My research is shaped by my engagement with a cultural studies approach to literary analysis and by my interest in modern continental philosophy (particularly phenomenology). As such, my work often examines the historical specificity of texts, not with a view to providing a context for that work's significance, but in orde to explicate with more precision the cultural moment which it contributes to creating. Placing texts, artefacts and disciplines up against each other, my intention is to offer new versions of what Walter Benjamins described as constellations (ie. the ideas/objects/concepts/spaces that shape our being-in-the-world). My first monograph is a case in point: Criminal Law and the Modernist Novel (Cambridge University Press) connects the modernist writing of E. M. Forster, Ford Madox Ford and Marcel Proust with developments in the criminal trial, arguing that both discourses contribute to a culture in which the modern concept of experience is disappearing. In the book, I thus compare the form and content of modernist narratives with their 'realist' parents - the novel and trial in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: both entities which, I argue, are very much based on the 'experience' of modern philosphy and science. In tandem with the authors named above, this work utilised the critical theory of, amongst others, Wilhelm Dilthey, Sigmund Freud, Viktor Shklovsky, Hans Georg Gadamer and Giorgio Agmben.
My second book project (provisionally entitled Identifying the Subject) will build upon this interest in law by examining a range of identification techniques (photographic mugshot, fingerprint, DNA analysis) and suggesting that they form inherent connections with various theoretical models of identity and literary representaitons of subjectivity. I have already begun this work with an article on fingerprints, Freud and Conrad that has been published by New Formations. Dealing with the ways in which bodies are made to give up signs of their identity, this book will engage intimately with how our embodied presence is apprehended - the phenomenological basis of my work, which has been extended via articles on material waste, synaesthesia and hands - will therefore also be brought out.