Skip to main content
Dr David Shackleton

Dr David Shackleton

Lecturer

School of English, Communication and Philosophy

Email
shackletond@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2251 0787
Campuses
2.07, John Percival Building, Colum Drive, Cardiff, CF10 3EU
Users
Available for postgraduate supervision

Overview

I am a Lecturer in English Literature at Cardiff University. My research and teaching focuses on modern and contemporary literature and the environment. I am particularly interested in the ways in which literature engages—or fails to engage—with the current environmental crisis.

My first book, called Anthropocene Modernism: Time, History, and the Novel, is under contract with Oxford University Press. This book assesses the environmental politics of British modernism in relation to the idea of the Anthropocene—a proposed geological epoch in which humans have fundamentally changed the Earth system. This project grew out of my AHRC-funded doctoral thesis, and has already issued in articles in Modernism/modernity, Victorian Literature and Culture, and The Review of English Studies.

Turning to more recent speculative fiction, my second book project is called ‘Visions of the Future: Afrofuturism, Risk, and the Environment’. This project analyses novels by Octavia E. Butler and N. K. Jemisin, films by Wanuri Kahiu and Ryan Coogler, and music by Sun Ra and Janelle Monáe, reading them alongside various policy documents, scenarios, and risk reports. It argues that Afrofuturism provides counter-visions of the future that are urgently needed to combat climate capitalism, and the way in which it continues to foreclose the futures of many Black lives.

Cardiff Environmental Cultures:

I am a founding member and convenor of Cardiff Environmental Cultures, an interdisciplinary research group that aims to interrogate the cultural, historical, and theoretical forces that shape our relationships with the environment. The group aims to:

  • support research and teaching about environmental issues; 
  • foster debate between researchers, activists, and the public about the current environmental emergency;
  • help imagine and implement better possible futures. 

If you’d like to join the group, suggest an item for the Reading Group, or present in the Research Seminar Series, please contact me at shackletond@cardiff.ac.uk.   

GW4 ‘Rhetoric and Practices of Green Recovery in Cities’:

I am leading the GW4 Generator Fund project 'Rhetoric and Practices of Green Recovery in Cities’. Rhetorics of ‘green recovery’ have emerged with the desire to ‘build back better’ from the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet the precise policies and practices associated with this rhetoric remain undefined. This interdisciplinary project investigates the way that ‘future scenarios’ are used to construct and contest knowledge about climate change and transitions to net zero. It focusses on four cities in the South West—Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, and Exeter.

Our key research themes are:

  • Pledges and policies to achieve net zero, and how the politics of knowledge production interacts with policy at the city-scale;
  • Interactions between activist groups and formal governance structures;
  • The role of rhetoric and narrative in perceptions of climate change and environmental policy;
  • How different actors are mobilising rhetorics of green recovery.

Biography

I joined Cardiff University as a Lecturer in English Literature in 2018, having previously taught at the University of Exeter and the University of Oxford. 

Professional Appointments:

  • Lecturer in English Literature (Teaching and Research). School of English, Communication and Philosophy, Cardiff University. 2021–present.     
  • Lecturer in English Literature (Teaching and Scholarship). School of English, Communication and Philosophy, Cardiff University. 2018–2021.
  • Lecturer in English (Education and Scholarship). Department in English, University of Exeter. 2017–2018.
  • Part-Time Tutor (Dissertation Supervisor). University College, University of Oxford. 2016–2017.
  • Part-Time Tutor (Dissertation Supervisor and Admissions Interviewer). St Catherine’s College, University of Oxford. 2010–2017.
  • Part-Time Tutor (Course Designer and Leader). Oxford Programme for Undergraduate Studies, University of Oxford. 2010–2014.

Education:

  • D.Phil. in English Literature, University of Oxford, 2015
  • M.A. in English Literature (Distinction), University College London, 2009
  • B.A. in Philosophy (First Class), University of Cambridge, 2007 

Invited Lectures and Presentations:

  • ‘Octavia Butler’s Kindred, Speculative Time, and Afrofuturism’, Cardiff BookTalk, Cardiff University, 3 March 2021
  • ‘Olive Moore, Queer Ecology, and Anthropocene Modernism’, University of Copenhagen, 29 April 2020 [Cancelled due to Covid-19]
  • ‘H. G. Wells and the Ghostly Effects of Time Travel’, University of Copenhagen, 28 April 2020 [Cancelled due to Covid-19]
  • ‘H. G. Wells’s Utopias, Ecological Risk, and the Anthropocene’, Modern and Contemporary Literature, Culture and Theory Research Seminar, Cardiff University, 22 April 2020 [Cancelled due to Covid-19]
  • ‘H. G. Wells’s Early Scientific Romances and Victorian Periodical Culture’, University of Basel, 30 April 2019
  • ‘Radclyffe Hall, Olive Moore, and Queer Ecology’, ‘90 Years Since The Well of Loneliness: A Radclyffe Hall Symposium’, Birkbeck, University of London, 27 July 2018

Conference Papers (Selected):

  • '"Failing Economies and Tortured Ecologies": Octavia E. Butler's Climate-Changed Worlds', ASLE-UKI Conference, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, 7 September 2022
  • ‘Africanfuturism: Wanuri Kahui’s and Nnedi Okorafor’s Counter-Visions of Development’, ASLE 2021 Virtual Conference, 2 August 2021
  • ‘Olive Moore, Queer Ecology, and Anthropocene Modernism’, MLA International Symposium, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Lisbon, 25 July 2019
  • ‘“Temps Perdi”: Jean Rhys’s Voyage in the Dark, Plantation Time, and Anthropocene Modernism’, ‘Nature and Narrative: Writing and Literature in the Anthropocene’ International Conference, Saint Louis University, Madrid, 22 June 2018
  • ‘Olive Moore, Queer Ecology, and Anthropocene Modernism’, ‘Modernist Life: The British Association for Modernist Studies International Conference 2017’, University of Birmingham, 29 June 2017
  • ‘D. H. Lawrence, Time Ecology, and Anthropocene Modernism’, Historical Modernisms Symposium, Institute of English Studies, University of London, 12 December 2016

Conference and Panel Organization:

  • ‘Imagining Environmental Futures’, Panel at ASLE 2021 Virtual Conference, 2 August 2021 (panel chair and speaker)
  • ‘Climate Change: Science and Society’, GW4 Early Career Symposium, Cardiff University, 3-4 December 2020 (symposium co-organizer)
  • ‘First Catz Conference: History and English’, St Catherine’s College, Oxford, 4 February 2013 (conference co-organizer)

Reviewing:

Peer Reviewer of Articles for PMLA, Modernism/modernity, Feminist Modernist Studies, Woolf Studies Annual, Pulse: The Journal of Science and Culture

Professional Memberships:

  • Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (UK and Ireland)
  • British Association for Modernist Studies
  • Modernist Network Cymru
  • Modern Language Association
  • National Council of Teachers of English

Publications

2021

2020

2018

2017

Teaching

In the 2022–23 academic year, I am teaching the following module:

  • Visions of the Future: Climate Change and Fiction (Year 3)

Previously, I have taught:

  • Spectral Femininities (MA), with Dr Becky Munford
  • Representing Race in Contemporary America (Year 3), with Dr Alix Beeston
  • Modern Drama: Page, Stage, Screen (Year 3)
  • Scandal and Outrage: Controversial Literature of the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries (Year 2)
  • Drama: Page and Stage (Year 1)

I am accredited as a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).

Research Interests:

  • modernist literature and culture
  • speculative fiction, including science fiction, climate fiction, and speculative futurisms
  • modern and contemporary literature and the environment
  • environmental politics and activism

Research Projects:

My first book, called Anthropocene Modernism: Time, History, and the Novel, is under contract with Oxford University Press. This book assesses the environmental politics of modernism in relation to the idea of the Anthropocene—a proposed geological epoch in which humans have fundamentally changed the Earth system. It explores how British modernists such as H. G. Wells, D. H. Lawrence, Olive Moore, Virginia Woolf, and Jean Rhys employed types of narrative breakdown—including fragmentation and faltering passages devoid of events—to expose the limitations of human schemes of meaning, negotiate the relationship between different scales and types of time, produce knowledge of ecological risk, and register various forms of nonhuman agency. This project grew out of my AHRC-funded doctoral thesis, and has already issued in peer-reviewed articles in Modernism/modernity, Victorian Literature and Culture, and The Review of English Studies.

Turning to more recent speculative fiction, my second research project is called ‘Visions of the Future: Afrofuturism, Risk, and the Environment’. It explores how Afrofuturism—an expanding Afrodiasporic cultural movement spanning literature, film, photography, and music—promises to inspire new forms of environmental politics and activism. Analysing novels by Octavia E. Butler and N. K. Jemisin, films by Wanuri Kahiu and Ryan Coogler, and music by Sun Ra and Janelle Monáe, I argue that Afrofuturism provides counter-visions of the future that are urgently needed to combat climate capitalism, and the way in which it continues to foreclose the futures of many Black lives.

Research Grants and Funding:

2022     Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship, The Huntington (2 months), '"Failing Economies and Tortured Ecologies": Octavia E. Butler’s Climate-Changed Worlds'

2022     British Academy (Co-I), ‘Voices, Spaces, and Scales of Environmental Governance in the South West of Britain’

2021     GW4 Generator Fund Award (PI), ‘Rhetoric and Practices of Green Recovery in Cities’

2021     GW4 Crucible Seed Fund Award (Co-I), 'Stories of Hope: Eco-Emotions in Transitions to Net Zero'

2020     GW4 ECR Symposium Scheme Award (PI), ‘Climate Change: Science and Society’

2020     Colby Summer Institute Travel Grant, to attend the Colby Summer Institute in Environmental Humanities, Waterville, Maine

2019     University of Basel, Department of Languages and Literatures, honorarium to deliver a guest lecture

2018     British Society for Literature and Science (BSLS) Small Grant, to present research at the Radclyffe Hall Symposium, Birkbeck, University of London

2014     T. S. Eliot Summer School Bursary

2010–12     AHRC Studentship Award (full doctoral funding), University of Oxford

2010–12     College Scholarship (Arts), St Catherine’s College, University of Oxford

2010–12     Mary Blaschko Scholarship, Linacre College [declined]

Supervision

I welcome applications or informal queries from potential PhD students whose research interests overlap with my own:

  • modernist literature and culture
  • speculative fiction, including science fiction, climate fiction, and speculative futurisms
  • modern and contemporary literature and the environment
  • environmental politics and activism

I would also be interested in supervising the critical component of creative writing projects that have environmental themes.

I am currently supervising the following PhD dissertation:

Abbie Pink, 'Science Fact, Fiction and Futures: An Investigation into the Role of Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction for Reframing Modes of Engagement with Urban Environments for Multispecies Collaboration' (SWW DTP Studentship Award, Co-Supervised with Dr Jason Baskin, University of Exeter)

Past projects

Areas of expertise