I joined the University of Birmingham in 2011 as a lecturer in Modern Literature, having previously taught and studied at the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh. My research focuses on the intersection between literature, law and philosophy from the early twentieth century onwards.
I teach on the department’s first year modules ‘Approaches to Literature’ and ‘Texts in History’ as well as contributing to the delivery of the ‘Independent Study Module’. I will also be teaching on the second year module ‘Victorian and Decadent Literature’.
In addition, this year I will be convening, and teaching on, the ‘Modernism’ module of the MA (English Literature) and MPhil (Literature and Modernity) programmes.
My research, while situated within the vibrant and expanding field of law and literature studies, has been very much influenced both by my undergraduate grounding in literature and philosophy, and my M.Litt degree in ‘Modernities’. In my coming monograph, Criminal Law and the Modernist Novel: Experience on Trial (Cambridge University Press), I have, therefore, connected the modernist writing of E. M. Forster, Ford Madox Ford, and Marcel Proust with developments in the criminal trial, while setting both within a context in which the modern concept of experience has, as Walter Benjamin put it, ‘fallen in value’. This has been done by contrasting 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 philosophy and science. In tandem with the authors named above, this work has utilised the critical theory of, amongst others, Wilhelm Dilthey, Sigmund Freud, Victor Shklovsky, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Jacques Derrida and Giorgio Agamben.
In my future research I am committed to producing work based upon the wealth of material I have accumulated in the law and literature area, as well as building on the literary and philosophical nexus of my work. My current research, on the connections between fingerprint examination, psychoanalysis and literary Impressionism, which I developed during my time as Postdoctoral Research Fellow at The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh, is a case in point. In the coming years, my intention is to take this work on the fingerprint as a starting point for a monograph-length study provisionally entitled Identifying the Subject. As with my current research, this work will seek to illuminate the connections between practical modes of identification, theoretical models of identity and the literary representation of subjectivity.
In addition to these main research themes I have, in my published work, developed significant side interests. The concern with idealism and material waste in The Great Gatsby and my 'synaesthetic' reading of Henry Green’s Caught are topics which do, however, display my continuous engagement with the philosophical and historical context of literary representation.
In recent years I have presented papers at international conferences in St Andrews, Cambridge and Boston as well as co-organising a one day symposium entitled ‘Reading the Reading Group: Proust in the Community’ at the University of Glasgow.
I have acted as peer reviewer for the internationally acclaimed journal Law and Literature (University of California Press) and I am a member of the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities and the Scottish Network of Modernists.