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Novel Infrastructures: Urban Literary Forms in Contemporary Lagos, Johannesburg, and Mumbai
  • Monday, April 22, 2024 - 3:30pm to 6:30pm

FBH Faculty Lounge

Please join us on Monday, April 22nd, at 3:30 pm when Ann Ho will defend her dissertation, "Novel Infrastructures: Urban Literary Forms in Contemporary Lagos, Johannesburg, and Mumbai".

Committee Members: Jim English (chair) | Dagmawi Woubshet | Rahul Mukherjee

This dissertation explores how the contemporary world novel represents urban infrastructural change in rapidly developing postcolonial cities like Lagos, Mumbai, and Johannesburg beginning from the last decade of the 20th century to the present, focusing on the time of hyper-accelerated infrastructural and ideological reconstruction after the formal end of colonialism. 

This project argues that the representation of urban infrastructure in the novel functions as a media architecture internal to the text that delimits character mobilities and organizes narrative development. These literary techniques, which Ho calls ‘novel infrastructures,’ function adjunctively with real surrounding infrastructures to convert social processes into narrative. Ho reads contemporary global novels infrastructurally, analyzing how they thematize and contribute materially to processes of (re)-segregation, eco-degradation, and urbanization to understand how the novel formally changes as cities change.

The public portion will begin at 3:30 pm. At 4:30, Ann will meet with her committee privately, and we will return at 5:30 for her reception, where we'll toast the newly minted Dr. Ho.