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Personal profile

Research interests

Drawing on a background in literary history and cultural discourse, 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 culture, Caribbean literature and Holocaust Representation. She is currenly supervising Phd theses in Belizean women's writing, post-modern memorialisation, nazi persecution of homosexual men,  country music and change in the American South  and post-war stream of conciousness fiction. She is interested in supporting research in the following areas: African American Writing; Slavery and Representation; Caribbean culture and Identity; Marxist literary history; post-colonialism; Holocaust memorialisation; novel studies.

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 during the Depression. Her interests cover the historical discourses of black Communist radicalism and their relationship to literary and cultural representations of black political identity. She is particularly interested in the concept of 'rage' as the expression of black historical consciousness and agency.

Studying the relationship between Caribbean migrant radicals in the US and Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916, Cathy Bergin demonstrates how former subjects of the British colonialism, living in a highly segregated new society, forged politicised identities across the boundaries of 'race'. In focusing on the concrete historical and political identities of US Caribbean radicals and their complex location within British colonial and American racial discourses, she is interested in tracing those moments of transnational  political identification which confound  tired configurations of black identity which proliferate within many strands of post-colonial and African American 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 awarded by the University of Sussex in 2004.  

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Research Output

Chester Himes, Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright: communisme et expériences vécues de la race – un entretien avec Catherine Bergin

Translated title of the contribution: Chester Himes, Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright: Communism and the lived experience of 'race' - an interview with Cathy BerginBergin, C., 2018

Research output: Other contribution

Open Access

Reparative histories: tracing narratives of black resistance and white entitlement

Bergin, C. & Rupprecht, A., 21 May 2018, In : Race and Class. 60, 1, p. 22-37 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Open Access
    File
  • History, agency and the representation of ‘race’ – an introduction

    Bergin, C. & Rupprecht, A., 18 Jan 2016, In : Race & Class. 57, 3, p. 3-17 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
    File
  • Key Texts in Anti-Colonial Thought: African American Anti-Colonial Texts 1917-1937

    Bergin, C. (ed.), 1 Jul 2016, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 274 p. (Key Texts in Anti Colonial Thought:)

    Research output: Book/ReportBook - edited

  • Activities

    Radical Sixties: Aesthetics, Politics and Histories of Solidarity

    Zeina El Maasri (Organiser), Francesca Burke (Member of programme committee), Megha Rajguru (Member of programme committee), Catherine Bergin (Member of programme committee)
    27 Jun 201929 Jun 2019

    Activity: EventsConference

    Future Directions: Write offs, Wright downs and Reparations

    Catherine Bergin (Presenter)
    6 Apr 2019

    Activity: External talk or presentationInvited talk

    "Writing Reparative Histories of Connection: The 1831 Tortola Slave Conspiracy in the Atlantic World" (with Anita Rupprecht)

    Catherine Bergin (Presenter), Anita Rupprecht (Presenter)
    8 Feb 201910 Feb 2019

    Activity: External talk or presentationOral presentation

    American Historical Review (Journal)

    Catherine Bergin (Reviewer)
    2019 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication Peer-review

    Labor & Society (Journal)

    Catherine Bergin (Reviewer)
    2019

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication Peer-review