Terri Tomsky, PhD

Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts - English & Film Studies Dept


Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts - English & Film Studies Dept
4-87 Humanities Centre
11121 Saskatchewan Drive NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2H5



Terri Tomsky works in the field of postcolonial, de-colonial studies, trauma studies, cultural memory, surveillance studies, human rights, and contemporary literatures. She is currently completing a book manuscript about human rights advocacy and the cultural narratives about the Guantánamo prison. And she has a blogged a bit about it here: 


She is also working on another project, "Imagining Justice After Globalization" about the cultural mediations of the International Criminal Tribunals at The Hague, funded by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant (2017-2020). 


My research looks at lots of different fields. Key among them: 

Postcolonial literary studies; anti-colonial theory & theories of globalization and cosmopolitanism

Cultural Memory studies and trauma theory

The Global War on Terror, especially the Guantanamo Military Complex 

Human Rights literary culture, life narratives and testimonies

Genocide studies

Surveillance studies

Migration Studies 

Contemporary British literature

20th century critical social theory 

Post-socialist Europe

Feminist thought--all the waves

Visual studies and media culture 

Select Publications 


With Eddy Kent, ed. Negative Cosmopolitanism: Culture and Politics of World Citizenship After Globalization. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s UP, 2017. 388 pages. 

Overview: From climate change, debt, and refugee crises to energy security, environmental disasters, and terrorism, the events that lead nightly newscasts and drive public policy demand a global perspective. In the twentieth century the world sought solutions through formal institutions of international governance such as the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, and the World Bank, but present-day responses to global realities are often more provisional, improvisational, and contingent. Tracing this uneven history in order to identify principal actors, contesting ideologies, and competing rhetoric, Negative Cosmopolitanism challenges the Kantian ideal of cosmopolitanism as the precondition for a perpetual global peace. Uniting literary scholars with researchers working on contemporary problems and those studying related issues of the past – including slavery, industrial capitalism, and corporate imperialism – essays in this volume scrutinize the entanglement of cosmopolitanism within expanding networks of trade and global capital from the eighteenth century to the present. By doing so, the contributors pinpoint the ways in which whole populations have been unwillingly caught up in a capitalist reality that has little in common with the earlier ideals of cosmopolitanism.


Journal Articles

“Citizens of Nowhere: Cosmopolitanisation and Cultures of Securitization in Dionne Brand’s InventoryJournal of Intercultural Studies 40.5 (October 2019). 564-79. 

“Toward A Realistic Utopia: Literary Representations of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.” Australian Journal of Human Rights 22.2 (2016): 123-42. 

“The Guantánamo Lawyers: Life Writing for the ‘Courts of Public Opinion.’” Biography 38.1 (Winter 2015): 23-40.

“From Sarajevo to 9/11: Travelling Memory and the Trauma Economy.” parallax 17.4 (October-December 2011): 49-60.

“Amitav Ghosh’s Anxious Witnessing and the Ethics of Action in The Hungry Tide.” Journal of Commonwealth Literature 44.1 (March 2009): 53-65.

“Theorising the Disparities of Diaspora.” Canadian Literature 196 (Spring 2008): 194-198.

“Fifty Years On: Melancholic (Re)collections and Women’s Voices from the Partition of India.” Life Writing 5.1 (April 2008): 61-78. 

Book Chapters  

“Seeking Asylum: Mapping the Hidden Worlds of Migrant Detention Centers in Recent Literary Representations.” Post-Sovereign Approaches to Human Rights and Literature. Ed. Alexandra S. Moore and Samantha Pinto. Palgrave, 2020. 

“Legal Appeal: Habeas Lawyers Narrate Guantánamo Life.” Doubling the Voice: Survivors and Human Rights Workers Address Torture in a Globalized World. Eds. Alexander S. Moore and Elizabeth Swanson. Amsterdam: Republic of Letters, 2018. 211-29.

With Eddy Kent. “Introduction: Negative Cosmopolitanism.” Negative Cosmopolitanism: Culture and Politics of World Citizenship After Globalization. Ed. Eddy Kent and Terri Tomsky. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s UP, 2017. 3-26. 

“Cosmopolitan Testimony: Engaging Radical Alterity on The Road to Guantánamo.” Security and Hospitality: New Literary Perspectives, eds. Jeffrey Clapp, and Emily Ridge. London: Routledge, 2016. 258-74.

“Iguanas and Enemy Combatants: Rethinking Cosmopolitanism Through Guantánamo’s Creaturely Lives.” Cosmopolitan Animals. Eds. Kaori Nagai, and Karen Jones. London: Routledge, 2015. 201-215. 

“Collective Loss and Commemoration after the Yugoslav Wars: Dubravka Ugresić’s Museumizing Gaze.” The Transcultural Turn: Interrogating Memory Between and Beyond Borders. Eds. Lucy Bond, and Jessica Rapson. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2014. 191-208.


ENGL 150 - Introduction to English Studies

An introduction to studies in the discipline recommended for students considering a major, minor, or Honors degree in English. Students will be introduced to a variety of methodological approaches while learning about literary, cultural and media studies, with special attention to topics such as race, Indigeneity, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class. NOTES: Not to be taken by students with 6 units in approved junior English. Credit does not fulfill the Arts common English requirement. Restricted to students registered in the Faculty of Arts.

ENGL 223 - Reading Empire and the Postcolonial

An introduction to dynamics of colonization and its resistances in literary and other cultural texts, and to the critical concepts and methods key to their study. Prerequisite: 6 units of junior ENGL, or 3 units of junior ENGL and 3 units of junior WRS.

ENGL 310 - Postcolonial Literature

An examination of the range of literature produced under and in the aftermath of colonialism and imperialism. Prerequisite: 6 units of junior ENGL, or 3 units of junior ENGL and 3 units of junior WRS.

ENGL 426 - Studies in Literary and Cultural Histories

Prerequisites: 12 units of senior ENGL with a minimum of 6 units at the 300 level. Note: variable content course which may be repeated.

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