Katherine Hallemeier


Associate Professor
PhD, Queen's University

Area of Interest & Expertise

  • Postcolonial literature and theory
  • Contemporary Anglophone African fiction
  • Studies in cosmopolitanism and human rights
  • Theories of affect and emotion

Recent Upper Division & Graduate Courses Taught

  • ENGL 6250: Forms of Postcolonial Optimism
  • ENGL 3190: Contemporary African Fiction
  • ENGL 4340: Postcolonial Literature and Human Rights

Selected Publications


J.M. Coetzee and the Limits of Cosmopolitanism. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

Selected Articles

“The Empires Write Back: The Language of Postcolonial Nigerian Literature and the United States of America.” Comparative Literature 71.2 (2019): 123-38.

“An Art of Hunger: Gender and the Politics of Food Distribution in Zakes Mda’s South Africa.” Journal of Commonwealth Literature 53.3 (2018): 379-93.

“J.M. Coetzee’s Literature of Hospice.”  MFS: Modern Fiction Studies 62.3 (2016): 481-98.

“‘To Be from the Country of People Who Gave’: National Allegory and the United States of Adichie’s Americanah.” Studies in the Novel 27.2 (2015): 231-45.

“Humanitarianism and the Humanity of Readers in FEMRITE’s True Life Stories.” English Studies in Africa 57.2 (2014): 57-68.

“Literary Cosmopolitanisms in Teju Cole’s Every Day is for the Thief and Open City.” ARIEL 44.2-3 (2013): 239-50. (Appeared 2014).

“Sympathy and Cosmopolitanism: Affective Limits in Cosmopolitan Theory.” Culture, Theory and Critique 54.1 (2013): 88-101.

Chapters in edited collections

“Still Waiting? Writing Futurity after Apartheid.” South African Writing in Transition. Eds. Rita Barnard and Andrew van der Vlies. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2019. 77-98.

“Cosmopolitanism and Orality in Okey Ndibe’s Foreign Gods, Inc.” The Limits of Cosmopolitanism: Globalization and Its Discontents in Contemporary Literature. Eds. Aleksander Stević and Philip Tai-Hang Tsang. New York: Routledge, 2019.

“Sympathetic Shame in J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace and Diary of a Bad Year.” Postcolonial Audiences: Readers, Viewers and Reception. Eds. Bethan Benwell, James Proctor, and Gemma Robinson. London: Routledge, 2012. 222-33.

Book Review

Review of Approaches to Teaching Coetzee's Disgrace and Other Works. Eds. Laura Wright, Jane Poyner, and Elleke Boehmer. Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue canadienne des études africaines. 51.2 (2017): 322-24.

Recent Conference Presentations

“Nigerian Nonfiction and the Cold War U.S. University.” African Literature and the Cold War. Modern Language Association Annual Convention, Seattle, WA, 9-12 Jan. 2020.

“American Universities and New African Fiction.” Sites of Production and Productivity: Universities and Professional Organizations. African Literature Association Conference, Columbus, OH, 14-18 May 2019.

“Provincializing the American-as-‘Global’.” From the Venice Biennale to Wakanda: Cultural Production and Reconfigurations of Africa. Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association, Atlanta, GA, 29 Nov. – 1 Dec. 2018.

“Neoliberal Crisis and American Dreams of South Africa.” The Crisis of the Future/The Future in Crisis: The Aesthetics of Futurity in the Post-Global Present. Annual Meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association, UCLA, 29 Mar. - 1 Apr. 2018.

Current Research Projects

"Postcolonial Optimism: African Literature and U.S. Empire" (book manuscript in progress).

This project examines African literatures in which dreams of postcolonial nationhood are maintained under conditions of U.S. empire. Postcolonialism has long been associated with postnationalism. Yet, the persistence of nation-oriented literatures from within the African postcolony and its diasporas registers how dreams of national becoming die hard. The Nigerian and South African literatures that are the focus of this study, while often attuned to the trans- and extra- national, repeatedly scrutinize why visions of national exceptionalism signified by a “pan-African” Nigeria or a “new” South Africa remain stubbornly affecting, despite decades of disillusionment with national governments beholden to a neocolonial global order. Optimistic forms of nationalism cannot be reduced, in these fictions, to easily critiqued state-sanctioned discourses of renewal and development. They are also circulated through experiences of embodied need, quotidian aspiration, and transnational relationship.