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Dr. Vidya Ravi Allemann

 MIS 2222 -   - Office hours Monday 14:00-16:00 tel: + 41 26 300 79 03

Curriculum Vitae

I joined the Department of Languages and Literatures at the University of Fribourg in 2013.I obtained my Ph.D at the University of Cambridge, my M.A at the University of Durham, and my B.A. at Emerson College. My overall research interests are 20th- and 21st-century Anglophone literature, with a focus on the American novel and, more recently, on Indian literary and cultural studies.


My first book, Nature Men: Masculinity and Place in American Literature, 1950 – 2000, explores certain paradigms of hegemonic masculinity’s relationship to place and sees variations, subversions, and alterations of its form in the work of John Cheever, Raymond Carver, Richard Ford, and John Updike. The premise of my argument is that American masculinity’s fascination with the natural world cannot be drawn along a simple linear progression, but is characterized by paradoxes and conundrums. While white male writers from this time wanted to upturn the narrative of male encounter with the natural world, they also found it difficult to let go of a deep-seated desire to relive the very codes upon which this narrative operates. The title Nature Men refers to a new kind of man that emerges in the fiction of these writers. While this figure still represents, to an extent, conventional tropes and expectations when it comes to his interaction with an apocryphal nature, his exploration of language as a dwelling place for the rhetoric of anxiety uncovers new consciousness in the articulations of dominant masculinity and its place in the world.  


I am also in the early stages of a second research project, tentatively titled Renewing the Provincial: Vernacular Systems in Modern Indian Literature. This project proposes a materialist reassessment of provinciality and the vernacular experience in Indian literature from the mid-eighteenth century to present-day. Among other points, it argues that provincial anxieties in Indian fiction have been a vehicle for modernity. The project’s main premise is that a turn to the provincial in Indian literary culture and vernacular system of thought would provide a cognitive redefinition of marginality, of nationalism, and of modernity, which, at this juncture in the study of postcolonial and world literatures, would be the subject of a long-anticipated critical inquiry. 



  • Nature Men: Masculinity and Place in American Literature, 1950 – 2000. (Under review)


Articles and book chapters

  • ‘A Stranger at Home: James Baldwin’s Dedicated Search.’ (Under review)
  • Translation and Its Failure in the Modern Postcolonial Short Story.’
    Colloquium Helveticum 46, 2017.
  • ‘Tigers, Trees and Environmental Visions: A Look at Indian Nature Writing.’ Weeds and Viruses: Ecopoetics After Postmodernism. Trier: WVT, 2016.
  • ‘“Outdoors to Indoors, Detail to Detail”: The Domestic Topography of John Updike’s Couples.’ The John Updike Review Winter 2012/13.
    * Recipient of the John Updike Award, 2013


Selected Reviews

  • ‘The Way We Live Now.’ The Cambridge Quarterly 45 (1), 2016.
  • ‘The Unlikely Territories of Modernity: Review of Urban Realities, Rural Fictions.’ The Cambridge Quarterly 43 (1), 2014.


Selected Conference Presentations

  • ‘Material Forms and Vernacular Visions in Contemporary Indian Writers,’ Encountering Materiality conference, University of Geneva, June 2016
  • ‘Translation and Its Failure in the Postcolonial Short Story,’ Erreurs productives/Produktive Fehler, SAGVL conference, University of Zurich, Nov 2015
  • ‘Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic,’ Literature, Ethics, Morality: American Studies Perspective, Swiss Association for American Studies Biennial Conference, Basel, Nov 2014
  • ‘Held Objects and Encamped Memories in In Our Time,’ 16th Biennial Hemingway Society Conference, June 2014