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Personal profile

Research interests

Drawing on a background in literary history and cultural studies, Cathy Bergin's primary research interests are in the politics of 'race' and colonialism in  African-American and Caribbean writing, focussing on cultural formations and Communist politics in the 20th Century. She is particularly interested in the concept of 'rage' as the expression of black historical consciousness and agency.

Cathy has lectured in historical and critical studies at the university since 2005 and organises the long-standing Politics, Philosophy and Aesthetics research seminar series.



Supervisory Interests

Bergin has supervised MA theses in the field of African American literature and culture, Caribbean literature, Welsh cultural memory and Holocaust Representation. 

She is has supervised Phd theses to completion in "Memorialisation in the Postmodern-Neoliberal Conjuncture", "Women's literature in Belize: Memory, Identity and the Legacy of slavery" and "Male Perfomance Wear and authenticity in Country Music 1947-1992". She is currently supervising PhDs in nazi persecution of homosexual men,  post-war stream of conciousness fiction, British represenations of the Armenian Genocide, race and identity in conemporary Britain, and folk horror and counterinsurgency in Northern Ireland. She is interested in supporting research in the following areas: African American writing; enslavement and representation; black radical history; Caribbean culture and Identity; Marxist literary history; post-colonialism; Holocaust memorialisation; novel studies; transnational solidarities.

Scholarly biography

Cathy Bergin works primarily on the politics of 'race' and African-American and Caribbean writing, focussing on African-American cultural formations and Communist politics between the wars. Her interests cover the historical discourses of black Communist radicalism and their relationship to literary and cultural representations of black political identity. She is interested in the concept of 'rage' as the expression of black historical consciousness and agency.

Transnational solidarity is a particular area of interest and she has studied the relationship between Caribbean migrant radicals in the US and the Irish independence struggle, African American and Caribbean interpretations of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and African American involvement in the Spanish Civil War. She is interested in tracing those moments of transnational  political identification which confound  tired configurations of  identity which proliferate within many strands of liberal and  post-colonial theoretical models. In collaboration with Anita Rupprecht she has broadened this area of study to inaugurate the concept of 'Reparative Histories' which traces the complex articulations of black agency in the archive that have challenged liberal paradigms of  'freedom'. This project is centrally concerned with the way in which claims on the past are determined by contemporary politics of 'race' and the particular ways in which those claims occlude the centrality of the black radical tradition to the making of the the modern world. 

Cathy Bergin completed her first degree in English Studies at Trinity College Dublin and was awarded a British Council Chevening Scholarship in 1997 to pursue her Masters degree in Literary History and Cultural Discourse at the University of Sussex. Her DPhil, which concentrated on African-American literary representations of the Communist Party, was also partly funded by the the British Council and was awarded by the University of Sussex in 2004.  

Approach to teaching

I am the course leader for the degree History, Literature & Culture. My teaching, like my research, is interdisciplinary and I teach across the range of areas in the Humanities Programme including Race & Resistance, Culture & Conflict, Philosophy & Literature, Globalisation History & Identity and Literature & Social Change. At MA level I teach Aesthetics, Cultural Theory and Holocaust Memory. 


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