Edmund Chapman


I completed my PhD, 'Afterlives: Benjamin, Derrida and Literature in Translation', including chapters on Aimé Césaire, James Joyce and Jorge Luis Borges, at the University of Manchester in 2016. I am currently an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow here at Maynooth. My project, The Language of Refuge: Antisemitism, Transnational Writers and ‘Home’, looks at relationships between language, antisemitism and conceptions of home and community in the work of multilingual Jewish refugee writers, including Emmanuel Levinas, Hannah Arendt, Clarice Lispector and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. I am a co-editor of the journal New Voices in Translation Studies.

Research Interests

My research interests include comparative and 'world' literature; multilingualism and translation in relation to literature; critical theory; antisemitism and definitions of 'Jewishness'; migration; and postcolonial theory. I am also interested in literature of South America, particularly Brazil, and the Caribbean.

Research Projects

Title Role Description Start date End date Amount
The Language of Refuge: Transnational Writers, Antisemitism and 'Home' Postdoctoral Research Fellow Prejudice around forced migration continues to be a major concern across contemporary Europe. A key element of anti-migrant rhetoric accuses refugees of refusing to speak the ‘native language’ – mirroring early twentieth-century antisemitic discourse. Historical and ongoing antisemitism and wider anti-refugee prejudice are therefore linked through nativist assumptions that conflate national belonging with speaking the ‘native language’. To illuminate how both victims of antisemitism and refugees can conceptualise new forms of belonging and ‘being together’ through language, this Fellowship examines the relationship between language, antisemitism and ‘home’ in several twentieth-century Jewish refugee writers who did not write in their native languages: Emmanuel Levinas, Hannah Arendt, Clarice Lispector and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. I argue these writers demonstrate an alienation resulting from antisemitism, their refugee status and their relationships to language, but also that they show the possibility of a ‘language of refuge’ – language attesting to alternative forms of ‘home’ or community. These writers highlight the centrality of antisemitic tropes to larger debates about nationhood and ‘belonging’, and the often overlooked intersections between the experiences of victims of antisemitism, and wider refugee experiences. They therefore show that both antisemitism and anti-migrant prejudice cannot be challenged through ‘integration’ or strengthening a sense of ‘community’, but only through redefining our very concepts of ‘community’ and ‘home’ – through our relationship with language. 01/09/2021 31/08/2023

Post Doctoral Fellows / Research Team

Researcher Name Project Funding Body
Rita Sakr The Language of Refuge: Transnational Writers, Antisemitism and 'Home'


Year Publication
2019 Edmund Chapman (2019) The Afterlife of Texts in Translation: Understanding the Messianic in Literature. Cham: Palgrave Pivot. [DOI]

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2016 Edmund Chapman (2016) 'Nature, religion and freedom in Aimé Césaire’s 'Une Tempête''. Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 52 (6):726-738. [DOI]
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