I have research interests in literature and the histories of gender and sexuality, cultural and critical theory, the history and representation of violence and racism, and queer, lesbian and women’s writing. I am founding Director of Birkbeck Interdisciplinary Gender and Sexuality Studies (BiGS).
My main publications include a three-volume anthology of texts on Women and Cross-Dressing, 1800-1939 (Routledge, 2006), a monograph on sexology, literature and cross-cultural exchange at the fin de siècle entitled English Literary Sexology: Translations of Inversion 1860-1930 (Palgrave 2009), and an interdisciplinary collection of essays co-edited with the historian Matt Cook, Queer 1950s: Rethinking Sexuality in the Postwar Years (Palgrave 2012).
I am currently working on a book entitled Travels Through a World of Difference: Magnus Hirschfeld and the Queer Narratives of Modern Sex Research 1900-1950. Taking its cues from queer histories of damage and recent scholarship on trauma and violence, the book turns attention to the overlooked aspects of Hirschfeld’s work (he is best known today for his homosexual rights campaigns and transgender theories). It focuses on his writings on war, racism and homophobia and explores what Hirschfeld’s accounts of the experience of hatred can tell us about the lives of the women and men whose stories he tells. I also lead a related interdisciplinary collaborative project on Sexology and Translation: Scientific and Cultural Encounters in the Modern World, 1860-1930. Funded by the Wellcome Trust, it examines the international and transnational dimensions of modern sexuality debates and their cultural representation.
In addition, I have research interests in gender and new forms of writing. I recently contributed to a collection of essays on The Lesbian Premodern, which, reflecting on the divide between modern and premodern scholarship, problematizes the critical anachronism of the lesbian. My chapter ‘Graphic Lesbian Continuum’, which examines the work of Israeli graphic artist Ilana Zeffren and twenty-first century lesbian cultural production, is forthcoming in Graphic Details: The Book, ed. Michael Kaminer and Sarah Lightman (McFarland 2013).