Dr Rachel Farebrother

Senior Lecturer
English Language And Literature
Telephone: (01792) 205678 ext 4830

About Me

After completing a BA in English and Related Literature at the University of York, Rachel studied postcolonial and American literatures at the University of Leeds. Since receiving her PhD, she has taught at the Universities of Leeds, Manchester and Hull, and at Leeds Metropolitan University. She joined the department in 2007. Her primary research interests lie in African American literature and culture, especially the Harlem Renaissance. A second area of research interest is postcolonial studies, with an emphasis on South Asian writers such as Anita Desai, Bharati Mukherjee and Vikram Seth.

Rachel’s current research focuses upon nationalism and internationalism in New Negro Renaissance literature, journalism and visual culture, with a particular emphasis upon representations of ancient and modern Egypt, India and Afro-Orientalism. This book-length project promises to open up new areas of study, especially in its exploration of the profound ambivalence towards both ancient and modern empires that characterises much New Negro internationalism. A second project examines representations of readers and ideas of reading in African American culture. She has several articles in preparation at the moment, including one essay on Percival Everett's Erasure, and another on the politics and poetics of space in Agha Shahid Ali’s The Country Without a Post Office.


  1. "Out of Place": Reading Space in Percival Everett's Erasure. MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States 40(2), 117-136.
  2. 'A Shrine of Words': the politics and poetics of space in Agha Shahid Ali's The Country Without a Post Office. In Claire Chambers and Caroline Herbert (Ed.), Imagining Muslims in South Asia and the Diaspora: secularism, religion, representationsn. (pp. 86-96). London and New York: Routledge.
  3. The Collage Aesthetic in the Harlem Renaissance. Farnham: Ashgate.
  4. “Thinking in hieroglyphics”’: Representations of Egypt in the Harlem Renaissance. In Fionnghuala Sweeney and Kate Marsh (Ed.), Afromodernisms: Paris, Harlem, Haiti and the Avant-garde. (pp. 204-231). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  5. "The Lesson Which India is Today Teaching the World": Nationalism and Internationalism in The Crisis, 1910-1934. Journal of American Studies 46(3), 603-623.

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  • AM-113 Introduction to American Literature and Culture

    This module offers an interdisciplinary survey of nineteenth and twentieth century American culture, exploring various artistic, intellectual and political responses to the sweeping social and technological changes which characterize the age.

  • AM-204 Race and Ethnicity: American Perspectives

    An interdisciplinary exploration of race and ethnicity in contemporary American Literature.

  • AM-224 Race and Ethnicity II: American Perspectives

    An interdisciplinary exploration of race and ethnicity in contemporary American Literature.

  • AM-333 African American Literature 1910-1940: The Harlem Renaissance

    This course will examine the Harlem Renaissance or New Negro movement, which saw an unprecedented flowering of African American cultural production in the first half of the twentieth century. Paying close attention to the range of African American expression in music, visual art, poetry, fiction and the essay, we will focus on a number of prominent themes in early twentieth century African-American literature, including:gender and sexuality; migration and urbanisation; and memory and history. Students will be encouraged to think about the relationships between literary texts and their historical contexts, and to make connections across genres, especially between literature and music. Particular emphasis will be placed on stylistic and formal innovations to underline the diverse cultural and political positions that African American writers adopted during this period.

  • AM-336 American Studies Dissertation

    The American Studies dissertation is a free-standing, 40-credit module for American Studies students only, which runs across both semesters of Level Three. Candidates conduct research upon a subject of their choice, devised in consultation with a member of staff teaching on the American Studies degree. The topic must fall within staff research and teaching interests.

  • AM-337 "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall": America in the 1960s

    This interdisciplinary, team-taught module offers students the opportunity to study the 1960s, widely regarded as one of the most complex, contradictory, and controversial decades in twentieth century American life, as reflected in the prevailing historical, political, literary and cultural climate. The decade began with high hopes for a more democratic United States under John F. Kennedy, with liberal triumphs and civil rights gains, yet ended in discord and disillusionment, as many Americans, shaken by urban unrest and assassinations, and divided by the escalation of the war in Vietnam, believed the fate of the nation’s institutions and ideology hung in the balance. Starting by analysing the consensus that existed in the 1950s, the module will contour America’s break with cultural conformity during the 1960s, examining such topics as the major domestic achievements of Kennedy’s New Frontier and Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society; Cold War politics and the Cuban Missile Crisis; the Civil Rights movement from sit-ins to voting rights activism to Black Power; Vietnam and the anti-war and youth countercultural movements; liberalism and the revival of conservative partisanship; the roles of intellectuals and artists, and literary and cultural responses to the changes and challenges of the decade. Drawing on the central developments of the decade, and the competing uses to which 60s narratives have been put, this module will offer students the opportunity to study many hotly debated issues, critically engaging their nature and their significance, and making ample use of a fantastic variety of original sources and visual material, including works of history, literature, art, photography, media, popular music, and cinema.


  • Ideas of Landscape in the Fiction of Toni Morrison, Marilynne Robinson and Louise Erdrich (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Richard Robinson
  • The life and work of Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward. (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Professor Caroline Franklin
  • Dramatic Catharsis: Barack Obama's Rhetoric of Redemption (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Professor Nuria Lorenzo-Dus
  • 'A Comparative Study of selected Arab and South Asian Colonial and Postcolonial Literature.' (awarded 2015)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Professor Daniel Williams
  • 'Post-Postmodern ''''New Sincerity'''' in Contemporary American Fiction: Wallace, Franzen, Eggers.' (awarded 2014)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Alan Bilton
  • 'North American Indigenous Cinema and its Audiences' (awarded 2013)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Stephen Mcveigh