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Outstanding early-career researcher wins Carl Smith Medal

The Clocktowers clock

Tuesday 5 June 2012 2:42pm

Jacob EdmondDr Jacob Edmond

Internationally recognised poetry scholar Dr Jacob Edmond is the latest recipient of the University of Otago’s Carl Smith Medal and Rowheath Trust Award.

The Award and Medal recognise outstanding research performance of early-career staff at the University and are accompanied by a $5000 grant for personal scholarly development.

Since joining the University’s Department of English in 2004, Dr Edmond has developed an international reputation as a leading scholar in the field of comparative literature and global culture. His research has appeared in leading international journals in his field, such as Poetics Today and Comparative Literature, and he has been an invited speaker at first-rank universities, including the University of California Berkeley and Oxford.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Enterprise) Professor Richard Blaikie warmly congratulated Dr Edmond, describing his achievements at such an early stage of his research career as being highly impressive.

“Not only is he an exceptional scholar, he has also made important contributions to the University’s research environment in his past role as a convener of our O-Zone group of early to mid-career researchers.”Dr Edmond’s research expertise includes twentieth and twenty-first century poetry in English, Chinese and Russian, modernism and postmodernism, the avant-garde, literary theory, literature and politics, and comparative literature. Before coming to Otago, Dr Edmond was a visiting scholar at Harvard University’s Davis Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies. He gained his PhD at the University of Auckland.

Dr Edmond, who is currently a senior lecturer, has edited several books and is cofounder and former convener of the Russian Studies Research Cluster at Otago. He is also a convener of the University’s new research themes on Comparative and Cross-Cultural Studies and on Asian Migrations.

He has secured two grants from the prestigious Marsden Fund of New Zealand; a faststartgrant designed to support outstanding early-career researchers and later a full three-year grant.

His Marsden support has enabled him to complete his newly published book, A Common Strangeness: Contemporary Poetry, Cross-Cultural Encounter, Comparative Literature, which has been described by Stanford University professor Marjorie Perloff as “unique among studies of contemporary poetics in being genuinely global in its perspective and its reach”.

Dr Edmond says he is delighted to receive the Medal and Award.“But I want to stress how much my work owes to others. I am incredibly grateful for the support and inspirational example of so many colleagues––both general and academic staff––within my Department and across the Humanities Division and the wider University.

“My research is driven by a search for new ways of thinking about poetry and literature beyond the boundary of one nation or language. In A Common Strangeness, I argue that our current approaches to literature and culture have failed to keep up with the profound changes wrought by the past twenty years of globalisation.”

In his new book project, Dr Edmond is investigating how digital technologies and globalisation are transforming the way poetry is written and read. He is also exploring how these changes in poetry are drawing into question deep-seated ideas about originality and authenticity.

The Rowheath Trust was established in 1964 by Carl Smith – whose family lived in the Rowheath area of England – to support the University. Mr Smith received an honorary doctorate from Otago in 1968.

For more information, contact:

Simon Ancell
Communications Adviser
University of Otago
Tel 64 3 479 5016

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