Skip to main content

Kathleen Louise Samson

Doctoral Fellow


Campus am Neuen Palais
Am Neuen Palais 10
Building 1, Room 0.15
14469 Potsdam


consulting hours
by appointment only

Dissertation Project

After Hope: Embodied Labour, Communities of Care, and Endurance-as-hope in Contemporary Postcolonial Literature

The horizons for our expectations about what the modern, post-colonial, globalised, cosmopolitan era might have meant, have collapsed; and modes of hope as we have known it, for the future we envisioned, have passed. I am interested in examining how contemporary writers in settler-colonial states are grappling with the idea of living on ‘after hope’, and what kind of sociality emerges out of the ruins. I will posit that what emerges is hope-as-endurance. This entails people finding ways of “merely” ‘living on’, in their bodies, communities, and urban spaces. I explore hope-as-endurance as a framework, by seeking out stories ‘otherwise’ to the trajectory of late liberal narratives. These narratives of the otherwise manifest in instances of intimacy, contagion, and care that may not necessarily shift structural imbalances but create social life and networks that exceed spaces and places. Occasions for endurance-as-hope may be enabled by bodies that suffer in different ways, whether immediately or by deferral. I investigate the ways in which suffering may not be borne of extreme occasions of trauma, but may result from the everyday exclusions and abandonments of late liberalism. By suffering, enduring and caring, these bodies are positioned as otherwise in the schema of late liberalism and through this, new and alternative forms of social life are generated, thus holding great transformative potential. 


After having obtaining my undergraduate degree in 2012 in English and Anthropology at Rhodes University, Grahamstown South Africa I completed my MA in Language, Literature and Modernity at the University of Cape Town in 2016. My dissertation was titled: “From ‘sad black stories’ to ‘useful tragedy’: trajectories of hope in Kgebetli Moele’s Room 207 and Perfect Hlongwane’s Jozi”. The project considered the ways in which contemporary black South African writers speak together and differently on the possibility or the impossibility of writing new scripts about black subjectivity in post-apartheid Johannesburg. Before joining the Research Training Group Minor Cosmopolitanisms as a PhD Fellow, I spent two years working as a Production Manager at a Johannesburg media production company, gaining skills in a fast-paced industry. 

Research Interests

  • Southern African Literature
  • Literary Non-Fiction
  • Urban Studies
  • Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies
  • Global South Studies
  • Critical Race Studies
  • Indigenous Studies
  • New Materialism