English Literatures - MA
Keele has a long, distinguished history of teaching and research excellence in English and American Literatures. Our broad, comprehensive expertise in fiction, poetry, drama, life writing, literary theory, creative writing, film and media, gives you the freedom to tailor your study through tuition and one-to-one supervision from leading specialists. In a structured learning environment, you’ll gain an extensive grounding in literary theory and research, extending your knowledge of literary works and the conceptual frameworks used to approach them. Developing as a researcher and communicator, you'll enjoy lively debates within a passionate community which shares your love of literature.
Month of entry
Mode of study
- Full time, Part time
Fees for 2023/24 academic year
- UK - Full time £8,900 per year. Part time £4,900 per year.
International - £17,700 per year.
Duration of study
- Full time - 1 year, Part time - 2 years, Modular - Up to 5 years
Why study English Literatures at Keele University?
Whatever your motivation – the chance to pursue your passion for literature or to develop analytical, writing and research skills – our MA can help you achieve this and more, with opportunities to enjoy readings from an exciting range of published poets, novelists and peers within an intellectually stimulating, collegiate environment.
You’ll be supported throughout by our leading academics in the field of literary studies, whose research across a broad spectrum of literary periods and genres feeds directly into teaching and research supervision, giving you significant scope when choosing your dissertation topic.
Core modules are designed to deepen your understanding of methodologies appropriate to the study of literature from the Renaissance to the present. You will approach texts from different theoretical perspectives, enhancing your understanding of a wide range of cultures, values, experiences and intellectual traditions.
The wide choice of optional modules from across the disciplines of English or American Literature, Creative Writing or Film, enables you to tailor your studies to your interests. You can deep dive into classic texts from Defoe, Austen or Shakespeare, for example, or explore the weird and wonderful cinematography of directors like Lilly and Lana Wachowski and David Lynch.
Alternatively, using our contacts or through your own networks, you can opt for a work placement, applying your knowledge in a work setting, gaining valuable experience and enhancing your CV. Recent English Literatures students, for example, have worked at the Samuel Johnson Museum, Staffordshire Archives and Heritage, and the New Vic Theatre.
You’ll graduate with knowledge of research design, methods and processes, together with the creative, critical, reflexive, and analytical mindset that employers desire, and the ability to think critically about complex topics from different perspectives.
You’ll also be studying at a University where you can immerse yourself in a wide range of creative and cultural events and societies, courtesy of ArtsKeele, giving you access to valuable networks of professional contacts. The fortnightly Keele Hall Readings, for instance, last year featured acclaimed writer Okechukwu Nzelu, whose first book won a Betty Trask Award, and Caleb Parkin, self-proclaimed 'day-glo queero techno eco poet and facilitator'.
Other courses you might be interested in:
"There were plenty of opportunities to get involved in organising and attending conferences and research events, which helped to give a well-rounded experience of academia. The best thing about English at Keele though, undoubtedly, is the staff. Every member of the English department was welcoming, enthusiastic, and, most importantly, supportive. Thanks to the staff, I have learnt so much in my whirlwind year at Keele, not only in terms of developing my knowledge about English literature but also in terms of justifying the importance of my own research, and the Humanities in general."
Studying English literature, language and creative writing can be both inspiring and rewarding, offering new insight into the ways in which stories, poems, novels, plays and their authors creatively interpret the world in which we live.
This course is taught through a combination of five core modules and one optional module from a choice which reflects the variety in cross-period and thematic spread of English as a subject.
To graduate with a Master’s qualification, you must complete 180 credits, including the production of a 15,000-word dissertation (60 credits) on a topic of your choice, negotiated with and supervised by one of our experienced researchers. You will begin your dissertation early in the course and continue working on it throughout the duration of your studies.
In preparation, you will undertake a full research training programme, which includes sessions on academic writing, ethics, archives and databases, writing a research proposal, and an introduction to a range of methodological approaches from across the Humanities. These sessions are also designed to develop the necessary skills for doctoral research. You’ll be given advice on how to construct, develop and write an extended dissertation, based on independent research.
The MA English Literatures can be studied as either a one-year full-time or two-year part-time course, with a September start date. It is also possible to study more flexibly part-time on a modular basis, accumulating degree credits by taking individual modules over a maximum period of five years.
Core Taught Modules
- HIS-40017 Research Skills in the Humanities (15 credits), Semester 1
You will receive training in the practical and technical skills necessary for postgraduate research in the humanities, so you will be able to plan, then find and use the necessary resources for your research and writing. This includes: relevant University regulations; procedures for managing a research degree; the differences between popular press dissemination of research and academic forms; how to identify issues of research ethic affecting your work; and how to use real-world and digital archives and be creative in looking for primary research sources, such as film archives, digitised magazines and pamphlets, first editions of out of print literature. You will also develop essential personal and professional skills in time, stress and project management.
- HIS-40016 Reflective Practice in the Humanities (15 credits), Semester 2
Reflective practice describes a systematic approach to reflection that involves creating a habit, structure and routine around reflecting on our experiences and engaging in continuous learning. Whether you choose to learn from experience as an individual or with others, there are many benefits to be gained from sharing ideas, experiences and considering how you can change or improve your creative practice. Throughout this module, you will be asked to explore the intellectual connections between your research area and wider fields of study. We look at ‘big ideas’ relevant to contemporary society, such as the concept of ‘post truth’, ‘big data’ and the pulling down of statues, and we work to understand them from the perspective of our disciplines.
- ENG-40007 Criticism, Analysis, Theory in Literary Studies (30 credits), Semester 1
You will develop your analytical abilities through the study of a selection of key theoretical and critical issues and approaches in contemporary literary and cultural analysis. You’ll be introduced to the variety of interpretive methods currently used within the discipline of English. Collective weekly discussions about selected text examples build your confidence in selecting and applying such theory to a range of literary texts. In your assessments, you can choose to develop a project focusing on literary and filmic texts studied on the course or of your own choice.
- ENG-40032 Canon, Anti-Canon, Context (30 credits) Semesters 1-2
You will explore key questions of literary value and function, developing high-level skills in cross-period, comparative reading and the evaluation of literature across a variety of literary periods, national and international contexts, genres and movements. The module asks questions such as: what is a ‘literary’ text, and in what ways is it different from non-literary texts, or from filmic ones? How does a text become ‘canonical’? What prevents other texts from being classified as ‘canonical’? How do canonical and non-canonical texts construct and communicate different constructions of identity? How do these texts and identities come to be recovered, and perhaps evaluated differently in different social and intellectual contexts?
- ENG-40034 Dissertation – English (60 credits), Semesters 1, 2 & 3
Guided by extensive one-to-one supervision from an internationally-renowned expert in the field of English Studies, you will research, plan and write a substantial piece of original work, locating your specific topic within the context of relevant debates within the discipline of English literature and the humanities more generally. The final dissertation is 15,000 words, excluding footnotes, bibliography and annexes. Capitalising on expertise across the School of Humanities, you have considerable flexibility when choosing your specialist subject, not just in literature, but also other media, including film studies and television. In the past, student dissertations have ranged from a review of identity and disability in coming-of-age literature, to a focus on modern Japanese literature, to the study of selfhood in post-modernist literature and film.
You will choose one optional module from the following list. Please note that optional modules are based on individual staff specialisms and so change each year. This is an indicative list from 2021-2022.
- ENG-40035: Sex, Scandal, and Society: Eighteenth-Century Writing and Culture
The 18th century saw the emergence of the English novel, the rapid rise of the periodical press, and the professionalisation of imaginative writing, as well as an upsurge in comedies of social manners on the stage, a healthy flow of erotic and pornographic texts, and poetry whose sexual and satiric energy is barely curbed by social decorum and convention. In short, men and women of letters were interested in society in fascinating new ways that were the result of the exponential growth of London, the financial revolution that helped erode old social hierarchies, changes in sexual relations and constructions of gender, celebrity culture, and the rise of personality-based politics. Perhaps it is not too much to say that our own society is the heir to changes that happened in the age of the four Georges (1714-1830), and this module is an opportunity to study the fiction, drama, poetry, images, and culture of this period. Authors studied may include: Daniel Defoe, Eliza Haywood, John Cleland, William Hogarth, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and Jane Austen.
- ENG-40061: The Alcohol Question: Advanced Studies in the Literature of Drink and Drinking Culture
From celebrations of friendship and sociability to cautionary tales of inebriety and debauchery, from the euphoria of intoxication to the misery of the hangover, from the public house to the home, the stage to the pulpit, literature and the arts have a long and ambivalent relationship with alcohol. This module presents some of the key representations of alcohol and drinking culture from the Renaissance to the present day. You will examine the social and cultural function of different types of alcohol, look at the economic factors that have affected the consumption and licensing of drink, interrogate some of the common myths and discourses which surround alcohol, explore changing medical understanding of subjects such as alcoholism and addiction, and explore the associations that literature often makes between sexuality, class and alcohol. The module covers a comprehensive series of texts – ranging from poetry to prose, film to the fine arts – that each represent a different aspect of what has become known as The Alcohol Question. It invites you to reflect upon the reasons why alcohol is such a pervasive, but divisive, topic and why so many creative minds have felt the need to address its importance to the human condition in such a variety of different ways.
- ENG-40044: Postmodernism: Fiction, Film, and Theory
Postmodernism represents an important body of critical theory that developed in the second half of the 20th century, and continues to have relevance in the 21st. It crosses a range of disciplines, but emphasises an interrogative, reflexive and eclectic challenge to many philosophical and aesthetic values and practices. On this module, you will explore the relevance and meaning of some of the ideas associated with postmodernism with respect to selected novels and films. You will assess the influence of key ideas on writers and directors and study the main themes and techniques used in postmodern fiction and film. The module also encourages a critically-informed assessment of the implications of postmodern thinking for contemporary notions of history, identity, sexuality, politics and consumer society. Fiction and film likely to be studied on the module include Julian Barnes, A History of the World in 10 Chapters; Jeanette Winterson, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit; Martin Amis, Other People; Ali Smith, How To Be Both; The Hours (dir. Stephen Daldry); The Company of Wolves (dir. Neil Jordan); The Matrix (dir. the Wachowskis); and Mulholland Drive (dir. David Lynch).
- ENG-40031 Life Writing (30 credits)
The last few years have seen the publication of major autobiographical and biographical works in Britain and the United States, as well as a surge of academic interest in life writing. Responding to the growing interest in life writing, this module encourages you to reflect creatively and analytically on the nature, history and techniques of autobiographical, biographical and memoir writing. During weekly two-hour seminars and workshops, you will discuss selected passages drawn from classic (Augustine, Rousseau, Mill, Gosse) and more recent works (Sage, Diski, Slater, Hamilton-Paterson and many others). You will plan, develop and discuss ideas and outputs in order to develop creative skills, including drafting and editing.
- AMS-40040: High Culture: Drink, Drugs and the American Dream
The module examines the social, cultural, psychological, medical, philosophical, and aesthetic dimensions of works dealing with three decades of American history that are concerned with a range of intoxicants - alcohol, heroin, LSD, and peyote. Rather than taking a biographical approach (which might, for example, focus on the role of drink in the writing of the Lost Generation), it focuses on representations of individuals or groups involved in sub- and counter-cultural use of mind-altering and/or addictive substances. The first half of the module focuses on addiction, the second half on the relationship between pharmacological and aesthetic experimentation. The emphasis on studying formal features of texts also includes comparative analysis of Hollywood adaptations and films. Texts studied may include: Charles Jackson, The Lost Weekend (1944); The Lost Weekend (1945), directed by Billy Wilder; William Burroughs, Junky (1953); Daniel Pinchbeck, Breaking Open the Head (2002); William Burroughs & Allen Ginsberg, The Yage Letters (1963); Tom Wolfe, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968); Carlos Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juan (1968); Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971); Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), film.
- ENG-40065: Violence and Death: Advanced Studies in Shakespeare’s Theatre
The early modern period was saturated in violence. It was enshrined in the legal system: spectators flocked to see beheadings, hangings, and other forms of public execution and physical mutilation by the state. It was treated as entertainment: bears, dogs and cockerels were forced to fight each other to the death for the pleasure of paying customers. For men, it was often seen as a way of proving masculinity: going to war, or besting others in single combat, was a way of proving their worth. This module will explore the many ways in which violence manifested itself within Shakespeare’s society, and the many different meanings that were attached to violent acts. You will study a range of early modern drama, by both Shakespeare and his contemporaries, and, in the process, learn more about early modern attitudes to revenge, warfare, the violated human body, and the relationships between violence and race, gender, religion and the law. You will question why violence was so popular on the early modern stage, and what its appeal might have been for contemporary spectators. You will also study some modern film adaptations of Renaissance plays, and think about how the violence of the early modern period might be related to the violence of our own present-day culture.
- ENG-40042: Postcolonial and World Literature in English
This module introduces you to the diversity of literature produced in postcolonial contexts since the end of World War II. You will compare material from a number of formerly colonised regions – including Africa, the Middle East, America, and the Caribbean – and explore how postcolonial texts relate to local cultural and historical experiences. The module is structured around some of the most highly charged issues tackled by postcolonial artists: cultural identity and nationhood; race, gender, and the body; slavery; globalisation; migration; diaspora; and war. You will explore the ways in which the exciting and challenging ideas raised by postcolonial theory can be applied, and consider how world literature is consumed in a global marketplace. Relating postcolonial texts to your own cultural and historical contexts and the wider world, you will learn to apply postcolonial theory to a variety of global literary and cultural texts, helping you develop writing and presentation styles appropriate for a range of purposes and audiences.
- ENG-40057 Work Placement for Humanities Postgraduates
This module is designed to give you an opportunity to contribute to the world beyond the University, in any workplace where the research, analytical, and communication skills developed as part of a postgraduate Humanities degree can be used. The chosen workplace may be, for example, a local museum, theatre, charity, library, school or education provider, marketing company, PR firm, local newspaper, local radio, or another suitable opportunity identified by you and approved by the module leader. While on the placement, you will produce a theoretically informed portfolio critically reflecting on and giving evidence of the activities/outputs completed at your chosen workplace. These may include, for example, researching and producing materials advertising or supporting current or proposed exhibits or performances, researching and producing written or audio pieces, and/or planning small-group educational activities on Humanities-related topics. Advice will be given on identifying and contacting placements and composing a CV in semester 1, and support will be provided throughout the placement, which will usually take place in Semester 2.
"The work placement module gave me the opportunity to work in the education sector whilst conducting my studies. This module helped my confidence to grow, and the support of the lecturers and informative seminars firmly confirmed the decision that teaching is the right career path for me. I have since been accepted onto the Teach First programme. "
Academic entry requirements:
This degree is designed for those individuals with a first or upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) in English/English Studies/English Literature (single or combined honours). Applicants with other qualifications or experience are considered on a case-by-case basis by the Programme Director.
English language entry requirement for international students:
IELTS 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component. The University also accepts a range of internationally recognised English tests.
If you do not meet the English language requirements, the University offers a range of English language preparation programmes.
During your degree programme you can study additional English language courses. This means you can continue to improve your English language skills and gain a higher level of English.
Some travel costs may be incurred if an external project or placement is undertaken; any such costs will be discussed with the student before the project is confirmed. It will be possible for you to select an internal project and that would not incur any additional travel costs. There may be additional costs for textbooks and inter-library loans.
Keele University is located on a beautiful campus and has all the facilities of a small town. Student accommodation, shops, restaurants and cafes are all within walking distance of the teaching buildings. This is a very cost-effective way to live and to reduce your living costs.
Please note, if your course offers a January start date, the January 2023 start date falls in the 2022/23 academic year. Please see the 2022/23 academic year fees for the relevant fees for starting this course in January 2023.
Planning your funding
It's important to plan carefully for your funding before you start your course. Please be aware that not all postgraduate courses and not all students are eligible for the UK government postgraduate loans and, in some cases, you would be expected to source alternative funding yourself. If you need support researching your funding options, please contact our Financial Support Team.
We are committed to rewarding excellence and potential. Please visit our bursaries and scholarships webpage for more information.
Pursuing postgraduate study enhances your employment prospects because it nurtures more advanced personal and professional skills, including critical thinking, originality, problem-solving, persuasive writing and speaking, innovative questioning and effective reasoning, all of which can open a wide range of careers.
Throughout the course, we offer you opportunities to reflect on the skills you are developing and, importantly, how you can articulate these skills in applications and interviews. We work closely with the University’s Careers and Employability Service to offer bespoke sessions on postgraduate employability throughout the academic year.
By choosing the optional work placement, you can gain crucial first-hand experience of applying for a position and working in an environment where you can utilise the skills developed on your degree, developing your employability for when you leave Keele.
Most graduate jobs do not require a specific degree subject, though your knowledge of English Literatures, culture and the advanced communication skills you’ll gain on this MA can give you an edge when applying for careers, such as teaching, journalism, advertising, marketing, PR, arts and events management, arts administration, the theatre, museums, archives, public policy, or project management.
Our graduates typically go on to work in culture and heritage, education, marketing, communications, public relations, publishing, copywriting, and information management. The roles they can be found in are vast and varied, from an English tutor, to an e-commerce manager and trainee solicitor.
Given its focus on research, the course also provides an excellent foundation for further research, doctoral (PhD) training or academia. A number of students have gone on to complete PhDs at Keele and elsewhere.
Positions may include:
- Creative director
- Documentary maker
- Events manager
- Marketing executive
- PR Officer
Teaching, learning and assessment
How you'll be taught
English is a wide-ranging discipline which allows you to develop skills in critical argument and engage imaginatively with literary texts both past and present.
The historical range of the material covered in this programmes extends from 1500 to the present day, with modules on American literature, Film Studies, and literature in translation, as well as the theoretical enquiry that has become fundamental to the discipline over the last 30 years.
You will explore the ways in which the formal characteristics of literature have developed over time and across diverse cultures within the Anglophone world, as well as the socio-political, ethnic, and gender contexts that inform and impact them.
Typically, the taught elements of the course includes a combination of taught classes, seminars, large and small group work, guided independent study and one-to-one supervision. With smaller-sized classes, our ethos is very much about learning co-operatively and supportively in a friendly, nurturing environment, sharing your ideas with tutors and peers and vice versa.
The programme benefits from being situated within the broader School of Humanities which allows us to offer interdisciplinary research training and supervision. You can therefore choose optional modules in English or American Literature, Film Studies, or Creative Writing.
You will be encouraged to attend and participate in our programme of academic research seminars and conferences and become involved in Work in Progress seminars specifically tailored to doctoral and MA students’ presentations. Many of our postgraduates get involved in organising and attending conferences and research events, which gives you a well-rounded experience of academia for those considering this career.
You’ll also be encouraged to take advantage of ArtsKeele, the University’s vibrant arts programme, comprising art, music, live poetry readings, performances, public lectures and other cultural treats. For example, Keele Creative Writing Anthology provides opportunities to hear live readings from published award-winning poets and novelists, previously featuring Helen Mort, Jenna Clarke and Caleb Parkin. While Keele Concerts Society organises a mixed programme of internationally acclaimed music on campus and at the New Vic Theatre. Recent performances included a trio of folk singers and one of the world’s finest classical guitarists.
How you’ll be assessed
Assessment on the course is designed to develop the research and communication skills necessary to complete a substantial dissertation. Conducted through coursework and (in some cases) individual presentations, this is achieved through a variety of different methods:, short and long essays; annotated bibliographies; project outlines; reflective study diaries; and the dissertation.
You’ll be encouraged to attend dissertation workshops to develop writing skills, write reports of any research seminars you attend, and present your research proposals within your discipline cohort and to the wider humanities community in our annual research symposia.
Keele Postgraduate Association
Keele University is one of a handful of universities in the UK to have a dedicated students' union for postgraduate students. A fully registered charity, Keele Postgraduate Association serves as a focal point for the social life and welfare needs of all postgraduate students during their time at Keele.
Hugely popular, the KPA Clubhouse (near Horwood Hall) provides a dedicated postgraduate social space and bar on campus, where you can grab a bite to eat and drink, sit quietly and read a book, or switch off from academic life at one of the many regular events organised throughout the year. The KPA also helps to host a variety of conferences, as well as other academic and career sessions, to give you and your fellow postgraduates the opportunities to come together to discuss your research, and develop your skills and networks.
The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences is the largest of the three Faculties at Keele University. Our research and teaching focus on many and varied dimensions of human experience and on the full range of cultural, economic and social challenges we face in a fast-changing world. We draw on our progressive heritage to promote theoretically inventive scholarship that has the potential to transform the ways in which we engage with one another as human beings in contexts ranging from the local to the global.
All our staff are leading academics at the forefront of research in the field of literary studies and film studies, and this research feeds directly into our teaching and dissertation supervision. Our expertise covers a range of English and American literature: Early Modern Literature; 18th Century Literature and Romanticism; Victorian and Long 19th Century Literature; Modernist Writing; Postcolonial and World Literature and Culture; American Literature and Culture; Contemporary Literature; and Creative Writing.
The David Bruce Centre for American Studies is an internationally recognised centre for the study of the United States, which supports seminars, conferences, colloquia, occasional lectures and small exhibits, and encourages postgraduate study by means of scholarships and research grants.
Teaching team includes:
Dr Nick Bentley, Senior Lecturer – A Keele graduate, Nick taught at a number of universities, including the University of Birmingham, and the Open University, before returning to Keele in 2005. His main research interests are in 20th and 21st century literature and literary and cultural theory. Nick's books include Contemporary British Fiction (Edinburgh UP, 2008), Martin Amis (Liverpool UP, 2015) and Contemporary British Fiction: A Reader's Guide to Essential Criticism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).
Professor Ceri Morgan, Professor of Place-Writing and Geohumanities – Ceri’s research interests lie in literary geographies in Québec fiction, place-writing, walking studies, and geohumanities. She works increasingly on participatory projects, and run geopoetics (walking and creative practice) workshops in the local region and beyond.
Professor Tim Lustig, Professor in American Literature – author of Henry James and the Ghostly (1994) and Knight Prisoner: Thomas Malory Then and Now (2013), he edited the World's Classics edition of 'The Turn of the Screw' and has more recently edited a collection of essays with James Peacock, Diseases and Disorders in Contemporary Fiction: The Syndrome Syndrome (2013). Tim's most recent publication (2019) is a critical edition of The Sacred Fount, which forms part of Cambridge University Press' The Complete Fiction of Henry James. His research interests lie in British and American children's writing, c.1850-1950.
Dr Rachel Adcock, Senior Lecturer – Before joining Keele in January 2015, Rachel studied and worked at Loughborough University. Her PhD thesis focused on 17nth-century women’s religious writings, particularly the life-writings and prophecies of Baptist women. This research was published by Ashgate Press in 2015, and was nominated for the Richard L Greaves prize by the International John Bunyan Society in 2016. Rachel is interested in women's textual participation in 17th-century dissenting communities, particularly the function of women's religious treatises, spiritual testimonies, and prophecies in early Baptist congregations.
Dr Rebecca Bowler, Senior Lecturer – Rebecca is co-founder of the May Sinclair Society and, prior to joining Keele in 2016, was Research Associate on the Dorothy Richardson Scholarly Editions Project, editing the collected letters and complete fiction of the modernist writer for publication. Her monograph, Literary Impressionism: Vision and Memory in Dorothy Richardson, Ford Madox Ford, H.D. and May Sinclair was published by Bloomsbury in September 2016. She is m interested in all aspects of modernism, modernist aesthetics and modernist interdisciplinary historicism.
Professor Susan Bruce, Professor or English – Susan has taught at the Universities of Florence, Geneva and St Andrews, as well as Keele. Her doctoral research was a feminist study of Utopian fiction in the early modern period, out of which came her anthology of Three Early Modern Utopias for Oxford World's Classics. She has also written on representations of memory, history and the self in literature produced between the two world wars; on the relations between literature and photography; on the intersections between fiction and economy, and on the nature and value of English and the Humanities more generally. Susan is also interested in television medical dramas; her most recent publication on the BBC drama Bodies and the state of the NHS.
Professor Oliver Harris, Professor of American Literature – Widely published as both an author and editor, Oliver's work includes a dozen editions of works by William S Burroughs. In addition to the book William Burroughs and the Secret of Fascination (SIU Press, 2003), he has published numerous articles on Burroughs, as well as essays on film noir, Hemingway, the epistolary, the exquisite corpse game, and the Beat Generation more broadly. He is President of the European Beat Studies Network and has co-organised and contributed to numerous conferences and documentary films, including The Beat Hotel (2012) and Paul Bowles: the Cage Door is Always Open (2013). In 2019, he introduced a new edition of Blade Runner.
Dr James Peacock, Lecturer – His principal area of research is contemporary American fiction, focusing on New York fictions, gentrification stories and literary depictions of urban neighbourhoods. James is especially interested in interactions between local and global identities in changing urban spaces. Other areas of research include transnationalism in the music of The Clash; Quakerism and American literature; detective fiction (again from a transnational perspective); and Philip K Dick. His articles on contemporary American fiction have appeared in Journal of American Studies, English and Critique.
Professor Nicholas Seager, Professor of English Literature and Head of the School of Humanities – Nicholas joined Keele in 2009 and teaches courses across the English Literature programme. His research interests are in Restoration and 18th-century literature, particularly the intersections between literature and history, religion, politics and philosophy, as well as the relationships between historicism, formalism and book history. Nicholas has published on writers including John Bunyan, Jonathan Swift, Eliza Haywood, Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, Laurence Sterne, Samuel Johnson, Oliver Goldsmith, and Jane Austen. He recently completed an edition of the correspondence of Daniel Defoe, which will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2022.
Dr Jonathan Shears, Senior Lecturer – Jonathan held posts at Chester and Aberystwyth before joining Keele in 2009. He conducts research and work on Romanticism and poetic tradition, the representation of alcohol in literature and culture, the history of emotions and intersections of ageing and gender. He was Editor of The Byron Journal from 2012 until 2019.
Dr Rebecca Yearling, Lecturer – Rebecca's work focuses on English Renaissance culture and literature. Her current research project explores how people in the past interpreted physical pain and suffering, and the extent to which their interpretations were shaped by their moral and/or religious beliefs, and uses this approach as a way of thinking about the likely contemporary emotional responses to scenes of violence and bodily harm in the works of Shakespeare. She taught at the universities of Sussex and Bristol before coming to Keele in 2013.
The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences fosters a high quality, supportive and managed research environment for both individual researchers and teams of collaborative researchers, including postgraduate researchers in the Humanities.
It hosts an exciting range of intellectual and creative conferences, colloquia, seminars, research-led music recitals, and workshops which contribute to regional and national scholarly networks, as well as international academic conferences. Where possible, we also celebrate the achievements of our members through book launches and public lectures (online or in situ).
The School of Humanities itself delivers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes in the discipline areas of English Literature/Creative Writing, Film Studies, History, Media, Communications and Creative Practice, and Music Production and Sound Design.
As well as traditional teaching spaces offering easy access to lecture and seminar rooms, library facilities and computer laboratories as appropriate, we also have an impressive range of specialist creative facilities.
Under Construction @ Keele – Keele’s Postgraduate Journal
Under Construction is a peer-reviewed postgraduate journal, edited and run by Keele postgraduates in the Humanities and Social Sciences. It publishes, amongst other things, finished research, speculative pieces, short essays, reviews and research reports. It is an opportunity to experience the process of publication early in your degree, and just as importantly, offers opportunities for valuable experience in managing, editing, producing and marketing an academic journal.
Postgraduate Work in Progress Seminars
The Work in Progress Seminars series is often the first experience of academic presentation for our students. It provides a supportive, but rigorous (i.e. genuinely academic) environment in which to present your research, and you should not be shy of presenting pieces of research that are actually ‘work in progress’ because these seminars are an excellent way to get feedback. Seminars are given by individual researchers roughly once a month, and attendance at them is an important part of the social routine for Postgraduate students at Keele.