Rebecca L. Walkowitz is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the English Department and an affiliate faculty member in the Comparative Literature Program at Rutgers University. She is First Vice President of the Modernist Studies Association, ascending to President in November 2014. Her research focuses on the translation and global circulation of contemporary fiction, and on transnational approaches to literary history.
Her new book, Born Translated: The Contemporary Novel in an Age of World Literature, will be published by Columbia University Press in June 2015. As Walkowitz shows, many contemporary novels do not simply appear in translation; they have been written for translation from the start. Born Translated engages with recent theories of world literature but rethinks some of the foundational assumptions of that project. It will be the first monograph to consider how the idea of world literature, as a network of multilingual editions and audiences, has changed the aesthetic strategies and formal dimensions of contemporary writing.
Her first book, Cosmopolitan Style: Modernism Beyond the Nation (2006), was awarded Honorable Mention for the Perkins Prize from the International Society for the Study of Narrative.
Walkowitz has published widely in the fields of modernist studies, twentieth-century British fiction, the contemporary novel, and world literature. Recent contributions include "Close Reading in an Age of Global Writing," which appeared in MLQ in 2013, and "Translating the Untranslatable: An Interview with Barbara Cassin," which appeared in Public Books in June 2014. She is the editor or coeditor of seven books, including Immigrant Fictions: Contemporary Literature in an Age of Globalization (2007), Bad Modernisms (2006, with Douglas Mao), and The Turn to Ethics (with Marjorie Garber and Beatrice Hanssen, 2000). From 2008-2012, she was an editor of the journal Contemporary Literature. She has served on the advisory board of the American Comparative Literature Association; as Program Chair of the Modernist Studies Association; and as Chair of the MLA Divisions on Prose Fiction and Twentieth-Century English Literature. At Rutgers, Walkowitz runs a seminar series on Modernism & Globalization.
She is currently writing several essays that consider how the expansive circulation of contemporary literature alters the fundamental concepts and organization of literary history. With Eric Hayot, she is in the final stages of editing a volume of experimental essays by leading scholars in the fields of world literature and modernist studies. That volume, titled A New Vocabulary for Global Modernism, shows how the intellectual paradigms we've long associated with modernism are transformed, and how new paradigms emerge, when modernism's archive extends beyond the European center. It also explores how our methodologies change when we approach modernism comparatively and when we draw out modernism's own engagement with ideas of the world.
With Sarah Cole at Columbia, she is co-organizer of the NYNJ Modernism Seminar. Walkowitz is also editor, with Matthew Hart (Columbia University) and David James (Queen Mary, University of London), of Literature Now, a book series published by Columbia University Press. Literature Now is the first series to welcome studies of contemporary literature that are transnational and comparative as well as national and regional in approach.
Professor Walkowitz is the recipient of several major national and university fellowships, including a Marshall Scholarship, a Javits Fellowship, an ACLS Fellowship, a National Humanties Center Fellowship, a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship, and three teaching prizes from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
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