About Me

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I am a PhD candidate at the University of Kent’s Centre for American Studies, specialising in mid-20th century American literature and culture. I previously undertook an MA in English and American Literature, also at Kent, and prior to that completed a BA in English Language and Literature at St. John’s College, Oxford.

As a Fulbright Scholar I have also conducted extensive archival research at California State University, Long Beach and UCLA.

My PhD thesis proposes that a range of fiction writers reconstituted and interrogated historical notions of the ‘frontier’ as a conceptual framework to figure the multi-ethnic urban space of mid-20th century Los Angeles.  Key authors include John Fante, Raymond Chandler, Dorothy B. Hughes, Frank Fenton, Hisaye Yamamoto, James M. Cain and Chester Himes.

Other research interests include:

  • Fictional representations of the American presidency, particularly that of Richard Nixon (at whose Presidential Library and Museum the above photo was taken).
  • The changing shape of American urban centres after World War II and the intersection thereof with changing cultural forms, particularly that of rhythm and blues music
  • The cultural history of post-war African-American popular music more generally
  • The history of American metafiction and its reception within modern, postmodern, and post-postmodern critical contexts.

This site is largely intended a vehicle to host piece of writing that relate in some way to my academic work and to link to other places on the web where my work appears. It may however also contain incidental pieces on areas of cultural studies beyond my main area of academic research.

I can be found too frequently on Twitter at @maybeavalon.

My academic CV, accurate as of November 2018, can be downloaded here.

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