Jens Martin Gurr, born 1974, studied English and German at the University of Mannheim. He received his doctorate from the University of Duisburg for his thesis Tristram Shandy and the Dialectic of Enlightenment (Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 1999). His post-doctoral thesis The Human Soul as Battleground: Variations on Dualism and the Self in English Literature was published in 2003 (Heidelberg: Winter). Having taught at the universities of Duisburg-Essen, Bamberg and Waterloo, Canada, he has been Professor of British and Anglophone Literature and Culture at the University of Duisburg-Essen since April 2007.
In recent years, I have especially been working on questions of identity in contemporary Anglophone fiction as well as the politics of identity in North American fiction and film. Publications here include essays on Paul Auster, Philip Roth, Luis J. Rodriguez, J.M. Coetzee, Nick Hornby, George Elliott Clarke and Jim Jarmusch. In a more theoretical vein, I have been working on Bourdieu in the context of postcolonial studies. An essay on "Bourdieu, Capital and the Postcolonial Marketplace" is forthcoming. A further recent area of interest is the interdisciplinary study of urban culture.
In my work as a fellow, I will especially attempt to contribute to the theoretical conceptualization of the field of identity politics in the Americas. In making Bourdieu's notion of the field fruitful to transnational contexts, which remained somewhat undertheorized by Bourdieu, I will attempt to combine central notions from Bourdieu with concepts from postcolonial studies. In doing so, I will attempt to make the study of narrativity, performativity and mediality a more explicit concern in the application of Bourdieu. My contribution will to some extent be based on using the Rigoberta Menchú controversy and its repercussions in US academia as a case study in order to conceptualize and refine the concept of a transnational field of identity politics and its intersection with other fields. Additionally, I will try to make my interest in urban popular culture fruitful for the discussion in the research group.