Research at Leeds Beckett
Dr James McGrath
About Dr James McGrath
James lectures in English, History and Media. His specialist areas are popular music (particularly The Beatles / 1960s) and the crossing of Cultural Studies into disability theory / medical humanities (especially concerning autism). James is also a widely published poet.
James's work places great emphasis on interdiscplinarity. His AHRC-funded PhD (2010) compared representations of gender, nation, class and "race" in the lyrics and music of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. He is currently writing a book, Never Lose Affection: Lennon and McCartney's Working-Class Myths.
Since 2005, James has been publishing on an additional topic: interdisciplinary Cultural Studies approaches to understandings of autism and Asperger's Syndrome. This involves promoting greater interaction between the Humanities and the Sciences, as well as exploring autism representations in fiction and film since 1980.
James's poems have been published or are forthcoming in the literary magazines Smiths Knoll, The Interpreter's House, DreamCatcher, Shadowtrain, occursus, The Beast At Cards and PN Review. He has also published poems in The Guardian Higher Education and International Times (IT). He is also a credited editorial advisor on several books of poetry and fiction by others.
James is keen to hear from other researchers and writers with similar interests.
James has taught on the following modules:
- Critical Reading
- Bildungsroman: Narrative and Identity
- History / English and History
- Life Writing in 20th Century History
- Race and Slavery in the Atlantic World
- History and Culture in 20th Century Europe
- Debating Cultural Theory
- Media, Culture and Environment
- Television Audiences
- Mediating Politics
- Popular Music and the Moving Image
- Television Studies
- Documentary Studies
- Interpreting New Media
- Media History
- Media Audiences
James has supervised dissertations on topics including British Muslim Fictions; Emily Brontë and Ted Hughes; Roger McGough; John Lennon; Will and Grace; Countercultures of the 1960s; and Cystic Fibrosis and Online Communities.
He has also lectured on BA (Hons) modules in English and Cultural Studies at York St John University, and on the MA Programme History / The Beatles, Popular Music and Society at Liverpool Hope University.
James's publications on The Beatles emphasise influences of working-class and also black culture on the band. His PhD was cited in Liverpool City Council's 2010 bid for UNESCO City of Music Status.
He has been interviewed about his research by BBC Radio Merseyside, BBC Radio Leeds, and Radio Aire, Leeds. James has also contributed to Guardian podcasts on popular music, and has published writing on popular culture in The Independent and The Big Issue. He was a research consultant for two films about John Lennon, Nowhere Boy (2009) and Lennon Naked (2010), and for a forthcoming BBC One Show special on The Beatles.
James's 2007 article "Reading Autism" (Interdisciplinary Literary Studies) has been cited in numerous subsequent publications; he has also presented papers on autism both at Literary Studies and Health Sciences conferences. He is presently writing up a long-term project titled The Naming of Autism.