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University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Massachusetts Amherst

English Department

Faculty Profiles: Laura Doyle

Contact Information:

467 Bartlett Hall
Amherst, MA 0l003
p: 413-545-5516
f: 413-545-3880


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Laura Doyle is Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where she arrived in 1995, after seven years as Assistant Professor at Harvard University. She holds a B.A. from Beloit College, an M.A. from the University of Illinois, and a Ph.D. from Brandeis University. In the Fall of 2010, as Leverhulme Research Professor in residence at the University of Exeter (UK), she presented Leverhulme lectures throughout Britain and Ireland.

At UMass, Doyle is co-convener of the Five College Atlantic/Global Studies Faculty seminar and co-organizer of WSIP, the World Studies Interdisciplinary Project, together with Professors Mwangi-wa-Gĩthĩnji (Economics) and Joye Bowman (History): ( WSIP fosters interdisciplinary work in global and postcolonial studies, with a strong historical focus. In a range of forums, WSIP brings together social scientists and humanists to engage with recent scholarship in world history, especially insofar as it enriches current studies of capitalism, empires, and cultural history.

Doyle's research and teaching explore the dynamic intercultural formation of literary texts: the ways that they are written and read within an uneven, volatile, geopolitical field of relations; the ways that literary genres and traditions often intimate the long history of these writing conditions; and the ways authors and readers imagine positions at odds with the geopolitical field. She has taught courses on global modernisms, history of the novel, body theory, Atlantic-world race studies, and postcolonial global studies.Her current projects develop an “inter-imperial” framework of analysis, including in her book in progress (Untold Returns) and recent essays (see Notes Toward a Dialectical Method: Modernities, Modernisms, and the Crossings of Empire (Literature Compass/6). Doyle also integrates existential philosophy into her study of literature, in particular the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Frantz Fanon. (See Bodies of Resistance and the essay “Toward a Philosophy of Transnationalism” (

Doyle is the recipient of a Rockefeller Fellowship, two ACLS Fellowships (1992, 2010), the CHFA Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research, and CHFA Outstanding Teacher Award. She has also served as Associate Dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, and she has been involved in the University's Center for Teaching, offering workshops for graduate students on leading discussion and facilitating a campus-wide Faculty Book Club on books related to teaching and the university.

Doyle’s book publications include:

*Bordering on the Body: The Racial Matrix of Modern Fiction and Culture (Oxford 1994, recipient of Narrative Society Perkins Prize)

* Freedom's Empire: Race and the Rise of the Novel in Atlantic Modernity, 1640-1940 (Duke 2008)

*Geomodernisms: Race, Modernism, Modernity, co-edited with Laura Winkiel (Indiana 2005)

*Bodies of Resistance: New Phenomenologies of Politics, Agency, and Culture, editor (Northwestern 2001)

Areas of Specialization: African, African American, & African Diaspora Studies, American, Atlantic, & Hemispheric Studies, American Literature, Colonial, Postcolonial, & Transnational Studies, Critical Race and Ethnicity Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Theory and Cultural Studies, 20th Century and Contemporary Literature