Joseph Genchi

Joseph Genchi

Profile

In 2017, I graduated from Leeds Beckett University with a First Class Honours degree in English Literature. In my final year, I was awarded the Sarah Holt Memorial Prize for my dissertation.

Following this, I studied English Literature at Masters level at the University of Leeds, focusing on modern and contemporary texts. During this time I wrote my dissertation on postcolonial and development studies in relation to the writing of Nigerian author Chris Abani. I graduated in 2018 with a distinction. 

I returned to the University in October 2019 to begin doctoral studies. My project is funded by the White Rose College of Arts and Humanities. 

I am currently co-directing Quilting Points within the Leeds Humanities Research Institute. Quilting Points is an interdisciplinary reading group and seminar series interested in critical and cultural theory and its relation to literature, the arts and humanities, and the social sciences. This academic year, we are discussing the work of the social critic, novelist, and activist, James Baldwin. 

Research interests

My project looks at texts that can be identified as “Afrohorror”. Afrohorror is not a subgenre of horror, but rather describes the affinity between the horror genre and racial terror as depicted across cultural forms by black authors and artists. This relationship can be traced from the Gothicism of Frederick Douglass’s ‘blood-stained gate’ of slavery, to Blues legend Robert Johnson’s encounter with the devil at the crossroads, to Jordan Peele’s 2017 film Get Out. Focusing on both literary and pop cultural texts of the 21st century, I argue that horror tropes so frequently appear in black art because they closely resemble the real-life horror of racial injustice. Analysing these texts through the critical lens of Afropessimism, my project recognises that the reality of the US continues to be structured by ubiquitous antiblack violence, from slavery, to Jim Crow, to the Black Lives Matter era. I therefore argue that to be black in America is essentially to exist within a horror narrative.

More broadly, my research interests include popular culture, postcolonial studies, contemporary fiction, postmodernism and metafiction, and cinema. 

Publications

‘Indigenous “Authenticity” in Thomas King’s Truth and Bright Water’. WRoCAH Journal, 5 (2019).

Conferences

‘To See is Unbearable: Antiblack violence and spectacle in Frances Bodomo’s Everybody Dies! and Donald Glover’s This is America’. Postgraduate Research Seminar, University of Leeds (October 2020).

‘Becoming Elvis: The child, the nation, and development in Graceland by Chris Abani’. School of English MA Conference: Writing and the Other, University of Leeds (June 2018).

Awards

WRoCAH Doctoral Studentship, Arts & Humanities Research Council (2019).

Sarah Holt Memorial Prize for Best Dissertation, Leeds Beckett University (2017).

Qualifications

  • MA in English Literature (Modern & Contemporary) at University of Leeds
  • BA in English Literature at Leeds Beckett University