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Department of English Language and Literature


Eli Jelly-Schapiro

Title: Associate Professor
Director of Graduate Studies
Department: English Language and Literature
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-4203
Office: HUO 522
Resources: English Language and Literature


PhD, Yale University, 2013
MSc, London School of Economics and Political Science, 2006
BS, Georgetown University, 2004

Areas of Specialization 

    Global Contemporary Literature
    Theories of Race, Capital, and Empire
    Transnational American Studies
    The History of the Present

Recently Taught Courses 

Postcolonial Literature and Theory
Capitalism and Contemporary Literature
Literature and Globalization
Global Contemporary Literature
Reading and Writing the Global City

Current Research Projects 

My second book, Moments of Capital: World Theory, World Literature, is forthcoming from Stanford University Press in March 2023. Undertaken at the interface of critical theory and world literature, Moments of Capital sets out to grasp the unity and heterogeneity of global capital in the postcolonial present. I argue that global capital is composed of three synchronous moments: primitive accumulation, expanded reproduction, and the "synthetic dispossession" facilitated by financialization and privatization. These moments correspond to distinct economic and political forms, and distinct strands of theory and fiction. Moments of Capital integrates various intellectual traditions—from multiple trajectories of Marxist thought, to Weberian inquiries into the "spirit" of capitalism, to anticolonial accounts of racial depredation—to reveal the concurrent interrelation of the three moments of capital. The book's literary readings, meanwhile, make vivid the uneven texture and experience of capitalist modernity at large. Analyzing formally and thematically diverse novels—works by Fiston Mwanza Mujila, Marlon James, Amitav Ghosh, Jennifer Egan, Eugene Lim, Raphael Chirbes, Neel Mukherjee, Pitchaya Sudbanthad, Rachel Kushner, and others—Moments of Capital evinces the different patterns of feeling and consciousness that register, and hypothesize a way beyond, the contradictions of capital. This book develops a new conceptual key for the mapping of contemporary theory, world literature, and global capital itself.

My first book, Security and Terror: American Culture and the Long History of Colonial Modernity, was published by the University of California Press in 2018. Security and Terror interweaves two threads. One, the book embeds the conceptual paradigms of security and terror within the five-hundred-year history of European empire and its afterlives—the long, global history of colonial modernity. Two, the book examines how the extant history of colonial modernity, and the dialectic of security and terror that operates therein, is registered and reckoned with in contemporary theory and fiction. 

Selected Publications 

   • Security and Terror: American Culture and the Long History of Colonial Modernity (Oakland: University of California Press, 2018)

    “Extractive Modernity at Large: The Contemporary Novel of Primitive Accumulation,” Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies (published online December 2021; forthcoming in print)
   “Literature, Theory, and the Temporalities of Neoliberalism,” in Neoliberalism and Contemporary American Literature, eds. Stephen Shapiro and Liam Kennedy (Hanover: Dartmouth College Press, 2019)
   • “Historicizing Repression and Ideology,” Mediations, vol. 30, no. 2, August 2017 (special issue on Louis Althusser’s On the Reproduction of Capitalism, Caren Irr, ed.)
   • “‘This Is Our Threnody’: Roberto Bolaño and the History of the Present,” Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, vol. 56, no. 1, January 2015
   • “Occupation against Occupation: Space and Anticolonial Resistance,” Transforming Anthropology, vol. 22, no. 1, April 2014
   • “Security: The Long History,” Journal of American Studies, vol. 47, no. 3, August 2013
   • “‘The Stands Bereft of People’: The Cultural Politics of World Cup Stadia,” Transition 109, October 2012

   • “The Art of Neverending Wars,” essay on the exhibition “Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars 1991 – 2011” (MoMA Ps1), New York Review of Books (online), 15 February 2020
   “The World-Spanning Humanism of Mohsin Hamid,” The Millions, 12 July 2017
   “Millennials and the War on Terror,” The Chronicle Review, vol. LXII, no. 5, October 2015
   “The Crazy: Writing the Iraq War,” The Nation, 29 October 2012
   “Working Lives in Debt,” Social TextPeriscope, 29 September 2011
   “‘Days of Infamy’: John Dower’s Cultures of War,” Los Angeles Review of Books, 1 August 2010
   “The World Cup: Will South Africa Shine?,” Social Text online, June 2010

   • “Extractive Modernity at Large,” Historical Materialism conference, SOAS, University of London, 10 November 2019
   • “Security, Terror, and Colonial Modernity,” invited lecture and seminar, the Global South Colloquium, University of Victoria (BC), 31 January 2019
   • “Choc en Retour: The Colonial Origins of Neoliberal Rationality,” annual meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association, Universiteit Utrecht, 7 July 2017
   • “Governmentality and Accumulation: Literature, Freedom, and the Temporalities of Neoliberalism,” annual meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association, Harvard University, 22 March 2016
   • “Governmentality and Accumulation: Literature and the Historiography of Neoliberalism,” Neoliberalism and American Literature conference, University College Dublin, 21 February 2015
   • “Occupation against Occupation: Space, the City, and Anticolonial Resistance,” Crossroads in Cultural Studies conference, Tampere, Finland, 2 July 2014

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.