English and Literary Studies

From novels and poems, to plays, films and television, we study how meaning is made

Research in English and Literary Studies is concerned with the creative expression of the world in novels, poems, plays, films and television. We address the creative texts that societies produce and ask what they mean. From Shakespeare to Netflix and from critical theory to creative writing, we take imagination seriously. Whether it’s imagining social inequality and environmental change, or simply what it means to be in love, creative works provide our deepest frameworks for understanding our lived experience and the lives of others. Studying literature makes you literate in the widest sense.

This discipline covers the literatures of Britain, America, Australia and postcolonial societies, and popular culture and film. We look at the rich history of the Western literary tradition, including Shakespeare, Jane Austen, George Eliot and Virginia Woolf; writers who have done much to shape the way we live imaginatively in the world today. We also investigate the ways literature works in today's modern, digital and globalised landscapes.

Our courses

Project highlights

Through their research, staff members explore a number of genres, historical periods and thematic areas, and are widely published in international journals, monographs and edited volumes.

Some of our current projects include:

  • After: Coming of Age in an era of conflict
    Dr Ned Curthoys examines the way that coming of age narratives in children's literature and graphic novels can help readers understand what it means to experience war and injustice from a child's point of view.
  • Australian women’s writing
    Professor Tanya Dalziell continues her research on historical and contemporary women’s writing in Australia.
  • Children’s Literature and the Holocaust
    Dr Ned Curthoys’ work examines the way difficult topics are introduced to children through children’s writing.
  • Creative Approaches to Crisis
    Dr Catherine Noske considers the possibilities in settler Australian creative writing to both encompass and respond to the ongoing crises of colonialism and climate change.
  • The moment of the essay
    Dr Daniel Juckes studies the mechanisms of the personal essay, as well as its role in navigating the demands our culture places on us.
  • Regional Language Cinemas
    Dr Shalmalee Palekar examines postcolonial literatures and Indian cinemas, focusing on the major shifts that occur post-"liberalisation", in regional language cinemas, and in the twenty-first century.

Related centres and groups

Contact Discipline Chair Professor Tanya Dalziell