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Maria Christou

Research student

Maria Christou

County College Lancaster University Bailrigg Lancaster LA1 4YD


United Kingdom

Current Teaching

Undergraduate Level
- Assistant Director of Part I English Literature
- ENGL 201: The Theory and Practice of Criticism
- ENGL 301: Dissertation

Previous Teaching
Postgraduate Level
-ENGL419: Research Methodologies in English Literature
Undergraduate Level
-ENGL100: English Literature


Research Interests

20th century literature; modernism; postmodernism; literary food studies; critical animal studies; theory; continental philosophy; Samuel Beckett; Georges Bataille; Paul Auster; Margaret Atwood.

Current Research

My PhD thesis, Eating Otherwise: Food and Being in Twentieth-Century Literature, thinks the 'you are what you eat' adage otherwise, exploring the entanglement of the ontological with the alimentary in twentieth-century literature. Since its inception more than thirty years ago, the booming field of literary food studies has shied away from engaging with the interrelation between the question of being (what one is) and the question of eating (what and how one eats). The assumption behind this seems to be that the 'base' question of eating - as something that is located in the 'here and now' - clashes with 'lofty' ontological preoccupations, which are traditionally associated with a conception of being as predetermined and immutable. Eating Otherwise challenges such assumptions, arguing that acts of 'eating otherwise' feature as means to ways of 'being otherwise' in the literature of the twentieth century, focusing primarily on the works of Georges Bataille, Samuel Beckett, Paul Auster, and Margaret Atwood. This selection of authors provides a distinction between the two halves of the twentieth century, the first generally associated with the modernist movement - where acts of eating otherwise can be seen as implementations of the injunction to 'make it new' - and the second generally associated with the postmodernist movement, where acts of eating otherwise can be seen as attempts to shake off the modernist influence, attempts which paradoxically take the form of incorporation. The ontologico-alimentary investigations of this study thus provide a perspective through which the relationship between the modern and the postmodern can be theorised.

I am currently revising an article (accepted for publication in Literature and Theology) entitled 'A Politics of Auto-Cannibalism', which explores the tripartite association between eating, sacrifice, and politics in Margaret Atwood's work. I am also working on an article on the human-animal question (extending my research on the subject published in Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities) in relation to 'the turn to affect', reading this through Patrick Suskind's novel Perfume. In conjunction with revisions to turn my PhD thesis into a monograph, I am researching for a book-length study on detective fiction, springing from some ideas emerging from my doctoral thesis. This project is provisionally entitled The Death of the Detective from Poe to Auster, and will explore the detective genre in relation to the concept of potentiality and today's 'control societies'. 

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