Doctoral Students at the Centre for Modern and Contemporary Writing are working on a range of fascinating and innovative topics.
The figure of the returning veteran and the influence of trauma and memory on narrative, from Vietnam to the War on Terror. My creative component explores the literary and social legacies of Vietnam, on soldiers’ narratives and public responses respectively. The critical examines the role of creative writing in veterans’ rehabilitation, and how creative writing teaching practices shape the way war stories and veterans’ narratives are presented.
I am writing a three-generation saga, tracing the lives of a Greek family from the 1944-49 civil war till the infamous 2015 referendum, which will also (hopefully) function as an investigation of three modes of historical fiction (the lyrical ‘realist’ World War II novel, the contemporary culture-fetishizing bildungsroman, and the self-conscious mode often referred to as historiographic metafiction). In case this wasn’t complicated enough, the novel should also function as a ghost story. My accompanying exegesis aims to prove I had not completely lost my mind when I submitted my proposal.
My project focuses on intersectional discrimination in France and in the novels of Linda Lê and Marie NDiaye, two contemporary French authors. With reference to Ahmed’s concept of ‘being-at-home’, I analyse how various spaces of belonging are constructed in France and in the texts and the impact of this on the embodied experiences of those deemed out-of-place because of their gender, ethnicity, sexuality, class, age etc.
Joan McGavin is now a Ph.D candidate at the University of Southampton, after years as an Associate Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Winchester. She has published two collections of poems from Oversteps Books, curated and edited a collection for the initial Winchester Poetry Festival, and had her first big break in poetry as one of six featured poets in a Peterloo Poets anthology edited by Harry Chambers. She was a Hawthornden Fellow in 2012, and was Hampshire Poet 2014. She is a trustee of the Winchester Poetry Festival.
My doctoral research examines the relationship between Hollywood science-fiction films of the 1980s and the ‘new enclosures’ – the new forms of dispossession and separation visited upon the working class in that same period. It argues that, whatever their ostensible concerns (technology, posthumanism, or abjection, say), these films cannot be understood in isolation from such a context. From Blade Runner’s burgeoning city, to Alien’s vision of interplanetary extraction, to RoboCop’s depiction of mass privatisation, to Total Recall’s totally commodified Mars, these films are inextricable from the new enclosures.
My thesis focuses on the aesthetic in the work of German political and legal theorist Carl Schmitt. I argue that sovereignty is a central concern of literary modernism and aim to bring modernist understandings of sovereignty into discussions of Schmitt’s thought. I am the postgraduate representative for the Centre of Modern and Contemporary Writing (CMCW).
My research focuses on the figure of the stranger and digitalisation in contemporary fiction. I look to understand how representations of digital culture enables an understanding of how – and if – we might ethically claim to ‘know’, and know who, the stranger ‘is’. My research examines a variety of novels by those such as Chris Kraus, Dana Spiotta, Gary Schteyngart and Cory Doctorow to theorise how forms of relation, such as Donna Haraway’s notion of affinity, can illuminate new meaning on the constitution of subjects and strangers in the 21st century.
Supervised by Dr David Tollerton at the University of Exeter and James Jordan at the University of Southampton, SWW DTP funded doctoral student Isabelle Mutton will be examining the new National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa (opened in September 2017) and the proposed UK Holocaust Memorial in London (expected to be completed in 2022) with regard to notions of sacred space. She will analyse their origins, planning stages and reception to uncover the sacred underpinnings of these historical and seemingly secular memorials.
I am writing a narrative that incorporates poetry, dialogues and prose (and possibly artwork) into a formally challenging novel which has, at its core, a conversation between secular and Buddhist approaches to death and dying. Hopefully not as vague or inflated as that sounds, the novel will focus on a brother and sister as they navigate their distant relationship in light of recent grief. The accompanying critical work will attempt the same thing through an examination of other contemporary hybrid novels.