Dr Rachel Farebrother
Senior Lecturer
English Literature & Creative Writing
Telephone: (01792) 604830
Room: Academic Office - 203
Second Floor
James Callaghan
Singleton Campus

My primary research interests lie in African American literature and culture, especially the Harlem Renaissance. I have also written several articles on postcolonial literature, especially writers of the South Asian diaspora such as Agha Shahid Ali and Anita Desai. My monograph, The Collage Aesthetic in the Harlem Renaissance (2009), which was awarded Honourable Mention in the British Association of American Studies book prize, explores the historical, aesthetic and political burdens of recurring collage patterns in the pages of New Negro texts. It interprets synthesis and fragmentation in the writings of Zora Neale Hurston, Alain Locke and Jean Toomer in relation to visual collage and Boasian anthropology, which understood culture as an assembly of diverse fragments rather than a coherent whole.

 The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines

My current research focuses on representations of cultural encounter in specific cultural or religious institutions (including museums, churches and various educational contexts). I examine the representation of figures that have yet to receive sustained critical attention in African American modernist studies (including the museum visitor, the artist’s model, the preacher, the teacher and the child), reading these figures in the context of early twentieth-century political and cultural debates while also taking a longer historical view. In 2017, I will take up a Donald C. Gallup fellowship at the Beinecke Library to complete the research for ‘Education and Mis-education in the Harlem Renaissance,’ a project that assesses education as a neglected context (and an enduring thematic preoccupation) for the formulation of New Negro concepts of gender, class, modernity, activism and racial identity.

Publications

  1. Farebrother, R. “The Congo is flooding the Acropolis”: Art, “Exhibits,” and the Intercultural in the New Negro Renaissance Modernism/modernity 26 4 753 783
  2. Farebrother, R., Farebrother, R. "Out of Place": Reading Space in Percival Everett's Erasure MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States 40 2 117 136
  3. Farebrother, R. 'A Shrine of Words': the politics and poetics of space in Agha Shahid Ali's The Country Without a Post Office (Ed.), Imagining Muslims in South Asia and the Diaspora: secularism, religion, representations 86 96 London and New York Routledge
  4. Farebrother, R. Response to Deborah Willis's “The Black Civil War Soldier: Conflict and Citizenship” Journal of American Studies 51 02 324 330
  5. Farebrother, R. The Collage Aesthetic in the Harlem Renaissance Farnham Ashgate

See more...

Teaching

  • AM-204 Race and Ethnicity: American Perspectives

    This module provides an introduction to the range and diversity of contemporary African American, Native American, Asian American and Chicano/a literature. Focusing on works by both well-known and emerging witers, it encourages students to situate the module texts within their cultural, historical, social and political contexts. At the same time, emphasis is placed on recurring themes and motifs, including memory and trauma; silence, language and speech; the complex intersections between gender, sexuality and ethnicity; and rewriting history. Topics for discussion include: Toni Morrison's incorporation of the vitality of black oral culture and music into the literary domain in Jazz; masculinity, disguise and fantasy in David Hwang's gender-bending play M. Butterfly; the politics and poetics of space in Hisaye Yamamoto's understated engagement with the traumatic history of Japanese American internment in her short fiction; and LeAnne Howe's mocking challenge to ethnic stereotyping in Evidence of Red.

  • AM-224 Race and Ethnicity II: American Perspectives

    The module provides an introduction to the range and diversity of contemporary African American, Native American, Asian American and Chicano/a literature. Focusing on works both well-known and emerging writers, it encourages students to situate the module texts within their cultural, historical, social and political contexts. At the same time, emphasis is placed on recurring themes and motifs, including memory and trauma; silence, language and speech; the complex intersections between gender, sexuality and ethnicity; and rewriting history. Topics for discussion included: Toni Morrison's incorporation of the vitality of black oral culture and music into the literary domain in JAzz; masculinity, disguise and fantasy in David Hwang's gender-bending play M. Butterfly; the politics and poetics of space in Hisaye Yamamoto's understanding engagement with the traumatic history of Japanese American internment in her short fiction; and LeAnne Howe's mocking challenge to ethnic stereotyping in Evidence of Red.

  • 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.

  • EN-M31 Dissertation

    Individual project devised and defined in discussion between supervisor and student.

  • EN-M41 Research Practice in English / Contemporary Writing / Welsh Writing in English

    Supervised project on research methodology in practice. Students build a detailed bibliographical plan for their MA dissertation project.

Supervision

  • A Beast, an Angel, and a Madman’: Dylan Thomas’s process poetry and prose 1933-39 (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Steven Vine
  • Representing Landscape, Gender, and Ethnicity in the Fiction of Louise Erdrich, Toni Morrison and Marilynne Robinson (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Richard Robinson
  • The Portrayal of Ageing in contemporary fiction. (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Alan Bilton
  • Shakespeare, Race and Minstrelsy: American Culture 1800 -1865 (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Daniel Williams
  • Pentecost Descended: Religion and Nature in the Novels of Willa Cather (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Richard Robinson
  • 21st Century Modernism - Modernist Poetics and Technology in the Digital Age (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Richard Robinson
  • The Persistence of the Wilderness Myths in Twenty-First Century American Fiction (awarded 2019)

    Student name:
    MA
    Other supervisor: Dr Alan Bilton
  • 'The Films of Delmer Daves: Visions of Progress in Mid-Twentieth Century America' (awarded 2017)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Stephen Mcveigh

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Admissions Tutor - English Literature & Creative Writing

    2012 - 2015

  • Course Convenor, American Studies Dissertation

    2009 - 2015

  • Academic Mentor to COAH Visiting Professor - Department of Political and Cultural Studies

    2013 - 2014

  • Extenuating Circumstances Coordinator - English Language and Literature

    2009 - 2012

  • School Unfair Practice Officer

    2007 - 2011

  • Examinations Officer - American Studies

    2007 - 2009

Key Grants and Projects

  • Donald C. Gallup Fellowship, Yale Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library 2017

  • Library Fellowship, Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL), Emory University 2015

  • British Association of American Studies, Eccles Fellowship at the British Library 2011 - 2012

  • John F. Kennedy Institute, Berlin, Library Grant 2010