Seminar The Anxiety of Appropriation: Jewish/postcolonial literatures and histories
Professor Bryan Cheyette, a leading figure of contemporary Jewish studies, will give a talk based on his recent book Diasporas of the Mind: Jewish and Postcolonial Writing and the Nightmare of History (Yale UP 2014), in which he explores the power and limitations of the diasporic imagination after WWII and the end of empire. His lecture will deal with recent theories of appropriation in the light of Jewish/postcolonial literatures and histories. Beginning with the idea of ‘metaphorical thinking’ as an acceptable form of appropriation, as proposed by Hannah Arendt and deplored by Cynthia Ozick, the lecture will cover a wide range of writers, from Margaret Drabble and Philip Roth to V.S. Naipaul, Salman Rushdie, and Zadie Smith, as well as thinkers such as Frantz Fanon, Albert Memmi, and Edward Said. Ultimately it will reveal both the dangers and necessities of crossing borders under the sign of ‘appropriation’.
Professor Cheyette is professor of modern literature at the University of Reading. His research ranges across late-nineteenth and twentieth century English literature, modernism and politics, new literatures in English, postcolonial literature, British-Jewish literature, theories of ‘race’ and modernity, and Holocaust literature. Before joining the University of Reading in 2005, he was Chair in Twentieth Century Literature, University of Southampton and Reader in English & Judaic Studies at Queen Mary College, University of London. He has held visiting appointments at the University of Michigan, Dartmouth College, and the University of Pennsylvania.
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