Olivia Tjon-A-Meeuw is a teaching and research assistant at Prof. Dr. Michael C. Frank’s Chair of English Literatures of the 19th and 20th century.
She holds an BA in English Literature and Linguistics as well as Modern History. She also holds an MA in English Literature and Linguistics as well as Gender Studies. Both degrees are from the University of Zurich.
In her MA thesis 'Race' and Sex - A Foucauldian Approach to Reading (Neo-) Victorian Narratives, she analysed both classics of British Literature and unknown works from the Caribbean.
This dissertation aims to fill a theoretical gap in Michel Foucault’s thinking; more precisely, his omission of the topic of race in The History of Sexuality Volume 1: The Will to Knowledge. While he himself points to the colonial expansion of Europe with the quickly discarded image of the imperial prude, he nevertheless ignores what this means for the bourgeois self-conception; namely that it has always been created in opposition to the racial Other. Thus, it is the thesis of this dissertation that race and sex are co-constructed, functioning together as strategies of power. More precisely, there is a deployment of race and sex, which demands a constant search for the supposed truth of these categories, through which the subject as such is formed.
The dissertation looks specifically at Britain and the Caribbean, comparing the 19th century to the 20th/21st century. Through the comparison between Victorian and Neo-Victorian texts, changes and continuities become apparent. The primary literature includes classics such as Wide Sargasso Sea, but also less well-known texts such as Hamel, the Obeah Man.
- 19th century
Conferences and Workshops
March 22-23, 2018. “Is Bertha Mad because she is Black, or is she Black because she is Mad?” Paper at the conference "On Whose Terms? Ten Years on…Critical Negotiations in Black British Literature and the Arts", Goldsmiths College, University of London.
November 1, 2016. Introduction to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Talk given at the Theater Winterthur together with Prof. Dr. Barbara Straumann prior to the performance of Dracula by the TNT Theatre Britain.