Mark SandersProfessor of Comparative Literature
Ph.D. 1998, M.Phil. 1994, Columbia; M.A. 1992; B.A. 1990, Cape Town
Areas of Research/Interest
African Literature, Literary Theory, Law and Literature, Philosophy and Literature, South African Literature and Intellectual History, Testimony, Autobiography, Ethics, Psychoanalysis.
Complicities: The Intellectual and Apartheid (Duke, 2002)
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak: Live Theory (Continuum, 2006)
Ambiguities of Witnessing: Law and Literature in the Time of a Truth Commission (Stanford, 2007)
Learning Zulu: A Secret History of Language in South Africa (Princeton University Press, 2016)
"Ethics," editor. Diacritics, winter 2005.
"J.M. Coetzee and His Doubles," co-editor. Journal of Literary Studies. 2009.
Educated in South Africa and the United States, Mark Sanders specializes in African literatures, literary theory, and interdisciplinary approaches to literature, law, and philosophy. He is the author of Complicities: The Intellectual and Apartheid (Duke UP, 2002), which analyzes the problem of complicity confronted during the apartheid era by South African intellectuals, and proposes a theory of intellectual responsibility. Among his other works are Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak: Live Theory (Continuum, 2006), and Ambiguities of Witnessing: Law and Literature in the Time of a Truth Commission (Stanford UP, 2007), an interdisciplinary analysis of testimony given before South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a body that investigated human rights abuses committed during the apartheid era. His most recent book is Learning Zulu: A Secret History of Language in South Africa (Princeton UP, 2016), an account, framed by his own endeavors to learn the language, of the psychopolitics of over a century of attempts by non-native speakers to learn Zulu. He is editor of a special issue of the journal Diacritics on "Ethics" that appeared in winter 2005, and co-editor of "J.M. Coetzee and His Doubles," a special issue of the Journal of Literary Studies published in 2009. His interests range widely, with published essays on Primo Levi, Franz Kafka, J.M. Coetzee, Thomas Pynchon, Marlene van Niekerk, Antjie Krog, Frank Smith, and Vanessa Place, and translations from the Afrikaans of essays by N.P. van Wyk Louw. His essay, “Judge Schreber’s Paranoia: Psychoanalysis, Mourning, and the Law,” is forthcoming. He has held a number of major fellowships, including the American Council of Learned Societies ACLS/SSRC/NEH International and Area Studies Fellowship, the American Council of Learned Societies Charles A. Ryskamp research fellowship, and the George Watson fellowship at the University of Queensland, Australia.