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Summary: Twentieth and twenty-first century US literature and culture, film studies, critical theory, gender studies
I am currently the Director of Research and Innovation in the School of English.
I have a wide variety of research interests, including twenty-first and twentieth-century US literature, American Studies, film studies, US culture studies, gender and masculinity studies, US racial formations, memory cultures, and globalization. My work is broadly interdisciplinary and-within the framework of a critical US American Studies-interrogates the effects of globalization, neoliberalism, and transnationalism on the cultural forms of the contemporary nation-state. I am particularly interested in the effects of such macrological forms on the micrologies of national identity, citizenship, and subjectivity. As such, my work moves beyond the confines of a nationally bound attention to race, class, and gender by interrogating the dialectical processes through which such terms gain, maintain, and lose their focus.
In my book, Affirmative Reaction: New Formation of White Masculinity, I explore the cultural politics of heteronormative white masculine privilege in the United States. Through close readings of texts ranging from the popular television drama 24 to the Marvel Comics miniseries The Call of Duty, and from the reality show American Chopper to the movie Million Dollar Baby, the book argues that the true privilege of white masculinity-and its defining strategy-is not to be unmarked, universal, or invisible, but to be mobile and mutable. Affirmative Reaction describes how, in response to the perceived erosions of privilege produced by post-civil rights era identity politics, white masculinity has come to rely on the very discourses of difference that unsettled its claims on the universal; it has redefined itself as a marginalized identity.
I am currently working on a number of inter-related research projects: a book-length monograph, September 11 and the Narrative Imaginary, examines representational strategies in post-September 11 US fiction, with particular reference to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the global financial collapse of 2009. A second book-length research project, Domestic Insurrections: Fictions of Citizenship and Family at the Postnation, examines representations of citizenship and domestic space/formations in contemporary US fiction. Both of those projects are specifically concerned with questions of formal and thematic representation. I recently co-edited, with Dr. Annie McClanahan, a special issue of the Journal of American Studies entitled Fictions of Speculation. The essays in the special issue each addressed the relationships between genre, representation, and the financial crisis.
I was co-investigator on two recent AHRC-funded projects: a Research Network on the subject of Home, Crisis and the Imagination, and a Connected Communities scoping project, 'Imagining the Place of Home'. The report and bibliography for the project can be found here: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/arts/info/125130/imagining_the_place_of_home/
Recent and Forthcoming Publications
Affirmative Reaction: New Formations of White Masculinity. Duke University Press (2011)
(co-edited with Dr. Annie McClanahan) Fictions of Speculation (special issue). Journal of American Studies, 49.4 (November 2015)
(co-edited with Professor Liam Kennedy) Intellectuals and the Nation-State (special issue). Comparative American Studies, 4.4 (December 2006)
Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles and Book Chapters:
I Get all the News I Need on the Weather Report: Risk, Terror, and the Subject of Contemporary Literature, in Neoliberalism and American Literature (Eds. Liam Kennedy and Steven Shapiro), University Press of New England (forthcoming 2017)
September 11 as Heist, in The Best Laid Plans : Essays on the Heist Film (Eds. Jim Leach and Jeannette Sloniowski ), Wayne State University Press (forthcoming 2017) [Reprint of September 11 as Heist. Journal of American Studies, 44.4 (November 2011)]
Anticipating the Fall: Art, Memory, and Historical Reclamation in Colum McCanns Let the Great World Spin, in 9/11: Topics in Contemporary North American Literature. Ed. Catherine Morley. Bloomsbury (2016)
Fictitious Capital: Historicizing the Present in William Gibsons Bigend Trilogy, in Fiction After 9/11. Eds. John N. Duvall and Rob Marzec. Johns Hopkins University Press (2015)
Stuck Between Meanings: Recession-Era Print Fictions of Crisis Masculinity." In Gendering the Recession. Eds. Diane Negra and Yvonne Tasker. Duke University Press (2014)
Like Nothing in this Life: September 11 and the Limits of Representation in Don DeLillos Falling Man. Studies in American Fiction 40.1 (2013).
"Policing the Borders of White Masculinity: Labor, Whiteness, and the Neoliberal City in The Wire." In The Wire: Race, Class, and Genre. Eds. Liam Kennedy and Stephen Shapiro. University of Michigan Press (2012)
"September 11 as Heist." Journal of American Studies, 45.4 (2011)
"Men's Soaps: Automotive Television Programming and Contemporary Working-Class Masculinities." Television and New Media, 9.4 (July 2008)
"Jack Bauer's Extraordinary Rendition: Neoliberal Melodrama and the Ethics of Torture." Acoma 36 (Spring 2008)
"Romancing the Nation: Family Melodrama and the Sentimental Logics of Bourgeois Nationalism." Comparative American Studies, 5.1 (March 2007)
Introduction (with Liam Kennedy). Intellectuals and the Nation-State. Special Issue. Comparative American Studies, 4.4 (December 2006)
Tourism and Territory: Constructing the Nation in John Sayless Men with Guns (Hombres Armados). In Sayles Talk: New Essays on Independent Filmmaker John Sayles. Eds. Diane Carson and Heidi Kenaga. Wayne State University Press (2005)
Vampire Capitalism: Globalization, Race, and the Postnational Body in Blade. Genre, XXXVIII (Fall/Winter 2005)
Traumatic Patriarchy: Reading Gendered Nationalisms in Chang-rae Lees A Gesture Life. Modern Fiction Studies, Volume 51 Number 3 (Fall 2005)
Programme Note for The Great Gatsby. Northern Ballet (March, 2013)
Review of Elwood Watson and Marc E. Shaw (eds.), Performing American Masculinities: The 21st-Century Man in Popular Culture (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2012). Journal of American Studies 46.4 2012 (online edition)
Eroi Post-Etici nel Tempo del Terrore. Il Manifesto. 231. Italy. 21 September 2008
InterdisciplinarityA Discussion (Response). Leeds Humanities Research Institute Bulletin. 1.2. April 2008
Include: invited lectures at the Futures of American Studies Institute at Dartmouth College (USA), University of Kent, the Clinton Institute for American Studies, UCD (Ireland), University of Cambridge, University of Birmingham, Freie Universität (Germany), and Instituto Universitario Orientale, Naples (Italy).
I teach across the School's American provision, lecturing and offering seminars on the undergraduate modules American Words, American Worlds and Writing America. My options modules, September 11 in Fact and Fiction (undergraduate), Narratives of Memory and Forgetting in Contemporary US Culture (undergraduate), and Fictions of Citizenship in Contemporary US Literature (postgraduate), reflect my current research interests and areas of expertise.
Postgraduate Research Supervision
I would be happy to receive inquiries for PGR supervision on topics related to any of the research or teaching areas mentioned above.
Current and recent PGR supervision topics include:
David Foster Wallace and the Post-postmodern
Representations of Tourism and Terrorism in Three Post-9/11 American Novels
Shifting Masculinities and Feminist Possibilities in Post-9/11 Literature
Masculinity and Technology in American Literature
Slipstream Fiction and the Contemporary Subject
Harry Houdini in American Culture
African-American Speculative Fiction
A Comparative Study of North American and South African Indigenous Literature