Dr Maria Christou

Presidential Fellow (Academic)

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I joined the Department of English, American Studies and Creative Writing at the University of Manchester in 2018. 

I work on twentieth and twenty-first century literature. My first monograph, Eating Otherwise: The Philosophy of Food in Twentieth-Century Literatureuncovers a striking (yet so-far unnoticed) way in which twentieth-century literature obeys the injunction to ‘make it new’: namely, by ‘othering’ the everyday function of eating. Examining unusual, strange, and even shocking acts of eating in the literature of the twentieth century, this book seeks to determine the extent to which key modernist and postmodernist writers betray a belief (or the absence thereof) in the human subject’s ability to act in the everyday, material realm of the here-and-now to bring about change.

My preoccupation with questions of subjectivity, agency, and action extends to my currrent reasearch project. This is entitled The Turn to the Potential: Literature and the Intellectual Legacy of the Cold War. With this phrase -- 'the turn to the potential' --  I seek to capture an intensified preoccupation with prediction and management from the Cold War—and the rise of computing technologies—to today’s digital age. My book will attempt to tell the story of this ‘turn to the potential’ as it emerges from the literary imagination of the second half of the C20th century to the present day, and will explore its implications on questions like action, agency, and freedom.

Beyond these books, I have also published work on theory/philosophy (and, in particular, on the ways in which various different thinkers treat the question of the difference between humans and other animals), on the work of Ruth Ozeki and the question of genetic modification, and on the work of William Gibson. Currently I am working on a project entitled 'The Art and Artifice of Prediction'.

I welcome PhD proposals on any of the following areas / topics:
- modernism
- postmodernism
- contemporary literature (Anglo-American)
- food and eating
- animals
- critical theory
- prediction

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