The Centre for Contemporary Literature and Culture brings together scholars with an interest in how the literary and related arts are produced and experienced in the late twentieth and early-twenty-first centuries.

Collage of three book covers by academics working in the Centre for Contemporary Literature and Culture

You can find a list of our current research projects and creative and critical publications below.

New and Key Publications

Affiliated Projects

Contemporary Studies Network

Contemporary Studies Network (CSN) provides a platform for discussion of emerging research and supports networking amongst scholars with an interest in contemporary literature, culture, politics, and critical theory. Organised by Dr Rachel Sykes (Birmingham), Dr Diletta De Cristofaro (Northumbria), and Dr Arin Keeble (Edinburgh Napier), CSN hold regular public engagement events.

Canons and Values in Contemporary Literary Studies

Scholarship on the contemporary has a unique relationship to questions of canonicity and value. What values shape the choices made in research and teaching on the contemporary? What canons does this work produce? And how do these values and canons relate to those produced in education and the publishing and cultural industries? This series of workshops, held across 2019 – 2021, was organised by Contemporary Studies Network in collaboration with Kevin Brazil (University of Southampton) and Andrew Dean (UCL), and funded by the British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies (BACLS), the Leverhulme Trust, and the University of Southampton.

Muslim Women’s Popular Fiction AHRC Network (August 2021-July 2023)

Focusing on writing by women deemed ‘popular’ rather than ‘literary’, this network engages with under-studied popular and genre texts (including romance, chick-lit, comics, graphic novels, detective fiction, Young Adult, fantasy, autobiography, memoir, and science fiction) from a range of established critical disciplinary perspectives and across languages. Led by Dr Amy Burge. 

Refugee Hosts

Professor Lyndsey Stonebridge co-leads this interdisciplinary and participatory research project supported by a Large PaCCS Grant (£800,000) awarded by the AHRC-ESRC through the Global Challenges Research Fund. This project aims to reframe debates about the roles and experiences of local communities and refugees in contexts of conflict-induced displacement in the global South, with a particular focus on displacement from Syria to neighbouring countries in the Middle East.

Sentimental Activism

Professor David James is currently working on a sequence of books revolving around the politics and poetics of affective forms in contemporary world Anglophone writing. You can watch his inaugural lecture below.

Wounded Sentimentalism: The Literature of Uplift

TMI: Sharing and Surveillance

This project reflects on how literature, culture, and new media can interrogate the effects of sharing and surveillance. We aim to provide a space to discuss intersectional ideas about the formation of identity and the digital, contemplating sharing and/or surveillance across a range of literatures, media platforms, and art forms. Led by Dr Rachel Sykes and Dr Dorothy Butchard.

Midlands Network of Popular Culture

An interdisciplinary group of students and researchers working within the sphere of popular culture. We aim to build an inclusive community throughout the Midlands whose areas of interest pertain, however broadly, to the study of popular culture, whether mainstream or alternative. Our Network hosts a variety of monthly events, ranging from seminar-style workshops to our Annual Forum.