Joe Shaughnessy, Jesus

Degree: PhD
Course: English
Supervisor: Prof 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. Between 2019-21, I co-convened the Postcolonial & Related Literatures seminar in the Faculty of English. I also work for the editorial board at the Journal of Postcolonial Writing. My PhD is supervised by Professor Priyamvada Gopal. In mid 2022, I will be in Aotearoa New Zealand doing archival work in Te Whanganui-a-Tara/Wellington and ĹŒtepoti/Dunedin. I am due to start a year resident at the University of Cape Town from late 2022 funded by a Leverhulme Study Abroad Scholarship, which will be my final doctoral year. 

Research Interests

My doctoral research explores the literary geographies of left-wing internationalism comparatively across (mainly) Aotearoa/New Zealand and southern Africa, between roughly 1900 and 1950. I work at a confluence of literary and historical studies to examine literature as a theatre of internationalist-conciousness, particularly when it registers a structure of feeling and moral vocation. I'm especially interested in the relationship of internationalism to political economy, as an index of capitalist social and economic processes. The project not only considers the 'text' as a material agent within trade unions, literary magazines, and internationalist bodies, but considers the poetics of internationalism itself--as aesthetic directive and strategy. 

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, labour histories, and the history of ideas. I'm currently also working on a number of shorter publications related to my doctoral research: a historical article concerning a radical press agency set up by two poets and activists, Eric and Freda Cook, a book chapter on politics, art, sexuality, and the self in interwar Aotearoa, and a slow-burning article on transnational feminist organising in the interwar period. 

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)