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Professor

Dr Sandra Young

BA (Hons) MA UCT, MPhil DPhil Rutgers

Office: AC Jordan 103A
Email: sandra.young@uct.ac.za
Tel: +27 (0)21 650 3009

Research interests

  • Early modern literature and thought, and book history
  • Contemporary adaptations of Shakespeare in the Global South
  • Early American literature and the literatures of slavery
  • African, diasporic and African-American literatures
  • Post-colonial literature and theory
  • Post-apartheid literary and cultural studies
  • The archive, cultures of memory, and trauma studies

My research considers the value of the prism of the 'global South' for Shakespeare studies, as explored in my recent monograph, Shakespeare in the Global South: Stories of Oceans Crossed in Contemporary Adaptation (Arden Shakespeare, 2019). Looking sideways across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans to nontraditional centres of Shakespeare practice, I explore the solidarities generated by contemporary adaptations and their stories of displacement and survival. The book examines innovative theatre practice in Mauritius, South Asia, Brazil, post-apartheid South Africa and the diasporic urban spaces of the global North, and their engagement with contemporary and historical struggles. 

My scholarship on early modern culture and knowledge practices traces the emergence of a racialised ‘global south’ in the partisan knowledge practices of early modernity. My first book, The Early Modern Global South in Print: Textual Form and the Production of Human Difference as Knowledge (Ashgate 2015), examines the way early modern scholarly and visual texts (geographies, maps and natural histories) racialised the ‘southern parts’ of the world. It brings to scholarly attention the emergence of the 'global South' as a category of knowledge in the period. I am interested in textual form and its impact on relations of power: for example, an article considers the use of woodcut images in establishing the racial paradigms associated with the very first accounts of Africa and the New World.

My research is also concerned with contemporary memory culture in the aftermath of injustice. I examine various representational forms, including testimony, life narrative, art, museum practice, and even organised protest, to reflect on the intimate quality of post-apartheid public life and its archive, which has relied on personal accounts and the body itself to represent life in the aftermath of apartheid. I have published several essays on the post-apartheid archive, on pain and subjectivity, and on memory and trauma in relation to women's prison writing under apartheid and the testimonies of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I am currently at work on a book manuscript titled ‘An Intimate Archive: Personal Memory and Public Commemoration in the Aftermath of Apartheid’.

Publications

Books

Shakespeare in the Global South: Stories of Oceans Crossed in Contemporary Adaptation. The Arden Shakespeare’s special series on Global Shakespeare Inverted (May 2019): https://bloomsbury.com/au/shakespeare-in-the-global-south-9781350035768/

The Early Modern Global South in Print: Textual Form and the Production of Human Difference as Knowledge. Ashgate’s special series on Literary and Scientific Cultures of Early Modernity (November 2015): https://www.routledge.com/products/isbn/9781472453716 

Peer-reviewed articles

‘Richard Hakluyt’s voyages: early modern print culture and the global reach of Englishness’. The Sixteenth Century Journal 49.4 (2018): 1057-1080.

‘Shakespeare’s transcolonial solidarities in the global South’. Shakespeare Survey 71, Re-Creating Shakespeare (2018): 1-11.

‘Beyond Indigenisation: Hamlet, Haider, and the Pain of the Kashmiri People’. Shakespeare 13.3 (2017): 1-16.

‘Race and the global south in early modern studies.’ Shakespeare Quarterly 67.1 (Spring 2016): 125-135. Special issue on Race and Early Modern Studies.

‘The “secrets of nature” and early modern constructions of a global south’. Journal of Early Modern Cultural Studies 15.3 (2015): 5-39. 

‘Early modern geography and the construction of a knowable Africa’. Atlantic Studies: Global Currents 12.4 (2015): 412-434. 

‘Recognising Hamlet’. Shakespeare in Southern Africa 26 (2014): 13-26.

‘Envisioning the peoples of ‘new’ worlds: early modern woodcuts and the inscription of human difference’. English Studies in Africa 57.1 (May 2014): 33-56. Special issue on Textual Commodities of Empire.

‘Method or Madness? The Vicissitudes of “Global Shakespeare”’. Safundi 15.1 (2014): 133-137.

‘Rehearsing Trauma: The Reader as Interrogator in Prison Narratives’. Journal of Literary Studies 29.2 (May 2013): 101-116. Special issue on Mending Wounds.

‘Hospitality in a Post-Apartheid Archive: Reflections on There Was This Goat and the Challenge of Alterity’. Research in African Literatures 43.2 (Summer 2012): 115-137.

‘Imagining alterity and belonging on the English stage in an age of expansion: a reading of Othello’. Shakespeare in Southern Africa 23 (2011): 21-29. Special issue on Banishment, Xenophobia, Home and Exile in Shakespeare and the Renaissance.

‘Narrating colonial violence and representing New World difference: the possibilities of form in Thomas Harriot’s A Briefe and True Report’. Safundi 11.4 (October 2010): 343-361.

‘“Let your indulgence set me free”: reflections on an “Africanised” Tempest and its implications for critical practice’. Social Dynamics 36.2 (June 2010): 315-327.

‘Pain and the struggle for self-restoration: the prison narratives of Ruth First, Caesarina Kona Makhoere and Emma Mashinini’. English Studies in Africa: Futures of Trauma 52.1 (May 2009): 88-101.

‘Narrative and healing in the hearings of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.’ Biography special issue: Personal Effects: Testimonial Uses of Life Writing 27.1 (Winter 2004): 143-159.

‘A Soliloquy “Lately Spoken at the African Theatre”: Race and the Public Sphere in New York City, 1821.’ Co-authored with Michael Warner, Natasha Hurley, Luis Iglesias, Sonia di Loreto, and Jeffrey Scraba. American Literature 73.1 (March 2001): 1-46. Winner of the Foerster Prize for the best essay published in American Literature in 2001, awarded at the MLA.

Book chapters

‘A singular world: the perils and possibilities of the bird’s eye view’ in Premodern Ecologies in the Modern Literary Imagination. Ed. Vin Nardizzi and Tiffany Jo Werth. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019. 196-226.

‘Shakespeare in Africa’ in The Shakespearean World. Ed. Jill Levenson and Robert Ormsby. New York: Routledge, 2017. 116-134. (ISBN: 978-0415732529)

‘How Hamlet Became Modern’ in Relocations: Reading Culture in South Africa. Ed. Imraan Coovadia, Alexandra Dodds and Cóilín Parsons. Cape Town: University of Cape Town Press, 2015. 49-64. (ISBN: 978-1-77582-079-6)

‘Shakespeare without Borders’ in South African Essays on ‘Universal’ Shakespeare. Ed. Christopher Thurman. Farnham: Ashgate, 2014. 39-52. (ISBN: 978-1-4724-1576-9)

Editorial

‘“Decolonising Shakespeare?” Constestations and Re-imaginings for a Post-liberation South Africa’. With Lliane Loots and Miranda Young-Jahangeer. Shakespeare in Southern Africa 30 (2017): 1-7. Special issue on Decolonising Shakespeare.

Reviews

‘The strange couplings of humour and violence: Review of The Taming of the Shrew at Maynardville, 2018. Shakespeare in Southern Africa 31 (2018): 67-70.

‘On Violence and Comedy: Roy Sargeant’s Taming of the Shrew.’ Shakespeare in Southern Africa 23 (July 2011): 81-83. Special issue on Banishment, Xenophobia, Home and Exile in Shakespeare and the Renaissance.

‘Immoderate desire in an ordered universe: Marthinus Basson’s Antony and Cleopatra.’ Shakespeare in Southern Africa 22 (June 2010): 45-47.

Selected presentations

2020 Feb        Keynote: 'Shakespeare and Africa: Entanglements Across Space and Time' (University of Bayreuth, Germany)

2017 Oct         Keynote: ‘Moving Shakespeare’ colloquium (University of the Witwatersrand).

2016 Aug       ‘Shakespeare’s transcolonial solidarities’. Paper presenter and convenor of a panel on ‘Shakespeare in the Global South’ at the International Shakespeare Association World Congress in Stratford and London.

2016 July        ‘Creolisation in the Indian Ocean world of The Tempest’. Shakespeare Society in Southern Africa conference, Grahamstown.

2016 April      ‘Against “indigenisation”: Hamlet in a modern idiom or, the politics of missing persons’. Indian Shakespeares on Screen conference, London.

2015 Oct         Invited speaker: ‘Oecologies in Early Modernity’ Colloquium, Vancouver.

2015 Apr        ‘Searching the “secrets of nature”: reading early modernity’s racialized imaginary’; Shakespeare Association of America (Vancouver).

2014 Oct         ‘Hamlet’s Dharma: Thinking Beyond Indigenisation in the Global South’ (UCT).

2014 Aug       ‘The “secrets of nature” and early modern constructions of a global south’. South African Society of Medieval and Renaissance Studies (Stellenbosch).

2013 July        ‘Curiosity and power: lessons from the texts of the sixteenth-century Atlantic crossing’. AUETSA (Grahamstown).

2013 June      Invited speaker at WISER colloquium on Textual Commodities of Empire: ‘Visual literacy and imperialist logic: the circulation of woodcut images of “new world” peoples in the sixteenth century’ (Johannesburg).

2013 April      ‘Early modern geography and its construction of Africa for a global imaginary’; ‘Geography and Literature’ seminar at the Shakespeare Association of America conference (Toronto).

2012 Nov       Research presentation at John Carter Brown Library, Brown University: ‘Textual Form and the Visibility of Colonial Violence: Thomas Harriot’s A briefe and true report of the new found land of Virginia

2011 Dec        ‘Rendering Africa knowable: Leo Africanus and the shaping of “Aphrique” as an object of knowledge’ at ‘Thinking Africa and the Diaspora Differently: Theories, Practices, Imaginaries’ Workshop held at Centre for African Studies (UCT).

2011 Oct 25   Invited speaker at ‘Connected Histories’ colloquium, University of Witwatersrand.

2011 31 Aug  Discussant: ‘Negotiating wonder and taint: An Afternoon of Conversation with Stephen Greenblatt’ (Archive and Public Culture Research Initiative).

2011 25 Aug  GIPCA public lecture: ‘How Hamlet Became Modern’.

Current research project

‘An Intimate Archive: Personal Memory and Public Commemoration in the Aftermath of Apartheid’ (monograph in progress).

Postgraduate supervision

My postgraduate teaching includes postgraduate electives on memory and representation in the aftermath of struggle ('Memory, Trauma and the Limits of Representation'), and another on contemporary Shakespeares in the global South. I contribute to an MA core course on theorising from the global South, and to the Honours theory core course, where we examine theoretical approaches to the ethical relation between self and other, and to the relationship between violence and representation, both literary and visual. I have supervised students at Honours and MA level on research topics that include Shakespeare in post-apartheid South Africa, eighteenth-century literature and the discourses of colonialism, African and African American women’s literature, post-apartheid literary culture and archive, a study of representations of race, gender and sexuality in post-apartheid South Africa, and the literature of trauma and witnessing. Current PhD projects include an eco-critical, feminist study of contemporary African women’s fiction, a wide-ranging study of 'littoral literatures', and a study of performance art, violence and the collective politics of mourning.

PhD graduates

Sarah Warner on ‘Ruth Miller and the poetics of literary maternity’ (June 2013).

Megan Cawood (with Carrol Clarkson) on ‘Passing On: ‘The Weight of Memory’ and the Second Generation Fiction of Anne Michaels, W. G. Sebald and Bernhard Schlink’ (Dec 2014).

Kamil Naicker (with Meg Samuelson) on ‘Return to the scene of the crime: The returnee detective and postcolonial crime fiction’ (July 2017).

Tara Leverton (with Derrick Higginbotham) on ‘Madmen and Mad Money: Psychological Disability and Economics in Medieval and Early Modern Literature’ (June 2018).

Rosa Lyster (with Hedley Twidle) on ‘A History of Apartheid Censorship Through the Archive’ (June 2018).

Karlien van der Schyff on 'Beyond the "Baartman Trope": Representations of Black Women's Bodies from Early South African Proto-Nationalisms to Postapartheid Nationalisms' (April 2019).