"Circulating Culture" Working Group Hosts UMass-Amherst Scholar Laura Doyle

Authored on:

Oct 16, 2012
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The Obermann Center “Circulating Cultures” Working Group will host the upcoming visit by Laura Doyle, Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Doyle, who specializes in questions of transnationalism, modernity, and empire in literary studies, will give a public lecture, “Reading Otherwise: Interdisciplinarity, History, and the Dialectics of Culture,” on Thursday, October 25th, from 3:30-5:00 p.m. in 304 EPB. The lecture will draw from Doyle’s current project, Untold Returns: The Global Dialectics of Literary History, which “widens the framework for studying modernist and postcolonial narrative in English by attending to the cultural accretions of many centuries of interaction among Asian, Islamic, African, and Anglo-European empires.”  In addition, Doyle will hold an informal discussion session for interested faculty and graduate students on Friday, October 26th, from 9:00-10:30 a.m. at the Obermann Center. 

Now in its second year, Circulating Cultures brings together faculty from a range of disciplines across campus: Anthropology, Art and Art History, English, Film Studies, French, and History. The Working Group take the notion of cultural forms in a broad sense, involving print, digital, and audiovisual texts as they circulate beyond the nation-state and create multiple geopolitical scales and assemblages. Group members’ research, creative projects, and collective readings over the last year have ranged from studies of the circulation of architectural or photographic forms, theories of material culture, theories of literature and deep time, transnational film theory, theories of creolization and hybridity, to theories of capitalism and global circulation of culture. Doyle’s emphasis on a multi-layered historical and dynamically transnational approach to modernity has resonated strongly for many of the Circulating Cultures group members. 

Doyle describes her work as focusing on intercultural formations of literary history, with attention to material, political and bodily dialectics.  She also has strong interests in existential and political phenomenology.  Anyone interested in attending the Friday session may want to read one or both of Doyle’s recent articles: “Toward a Philosophy of Transnationalism” (Journal of Transnational American Studies, http://repositories.cdlib.org/acgcc/jtas/vol1/iss1/art7) and “Notes toward a Dialectical Method: Modernities, Modernisms, and the Crossings of Empire” (Literature Compass, March 2010).

Doyle is currently co-convener of the World Studies Interdisciplinary Project (WSIP) and the Five College Atlantic/Global Studies Faculty Seminar.  Her books include Freedom’s Empire: Race and the Rise of the Novel in Atlantic Modernity, 1640–1940 (2008), Bordering on the Body: The Racial Matrix of Modern Fiction and Culture (1994), and the edited collections Bodies of Resistance: New Phenomenologies of Politics, Agency, and Culture (2001) and Geomodernisms: Race, Modernism, Modernity (2004), the latter with Laura Winkiel. She has been the recipient of two ACLS Fellowships, a Leverhulme Fellowship, a Rockefeller Fellowship for Intercultural Studies, and the Perkins prize for Bordering on the Body