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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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Research Output

African American Internationalism and Anti-Fascism

Bergin, C., 21 Sep 2020, Anti-Fascism in a Global Perspective: Transnational Networks, Exile Communities, and Radical Internationalism. Braskén, K., Copsey, N. & Featherstone, D. (eds.). London, p. 254-273 19 p. (Routledge Studies in Fascism and the Far Right).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter

  • 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
  • Activities

    Workshop - Radical Sixties: Aesthetics, Politics and Histories of Solidarity

    Francesca Burke (Member of programme committee), Zeina El Maasri (Member of programme committee) & Catherine Bergin (Member of programme committee)

    11 Jun 202012 Jun 2020

    Activity: EventsWorkshop

    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