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 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, and at Harvard, where she was a College Fellow in the Department of Comparative Literature from 2011-13. 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: Question, Quest and Transformative Yearning in Modernism, attends to the significance of Wittgenstein's philosophy for studies in literary modernism and its fragmented afterlife in contemporary literature. It reads works by Joyce, Woolf 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. Karen is also co-editing, with Michael LeMahieu, Wittgenstein and Modernism, under contract with the University of Chicago Press. She has also begun work on another project on grace and disgrace in modern and contemporary literature. 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, its resonance in contemporary global literature; the novel; early 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," "Modernism's Global Afterlife" and "The Booker Prize: Aesthetics, Commerce and Canon-Making." This spring at Tulane she will be teaching a capstone seminar on "Virginia Woolf and Modernism," and a lecture course on 19th and 20th-century British Literature.