Modern and contemporary

Group members

Abs Ashley

Abs’s research focuses on contemporary British and American literatures, and establishes new connections across the literary health humanities, critical neurodiversity studies, and neuroqueer theory. Their doctoral research, which they are developing into their first book, investigated neuro/gender entanglements in autistic ‘own’ literatures, with an emphasis on hybridised modes. Abs has forthcoming publications exploring neurodivergent textualities, neurodiversity in the literary health humanities, and will also contribute to a seminal collection on neuroqueer theory in 2024. Their current research projects examine neuroqueer (a)socialities as mode and praxis in contemporary literatures, and neurodivergent-inclusive pedagogical practice.

Doug Battersby

Doug’s research explores how novelists’ techniques for describing thoughts, feelings, and desires have evolved over the history of the form. His first book was Troubling Late Modernism: Ethics, Feeling, and the Novel Form (Oxford 2022). Doug is now working on a second book, provisionally titled Cardiac Realism: The Affective Life of the Modern Novel.

Andrew Bennett

Andrew has published widely on 20th and 21st-century British and American literature. Writers he has published on include Elizabeth Bowen, Katherine Mansfield, and Kazuo Ishiguro; topics include literary ignorance, and literature and suicide. With Nicholas Royle, he is currently writing a book on Elizabeth Bowen’s short fiction.

Andrew Blades

Andrew is Senior Lecturer in English. His research is predominantly in the medical humanities. He has published on the AIDS writing of Mark Doty, James Merrill and John Weir, as well as co-editing Poetry and the Dictionary (Liverpool University Press, 2020). His latest project is on cultural understandings of hoarding disorders. He teaches on a wide variety of units in American literature, queer writing, celebrity studies and medical humanities.

Madeline Dyer Statham

Madeline is the author of several novels and the editor of Being Ace: An Anthology of Queer, Trans, Femme, and Disabled Stories of Asexual Love and Connection. She has research interests in experimental fiction, non-linear narratives, and the representation of the Gothic in modern fiction. Madeline’s other research interests include hunter-gatherer societies and their representations in contemporary fiction, the depiction of prehistoric culture and rituals in modern fiction, collective memory, illness narratives, and folklore

Natalie Ferris

Natalie’s research forges new connections between the history and practice of data science, theories of gender, and the creative arts. In her recent book, Abstraction in Post-War British Literature (2022) and in forthcoming projects, she thinks about the ways in which aesthetic, philosophical and technological advancements throughout the 20th and 21st centuries have initiated new forms of literary and artistic expression and experimentation, particularly in the hands of women, and she thinks about this in tandem with the extent to which modern institutions, networks, and ideologies have shaped literary and visual perception.

Cleo Hanaway-Oakley

Cleo has research interests in literary and cultural modernism. Her first monograph, James Joyce and the Phenomenology of Film, was published by OUP in 2017. She is co-editor of Modernist Cultures (2019-2023), on the editorial board for the James Joyce Quarterly (2023-), is a trustee of the International James Joyce Foundation (2022-), and was a British Association for Modernist Studies committee member (2019-2023).

Stephen James

Stephen’s main research interests are in twentieth and twenty-first century poetry, including Robert Lowell, Geoffrey Hill, Seamus Heaney and Stevie Smith. He has published multiple articles on each of these writers and a monograph on Lowell, Hill and Heaney. He has currently working on two monographs on Hill.

Michael Kalisch

Michael works on modern and contemporary American literature. He is particularly interested in connections between the history of the novel and the history of ideas; in psychoanalysis; in Jewish American writing; in the institutional contexts of literary production; and in minor and ‘failed’ writers and literary forms.

Rowena Kennedy-Epstein

Rowena works on women’s writing and gender studies across the 20th and 21st-Centuries. She is the author of Unfinished Spirit: Muriel Rukeyser's Twentieth Century (Cornell UP, 2022). She recovered and edited Rukeyser's lost Spanish Civil War novel, Savage Coast (Feminist Press, 2013) and co-edited the volume The Muriel Rukeyser Era: Selected Prose (Cornell UP, 2023). She is writing the first biography of Rukeyser for Bloomsbury USA and is a 2022-23 National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholars Fellow.

Michael Malay

Michael works on poetry and environmental literature. He is especially interested in the following fields – animal studies, ecofeminism and ecocritical theory – and is currently working on a project that explores the relationships between people and plants.

Noreen Masud

Noreen works on early- to mid-20th century literature, with a focus on Stevie Smith, D. H. Lawrence, Gertrude Stein and Willa Cather.

Ulrika Maude

Ulrika has published on modernist and contemporary literature, sensory studies, affect and medicine, as well as philosophies of embodiment. She is currently completing two books, Samuel Beckett and Medicine (Cambridge UP) and the edited volume, Key Concepts in Medical Humanities (Bloomsbury Academic). Her other books include Beckett, Technology and the Body (Cambridge UP, 2009) and The Cambridge Companion to the Body in Literature (2015).

Xiaoqiao Mu

Xiaoqiao works on 20-century and contemporary English literature. Writers include Kazuo Ishiguro, James Joyce and Joy Harjo. She is particularly interested in the relationship between psychoanalysis and the literary writing of the unconscious, between hauntology and the sense of community in the postcolonial context. She is currently working on her PhD thesis on Kazuo Ishiguro.

Rachel Murray

Rachel has research interests in 20th-century literature, animal studies, and the environment. Her first monograph The Modernist Exoskeleton: Insects, War, Literary Form was published by Edinburgh University Press in 2020. Rachel is currently working on her second book, Marine Attachments in Modern and Contemporary Poetry, as well as an edited collection, Blue Extinction in Literature, Art, and Culture (Palgrave).

Sean O'Brien

Sean's primary research interests are in American Studies, Precarity Studies, and, more recently, the Environmental Humanities. He is currently working on a monograph, Representing Precarity: American Literature from Boom to Crisis, a special issue, 'Growing Pains', and, with Madeline Lane-McKinley, an edited collection, The Revenge of the '90s.

Emma Parker

Emma Parker's research interests include contemporary and postcolonial literature, all forms of life writing (including graphic memoirs), and the cultural legacies of the British Empire.

Theophilus Savvas

Theo has interests in American writing; the relationship between fiction and history; postmodernism; and literary representations of vegetarianism and veganism from the ancients to the present day.

Maria Vaccarella

Maria works on contemporary illness narratives, using a narratological and comparative approach. She is particularly interested in issues of unreliability and closure. She has also worked on online narrations of illness (e.g. on social media) and on the interplay of autofiction and pathographies.

William Wootten

William is a poet and critic. He has published on many modern and contemporary poets, including Walter de la Mare, Edward Thomas, Thom Gunn, Geoffrey Hill, Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath and Peter Porter and is currently working on the psychology of verse form.

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