Dr Philippa Chun

Rowan University, NJ, United States

My research unites death studies, literature, and the history of medicine. My dissertation explored how nineteenth-century authors of color used corpses in fiction to resist the weaponization of biopolitics, scientific racism, and racial terror against Black communities in this period. My current project theorizes textual scholarship as an act of imaginative collaboration with the dead. Literary texts offer creative models and methods to recover counterhistories from nineteenth-century cemeteries. At these sites, state-sanctioned ideologies of race, nation, and citizenship are transformed by contemporary discursive and material interventions by local communities, and grassroots organizing efforts. This work makes visible the personhood, histories, and identities of marginalized communities excluded from historical records and collective memory, and invites the public to question the continuity between the oppression of both the living and the dead in the nineteenth century through to today. Other research interests include necropolitics, death in literature, and death-based activism.

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