Event Report: DKU Library Author Talks: Alison Klein | Duke Kunshan University

Event Report: DKU Library Author Talks: Alison Klein

On the 26th of November 2019 DKU Library was very happy to host Dr. Alison Klein, Lecturer of Thompson Writing Program at Duke University and Visiting Lecturer at DKU to speak in the first of the DKU Library Author Talks series.

This event was co-hosted by the Language and Culture Center (LCC), which Dr. Klein is affiliated with at DKU and for which she teaches WOC 290: Special Topics: Writing Across Cultures - Monsters.

Dr. Klein was introduced by Professor Don Snow, LCC Director. Professor Snow shared that Alison is best known at DKU for being the 'professor who writes about monsters' - but quickly reminded us she is much more that! Alison holds a unique role in which she visits DKU once a year to teach a seven week session in the undergraduate program, and spends the rest of her time at Duke University. Dr. Klein earned her Ph.D. in English literature from the CUNY Graduate Center, and her work has been published in the anthology Indo-Caribbean Feminist Thought: Genealogies, Theories, Enactments, and the journals Anthurium, South Asian Review, and The Journal of Commonwealth Literatures.

In her talk, Dr. Klein shared how she came to research women in colonial settings, her experiences of conducting archival research in Trinidad and Guyana, and read some passages from her 2018 book Anglophone Literature of Caribbean Indenture: The Seductive Hierarchies of Empire. Indentured labor in the Caribbean is relatively understudied, and Dr. Klein was drawn specifically to the shifting gender norms in the era. She decided to write her dissertation - which became the basis of her book - on the novels, poems, and nonfiction narratives that depicted indentured labor in the Caribbean, focusing on the gender representations within the texts. The decision to focus on literature was due to the unique window it affords us to look into the past, revealing a society's views and opinions at that time. Her research involved in-depth reading across a range of scholarly work and literature, including personal accounts of indentured women in the library of the University of the West Indies in St. Augustine, Trinidad.

Attendees were lucky enough to listen to Dr Klein read from the introduction to her book, but for anyone who was unable to attend, you can borrow her book from DKU Library, which Dr. Klein was kind enough to sign with a message for the DKU reading community:

DKU Library thanks Dr Klein for presenting her work for our Author Talk series, and thanks Professor Don Snow and the LCC for their support of the event. To see who is next in our Author Talk series and find out about other Library events, visit the Library page on DKU Engage.