Helen Kapstein

Helen Kapstein

Associate Professor
Phone number: 
212.237.8591
Room number and address: 
7.63.19NB

Education

PhD

Columbia University (2002)

MPhil

Columbia University (1998)

MA

Columbia University (1995)

BA Brown University (1992)

Bio

Helen Kapstein is Associate Professor in the English Department at John Jay College, The City University of New York. She earned her PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. A postcolonial scholar, her areas of interest include South African literature and culture, cultural and media studies, and tourism and museum studies. Her book, Postcolonial Nations, Islands, and Tourism: Reading Real and Imagined Spaces, was published in 2017 (paperback 2019) by Rowman & Littlefield International. Current projects include a postcolonial reading of the Brontes' juvenilia and a theory of Nigerian petrofiction. Her work has appeared in Postcolonial Text, English Studies in Canada, and Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies, among other venues. She is President of the Cultural Studies Association.

 

JJC Affiliations

English Department, Environmental Justice Minor, Gender Studies

Professional Memberships

Cultural Studies Association (CSA) Modern Language Association (MLA) American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Professional Staff Congress-CUNY (PSC-CUNY) American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) Society for Critical Exchange United States Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies CUNY Academy

Course Taught

Justice by the Book: Doing Dickens Justice (Fall 2021, Fall 2020)

Topics in 20th Century Literature: Body in Parts (Spring 2021), Ecocriticism (Spring 2014, Spring 2011)

Topics in 19th Century Literature: Victorian Secrets (Fall 2020), Victorian Sensations (Fall 2019, Fall 2012)

Literature as Witness: Witnessing the Future (Spring 2020, Fall 2019), Literary Tourism (Spring 2018), Plotting Terror (Fall 2017), Viewing Violence (Spring 2016, Fall 2015), Toxic Texts (Spring 2014), The South African Struggle (Fall 2013)  

Senior Seminar: Literature After Nature (Spring 2020), Small Worlds: Miniatures, Islands, Books (Spring 2017), Crude Fictions: Oil Narratives, Energy, and Crisis (Spring 2015)

Text and Context: Oil & Ink (Spring 2019), The Brontë Sisters: A Boxed Set (Spring 2018, Spring 2017)

Independent Study Supervisor (Spring 2019, Spring 2016)

Selected Historical Topics in Literature: Adventures in the Digital Archive: Exploring the Brontë Juvenilia (Fall 2018)

Introduction to Literary Study: The Literary Corpus (Fall 2018), (Fall 2014, Spring 2010, Fall 2007)

Honors Course Supervisor (Spring 2017)

Gender and Identity in Literary Traditions: Bad Girls (Fall 2015)

Word as Weapon: Commodity Satires (Spring 2015), Resistance and Protest Literature (Spring 2006)

Banned Books (Spring 2013, Fall 2009, Spring 2008)

Breaking with Tradition: Reading the Modern World (Fall 2013)

Cultures in Conflict: South African Literature (Spring 2012)  

Modern Literature: (Post)Colonial Writing (Spring 2013, Fall 2012, Spring 2008, Fall 2003, Fall 2002), Commodities and Culture (Spring 2012, Spring 2011, Fall 2011), Literary Tourism (Fall 2010), Colonial and Postcolonial Bodies (Fall 2009, Fall 2007), Commodities, Capital, Colonialism (Fall 2006)

Languages spoken/fluent in

French; translation competency in Afrikaans and Spanish

Scholarly Work

Postcolonial Nations, Islands, and Tourism: Reading Real and Imagined Spaces. Rowman & Littlefield International, 2017. (Paperback 2019.)

“Petrofeminism: Love in the Age of Oil.” Oil Fictions: World Literature and Our Contemporary Petrosphere. Eds. Stacey Balkan and Swaralipi Nandi. The Pennsylvania State University Press. Forthcoming fall 2021.

“Apartheid: A Crime Against Humanity.” Revised and republished. International and Transnational Crime and Justice. Ed. Mangai Natarajan. New York: Cambridge UP. 2019. 345-349.

“Crude Fictions: How New Nigerian Short Stories Sabotage Big Oil’s Master Narrative.” Postcolonial Text. 11.1 (2016): 1-18.

“The Hysterics of District 9.” Spec. issue of ESC: English Studies in Canada, “Hysteria Manifest: Cultural Lives of a Great Disorder.” 40.1 (2014): 155-75.

“‘Coffins, Corpses and Wheelchairs’: Mass Hysteria and Postcolonial Constitutions.” Spec. issue of Studies in the Humanities on “Globalism from Below.” 39.1-2 and 40.1-2 (Jan. 2014): 57-88.

 

 

Honors and Awards

PSC-CUNY Enhanced Research Award, 2021.

PSC-CUNY Research Award, 2020.

Senior Scholar Release Award, Office for the Advancement of Research, John Jay College, 2019.

PSC-CUNY Research Award, 2018.

Research in the Classroom Award, CUNY, 2018.

Research Summary

 

 

 

 

Area of Expertise

Faculty Expertise: topics/keywords

Postcolonial literature and theory

Nigerian literature and oil politics

South African literature and culture

Contemporary and Victorian British literature

Cultural and media studies

Nationalism and globalization

Tourism and museum studies

Feminism and gender studies

Ecocriticism and island studies

Petroculture and commodity studies

Popular literature and genre studies

In The Media

Print/Online

Kapstein, Helen. “A Novel Future: The Pandemic Reveals Alarming Parallels Between Gilead and U.S.Ms. Magazine. April 14, 2020.

Online Presence

Download C.V.