School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

Caroline Rae

Caroline Rae

PhD Student in Literature


Supervisors: Dr Stacy Gillis and Dr Fionnghuala Sweeney

Research Project

Establishing New Ecologies: Place, Identity and the Transnational in Fiction of the Northern Atlantic Peripheries

My project demonstrates how in fictions from the Northern Atlantic periphery, the local, territorialised and, above all, human relationship between place and identity is critiqued. The research establishes how their creation of new interconnected ecologies produces a transnational dialogue between human, place and the nonhuman, forging an interconnected system of local environmentalism, responding critically to the Anthropocene. It examines the Gothic tropes frequently used to construct new ecologies in the work of Canadian authors including Michael Crummey, Gerard Collins, Alisdair MacLeod, and Kathleen Winter, and Scottish authors John Burnside, Sarah Maitland and Alice Thompson, as they exemplify fluid, unconstrained and permeable ideas of embodiment. It questions whether this model of transatlantic critical and creative alignment transcends hitherto static conceptions of place and identity (‘sense of place’). By establishing the transgressive opportunities for remaking relationships between places as part of an interdependent ecology, my project challenges the historical function of the novel genre and its relationship to the construction of bounded cultural and national imaginaries, while reinstating the centrality of the subjective and relational as narrative imperatives.

Research Interests

The Gothic, Ecocriticism, Embodiment, Posthumanism, Feminist Theory

Research Activities

Conference Presentations

July 2017 ‘“Sense of place” in Creative Practice’, English: Shared Futures

May 2017, ‘Establishing New Ecologies: Place, Identity and the Transnational in Fiction of the Northern Atlantic Peripheries’, Newcastle University Migration Showcase

Sept 2015 ‘Rediscovering the Oikos: The Ecopoetry of Hugh MacDiarmid’, Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment

Conference Organisation

Sept 2017 Co-organiser, Anonymity ( July 2017 Panel Co-organiser, ‘Changing Ecologies, Persistence and Possibility,’ and ‘The Interdependent Presence’, English: Shared Futures

Academic Background

MA English Literature, University of Amsterdam

MA (Hons) German and English Literature, University of Edinburgh


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