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Dr Alison Easton

Formerly at Lancaster University

Alison Easton

Research Interests

Alison Easton was Senior Lecturer in English at Lancaster until taking early retirement in October 2005 to concentrate on research projects. She had also taught at the Universities of Aberdeen, Texas at Austin and Notre Dame. As well as her work in the Department of English, she was also much involved with the development of Lancaster's Centre for Women's Studies (now the Institute for Women's Studies ) where she was Co-Director 1991-94, and with the American Studies programme. She also had a long standing involvement in Lancaster's North American exchange programmes. She is now an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department (2005-2010).

Dr Easton specializes in nineteenth-century American literature and women's writing. She is the author of The Making of the Hawthorne Subject (1996), a study of developing notions of subjectivity in his works, and editor of the Penguin edition of Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories (1995) with an introductory essay on the relation of American history to Jewett's arguably utopian text.

She is also co-editor with Tess Cosslett and Penny Summerfield of Women, Power and Resistance: An Introduction to Women's Studies (1996), a textbook based on Lancaster's interdisciplinary first year course and containing 24 essays by women all of whom have been involved in feminist teaching and research at Lancaster. A teaching interest in fantasy led to the editorship of the Macmillan New Casebook on Angela Carter (2000).

While she is a member of the executive board for the Nathaniel Hawthorne Society and continues to work on Hawthorne (most recently, an essay on 'Hawthorne and the Question of Women' for The Cambridge Companion to Hawthorne (2004, and a paper in preparation on British Chartists' reading Hawthorne), her main research interest now concerns aspects of social class in nineteenth-century American literature, particularly in relation to gender and focusing especially on writing by women. She is a founding member of the UK Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers Research Group, and a member of the Advisory Board of the American Society for the Study of American Women Writers. In the past five years, she has written several essays on class/gender relations in nineteenth-century American texts (a comparison of Fanny Fern and Hawthorne, and two essays on Sarah Orne Jewett), and has now embarked on a full length study of class/gender relations in Jewett's work. She has contributed work on Jewett and the 'ordinarily sacred' to the three year Lancaster/Groningen exchange programme. She has also published on African-American and African-Caribbean women writers (most recently, 'Subject-in-Time: Slavery and African-American Women's Autobiographies', in Feminism and Autobiography, edited by Tess Cosslett, Celia Lury and Penny Summerfield, 2001), and has explored connections between her Scottish identity and the texts that she teaches and researches in Devolving Identities: Feminist Readings in Home and Belonging, edited by Lynne Pearce.

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