My PhD Reading List — For the Exams of Doom


Obviously, I’m in this thing called a PhD program.  In English (not Creative Writing).  And that means I have to take a series of exams (half written component and half oral).  As such, it’s necessary for me to have a reading list of primary and secondary texts (in my case, literature for the primary and theory/history/architecture for the secondary — some English majors do it the other way around).

Before I give you the list, it might be important to tell you want I’m doing.  I am studying the spatial organization of empire in the Caribbean.  In other words, I want to know how empires constructed themselves as physical and social spaces and how that reflects in the literature of Caribbean peoples.  That’s the short version anyway.

Now for the list:

(Early Period)
The English in the West Indies, Or, the Bow of Ulysses by James Anthony
Froude (1888)
Wonderful Adventures
of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands
by Mary Seacole (1857)
Rupert Gray, a Study
in Black and White
by Stephen N. Cobham (1907)
Emmanuel Appadocca by
Michel Maxwell Philip (1854)
(Modern and Mid-20th Century)
Minty Alley by C.
L. R. James (1936)
A Morning at the
by Edgar Mittelholzer (1950)
Wide Sargasso
by Jean Rhys (1966)
Brother Man by
Roger Mais (1954)
The Enigma of Arrival by
V. S. Naipaul (1987)
Frangipani House by
Beryl Gilroy
Cambridge by Caryl Phillips (1991)
A Map to the Door of
No Return:  Notes to Belonging
by Dionne
Brand (2004)
(Genre and Related Contemporary)
Crystal Rain by
Tobias S. Buckell (2006)
Ragamuffin by
Tobias S. Buckell (2007)
Sly Mongoose by
Tobias S. Buckell (2008)(note:  there is
a fourth book coming out in this series, which I may add to this list at a
later time)
Midnight Robber by
Nalo Hopkinson (2000)
Redemption in Indigo by
Karen Lord (2010)
Theory, History,
(Spatial Theory)
The Production of
by Henri Lefebvre
The Urban Experience by
David Harvey
The Road to Botany Bay:  An
Essay in Spatial History
by Paul Carter
The Archaeologies of
the Future
by Fredric Jameson
The Poetics of Space by
Gaston Bachelard
(Caribbean History, Postcolonial
Theory, etc.)
Writing in Limbo by
Simon Gikandi
Poetics of Relation by
Edouard Glissant
The Repeating
Island:  the Caribbean
and the Postmodern Perspective
by Rojo Antonio Benitez
The Pleasures of Exile
by George Lamming
The British Caribbean:  From
the Decline of Colonialism to the End of Federation
by Elisabeth Wallace
Yards in the City of Kingston by Erna


Any suggested additions?

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

2 thoughts on “My PhD Reading List — For the Exams of Doom

  1. Hi

    If you want someone to talk to about Ph.D. quals, lemme know. I'm not in your field/sub specialty (English lit, Medieval-1832, Medieval English and Celtic langs/lits for me) but I can at least maybe remind you that there is life after.

    Either way, you persevere. And try to find things to enjoy/love about the texts, despite the exams.

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