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CHELSEA HAITH

Writer/Researcher

I am a doctoral student at the University of Oxford, working on speculative fiction and urban geopolitics. My research interests include AI, the future of publishing, refugee poetry, gender studies, postcolonial theory, and representations of contemporary humanitarian crises such as climate chaos, totalitarianism, technocracy, corporate greed and global poverty.

Uncomfortable Oxford
Literary Tour

I wrote the script and hosted the walking tour 'Uncomfortable Oxford Literary Tour' during the October 2019 IF Festival. Read about the motivations of this work on the Uncomfortable Oxford blog.

Oxford Science and Ideas Festival

I represented Futures Thinking at the 2019 Oxford Science and Ideas Festival, running an interactive research project titled 'The Noise That Keeps Me Awake At Night.'  Below is a page from the IF Festival's programme that featured a profile on my work.

The Responsibilities of the Author and the Archive: On the Award of the Bodley Medal to Sir Kazuo Ishiguro

Attended the Bodley Medal ceremony and dinner at the April 2019 Oxford Literary Festival celebrating the work of Sir Kazuo Ishiguro.  
Read here for more.

 
 

BIO

@chelsea_haith

My interest in urban incohesion and literary representations of humanitarian crises originates from witnessing systemic exclusion during my childhood spent in Johannesburg, South Africa.  I completed a Bachelor of Arts and a BA Honours at the University Currently Known as Rhodes before moving to the University of Cape Town to pursue a second Honours degree in Gender Studies. Following the completion of this Bachelor of Social Sciences Honours at UCT I moved to the UK, where I joined the Centre for Modern Studies at the University of York. I obtained a Masters in Culture and Thought After 1945 from the University of York, which led me to adopt an interdisciplinary framework for my current research. Currently, I am a fully-funded student at the University of Oxford, reading for a DPhil in the Faculty of English, and based at Wolfson College. I am the PI and founder of the research network Futures Thinking. My research is on speculative fiction as a political literary genre that engages concerns from urban geopolitics and postcolonial theory.

CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS

I present my research regularly at workshops, seminars and conferences around the world. I also run events, seminars and conferences through Futures Thinking, a research network that I founded at the University of Oxford.

ENGLISH: SHARED FUTURES

26-28 June 2020, Manchester/Salford

POSTPONED TO 2021 DUE TO COVID-19

Presenting/speaking on two panels:
- Another Heritage of Letters: British literature, publishing, and memory reexamined. 
- Lyndsey Stonebridge’s Placeless People

GENDERING TECHNOLOGY

6 & 7 May 2020,
Maison Française, Oxford

CANCELLED DUE TO COVID-19

Invited to speak on the conference's concluding roundtable on Narratives of Gender in Technology. 

SOCIETY FOR NOVEL STUDIES BIENNIAL

2-4 April 2020, Oxford
CANCELLED DUE TO COVID-19

Presenting a paper on the 'The Novel In Crisis' panel, organised by myself and colleagues. 

AMERCIAN COMPARATIVE LITERATURE ASSOCIATION 2020

19-22 March 2020, Chicago
CANCELLED DUE TO COVID-19

Accepted to present on the Fictions of the Neoliberal City at the ACLA Conference, Chicago 2020.

YORK SOCIOLOGY SEMINAR

20 November 2019, York

Invited to present at the University of York's Sociology Seminar. Paper titled 'Women's Work: AI, Clones and Gendered Labour'

THEORIES OF READING

14 October 2019, Faculty of English, University of Oxford

Presented my work and method of reading 21st
century texts within an interdisciplinary framework.

FUTURES THINKING CONFERENCE

1-3 October 2019, Wolfson College, University of Oxford

I organised this three-day conference and gave the opening address welcoming our speakers and presenters. Read the conference report here.

POSTCOLONIAL STUDIES ASSOCIATION CONVENTION

11-13 September 2019, University of Manchester, UK

Paper: A Justice Deferred: Postcolonial Intentions in Speculative Fiction

EMBODYING FANTASTIKA

8-10 August 2019,  University of Lancaster, UK

Paper: “As if I was already only a machine”: Posthumanism and the politics of techno-desire and fantasy in Ken Liu’s ‘Good Hunting’

ASSOCIATION OF COMMONWEALTH LITERATURE AND LANGUAGE STUDIES 2019 CONFERENCE

15-19 July 2019, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Paper: Mouths, Mothers and Others – Renegotiating transnational migrant identity in Warsan Shire’s poetry.

UTOPIAN STUDIES SOCIETY ANNUAL CONFERENCE

1-5 July 2019, Monash University in Prato, Tuscany

Paper: 'That Path Brought Us To Ruin': Overcoming Anthropogenic Disaster in Speculative Fiction.

Panel: Dystopic futures: women writing ecological disaster from margin to centre 

Chairing: Margaret Atwood session.

OXFORD GRADUATE ENGLISH CONFERENCE 

7 June 2019, Faculty of English, University of Oxford

Panel organised with colleagues: Transgressive Bodies in the Asian Postcolony.
Paper titled: Sites of Violence: Postcolonial Posthumanism and Genetic Modification in Bacigalupi's The Wind-Up Girl

TRANSGRESSING BOUNDARIES IN SCIENCE FICTION

25-27 April 2019, Maison Française, University of Oxford

Paper: Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism:  Anti-Anthropogenic Narrative in Queer Space Opera 'Wayfarers'.

STORIES FACULTY OF EDUCATION GRADUATE CONFERENCE 

13 March 2019, Faculty of Education, University of Oxford

Presented on access, inclusivity and mental health as these themes pertain to the work of the public engagement with research project Uncomfortable Oxford

FEMINIST SCIENCE FICTION PANEL

1 February 2019, St Hilda's College, University of Oxford

I was invited to chair this panel at the St Hilda's College Feminist Salon. The panel featured Roz Kaveney, EJ Swift, Juliet McKenna and Stephanie Saulter.

Media and Public Engagement with Research

Pandemics from Homer to Stephen King: What We Can Learn From Literary History

Published an article on pandemic literature on the academic journalism platform The Conversation, 16 March 2020. Link here.

Futures Thinking:
Speculation & Percolation 

I co-conceptualised the Speculation & Percolation audio-visual reading list project in the Futures Thinking network. I also feature in Episode 5 of the series: Contradiction and Zombies, published on 26 February 2020. 

No Beautiful Poems About Violence

Provided coverage of Patience Agbabi's  December 2019 reading event at Oxford where the poet was in conversation with Professor Elleke Boehmer and Professor Marion Turner for the Writers Make Worlds project.
Read here for more. 

The Humility Gap Podcast

Bethan Willis interviewed me in late 2019 for Episode 4 of the The Humility Gap podcast on the topic of conflict management.

Uncomfortable Oxford
Literary Tour

I wrote the script and hosted the walking tour 'Uncomfortable Oxford Literary Tour' during the October 2019 IF Festival. Read about the motivations of this work on the Uncomfortable Oxford blog.

Oxford Science and Ideas Festival

I represented Futures Thinking at the 2019 Oxford Science and Ideas Festival, running an interactive research project titled 'The Noise That Keeps Me Awake At Night.'  Below is a page from the IF Festival's programme that featured a profile on my work.

The Responsibilities of the Author and the Archive: On the Award of the Bodley Medal to Sir Kazuo Ishiguro

Attended the Bodley Medal ceremony and dinner at the April 2019 Oxford Literary Festival celebrating the work of Sir Kazuo Ishiguro.  
Read here for more.

PUBLICATIONS

THE COMPLEXITIES OF SILENCE IN BUHLE NGABA’S THE GIRL WITHOUT A SOUND IN THE CONTEXT OF CONTEMPORARY SOUTH AFRICAN TERTIARY EDUCATION PROTEST

September 2017

This paper aims to read Buhle Ngaba’s The Girl Without a Sound, a children’s book available for free online, alongside readings of silence in the context of the protests against rape culture at the university currently known as Rhodes (UCKAR/Rhodes University). The allegorical power of the text in the context of a genre largely populated by white, male protagonists is significant. This paper will also consider the role of children’s books as social texts and how these can be used to impart ideologies, for better or worse. I will argue that The Girl Without a Sound resists silencing in both historical and contemporary contexts. The protagonist is a little girl with a “fluff of hair, a mouth the shape of a cherry blossom and brown pools for eyes” (Ngaba 2016), an atypical protagonist in most English-medium children’s literature industries. This paper seeks to articulate the allegorical power of The Girl Without a Sound and to read it against theories of silence, protest and the contemporary moment of student protest, particularly with regard to the protests against rape culture that took place at UCKAR in April 2016. Ultimately, the text offers an affirmation of the agential power of girls of colour, speaking in concert with calls for intersectionality in contemporary political movements.
Published in Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa, special issue, Vol 29, 2017

POSTCOLONIAL WRITERS MAKE WORLDS ENTRIES

October 2017 - Present

LANGUAGE AND DECOLONIAL JUSTICE IN KOLEKA PUTUMA'S 'COLLECTIVE AMNESIA'

August 2018

This paper concerns the meteoric rise of Koleka Putuma’s debut poetry collection 'Collective Amnesia' in the context of decolonial activism from the perspective of an insider in Cape Town’s literary scene at the time of the collection’s success. It explores questions of language and decolonial justice in relation to and in the reading of 'Collective Amnesia,' particularly with regard to the canon and this collection’s position as a cultural text or object in South African popular culture.
Published in Moveable Type, 'Peripheries' issue, 2017/18

FEMININITIES AND FEMINISMS: TENSIONS IN (NEO)-BURLESQUE

July 2018

This paper argues for a re-labelling of Neo-burlesque, or burlesque performance art, as ‘(Neo)-burlesque’, making the case that in this politicised, largely queer space, tensions emerge in the way that performers articulate their femininity and feminist ideology in their narratives about their performance. This paper is drawn from a sociological, gender studies dissertation, including interviews and participant observation conducted with (Neo)-burlesque performers who are either a part of or are associated with The Rouge Revue Burlesque Company based in Cape Town. A Feminist Poststructuralist Discourse Analysis method is used for the analysis of the data and the main findings of this study were that contradictory discourses emerged in the participants’ articulations of their experiences. These tensions are productive because they suggest the creation of new discourses of femininity and feminism. A key finding in this project is that the subversion of femininities and invocation of feminism in the genre of (Neo)-burlesque emerges from the individual’s performance and experience, and not from the genre itself. 
Published in Track Changes, Issue: Sex, Gender and Sexuality, September 2018

 

TEACHING

I've tutored at undergraduate level since 2014 in subjects ranging from English I, to The Politics of Gender and Sexuality in African Contexts, to Critical Science Fiction.

January 2020-March 2020

OXFORD Prelims 1B Approaches to Literature

Designed the supplementary reading list and taught Weeks 2, 4, 6, and  8 of the Prelims 1B course 'Approaches to Literature'. 

Taught the classes and tutorials on: 
- Authority and Intentionality

- Reading Narrative

- Reading Self and Other

- Literature and Identity

January 2020-March 2020

MODERNISM TUTORIAL & DIRECTED READING

Designed and tutored a course on Modernism for visiting students on the Stanford-in-Oxford programme. 
Designed and facilitated a directed reading on Science Fiction and Architecture.

I also run the extra-curricular programme for the visiting students from Stanford majoring or minoring in English. 

2020

OXFORD Prelims 1B Approaches to Literature

Designed the supplementary reading list and taught Weeks 2, 4, 6, and  8 of the Prelims 1B course 'Approaches to Literature'. 

Taught the classes and tutorials on: 
- Authority and Intentionality

- Reading Narrative

- Reading Self and Other

- Literature and Identity

2020

MODERNISM TUTORIAL & DIRECTED READING

Designed and tutored a course on Modernism for visiting students on the Stanford-in-Oxford programme. 
Designed and facilitated a directed reading on Science Fiction and Architecture.

I also run the extra-curricular programme for the visiting students from Stanford majoring or minoring in English. 

February 2015 - November 2016

JOURNALISM AND MEDIA STUDIES I

Tutoring undergraduate students taking the JMS1 course at Rhodes University.

February 2014 - November 2016

CONVERSATIONAL FRENCH

Tutoring undergraduate students taking the French 1 Preliminary course at Rhodes University.

April 2019 - June 2019

POSTCOLONIAL POSTHUMANISM

Designed and tutored a short course on Postcolonial Posthumanism at Stanford House for visiting students at the University of Oxford.

February 2016 - November 2016

ENGLISH I

Tutoring undergraduate students taking the English I course at Rhodes University.

2014-2016

The University Currently Known As Rhodes University 

- Tutor on French 1 Preliminaire (Conversation) 2014-2016

- Tutor on Journalism & Media Studies I 2015-2016

- Tutor on English I 2016

 

2019/2020

OXFORD Teaching Assistant - Master of Studies (MSt) in COMPARATIVE LITERATURE AND CRITICAL TRANSLATION 

Teaching Assistant position on the new Master of Studies in Comparative Literature and Critical Translation at the University of Oxford.

2020

Floreat Humanities Outreach Programme

Designed the syllabus and taught four two-hour classes for A-Level students in Hertfordshire schools on the Floreat Humanities Outreach Programme for Balliol College, Oxford. 
I teach English and Gender Studies on this programme. 

2020

SHORT STORY LECTURE

Lecture in the Short Story Lecture Circus presented at the Faculty of English, Oxford during Hilary Term.
10 Feb. 'The African Short Story.'

2019

CRITICAL SCIENCE FICTION

Designed and tutored a course on Critical Science Fiction at Stanford House for visiting students at the University of Oxford.

2017

THE POLITICS OF GENDER AND SEXUALITY IN AFRICAN CONTEXTS

Tutored ±44 students in this Gender Studies course aimed at second and third year students at the University of Cape Town.

2019

20TH CENTURY LITERATURE

Designed and tutored a course on 20th Century Literature at Stanford House for visiting students at the University of Oxford.

2019

MODERNISM

Designed and tutored a course on Modernism for visiting students at Lady Margaret Hall at the University of Oxford.

 

©2019 by Chelsea Haith