I joined UvA in 2017 as Assistant Professor in English Literature. Previously I taught Victorian literature at Cardiff University (2015-16) and various literature courses at the University of Manchester, where I also completed my BA (2007), MA (2010) and PhD (2014). My research has focused mainly on modernity, cities, vision, space and architecture in the nineteenth century, and I am currently working on a monograph based on my PhD research, Invisible Architecture: Ideologies of Space in the Nineteenth-Century City, which discusses Gogol, Gaskell, Dickens and Zola, and theorists including Walter Benjamin and Henri Lefebvre. I have published work on Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Benjamin Disraeli, Charles Kingsley, Victorian childhood, the writing of Rem Koolhaas and Walter Benjamin, among other topics.
My next major research project is tentatively titled ‘Money on Hold: The Spatial Disruption of Capital, 1830-1900’, and will look at the interaction between money and place in the culture and literature of the nineteenth century. I plan to examine the role of specific locations in disrupting, suspending or bypassing the 'normal' processes of economic circulation. Such locations include the pawnbroker's shop, the debtors' prison, the bank in crisis and the European spa town. In theoretical terms, I am interested in exploring the allegorical side of money in the nineteenth century, in Walter Benjamin's sense of allegory as fractured, broken and incomplete, in opposition to the plenitude of meaning associated with the Romantic symbol. The project will draw on some archival research and on texts by Poe, Dickens, Thackeray, Martineau, Eliot, Dostoevsky, Oliphant and Zola, among others. As a broader research goal, I'd like to extend this work by looking into the transitions between different ways of narrativising money that have operated across literary history.
I'm also beginning to think about the connections between recent work on the Anthropocene and the role of biology and the human in mid-nineteenth century literature.
One of my secondary interests is the analysis of contemporary culture and politics. I have been involved with the Everyday Analysis project since 2013, including contributing to three volumes of collected writings with Zero Books (available here), and I am currently an editor of the website. Everyday Analysis is now in collaboration with the UK-based New Socialist website. I organised a workshop related to the issues raised by the group's most recent book, Politactics, in May 2017 (supported by ASCA and NICA).
In 2018/19 I am Chair of the Programme Committee for the English Department and organiser of the department's Guest Lecture series. I am also co-convening an ASCA reading group on Politics and Culture in 20th-Century Theory (details here).
As of September 2018 I am Reviews Editor for the Gaskell Journal.
I would be very happy to talk to current or potential students about supervision possibilities, or to fellow researchers interested in opportunities for collaboration.
In 2018-19 I am co-ordinating the following courses:
I am also contributing to the following: