Department of English at Illinois State University

English Department Faculty and Staff


Rebecca Saunders

Professor of Comparative Literature

Office Address: STV 421 J
Office Phone: (309) 438-7778
Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday
by appointment 
Email: Contact Rebecca Saunders (rasaund)
Website: Visit Rebecca Saunders’s Website
Teaching Schedule:
Course NumberSectionCourse NameTimeRoom NumberCourse Links
ENG206.02Cultural Exp Social Contexts,Women of Asia,Latin Am & AfricaM W 13:00 - 14:15STV 0346
ENG450.01Studies in Ancient Literature T 17:30 - 20:20STV 0132
ENG500.04Independent Study   
Teaching Interests:
Comparative literature; world literatures, Literary and cultural theory; and Continental philosophy.
Research Interests:
Literary and cultural theory; comparative literature; continental philosophy; late19th and 20th century literatures of Europe and Africa, particularly of France, Greece, the Maghreb, and South Africa; theories of nationalism and globalization; (trans)gender and postcolonial studies; the concept of the foreign; trauma and modernity, transitional justice, human rights, animal studies.
Ph.D., Comparative Literature, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Selected Publications:
(New York: Palgrave, 2007)
A book studying the ideological uses of loss in literary, philosophical, and social texts from the late 19th and 20th centuries.  Contains studies of the lament tradition, of philosophical and theoretical texts by Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Derrida, of literary works by Faulkner, Mallarmé, Hatzis, and ben Jelloun, and of relevant cultural contexts, including the American "New South," French nationalism of the 1880s, Greek independence, and the (de)colonization of Morocco.
The Concept of the Foreign:  An Interdisciplinary Dialogue. (Editor and Co-author) Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2002.
A collaborative, interdisciplinary book that investigates diverse uses of the concept of the foreign in literature, psychology, philosophy, history, anthropology, social work and women’s studies.


Scenes of Interrogation: Literature, Philosophy, and the Challenge of Justice  (In progress).
A book analyzing contemporary experiments in justice (such as truth commissions and international tribunals) from the perspective of literary and philosophical meditations on justice, with chapters devoted to South Africa, Chile, and Sri Lanka. Contains studies of literary and philosophical texts by, for example, Aeschylus, Aristotle, Nietzsche, Kant, Dosteovsky, Arendt, Coetzee, Dorfman, Bolaño, and Ondaatje.


"Keeping A Distance: Heidegger and Derrida on Foreignness and Friends" Angelaki: A Theoretical Journal of the Humanities 16:2 (2011): 35-49.

"Questionable Associations: The Role of Forgiveness in Transitional Justice" International Journal of Transitional Justice 5 (2011): 119-141.

With Shushan Avagyan, "(Un)Disciplining Traumatic Memory: Mission Orphanages and the Afterlife of Genocide in Micheline Aharonian Marcom's The Daydreaming Boy" Contemporary Women's Writing 4:3 (2010): 197-219

"Lost in Translation: Expressions of Human Suffering, the Language of Human Rights, and the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission" SUR: International Journal of Human Rights 9 (2008). Español / Portuguese

"Decolonizing the Body: Gender, Nation, and Narration in Tahar Ben Jelloun’s L’Enfant de SableResearch in African Literatures 37:4 (2006): 136-160.

Disgrace in the Time of a Truth CommissionParallax 11:3 Special Issue on “Visceral Reason” edited by Karyn Ball (2005): 99-106.

Risky Business: Edward Said as Literary CriticComparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 25:3 (2005): 522-532.

"Uncanny Presence: The Foreigner at the Gate of GlobalizationComparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 22:2 (2002): 88-98.

The Agony and the Allegory: The Concept of the Foreign, the Language of Apartheid and the Fiction of J. M. CoetzeeCultural Critique 47 (2001): 215-264.

On Lamentation and the Redistribution of Possessions:  Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! and the New South.” Modern Fiction Studies 42.4 (1996): 730-762. Reprinted as chapter in Faulkner and his MFS Critics. Ed. John Duvall. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University P. Forthcoming.

 “Shaking Down the Pillars:  Lamentation, Purity, and Mallarmé's ‘Hommage’ to Wagner.” PMLA 111.5 (1996): 1106-1120.

The Syntactic Panopticon and Mallarméan ResistanceRomanic Review 87:3 (1996): 363-375.

Language, Subject, Self:  Reading the Style of To the LighthouseNovel:  A Forum on Fiction 18:1 (1992):  192-213.

“Creating Contents: Papadiamantis’ E fonissa as an Allegory of Epistemological Treachery” Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora.18:1 (1992):55-65.

“Tellers of Truth and Tellers of Tales: Dimitris Hatzis’ to dipo biblio and the Implications of Storytelling” Modernism in Greece? Essays on the Critical and Literary Margins of a Movement (NY: Pella, 1990): 207-228.



Journal Editing and Introductions to Special Issues

Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East (2002 to 2007) Duke University Press

Guest editor with Madeleine Dobie, “France in Africa, Africa(ns) in France” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East 26:2 (2006) "Introduction" co-authored with Madeleine Dobie: 178-190.

Guest editor with Kamran Aghaie, “Mourning and Memory” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East 25:1 (2005) “Introduction” co-authored with Kamran Aghaie: 16-29.

Guest editor with Waïl Hassan, “Comparative (Post)Colonialisms: The Literary Issue” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East 23:1 (2003) “Some Comparative (Post)Colonial Crossings” (Introduction Part II):  11-22.


Public Radio Appearances

Odyssey (Chicago Public Radio and Public Radio International), “The Foreign,” 3 August 2005.

Odyssey (Chicago Public Radio and Public Radio International), “The United States as Homeland,” 10 August 2004.

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