This Autumn, the School of English is welcoming several new members of staff, who we’ll be highlighting one by one throughout the semester, now stretching all the way into December!
Our next new member of staff to be profiled is Dr. Veronica Barnsley, whose primary research interests are in colonial and postcolonial literatures from India and Africa. She particularly focuses on alternative and global modernisms and writing interested in children, youth and development, and has written articles on Rudyard Kipling, Indian anti-colonial modernism and the child as a cultural figure. She’s recently (and inadvertently) begun writing about film with a piece on the ‘postcolonial child’ in Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) which will appear in a special issue of The Journal of Commonwealth Literature on Postcolonial Environments that she is co-editing.
Veronica is currently working on a book provisionally called ‘Postcolonial Children: Infancy and Development in South Asian Fiction’ which considers the child in relation to anti-colonial activism, post-independence politics, religious conflict and environmental disaster in the postcolonial state. The focus will be on writers including Mulk Raj Anand, R.K. Narayan, Attia Hosain, Shashi Deshpande, Nadeem Aslam and Indra Sinha. Veronica will be roadtesting some of her ideas at a conference on New Indias in 2016.
The book research provides some groundwork for a project that Veronica has been developing with postcolonial scholars at the University of Leeds called ‘Youth and Health in Postcolonial Literatures: India, Nigeria, South Africa’. This is partly in response to the perennial question; ‘so when are you going to be done looking at childhood?’ as it examines the comparatively grown-up topic of youth, making connections between Postcolonial Studies and the growing field of Medical Humanities.
Veronica is a founding member of The Northern Postcolonial Network, which supports knowledge exchange and networking amongst scholars working on postcolonial topics across the north of England and organisations and community groups with intersecting interests. The network builds sustainable relationships with groups and communities through research, public engagement and creative workshops in which we can explore issues including migration, asylum, human rights and inclusive pedagogy. Veronica recently organised the Material Stories project, an engaged curriculum enterprise in which undergraduates worked with local artists and asylum seekers to co-produce artwork including poetry, painting, film and photography. You can see the virtual exhibition here and an expanded version of Material Stories will be taking place in 2016 in collaboration with St Marys Community Centre and Arts on the Run.
Details of NPN events and future activities can be found at www.northernpostcolonialnetwork.com. Veronica also writes for the NPN blog and is keen to hear about research, activities and postcolonial imaginings of all kinds happening at Sheffield.
Welcome to the SoE, Veronica!