We provide doctoral supervision on all aspects of the Gothic, from the eighteenth century to the present day, and across disciplines, especially literature, film, television and video games. We also supervise dissertations in Gothic Creative Writing. You can browse through our specialist staff profiles for areas of expertise here.

If you would like to undertake PhD study in the Gothic, it is possible to apply for funding through the AHRC consortium for the North West. Details can be found on the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership website.

For Gothic-specific queries, please e-mail us here. For general PhD application queries, please e-mail Dr Andrew Moor here.

Our Current Students And Their Projects

Katherine Anne Burn, 'The Shame(d) Subject: Reading the Phenomenology of Shame and Temporality in Contemporary British Fiction' (AHRC NWCDTP award, 2017-2020)

Contemporary British fiction reveals a topography of cultural and elemental anxiety. Turbulent landscapes frame experimental narratives that seek to recalibrate the self in this newly emerging period of post-postmodernism. My thesis investigates the relationship between phenomenological shame and time, and ultimately, its effect on the ontology of the subject.

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Nicole Dittmer, 'Spectacled Abnormality: The “wild” female monster in Victorian Gothic (2018-)'

Nicole’s thesis explores how depictions of mid-Victorian women in gothic fiction are influenced by, and react to, patriarchal ideologies which construct an identity typified by physiological and psychological restriction and neglect.  Nicole will synthesize a new reading of female gothic that brings together ecocritical and new materialist approaches which focus on the influential relationships between psychology and neuro-biology to determine how negative emotions are reactive and disrupt neurochemical processes which create anatomical disjunction in the physiology of the Gothic woman.

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Alicia Edwards, '"There Are Things Going Bump in the Night All over This Town”: Gothic Tourism, Haunted London and Geographies of Haunted Spaces' (2017-) 

Alicia’s thesis focuses on ghost tourism in London from the nineteenth century to the present day. Using a geocritical approach, she aims to assess and map out various cultural forms of Gothic tourism – texts, walking tours, videogames – and interrogate the symbiotic relationship between London Gothic tourism in praxis and its textual sources.

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Teresa Fitzpatrick, 'Killer Plants & Gothic Gardeners: Gendered Eco-Monsters of The Gothic from 1890-2015' (2015-)

Using an eco-feminist approach and Female Gothic theories, Teresa's research establishes cultivated man-eating plants and gardener as gendered eco-monsters that reflect cultural and socio-political concerns of their time. Her thesis charts the adaptation of monstrous vegetation in response to changing gender identity and roles throughout the long-twentieth century, considers how they are situated within gendered spaces and how writers portray contemporary concerns about feminism and nature through the inter-relations of plant monster and gardener.

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Jon Garrad, '“I live, I die, I live again!”: Reading and Playing Imaginary Deaths' (2018-)

Jon’s research responds to the emergent turn toward complicity and responsibility as themes in game design and game studies. The thesis reads games as both text and experience, authored by their developers and co-created by their players. By applying this framework to the deaths that are encoded and generated within games, he seeks to demonstrate how games specifically engage with the matter of death, helping us establish, articulate and refine our perspective on the ‘undiscovered country’.

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Kerry Gorrill, 'MUTATING MANORS MAKYTH THE MAN: Men and Domestic Space in American Gothic Narratives' (2018)

Kerry's area of interest is the relationship between the masculine subject and domestic space in American Gothic literature. In particular, her thesis explores the ways in which American Gothic frequently generates a particularly schizophrenic and fragile male subject whose presence in domestic space seems to force that space to come to life, mutate and interact with the subject in order to bring about his death or ejection.

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Holly Hirst, 'The Theology of the Early British Gothic: 1760-1830' (2016-)

Holly's thesis seeks to investigate the intersection of theology and the early British Gothic. It looks at contemporary theological discourses and debates and the way in which these influenced and are reflected in Gothic texts with a particular eye of Dissenting and Anglican Protestant theologies.

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Rachid M'Rabty, 'Beyond Transgression: Violence, Nihilism and Neoliberalism in Contemporary Self-Destructive Fiction' (2014-)

Rachid's thesis explores the nihilistic and often pessimistic ‘transgressive’ fiction of Bret Easton Ellis, Chuck Palahniuk, J. G. Ballard and Thomas Ligotti. It examines the extent that boundary-pushing acts or fantasies of self-destruction emerge as the primary subversive act for individuals and communities struggling to articulate a response to, or escape from, existential discontent within the contemporary western world.

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Steph Mulholland, 'Fashioning the Neo-Victorian and the Neoliberal in Post-Millennial Gothic Television' (2016-).

Steph's research interests include Gothic studies, fashion theory, critical and cultural theory, television and film studies, and affect studies. Her thesis examines how the relationship between clothing and skin articulates and critiques the impact of neoliberal late-capitalism upon contemporary notions of selfhood within post-millennial Gothic television.

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Ian Murphy, ‘The Construct of the Fatal Woman in Aestheticism and Decadence at the Fin de Siècle’ (2015-).

Ian’s thesis examines how writers and artists associated with Aestheticism and Decadence at the fin de siècle, such as Vernon Lee, Rachilde and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, conflate aspects of fatal femininity with Gothic and Decadent artistic motifs of violent sexuality and artifice, and the privileging of ‘perverse’ art over life, as a means of engendering an eroticized liberation.

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Robyn Ollett, ‘Queer Lives through Dead Eyes: Observing the New Queer Gothic’ (2016-)

Robyn's reasearch is funded by NECAH under the primary supervision of Dr Rachel Carroll and co-supervision of Prof. Ruth Robbins of Leeds Becket University and Dr Sarah Ilott of Manchester Metropolitan University. It centres on how Queer concerns and subjectivities are figured in contemporary Gothic film and fiction, and investigates what insights Queer Gothic texts offer to contemporary understandings of sexuality and selfhood. You can find her on academia.edu.

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Keith O'Sullivan, '"Somewhere I Had to Go": Ontological Transmutations of the Gothic in the Longer Fictions of Ramsey Campbell' (2017-)

Keith's project accords overdue scholarly attention to this prolific British writer. Positioning Campbell's writings, particularly novels and novellas, within the Gothic mode, the thesis seeks to examine the writer's awareness of antecedence and problematic resistance to categorisation. Campbell's iconoclasticism and secular agnostic vision is shown to demonstrate alignment with postmodernist and posthumanist debates around the integrity of the subject and the nature of reality. The project thus seeks to ignite discussion about the value of Campbell's work to the interrogation and expansion of Gothic Studies.

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Heather O. Petrocelli, 'Drag Me to Hell: Horror Film Meets Queer Spectatorship, Fandom & Performance' (2018-)

Heather's research is focused on the LGBTQ+ horror spectator. Combining theoretical discourse, original empirical data, and a case study on drag queen Peaches Christ, this thesis will explore the relationship between queerness and horror film spectatorship, the cultural byproducts of queer fandom, and the queered reinterpretation and presentation of horror films.

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Andreea Ros, 'Gothic Contagion: Reproductive Themes in Gothic Representations of Infectious Disease' (2017-)

Andreea's research examines how portrayals of contagion in Gothic fiction reflect, reshape and reinforce public attitudes towards contagious disease prevention and treatments at two key moments of social and political change: the first half of the 19th century and post-9/11.

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Rob Sutton, ‘“We wonder how they think so soundly and speak so well”: Anne Grant and the Gaelic Rejection of Gothic Enlightenment’ (2018-)

Rob’s research aims to recuperate the writing of the nineteenth-century Scottish writer Anne MacVicar Grant. It diverges from existing scholarly criticism in that, rather than interpreting Grant as politically and culturally ambiguous, it proposes Grant’s fixed adherence to a Jacobite political and cultural ethos. His research explores how Grant’s commitment to the Gaelic origins of the Scottish people conflicted with contemporary notions of Scotland’s Gothic origins.

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Maartje Weenink, ’10 – 6 = 4, “king” – “man” = ‘”queen”: A Computational Approach to the representations of European National Identities in the British Gothic Novel “Genre” Using Word-Embeddings’ (2018-) 

Maartje aims to create a large corpus of annotated late eighteenth- and early nineteenth century British Gothic fiction to computationally uncover trends in (the representation of European national characters and settings in) Gothic fiction using word-embeddings. This corpus will enable a quantitative approach towards comparing different sub-categories of the Gothic by relating the texts and their meta-data to the socio-historic contexts in which they were produced. 

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Previously Completed Theses

PhD Development

In recognition of the growing number of Gothic postgraduate students at Manchester Met and in the North West, the Gothic Centre has thus far hosted two postgraduate-focused development days.

The Gothic Networking Day ran on the 12th of July 2014 and gave postgraduate students a unique opportunity to learn about Gothic Studies in the United Kingdom. The day included talks from the co-president of the International Gothic Association, the editor of the journal Gothic Studies, the editors of The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies, the commissioning editor of the Gothic Studies book series at the University of Wales Press, education professionals and representatives from Twisted Tales and Grimmfest Film Festival. The event was supported by the Higher Education Academy and was reviewed positively reviewed by the The Gothic Imagination website.

The second of these days, the ‘Gothic Studies Postgraduate Training Day’, was held in June 2017. This was an opportunity to share information about presenting at conferences, writing for journals and networking. A plenary was given by Dr Emma McEvoy (University of Westminster) on Gothic Sound in Ann Radcliffe’s fiction.

Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies