Katrina Jan

Katrina Jan

Department of English Literature
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

Phd title: The Sexualisation of Jack the Ripper in Literature and Culture from the Nineteenth Century to the Present
SupervisorsDr Eleanor Dobson and Dr Deborah Longworth
PhD English Literature

Qualifications

  • MA Victorian Studies (Newman University, 2015 – 2017)
  • BA Joint Honours English and Drama (Newman University, 2012 – 2015)

Biography

I became an enthusiastic researcher of Neo-Victorian and nineteenth-century literature when undertaking my undergraduate degree at Newman University. This led me to embark on an interdisciplinary Master’s in Victorian Studies which was fully funded from 2015 - 2017 by Newman University, completing a wide range of modules addressing the politics, literature, architecture and art of the period.

My MA dissertation entitled ‘The Victorian Railway: A sexual danger for women, or a threat to patriarchal control?’ examined nineteenth-century newspaper reports of sexual abuse towards women on the railways. I also compared the reportage to the depiction of the female railway traveller in literature and art. This included Mary Brandon’s novel Wyllard’s Weird and several Victorian railway paintings, most famously Augustus Egg’s Travelling Companions. I have since presented my MA research at several conferences and I am taking steps to get this material published.

I co-founded Gothica, Birmingham’s new, postgraduate-led reading group interested in the ever-present role of the Gothic in popular fiction and culture. The group meets once per month to trace the long history of the Gothic genre, from the nineteenth century to the present, and explore its spectral appearance in fantasy, horror, and science fiction. We often host guest speakers from staff, students, to writers and independent researchers. Our interdisciplinary approach has attracted a large audience across the globe who share a passion for the uncanny. Please contact uobgothica@gmail.com to be added to the mailing list and follow our Twitter @Gothica_UOB for more information. All staff, students, and subjects are welcome.

Research

My current research in the Department of English Literature at the University of Birmingham focuses on the nineteenth-century cultural phenomenon of the serial killer known as Jack the Ripper, and how this historical figure has become a sexualised character in erotica and contemporary romance novels. In recent years, there has been a sustained surge of sexualised Ripper fiction, despite increased advocacy for women’s rights in the mainstream media. I examine the sexualisation of Jack the Ripper in literature and culture from the nineteenth century to the present in relation to twenty-first-century feminism and the Me Too movement.

My broader research interests include Neo-Victorian and nineteenth-century literature, the Gothic, cultural and gender history as well as feminist theory.

Research Projects:

  • 10,000-word Undergraduate dissertation on ‘The Portrayals of Female Characters and Gender Discrimination in Jane Eyre and Fingersmith
  • 15,000-word Master’s dissertation on ‘The Victorian Railway: A sexual danger for women, or a threat to patriarchal control?’
  • Student Academic Research Partnership Project on ‘University Sympathetic Marking Policy – Inclusive Practice, Othering or Somewhere in Between?’

Other activities

Conferences

  • ‘Exploring the sexualisation of modern day serial killers on Netflix’s You’, Gothflix (Lancaster University, 1-2 February 2020)
  • ‘Artistic Portrayals of the Female Railway Passenger’, Social History Society (University of Lincoln, 10-12 June 2019)  
  • (co-presented with C. Godber and L. Loveland-Armour) ‘University Sympathetic Marking Policy – Inclusive Practice, Othering or Somewhere in Between’, British Dyslexia Association’s International Conference (Telford International Centre, 12-14 April 2018)
  • ‘The Victorian Railway: A sexual danger for women or a threat to patriarchal control?’, Newman Humanities Research Seminar Series (Newman University, 3 May 2018)
  • ‘Representing the Gendered Dangers of the Railway in Art’, Victorian Fears Colloquium  (Newman University, 18 June 2018)

Awards

  • Student Academic Research Partnership Project for ‘Does the red dot simply stop the dialogue’? (Newman University, 2018)

Funding Awards

  • £100 from the College of Arts and Law Postgraduate Research Support Fund to attend Gothflix conference.
  • £100 from the College of Arts and Law Postgraduate Research Support Fund for a research trip to the Jack the Ripper Museum and tour in London.
  • £10,000 scholarship for a fully-funded Masters in Victorian Studies from Newman University.

Other activities

  • Social Media Assistant for EDACS (2022)
  • Co-founder of Gothica Reading Group, University of Birmingham (2019)
  • Co-founder of Contemporary Romance Reading Group, University of Birmingham (2019)
  • Member of the Social History Society (SHS)
  • Member of the British Association of Victorian Studies (BAVS)
  • Founder of Dyslexia Social Club, Newman University (2017)
  • Student Ambassador, Newman University (2015-2017)

Publications

Jan, K 2019 'The Victorian Railway: A sexual danger for women or a threat to patriarchal control?', Critical Commentary Journal, vol. 6, pp.16-25.

Culture and collections

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