“Amphibious histories”: An Interview with Isabel Hofmeyr

Anupama Mohan


Isabel Hofmeyr is Professor of African Literature at the
University of the Witwatersrand. Her research interests
include postcolonialism; African literature; Southern
African literary studies; oral history and literature; John
Bunyan; seventeenth century studies; textual
transnationalism; Africa-India interactions; Indian Ocean
studies; histories of the book and print culture; and
histories of reading and writing. Her current work focuses
on Africa and its intellectual trajectories in the Atlantic and
Indian oceans. In particular, her work addresses questions
of Africa’s intellectual place in the world and the material
and aesthetic history of texts and their transnational
circulation. Hofmeyr has served as Acting Director of the
Centre for Indian Studies in Africa (www.cisa-wits.org.za)
which she helped to establish.

In this interview, Professor Hofmeyr lays out clearly some
of the key features of the field generally known as Indian
Ocean Studies, and especially the ways in which the focus
on land from the perspective of the oceanic revitalizes the
terracentric thinking of much postcolonial theory.
Appended at the end of this interview is an initial reading
list for those encountering the field anew.


postcolonial; transmodern; novel; india; ocean

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