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Robert Spencer


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Personal profile


I joined English and American Studies in 2006.

I teach postcolonial and modernist literature, in addition to literary and cultural theory. The courses I teach include Postcolonial Literature and Theory (third year), Key Issues in Twntieth-Century Cultural Theory (MA), The Future of Modernism (MA), Academic Development (first year). I also lecture on the undergraduate modules Reading Literature, Theory and Text, Standing on the Shoulders of Giants and Writing, Identity and Nation. 

Research interests

My research focuses on postcolonial theory and literary criticism, from a materialist perspective. I have recently published a book, Cosmopolitan Criticism and Postcolonial Literature, that explores the ways in which postcolonial literary texts potentially engender post-nationalist outlooks and allegiances. 

I am also interested in the philosophy and aesthetics of modernism, particularly the relationship between modernism and empire. I am currently working on a study of the potential longevity of modernist themes and forms in postcolonial writing. Other projects include a study of the relationship between 'late style' and modernity, a book on humanism and work on the 'dictator novel' in Africa and Latin America.


Supervision areas:

I welcome enquiries from postgraduate students interested in undertaking research on the politics and aesthetics of modernism, ideas of cosmopolitanism, Marxist cultural theory, or any aspect of postcolonial literature and theory. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Creative Manchester


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