My main completed research project to date has focussed on the contemporary post-apocalyptic imagination. Today, we tend to think about the apocalypse as a catastrophe of overwhelmingly dystopian consequences but, traditionally, apocalyptic narratives concern the advent of a utopian world at the end of history. My research investigates what is at stake in this shift to a dystopian apocalyptic imagination by theorising the significance of time in the contemporary post-apocalyptic novel.
Edited Journal Special Issues:
- “Thirty Years of Generation X” Thinking With multimedia cluster in ASAP/J (2020), co-curated with Andrew Tate and Mary McCampbell.
- “The Literature of the Anthropocene”, a special issue of C21 Literature: Journal of 21st-Century Writing (2018), co-edited with Daniel Cordle.
- “Station Eleven and Twenty-First-Century Writing”, a special issue of Open Library of Humanities (2018), co-edited with Daniel King.
Public Engagement Initiatives Organised:
- Contemporary Studies Network US Election Night: screening of You’ve Been Trumped Too & panel discussion. Broadway Cinema, Nottingham, November 2016.
- 2015-16: U.S. Studies Online #Bookhour, Twitter discussions between scholars and the public on selected novels.
Conferences and Workshops Organised:
In April 2021, with Andrew Tate (Lancaster University, UK) and Mary McCambell (Lee University, USA), I organised the first international conference devoted to Canadian writer and visual artist Douglas Coupland. Marking the 30th anniversary of the publication of Coupland’s first novel, Generation X, ‘Douglas Coupland and the Art of the “Extreme Present”‘ explored the richness of Coupland’s engagement with contemporary life across writings and visual culture. You can find out more, including recorded sessions, on the conference website. The conference attracted more than 300 registered attendees from across the world.
- March 2021, “Reflections on Research: The Pandemic and Beyond“, British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies Virtual Seminar.
- June 2019-December 2020 “Canons and Values in Contemporary Literary Studies”, series of three one-day events at the University of Birmingham (virtual), University of Southampton and UCL.
- BACLS (British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies) Virtual Conference 2020, “Crisis in Contemporary Writing”.
- “New Research on American Literature and Neoliberalism”, Edinburgh Napier University, 2019.
- Contemporary Studies Network Workshop: “Contemporary Canonicity: Or, What Not to Read”, BACLS What Happens Now 2018, Loughborough University.
- “500 Years of Utopia”, University of Nottingham, 2016.
- 2016-18, Contemporary Studies Network’s bi-monthly reading groups on new theoretical approaches to contemporary studies.
- “Money Talks: Inequality and North-American Identity”, University of Nottingham, 2015.
- “Forgotten Voices: Imperatives of Memory and the Vagaries of History in American Culture, from Settlement to 1900”, University of Nottingham, 2012.