All three organisers are doctoral students at University of Stirling.

Gary Cape
Supervisor: Dr Gemma Robinson

Title of dissertation: Scotland’s Black Atlantic: Narrating Diaspora and Reconstructing a Modern Nation

‘Short description of dissertation:
My thesis examines how responses to, and reconstructions of, Scottish Black Atlantic narratives are integral to the shaping of Scottish national identity within and against British imperialism, and how these texts may
be situated in contemporary theoretical and political contexts of devolution. By examining 18th- and early 19th-Century newspapers, journals, life-writing, broadsides, chapbooks and legal papers alongside
traditional literary sources, my textual research offers a historically comparative perspective on Scotland’s imperial past and post-British present, viewing Scotland as a vital location of diasporan cultural politics. What are the textual features of racial and civic belonging in Scottish Enlightenment culture, and how might these texts inform contemporary formulations of Black British and Caribbean culture? How do the theoretical and political contexts of devolution and diaspora help us assess imperial legacies in Scottish writing?


AHRC Doctoral Award
1 Year Departmental bursary (Declined)

Brian Rock
Supervisor: Professor David Richards

Provisional title of dissertation: ‘Towards a Minor Literature’: a comparison of postcolonial texts from Ireland and West Africa

Short description of dissertation:

This research project contributes to the growing field of minority discourse studies pioneered by Deleuze and Guattari to fully engage with the concepts of ‘minor’ and ‘major’ writing. Through a study of the Irish writer Flann O’Brien’s novels and journalism and by introducing Ireland into the debate of minority discourse theory, I raise the question of to what extent these concepts can adequately describe the Irish condition, and more specifically, O’Brien’s work. Introducing Irish literature into this debate will complicate and expand the limits of current models of postcoloniality that are traditionally applied to 'third world' nations and their cultural productions. As yet there has been no study focusing exclusively on O’Brien in terms of postcolonialism and in relation and comparison to other postcolonial writers and criticism. My research examines common features between Irish and African writers, in order to highlight similarities and differences between how such authors treat ideas of landscape and the nation, concepts of the real and the imaginary, and formations of ethnic identity and myths of nationhood. Such Irish and African authors include Patrick McCabe, Mairtin Ó Cathain, Ciaran Carson, B. Kojo Laing, Ben Okri and Syl Cheney-Coker.


‘The practice and effects of literary censorship in the Irish Free State 1929-46’, PAGES, University College Dublin, 2002.

Conference papers:

'Subaltern politics and metafiction in Flann O'Brien's At Swim-Two-Birds'. Paper presented to Crosscurrents Conference, University of Strathclyde, April 2008.

‘Poetics of defamiliarisation: a comparative reading of Ben Okri’s The Famished Road and Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman'. Paper presented to Contemporary Encounters: Africa and Europe Conference, University of Basel, July 2007.

‘Voicing the marginalised Irish working class in the texts of Flann O'Brien’. Paper presented to InVisibilities: Absence and Presence on Cultural Texts and Images Conference, University of Dundee, June 2007.

‘Defying generic empiricism: hybridity and ambiguity in Salman Rushdie’s novel Haroun and the Sea of Stories’. Paper presented to the Retelling Tales Conference, University of Stirling, May 2007.

‘Representations from the Celtic Twilight: Irish gender and sexuality in the Irish Free State’. Paper presented to Gender and Sexualities Conference, Jagiellonian University, Cracow, May 2004.


3-year University/Departmental Doctoral Bursary

Stefanie Van De Peer

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