Robert Young is one of the early pioneers and most influential scholars in the rapidly growing field of Anglophone and postcolonial literature; this interdisciplinary literary field involves research that also crosses over into areas of history, theory, philosophy, anthropology and translation studies.
Young has always been concerned in his work with writing and knowledge that falls outside the mainstream of contemporary thinking, particularly in the context of the history of colonialism. His first book (Mythologies: Writing History and the West, 1990) analyzed the extent to which the philosophy of history was based on the implicit premise that history was fundamentally European. Later books have been concerned with theories of race in the nineteenth century (Colonial Desire: Hybridity in Culture, Theory and Race, 1995), the history of anti-colonial struggles (Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction (2001), and the relation of postcolonial theory to the everyday experience of people living in the Middle East (Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction, 2003).
He is currently writing a book on theories of cultural translation, with a particular focus on questions of languages and power. He is also editing, with Jean Khalfa, an edition of the uncollected writings of Frantz Fanon (Paris: Editions La Découverte).
Young is a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, and a Fellow of Academia Europaea, the Academy of Europe. His work has been translated into over twenty languages, including Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Turkish.