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Laurent Milesi

Dr Laurent Milesi

Honorary Research Fellow

School of English, Communication and Philosophy


I am currently Tenured Professor of English Literature and Critical Theory at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, one of China's top-tier universities in the 'C9' (or Chinese Ivy League). Until July 2017, I was Chair of the Centre for Critical and Cultural Theory in ENCAP (starting in 2013).

My major areas of interest and expertise are in 20th-century fiction (especially James Joyce) and poetry (Ezra Pound, Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, contemporary American poetries), autofiction (the work of Chloé Delaume), 'French Theory' and postructuralism (especially Jacques Derrida, Hélène Cixous, Roland Barthes, Jean-François Lyotard), theories of the postmodern, posthumanism and game studies.


My first major research was on Joyce's use of foreign languages and the problematics of Babel in Finnegans Wake.

From the early 1990s onwards, my work engaged more directly with various aspects of 'French Theory', in particular the thought of Jacques Derrida and the 'critifiction' (criticism + fiction) of Hélène Cixous, both of whom I have also translated.

More recently, I have also branched off into game studies - I was instrumental in setting up the international Digital Games and Literary Theory network in 2012 - and 'Digital Theory', at the intersection of theories of technicity, the virtual and the digital, digital cultures, ludology and media studies.

I am currently completing a long-standing monograph, titled Non-lieux: Jacques Derrida and the Ethics of Writing, whose aim is to reassess the role of deconstructive ethics in relation to a sense of place (lieu) and displacement, and to Derrida's strategies of writing.


I was born in France, where I studied English language and literature at the Université de Bourgogne. After ranking first in the national Agrégation d'anglais in 1985, I went to Oxford University as Worcester College's Besse Scholar (until 1988), where I obtained a PhD in Engish literature. I was a Research Fellow at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (1988-91) before being appointed as a lecturer at Swansea University (1991-94). I moved to Cardiff University in 1995.

I have also been an affiliated member of the ITEM-CNRS research group on James Joyce's manuscripts, Paris, from my postgraduate days in France.

I am one of the general editors of the 'Theory, Culture and Politics' book series at Rowman and Littlefield International and joint editor-in-chief, with Prof. Arleen Ionescu, of the international publication Word and Text - A Journal of Literary Studies and Linguistics.