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About Stephen Clingman

Stephen Clingman is Professor of English and Director of the Interdisciplinary Studies Institute at the University of Massachusetts. He was born and raised in South Africa, where he received his B.A. Hons. from the University of the Witwatersrand. He won a scholarship to Oxford University, where he received his D.Phil. He has taught at the University of Massachusetts since 1989, and was Chair of the English Department from 1994-2000.
Stephen Clingman's work has ranged from South African literature and biography to postcolonial and transnational fiction. His first book was The Novels Of Nadine Gordimer: History From The Inside (1986; 2nd edn, Bloomsbury/UMass Press, 1992), and his edited collection of essays by Nadine Gordimer, The Essential Gesture: Writing, Politics And Places (Jonathan Cape/Knopf, 1988), has been translated into a number of languages; a separate edition, Leben im Interregnum: Essays zu Politik und Literatur, was published in Germany in 1987. His Bram Fischer: Afrikaner Revolutionary (David Philip/UMass Press, 1998), a biography of the white Afrikaner who led Nelson Mandela's legal defense at the Rivonia Trial, won the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award, South Africa's premier prize for non-fiction. His most recent book, The Grammar of Identity: Transnational Fiction and the Nature of the Boundary (Oxford University Press, 2009; paperback 2012), is a study of writers ranging from Joseph Conrad to Caryl Phillips, Salman Rushdie, Jean Rhys, W. G. Sebald, Nadine Gordimer and J. M. Coetzee.
Articles and interviews by Stephen Clingman have appeared in book collections as well as journals such as Modern Fiction Studies, Journal of Southern African Studies, Salmagundi, and Transition, and he has written reviews for the New York Times and the Boston Globe. He has also held fellowships at a variety of institutions internationally, including the Southern African Research Program (Yale University), the African Studies Institute (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg), the Society for the Humanities (Cornell University), and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Washington, D.C.). Stephen's papers for the Fischer biography are now held at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. At the University of Massachusetts he has given the introductions for two visiting Nobel Prize-winners, Nadine Gordimer, and J. M. Coetzee, as well as writers such as Salman Rushdie and Caryl Phillips.
Stephen regularly teaches courses on South African Literature and Politics, Studies in Twentieth-Century Fiction (Writing at the Frontiers), and Transnational Fiction. ISHA, which he has directed since 2001, runs year-long faculty seminars on a range of themes and hosts the ISHA Residency. For more information, see .


Present Chair, Department of English, 1994-2000, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Present Director, Interdisciplinary Seminar in the Humanities and Fine Arts (ISHA), University of Massachusetts Amherst
Present Professor, Department of English, College of Humanities & Fine Arts, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Curriculum Vitae

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Honors and Awards

  • 2012 Distinguished Faculty Lecture University of Massachusetts
  • 2012 Chancellor's Medal University of Massachusetts
  • 2012 Fellow, Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study
  • 2004-05 Samual F. Conti Faculty Fellowship
  • 1999 Alan Paton Award
  • 1993-94 Fellow, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • 1987-88 Junior Fellow, Society for the Humanities, Cornell University
  • 1984-87 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, African Studies Institute, University of the Witwatersrand
  • 1983-84 Visiting Fellow, Southern African Research Program, Yale University

Contact Information

264 Bartlett Hall
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA. 01003