Hilary J. Thompson

Assistant Professor of English

Teaching this semester

ENGL 3012. Cosmopolitanism and Creaturely Life

Hilary Thompson
An exploration of the ways contemporary planetary consciousness has influenced conceptions of the human and the animal, as well as their supposed difference. Examines, in light of modern and current world literature, new models for both the exemplary world citizen and human species identity. Investigates to what extent, and by what creative means, reconsiderations of humans’ impact on the planet and place in the world are recorded in narratives of other creatures and the perceptual possibilities of their worlds. Texts may include fiction by Kafka, Rilke, Borges, Woolf, Murakami, and Sinha, as well as the philosophies of Uexkull, Heidegger, Derrida, Latour, and Agamben.

Education

  • Ph.D. in English Language and Literature, University of Michigan; Ann Arbor, 1998
  • M.A. in English Language and Literature, University of Michigan; Ann Arbor, 1994
  • B.A. with Distinction in English and Philosophy (minor), University of Toronto, 1989

Selected Publications

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

“Animal Worlds and Anthropological Machines in Yann Martel’s Millennial Novel Life of Pi.” Creatural Fictions: Human-Animal Relationships in Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Literature. Ed. David Herman. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. 173-92.

“Before After: Amitav Ghosh’s Pre-1856 Cosmopolis as Post-9/11 Lost Object.” The City Since 9/11: Literature, Film, Television. Ed. Keith Wilhite. London: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2016. 161-75.

“The Shadow Lines as Outline for a Planetary Oblique Archaeology.” Amitav Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines: A Critical Anthology. Ed. Sandip Ain. Delhi, India: Worldview, 2011. 204-223.

“The Colonial City as Inverted Laboratory in Baumgartner’s Bombay and The Calcutta Chromosome.” Journal of Narrative Theory 39.3 (Fall 2009): 347-368.

“Time and Its Countermeasures: Modern Messianisms in Woolf, Benjamin, and Agamben.” Modernism and Theory: A Critical Debate. Ed. Stephen Ross. New York: Routledge, 2009. 86-98.

“Encrypted Ancestries: Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day and Its Uncanny Inheritances.” The Asian Gothic: Essays on Literature, Film and Anime. Ed. Andrew Hock Soon Ng. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2008. 73-87.

“Virginia Woolf and Michele Montrelay’s Unconscious Signifier.” Virginia Woolf Miscellany 52 (Fall 1998): 5-6.

Works in Progress

Millennial Animals: The Animal Turn in Turn-of-the-Millennium Fiction (book manuscript)

“Ghosh in The Great Game: The Shadow Lines as Post-1857 and Post-9/11 Reading.” Approaches to Teaching Amitav Ghosh. Ed. Gaurav Desai and John C. Hawley. Modern Language Association of America Publications. (accepted for publication and forthcoming)

Representations of money and capital in early modern literature; the eighteenth-century novel; Samuel Richardson; sentimentalism; the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century gothic; law and literature; literature and the history of medicine.

Conferences and Presentations

Panels Organized

2013 “Islands of Contention” (co-chair)
American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) Annual Conference
University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, April 4-7, 2013

2012 “Discontemporaries: Turning Over/Overturning the Present” (co-chair)
American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) Annual Conference
Brown University, Providence, RI, March 29-April 1, 2012

Papers Presented

2013 “Outposts of the Millennium: Experimental Islands in Yann Martel and J.G. Ballard”
American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) Annual Conference
University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, April 4-7, 2013

2013 “Before After: Amitav Ghosh’s Pre-1856 Cosmopolis as Post-9/11 Lost Object”
Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) Annual Convention
Boston, MA, March 21-23, 2013

2013 “Beyond Mere Humanity? The Artist as Animal”
Stonecoast MFA Creative Writing Residency Literary Theory Workshop
University of Southern Maine, Freeport, ME, January 4-14, 2013

2012 “Crossed Objects Part 2: Amitav Ghosh’s Ibis Trilogy”
American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) Annual Conference
Brown University, Providence, RI, March 29-April 1, 2012

2009 “Floating Premises: Potential Politics of Identity and Sovereignty in Sea of Poppies”
Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention
Philadelphia, PA, December 27-30, 2009

2009 “The Mark-Worlds of Modernism in Benjamin, Uexkull, and Woolf”
Modernist Studies Association (MSA) Annual Convention
Montreal, Quebec, Canada, November 5-8, 2009

2009 “Anita Desai’s and Amitav Ghosh’s Strains of World Citizenship”
American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) Annual Conference
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, March 26-29, 2009

2009 “The Inheritance of Dust: The Dystopic Polis from Ruth Prawer Jhabvala to Anita and Kiran Desai”
Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) Annual Convention
Boston, MA, February 26-March 1, 2009

2008 “Splitting Milk: Modernist Dead Metaphor Meets Prophetic Malapropism in R. K. Narayan’s Waiting for the Mahatma”|
Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) Annual Convention
Buffalo, NY, April 10-13, 2008

2007 “The Coming Species: The Life of the Special in Philip K. Dick, Mark Haddon, and Kazuo Ishiguro”
Logics of the Living Conference
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, October 12-14, 2007

2007 “Dog Got Your Tongue? Or Curious Cures for Mysterious Malaises”
National Popular Culture/American Culture Assoc. (PCA/ACA) Joint Conference
Boston, MA, April 4-7, 2007

2007 “From Necropolis to Polis: Endocryptic Citizenship in Anita Desai’s Baumgartner’s Bombay”
Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) Annual Convention
Baltimore, MD, March 1-4, 2007

2003 “Not Helping Being: Empathy, Ontology, and Allegory in The Remains of the Day”
Midwest Modern Language Association (MMLA) Annual Convention
Chicago, IL, November 7-9, 2003

2001 “Thud: The Phonic Icon in Mrs. Dalloway”
Midwest Modern Language Association (MMLA) Annual Convention
Cleveland, OH, November 1-3, 2001

1997 “Bypassing the Bar: Joyce and Structuralism’s Greatest Taboo”
North American James Joyce Conference: Historical Joyce/Hysterical Joyce
Toronto, Canada, June 11-16, 1997