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Prof Katherine Baxter

Deputy Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor

Department: Humanities

Following my first degree in English and Hebrew, I was awarded my Ph.D. from the University of Glasgow in July 2003. I then worked for several years in London both as a lecturer and as a cataloguer and curator at the British Library. In 2007 I was appointed as Research Assistant Professor in Cross-Cultural Studies in English at the University of Hong Kong. I then moved, in 2010, to the United States where I was a lecturer at Stanford University before joining Northumbria University in 2011. My work is characterized by my longstanding interest in cross-cultural and interdisciplinary scholarship. Colonial and postcolonial literatures form the main focus of my research alongside an interest in legal theory and in literary multilingualism.

Katherine Baxter

Campus Address

Office: Lipman 107



My current research is funded by the British Academy Knowledge Frontiers scheme. This collaborative project, called Desert Disorders,  aims to recentre arid regions within a comparative, global perspective, using historical, literary and ethnographic methodologies to challenge presumptions of these spaces as perceived disorder. The project examines two case studies, Somaliland and the Thar Desert, through collaboration with Professor Deborah Sutton (Lancaster University) and Professor Farhana Ibrahim (IIT Delhi).

Desert Disorders emerges out of my longer-standing engagement with Law and Literary studies on the African continent. Exemplifying this research, my most recent monograph, Imagined States: Law and Literature in Nigeria (in the Edinburgh Critical Studies in Law, Literature and the Humanities series, 2019), examines representations of the law in British and Nigerian high-brow, middle-brow and popular fiction and journalism. Drawing on a range of examples, the book focuses on the imaginative role that the state of exception played in the application of indirect rule during British colonialism and in the legal machinations of the postcolonial state. It reads works by Chinua Achebe, Joyce Cary, Cyprian Ekwensi and Edgar Wallace, together with a range of Nigerian market literature and journalism.

I have also published widely in Conrad studies.  I have edited a variety of essay collections and special issues, most recently editing Conrad and Language with Professor Robert Hampson (EUP 2016; paperback 2017; awarded third prize for the Adam Gillon Book Award, 2018). I am co-editor of Conrad’s Plays for Cambridge University Press’s series, The Works of Joseph Conrad, with Professor Richard Hand (CUP forthcoming). This is an exciting project, which collects together for the first time all Conrad’s plays with The Book of Job, his only literary translation from Polish, and his film scenario, Gaspar The Strongman. My first monograph, Joseph Conrad and The Swan Song of Romance (Ashgate 2010), explores Conrad’s use of classical romance forms throughout his oeuvre and received ‘Honourable Mention’ for the Adam Gillon Book Award, 2012.

I am a member of the AHRC Peer Review College and act as an expert reviewer for a number of academic publishers and journals. Between 2016-2020 I was General Editor of English: The Journal of the English Association. I am a Fellow of the English Association.

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Cecily Shoots a Rhinoceros: Big Game Hunting in British Somaliland and the 1900 Convention for the Preservation of Wild Animals, Birds and Fish in Africa, Baxter, K. 14 Dec 2023, In: Law and Literature
  • Paradise after Bandung: reading Abdulrazak Gurnah’s novel across the twentieth century, Baxter, K. 13 Dec 2023, Les Circulations littéraires afro-asiatiques après Bandung, Saint-Denis, Réunion, Presses Universitaires Indianocéaniques
  • What’s Love Got to Do With It? Law and Literature in 1920s British Somaliland, Baxter, K. 1 Sep 2023, Ethical Crossroads in Literary Modernism, Clemson, Clemson University Press
  • Imagined States: Law and Literature in Nigeria, 1900-1966, Baxter, K. Nov 2019
  • Practices of Remembrance: The Experiences of Artists and Curators in the Centenary Commemoration of World War I, Baxter, K. 13 May 2020, In: Arts
  • Arab and Muslim Transnationalism in Conrad's Malay Fiction, Baxter, K. 26 Aug 2021, Migration, Modernity and Transnationalism in the Work of Joseph Conrad, Bloomsbury
  • Joseph Conrad and the Swan Song of Romance, Baxter, K. Jan 2010
  • Joseph Conrad and the Performing Arts, Baxter, K., Hand, R. Feb 2009
  • Autotheory in Contemporary Visual Arts Practice - Special Issue, Baxter, K., Auburn, C. 10 Jan 2023, In: Arts
  • Geography and Law in Almayer’s Folly, Baxter, K. 24 Feb 2021, In: Conradiana

  • Hannah Humes Politics, Religion and Pleasure: Travel Writing about China in the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle, 1880-1925 Start Date: 07/10/2014 End Date: 07/11/2018
  • Eman Alasah The (Post)Colonial Politics and Aesthetics of Post-1993 Palestinian Life Writing Start Date: 18/01/2021
  • Hayet Sedda Identity and Cultural Anxieties: Will to Power in Early Twentieth-Century Women’s Travel Writing about the Middle East and North Africa Start Date: 01/03/2020
  • James Ward Domestic Space in the Colonial Fiction of Joseph Conrad and his contemporaries Start Date: 01/10/2018 End Date: 16/10/2021
  • Hayet Sedda Identity and Cultural Anxieties: Will to Power in Early Twentieth-Century Women’s Travel Writing about the Middle East and North Africa Start Date: 01/03/2020 End Date: 16/10/2021
  • James Ward Domestic Space in the Colonial Fiction of Joseph Conrad and his Contemporaries (1890–1920) Start Date: 01/10/2018 End Date: 11/05/2023
  • Eman Alasah Doctor of philosophy in English literature and creative writing Colonial encounters and liminal spaces in post-Oslo Palestinian life writing Start Date: 18/01/2021 End Date: 16/10/2021
  • Yeisil Peña Contreras Mapuche, Igbo, and Muslim women: Transnational Solidarities in Global South Contemporary Literature Start Date: 01/10/2023

  • Literary Studies PhD June 30 2003
  • MA (Hons) June 30 1999
  • Senior Fellow (SFHEA) Higher Education Academy (HEA) 2017


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