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Professor Madhu KrishnanMA (Stanford), MA (Nott.), PhD (Nott.)

Professor of African, World and Comparative Literatures

Madhu Krishnan

Professor Madhu KrishnanMA (Stanford), MA (Nott.), PhD (Nott.)

Professor of African, World and Comparative Literatures

Member of

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 number of externally-funded grants, including 'Creative Writing and Translation For Peace', in collaboration with the Cameroonian literary activist collective, Bakwa. My prioject-based work and interest in coproduction has contributed to the development of the intellectual agenda for my current large-scale research project, which seeks to explore the ways in which literary activism and infrastructures operate with respect to the opening of more expansive notions of the social, political and literary on the African continent. From early 2020, this research is funded by a European Research Commission Starting Grant, part of the 'excellent science' pillar of Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation programme.

While my primary focus falls under the remit of African literatures, I have additional interests in narrative theory, space and spatiality, representation, contemporary British and American writing, prize culture and cultural materiality.

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 on the management committee for the Centre for Black Humanities. I am also on the board of the Bristol Poetry Institute, Bristol Cultural Development Partnership, a trustee for Literature Works and a member of the Engagement Board for the Temple Quarter project. From 2017, I have been 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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