Timothy Sean Wright

Timothy Wright received his PhD from Duke University in 2012. He specialises in 20th century and contemporary global Anglophone and postcolonial literatures, South African literature, urban studies, and critical theory. His research is fundamentally focused on the question of how people imagine life from within the midst of ruins, whether these ruins be material, political, or philosophical. His recent articles have explored imaginings of “mutant” and other non-normative forms of life in post-apartheid Johannesburg, a disorderly, fragmented, and violent city that nonetheless seems to hold out the promise of future possibility. He is currently working on a book project entitled Disconsolate Subjects: Figures of Radical Alterity in the Global Novel. This study examines a geographically disparate group of writers – Samuel Beckett, J.M. Coetzee, and Kazuo Ishiguro – whose novels, written in the catastrophic aftermaths of some of the great political experiments of the global 20th century, break from some 200 years of novelistic writing that overwhelmingly simulated the optimism that the subject might find a home (and self-realisation) within the liberal nation-state. These novels instead abound with figures of “radical alterity”: characters who resist, evade, or profitlessly attempt to conform to the constitutive social formations and disciplinary technologies of modernity, among them, notably, the novel itself.

Office hours (fall 2022): Tues 11.30 – 12.20; Thurs 13:30 – 14.20.

“Ruined Time and Post-Revolutionary Allegory in Nthikeng Mohlele’s Small Things.” Social Dynamics, 45:2, 198-212. DOI: 10.1080/02533952.2019.1619274
“Johannesburg.” Jeremy Tambling, ed. The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Urban Literary Studies. 2019. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-62592-8_120-1
“Mutant City: On Partial Transformation in Three Johannesburg Narratives.” NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction 51:3 (Nov 2018): 417-437
“A New Black Pantheon: Kwezi as Epic of African Postmodernity.” Journal of African Cultural Studies 30:3 (2018): 208-226.
“Ecologies of Blood in Johannesburg Vampire Fiction.” Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies 17:4 (2016): 384-406
“No Homelike Place: The Lesson of History in Kazuo Ishiguro’s An Artist of the Floating World.” Contemporary Literature 55:1 (Spring 2014): 58-88
“The Art of Evasion: Writing and the State in J.M. Coetzee’s Life & Times of Michael K.” Journal for Literary Studies/Tydskrif vir Literatuurwetenskap 28:3 (Sep 2012): 55-76

Book Reviews:
“Justice, Silence, Complexity: Forays into the Reconstitution of Apartheid Experience”. Review Article. African Studies 76:1 (2017)
“The Bohemian on a Pin.” Review of Daniel Cottom, International Bohemia: Scenes of Nineteenth Century Life. Novel: A Forum on Fiction 49:1 (Nov 2016): 175-178
“A Nation Writing Rape.” Review of Lucy Graham, State of Peril: Race and Rape in South African Literature. Novel: A Forum on Fiction 47 (2014): 330-333