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Department of English Language and Literature


Greg Forter

Title: Professor and Associate Chair
Department: English Language and Literature
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-576-5895
Office: HUO, Room 517
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
English Language and Literature


Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1998


Postcolonial literature and theory
Twentieth-Century US literature
Historical fiction
Gender studies and feminist theory
Critical race theory


Global Contemporary Literature
Literary Hauntings: Ghosts, Specters, and Other Undead
Global Capitalism and Literary Form
The American Novel Since 1914
History and Utopia: Global Historical and Speculative/Science Fictions
Postcolonial Historical Fiction
Modern American Literature
Modernist Masculinities

Research Projects 

I’m working on a book called “Time and World in Global Anglophone Literature” that asks two large questions: what is the concept of “world” implicit in the idea of “global Anglophone literature”? And how do works in this body of literature link “world” not just to space—to such literature’s “reach” across the globe, for example—but to particular ways of inhabiting time?

The first question opens onto a range of recent debates surrounding capitalist globalization. It allows me to explore what literature has to teach us about the variety of local “worlds” produced by globalization, the different conceptions of globalism embedded in the terms “postcolonial” and “global Anglophone,” and the question of English as an increasingly potent lingua franca that mediates and legitimates the production, circulation, and consumption of literature around the world. Here my aim is synthetic and polemical. I attempt to grasp the limits of current discussions of Anglophone literature that treat it as either a form of cultural imperialism or the benign corollary in the domain of culture to political processes of global integration.

My intuition about the second question is that it provides a unique vantage point for imagining alternatives to capitalist globalization. That is, to ask how global Anglophone literature views the world as a temporal rather than a merely spatial phenomenon is to reveal how these works think of time as multiple rather than singular. They depict the present world as haunted by pasts that contain both the hidden history of contemporary power dynamics and the residue of unrealized possibilities for more just and equitable social relations. In this way, my book explores how literature retrieves from our damaged present the memory of pasts that open onto a radically transfigured, egalitarian future.


   • “Nature, Capitalism, and the Temporalities of Sleep: On Karen Thompson Walker’s The Dreamers,” Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts 63.4 (2021): 409-34
   • “World Enough, and Time: Zoë Wicomb’s David’s Story with Marcuse, Benjamin, and Chakrabarty,” Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry 8.1 (2021): 60-79
   • “Capitalism, Temporality, Precarity: Utopian Form and Its Discontents in Contemporary Literature and Theory,” Cultural Critique (forthcoming, Spring 2022)
   • “James Baldwin’s Joy: Finitude, Carnality, Queer Community,” New Perspectives on Community and the Modernist Subject: Finite, Singular, Exposed, eds. Maria L. López, et. al. (London & New York: Routledge, 2017), 213-30
   • Atlantic and Other Worlds: Critique and Utopia in Postcolonial Historical Fiction,” PMLA 131.5 (October 2016): 1328-43
   • “‘A Good Head and a Better Whip’: Ireland, Enlightenment, and the Body of Slavery in Marlon James’s The Book of Night Women,” Slavery and Abolition 37.3 (2016): 521-40 (special issue on Ireland and Atlantic World Slavery, eds. Fionnghuala Sweeney, Fionnuala Dillane, Maria Stewart)

   • Critique and Utopia in Postcolonial Historical Fiction: Atlantic and Other Worlds (Oxford UP, 2019)
   • Gender, Race, and Mourning in American Modernism (Cambridge UP, 2011)
   • Murdering Masculinities: Fantasies of Gender and Violence in the American Crime Novel (New York UP, 2000)

   • “Faulkner and Trauma: On Sanctuary’s Originality,” Cambridge Companion to William Faulkner (Cambridge UP, 2015)
   • “Colonial Trauma, Utopian Carnality, Modernist Form: Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things and Toni Morrison’s Beloved,” Contemporary Approaches in Literary Trauma Theory (Palgrave, 2014)
   • “Barry Unsworth and the Arts of Power: Historical Memory, Utopian Fictions,” Contemporary Literature 51.4 (2011)
   • “Freud, Faulkner, Caruth: Trauma and the Politics of Literary Form,” Narrative 15.3 (2007)
   • “Against Melancholia: Contemporary Mourning Theory, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, and the Politics of Unfinished Grief,” differences (2003)

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.