School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

American Research

American Research

American research interests in the School are at the forefront of disciplinary and interdisciplinary interventions into the literature and culture of North America.

Covering all periods from the early modern to the contemporary, involving ambitious engagements with film, modernist, nineteenth-century, African-American and contemporary cultural studies, as well as the history of the book, our work is directed at key conceptual discussions across literary and cultural genres.

Research in American literature ranges from cyberpunk fiction and the history of cool to the changing significance of American print culture from the seventeenth to the twenty-first centuries. At the same time, our work engages with transnational perspectives and global and contexts - with diaspora, cultural and literary exchange around the Atlantic, and with the links between political radicalism and literature.

Dr Stacy Gillis has published on contemporary science fiction and film, including The Matrix and cyberpunk fiction more generally. She is developing a new project on the cultural afterlife of Elinor Glyn's Three Weeks (1907), which partly involves work on Glyn's time in Hollywood, and the censorship boards in the US.

James Annesley's primary research area is post-1945 fiction, particularly in relation to consumption and globalization. His publications include Fictions of Globalization: Consumption, the Market and the Contemporary American Novel. His current work concerns discourses of lifestyle and the cultural history of cool as a national and transatlantic phenomenon.

Dr Kirsten MacLeod works on American literature and Modernism, 1890-1930, with particular interests in print culture and book history approaches, the relationship between high and popular modernisms, and modernist collecting practices. Her research on modernism and collecting centres on Carl Van Vechten, whose aesthetic practices, and collecting and archiving activities make him a central figure in the institutionalisation of modernism across the arts. In 2013, she mounted an exhibition at the prestigious Grolier Club - 'American Little Magazines of the 1890s: A Revolution in Print'. She has published widely on little magazine print culture, and is currently working on a monograph on the subject.

Kate Chedgzoy's research encompasses the Anglophone Atlantic in the early modern period. Her work on children's literature and women's writing is informed by feminist perspectives on gender, and her many publications include Women's Writing in the British Atlantic World; Memory Place and History, 1550-1700.

Jennifer Orr has interests in the radical print culture of the early American republic, while Ella Dzelzainis works on British responses to the American democratic and republican experiment in the long nineteenth century, particularly in the way that British travellers (Dickens, Frances Trollope, Harriet Martineau) related social manners and mores to political systems; responses to slavery and commerce; and on women's travel writing on America. Her publications include the collection The American Experiment and the Idea of Democracy in British Culture, 1776-1914, co-edited with Ruth Livesey.

Fionnghuala Sweeney works on African American literature and visual arts; literature, slavery and transatlantic abolition; travel writing and the ethics of empire; and on Afromodernisms. She is completing a project on diasporic and decolonial radicalism called 'Afromodern London'.