Karen Zumhagen-Yekple is an Assistant Professor of English at Tulane University, where she is also an affiliated faculty member of the Stone Center for Latin American Studies. She works in European, British, North American and Latin American literature of the 20th and 21st centuries with a focus on modernism, its continued resonance in global fiction, and the relationship between philosophy and literature. Since completing her Ph.D in Comparative Literature at the University of California Berkeley, she has held appointments at Harvard, where she was a College Fellow in the Department of Comparative Literature from 2011-13, and at Stanford, where she was a postdoctoral fellow in English and a member of the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities from 2009-2011. She also studied at the EHESS in Paris and holds an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Virginia.
Her current book project, A Different Order of Difficulty: Wittgenstein and Transformative Yearning in Literary Modernism, attends to the significance of Wittgenstein's philosophy for studies in literary modernism (and vice versa) as well as its afterlife in contemporary literature. It reads works by Joyce, Woolf, Musil and Kafka (tracing the legacy of each in a coda on works of contemporary world literature written in continued dialogue both with Wittgenstein and their literary modernist precursors) in relation to Wittgenstein's gnomic Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and later writing. Karen is also co-editing, with Michael LeMahieu, the volume Wittgenstein and Modernism, under contract with the University of Chicago Press. She is also at work on a book project on grace and disgrace in modern and contemporary literature and philosophy. Her essays have appeared in Comparative Literature, The James Joyce Quarterly, and Philosophy and Kafka.
Topics that are the focus of her teaching include: 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, and film studies.
Karen's recent courses include a 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," "Literature of Fall and Redemption" and "The Booker Prize: Aesthetics, Commerce and Canon-Making." She is currently teaching a seminar on Virginia Woolf and modernism, and a lecture course on 19th and 20th-century British and Irish Literature.