Nicola Abram, Department of English Literature
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Areas of Interest
Research groups / Centres
AREAS OF INTEREST
I am interested in the ways in which literature imagines and enacts a more equitable and just society, with a particular focus on the aesthetics of contemporary postcolonial and feminist writings.
My first monograph, Black British Women's Theatre: Intersectionality, Archives, Aesthetics (published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2020), adopts an archival methodology to trace how five theatre companies, practitioners and playwrights have creatively responded to racism and sexism since the 1980s. I have recently begun a new research project investigating literary representations of sexual violence. Connecting my academic work with a wider sense of social responsibility, I regularly volunteer for a charity that supports survivors of rape and sexual abuse, and I have previously led a reading group in a high security women's prison.
Since 2019 I have convened the 'Identities' research cluster in the Department of English Literature, which brings together staff and postgraduates working across a range of historical periods and literary forms who share an interest in the discursive construction of identities. From 2014-2017 I was Vice-Chair of the international and interdisciplinary Postcolonial Studies Association (PSA), and from 2011-2014 I served as co-editor of its newsletter. I continue to enjoy membership of the PSA and The British Association of Contemporary Literary Studies.
For fuller information on my research, public engagement, and teaching activities please visit my website.
Within the Department of English Literature I convene the modules 'Research and Criticism' (Part 1), 'Black British Fiction' (Part 3), 'Global Literatures: Translation as Theme and Theory' (Part 3), and - with Dr Nicola Wilson - the MA module 'Modern Literary Feminisms: Theory, Praxis, Texts'. I also teach on the undergraduate modules 'Globalization and Language', 'Writing, Gender, Identity', and 'Contemporary Fiction', and on the MA module 'Modern and Contemporary Literature'.
I have been Fellow of the Higher Education Academy since 2015. In 2019/20 I was awarded a University Teaching Fellowship, a prestigious award conferred on an individual who has demonstrated individual excellence and contributed to the development of teaching and learning within the University of Reading. In April 2020 I won the student-nominated Reading University Students' Union Excellence Award for Technology Enhanced Learning, for the project 'A Thousand Words: Student Life Through a Lens'.
I am currently supervising three PhD projects, on Muslim women's writing and Afrofuturism, and I welcome contact from prospective applicants in all areas related to my research expertise.
My publications include:
(2020) Black British Women's Theatre: Intersectionality, Archives, Aesthetics (Palgrave Macmillan)
(2020) 'Forging connections: anthologies, arts collectives, and the politics of inclusion' in The Cambridge History of Black and Asian British Writing, eds Susheila Nasta and Mark Stein (Cambridge University Press), pp. 403-416
(2017) 'Sensory signification in Juniper's Whitening and Victimese', in 'Telling it Slant': Critical Approaches to Helen Oyeyemi, eds Chloe Buckley and Sarah Ilott (Sussex Academic Press), pp.93-112.
(2014) 'Staging the unsayable: debbie tucker green's political theatre', Journal of Contemporary Drama in English, 2.1, 113-130.
(2014) 'Looking Back: Winsome Pinnock's Politics of Representation', in Modern and Contemporary Black British Theatre, eds Mary Brewer, Lynette Goddard and Deirdre Osborne (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan), pp.95-111
Selected conference papers include:
(2016) Invited talk at Ethics, Affect, Responsibility: Global Citizenship and the Act of Reading, British Academy/University of Bristol
(2015) Invited talk at Representing race and black Britain in theatre, film, television and digital media symposium, National Theatre, London
(2013) Invited talk at University of Cambridge Postcolonial Seminar Series
(2013) Invited talk at Black British Women's Writing: Where Is It Now?, an International Expert Meeting, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
My public engagement activities include:
(2016) Co-organiser of 2nd Uhuru International Black Film Festival, University of Reading, with Unity Arts, Music & Multimedia
(2014) Invited speaker at public Black History Month celebration, The Globe, Reading
(2014) Radio guest on BBC Radio Berkshire African Caribbean Community Show hosted by Jeanette Kwakye
(2012) Contributor to documentary film Margins to Mainstream: The Story of Black Theatre in Britain (Octavia Foundation/Nu Century Arts)