Teaching Areas: Post-colonial Literature and Theory, Trauma Theory
Susan Spearey’s current research, aided by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grant (2004-2007), examines the specific challenges to emancipatory trajectories that have been leveled in a range of poems, plays, short fictions, novels and essays that explore South Africa’s transition from white minority rule to liberal democracy. A common thread in her readings of texts from a range of historical periods, genres and cultural traditions has been an engagement with the legacies of violent upheaval, displacement and dispossession; with the ways that literary texts navigate narrative journeys through geographies, histories and psychological landscapes of terror; with the ways that violence is played out on bodies; and with the responsibilities of listeners and tellers of ethically burdensome tales. Her work draws on theories of spatiality (especially Michel de Certeau and David Harvey), trauma theory, theories of historiography, anthropological work on the dynamics of terror (especially the work of Michael Taussig) and theories of witnessing (especially Shoshana Felman and Dori Laub and Kelly Oliver).
“Displacement, dispossession and concilation: the politics and poetics of homecoming in Antjie Krog’s Country of my Skull ,” scrutiny2: issues in english studies in southern africa Vol 5 no 1 2000, 64-77.
“Dislocations Of Culture: Unhousing The Unhomely In Salman Rushdie’s Shame ” in Postcolonizing the Commonwealth: Essays in Literature and Culture , ed. Roland Smith, Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2000.
“Substantiating Discourses of Emergence: Corporeality, Spectrality and Postmodern Historiography in Toni Morrison’s Beloved ” in Body Matters: Feminism, Textuality, Corporealit y, ed. Avril Horner and Angela Keane. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000
‘Drifting Continents/Colliding Cultures: Spatial Odysseys In Diaspora Writing’, in Drifting Continents/Colliding Cultures: Diaspora Writing of the Indian Subcontinent , ed. Radhika Mohanram and Ralph Crane. Amsterdam/Atlanta: Rodopi, 2000