writing in European Literary Fields', Institute of Modern Languages (IMLR), London

October 2014 - Plenary paper at L'Universite Paris-Sorbonne, symposium on Caribbean Literary Magazines

September 2014 - Plenary paper at University of Warwick conference, 'Long Waves and Global Frequencies'

November 2013 - 7th Edward Baugh Distinguished Lecture, University of West Indies, Mona, Jamaica



Research

Research Interests

My research to date has focused on what the Jamaican intellectual Stuart Hall once called ‘the outside history that is inside the history of English’. My overarching interest is in how literary and cultural production in Britain since the 1940s handles the period in which its empire comes home to roost. My work encompasses British and black British literature, including migrant and diasporic writing from the Caribbean, African and South Asia.

My current research interests are in radio literature and empire between the 1930s and late 1960s. I am particularly interested in recovering the neglected archive of literary production at the BBC by West African and West Indian writers. I started this work in 2009, and was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship to complete it in 2013-14. Hundreds of writers in this archive are now forgotten. Many others have become canonical names of world literature: V.S. Naipaul, Derek Walcott, George Lamming, Louise Bennett, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Amos Tutuola.

I am interested in how the recuperation of the radio script allows for a rethinking of the literary oeuvre of many of these figures during the critical decades of decolonisation and mass migration. More broadly, I am interested in the overlaps between radio and other dominant technologies of communication during the mid-twentieth century, including magazines and newspapers. How, for instance, did seriality and the short, segmented spaces associated with air time and the magazine column shape West Indian and West African writing at the end of empire? In turn, how were these mass media shaped by that pioneering generation of post-colonial writers?

My previous (and ongoing) research interests are in readership and reception within the context of migration, transnationalism and diaspora. Between 2007 and 2010 I was Principal Investigator on a large AHRC-funded project 'Devolving Diaporas' (http://www.devolvingdiasporas.com). This project worked with reading groups in public libraries, British Council offices and homes right across the UK (from Penzance to Glasgow), in the Caribbean West Africa, India, and Canada.


PhD Supervision

I currently supervise 6 PhD students, 4 of them AHRC-funded. Their projects cover the areas of black British literature, postwar British literature, Caribbean literature, contemporary literature and diaspora literature. I welcome applications from students in any of these areas.

Teaching

Undergraduate

Fictions of Migration (stage 2)

Postwar British Fiction (stage 3)

Postgraduate

I teach on the MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature

PhD Supervision

I currently supervise 6 PhD students, 4 of them AHRC-funded. Their projects cover the areas of black British literature, postwar British literature, Caribbean literature, contemporary literature and diaspora literature. I welcome applications from students in any of these areas.


Publications