I’m in the initial stages of a new book project, tentatively titled “Writing the Sleep Crisis: 24/7 Capitalism and Neoliberal Subjectivity”, funded by the Wellcome Trust (Research Fellowship in Humanities and Social Science) and the European Commission (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship). The project explores how sleep, and lack thereof, is represented in contemporary writings across fiction, non-fiction, and digital culture.
Sleep experts are divided on whether our society is actually suffering from the crisis of poor sleep my project’s title refers to. Yet the discourse of contemporary society as chronically sleep-deprived dominates cultural production. My research analyses this discourse and what it tells us about our conceptions of sleep, health – especially mental health – the temporal rhythms of day-to-day life in the twenty-first century, and the pressures these rhythms exercise on us.
If you’d like to hear more about the project, you can follow its Twitter and Facebook accounts. You can also watch the recording of the first public event I organised for the project – “Forty Winks Café”, part of Being Human Festival 2020 – here. Finally, you can read a short introductory piece called “Writing the Sleep Crisis” in The Polyphony, in which I discuss sleep deprivation and speculative fiction that imagines the future end of sleep.
My research on the sleep crisis was featured in “Sleep Tight“, an article by Kelly Rose Bradford in Costco Connection magazine.
With Andrew Tate (Lancaster University, UK) and Mary McCambell (Lee University, USA), I’m organising an online conference on 23-24 April 2021 on Canadian writer and visual artist Douglas Coupland called ‘Douglas Coupland and the Art of the “Extreme Present”‘. Marking the 30th anniversary of the publication of Coupland’s first novel, Generation X, this conference – the first on Coupland’s work – seeks to explore the richness of Coupland’s engagement with contemporary life across writings and visual culture. You can find the CFP and registration information on the conference website.