Penn Humanities Forum Faculty Fellow
2012—2013 Forum on Peripheries
Professor of English and Comparative Literature
Over the (Rainbow) Nation: South African Writing, World Literature, and Globalization
This book examines post-apartheid South Africa as a semi-periphery: located neither at the world's extreme margins of deprivation, nor at its cultural and economic center. It is, however, accessible to both and therefore provides a particularly productive vantage on contemporary cultures of globalization. The semi-periphery is a zone of translation, and it is in this light that I examine the work of several contemporary writers and artists, including Gordimer, Coetzee, Dhlamini, Van Niekerk, Galgut, Ndebele, Christianse, and Mda. Each chapter is initially located in a specific place, from which my reflections move outwards to consider the transnational mobility and translatability of several expressive forms: creative non-fiction, the short story cycle, the encyclopedic narrative, the slavery novel, as well as (more cursorily) photography, underground comics, and music.