Postcolonial Poetics and Decolonizing the Academy

Date/Time/Location: Thursday 16 May 2019. Masterclass at 13.30-15.30 in Vondelzaal, UB. Lecture at 17.00-18.00 in PC Hoofthuis 1.04.

Elleke Boehmer’s most recent book, Postcolonial Poetics (2018), reconsiders how postcolonial writing in English shapes and challenges our imaginative understanding of the world. With a focus on reading practices, Boehmer considers how postcolonial literature’s interest in margins, intersections, subversions and crossings has the capacity to help us understand our own relation to the world, and to some of the pressing issues of our time, including resistance, reconciliation, terror, and migration.

This event takes the form of, firstly, a 2-hour masterclass led by Elleke Boehmer, aimed mainly at graduate students, focusing on the issues raised in the introduction and first chapter of Postcolonial Poetics, including the question of how to bring together the political and the aesthetic qualities of postcolonial writing. Secondly, Professor Boehmer will give a 1-hour lecture (including time for questions) under the title ‘We Need to Talk about Decolonization (again)’. This lecture will build on topics touched upon in Postcolonial Poetics to explore the pressing question of the state of decolonization in the contemporary academy. The event is held in conjunction with the English Department guest lecture series.

If you wish to take part in the masterclass, please contact Ben Moore ( to register and receive advance readings. All are welcome to attend the talk at 17.00 without registration.

1EC is available via NICA for Research Masters students who participate in both parts of the event.

Guest Speaker: Elleke Boehmer is Professor of World Literature in English at the University of Oxford, Director of the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing (OCLW), and Principal Investigator on the Andrew W. Mellon-funded ‘Humanities and Identities’ project at The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities. She is an internationally recognized expert in colonial and postcolonial literature, whose major publications include Colonial and Postcolonial Literature (1995, 2nd edn 2005), Empire, the National, and the Postcolonial, 1890-1920 (2002), The Postcolonial Low Countries (2012, ed. with Sarah de Mul), and most recently Postcolonial Poetics (2018). She is also an author of fiction, including Sharmilla and Other Portraits (2010) and The Shouting in the Dark (2015). She is general editor of the Oxford Studies in Postcolonial Literatures series.