Department of English

Joseph Slaughter (PhD '98) Wins ACLA's René Wellek Prize

Tue, June 10, 2008
Human Rights, Inc.: The World Novel, Narrative Form, and International Law by Joseph R. Slaughter (PhD 1998) was awarded the René Wellek Prize for the outstanding work in the field of literary and cultural theory for the triennium 2005-2007. The prize is sponsored by the American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) and this year’s citation praised Slaughter’s study as a “magisterial book,” one that is “truly interdisciplinary, reading literature through law in a way that demonstrates a deep familiarity with both.”

Human Rights, Inc. (Fordham University Press 2007) builds on Slaughter’s doctoral work in the Ethnic and Third Literatures graduate concentration in English and his dissertation, Protagonizing Narratives: The Role of the Voice in Literatures of Trauma and Human Rights (supervisor Barbara Harlow). On receiving his degree, Joey took up a position as assistant professor at the University of Montana, and is currently associate professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He has also held visiting appointments at The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. His essay, “Enabling Fictions and Novel Subjects: The Bildungsroman and International Human Rights Law.” [PMLA 121.5 (2006)] was awarded honorable mention in the competition for the William Riley Parker Prize as one of the two best essays published in PMLA in 2006-7.

In addition to publishing and lecturing widely on topics relating to literature and human rights and ethnic and third world literatures, Slaughter has also contributed significantly to institutional and academic initiatives and professional associations on related issues. He is currently working on a new book project, tentatively entitled “New Word Orders: Plagiarism, Postcolonialism, and the Globalization of the Novel.”
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