Jeanne-Marie Jackson

Assistant Professor

Gilman 30A
Personal Website

Other Writing

Jeanne-Marie Jackson received her PhD in Comparative Literature from Yale University in 2012. Her first book, South African Literature's Russian Soul: Narrative Forms of Global Isolation, was published by Bloomsbury in late 2015 (paperback forthcoming 2017). It is immediately concerned with how Russia's nineteenth-century "Golden Age" of literature and ideas provides a model for South African writers during and after apartheid, but advances a broader argument for realism's maturation through historical dislocation and instability. This affinity between two periods in which narrative forms internalize a widespread sense of being cut off from the world – an "inverted" world literature – suggests the limits of current global methodologies. The book's model of comparative isolationisms, furthermore, upholds comparative literature as a timely interlocutor for the new field of global Anglophone writing.

Jackson is now at work on a second book project called The African Novel of Ideas: Intellection for the Post-Liberal Age. It charts the relationship between the novel and philosophy, both formal and institutional, at key sites of African intellectual development from the early 20th century through the present day. Starting with books like J.E. Casely Hayford’s Ethiopia Unbound (Ghana, 2011); moving through mid-century liberation movements to Stanlake Samkange's The Mourned One (Zimbabwe, 1975); and arriving, finally, at the genre of the “global philosophical novel” in recent works by Tendai Huchu and Imraan Coovadia, among others, it argues for the novel's unique capacity to co-theorize geographical diffusion and systematized intellectual practice.

Jackson is also at work on a co-edited special issue of Research in African Literatures on religion and secularity, and has essays forthcoming in Novel: A Forum on Fiction and Research in African Literatures. She currently works in Russian, Afrikaans, and Shona in addition to English (and has just begun learning Fante), and welcomes contact from other unorthodox comparatists.

Professor Jackson’s teaching covers a wide range of texts and locales from across sub-Saharan Africa and the greater Anglophone world, as well as, on occasion, her first love of nineteenth-century Russia. She teaches topics that are closely related to her own work (such as post-2000 novels from Africa and the theory of the novel), as well as the broader fields of world and postcolonial literature in which this research is contextualized. A partial list of her current and recent courses can be found below:

The Novel & Globalization

The Contemporary Novel of Ideas

Writing Africa Now

Russian Classics & Their Afterlives

World Literature in Theory & Practice

Law & Justice in Postcolonial Writing

Gordimer & Coetzee: Politics and Form

Mapping the Global Metropolis

Fictions of Empire


Selected Publications

"Reading for the Region in New African Novels: Flight, Form, and the Metonymic Ideal." Forthcoming in Research in African Literatures special issue on the post-nation.

"Plurality in Question: Zimbabwe and the Agonistic African Novel." Forthcoming in Novel: A Forum in Fiction.

“African Languages, Writ Small.”

“Retreating Reality: Chekhov’s South African Afterlives.” JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory 45.1 (2015): 46-78.

“You Are Where You Aren’t: Mark Behr and the Not-Quite-Global Novel.” Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies 14.2 (2013): 175-190.

“Singular Exceptions: Animal Instrumentality in Tolstoy and Coetzee.” English Studies in Africa 55.2 (2012): 29-42.

“Going to the Dogs: Enduring Isolation in Marlene van Niekerk’s Triomf.” Studies in the Novel 43.3 (2011): 343-362.

In addition to her academic writing, Professor Jackson contributes to a range of popular intellectual forums in both the U.S. and South Africa. These include Africa in Words, n+1, Bookslut, TLR/The Literary Review, LitNet, and SLiPnet (The Stellenbosch Literary Project). Recent examples can be found below:

Interview with Tendai Huchu, Bookslut, March 2016.

Essay, "Farewell to Pnin: The End of the Comp Lit Era," 3:AM Magazine, July 2016.

Review Essay, "Doing Philosophy Better" on Mark de Silva's Square Wave, n+1, August 2016.

Review Essay, "Americans in Bulgaria," Public Books, October 2016.

Review Essay, "The South African Novel of Ideas," n+1, October 2015.

Essay, “The South African State of Emergency,” Africa in Words, May 2015.

Essay on the PEN/Charlie Hebdo protest, “Against Cosmo-conscientiousness,” n+1, May 2015.

Essay and Interview with Emmanuel Sigauke, founder of Munyori Literary Journal, Bookslut, May 2015.

Review of The Maestro, The Magistrate, and The Mathematician by Tendai Huchu, SLiPnet, April 2015.