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Professor Susan Watkins

About Professor Susan Watkins

Susan Watkins is Professor in the School of Cultural Studies and Humanities and Director of the Centre for Culture and the Arts. She is an expert in contemporary women's fiction and feminist theory.

Susan's main research interests are in the field of contemporary women's fiction and feminist theory. She welcomes research students interested in all areas of women's prose fiction and feminist theory. Susan is a founder member and formerly Chair of the Contemporary Women's Writing Association and previously an Associate Editor for the Oxford journal Contemporary Women's Writing. She was also Co-Editor until December 2015, with Dr Claire Chambers, of the Journal of Commonwealth Literature. Susan’s recent research work has focused on the Nobel prize-winning novelist Doris Lessing. Her book on Lessing was published by Manchester University Press in their Contemporary World Writers series. The book looks particularly at the treatment of race, nation, gender and genre in Lessing's writing. Her current research projects include an edited collection (with Professor Clare Hanson) of essays on British Women’s Writing 1945-1975 and a monograph on contemporary women’s post-apocalyptic writing.

Current Teaching

Susan's main teaching interests are in contemporary women's fiction and feminist theory. On the BA (Hons) English Literature programme she teaches Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literatures: Alienation and Dystopia (Level 5) and Twentieth-Century Women Novelists: Genre and Gender (Level 6 option). On the MA English: Contemporary Literature, she contributes to the interdisciplinary Researching Cultures module and teaches a module based on her own recent research into the writer Doris Lessing entitled Doris Lessing: Narrating Nation and Identity. On the BA (Hons) English and History she teaches the core module Subjects of Elizabeth with Dr Nick Cox (Level 6).

Susan is the co-editor of Studying Literature: A Practical Introduction, which is a guide to the pleasures and pitfalls of studying English literature at degree level. It contains, amongst other things, chapters on essay writing, giving oral presentations and using literary theory, as well as her own chapter on reading prose fiction.

Research Interests

Susan's latest research project is on contemporary women's apocalyptic fiction. Since the millennium there has been an increase in the production of novels that imagine the end of the world as we know it as a consequence of climate change, globalisation, corporatisation and the unchecked excesses of technoscience. Contemporary women writers are no exception to this trend. Susan's project investigates the ways in which they write the apocalypse in different ways from male writers.

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