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Dr Justine McConnell

McConnell_JustineLecturer in Comparative Literature

Email justine.mcconnell@kcl.ac.uk
Address
Department of Comparative Literature
VWB5.16
King's College London
Virginia Woolf Building
22 Kingsway
London WC2B 6LE

 

 

 

Biography

Prior to coming to King’s in September 2016, Justine was a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Oxford, researching contemporary African, Caribbean, and ancient Greek poetics.  She had previously held two postdoctoral fellowships: the first at Northwestern University in Illinois, and the second at the Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama (APGRD) at Oxford. She has a BA in Classics from Cambridge, an MPhil in English Literature from Bristol, and a PhD from Royal Holloway, University of London.

She is author of Black Odysseys: The Homeric Odyssey in the African Diaspora since 1939 (OUP, 2013), and co-editor of four volumes: Ancient Slavery and Abolition: From Hobbes to Hollywood (OUP, 2011), The Oxford Handbook of Greek Drama in the Americas (OUP, 2015), Ancient Greek Myth in World Fiction since 1989 (Bloomsbury, 2016), and Epic Performances from the Middle Ages into the Twenty-First Century (OUP, 2018).

Research interests and PhD supervision
  • Caribbean literature
  • Classical Reception studies
  • Epic and orality
  • Performance
  • Postcolonial theory

Justine’s research focuses on Caribbean and African diaspora literature of the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries, on ancient Greek literature, and on the interconnections between the two.  She is fascinated by the way classical literature has often been appropriated as a tool of resistance by writers, and is particularly interested in the performance reception of classical epic across a wide range of media, from theatre, to opera, film, and spoken word.  

She also works on the syncretisation of myth and modes of storytelling in the work of Caribbean writers such as Patrick Chamoiseau, Junot Díaz, and Derek Walcott, and is currently writing a book on the latter.

Justine is happy to discuss PhD proposals relating to any of her areas of interest.

Selected publications

‘Postcolonial Sparagmos: Toni Morrison’s Sula and Wole Soyinka’s The Bacchae of Euripides: A Communion Rite’, Classical Receptions Journal 8.2 (June 2016), 133-154.

‘Crossing Borders: Bernardine Evaristo’s The Emperor’s Babe’, Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters 39.1 (Winter 2016), 103-114.

The Oxford Handbook of Greek Drama in the Americas, co-edited with Kathryn Bosher, Fiona Macintosh, and Patrice Rankine (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015).

‘“We are still mythical”: Kate Tempest’s Brand New Ancients’, Arion 22.1 (Spring/Summer 2014), 195-206.

Black Odysseys: The Homeric Odyssey in the African Diaspora since 1939 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).
Teaching

Justine teaches on the theories and methods of Comparative Literature, Classical Reception, and World Literatures, as well as on the novel, on canonical literature, and on performance texts including film and drama.

Expertise and public engagement

Justine was the Academic Consultant on the Almeida Theatre’s Odyssey in 2015, and also advised on Teatro Vivo’s production of that same epic at the Albany Theatre.  She has taken part in post-show discussion panels at Southwark Playhouse and at the Vintage Theatre Collective in Chicago, and would be keen to work with theatres and performers again in the future.

She has curated a number of poetry events, which have featured artists such as Kate Tempest, Caleb Femi, and Caroline Bird, and has given many talks at schools and at other outreach events.  She also took part in the AHRC-funded ‘Communicating Ancient Greece and Rome’ programme, run by the Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama (APGRD) at the University of Oxford.

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