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Dr Caroline Edwards

  • Overview


    Office hours

    Mondays, 2-4pm and Wednesdays, 5-7pm for 2020-21.


    • PhD Critical Theory, University of Nottingham, 2010
    • BA (Hons) English Literature, University of Warwick, 2004
    • MA Critical Theory, University of Warwick, 2005

    Web profiles

    Administrative responsibilities

    • Director of the Centre for Contemporary Literature
    • Director of the MA Contemporary Literature and Culture

    Professional memberships

    • Modern Languages Association (MLA)

    • Utopian Studies Society (Europe)

    • Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present (ASAP)

    • British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies (BACLS)


  • Research


    Research interests

    • contemporary literary studies
    • utopian studies
    • science fiction studies
    • the philosophy of time
    • environmental humanities
    • Marxist aesthetics
    • petrocultures and the energy humanities
    • open access publishing

    Research overview

    Caroline's research focuses on the utopian imagination in contemporary literature, science fiction, apocalyptic narratives, and Western Marxism. She is author of Utopia and the Contemporary British Novel (Cambridge University Press, 2019), which examines temporal experience and utopian anticipation in contemporary texts by British writers including Hari Kunzru, Maggie Gee, David Mitchell, Ali Smith, Jim Crace, Joanna Kavenna, Grace McCleen, Jon McGregor and Claire Fuller. Her work on contemporary writers has also led to two co-edited books of essays: China Miéville: Critical Essays (Gylphi, 2015) and Maggie Gee: Critical Essays (Gylphi, 2015).

    Caroline is currently working on her second monograph, Hopeful Inhumanism: The Elemental Aesthetics of Ecocatastrophe, which examines strangely hopeful moments of inhuman collaboration within the elemental contexts of the lithic, the mycological, the arboreal, and the hydrological. Focusing on novels, films, TV series, artworks, and sculpture primarily produced since 2010, the book explores works such as N. K. Jemisin's "Broken Earth" trilogy, Jeff VanderMeer's weird fiction, Wangechi Mutu's multimedia artworks, J. G. Ballard's ecocatastrophe fictions, Jason de Caires Taylor's underwater sculptures, Lars von Trier's apocalyptic cinema, Tade Thompson's mycopunk, and Seana Gavin's fungal collages.

    Her other main project at the moment is editing The Cambridge Companion to British Utopian Literature and Culture, 1945-2020 (forthcoming in 2022).

    Caroline has written a number of journal articles for publications such as TelosModern Fiction StudiesTextual PracticeContemporary Literature, Science Fiction Studies, ASAP: Journal of the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present, the New Statesman and the Times Higher Education. Her book chapter contributions on science and utopian fiction and contemporary literature include chapters for The Cambridge Companion to British Fiction, 1980 to the Present (ed. Peter Boxall), The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction, 2nd edition (ed. Niall Harrison, Farah Mendlesohn and Edward James), Science Fiction: A Literary History (ed. Roger Luckhurst, for the British Library Press), The Routledge Companion to Twenty-First-Century Fiction (ed. Robert Eaglestone and Daniel O'Gorman) and the Palgrave Handbook of Utopian and Dystopian Literature (ed. Jennifer Wagner-Lawlor, Fátima Vieira and Peter Marks).

    For a full list of publications, please visit Caroline's CV.

    Caroline is on the editorial boards for the Palgrave Studies in Utopianism book series and Gylphi's SF Storyworlds: Critical Studies in Science Fiction book series. She is a member of the Modern Languages Association, the Utopian Studies Society, the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present (ASAP), the Contemporary Women’s Writing Association and the English Association. She is also a founding member of the British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies (BACLS) and acted as Secretary of the association from 2016-18.

    Research Centres and Institutes

    Research clusters and groups

  • Supervision and teaching

    Supervision and teaching


    Caroline is an experienced PhD supervisor, having worked with doctoral students on a number of projects investigating subjects such as contemporary experimental fiction, utopian literature, Marxist aesthetics, creative writing and science fiction, feminist science fiction, feminist cyberpunk, human-animal relations in the Anthropocene, and feminist dystopian narratives. To date, she has supervised 5 PhD students to completion and works regularly as an External Examiner for PhD viva voce examinations around the UK.

    Caroline welcomes PhD applications on the following topics: 21st-century literature, utopian and dystopian narratives, science fiction, literary and critical theory, Western Marxism and the philosophy of the Frankfurt School. [N.B. If you are interested in undertaking a PhD on contemporary literature, please ensure that you have thought about the gender balance of your case studies before making an application. Caroline is not interested in supervising projects that have not made every reasonable effort to include women authors and thinkers.]

    If you are considering applying for MPhil/PhD research in any of these areas, please get in touch with Caroline or the Admissions Tutor about your research plan before making an application.

    Current doctoral researchers


    Doctoral alumni



    Caroline runs the MA Contemporary Literature and Culture. She usually teaches the following modules:

    • Reading the Contemporary (MA Contemporary Literature & Culture core module)
    • Time for Revolution (MA optional module)
    • Key Concepts in Cultural and Critical Studies: Part 1 (MA Cultural & Critical Studies core module)
    • The Novel (BA English core module)
    • Writing London (BA English core module)
    • Critical Methods (BA English core module)

    Teaching modules

    • The Arts: Questioning the Contemporary World (ARAR009S3)
    • Reading the Contemporary (AREN095S7)
    • Science Fiction (AREN193S6)
    • Reading Time in the Twentieth Century (ENHU068S7)
  • Publications




    Book Section

    Conference Item

  • Business and community

    Business and community


    I am happy to receive enquiries from the media on the following topics:

    • science fiction
    • the utopian imagination
    • ecocatastrophe


      Caroline has been invited to participate in a number of media events, interviews and programmes, discussing contemporary literature in the 21st century, science fiction, and open access publishing. Here are a few of her recorded interviews and contributions:

      • BBC Radio 3 programme, "The Robots Are Us," broadcast on 10 January 2021 (available to listen to on BBC Sounds)
      • BBC Radio 3 "Free Thinking" programme on "Science Fiction and Ecological Thinking," broadcast on 15 April 2020 (available to listen to on the BBC website)
      • BBC Radio 3 / AHRC podcast on "Science Fiction," part of the "Arts & Ideas" series, published online on 18 March 2020 
      • BBC Radio 4 Documentary, “The Problem of Leisure,” part of the “Archive on 4” series, broadcast on 14 December 2019 (available to listen to here)
      • BBC Radio 4's World at One programme live broadcast (with Mark Mardell and John Lanchester), broadcast on 10 May 2019 
      • "Imagined Futures" short film made with the Museum of London in March 2018 (available to watch on YouTube)
      • Interview with Margaret Atwood, headline event at New Scientist Live festival at London's ExCeL Centre, October 2017 (available to watch on YouTube)
      • BBC Radio 4 "Woman's Hour" live broadcast (discussion about feminist Martian fiction), 7 March 2017 (available to listen to here)
      • BBC Radio 4 Documentary, "A New Red World," broadcast on 7 March 2017 (available to listen to here)
      • BBC Radio 3 "Free Thinking" live broadcast (discussion about the literary Weird), 29 November 2016 
      • BBC One Documentary, "Future Tense: The Story of H. G. Wells," broadcast on 16 September 2016 (available to watch on YouTube here)