Biography

I studied for my BA (hons) 1st class, at Lancaster Univeristy. After securing AHRC funding I then went to complete an MA (dist) and a PhD again at Lancaster University where I also taught for several years. Following the successful completion of my PhD, which dealt with the commodification of dissent in 1950s British literature, I continued to work at Lancaster teaching on the Theory and Practice of Criticism module before coming to work at Cumbria University in 2011. I teach on a range of courses for the English BA and MA programmes, which reflect my diverse literary interests. The modules taught include two of the core first year modules (Introduction to Literary Studies and Texts and Readers), two second-year modules, Renaissance Genres and Literature and Film, as well as two third-year modules, Popular Fiction and The 21st Century British Novel. In 2018 I introducied a new module, Literature and the Environment, on which students consider a wide range of texts selected in order to illustrate the diverse relationships found between literature and the environment. The module covers topics such as representing nature, representing crisis, anthropocentrism, and the emergence of the anthropocene. In 2019, with the launch of the new Literature, Romanticism and the English Lake District MA at Ambleside, I introduced a module dealing with similar themes such as the problems with ideas of wilderness and nature, human relationships with the land and intimations of apocalypse. Texts both local and global are considered and offer a way of consdering the ways issues pertaining the environment, and the way we think about it, intersect with other concerns relating to race, class, gender and species. I also run a module looking at contemporary Cumbrian fiction which grows out of my personal interest, as a Cumbrian myself, in recent literature set in the region. 

My recent interests are directed towards humanity's problematic relationship with our environment and in particular towards representations that either reinforce or destabilise what remains a dominant anthropocentric perspective. Much of my recent research has been underpinned by ideas emerging from the related fields of ecocriticism and postcolonial theory and includes work on disparate writers such as Daniel Defoe and David Mitchell, as well as Michel Faber’s Under the Skin and Jonathan Glazer’s subsequent film adaptation of the same name. I'm presently engaged in thinking about the Lake District in terms of vision, as a landscape that we consume as a sight, but also as a landscape that provokes visions and even visionaries. Is there a darker side to these dazzling visions?

Qualifications and memberships

  • PhD Literature
  • MA Contemporary Literary Studies
  • BA hons English Literature
  • Fellow of the HEA
  • Member of ASLE

Academic and research interests

  • Ecocriticism
  • Postcolonial Theory
  • Humanism/post-Humanism
  • Contemporary Literature
  • Post-apocalypse narratives
  • Postwar British fiction
  • Theories of cooptation
  • Contemporary representation of Cumbria
  • Raymond Williams
  • Alexander Trocchi
  • Dennis Potter

Publications

'Me eatee him up': Cannibal Appetites in Cloud Atlas and Robinson Crusoe', which appeared in Green Letters 19.2 (2015) pp. 144-156. [Access online: http://tinyurl.com/pwn44as]

Recent external roles

  • Visiting Lecturer Scottish Universities’ Summer School August 2016