Dr. Jana Giles is the holder of the L.M. McKneely Professorship in English Literature.
Giles earned her Bachelors of Arts in Liberal Arts at St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD. She obtained her Masters in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing at the University of New Mexico. She went on to study at the University of Cambridge, where she earned her Ph.D.
Giles’ current book project examines how six 20th and 21st century British and Anglophone novels demonstrate that Western aesthetics is not disinterested, but culturally determined. By focusing on the representation of the sublime, or that which cannot be fully represented, the book argues that the aesthetic and literal domestication of post/ colonial spaces and peoples is resisted within the novels.
The book argues that the resistance of domestication within the texts enables liberatory politics, which in turn challenge the aesthetic disinterestedness of the metropolitan readership of the novels. The book concludes that the post/modern, post/ colonial sublime thus figures the end of empire and the crisis of modernity.
Giles has published a number of articles including “Of Gods and Dogs: The Post/Colonial Sublime in Coetzee’s Disgrace, or, David Lurie’s Aesthetic Education,” The Sublime Today; “The Aesthetics of the Dispossessed: Sublime Vagrancy in Beckett’s ‘The End’ and Wordsworth,” Beckett Re-Membered: After the Centenary; and “The Landscape of the Other: Aesthetics, Representation, and The Post-Colonial Sublime in Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea,” Ma’Comère.
She has also published book reviews in The New York Times, The Albuquerque Journal, Women: A Cultural Review, and Joseph Conrad Today; textbook and reference material in the Oxford Encyclopedia of African American History and The Bedford Anthology of World Literature; and journalism in THE: Santa Fe’s Monthly Magazine of the Arts.
Giles has won numerous awards for her scholarly work, including the J. Barbara Northend Scholarship from the British Federation of Women Graduates, the Cambridge Overseas Trust Research Scheme Bursary, the Brian Pippard Bursary of Clare Hall, the Graduate Fellowship for Minority Students, Buchanan-Arms Award for Excellence and the Joseph C. Gallagher Award, all from UNM, and a Creative Writing Grant from the Vermont Studio Center.
She was also the recipient of the Mortar Board Top Ten Faculty at ULM in 2010, and the Outstanding Teaching Assistant of the Year Award for 2002-03 at UNM.
Giles regularly presents at national and international conferences as well as serving as a local and regional visiting lecturer. She was elected to the ULM Faculty Senate in 2012, and is currently on the Executive Board of the Masur Museum.
In addition to her academic career, Giles has worked in software and in publishing.
Her areas of research interest include Modernism and New Modernist Studies, Postcolonial Literature, Aesthetics, World Literature, American Ethnic Literatures, Criticism and Theory, Ecocriticism and ecological issues, and Creative Writing.
About the Endowment:
The L.M. McKneely Professorship in English Literature endowment was established to encourage and reward excellence in teaching, learning and research at ULM.