Karen Zumhagen-Yekple is Assistant Professor of English at Tulane University, where she is also an affiliated faculty member of the Stone Center for Latin American Studies, the Program in Film Studies, and the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies.
She works in European, British, North American and Latin American literature and film of the 19th-21st centuries with a focus on modernism, its continued resonance in global fiction and cinema, and the relationship between philosophy and literature. Before coming to Tulane, she taught at Harvard, where she was College Fellow in Comparative Literature; at Stanford, as fellow in English and the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities, and at the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned her PhD in Comparative Literature. She also studied at the EHESS in Paris and holds an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Virginia.
She is currently completing her monograph, A Different Order of Difficulty: Reading Literary Modernism After Wittgenstein, which attends to the significance of Wittgenstein's philosophy for studies in literary modernism and its afterlife in contemporary literature. She is also co-editor, with Michael LeMahieu, of the volume, Wittgenstein and Modernism, University of Chicago Press (forthcoming Fall 2016). That volume brings together original work by such contributors as Charles Altieri, Marjorie Perloff, Anthony Cascardi, Allan Janik, Eli Friedlander, Kristin Boyce, John Gibson, Piergiorgio Donatelli, Yi-Ping Ong, Karen Zumhagen-Yekplé and Michael LeMahieu.
She is also working on another book project on grace and disgrace and the legacy of modernism’s absorption in difficulty and the longing for transcendence in the work of Coetzee, Murdoch, Ishiguro, Morrison and Robinson. Her essays have appeared or are forthcoming in MLN, Woolf Studies Annual, Comparative Literature, The James Joyce Quarterly, Wittgenstein and Modernism; and Philosophy and Kafka.
Topics that are the focus of her teaching and research include: film studies; transatlantic and European modernism, contemporary literature; the novel; the foundations of Analytic philosophy; Continental philosophy; faith and secularity; modern and postmodern difficulty; autobiography and confession; experimental fiction; critical theory.
Karen's recent courses include seminars "Transatlantic Modernism", "20th c Paradoxes of the Secular-Sacred," "Kafka, Coetzee and the Difficulty of Reality," "The Moment in Modernism," "From Weimar to Film Noir," "Modernism's Global Afterlife" "The Booker Prize: Aesthetics, Commerce and Canon-Making," "Virginia Woolf and Modernism," and lecture courses on 19th and 20th-century British and Irish Literature. Courses for 2014-2016 include "The Novels of Virginia Woolf," "The Modernist Story, the Millennial Film," "Novels of Thinking" and "Grace and Disgrace"