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Dr Neil Cocks – University of Reading

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Dr Neil Cocks

Name:
Dr Neil Cocks
Job Title:
Associate Professor
n-h-cocks-216x144

Contact

Responsibilities

At Reading, I have taught and convened IFP, all levels of BA, and I offer two modules on the MA in Children's Literature, the oldest course of its type in the world. My specialist third-year BA options are 'Alfred Hitchcock' and 'Children's Literature.'

I am an experienced PhD supervisor, and would be happy to discuss potential PhD supervision in childhood and literature, childhood and image, nineteenth century literature, or The Gothic.

I am a member of CIRCL (The Centre for International Research in Childhood: Literature, Culture and Media), and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

I am Head of Outreach in the Department of English Literature, and I am always delighted to receive outreach requests. For more information about DEL outreach activity, please make contact through my email address.

Areas of Interest

 

My research questions the self-evident through close reading. It follows that I am especially interested in analysing discourses that seem straightforward, simplistic, and unquestionable. This has led me to engage extensively with Children's Literature, as it is often taken to grant access to immediate truths. Utilizing only an accurate reading of narration, my aim is to defamiliarize these texts, and from this question wider societal appeals to structure, sexuality, objecthood, agency, and identity. In developing a text-based, non-essentialist approach to literature, I have become interested in critiquing a wide variety of discourses that are claimed in some way to be resistant to reading, including: 'the material turn'; 'the turn to affect'; contemporary film theory; evolutionary psychology; discourses of student-centred education; the literature of childhood in general; new-managerialism in Higher Education; libertarian, 'classic liberal', 'radical humanist', and Objectivist discourse; contemporary free speech discourse. Recently, however, I have begun to focus my attention on reading in detail the work of Lacan: The Silent Partners theorists such as Joan Copjec and Slavoj Zizek. I also have a long standing interest in 'the uncanny' in literature.

 

Research groups / Centres

I have published numerous articles and book chapters on subjects as diverse as children's literature, art theory, Dickens, queer theory, education theory, Objectivism, and the problematic claims of evolutionary psychology. I have also published three monographs. The first, from 2009, is a critique of student-centred education. I followed this in 2014 with a work concerned with overlooked children in nineteenth century English literature, and the difficulties that arise from reading something in a text that has not previously been noticed. The book includes extended engagements with work by Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Anne Brontë, and Christina Rossetti. My most recent single-authored book offers an original engagement with Higher Education discourse, one that takes its cue from approaches more usually associated with literary studies. It was reviewed by Prof. Ian Parker as an 'astonishing and necessary book [...] an argument for and exemplar of good critical textual practice', and by Dr. Jan de Vos as 'mandatory reading for scholars and their managers'.

I have recently published the first edited collection to offer a sustained critique the work of Ayn Rand. It was reviewed by Prof. Daniela Caselli as a 'dazzling partisan reading [that] makes the case for the importance of a debate that has not quite happened yet'.

I am presently working on a number of projects: a website providing open access to academic work that is difficult to place within the contemporary Humanities/theory scene (but not for the standard reasons of 'controversy'); a questioning reading of 'Irma's Injection' in the work on Joan Copjec and Slavoj Žižek; a monograph on contemporary film theory, and the place of reading within it; a book length critique of contemporary Gothic Criticism, including work on the material and affective turns, the return to historicism, Zero Books/Repeater, Joan Copjec, and theories of The Australian Uncanny.

I publish and perform poetry under the name 'Obby Robinson'.

 

Recent Publications

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Jump to: 2020
Number of items: 7.

2020

This list was generated on Wed Apr 14 20:11:42 2021 UTC.

View all publications

 

 

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