Dr Jennifer Cooke

Pronouns: She/her
  • Head of English
  • PGT Programme Leader (English)
  • Reader in Contemporary Literature and Theory

Research groups and centres

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Jennifer Cooke joined Loughborough in 2007 as a Lecturer in English, after gaining her DPhil the same year from Sussex University. She became Senior Lecturer in 2014 and Reader in Contemporary Literature and Theory in 2021. She is currently Head of English.

In 2019-2020 she won a Loughborough University Fellowship, during which period she completed two prize-winning academic volumes. She chaired the Gendered Lives Research Group from 2015 to 2020 and in 2015-2016 was a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Life-writing, Wolfson College, Oxford University.

Jennifer is co-editor of the new Elements in Feminism and Contemporary Critical Theory series for Cambridge University Press. She is on the Editorial Boards for the Glyphi Contemporary Writers: Critical Essays Series and the journal Prose Studies and was Associate Editor for the journal Contemporary Women’s Writing from 2018-2021. She regularly peer-reviews for university presses, journals, funders, and research councils and is a member of the AHRC Peer Review College. 

She is a member of the Modern Languages Association; the British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies (BACLS); Feminist and Women’s Studies Association; and a Fellow of the HEA. She served as Treasurer on the BACLS Executive Committee, 2016 – 2019.

Jennifer is also a poet and regularly gives readings in the UK and beyond.  


Jennifer’s research focuses on contemporary literature and theories of feminism, sexuality and gender, queer and trans theory, and theories of intimacy, affect, and the emotions. She analyses the representation and politics of social and relational organisation. This has culminated in the monograph Contemporary Feminist Life-writing: The New Audacity (CUP, 2020), which won the British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies (BACLS) Best Monograph prize in 2021 and the edited collected The New Feminist Literary Studies (CUP, 2020), which won the BACLS Best Edited Collection Prize in 2021 and was a Choice Outstanding Academic Title in the same year.

Her current monograph project is titled Help: Gender, Care and Outsourcing in Contemporary Literature and examines the figures of the surrogate, the nanny, the cleaner, the nurse, and the carer.  

Jennifer’s teaching areas of expertise are literary and critical theory, especially feminism, queer and gender theory, affect theory, and theories of intimacy and kinship. She teaches literature from the twentieth to twenty-first century and contributes to the MA in Contemporary Literature and Culture. 

PhD Supervision – Current 

  • Laura Lewis, ‘Climate Changed Induced Sea Level Rises and Verbatim Poetry’.
  • Katie Mulhern, ‘Feminism is Praxis: Reading and Theorising Acts of Making and Unmaking in Twenty-First Century Feminist Fiction’.
  • Demi Wilton, ‘Locating the “Climate Refugee”: Environmental Displacements and World Literature’.
  • Megan Constable, ‘Writing as Other: Investigating the Right to Write in Fictional Representations of Disability with a Creative Response’. 

PhD Supervision – Past and Awarded since 2014

  • 2022 - Lottie Hazell, ‘Swallowing Feelings: Examining Disclosure in Contemporary Food-centric Fiction’.
  • 2022 - Hazel McMichael, ‘The Art of Being Spoken Through: Ventriloquism as Feminism after Conceptualism’.
  • 2022 - Oliver Haslam, ‘Minimalism in American Literature, 1970-2020’.
  • 2021 - Lauren Whitehouse, Genderqueer in the Sporting Sphere: An Oral History Project of Non-binary Sporting Lives’.
  • 2017 - Teresa O’Rourke, ‘The Poetics and Politics of Liminality: New Transcendentalism in Contemporary American Women’s Writing’.
  • 2016 - Jennifer Nichol, ‘Escape Artists: Adventure and Isolation in Women’s Writing at the Fin de Siècle’.
  • 2016 - Georgia Walker Churchman, ‘This Demented Land: Representations of Madness in Contemporary Scottish Fiction’.
  • Contemporary Feminist Life-writing: The New Audacity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020). Winner of the British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies Monograph Prize. 
  • ed. New Feminist Studies: Twenty-first-century Critical Interventions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020). Winner of the British Association for Contemporary Literary Edited Collection Prize. Choice 2021 Outstanding Academic Title. 
  • ‘Violations of Empathy’, New Formations 89/90 (2016), pp. 153-169.
  • Apocalypse Dreams (Bristol: Sad Press, 2013). [Poetry chapbook].
  • ed. Scenes of Intimacy: Reading, Writing, and Theorising Contemporary Literature (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013)
  • ‘Intimacy, the Good Life, and Instructive Psychoanalytic Errors’, Textual Practice 27:6 (2013), pp. 943-960.
  • *Not Suitable for Domestic Sublimation (London: Contraband Press, 2012). [Book of poetry].
  • Legacies of Plague in Literature, Theory, and Film (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).