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Research Projects

 
 

Children's and Young Adult Gothic

I gained my PhD from Lancaster University in 2016. My thesis explored twenty-first-century children's Gothic literature and film, incorporating theories from literary and cultural studies. My first monograph, Twenty-First-Century Children's Gothic: From Wanderer to Nomadic Subject (Edinburgh University Press) develops this research into a completely new way of reading children’s Gothic. I reject the pedagogical model of children’s literature criticism, which analyses and assess works based on what or how they teach the child, and instead draw on the theories of Deleuze and Guattari, Rosi Braidotti and Benedict Spinoza.

Children’s FICTIOn, PHILOSOPHY AND SCIENCE

I am working on a second monograph tentatively titled Gothic Entanglement - Metaphysics, Materialisms and Ethics in Children’s Fiction. The book reads various issues arising from New Materialist and Speculative Realist philosophies and the philosophy of science through contemporary children’s fiction.  

I am also on the steering group for a project that explores science and children’s literature, organised by Dr Emily Alder at Edinburgh Napier University.

 Gothic and WEIRD MONSTERS

I also research the representation and function of Gothic monsters in literature and film. My previously published work includes articles and chapters on monsters and sexuality, the representation of witch children, witches and Gothic feminism, vampires and young adult femininity, zombies, and the "tentacular teratology" of Weird fiction. Forthcoming work in this area includes an exploration of the radical ambiguity of the witch in Folk Horror cinema, an EcoHorror reading of plant and fungal zombies and a re-evaluation of the role of the female grotesque in contemporary horror television.


Post colonialism, Diversity and Decolonisation

I am interested in the intersection of imperialism, colonialism, post colonialism and the Gothic. I co-edited the collection, Telling it Slant: Critical Approaches to Helen Oyeyemi with Dr Sarah Ilott.

Sarah and I have also collaborated on the work of Nnedi Okorafor when we were asked to present a keynote address at the Global Fantastika conference in 2016.

 

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Twenty-First-Century Children’s Gothic takes us on a tour through some of the dark spaces of the early-twenty-first century, and is written with vigour and excitement as well as scholarly accuracy.
— David Punter
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My recent research explores how contemporary writers use the Gothic to expose and counter the legacy of imperialism in Britain today. Based on this, I devised a series of workshops for schools that use Gothic fiction to engage students with aspects of history usually neglected in the classroom. I also delivered some of my findings as part of the CILIP and Youth Libraries Group annual conference in September, 2018.

Games and Philosophy

I'm a member of the Manchester Game Studies Network and an avid "analogue" gamer. I play and organize horror-themed live-action role-playing events. My interest in Gothic, philosophy and games combine in forthcoming publications that explore the transformation of space and encounters with “objects” in “Weird” or Lovecraftian LARP. Some of this work has been written in collaboration with Dr Laura Mitchell, the founder of Seriously Learned.

Together, Laura and I ran a LARP in the library at the sixth annual Gothic Manchester Festival. With Laura and Dr Paul Wake, I spoke about “what we can learn from games” at the 2018 Tabletop Gaming Convention in London.

Check out some of my old blogs on the pleasures of "becoming a zombie" in role-playing games and the carnivalesque aspects of "Cthulhu Horror" LARP. 


Impact and Engagement events

Recent past events include a lecture on women horror cinema at Screened MCR, a talk on witchcraft for the British Library Magic and Enchantment Study Day and at Lancaster University’s Feminist Movie Mondays. I recently hosted a Q+A with gothic writers, Laura Purcell and Stuart Turton at Manchester’s Deansgate Waterstones and helped deliver events at the annual Gothic Manchester Festival. I also work with Manchester BID to enhance the annual “Halloween in the City” festival with game-based activities.

Upcoming events:

Saturday 2nd February - Panel Discussion for the 2nd Annual Folk Horror Festival in Manchester.

Monday 4th March - Introduction and Film Screening of The Seventh Victim (1943) at Home in Manchester for Bigger than Life.

Wednesday 15th May - Games and Philosophy, a public seminar for the Manchester Game Studies Network.