DIRK VAN RENS
Early Stage Researcher
I am a grant-based researcher working on my doctoral dissertation. My work is currently funded by grants from the OLVI Foundation and the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.
I started my PhD studies in English Language and Culture (as part of the Doctoral Programme in Social and Cultural Encounters, SCE) in January 2021, having received my MA degree in English Language and Culture from the University of Eastern Finland in June 2020. I also hold a BA in English Language and Culture, which I received from Radboud University in June 2018.
My doctoral dissertation focuses on the (re)writing of history in contemporary (anglophone) black diaspora literature. Concretely, I will analyse Fred D'Aguiar's Feeding the Ghosts (1997), Andrea Levy's The Long Song (2010), Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad (2016), and Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing (2016). The main objectives of my research are twofold: 1) To analyse the extent to which the four selected novels employ postmodern narrative strategies to (re)write history concerned with the black diaspora, 2) To explore the potential reasons behind and effects of these (re)writings of history by approaching the texts from the combined perspectives of postcolonialism, trauma theory, and cultural memory. My work is supervised by Prof Jopi Nyman and Dr Anna-Leena Toivanen.