Joe Shaughnessy, Jesus

Degree: PhD
Course: CC
Supervisor: Dr Priya Gopal
Dissertation Title:

This Dark Will Lighten: Internationalism After Empire and Networks of Anglophone Literature, 1900-1950


Biographical Information

I studied literature at Northampton and Sussex, history at Cambridge (where I was the recipient of the William Stanley Morgan prize for historical studies at Queens' College), and dabbled in philosophy in London before joining Jesus College for the PhD. My research is funded by a doctoral award from the Arts & Humanities Research Council; I've previously been funded by the Chancellor's Award at Sussex University and the 1975 Bursary Award at Queens' College. I've also been a Visiting Scholar at Victoria University of Wellington. I co-convene the Postcolonial & Related Literatures seminar and podcast in the Faculty of English and am a co-organiser of the School of Arts & Humanities annual graduate workshop in postcolonial studies; I am happy to be contacted with regards to either. Other roles I have include Editorial Assistant for the Taylor & Francis publication, the Journal of Postcolonial Writing, and Postgraudate Representative for the Katherine Mansfield Society. I am President of Jesus College MCR (the graduate student body) 2020-21. My PhD is supervised by Professor Priyamvada Gopal. 

Research Interests

My doctoral research explores the literary geographies of internationalism as a post-imperial imagination—comparatively across Aotearoa/New Zealand, southern Africa, and India—between roughly 1900 and 1950. I work at a confluence of literary criticism and the history of ideas to consider literature as a theatre of internationalist consciousness. I am interested in literary networks and textual circulation as an incendiary for debates about 'internationalist' philosophies—particularly as they are seen to index capitalist processes—and am also interested in the aesthetics and poetics of internationalism. The project provokes me to consider internationalism's polytonal relationship to nationalism, national liberation, and anticolonialism. The scope of this project allows me to develop my theoretical interests in the limits of humanism and a materialist history of the text as political agent, exploring the residual grammar of so-called 'colonial cosmopolitanisms', the frictions of liberal world ordering, queer and feminist movements and their proximity to internationalism, and communism and its relationship to anticolonial momentum.

More widely, my main interests are in twentieth-century global Anglophone literature and global history, framed by my engagements with historical materialism, Marxist aesthetics, modernism, postcolonial and anticolonial theory, literary criticism, oceanic histories, protest histories, and the history of ideas. I am currently writing articles on the social aspect of liberal and socialist interwar internationalism in New Zealand, on Anglophone and Francophone literary engagements with the League of Nations and the United Nations, and on interwar feminist internationalism and Robin Hyde, a Pākehā journalist and writer. 

Areas of Supervision

I'm especially interested in teaching Paper 13 in Part II; my expertise in modern global Anglophone literature is in the Pacific, southern Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia—as well as settler literatures. I'm available for dissertation supervision in these areas and have supervised several Part II dissertations on topics such as Singaporean ecopoetics, New Zealand sheep station literature, and Nick Joaquin's short fiction. I'd also be very happy to supervise papers 7B, 11, & 16, in addition to Practical Criticism. I am happy in principle to supervise papers outside the English Tripos where I have relevant expertise.

Selected Publications

Review: Munslow Ong, Jade. Olive Schreiner and African Modernism: Allegory, Empire, and Postcolonial Writing. Journal of Postcolonial Writing. (2020)

Review: Mercer, Erin. Telling the Real Story: Genre and New Zealand Literature. Journal of New Zealand Literature. (2018)