Contemporary Research Group

Asking critical questions about how the contemporary is experienced, theorised, produced and contested across contemporary culture.

The group meets around five times a year, to hear new research from external speakers, staff, and postgraduates, and to participate in reading groups addressing key topics in and approaches to the contemporary.

Recent activities:

Collaborative and individual events and affiliations past and present reflect the group’s ongoing interest in the contemporary: 

  • Meet the Author: Anne Enright (Loughborough, 2019) and Anne Enright: In Conversation at Loughborough University (Loughborough, 2019) events as part of the Big Booker Read at Loughborough in partnership with the Booker Prize Foundation.  
  • Author readings and events: Elizabeth Jenner and The Magic Places; An Evening with Kate Summerscale (May 2019).  
  • Loughborough’s hosting of the ‘What Happens Now’ international conference of the British Association of Contemporary Literary Studies (BACLS), July 2018  
  • ‘Violence and the American Imagination’ International Interdisciplinary conference, Loughborough, 2015, leading to the edited collection Dix and Templeton, Violence from Slavery to Black Lives Matter (Routledge, 2019).   
  • The Overton Poetry Prize comprising an annual competition for the publication of a sequence of poems of up to 100 lines on any subject.  
  • Organisational involvements of group members include: British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies (Siân Adiseshiah and Jennifer Cooke, executive committee roles); Contemporary Playwriting Network (Siân Adiseshiah, founding member); Contemporary Women’s Writing Association (Claire O’Callaghan).   

Recent publications:

Recent publications on the contemporary from members of the group include:  

  • Jennifer Cooke, Contemporary Feminist Life-writing: the New Audacity (Cambridge, 2020), The New Feminist Literary Studies (Cambridge, 2020);  
  • Andrew Dix (co-editor), Violence from Slavery to #BlackLivesMatter: African American History and Representation (Routledge, 2020) 
  • Siân Adiseshiah (co-editor), Twenty-first Century Fiction: What Happens Now (Palgrave, 2013), Twenty-First Century Drama (Palgrave, 2016), debbie tucker green: Critical Perspectives (Palgrave, 2020).  
  • Claire O’Callaghan, Sarah Waters: Gender and Sexual Politics (Bloomsbury, 2017), (co-editor), Sarah Waters and Contemporary Feminisms (Palgrave, 2016), (co-editor) Gender and Austerity in Contemporary Culture: Femininity, Masculinity and Recession in Film and Television (I.B. Taurus, 2016). 

Group members

James Barker

Research Student

Alex Boyd

Megan Constable

Research Student

Jennifer Cooke

Senior Lecturer in English

Andrew Dix

Lecturer in American Studies

Oliver Haslam

Research Student

Lottie Hazell

Research Student

Clare Hutton

Reader in English and Digital Humanities

Brian Jarvis

Senior Lecturer in English

Katie Mulhern

Research Student

Demi Wilton

Research Student