Post45 Vs. The World: Literary Perspectives on the Global Contemporary

William G. Welty (Ed.)

by Michael Maguire (Penn State University), Amanda Lagji (Pitzer College), Daniel Malinowski (Rutgers University), Cathryn Piwinski (Rutgers University), Daria Goncharova (The University of Kentucky), Pritika Pradhan (Minnesota State University), Sushil Sivaram (UWC Dilijan College)

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Much of the work done on the Post45 literary field carries an implicitly Americanist perspective. Even the name of the field suggests a certain literary history, with certain assumptions and blind spots about national spaces, identities, and histories. But what would Post45 look like when considered from outside of the United States? How do the current contours of the field exclude certain voices, either in the United States or elsewhere in the world? And how would such new perspectives shift the beginning and possible endpoint of that literary period? What new narratives of the contemporary emerge if we begin telling the story in a different year or from a different national or global perspective?

This collection attempts to re-frame the discussions in Post45 by engaging with non-American writers, texts, and perspectives. Additionally, productive conversations emerge by attempting to think of canonical American writers like Mark Twain and Ishmael Reed from other national and global perspectives. The authors consider both the ways texts themselves as well as their reception histories approach and challenge our understandings of the contemporary. Ultimately, the collection interrogates prevailing narratives of history, culture, identity, and space within the Post45 field. In so doing, it re-considers the historical periodization of the field, which currently covers approximately 75 years of literary history. The resulting essays thus work towards a new intertwined narrative about what defines the contemporary and how national and global literatures fit into that moment of world history.

Introduction: “America is bigger than all of us”
William G. Welty
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Section I. “How Soon Is Now?”

Chapter 1
Contemporaneity is a chronological, not a qualitative category
Michael Maguire-Khan
Penn State University

Chapter 2
“Contemporary” comparisons:The Silent Minaret at the intersection of the “post” debates
Amanda Lagji
Pitzer College

Chapter 3
On the period currently known as Post45
Dan Malinowski
Rutgers University

Section II. Towards a more global Post45

Chapter 4
“Workers of the world, unite!” Huck, Jim, and the Cold War’s racial tensions
Daria Goncharova
The University of Kentucky

Chapter 5
A world in the margins: Oscar Wao, its paratexts, and how we read world literature
Cathryn Piwinski
Rutgers University

Chapter 6
“The strange familiar:” coming home in and as an Americanah
Pritika Pradhan
Minnesota State University

Section III. Conclusions

Chapter 7
Decolonial Post45 and America as object of study
Sushil Sivaram
UWC Dilijan College

Coda. “We will make our own future text”
William G. Welty
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

About the contributors

William G. Welty earned his PhD in English at Rutgers University in 2020. His writing has appeared in 'Politics/Letters', 'Textual Practice', 'Hypercultura', and 'Psychoanalysis, Culture, and Society'. He has also contributed chapters to 'The Encyclopedia of the Black Arts Movement', 'Trump Fiction', and 'Creoles, Diasporas, and Cosmopolitanisms'. Dr. Welty lives in New Jersey with his wife, son, and dog.

Post45, World Literature, Contemporary Literature, Amy Hungerford, Mark McGurl, Post-colonial literature

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Post45 Vs. The World: Literary Perspectives on the Global Contemporary





Number of pages


Physical size

236mm 160mm

Publication date
January 2023