Centre for Studies in Literature

Body Politics

Research being undertaken by the Body Politics cluster offers a wide range of approaches towards and understandings of literal and metaphorical bodies from the sixteenth century to the present day.  Cultural constructions of the body in relation to identity, gender, sexuality, race, age, crime, law, food/consumption and celebrity are key strengths in the research of this cluster, along with queer theory, the relationship between time and the body, body and mind/soul/spirituality, corporeality and incorporeality, natural and supernatural phenomena, and the metaphorical bodies of the nation and the body politic. Our research engages with literary, medical, legal, pictorial, photographic, digital and performance material, and how these different media and discourses influence and engage with each other. Researchers within this cluster work productively with local museums and galleries; for example, Being Human: Disappearing Acts saw a successful collaboration with Wymering Manor Trust and The Dickens Birthplace Museum.

As well as attending academic events nationally and internationally, cluster members are actively involved in organising conferences and symposia at Portsmouth University. Recent conferences include Death and Celebrity, part of the Celebrity, Citizenship and Status projectVictorian Animal Encounters; Orphan Identities and Bloody Passions: Extreme Emotion on Early Modern Literature and Culture. The cluster also supports a thriving postgraduate community: our MRes students work on:  Alimentary Deviance in Victorian Colonial Literature; Representations of Suicide on Early Modern Stage; Fetish Pain and Sexuality in Nineteenth-century Literature; Self-Actualisation in Contemporary Women’s Writing and PhD research is being undertaken on ‘Victorian Representations of Anne Boleyn and the Woman Question’, 'Julia Margaret Cameron and the Archives of Fantasy: Traces of the Victorian Imagination in Post-Victorian Fiction', ‘The Parameters of Female Ageing in Victorian Literature’ and ‘Contemporary US Masculinity’.

Members: Dr Charlotte Boyce, Dr Ben Davies, Dr Jessica Dyson, Dr Páraic Finnerty, Dr Laurel ForsterDr Christopher Pittard (cluster leader), Dr Bronwen Price, Dr Helen RingrowDr Elodie Rousselot, Dr Bethany Simmonds, Dr Diane Warren.

Doctoral students: Lucy CookLisa FelsteadDebbie Parker KinchSara ZadroznyBeatrice Ashton-Lelliott