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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 has previously published books on the Nobel prize-winning novelist Doris Lessing, on scandalous fictions in the twentieth century, on twentieth-century women novelists and feminist theory and on British women’s writing 1945-1975. Her current book (in press with Palgrave) is about contemporary women’s post-apocalyptic writing. 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.

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 Literature pathway, she contributes to the Creative Criticism module and teaches a specialist module on Apocalyptic Fictions.

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

As well as her interests in Doris Lessing, Margaret Atwood, and contemporary women's dystopian and apocalyptic fiction, Susan is currently working on a project (with colleagues Professor Jayne Raisborough and Dr Rachel Connor) with the RepresentAge theatre group about ageing and gender.

Selected Publications

Journal articles (8)

Books (8)

Chapters (5)

  • Watkins SM (2017) Science Fiction. In: Hanson C; Watkins S The History of British Women's Writing Vol 9 1945-1975. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan UK, pp. 273-288.
  • Watkins SM; Chambers C (2015) Writing Now. In: Eagleton M; Parker E The History of British Women's Writing 1970-Present. London: Palgrave, pp. 247-265.
  • Watkins SM (2010) Writing in a Minor Key: Doris Lessing's Late Twentieth-Century Fiction. In: Raschke D; Perrakis PS; Singer S Doris Lessing. : Ohio State Univ Pr, pp. .
  • Watkins SM (2010) Issues of Gender and Sexuality in Post-War British Fiction. In: Cockin K; Morrison J The Post-War British Literature Handbook. : Continuum International Publishing Group, pp. 161-176.
  • Watkins SM (2009) The 'Jane Somers' Hoax: Ageing, Gender and the Literary Marketplace. In: Ridout A; Watkins S Doris Lessing. : Continuum International Publishing Group, pp. 75-91.

Conference contributions (2)

  • Watkins SM (2010) Future Shock: Transcorporeality and the Post-Apocalyptic Body in Contemporary Women's Writing National Chaio Tung University Taiwan 11/07/2012.
  • Watkins SM (2010) 'Summoning Your Youth at Will': Memory, Time and Ageing in Contemporary Fiction San Diego 07/07/2010.
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