Professor Rebecca Gould brings research on comparative poetics beyond Europe to SOAS

Professor Rebecca Gould has been named to SOAS University of London as a Distinguished Research Professor of Comparative Poetics and Global Politics at the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics. 

Currently Professor of Islamic World and Comparative Literature at the University of Birmingham, Prof. Gould is the Primary Investigator for GlobalLIT, a project funded by the European Research Council which seeks to transform comparative poetics by drawing on the resources of Persian, Arabic, and Turkic literary theories. This multi-year research project aims to reinvigorate literary studies by introducing new approaches to literary comparison derived from the literary-theoretical traditions of the Muslim world.

With the support of the Independent Social Research Foundation, Gould is embarking on a new project that inquires into free speech in Palestinian universities. The project is part of Gould's broad interest in approaches to free speech outside the liberal-democratic tradition, particularly in Muslim societies.

Professor Gould said: “I have long admired SOAS as the only university in the UK and one of the few in the world that places the study of non-European cultures and traditions at the center of its research agenda. SOAS has a long tradition of supporting ground-breaking research on the Caucasus, Iran, and the wider Middle East. As someone working at the intersection of politics and poetics, I hope to collaborate with colleagues across schools and departments, from law to the social sciences. I am excited to see the next generation of scholars and creators of non-European traditions being formed at SOAS.”

The Distinguished Research Professorships are aimed at addressing the global challenges of our time, as framed by the Sustainable Development Goals, where researchers in their field will help to drive SOAS’s unique contribution towards addressing these goals through the perspectives of the people of Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Professor Gould's books include Erasing Palestine: Free Speech and Palestinian Freedom (Verso, 2023), The Persian Prison Poem: Sovereignty and the Political Imagination (Edinburgh University Press, 2021), and Writers and Rebels: The Literature of Insurgency in the Caucasus (Yale University Press, 2016), which was awarded the University of Southern California Book Prize in Literary and Cultural Studies.

Her articles have received numerous awards, including the International Society for Intellectual History’s Charles Schmitt Prize, the Modern Language Association’s Florence Howe Award for Feminist Scholarship, and the British Association for American Studies’ Arthur Miller Centre Essay Prize.  

Professor Gould will join SOAS on 1 September 2023.