Chris Campbell’s research focuses on the field of Caribbean literary studies, with particular emphasis on world literature and ecocritical approaches to twentieth-century Caribbean writing. From a broader perspective his research interests include twentieth-century and contemporary Caribbean literature, approaches to world literature and world-ecology, ecocriticism, Black writing in Britain (from the eighteenth century to the present) and Postcolonial and Green Romanticisms.
His recent research includes the monograph World-Creating Jungles: Wilson Harris, Derek Walcott and the Caribbean Environment (Forthcoming, Rodopi Press, 2015), the book maps out the development each author’s brand of environmental thought through a detailed reading of significant but critically under-explored writings (including Harris’s early poems and Walcott’s plays) and a fresh perspective on the major novels and non-fictional prose by Harris and poems by Walcott.
He is Co-Investigator on an AHRC Research Grant based in the Centre, titled Decolonizing Voices: World Literature and Broadcast Culture at the End of Empire. Making use of the unique access the Yesu Persaud Centre has to the papers, diaries, and letters of the BBC producer Henry Swanzy, the project examines the networks of literary and cultural production in the Anglophone Caribbean, West Africa (specifically Ghana, the work of the Ghana Broadcasting System in Accra), and the mediating role played by the BBC Colonial Service in shaping the stylistic and political contours of emerging world literatures in the twentieth century. The project aims to map out a cultural topography of the uneven production, circulation, and reception of cultural forms within the world-system at the time of decolonization (1945-1968). The project team comprises Dr Michael Niblett (Warwick), Dr Victoria Smith (Warwick), and Prof Stewart Brown (Birmingham). Please see link below for further details:
As part of current research into world literature and world-ecology he is engaged in developing a research network under the rubric of Global Frontiers: Ecologies, Commodities, Labour, and the Arts (ECLAs). The network involves colleagues from the UK, Ireland and the Caribbean and includes a range of interconnected themes, programmes and events: "Plotting the World System: Cash-Crops, Foodways, and Literary Representation", "Captain Swing and King Sugar: Approaches to World-Ecological Comparativism" and "Islands Unchained" (a series of talks and workshops held in the UK and the Caribbean). For further information about the network see link below or click on tabs at the top of the page.
Other current research engages with the history and literature of the Guyanas and involves an examination of travel writing and natural history accounts of the region in C19th and C20th texts. Attending in particular to the development and deployment of eco-primitivism and establishment of the ‘noble eco-savage’ trope, the study seeks to trace out the genealogies and deep textual roots of what, today, is understood as philosophical and sociological environmental racism.
Before coming to the Yesu Persaud Centre, Chris worked for several years in the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary, University of London, Warwick’s strategic partner institution. During this time he taught across a wide range of areas including Caribbean Writing, Postcolonial Literatures, Literature and Ecology, and Modernism and After. He also has an on-going professional interest in issues of student support and welfare and in personal tutoring and pastoral advising, having held the position of Student Support Manager.
This year, with Dr Michael Niblett, he is running a module on modern and contemporary Caribbean literature as part of the new MA in World Literatures programme. See here for further details:
He would be interested to hear from research students working in any of the areas outlined above.
World-Creating Jungles: Wilson Harris, Derek Walcott and the Caribbean Environment (Forthcoming, Rodopi Press, 2015)
“Ariel over the airwaves: George Lamming’s rituals of revenant history”, in Postcolonial Studies and World Literature Special edition of Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 48.5, (2012).
“Illusions of Paradise and Progress: ecocritical perspectives on Earl Lovelace” in Caribbean Literature After Independence: The Case of Earl Lovelace ed. by Bill Schwarz (Institute for the Study of the Americas, 2008).
“What is the Earthly Paradise?” Ecocritical Responses to the Caribbean (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007). A co-edited collection with Erin Somerville.
“’The Sinking Ship’: Environmentality and the Caribbean” co-authored with Erin Somerville, in “What is the Earthly Paradise?”
“Green Anancy: Derek Walcott’s Drama of Environmental Protest” in “What is the Earthly Paradise?”.
“Writing, Representation and Rescue: Narrating an eighteenth-century history in S.I. Martin’s Incomparable World”, New Formations 55 (Spring 2005).