Reading After Empire:
Local, Global and Diaspora Audiences


Arjun Appadurai

Arjun Appadurai serves as Senior Advisor for Global Initiatives at The New School in New York City, where he also holds a Distinguished Professorship as the John Dewey Professor in the Social Sciences. He is a socio-cultural anthropologist with specializations in globalization, public culture, and urban studies. His major accomplishment has been the construction of anthropological frameworks for the study of global media, consumption, and migration. He is the author of Worship and Conflict under Colonial Rule: A South Indian Case (1981); Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization (1996) and Fear of Small Numbers: An Essay on the Geography of Anger (2006). His current work focuses on poverty, violence, and social inclusion in mega-cities with a special focus on Mumbai (India).

Jackie Kay

Jackie Kay is an award-winning poet and novelist who currently holds the post of Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University. She is the author of The Adoption Papers (1991); Off Colour (1998); Trumpet (1999); Why Don't You Stop Talking (2002); Strawgirl (2003); Life Mask (2005); Wish I Was Here (2006); Sonata (2006) and Darling: New and Selected Poems (2007). Her poems have appeared in many anthologies, and she has written widely for stage and television. In 2006, she was awarded an MBE for services to literature.

Kobena Mercer

Described by Isaac Julien as “the doyen of Black intellectual culture”, Kobena Mercer is a cultural critic whose varied work on the politics of representation in diasporic visual arts has inaugurated an important line of inquiry into post-identitarian cultural politics. He was Reader in Art History and Diaspora Studies at Middlesex University, London, and has taught at New York University and University of California at Santa Cruz. He has received fellowships from Cornell University and the New School University in New York. He is an inaugural recipient of the 2006 Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing.

Mercer’s first book, Welcome to the Jungle (1994), opened new lines of enquiry in art, film, and photography. He is currently series editor of Annotating Art's Histories, co-published by MIT and inIVA, whose titles include Cosmopolitan Modernisms (2005), Discrepant Abstraction (2006), Pop Art and Vernacular Cultures (2007) and Exiles, Diasporas & Strangers (forthcoming 2008). A frequent contributor to Screen, ArtForum and Sight & Sound, Mercer maintains a presence inside and outside the academy.

Greg Myers

Greg Myers is Professor of Rhetoric and Communication in the English Language and Linguistics Department at Lancaster University. His work in applied linguistics and discourse analysis includes conversation analytical work focused on the the expression of opinions in talk, particularly in focus groups and consultation processes; the social context of written academic texts, and the language of advertising. He is the author of Writing Biology: Texts in the Social Construction of Science (1990), Words in Ads (1994), Ad Worlds: Brands, Media, Audiences (Arnold, 1998), and Matters of Opinion: Talking about Public Issues (2004). It is the latter work which Greg will be discussing in relation to the methodological complexities of analysing reading group data. He is currently working on a study of the language of blogs.

Stephanie Newell

Steph Newell is Reader in English Literature at the University of Sussex. She is co-director of the Centre of Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, University of Sussex, an Associate Fellow of Robinson College, Cambridge, and a Research Associate of the African Studies Centre, University of Cambridge. Her research interests include West African readerships, African newspaper culture, African literature, the history of homosexuality in Africa, and postcolonial theory. She is the author of Ghanaian Popular Fiction: 'Thrilling Discoveries in Conjugal Life' and Other Tales (2000); Literary Culture in Colonial Ghana: 'How to Play the Game of Life,' (2002); West African Literatures: Ways of Reading (2006) and The Forger's Tale: The Search for Odeziaku (2006).

Vron Ware

Professor Vron Ware is a journalist and academic and now works at the Open University as a Research Fellow in culture and citizenship. Her books include Beyond the Pale: white women, racism and history (1992) and Out of Whiteness: colour, politics and culture (2002, with Les Back). Her latest book, Who Cares About Britishness? A Global View of the National Identity Debate (2007) explores Britain through the perspectives of its post-colonial settlers and former empires, opening up the nation to the difficult questions of interpretation and reception which concern this conference.




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