Centre for Studies in Literature


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Dr Ben Davies


Ben Davies is Lecturer in English Literature. He received is MA and PhD from St Andrews, and his MSt from Oxford. Ben’s research and teaching interests focus on modern and contemporary literature, literary theory and narratology. To date, his work has concentrated specifically on theories and representations of sex, time and space. Ben’s monograph, Sex, Time and Space in Contemporary Fiction: Exceptional Intercourse, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2016. Taking Giorgio Agamben’s work on states of exception as its point of departure, this book formulates and analyses ‘exceptional sex’ in recent fiction, and complicates the critical tradition of analysing narratives of sex in terms of transgression, as well as attempts to make easy divisions between ‘straight’ and ‘queer’ time. This book also contributes to narratology studies, as it argues for exceptionality to be seen as a critically productive way to analyse narrative time, space, and relations. He is also the co-editor of Sex, Gender and Time in Fiction and Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), a collected volume that developed out of the AHRC-funded international conference ‘Sexualities In and Out of Time’ (Edinburgh, November 2008). At present, Ben is working on an edited book volume on the Scottish writer John Burnside, which will be published by Bloomsbury as part of their Contemporary Critical Perspectives series. His other ongoing research includes a book project on invitation and dwelling in the works of Ali Smith, and a longer-term project on the history and temporality of literary prequels. This interdisciplinary project will incorporate work on the philosophy of time, recent temporal investigations in physics, and analyses of modern prequels in both literature and film. Ben is a member of the Major Faculty Research Project Celebrities, Fans and Muses: Mapping Cultural Influences, which explores the construction of celebrity in literature, popular culture and society. For Ben’s full research project, see here.

Ben is currently the Course Liaison Tutor for the MRes in English. For the English Literature undergraduate programme, Ben coordinates the Level 5/6 unit ‘Time, Temporality, Contemporary Fiction’, as well as the L4 unit ‘Writing Now: Contemporary Fiction’. He takes the modern half of the L5/L6 unit ‘Crime Writing’, and he contributes to the following team-taught units: ‘Unpacking Texts: Introducing Critical Theory’, ‘Styles and Subversions: Nineteenth Century to the Present Day’. Ben’s teaching focuses on the interrelationship between theory and literature, and it is guided by theoretically informed close reading and attention to form, as well as by student-centred exploration.

Ben welcomes MRes and PhD applicants who have interests in any of the following: modern and contemporary literature; literary theory; Agamben (and/or exceptionality); sex, gender queer theory; time, temporality and space; narratology.

From 2014-16, Ben acted as Joint-Convenor for the Faculty ECR Forum, and he was the ECR Representative on the Faculty Research and Knowledge Transfer Committee. Currently, Ben serves on the Executive Committee for both University English and the British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies. He also runs the Time and Temporality Network and the Staff-Student Theory Reading Group.


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