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Abigail Ward

Assistant Professor in English Literature, Faculty of Arts

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Expertise Summary

Postcolonial literature and theory; Caribbean literature; black and Asian writing in Britain; black Atlantic writing; postcolonial trauma narratives; new slavery and human trafficking; black autobiographical writing. I have particular expertise in contemporary literary representations of slavery and Indian indenture in the Caribbean.

Teaching Summary

During the 2017-18 academic year, I am a Leverhulme International Academic Fellow at the University of Calgary, Canada, so will not be teaching on any modules.

I usually teach on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules, including

  • Contemporary Fiction
  • Modern and Contemporary Literature
  • Academic Community
  • Studying Literature
  • Literature and Popular Culture
  • Regional Writers
  • Place, Region, Empire (MA)
  • Literature since 1950 (MA)

Research Summary

I am currently a Leverhulme International Academic Fellow at the University of Calgary, working on a research project 'In dialogue with the past: Legacies of the transatlantic slave trade in Canada's… read more

Recent Publications

  • WARD, ABIGAIL, 2017. ‘“Dead men tell no tales, but dead white men document plenty”: Imagining the Middle Passage in Caryl Phillips’s Crossing the River and Fred D’Aguiar’s Feeding the Ghosts'. In: BIGOT, CORINNE, COOMBES, SAM and KRAL, FRANCOISE, eds., The Place of Memory in Diasporic Cultures Routledge. (In Press.)
  • WARD, ABIGAIL, 2016. 'New Voices: Multicultural Short Stories’. In: DOMINIC HEAD, ed., The Cambridge Companion to the English Short Story Cambridge University Press. 341-57
  • WARD, ABIGAIL, 2016. Servitude and Slave Narratives:: Tracing ‘New Slaveries’ in Mende Nazer’s Slave and Zadie Smith’s ‘The Embassy of Cambodia’ Wasafiri. 31(3), 44-50
  • WARD, ABIGAIL, 2015. 'Performing Race in Caryl Phillips's Dancing in the Dark'. In: LEN PLATT and SARA UPSTONE, eds., Postmodern Literature and Race Cambridge University Press. 98-112

I would be very interested to hear from students who wish to undertake a PhD in postcolonial literature (particularly in the areas of Caribbean literature, black and Asian writing in Britain, slavery, Indian indenture, regional and rural black and Asian British writing, and postcolonial trauma). I am currently on the supervisory teams for two PhDs students:

  • Kaho Hiura (Memory and Trauma in Ishiguro's Fiction)
  • Morakot Pan-Iam (Loneliness and Subjectivity in Apartheid Writing)

Recently completed PhD students include:

  • Elaine Hudson (Autobiography in Woolf, James and Plath) - PhD awarded 2015
  • Alan McCluskey (Cosmopolitanism in Contemporary Literature) - PhD awarded 2014

Current Research

I am currently a Leverhulme International Academic Fellow at the University of Calgary, working on a research project 'In dialogue with the past: Legacies of the transatlantic slave trade in Canada's modern-day slavery'. A related essay, 'Servitude and Slave Narratives: Tracing "New Slaveries" in Mende Nazer's Slave and Zadie Smith's "The Embassy of Cambodia",' was recently published in Wasafiri, 31:3 (2016).

I am interested in postcolonial literature (especially black writing in Britain and Caribbean literature). My first monograph was entitled Caryl Phillips, David Dabydeen and Fred D'Aguiar: Representations of Slavery (Manchester University Press, 2011; paperback 2015), and my interest in literary and visual representations of slavery continues. I am an active member of the Institute for the Study of Slavery, and published or forthcoming research on this topic includes essays on Caryl Phillips, David Dabydeen, Fred D'Aguiar, Beryl Gilroy, Dorothea Smartt, Grace Nichols and Marlene NourbeSe Philip.

I am also finalising an AHRC-funded monograph examining literary representations of Indian indenture in Trinidadian and Guyanese writing, and have published related essays on the short stories of Ismith Khan, Harold Sonny Ladoo's novel No Pain Like This Body and Peggy Mohan's Jahajin.

I am also the editor of Postcolonial Traumas: Memory, Narrative, Resistance (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), which explores new possibilities for understanding postcolonial traumas, with representations of both personal and collective traumas from around the globe. The subtitle reflects some of the key shared concerns in the works examined; namely, the difficulty of dealing with memories of trauma (too painful to remember, yet too important to forget); the challenge of narrating a traumatic past; and the modes of resistance to trauma which we see emerging in the various creative texts under exploration in this volume.

Other recent work includes a chapter on the multicultural short story in Britain, published in The Cambridge History of the English Short Story, edited by Dominic Head (Cambridge University Press, 2016) and a chapter '"Dead men tell no tales, but dead white men document plenty": Imagining the Middle Passage in Caryl Phillips's Crossing the River and Fred D'Aguiar's Feeding the Ghosts ', forthcoming in The Place of Memory in Diasporic Cultures, ed. by Corinne Bigot, Sam Coombes and Françoise Kral.

Current research interests include:

  • Literary and visual representations of slavery and Indian indenture
  • Modern-day slavery and human trafficking
  • Caribbean literature
  • Black writing in Britain
  • Black Atlantic writing
  • Black autobiographical writing and testimony
  • Postcolonial literatures and theory
  • Postcolonial trauma narratives
  • Regional and rural black and Asian British writing
  • Blackface minstrelsy
  • WARD, ABIGAIL, 2017. ‘“Dead men tell no tales, but dead white men document plenty”: Imagining the Middle Passage in Caryl Phillips’s Crossing the River and Fred D’Aguiar’s Feeding the Ghosts'. In: BIGOT, CORINNE, COOMBES, SAM and KRAL, FRANCOISE, eds., The Place of Memory in Diasporic Cultures Routledge. (In Press.)
  • WARD, ABIGAIL, 2016. 'New Voices: Multicultural Short Stories’. In: DOMINIC HEAD, ed., The Cambridge Companion to the English Short Story Cambridge University Press. 341-57
  • WARD, ABIGAIL, 2016. Servitude and Slave Narratives:: Tracing ‘New Slaveries’ in Mende Nazer’s Slave and Zadie Smith’s ‘The Embassy of Cambodia’ Wasafiri. 31(3), 44-50
  • WARD, ABIGAIL, 2015. 'Performing Race in Caryl Phillips's Dancing in the Dark'. In: LEN PLATT and SARA UPSTONE, eds., Postmodern Literature and Race Cambridge University Press. 98-112
  • WARD, ABIGAIL, ed., 2015. Postcolonial Traumas: Memory, Narrative, Resistance Palgrave Macmillan.
  • WARD, ABIGAIL, 2015. 'Indian-Caribbean Trauma: Indian Indenture and its Legacies in Harold Sonny Ladoo's No Pain Like This Body'. In: ABIGAIL WARD, ed., Postcolonial Traumas: Memory, Narrative, Resistance Palgrave Macmillan. 127-42.
  • WARD, ABIGAIL, 2015. 'Introduction'. In: ABIGAIL WARD, ed., Postcolonial Traumas: Memory, Narrative, Resistance Palgrave Macmillan. 1-13.
  • WARD, ABIGAIL, 2014. '"Word People": A Conversation with David Dabydeen' Atlantic Studies. 11(1), 30-46
  • WARD, A., 2013. Assuming the burden of memory: the translation of Indian indenture in Peggy Mohan’s 'Jahajin' The Journal of Commonwealth Literature. 48(2), 269-286
  • ABIGAIL WARD, 2013. 'Understanding Postcolonial Traumas' Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology. 33(3), 170-184
  • ABIGAIL WARD, 2012. ‘“The Cloud of Ambivalence”: Exploring Diasporan Identity in The Atlantic Sound and A New World Order’. In: BÉNÉDICTE LEDENT and DARIA TUNCA, eds., Caryl Phillips: Writing in the Key of Life Rodopi. 191-212
  • ABIGAIL WARD, 2012. 'An Interview with Caryl Phillips' Contemporary Literature. 53(4), 629-45
  • WARD, A., 2011. "Looking across the Atlantic” in Caryl Phillips’s In the Falling Snow Journal of Postcolonial Writing. 47(3), 296-308
  • ABIGAIL WARD, 2011. ‘David Dabydeen’s A Harlot’s Progress: Re-presenting the Slave Narrative Genre’,. In: LYNNE MACEDO, ed., Talking Words: Essays on David Dabydeen University of the West Indies Press. 73-83
  • ABIGAIL WARD, 2011. ‘Tracing Significant Footsteps: Ismith Khan and the Indian-Caribbean Short Story’. In: LUCY EVANS, MARK MCWATT and EMMA SMITH, eds., The Caribbean Short Story: Critical Perspectives Peepal Tree Press. 95-109
  • WARD, A., 2011. Caryl Phillips, David Dabydeen and Fred D’Aguiar: representations of slavery Manchester University Press.
  • WARD, ABIGAIL, 2011. 'Fred D'Aguiar'. In: The Literary Encyclopedia
  • WARD, ABIGAIL, 2010. 'Black British Writing'. In: JOHN CLEMENT BALL, ed., The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction World Fiction. 3. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • ABIGAIL WARD and DAVE GUNNING, 2009. ‘Editorial: Tracing black America in black British culture’ Atlantic Studies. 6(2), 149-158
  • GUNNING, DAVE and WARD, ABIGAIL, eds., 2009. Special Issue of Atlantic Studies: ‘Tracing black America in black British culture’. 6(2)
  • WARD, ABIGAIL, 2008. 'David Dabydeen'. In: The Literary Encyclopedia
  • ABIGAIL WARD, 2007. ‘David Dabydeen’s A Harlot’s Progress: Re-presenting the Slave Narrative Genre ’ Journal of Postcolonial Writing. 43(1), 32-44
  • ABIGAIL WARD, 2007. ‘An Outstretched Hand: Connection and Affiliation in Crossing the River’ Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writings. 7(1), 20-32
  • ABIGAIL WARD, 2007. ‘Psychological Formulations of the Postcolonial’. In: JOHN MCLEOD, ed., Routledge Companion to Postcolonial Studies Routledge. 190-201
  • ABIGAIL WARD, 2007. ‘Postmemories of Slavery in Fred D’Aguiar’s Bloodlines’. In: JUDITH MISRAHI-BARAK, ed., Revisiting Slave Narratives II Presses Universitaires de la Méditerranée. 73-98
  • ABIGAIL WARD, 2005. ‘Vanishing Creoles: Tracing White Caribbeans’. In: GRAHAM HUGGAN and STEPHAN KLASEN, eds., Perspectives on Endangerment Olms. 121-128

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