Dr Ben Nichols

Lecturer in Gender and Sexuality Studies

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Overview

I joined the University of Manchester in September 2021. Before this, I held a fellowship at the ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry and a postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh. I completed my PhD in English at King's College London.

My research has offered ways of rethinking common approaches in queer theory and in gender and sexuality studies more broadly. My recent monograph - Same Old: Queer Theory, Literature, and the Politics of Sameness (2020) – rethinks the deeply embedded aversion to ‘sameness’ across queer studies. Steeped in both philosophical and political commitments to ‘difference’, queer scholars have tended to view any form of sameness (from ‘identity’ to stability and order) only as the sign of oppressive social forces. But holding to this framework does not necessarily help us understand all aspects of queer history and culture, nor how social domination works in all cases. By reading across a range of queer genres—fin-de-siecle aestheticism, feminist speculative fiction, lesbian middlebrow writing, and the ‘stud’ file—Same Old uncovers a queer history of attachment to ideas such as the status quo, reproduction, normativity and reductionism. The point is to interrogate aversive associations with categories of 'sameness' and put pressure on the frameworks that define queer inquiry.

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