Dr Isabelle Hesse

PhD (York, UK)
Lecturer

A20 - John Woolley Building
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 9351 6859

Biographical details

Isabelle Hesse researches and teaches in the area of modern and contemporary world literatures. Her work is situated at the nexus of postcolonial, Jewish, and Middle Eastern studies and has been published in Textual Practice, The Journal for Cultural Research, and Postcolonial Text. She also has forthcoming articles in New Formations, Studies in Travel Writing, and The Journal of Jewish Identities.

Her first book The Politics of Jewishness (2016) addressed a significant shift in cultural perceptions of Jewishness by examining how the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine has extended ideas of Jewishness conflated with diaspora, marginality, victimhood, and the Holocaust. Through close analysis of literary productions from different geopolitical contexts – from post-war Germany to postcolonial writing to Palestine and Israel – this book demonstrates that constructions of Jewishness have taken a ‘colonial’ turn in the contemporary period, as world literature increasingly situates Jewishness in relation to Zionism and colonialism, positing Jewish identity as a means of questioning received ideas about victimhood and power. Listen to Isabelle speaking about the book here.

Her current book project brings together theories of world literature and world cinema to develop an innovative theoretical approach to examining how literature and film reimagine politically charged contexts. Using the representation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in British and German literature and film since 1987 as a case study, her aim is to develop a new theory of ‘worlding’ to uncover the underlying power dynamics between centres (Europe) and peripheries (the Middle East) as imagined in ostensibly non-political cultural discourse.

Research interests

  • Theories of world literature and world cinema
  • Postcolonial writing and theory
  • Palestinian and Israeli literature and film
  • The intersection between postcolonial and Jewish studies
  • The cultural memory of colonialism and the Holocaust in Europe

Teaching and supervision

Current and Past Teaching

Supervision
Isabelle welcomes enquiries from students interested in working in the area of postcolonial and/or world literature and theory, especially Palestinian and Israeli literature and film; the intersection between postcolonial, Jewish, and Middle Eastern studies; and the politics of remembering the Holocaust and colonialism in Europe.

Current research students

Project title Research student
Sadism, suffering and silence: the portrayal of female concentration camp guards in post-Second World War literature Angharad HAMPSHIRE
Relational Poetics Dashiell MOORE

Associations

Awards and honours

  • 2018, Fellow, Higher Education Academy, UK
  • 2014, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Humanities Research Centre, University of York, UK
  • 2012, Fellow. DAAD Conference, University of Birmingham, UK
  • 2012, Fellow. Summer Institute on the Holocaust and Jewish Civilization, Holocaust Research Centre, RHUL, UK and Holocaust Educational Foundation, USA

PhD and master's project opportunities

Selected grants

2017

  • Teaching Literature and Writing in the Digital Age; Hesse I, Rooney B, Johinke R, Yahp B, Lee F, Lilley K; DVC Education/Small Educational Innovation Grant.

Selected publications

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Books

  • Hesse, I. (2016). The Politics of Jewishness in Contemporary World Literature: The Holocaust, Zionism and Colonialism. London: Bloomsbury. [More Information]

Book Chapters

  • Hesse, I. (2016). German Empire. In Sangeeta Ray, Henry Schwarz (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies, (pp. 647-651). Malden: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.

Journals

  • Hesse, I. (2017). Competitive Memories: The Holocaust and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in Contemporary British Culture. New Formations: a journal of culture/theory/politics, 93, 46-63. [More Information]
  • Hesse, I. (2017). Sensory siege: dromocolonisation, slow violence, and poetic realism in the twenty-first century short story from Gaza. Journal for Cultural Research, 21(2), 190-203. [More Information]
  • Hesse, I. (2014). Colonizing Jewishness? Minority, Exile, and Belonging in Anita Desai's 'Baumgartner's Bombay' and Caryl Phillips's 'The Nature of Blood'. Textual Practice, 28(5), 881-899. [More Information]
  • Hesse, I. (2014). From Colonised to Coloniser: Reading the Figure of the Jew in Edgar Hilsenrath's Der Nazi und der Friseur and Jurek Becker's Bronsteins Kinder. Postcolonial Text, 9(4), 1-16. [More Information]

Edited Journals

  • Hesse, I. (2014). The Parapostcolonial: Interdisciplinary Perspectives and New Approaches. Postcolonial Text, 9(4).

Reference Works

  • Hesse, I. (2014). Sahar Khalifeh. The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 6.1.1: Israeli and Palestinian Writing and Culture. The Literary Dictionary Company Ltd. [More Information]
  • Hesse, I. (2014). Shulamith Hareven. The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 6.1.1: Israeli and Palestinian Writing and Culture. The Literary Dictionary Company Ltd. [More Information]
  • Hesse, I. (2013). Caryl Phillips's 'The Nature of Blood'. The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 1.2.1.09: Postwar and Contemporary English Writing and Culture , 1945-present. The Literary Dictionary Company Ltd. [More Information]
  • Hesse, I. (2013). David Grossman. The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 6.1.1: Israeli and Palestinian Writing and Culture. The Literary Dictionary Company Ltd. [More Information]

Other

2018

2017

  • Hesse, I. (2017). Competitive Memories: The Holocaust and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in Contemporary British Culture. New Formations: a journal of culture/theory/politics, 93, 46-63. [More Information]
  • Hesse, I. (2017). Sensory siege: dromocolonisation, slow violence, and poetic realism in the twenty-first century short story from Gaza. Journal for Cultural Research, 21(2), 190-203. [More Information]

2016

  • Hesse, I. (2016). German Empire. In Sangeeta Ray, Henry Schwarz (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies, (pp. 647-651). Malden: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.
  • Hesse, I. (2016). The Politics of Jewishness in Contemporary World Literature: The Holocaust, Zionism and Colonialism. London: Bloomsbury. [More Information]

2014

  • Hesse, I. (2014). Colonizing Jewishness? Minority, Exile, and Belonging in Anita Desai's 'Baumgartner's Bombay' and Caryl Phillips's 'The Nature of Blood'. Textual Practice, 28(5), 881-899. [More Information]
  • Hesse, I. (2014). From Colonised to Coloniser: Reading the Figure of the Jew in Edgar Hilsenrath's Der Nazi und der Friseur and Jurek Becker's Bronsteins Kinder. Postcolonial Text, 9(4), 1-16. [More Information]
  • Hesse, I. (2014). Sahar Khalifeh. The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 6.1.1: Israeli and Palestinian Writing and Culture. The Literary Dictionary Company Ltd. [More Information]
  • Hesse, I. (2014). Shulamith Hareven. The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 6.1.1: Israeli and Palestinian Writing and Culture. The Literary Dictionary Company Ltd. [More Information]
  • Hesse, I. (2014). The Parapostcolonial: Interdisciplinary Perspectives and New Approaches. Postcolonial Text, 9(4).

2013

  • Hesse, I. (2013). Caryl Phillips's 'The Nature of Blood'. The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 1.2.1.09: Postwar and Contemporary English Writing and Culture , 1945-present. The Literary Dictionary Company Ltd. [More Information]
  • Hesse, I. (2013). David Grossman. The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 6.1.1: Israeli and Palestinian Writing and Culture. The Literary Dictionary Company Ltd. [More Information]

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