Monica Popescu

 Monica Popescu
Contact Information
514-398-4400 Ext 00274
Email address: 
monica.popescu [at]

McGill University
Department of English
853 Sherbrooke Street West
Arts Building
Montreal, QC H3A 0G5 CANADA

Faculty Members
Professor and William Dawson Scholar of African Literatures (on leave)
Cultural Studies
Arts 310

B.A. (Bucharest), M.A. (Bucharest), M.A. (Windsor), Ph.D. (University of Pennsylvania), Associate Professor

Teaching areas: 

African literatures; Postcolonial studies and the Global South; Cold War studies; World literature; Eastern Europe and postcommunist studies; Gender studies

Current research: 

A book on contemporary literary theory, including the rise of the world literature paradigm. An intellectual biography of Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o.

Selected publications: 

Book cover of "At Penpoint"Book cover of "South African Literature Beyond the Cold War" Book cover of "The Cultural Cold War and the Global South"Cover of journal Research in African Literatures, African Literary History and the Cold War, Volume 50, Number 3, Fall 2019  Cover of the Special issue of the Journal of Postcolonial Writing "Alternative Solidarities: Black Diasporas and Cultural Alliances during the Cold War" Book cover of "The Politics of Violence in Post-Communist Films" 


At Penpoint: African Literatures, Postcolonial Studies and the Cold War, Duke University Press, 2020

Winner of the Book of the Year Award-Scholarship (African Literature Association); Honourable Mention, Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies (Modern Language Association); CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title
Listen to interview on At Penpoint

South African Literature Beyond the Cold War. New York: Palgrave, 2010

Winner of the Gustave O. Arlt Award in the Humanities

The Politics of Violence in Post-communist Films. Brasov, Romania: Concordia, 1999

Editorial Projects:

Book Series co-editor for the Routledge Studies in Cultures of the Global Cold War, with Katherine Zien and Sandeep Banerjee

The Cultural Cold War and the Global South: Sites of Contest and Communitas. Co-editor (with Kerry Bystrom and Katherine Zien), 2020.

African Literary History and the Cold War. Special issue of Research in African Literatures. Co-editor (with Bhakti Shringarpure). 50.3 (Fall 2019).

Alternative Solidarities: Black Diasporas and Cultural Alliances during the Cold War. Special issue of the Journal of Postcolonial Writing. Co-editor (with Cedric Tolliver and Julie Tolliver). 50.4 (2014).

Articles and Chapters:

“Cold War Solidarities and Twenty-First-Century Frayed Alliances: Romanian-Ghanaian Vantage Points.” Comparative Literature Studies. Forthcoming Fall 2022.

“Afro-Asian Internationalism: Leftist Solidarities during the Cold War.” PMLA 136.5 (October 2021): 800-808.

"Introduction: The Cultural Cold War and the Global South: Sites of Contest and Communitas." Co-authored with Kerry Bystrom and Katherine Zien. The Cultural Cold War and the Global South: Sites of Contest and Communitas. Co-edited with Kerry Bystrom and Katherine Zien). New York, Routledge, 2021, 1-25.

“The Battle of Conferences: Cultural Decolonisation and Global Cold War.” The Palgrave Handbook to Cold War Literature. Ed. Andrew Hammond. Cham, Switzerland: Plagrave, 2020, 163-82.

“Introduction: African Literature and the Cold War. What Is at Stake?” Special issue on African Literary History and the Cold War. Research in African Literatures. Eds. Monica Popescu and Bhakti Shringarpure. 50.3 (Fall 2019).

“‘Children of the Cold War’: Rethinking African Literary Generations through the Global Conflict.” The Routledge Handbook of African Literature. Eds. Moradewun Adejunmobi and Carli Coetzee. New York: Routledge, 2019, 21-34.

“Revolutionary Times: Mongane Wally Serote and Cold War Fiction.” South African Writing in Transition. Eds. Rita Barnard and Andrew van der Vlies. London: Bloomsbury, 2019, 33-54.

“Transnational Dimensions in Nelson Mandela’s Autobiographical Writing.” JELL: Journal of English Language and Literature 62.1 (2016): 35-53.

"Nelson Mandela." Co-authored with Rita Barnard. Mental Maps in the Era of Detente and the End of the Cold War, 1968-1991. Eds. Steven Casey and Jonathan Wright. New York: Plagrave, 2015. 236-49.

“On the Margins of the Black Atlantic: Angola, the Second World, and the Cold War.” Research in African Literatures. Special Issue on Africa and the Black Atlantic. 45.3 (2014): 91-109.

“Aesthetic Solidarities: Ngugi wa Thiong’o and the Cold War.” Journal of Postcolonial Writing 50.4 (2014): 384-397.

“War Room Stories and the Rainbow Nation: Competing Narratives in Contemporary South African Literature.” National Myths: Constructed Pasts, Contested Presents. Ed. Gerard Bouchard. London: Routledge, 2013. 191-205.

“Lewis Nkosi in Warsaw: Translating Eastern European Experiences for an African Audience.” Journal of Postcolonial Writing 48.2 (May 2012). 178-89.

“Reading through a Cold War Lens: Apartheid-Era Literature and the Global Conflict.” Current Writing 24.1 (May 2012): 37-49.

“Translations: Lenin’s Statues, Post-communism and Post-apartheid.” Marginal Spaces: Ivan Vladislavić. Ed. Gerald Gaylard. Wits University Press, 2011.

Reprint of: “Translations: Lenin’s Statues, Post-communism and Post-apartheid.” The Yale Journal of Criticism 16.2 (2003): 407-423.

“Voortrekkers of the Cold War: Enacting the South African Past and Present in Mark Behr’s The Smell of Apples.” Settler and Creole Reenactment. Eds. Jonathan Lamb and Vanessa Agnew. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. 123-137.

Reworked version of: “Mirrorings: Communists, Capitalists and Voortrekkers of the Cold War.” Beyond the Border War: New Perspectives on Southern Africa’s Late-Cold War Conflicts. Eds. Peter Vale and Gary Baines. Pretoria: UNISA, 2008. 42-55.

“Waiting for the Russians: Coetzee’s The Master of Petersburgand the Logic of Late Post-colonialism.” Postcolonialism: South/African Perspectives. Ed. Michael Chapman. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008. 106-24.

Reprint of: “Waiting for the Russians: Coetzee’s The Master of Petersburg and the Logic of Late Post-colonialism.” Current Writing. 19.1 (April 2007): 1-20.

“Licence for Shooting: South African Literature, the Media, and the Cold War.” Scrutiny2Issues in English Studies in Southern Africa 13.1 (2008): 92-104.

“Imaging the Past: Cultural Memory in Dubravka Ugrešić’s The Museum of Unconditional Surrender.” Studies in the Novel. 39.3 (Fall 2007): 336-56.

“Cold War and Hot Translation.” Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies. 8.1 (January 2007): 83-90.

“Cultural Liminality and Hybridity: The Romanian Transition.”Kroeber Anthropological Society Papers. The Paradoxes of Progress: Globalization and Postsocialist Cultures. (Special Issue). 86 (Fall 2001). 47-68.

“Writing in and Writing out—Race and Ethnicity in The Sound and the Fury.” Transatlantic Connections: Essays in Cultural Relocation. Ed. R. Mihaila and I. Pana, Bucuresti: Integral, 2000, 49-62.

“Liminal Space in the Post-colonial Context.” Studii de Limbi si Literaturi Moderne. Timisoara: Mirton, 1999, 130-38.

“On the Borderline: Liminal Aspects in Malouf’s Fiction.” Bulletin of the Transilvania University 6.41 (1999): 173-79.

Other Publications:

Wanlov the Kubolor’s Cold War Soundscapes.” Warscapes. December 27, 2018.
Republished as: “Wanlov the Kubolor’s Cold War Soundscapes” The Mantle. April 25, 2019.

“Of Masters, Scholars, and the Global Prize Economy” Berfrois. August 29, 2013.

Republished in abridged form as: "The argument over J.M. Coetzee" Africa Is a Country.

Awards, honours, and fellowships: 

Visiting Scholar, New York University, Department of English, Spring 2019

Works featured in the "Red-Black Thread" Exhibition, The Met Breuer, New York, 2019

Gustave O. Arlt Award in the Humanities (2012) for South African Literature Beyond the Cold War

Resident Faculty Fellow, Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas, 2013-2015

• Visiting Fellowship, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities, University of Cambridge (jointly with Visiting Fellowship, Wolfson College), Easter Term 2012

SSHRC Insight Grant, 2012-2016

 Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la société et la culture. Établissement de nouveaux professeurs-chercheurs. 2008-2011

 Delta Kappa Gamma International Fellowship for Women Researchers

 Open Society Institute, Global Supplementary Grant

 Dean’s Scholar, University of Pennsylvania

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