What I research
I have always been interested in the ways that people make sense of their everyday lives and how lived experience is a type of knowledge that is often ignored or side-lined by people with the most power in a society. Everything I investigate is shaped in some way by these concerns and by an approach to research that might broadly be described as that of feminist epistemology.
So far, my research career has been comfortingly unpredictable and continuously unsettling: fruitful conditions for knowledge production, I believe. Things that I think about and work on include: questions of literary and cultural value within and beyond writing and reading communities; enquiries about the role reading plays in peoples’ lives; understanding the decisions and choices people make after pregnancy loss about the disposal of remains.
How I research
I was trained as a literary studies scholar and began my academic career as a Canadian Studies specialist. Over the years my research became more like cultural sociology in its use of empirical methods, but I remain committed to work that combines these with textual methods – and indeed, with other ways of working, doing and knowing from multiple disciplines. My absolute favourite thing intellectually speaking is working with interdisciplinary scholars and arts practitioners to investigate complex contemporary social and cultural issues.
How I make sense of what I do:
My research projects and publications can be grouped into four areas:-
Reading Communities and Cultures of Reading in the USA, Canada and UK
Making Digital Things – Building as Reading Research
Atlantic Canadian Literary Culture
Mixed Methods Research and Feminist Epistemology
I have supervised postgraduate research on Maritime Canadian short fiction; on the publishing history and institutionalisation of Margaret Atwood’s work in Central Europe; South-East Asian Canadian literature; Canadian film; Asian-American film, and an inter-textual study of Canadian women’s writing. More recently I have supervised PhD work on the outport novel as a core genre in Newfoundland literature; US lesbian feminist textual communities and lesbian pulp fictions (1950s); a study of globalisation in the oeuvre of Douglas Coupland; ‘Marketing Exoticism’: Mixed Race Identities and Contemporary British Fiction, and an examination of contemporary diasporic YA fiction.
I would particularly like to encourage you to contact me if you are interested in:
• Readers and reading in the contemporary period
• Book events, book festivals and arts organizations involved with print culture and/or online publishing
• Canadian prose writing (including US/Canadian contemporary comparative projects)