Dr Zoë Roth
Associate Professor / Deputy Director of Research (Grants)
BA (Lon), MA, PhD (King's College London)
|Associate Professor / Deputy Director of Research (Grants) in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures||ER273, Elvet Riverside II||+44 (0) 191 33 43190|
|Member of Visual Arts & Cultures in the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture|
I completed my PhD in Comparative Literature at King’s College London in 2013, where I also taught as a Visiting Lecturer until joining Durham in September 2014. From 2012-2013 I held a Junior Research Fellowship at the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies, where I began research looking at francophone Jewish avant-garde artists and writers.
My research is broadly concerned with two things: bodies and Jews. My first book project, Formal Matters: Embodied Experience in Modern Literature, engages with phenomenology and aesthetics to reinterpret modern European fiction and reinvigorate formalist methods with political relevance. In contrast to approaches that have interpreted this literature through postmodern skepticism towards language and representation, I rethink the theoretical insistence that the body fundamentally escapes representation by shifting towards a formalist understanding of embodied experience. The book demonstrates how embodiment is not what resists but what constitutes form. I put into dialogue theories of embodiment from phenomenology and cultural anthropology with the new formalist studies, in order to develop a radical new model of literary criticism, one that insists upon the political potential of what I term “embodied form.”
The tension between aesthetics and subjective experience similarly informs my second project, “The Aesthetics of Jewishness: Jewish art and literature of the avant-garde,” which explores how a focus on the specificity of aesthetic, rather than historical or ethnographic, approaches to Jewish art and literature reveal the way race accrues a discursive force.
I also write and teach on literary and visual representations of the Holocaust within transnational framework.
- Transnationalism - Co-Convenor
- 2016: Transnational French Modernisms(£1500.00 from MHRA)
- 2016: Transnational French Modernisms(£500.00 from Society for French Studies)
- 2015: The Jewish Avant-Garde: Transnational Modernisms, 1916-1945(£8765.00 from The British Academy)
- Roth, Zoe (2022). Formal Matters: Embodied Experience in Modern Literature. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Chapter in book
- Roth, Zoe (2017). Frontière humaine: Race, Nation, and the Shape of Representation in Claude Cahun. In Jewish Aspects in the Avant-Garde: Between Rebellion and Revelation. Gelber, Mark H. & Sjöberg, Sami Berlin: De Gruyter. 5: 119-140.
- Roth, Zoe (2016). Real and Ideal Spaces: Writing, embodiment, and the beach in contemporary French literature. In La Ligne d'écume: Towards a new topography of the French beach. Fuggle, Sophie Pavement Books. 177-192.
- Roth, Zoe (2012). The Death of Desire: The erotic extreme in Michel Houellebecq's Platforme. In The Contemporary Extreme [Autour De L'extreme Litteraire]. Williams, Russell & Hemmens, Alastair Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press. 112-123.
- Bishop, Cécile & Roth, Zoë (2019). Race and the Aesthetic in French and Francophone Cultures. L’Esprit Créateur, 59 (2): Johns Hopkins University Press.
- Roth, Zoë (2023). How to Survive Totalitarianism. Lessons from Hannah Arendt. New Literary History
- Roth, Zoë (2019). “You can change your noses, but you can’t change your Moses” Olfactory Aesthetics and the Jewish “Race”. L'Esprit Créateur 59(2): 72-87.
- Bishop, Cécile & Roth, Zoë (2019). Introduction: Race and the Aesthetic in French and Francophone Cultures. L'Esprit Créateur 59(2): 1.
- Roth, Zoe (2017). War of Images or Images of War? Visualizing History in Jonathan Littell's The Kindly Ones. Journal of Modern Literature 41(1): 81-99.
- Roth, Zoe (2013). Vita brevis, ars longa: ekphrasis, the art object, and the consumption of the subject in Henry James and Michel Houellebecq. Word & Image 29(2): 139-156.
- Roth, Zoe (2012). Against Representation: Death, Desire, and Art in Philip Roth’s The Dying Animal. Philip Roth Studies 8(1): 95-100.
- Roth, Zoe (2011). Visions of Death and Desire: Exploring embodied ethics in Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber. Watermark Journal 5: 145-159.