I write mainly about Scottish literature and cultural politics, with a focus on the era of devolution (1967-present). I did my PhD at the University of Aberdeen, on the literary politics of James Kelman. My wider teaching and research interests lie in Anglophone vernacular writing, modernism and critical theory, and contemporary literature and politics.
My monograph on The Literary Politics of Scottish Devolution: Voice, Class, Nation was published in late 2019. It's a cultural history and critique of devolution, focused on the role of writers, critics and intellectuals, and was described by reviewers as 'an outstanding critical tour-de-force' (Review of English Studies) and 'one of the most original and arresting studies of our political culture written for 10 years’ (Herald). I also edited the Edinburgh Companion to James Kelman and Unstated: Writers on Scottish Independence.
I lead the Scottish Magazines Network, an AHRC research network partnered with the National Library of Scotland (CI: Malcolm Petrie, St Andrews). The network brings together scholars of Scottish literature, history, politics and publishing to explore — and ‘re-circulate’ — independent magazine culture of the post-1960s period. Our events and publications aim to stimulate new public interest in these cultural and political magazines, and their role in shaping the Scotland of today. Ultimately, we hope to digitise a range of magazines in the NLS collection. For news and details, see the project website or @ScotMagsNet.
With Eleanor Bell and Ian Duncan I co-founded and co-edited the International Journal of Scottish Literature, and with Camille Manfredi and Marie-Odile Pittin-Hedon, I'm currently co-editing a collection of essays on twenty-first century Scottish writing. I also maintain an online bibliography of James Kelman criticism.
I've published articles on James Kelman (and masculinity, existentialism, canonicity, inner-speech, vernacular aesthetics), Alistair MacLeod, William McIlvanney, Alice Munro, Andrew O'Hagan, Don Paterson, Robert Louis Stevenson, Alan Warner, Irvine Welsh, Scottish novels of education, vernacular fetishism, ‘theory’ and cultural nationalism. I have work in progress on the Indyref novel, more on James Kelman, and an essay on Tom Nairn and literary style.
I'm the programme director for the MLitt in Scottish Literature, which I co-founded in 2007. I'm active with the Stirling Scottish Studies Network, the Scottish Critical Heritage Research Network and the Universities Committee for Scottish Literature.
My ongoing interests in Scottish cultural and political magazines follow on from a research project on 'Narrating Scottish Devolution: Literature, Politics and the Culturalist Paradigm', which led to an article in C21 Literature and this Guardian podcast.
With Professor Maria Fusco (Northumbria; PI), I ran an AHRC Research Network on 'De-Localising Dialect', exploring new creative and critical practices for and about vernacular language art. Over three workshops held in 2019, we established an original research agenda to place ‘dialect’ and its debates at the centre of critical attention in the nexus of art, literature and sociolinguistics.
Various pieces of cultural and political commentary can be found here and here and here.
Maike Dinger - Fiction(s) of Political Participation: Literature, Media and the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum (AHRC-funded; co-supervised with Michael Higgins at Strathclyde)
Alice Doyle - Archive and Narrative in the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum (AHRC-funded; CDP with the National Library of Scotland)
Felix Flores Varona - Remapping Scotland's Literary Influence: José Martí and the (In)Visible Transatlantic Connection
Mairi A. MacLeod - The Metaphysical Landscapes of Neil M. Gunn (completed 2020)
Harry Josephine Giles (co-supervised with Kathleen Jamie) - Scrievan Orkney's Future: Marginal Language and Speculative Poetries (AHRC-funded; completed 2020)
Arianna Introna - Crip Antagonisms: Autonomist Narratives of Disability in Scottish Writing (AHRC-funded; completed 2018)
Meghan McAvoy - A Critique of Scottish Literary Nationalism (completed 2015)
Neil Syme - The Modern Uncanny: Textuality and Tradition in Post-1970s Scottish Fiction (completed 2014)
Thomas Christie - Ideology, Genre and National Identity in Popular Scottish Fiction, 1975-2006 (completed 2012)
I welcome PhD proposals relating to any of the research areas above.