Dr. Mark P. Williams
Mark P. Williams teaches contemporary literature and cultural studies; his main research interests are in the fantastic and speculative literature, and their relationships with the political in terms of both the cultural politics of form and as ways of framing or narrating political positions. He is particularly interested in the intersections of experimental literatures with fantasy and science fiction. His research draws upon a variety of formulations of alterity and the fantastic, including urban fantasy, the Gothic, Surrealism, the weird and New Weird, and superhero comic books, as well as exploring their cultural interactions with contemporary avant-gardist fictions.
PhD in English Literature
2011 School of Literature and Creative Writing, University of East Anglia
MA in English Literature: Contemporary Literature and Culture
2005 Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick
BA English Literature
2003 Department of English, University of Hull
Mark Williams is originally from the midlands in the UK. He studied English Literature at the University of Hull, contemporary literature and culture at the University of Warwick, and received his doctorate from the University of East Anglia.
Mark was resident in Aotearoa New Zealand from 2011 to 2013 where he worked as a parliamentary reporter, web editor and book reviewer for Scoop Media, and as a Tutor at Victoria University of Wellington. Returning to the UK in 2013, he taught again at the University of East Anglia before relocating to Germany to take up a three year teaching position at Johannes Gutenberg University.
He has taken up a postdoctoral position with the University of Duisburg-Essen.
Areas of Teaching and Research
Mark Williams has taught British literary and cultural studies from a wide range of periods from the early medieval to the contemporary, and has also taught on New Zealand cultural studies. He specialises in contemporary literature and culture, and genre, and while focusing mainly on Fantasy, Science Fiction and Superhero narratives, has strong interests in the Gothic, in nineteenth century fictions, and in post-war British fiction in general.
Recently, he has developed courses on post-1970s British culture from a cross-genre perspective, including 'Britain's Long 1990s' and 'The Noughties'. By examining intersections of the Art world, theatre, graphic narratives, science fiction and fantasy forms, and both crime thriller and Romantic Comedy cinema, these courses explore ways historical class, race, and gender conflicts in Britain have been expressed and/or are left unsolved or unaddressed in various spheres of British culture; these courses are synthesised into a larger survey on 'Britain from the 1980s to the Present'. With the “Brexit” vote this teaching acquired a renewed urgency and focus on attending to the traces of neglect and inequality in cultural texts, particularly in the disparity between London as cultural urban centre and the North and other regions as non-centric spaces.
‘Britain from the 1980s to the Present’, SoSe 2018
‘“Treaty Partners and Tangata Whenua”: Culture and Politics in Aotearoa New Zealand’, SoSe 2018
‘Genre: From Gothic to Science Fiction and Beyond’, SoSe 2018
‘“Be Realistic, Demand the Impossible”: Realism & Anti-Realism From 19th to 21st Century Fictions’, WiSe 2017-18
Mark P. Williams is working on alternative and speculative fiction examining the representation of politics and inequality in postmodernity within counter-realist, fantastic, and science fictional narratives, particularly urban orientated forms such as urban fantasy, dystopian fiction, the New Weird, and superhero comics.
Genre and form as transnational traditions are long standing research interests; his Bachelor dissertation was a critical comparison of Count Dracula and Hannibal Lecter, his Master dissertation was on H.P. Lovecraft and Lovecraftian fiction, and his PhD thesis was titled ‘Radical Fantasy: A Study of Left Radical Politics in the Fantasy Writing of Michael Moorcock, Angela Carter, Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, and China Miéville’.
His general areas of research interest are:
Literature and politics
Genre and Form
Science Fiction and Fantasy
Contemporary British Fiction
Graphic Novels and Comics
Areas of special interest include:
The Weird and the New Weird
Race, Class and Gender in SF and Fantasy
Post-1960s Science Fiction
Politics in and of Superhero comics narratives
The “British Invasion” of American comic books
Intersections of SF-Fantasy and avant-garde writing
Experimental writing and political critique
1980s and ‘90s countercultural genre fiction
Mark Williams is a contributor to Foundation International Review of Science Fiction, Alluvium journal of 21st century literature, The Literary London Journal, The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies, and Critical Engagements: Journal of the UK Network for Modern Fiction Studies (UKNMFS), and a member of the UK Contemporary and Modern Fiction Network.
Contributions to anthologies:
• Gothic Science Fiction 1980-2010 (Liverpool University Press, 2011);
• Reading Marechera (James Currey, 2013);
• The 1970s: A Decade of Contemporary British Fiction (Bloomsbury, 2014);
• The 1990s: A Decade of Contemporary British Fiction (Bloomsbury, 2015)
• The Joker: A Serious Study of the Clown Prince of Crime (University Press of Mississippi, 2015)
• China Miéville: Critical Essays (Glyphi, 2015)
• London in Contemporary British Fiction: The City Beyond the City (Bloomsbury, 2016)
Edited Special Editions of Journals
Alluvium: 21st century writing | 21st century approaches, “Contemporary Speculative Fiction,” Alluvium, Vol. 6, No. 1 (2017): n. pag. Web. 15 March 2017
Co-edited with Huntley, Jacob, Foundation: International Review of Science Fiction vol. 45.3 #125. (General Editor Paul March-Russell) Print.
Peer Reviewed Journal Articles
'Underground Assemblages: Savoy Dreams and The Starry Wisdom' Foundation: International Review of Science Fiction vol 45.1 #123 Ed. Paul March-Russell. Peer reviewed.
'Report on Wave-form NW50: Conference Report from "The Science Fiction 'New Wave' At Fifty"' Foundation: International Review of Science Fiction ed. Paul March-Russell. Peer reviewed.
‘The Weird of Globalisation: Esemplastic Power in the Short Fiction of China Miéville’ The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies, ed. Bernice Murphy and Elizabeth McCarthy (June, 2010): n.pag. Web. Peer reviewed.
‘In Defence of Literature: The Counter-Cultural Critique of Steven Wells’ “Attack! Books”’ Critical Engagements 2.2: Journal of the UK Network for Modern Fiction Studies, ed. Philip Tew (2009). Peer reviewed.
‘Making Sense Squared: Iteration and Synthesis and Grant Morrison’s Joker’ The Joker Book: Critical Essays on the Clown Prince of Crime, eds Robert Moses Peasley and Robert G. Weiner (University Press of Mississippi, 2015)
'Experimental Enunciations in 1990s British Fiction' The 1990s: A Decade of Contemporary Fiction, ed. Nick Hubble, Leigh Wilson and Philip Tew, UK Network for Modern Fiction Studies (Bloomsbury, 2015)
‘The Un-, Ab- and Alter-Londons of China Miéville: Imaginary Spaces for Concrete Subjects’ London in Contemporary British Fiction: The City Beyond the City, ed. Nick Hubble, Brunel Centre for Contemporary Writing (Bloomsbury, 2015)
'Ab-Natural Resources: The Immaterial in the Material from Embassy Town to London to New Crobuzon' China Miéville: Critical Essays ed. Caroline Edwards (Forthcoming 2014)
‘Selective Traditions: Refreshing the Literary History of the Seventies’ The 1970s: A Decade of Contemporary Fiction, ed. Nick Hubble, UK Network for Modern Fiction Studies (Bloomsbury, 2014)
'The Avant-Garde Power of Black Sunlight: Radical Recontextualisations of Dambudzo Marechera from Darius James to China Miéville' Reading Marechera, ed. Grant Hamilton (James Currey Publishing, Jan 2013)
‘The Superheated, Superdense Prose of David Conway: Gender and Subjectivity Beyond The Starry Wisdom’ Gothic Science Fiction 1980-2010, eds Sara-Patricia Wasson and Emily Alder (Liverpool University Press, Oct 2011)
'All-purpose Human Being: An Interview with Michael Moorcock' Huntley, Jacob, and Williams, Mark P. (Guest Eds), Foundation: International Review of Science Fiction vol 45.3 #125. (General Editor Paul March-Russell) Print.
‘To Write for the Space Age: Michael Moorcock on William S. Burroughs’ Interview for RealityStudio.org, ed. Keith Seward (Nov, 2008): n.pag. Web.
Selected Book Reviews
Review of The Islands by Carlos Gamerro Scoop Review of Books (Jan, 2013) ed. Jeremy Rose
Review of English Language As Hydra: Its Impacts on Non-English Language Cultures ed. Vaughan Rapatahana and Pauline Bunce Scoop Review of Books (Sept, 2012) ed. Jeremy Rose
Review of Victory at Point 209/Ngarimu: Te Tohu Toa Scoop Review of Books (Jul, 2012) ed. Jeremy Rose <http://books.scoop.co.nz/2012/07/23/telling-war-stories/>
Selected Other Literature Articles
‘Worlds At a Distance: In Literature, do the avant-garde and the whimsical serve the same function?’ Werewolf, Issue #28 (February, 2012) ed. Gordon Campbell <http://werewolf.co.nz/2012/02/worlds-at-a-distance/>
‘Imagining War: The Ethical and Stylistic Issues in Using Real-Life War Zones as a Basis for Contemporary Fiction’ Werewolf, Issue #26 (September, 2011) ed. Gordon Campbell <http://werewolf.co.nz/2011/09/imagining-war/>
‘Manifestos for the Present: Grasping the “Contemporary” in Contemporary Fiction’ Werewolf, Issue #24 (June, 2011) ed. Gordon Campbell <http://werewolf.co.nz/2011/06/cartoon-alley-manifestos-for-the-present/>
‘Superhero Narratives and Social Values: The Role of Globalisation and the Avant-garde in Grant Morrison’s Conception of Batman’ Werewolf, Issue #23 (May, 2011) ed. Gordon Campbell
Access All Areas: On the Launch of the Open Library of Humanities Wed 3 Apr, 2013
All Aboard? Sustainability Debate on the New Rainbow Warrior Tue 19 Feb, 2013
Waitangi—What Makes a National Day? Tue 7 Feb, 2012 <http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1202/S00032/mark-p-williams-waitangi-what-makes-a-national-day.htm>
'The Science Fiction "New Wave" At Fifty' A critical re-evaluation of the impact and legacy of the SF "New Wave" on the fiftieth anniversary of Michael Moorcock's tenure as editor of New Worlds SF magazine. Organised with Dr Jacob Huntley (UEA) and Dr Matthew Taunton (UEA) May 2014, University of East Anglia
‘The New World Entropy: A Conference on Michael Moorcock’ A conference dedicated to the prolific Fantasy, SF and Literary fiction of Michael Moorcock. Organised with Martyn Colebrook (Hull) July 2008, Liverpool John Moores University