Bede Scott is an Associate Professor of World Literature in the Division of English at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He has been teaching in Singapore since 2006, when he completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge. Although his primary area of expertise is South Asian literature, he is also committed to researching and teaching African literature, Latin American literature, colonial and postcolonial urban studies, colonial literature and narratives of empire, world crime fiction, affect studies, and narratology. His most recent articles have appeared in Modern Fiction Studies, Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, and the Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry. In 2014, he was the recipient of the Nanyang Education Award – the highest honour conferred by the university in the field of teaching.
Scott's first book, On Lightness in World Literature (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), focuses on the aesthetic quality of 'lightness' as demonstrated by a diverse range of narratives. Despite the apparent ubiquity of light literature, and despite the greater cultural prestige it has been afforded in recent decades, very little has been written on the adjective that actually defines this category. What, precisely, does it signify, and what are some of the key strategies by which the effect of lightness is achieved within literary discourse? Spanning four different centuries and five different countries, On Lightness in World Literature demonstrates the transhistorical and transcultural nature of this particular aesthetic value, while also revealing the various discursive strategies that make such 'levity' possible in the first place.
Scott's latest book, Affective Disorders: Emotion in Colonial and Postcolonial Literature (Liverpool University Press, 2019), is situated at the intersection of postcolonial studies, affect studies, and narratology. Through close readings of Naguib Mahfouz, Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, and Upamanyu Chatterjee, among others, it explores the process by which certain sociopolitical forces give rise to dominant 'structures of feeling' within colonial and postcolonial societies. It also discusses in some detail the formal consequences of these feelings – the way in which affective states such as anger or jealousy can often destabilize narratives, provoking crises of representation, generic ambivalence, and discursive rupture.