Organisation och personal

Michael Boyden

universitetslektor i engelska med inriktning mot amerikansk litteratur vid Engelska institutionen

018-471 1005
Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3 L
Box 527
751 20 UPPSALA

Kort presentation

Detta stycke finns inte på svenska, därför visas den engelska versionen.

Senior Lecturer of American literature at the English Department

Akademiska meriter: Docent

Mina kurser


Detta stycke finns inte på svenska, därför visas den engelska versionen.

I am a Senior Lecturer of American literature at Uppsala University, where I have worked since 2013. I was promoted to docent in 2014. Prior to my appointment at Uppsala, I was an Assistant Professor (Junior Lecturer) at Ghent University, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Leuven, a fellow at the German Historical Institute in Washington DC, and a Fulbright scholar at the Harvard University Longfellow Institute. I received my undergraduate and doctoral degrees from the University of Leuven in a program that included periods of study at Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Edinburgh and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. In Spring 2014, I will be working at Dartmouth College under the Matariki fellowship program. 

My first book Predicting the Past (2009) focused on how literary histories help to create national narratives of belonging. Drawing on social systems theory and cultural theory, the book shows how, among other things, literary writings produced on the territory of what is now the United States in languages other than English have been overlooked because of the unofficial acceptance of English as the country’s national language. Furhter, while literary histories have become ever more open to formerly suppressed literary voices, this heightened awareness of the ethnic and racial diversity of U.S. culture has paradoxically gone hand in hand with a decreasing knowledge of the multilingual heritage of the country. My later work builds on these insights, branching out into the fields of narrativity, migration and translation. Thus, in my contribution to the New Literary History of America, I draw attention to the role of language as an audience selector in the construction of the American tradition by means of an analysis of the bilingual memoir of nineteenth-century German-American politician and man of letters Carl Schurz. Similar concerns infuse a collaborative volume on Atlantic migration narratives entitled Tales of Transit, which I edited in 2013 with Hans Krabbendam and Liselotte Vandenbussche. Contrary to other books of its kind, Tales of Transit does not take as its object the beginning or end of migration movements, but rather reveals how migrants imagined transit places – ships decks, border crossing points, migrant hotels, inspection stations –, reimagining their own identities in the process. 

I now have a new long-term project underway which thematizes literary responses to foreign revolutions in American literature. The aim is to resituate American literature in relation to revolutionary insurrections seemingly marginal to the nation’s self- definition. The book approaches the writings of the revolutionary era and the early republic in the framework of the alternative geography of the Caribbean and underscores the connections between the Atlantic waves of revolutions and domestic debates in the United States, particularly abolitionalism and human rights discourse in the run-up of the Civil War. Drawing on recent work in trauma studies asserting the multidirectional rather than competitive nature of cultural memory, the project underscores how seemingly disparate revolutionary movements in the West Indies, Europe and Africa participated in a larger process that is in many ways still ongoing. Cutting across cultural, linguistic and cultural divisions, the book shows how revolutionary discourses interacted and collided and thus, in paradoxical ways, contributed to the modern image of America as a state of exception. My interest in fictional renderings of revolution has led me to collaborate with colleagues in adjacent disciplines, as appears from my involvement in the DFG Research Network Transatlantic Revolutionary Cultures and the U4 Network Reverberations of Revolution (with partners from the universities of Ghent, Groningen, and Göttingen).

My current research interests include, apart from the above-mentioned areas, the uses of ‘new’ digital methodologies for the study and teaching of ‘old’ texts. I welcome applications from students wishing to pursue a Ph.D., particularly relating to early American literature. 


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