Professor Madhu Krishnan

MA (Stanford), MA (Nott.), PhD (Nott.)

  • BS8 1TB

Personal profile

Research interests

I was appointed to the University in 2013 as Lecturer in Postcolonial Writing (20th/21st Century). In 2017 I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in Postcolonial Writing and, as of 1 August 2019, am Professor of African, World and Comparative Literatures.

My research considers contemporary African writing in the context of transnational, world and global literary production. I am particularly interested in the ways in which literary writing contributes to, subverts and is shaped by a broader, a priori image of 'Africa' circulating in a global imaginary, as well as the varied and contested registrations of this process across differing scales of expression and geography. To date, I have published three monographs: Contemporary African Literature in English: Global Locations, Postcolonial Identifications  (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), Writing Spatiality in West Africa: Colonial Legacies in the Anglophone/Francophone Novel (Boydell and Brewer, 2018 - part of the African Articulations series) and Contingent Canons: African Literature and the Politics of Location (Cambridge University Press, 2018 - part of the Elements series).

I am at present PI on a five-year project titled 'Literary Activism in sub-Saharan Africa: Commons, Publics and Networks of Practice', funded by a European Research Commission Starting Grant, part of the 'excellent science' pillar of Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation programme. This stems from a number of years of project-based work with literary collectives on the African continent, based in countries including Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Uganda and Kenya. I have also recently completed or am near completing collaborative projects on literary translation, the creative writing workshop as decolonial praxis, digital narrative production and South-South literary networks.

From 2014 to 2016, I served as the Director for the now-defunct Centre for the Study of Colonial and Postcolonial Societies at the University of Bristol, and I am currently Director of the Centre for Black Humanities. Since 2020, I have served as co-lead for the Research and Civic Engagement workstream of the University's Anti-Racism Steering Group. I am also on the board of the Bristol Poetry Institute, Bristol Ideas, Bibliothèque 1949 (Abidjan), a trustee for Literature Works and a member of the Engagement Board for the Temple Quarter project. From 2017-20, I was theme lead for Global Citizenship for the Bristol Futures initiative. I am particularly intereted in the possibilities and pitfalls of decolonial knowledge production with respect to pedagogy and UK HE more broadly. 



I would welcome applications from students working on any area of African literary studies or world literatures. I especially welcome applications which consider the intersection of literary criticism and material cultures, as well as those which explore the relationship between late capitalism, literary production and form. I am happy to consider projects which seek to re-conceptualise world literary topographies and those which seek to expand upon the orthodoxies of postcolonial criticism.



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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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