Feminisms in Public are a group of PhD students based in and around Manchester whose aim is to encourage public engagement in feminist research.
I’m a final year English PhD student at MMU, specialising in contemporary representations of women, gender and feminism in popular fiction. I’m particularly interested in the relationship between fictional genres and the ways we live our lives as gendered subjects. I’ve also contributed to the DIY documentary film Rebel Dykes (post-production, dirs. Harri Shanahan; Siân Williams) as a Production Assistant. When I’m not researching, I like taking photographs (especially in bleak British landscapes), doing yoga, and listening to podcasts.
My research explores skin as a surface through which our conceptions of the contemporary monster are reshaped and alternative narratives are produced around themes of survival, resistance and renewal within the Post-Millennial Gothic mode. I am interested in the concepts of self-harm, creation, transmutable surfaces, and self-fashioning monsters. My texts are televisual, chosen as a medium which specifically reflects the postmodern preoccupation with the surface, and actualizes its inherent problems, upon the (specifically female) skin. Retraced through concerns such as nostalgia and multiplicity, the limits of the televisual monstrous body become not less visible, but redefined through alternative styles and themes. Aside from my studies, I’m looking forward to a trip to Japan at the end of this month and follow an embarrassing (secretly impressive) number of Pomeranian dog accounts on Instagram and I’m currently re-watching Westworld.
I’m a first year PhD student and am researching the effects of contemporary biosciences (e.g. neuroscience, genetics) on personhood. I’m looking at the fiction of Siri Hustvedt and Jennifer Egan to explore the ways in which these new scientific findings and subsequent biomolecular models alter ourselves in terms of our sense of agency, sociality, and ethical responsibility. Otherwise, I will usually be watching TV – preferably some kind of legal drama.
I’m a first year Gothic Studies PhD Student at Manchester Metropolitan University, looking into the socio-cultural significance of Gothic/Dark Tourism from the nineteenth century to the present day, particularly its relationship to Gothic spatial imaginaries of London. My thesis stems from work undertaken during my Humanities MA and English and European Studies BA at York University, Toronto, Canada. I have a forthcoming publication in the Dark Arts Journal focusing on a Jack the Ripper tour in London, and case study on a haunted ruin in the edited collection Writing Britain’s Ruins, 1700-1850.
Polly Checkland Harding