Dr Amy Rushton focuses on twentieth and twenty first century world-literature in English, with specific foci on North American and Sub-Saharan African fiction and memoir, as well as postcolonial, queer and Marxian critical theories. By combining close textual analysis, a focus on a region, and a conception of the world-system, their research investigates how work inspired by systemic analysis productively speaks to area-based approaches that prioritise historical and cultural specificity. To create and deepen conceptual narratives across the disciplines of world literature and postcolonial studies, Amy's work argues that it is imperative to consider global commonalities of colonial and neo-colonial inequalities.Their current project uses a comparative regional focus to interrogate current discourses concerning the ongoing global mental health ‘crisis’, as well as providing conceptual groundwork for interdisciplinary approaches to discussing depression in a global context.
Amy currently supervises four PhD research projects funded by Midlands4Cities and is Director of Studies for three of these projects. They teach and supervise postgraduate students as part of the MRes in English Literary Research and deliver lectures and seminars on a range of undergraduate modules, including Postcolonial Texts, American Literature, Culture and Anarchy, Reading Gender and Sexuality, and Dissertation supervision.
From February 2020, Amy is also the Project Officer for the AHRC funded On Page and on Stage: Celebrating Dalit and Adivasi Literatures and Performing Arts, led by Dr Nicole Thiara.
Dr Rushton completed their PhD in English and American Studies at the University of Manchester in 2016. Prior to their appointment at NTU, Amy held teaching posts at a range of institutions, including the University of Manchester, University of Salford, and Gildsmiths, University of London. They remain affiliated with the University of London International Programme in English.
Amy currently leads the World Literature Network’s research cluster on World Literature and Mental Health and is a Co-opted Trustee for the National Survivor User Network (NSUN) in the UK.
- Interventions in postcolonial theory and world-literature
- Contemporary literature
- Interdisciplinary research on mental health
- Critical theories, especially Marxian, queer, and materialist critiques
- Popular music and culture
Dr Rushton is currently revising her PhD thesis, ‘Re-reading ‘the tragic continent’: exploring and contesting narratives of tragedy in recent Anglophone African fiction’. Productively operating between postcolonial studies and recent work on world systems theory, this project considers why Africa has been portrayed as ‘the tragic continent’, arguing that nuanced understanding of literary form helps us to rethink post-1945 geopolitical narratives. Instead of simply tragic, contemporary fiction dramatise the utopian possibilities contained within the continent’s past, present and future.
- ‘On the back of a hyena: depression and the (post-)colonial context in Tsitsi Dangarembga’s This Mournable Body’, Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writings, 19:2 (2019) 21-36.
- ‘Who’s responsible – you fucking are’: contesting narratives of the ongoing ‘mental health crisis’ in the UK’, Key Words, 17 (2019) 87–108.
- ‘No place like home: the anxiety of return in Taiye Selasi’s Ghana Must Go and Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor’s Dust’, Études Anglaises, 70:1 (2017) 45-62.
- ‘‘A bubble in the vein: suicide, community and the rejection of neoliberalism in Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life and Miriam Toews’s All My Puny Sorrows’, in World Literature, Neoliberalism and the Culture of Discontent, ed. Sharae Deckard and Stephen Shapiro (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019) pp. 195-213.
- ‘A History of Darkness: Exoticising Strategies and the Nigerian Civil War in Half of a Yellow Sun’, in Neo-Historical Exoticism and Contemporary Fiction, ed. Elodie Rousselot (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) pp. 178-95.
Educational / Reference Materials
- ‘Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe’, The Literary Encyclopedia (2012).
Dr Rushton is happy to offer comment on a range of contemporary political and cultural topics including:
- New or emerging interventions in postcolonial studies (world-systemic influences, ecocriticism, neo-colonialism and neoliberalism)
- Narratives of mental health, particularly depression
- Trends in literary and popular musical cultures (post-WWII to contemporary)
- Prize culture (literature and popular music), particularly regarding issues of gender and race