Dr Georgina Elizabeth Colby
Lecturer in English
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I am a Lecturer in Contemporary Literature. I became a member of the Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies in 2012. I was educated at Royal Holloway, University of London (BA Hons English 1998, MA Modernism and Modern Writers 2001, PhD English and American Literature 2003-2007).
Prior to joining the University of Westminster, from 2008-2012, I was a visiting lecturer in English at Royal Holloway, University of London. During this period I also delivered a series of lectures on Photography at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London.
I am the Course Leader for the MA in Modern and Contemporary Fictions.
At undergraduate level, with Dr Matt Charles, I am Module Leader for the first year module 'Keywords for Literary Studies'. I am also the Module Leader for the third year option module ‘Literature and Psychoanalysis’. The module interrogates the relationship between literature and psychoanalysis, each week students consider key concepts in psychoanalysis alongside a work of literature. Addressing the history of psychoanalysis from the work of Sigmund Freud in late nineteenth century to contemporary psychoanalytic theorists and critics, the module addresses the social, cultural, and literary value of psychoanalytic theory in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
I convene the MA Special Topic Module, ‘Experimental Women’s Writing, Photography and Film.’ This research-led module focuses on experimental women’s writing. Organised chronologically, students explore innovation in women’s writing, photography and film through three key phases, from the Modernist period, to after 1960, finally addressing contemporary women’s writing in the twenty-first century. The module has a theoretical focus on gender studies, philosophies of language, and theories of the avant-garde. Authors, filmmakers, and photographers studied include Gertrude Stein, Dorothy Richardson, Claude Cahun, Djuna Barnes, Maya Deren, Anaïs Nin, Marguerite Duras, Cindy Sherman, Kathy Acker, Caroline Bergvall and Vanessa Place. The theoretical element of the course encompasses such thinkers as William James, Judith Butler, Luce Irigaray, Julia Kristeva, Hélène Cixous, Denise Riley, Lyn Hejinian, and George Lakoff.
My central area of research is late modern and contemporary experimental writing with a particular focus on modern and contemporary experimental women’s writing, avant-garde textual practice, and feminist theory and philosophy. I lead a research project that addresses the way in which the arts and humanities can empower women's voices in the area of sexual violence against women and girls. I am the director of the Network for Contemporary Feminisms https://contemporaryfeminismsnetwork.com. I am also the Director of SALON, with Professor Susan Rudy (QMUL) https://www.salon-london.org/. SALON is hosted by the Institute of Modern and Contemporary Culture at the University of Westminster and Queen Mary.
My current research project is on experimental writing and manuscript practice. I have published widely on the work of the late modernist experimental writer Kathy Acker. My second monograph Kathy Acker: Writing the Impossible is published by Edinburgh University Press (https://t.co/6UjkbwA0V3). I have had articles on Acker published in the journals Women: A Cultural Review, Comparative Critical Studies and n.paradoxa: international feminist art journal. More information on my archival research can be found here: http://blogs.library.duke.edu/rubenstein/2015/06/03/profiles-in-research-georgina-colby-and-the-kathy-acker-papers/ Recent publications include articles on the work of Denise Riley, and Vanessa Place.
An auxiliary strand of my research explores the representation of death, pain, and suffering in contemporary culture. I recently guest edited issue 89-90 of New Formations: A Journal of Culture, Theory and Politics, titled ‘Death and the Contemporary' https://www.lwbooks.co.uk/new-formations
I have also published in the field of contemporary American literature. My first monograph, Bret Easton Ellis: Underwriting the Contemporary (New York: Palgrave, 2011) addressed the politics of contemporary fiction, combining critical theory and philosophy in order to explore Ellis’s writing as a form of social criticism. An article related to this work was published in Textual Practice in 2011.
At present, I supervise two PhD students in the areas of contemporary literature and visual culture, and experimental women’s writing.
I welcome interest from PhD students working in any of the areas detailed above.
I am currently Principal Investigator of the project ‘Sexual Violence Against Women: Empowering Voice and Enacting Change Through the Arts and Humanities.’ A one-day cross-disciplinary pilot symposium related to the project, 'Sexual Violence Against Women: Voice and Representation', took place on Friday 17th June, St Pancras Room, King’s Place, London, 10:00-17:00. The day consisted of two keynote papers by Professor Jacqueline Rose (FBA) and Keir Starmer, MP followed by two afternoon panels that brought public-facing bodies into dialogue with writers, artists and filmmakers. The event was funded by the Department of English, Linguistics, and Cultural Studies at the University of Westminster. The day's programme, a full report of the papers, and related materials can be found here https://contemporaryfeminismsnetwork.com.
With Dr Leigh Wilson, I run the Arts Council funded project The Contemporary Small Press at the University of Westminster (https://thecontemporarysmallpress.com/). As part of the project we organised a one-day symposium, The Contemporary Small Press Symposium, which took place on Friday February 20, 2015. The Contemporary Small Press Book Fair followed the symposium in the evening from 6-9pm. In 2016 we held an event at the British Library 'Reading and Being Read.' The project has been awarded Arts Council funding. More information can be found on our website here: https://thecontemporarysmallpress.com.
In 2012-2013 I was Lead Investigator of ‘Death and the Contemporary’, a collaborative research project with the artist Anthony Luvera. The interdisciplinary project, funded by the Arts Council England, involved a series of three site-specific public events held across London in 2012-2013, the first of which was part of the Inside Out Festival 2012.
In 2013-2014, I collaborated with Professor John Beck on the research project ‘Print Screen: Writing and the Moving Image’. Funded by the Department of Social Sciences and Humanities here at the University of Westminster, the project involved a series of lectures, screenings and talks by key innovative writers, filmmakers, and poets. The series culminated in a one-day symposium, ‘Print Screen: Writing and the Moving Image’ held at The Photographers’ Gallery, London. A number of the evening events were hosted by the Institute of Modern and Contemporary Culture, and held in the Old Cinema at Regent Street. Further details of the events can be found on the IMCC website.
I am also in the process of setting up a research network related to my interests in twentieth and twenty-first century experimental writing.
I regularly deliver papers on my research at conferences and colloquiums in the fields of contemporary literature, women’s writing, photography, and critical theory. I have disseminated my research on the writing of Kathy Acker at the Contemporary Experimental Women’s Writing conference at the University of Manchester in 2013, and Representing the Contentious, a colloquium funded by the Wellcome Trust organised by Queen Mary, University of London in collaboration with the University of Cambridge in 2011. In the field of American literature and photography I have delivered papers at the BAAS conference, 2012, at the University of Manchester, the BAAS Text/Image conference at the University of East Anglia in 2011, as well as the Second Annual Critical Theory conference at the University of Exeter, in 2010. More recently, I delivered a paper at the Innovative Writing Series at Senate House, London on the work of Vanessa Place.
I have been invited to deliver a guest lecture on New York Photographers of the 1970s at Sotheby’s Institute of Art (2010), as well as give a public talk on Kathy Acker and interview the artist Laura Parnes at Alma Enterprises Gallery London (2006). Seminars by invitation include the roundtable Conceptual Gestures series at Birkbeck, University of London (2011-2012).
I am a member of the editorial board of New Formations: A Journal of Culture/Theory/Politics.
2015 Arts Council England Grant. The Contemporary Small Press (co-investigator).
2014 Mary Lily Grant, David M Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Duke University. I was awarded a Mary Lily Grant of $1000 by the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture at Duke University to consult the Kathy Acker Papers housed at the Duke University.
2012 Arts Council England Grant. ‘Death and the Contemporary’ (£7, 525).