My scholarly work revolves around the relation between aesthetics and politics in the 20th and 21st centuries, notably the social and philosophical uses of cultural and literary practices, including literary theory.
Before starting at the UvA I completed my PhD on Samuel Beckett and J. M. Coetzee at the University of London, Goldsmiths College. I have extensive teaching experience in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, and have previously taught at the University of London, the University of Bonn, and the University of Düsseldorf.
Broadly my research areas include: Global Anglophone/World Literatures in English; Modern and Contemporary Literature; Literary and Cultural Theory (esp postcolonialism); Literature and Philosophy (existentialism); Liberalism and contemporary literary culture; Modernism and Postmodernism; Archives and memory cultures (inc. life writing); History of the Novel (esp campus or university fiction).
My research and teaching are thoroughly intertwined, combining my expertise in modern and contemporary literature with wider interests in politics and philosophy. At the moment I am working on a project that seeks to investigate the relation between the crisis of contemporary liberalism and current literary practice, both creative and critical. Questions I hope to answer include: how does the contemporary novel function as a form of critical thinking? What has the changing status of the public sphere, epitomised by the university, meant for the practice of contemporary novelists and readers? Finally, how might we perceive contemporary novels (in the guise of autofictions, campus and theory fictions) as resistant to both neoliberal and populist attacks on free expression?
Another keen interest is the relation between the singularity of literary expression and alternative modes of being (affective, embodied, lived). My PhD investigated this relation through a wider focus on the influence of modernist aesthetics on contemporary literature, notably Beckett's influence on Coetzee. I argue that Coetzee exemplifies the legacy of (late) modernist thinking and aesthetics in contemporary anglophone literature, establishing a profound challenge to conventional Enlightenment and anthropocentric modes of rationality (including the discourse of rights; of the private individual; and of the national citizen). This work is forthcoming as a monograph with Edinburgh University Press, entitled 'The Politics of Life: J.M. Coetzee and Late Modernism'.
Alongside academic journals and publications, my work has appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, LA Review of Books and openDemocracy, and I am a contributing editor at Review 31 and a co-convenor of the ASCA reading group on “Aesthetics and Politics in Critical Theory”. I am a member of the Netherlands Research School for Literary Studies (OSL) and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (in the UK).
I also occasionally teach literary and cultural theory at Amsterdam University College. At the UvA I have taught/will be teaching academic writing, literary theory, texts in focus courses, and multiple courses on twentieth- and twenty-first-century literature in BA and MA programmes.