Centre for Studies in Literature

Culture and Community

The Culture and Community research cluster brings together research from the early modern period to the contemporary, focusing upon discourses of community formation and deformation. Cluster members explore the representation of community formation in literary texts, examining: political allegiance; national and personal identity; friendship; communal behaviours such as eating, storytelling, and watching and participating in artistic performances. The research strands examine intentional voluntary communities and the texts, practices, and ideologies with which they are associated, as well as regarding indirect community formation via the development of popular culture and its dissemination in print. Cluster members interrogate the role of law, governance and empire and their creation of, and influence upon, communities in the past. In these research strands, the inverse community deformation is examined in relation to political, class and ethnic division in Europe, the Americas and across the post-colonial English-speaking world. These topics are considered from a historical point of view, with a contemporary perspective, interrogating the past and illuminating its effects on the present.

Community cluster members are actively involved in organising conferences and disseminating their work nationally and internationally. Cluster members have organised conferences and symposia at the University of Portsmouth on Cultures of Commemoration and Detecting Objects in 2014, and Trauma and Memory: Holocaust in Contemporary Culture in 2013. Previous symposia have provided the basis for extended projects and edited special journal issues such as ‘Amity in Early Modern Literature and Culture’ for Literature & History, ‘Communities and Companionship in Early Modern Literature and Culture’ for Early Modern Literary Studies and ‘Imaginary Europes’ for the Journal of Postcolonial Writing. Future events include the conference Shakespeare’s Communities in 2016 and Much Ado About Portsmouth: a Shakespeare Festival. Cluster members involved in the ‘Constructing the Past’ Humanities Faculty funded project are working with the local community, for instance in collaboration with Portsmouth City Council and local community groups, creating a sense of local (his)stories of the past and present.

The cluster also supports a thriving postgraduate community, at Masters level through the MA in Literature, Culture and Identity, and MRes students working on African American Women’s Writing and in PhD research on Sherlock Holmes and Fandom.

Members: Dr Christine Berberich, Dr Maggie Bowers (cluster leader), Dr Charlotte Boyce, Dr Ben Dew, Dr Jessica Dyson, Dr Mark Frost, Dr Rosie Paice, Dr Christopher Pittard, Dr Bronwen Price, Dr Elodie Rousselot, Dr Diane Warren, Professor Julian Wolfreys

Doctoral students: Yousef BaramehClive Clare-BarkerHamidah Allogmany