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Critical and cultural theory

Interdisciplinary approaches to the study and critique of culture and society.

We have a long and distinguished history as a field-leader in critical and cultural theory. Our pioneering Centre for Critical and Cultural Theory, the first of its kind in the UK, has a strong international reputation for research into the work of French thinkers such as Louis Althusser, Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, Gille Deleuze and Hélène Cixous.

Our staff are engaged in discipline-based and interdisciplinary work in many intersections of the literary, critical, cultural, media and digital. Research ranges from Continental thought (poststructuralism, postmodernity, German aesthetics, Frankfurt School) to areas at the crossroads between history, culture and place (postcolonialism, gender and race, cultural history, trauma and memory studies).

There is also a focus on up-to-date issues relating to the contemporary world, including posthumanism, globalisation, digital theory and culture, game studies, and eco-humanities.

Research centres

Staff in this theme

Staff Research interests 'Research bites'
Professor Neil Badmington

Twentieth century and contemporary literature, contemporary fiction.

"Writing keeps the world itself at a desirable distance."
Dr Johan Gregory Early modern literature; travel writing and literary theory; the creative economy; the Renaissance, specifically early modern English literature, drama and cultural history.  
Professor Ann Heilmann Nineteenth century and Victorian literature, twentieth century and contemporary literature, contemporary fiction, historical fiction. "The Victorians never died; their cultural influence is inescapably reinvented by every new generation."
Professor Martin A Kayman Eighteenth century and Romantic literature, crime fiction. "The myth of the 'unwritten law' is a characteristically English way of conceiving relations between law and the literary."
Dr Laurent Milesi Twentieth century and contemporary literature. "Ethics in deconstruction cannot be envisaged without a concern for style, language, and where it takes place."
Professor Radhika Mohanram Twentieth century and contemporary literature. "Postcolonial literature writes back to the centre while insisting on its indigenous difference."
Dr Jane Moore Eighteenth century and Romantic literature. "Ancient Greek lyrical poetry and song exerted a formative influence upon British Romanticism."
Dr Irene Morra Shakespeare and Renaissance studies, twentieth century and contemporary literature, contemporary fiction, drama, film and music. "In England, popular music has surpassed literature to become the dominant signifier of a contemporary national and cultural identity."
Professor Carl Phelpstead Arthurian and medieval literature (old and middle English; old Norse). "In medieval Iceland hair loss was analogous to castration."
Professor Carl Plasa Nineteenth century and Victorian literature, twentieth century and contemporary literature. "Despite being an historical phenomenon, the transatlantic slave trade remains a vital source of inspiration for contemporary writers."
Professor Julia Thomas Nineteenth century and Victorian literature. "The Victorians invented Shakespeare's birthplace"
Dr Aidan Tynan Contemporary Irish poetry, literatures of apocalypse and dystopia, contemporary American writing. "What can the stories and imagery of the desert tell us about our relationship to the natural environment?"