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Dr Ruth Bush

Biography

My research focuses on African and African diasporic print cultures in French and in English, book history and cultural studies. I am particularly interested in how cultural production (from novels to magazines and spoken word poetry) circulates between the global South and the global North, and the implications of this circulation for questions of aesthetic form and political agency.  

My first book, Publishing Africa in French (Liverpool University Press, 2016), explored the impact of France’s declining Empire on ideas of aesthetic and political value. Based on original archival research, it maps the decisions made by publishers, editors, translators, and writers of African literature, challenging conventional understanding of the French literary field in the twentieth century. I am currently developing a second monograph project on the role of the university in the production of an African literary commons, and the representation of this contested institution across a body of cultural texts, from novels to contemporary spoken word poetry. In parallel, I have worked since 2016 on two large-scale, collaborative projects with external partners in Senegal and Uganda. The first of these projects, funded by an AHRC Global Challenges grant, led to the digitisation of one of the earliest francophone African women’s magazines, Awa: la revue de la femme noire and an exhibition which launched in Dakar in November 2017. For more information see the project website here. The second project, on African Arts Management and Literary Activism, has involved a series of annual workshops at Writivism Festival and a mentorship initiative co-convened with Madhu Krishnan (Bristol), Kate Wallis (Exeter) and Bwesigye Bwa Mwesigire (Writivism). This work is funded through the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account.

My research has appeared in journals including Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Francosphères, Journal of Postcolonial Writing and Cahier d’Etudes africaines. I regularly peer-review for journals such as Wasafiri, African Diaspora, Australian Journal of French Studies and the International Journal of Francophone Studies. I am a member of the steering committee for the new Centre for Black Humanities and I sit on the board of Afrika Eye Festival, the largest African film festival in the South West. 

I would be delighted to hear from prospective postgraduate students interested in pursuing research in any of the areas mentioned above.

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Department of French

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