Personal profile

Research interests

My publications explore the way that social, political, and economic questions are played out through various kinds of cultural representations and practices including modern and contemporary writing in English, and in visual cultures of the late twentieth and twenty-first century.

I am currently a Co-Investigator on the Horizon 2020 grant, CAPONEU- Cartography of the Political Novel in Europe. Working with colleagues in the University of Brighton's CAPPE, I am investigating the nature of the political with a particular focus on the political work of the novel as a form or writing. My current project aims to develop a typology of politics reading across into the contemporary political novel in English. This project will suggest that the contemporary political novel differs from previous understandings of this form and will demonstrate how different defintions of politics get treated by contemporary novelists.

My recent research has focused on the economic humanities, specifically around questions of work and literature. This includes my book Precarious Labour and the Contemporary Novel (Palgrave,  2017) which explores how regimes of flexible labour in the contemporary economy have been represented in English-language fiction about office work. It explores a range of national contexts in order to consider how the different national traditions for thinking about work inform recent depictions of precarious workers. Building on this research, I have recent essays on women's novels depicting office and flexible work, demonstrating how these engage with feminist debates about the nature of paid or unpaid labour, and on surrogate-thrillers exploring how commercial surrogacy is represented as care work in recent film and television.

My previous research has focused on the relationships of cultural texts to nations and transnational movements. I have published widely on the idea of the nation and on the culture of globalization. This research considers how changes in public discourses are reproduced and challenged by creative and cultural texts. This has concentrated on ideas about national and racial difference; on the shape of the global economy since the late 1970s; and on contemporary attitudes towards terror. I have published extensively on  literature and globalization and this work has helped to shape the debates defining this field. In 2010 I co-edited the Literature and Globalization Reader (Routledge) which, for the first time, brought together major theoretical writings on globalization with critical responses to these theories in literary studies. 

Supervisory Interests

I currently supervise PhDs on twentieth and twenty-first century literature. I would be happy to talk to students about PhD projects in literary and cultural studies on contemporary fiction or visual culture. I have specific interests in the economic humanities around work, especially precarious and reproductive labour, and on the concept of politics, specifically the political nature and potential of literature.

Specific areas within literary and cultural studies might include:

  • the cultures of work
  • social reproduction
  • globalization and culture
  • border studies
  • representations of migration
  • contemporary fiction
  • postcolonialism
  • contemporary visual culture

My current supervision includes the following PhD projects:

Gavin Salvesen-Sawh, 'Harold Pinter (1930-2008): Cracks in the façade. An examination of mental disintegration in selected plays and poetry by Pinter, to explore the relationship between the themes of power and agency and his later political activism.'
Edward Wells, Unreadability in Narrative Fiction: A Critical Perspective and Fictional Practice

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Rewriting the Nation: Nationalist Interventions in Literary History, University of Sussex


Award Date: 31 Jul 2000

Master, Culture and Social Change, University of Southampton


Award Date: 1 Oct 1995

Bachelor, English Literature and Scottish Literature, University of Glasgow


Award Date: 31 Jul 1992


  • PE English
  • Globalisation
  • Labour Theory
  • Nationalism
  • Work Culture
  • Fiction
  • The Novel
  • Migration
  • Social Reproduction
  • Gender


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