Dr Jolene Zigarovich
Visiting Research Fellow (March – May 2021)
Home institution: University of Northern Iowa
Project title: Necropolitics: Legislating the Dead Body and the Victorian Novel
Jolene Zigarovich is associate professor of English in the Department of Languages & Literatures at the University of Northern Iowa. She has also taught at Cornell University, Claremont Graduate University, and Scripps College. She is the author of Writing Death and Absence in the Victorian Novel: Engraved Narratives, and editor of Sex and Death in Eighteenth-Century Literature as well as TransGothic in Literature and Culture. She recently completed the monograph Death and the Body in Eighteenth-Century Fiction and Culture which had the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
At IASH, she will be working on Necropolitics: Legislating the Dead Body and the Victorian Novel, which considers the posthumous life of characters uncannily bound by regulation. Necropolitics argues that while the novel upholds legal authority, it simultaneously critiques it, affording a strategy for advocacy against normative regulations through the symbol of the untraceable or dead. The project draws on economic and political theory, including the theory of power and death termed “necropolitics,” as it investigates how contemporary legal issues are transformed into haunting aspects of Victorian narrative jurisprudence. Contributing to a deeper understanding of the suspension of truth in law and legal structures, the book illustrates ways in which the complex examination of human character from two centuries ago can instruct social values and challenge established positions today.