Alexandra Reza
Junior Research Fellow in French

Profile

I recently completed my DPhil in Modern Languages (French and Portuguese) at Wolfson College, Oxford. Before that I did a BA in English Literature at Cambridge University and an MPhil in International Relations at Oxford University.

Research

My research sits between postcolonial literary studies, comparative literature and political thought. My current writing is particularly motivated by an attempt to understand the political dimensions of form, aesthetics, translation and interpretation in the conjuncture of African decolonization.

My doctoral research focussed on twentieth-century African anti-colonial thought in French and Portuguese. Grounded in archival work and in critical theory, the project considered the connections between two journals published in Europe by African writers: Présence Africaine, launched in Paris in 1947, and Mensagem, published between 1948 and 1964 in Lisbon. In my DPhil I consider how anti-colonial thinking about aesthetics, literature, political community and geographical space can inform debates in comparative literature and postcolonial literary studies today. I also make the case for understanding the literary journal as a key form in twentieth century African letters.

I am now developing a project about print cultures, cinema, radio and performance in Conakry in the 1960s. In the early years of independence from the French empire, the city became an important site of transnational and multilingual cultural production, as well as a hub of resistance against ongoing Portuguese colonialism.

I am drawn to the comparative and polyphonic possibilities of working across languages, particularly Portuguese and French. I regularly collaborate with the MEMOIRS project at the University of Coimbra as a translator.

Outside academia I have also worked as a journalist and political analyst.

Teaching

I teach across the fields of translation, theory and literature in the Modern Languages Faculty. I have lectured on the work of French-language figures such as Aimé Césaire, Ousmane Sembène, Édouard Glissant and Sarah Maldoror as well as of thinkers and writers working in Portuguese such as Alda Espírito Santo, Noémia de Sousa, Manuela Margarido, Mário Pinto de Andrade and Amílcar Cabral, among others. I have also taught classes, seminars and tutorials on African literature, translation from French and Portuguese, and on literary theory.

Publications

  • ‘As geografias de conexão insurgentes da Casa dos Estudantes do Império’ in Casa dos Estudantes do Império: dinâmicas coloniais, conexões transnacionais, Cláudia Castelo and Miguel Bandeira Jerónimo eds., (Lisbon: Edições 70, 2017).

  • ‘African Anti-colonialism and the Ultramarinos of the Casa dos Estudantes do Império’, Journal of Lusophone Studies, Vol. 1 (new series), Summer 2016.

  • ‘Nos & leurs Afriques: constructions littéraires des identités africaines cinquante ans après les décolonisations. Áfricas de uns e de outros: construções literárias de identidades africanas cinquenta anos após as descolonizaçãos (Review)’, French Studies, Vol. 70.2, 2016.

  • ‘New Broom in Burkina Faso’, New Left Review, 101, Sept-Oct 2016.

  • ‘The literary journal as form: twentieth century African literary expression’ in Las literaturas del mundo lusófono, Phillip Rothwell and Margarida Calafate Ribeiro eds., (Universidad de los Andes, forthcoming)

  • I have also written for a variety of journalistic publications, including London Review of Books, Reuters News and Le Monde Diplomatique.