Chris Holmes

Chris Holmes

Associate Professor, Department of English
Faculty, School of Humanities and Sciences
Faculty, Graduate Study in Education

Specialty:Postcolonial and Anglophone Literature; Theories of Translation and World Literature
Phone:(607) 274-3190
Office:318 Muller Center
Ithaca, NY 14850

Ph.D. Brown University (2011)

M.A. Middlebury College/Bread Loaf School of English

M.A.T. Brown University

B.A. Bates College

Chris received his PhD from Brown University in 2011 where he was awarded the Presidential Excellence in Teaching Award, a distinction given to one graduate student at the university each academic year. He joined the English Department at Ithaca College in 2011, and teaches introductions to postcolonial and contemporary literatures, as well as upper division courses on the South African novel, and on the emergent genre of the global novel. He is the co-director, with the novelist Eleanor Henderson, of Ithaca's New Voices Festival, a three-day celebration of talented, early career writers. Now in its fourth year, New Voices brings eight writers of poetry, fiction, drama, and essay to campus each Spring for a series of readings and workshops. He is the founder of The Global Modernism Symposium, which he co-organized with Ithaca's Professor Jennifer Spitzer. The Symposium will next travel to Oregon State University under the direction of Professor Lily Sheehan.

Chris's primary research field is contemporary postcolonial/Anglophone literature, especially those texts and authors that cross borders, geographic and otherwise, and become, willingly or not, works of "world" literature. He is particularly interested in the recent re-exploration of theories of world literature as applied to novels concerned with postcolonial politics. His research investigates translation as a conceptual model that explains how novels consider the world, and as well, how those same novels unwind the limitations that the world sets upon them.  Chris is currently writing articles on the theoretical and philosophical concept of the limit in Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, corporate bodies and literary limits, and on humor as decoy in the work of J.M. Coetzee. Chris is working on a book manuscript entitled, “At the Limit: The Impossible, Unfinishable Work of World Literature." He is a member of the Editorial Board at the journal ARIEL, a Johns Hopkins University Press journal of international literature in English.

Recent Publications:

“What the World Leaves Behind: Ready-Made Translations and the Closed Book in the Postcolonial Novel.” Literature, Translation, and Geography: The New Comparative Horizons. Ed. Stefan Helgesson. London: CSP, 2011: 40-53.

“An Interview with Patrick Flanery.” Contemporary Literature. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2013. 54(2): 427-458.

“The Leftovers,” (Review). NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction. Durham: Duke University Press, 2013. 46(2): 313-318.

“The Novel’s Third Way: Zadie Smith’s ‘Hysterical Realism’.” Reading Zadie Smith: The First Decade & Beyond. Edit. Philip Tew. London: Bloomsbury, 2014. 141-153.

“Global Special Delivery,” (Review. Contemporary Literature. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2014. 55(1): 182-191.

“The Nation After the Age of the Global.” Diaspora 18, 3 (2015): 392–403. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

“The Limits of World Literature.” Literature Compass. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press (forthcoming 2015).

“An imperfect mechanism is often beautiful: Transition as Form in the Work of Ivan Vladislavić.” States of Transition in South African Fiction: Temporality, Modernity, Futurity. Edit. Rita Barnard and Andrew van der Vlies. Urbana: University of Illinois Press (forthcoming 2015).

“Ugly Duckling: Coetzee’s Decoys.” (under consideration March 2015)

“Corporations are People: Ishiguro’s Clone as Limit.” (in process)


Fall 2015: Introduction to Contemporary World Literatures; Writing the Contemporary: Kazuo Ishiguro and JM Coetzee

Fall 2013: Prizing the Postcolonial: Novels of the Booker Prize; Studies in World Literature:  The Post-Apartheid South African Novel*

Spring 2013: Approaches to Literary Studies (The Agony and Ecstasy of Theory)*; Honors Program Seminar: The Novel and the Terrorist Aesthetic*

Fall 2012:  Approaches to Literary Studies (The Agony and Ecstasy of Theory)*; In the Age of the Global Novel*

Spring 2011:  Faking It: The Hoax and the Novel; Studies in World Literature:  The Post-Apartheid South African Novel*

* selected courses have class blogs. Click on the class title to go to the website.



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