Dr Jane Poyner

Research interests

  • South African literature of the apartheid and post-apartheid eras
  • postcolonial literature and theory
  • World literatures
  • Intellectual history in the postcolonial and South African contexts
  • literary representations of art and visual culture
  • urban studies
  • literary representations of environmentalism and environmental justice
  • critical theory

My primary research interests are South African literary and cultural studies of the apartheid and post-apartheid eras. I have worked extensively on the writing of the South African novelist and Nobel Prize winner, J. M. Coetzee. My first book, J. M. Coetzee and the Idea of the Public Intellectual, is a collection of essays by prominent Coetzee scholars that is concerned with the ethics of intellectual practice and is published by Ohio University Press. J. M. Coetzee and the Paradox of Postcolonial Authorship is a monograph on Coetzee published in 2009 by Ashgate. I have co-edited Approaches to Teaching J. M. Coetzee's Disgrace and Other Works, with Laura Wright and Elleke Boehmer (MLA, 2014).

I am currently working on a book, Spaces of Transition, which explores the transitional period from apartheid to democracy in South African literary history. I consider, amongst other topics, representations of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission; of urban space; of utopia and black intellectualism; and of art and visual culture. 

I have an ongoing interest in literary representations of environmental justice in postcolonial and world literatures, and have recently had published an article on Arundhati's "The God of Small Things" in the context of environmentalist notions of "scale".