John Hawley Edits Two Volumes
Professor John Hawley has continued his work making global literature more accessible to undergraduates and their teachers by means of essay collections applying a range of literary and cultural studies theories to particular works of literature.
He guest-edited the November 2018 special issue of African Literature Today: Queer Theory in Film and Fiction. For this first issue to be devoted to queer theory, Hawley sought to include writers from all over the African continent who “argue against the ‘one size fits all’understanding of binary gender roles and modes of sexual expression, and against what some consider procrustean EuroAmerican proscriptions for global human rights.” The special issue aims to attract attention to political elements of queer experiences. Until recently in Africa, queerness has been a non-topic except perhaps for the Arabic north and South Africa. For the rest of the continent it has been taboo—dismissed as boring, perhaps disruptive, disgusting, or morally contaminative, like pornography.
But if the contributors to the ALT special volume, and their topics, are any indication, a growing number of Africans are stepping up to the plate on this complex set of issues, asking to be heard, to be seen—to be embraced as Africans and as authentic voices.
Hawley also worked with Gaurav Desai, a colleague at the University of Michigan, to edit the Modern Language Association publication Approaches to Teaching the Works of Amitav Ghosh. The first part of the collection focuses on editions of Ghosh’s works; the second part presents theoretical lenses such as postcolonial feminism, environmentalism, sociopolitical conflict, and the ethics of colonized subjecthood for teaching Ghosh’s works.