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Dr Jane Poyner

Senior Lecturer


01392 724303

CV for Dr Jane Poyner

I teach in the areas of postcolonial and world literatures and cultures. Much of my research has been on South African literary and cultural studies, with a focus on literature of the apartheid and post-apartheid eras. My most recent book, The Worlding of the South African Novel: Spaces of Transition, was published in 2020 by Palgrave as part of its New Comparisons in World Literature series. I have published a number of books and articles on the South African author and Nobel Prize winner, J. M. Coetzee, one of which won a prize for academic excellence. I also work on the cross-over between art and visual culture and postcolonial studies, as well as that between environmental justice and "Third-World" literatures.    

My office hours in Term 2, 2020-21 are Mondays 17.00-18.00 and Tuesdays 17.00-18.00, or by appointment. Please check these pages for latest updates to these hours. To book online, please click here

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).

My most recent book, The Worlding of the South African Novel: Spaces of Transition, 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; of art and visual culture, and the intersections between environmental injustice and human disease (here, HIV/AIDS). 

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 theories of "scale".

Research supervision

I welcome applications from prospective PhD students in the following areas:

  • Postcolonial literature and theory
  • World literatures
  • South African literature and cultural history
  • Environmental justice, literary representations of
  • The "postcolonial" city, literary representations of
  • Art and visual culture, literary represenations of
  • J.M. Coetzee; Ivan Vladislavic; Zoe Wicomb; Zakes Mda


Contribution to discipline

In 2002 I organised a two-day international conference on Coetzee, J. M. Coetzee and the Ethics of Intellectual Practice, at the University of Warwick. This conference was funded by the British Academy, the Humanities Research Centre (Warwick), and the Centre for Philosophy and Literature (Warwick). I was funded by the AHRC to visit South Africa on research in 2001 and 2006.

I am a member of the Royal Society of Africa and Royal African Society and the African Studies Association UK and was a founding member of the Postcolonial Studies Association UK. 


In 2020-21, I will be teaching the following:

Term 1:

EAS3195: Acts of Writing: From Decolonisation to Globalisation

EASM173: Postcolonial Studies: Literature, Theory, Practice

Term 2:

EAS2113: Culture, Crisis and Ecology in a Postcolonial World

EAS3190: African Narratives (guest tutor)

EASM170: Environmental Humanities


Modules taught