Kendra Preston Leonard is a musicologist and music theorist whose work focuses on women and music in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; and music and screen history, particularly music and adaptations of Shakespeare; and a librettist and poet. She is the founder and Executive Director of the Silent Film Sound and Music Archive (www.sfsma.org) and the founder and manager of Shakespeare in Early Film (https://sheaf.hcommons.org/).
As an intellectual historian, I analyze how modernism in American law and literature has shaped the quest for equal citizenship. Drawing on my Ph.D. in English and my J.D. with a focus on constitutional history, I interrogate how creative forms of legal dissent – ranging from judicial opinions to lyric poems – have sparked constitutional reimagination in the context of African American, working-class, and women’s experiences. My current book project, An Intellectual Reconstruction: American Legal Realism, Literary Realism, and the Formation of Citizenship, construes legal realism (a progenitor of critical race theory) and literary realism as a major post-Civil War movements connecting disciplinary critiques to equitist politics. I have additional interests in British literary modernism and postcolonial studies, having composed articles on Joseph Conrad’s and Virginia Woolf’s texts. My literary and legal scholarship has been published in several anthologies and journals, including Critical Insights: Social Justice and American Literature; Critical Insights: Inequality; Clio: A Journal of Literature, History, and the Philosophy of History; the Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry; and the Chicago Journal of International Law. Recent and forthcoming articles include “Black Lives Matter and Legal Reconstructions of Elegiac Forms” and “Applied Legal Storytelling: Toward a Stylistics of Embodiment.” I have also published widely on writing studies pedagogy through the lens of critical theory, drawing on extensive experiences teaching literature, law, and composition. My pedagogical scholarship has appeared in the Washburn Law Journal, Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research & Writing, The Law Teacher, and the anthology Writing as a Way of Staying Human in a Time that Isn’t. When not immersed in literature, law, history, and philosophy, I explore modernist-inflected alternative music, fashion, interior design, landscapes, gardens, and other aesthetic phenomena suiting my fancy.
Postcolonial, Politics, Music, Theory, Literary Geography
I am Assistant Professor of English at the American University in Dubai, where I teach courses in Literature, Rhetoric & Composition, and the Humanities. My research interests are in contemporary literature, especially Cold War American fiction and its relationship to the culture of dissent that developed during the long Sixties. I am particularly interested in how key postmodern writers worked within a context of mass cultural discursive practices to develop overtly political and moral interventions on behalf of increased civil liberties and social justice. My work shows how writers such as William S. Burroughs, Ishmael Reed, and Kathy Acker, among many others, deployed a mode of aggressive satire to unsettle conventional notions of literary propriety and to expand in readers’ minds new ways of imagining radical social change in an age of civil rights abuses, routine censorship, mass surveillance, and perpetual war. Because my work focuses on points of intersection between literature and other related cultural expressions, including alternative journalism, street theater, popular music, and the visual arts, I draw on the methodologies of both contemporary Literary Criticism and Interdisciplinary American Studies. And because I am interested in language’s ability to create change during times of dynamic socio-political uncertainty, I also situate my work within current theories of rhetoric, most importantly Speech Act Theory and Performance Studies. I am currently revising a book manuscript that deals with these foci: Total Assault on the Culture! Cold War American Satire and the Rhetoric of Liberation. To learn more about my work, visit my personal website: micahrobbins.com
I work on philosophies of representation and aesthetics in literature, especially in Viennese Modernism and post-war German and Austrian literature. I am currently making revisions to my monograph, Troubling Art: The Aesthetic Encounter in Hofmannsthal and European Modernism and writing an article on poetological strategies in Uwe Johnson’s politically-charged Mutmassungen über Jakob for the Johnson-Jahrbuch. My next book project, Und die Welt hebt an zu singen: A History of Musical Mimesis in German Literature will survey representative examples of literature that try to describe music in poetic language — much like ekphrastic literature describes visual works of art. Tracing such examples from the Romantic Era to postwar Literature (e.g. ETA Hoffmann to Thomas Bernhard) will result in a new narrative of German literary and cultural history.
Literary criticism, literary theory, philosophy of literature, Rhetorics, anthropology of literature, styilistics. Mikhail Bakhtin, Russian Formalists, Giambattista Vico
Autobiography, Gender Studies, Posthumanism, Postmodernism, Literary Theory, Narrative Theory, Cultural Studies, Body Studies, Feminist Literary Theory, British Literature, American Literature, Hungarian Literature, Postcolonialism, Subjectivity
Kevin Pyon’s research interests include African American history, religion, music, and literature.
History and theory of the novel, Bollywood, narrative theory, history of the book