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Sean Matthews

Head of School (UNMC) Modern Languages and Cultures, Faculty of Arts

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Expertise Summary

BA MA PhD (Cambridge)

Areas of expertise - Twentieth century and contemporary literature and theory; cultural studies, internationalization and transnational higher education.

Sean Matthews has published widely on cultural theory and twentieth century literature, and has taught on these topics in Britain, Japan, the US, and, for the British Council, in Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. His anthology of critical theory, Theories: A Reader, edited with Aura Sibisan of the University of Brasov, Romania, was published in 2003, and included his introductory essays and apparatus. He has directed events, panels, lectures and seminars around issues in contemporary studies for the British Council ('Reading Worlds', The Oxford Conference 2004; 'Reading Reputations', the Oxford Conference 2005; and '2007, 'Writing Lives'); the CCUE Annual Conference ('Contemporary Classrooms', Oxford 2004); ESSE ('Chronotopes of the Contemporary', Zaragosa 2004); and the Learning and Teaching Support Network, LTSN ('Condition of the Subject', London 2003). He is a contributor to www.contemporarywriters.com, and reviews for a number of newspapers and journals. He directed the 2007 D.H. Lawrence International Conference, 'Return to Eastwood', and co-curated the exhibition 'Lawrence Among the Women' at the Weston Gallery. He is currently working on a study of Raymond Williams.

Teaching Summary

Sean teaches at all levels of the International Communications Studies programmes, specialising in cultural theory and intellectual history. Most recently, modules have included 'Introduction to… read more

Research Summary

Current projects include Raymond Williams for the Routledge Critical Thinkers Series; a short work, Reading the Contemporary: British Writing 1979-Present Day (Continuum); and a monograph for the… read more

Sean is the Director of Studies for the School of Modern Languages and Cultures. He has filled a number of roles on the campus, including Chair of the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus Admissions, Recruitment and Marketing Committee, Project Leader for the University's migration to (this!) new website, and membership of the Malaysia Campus Information Services Committee, and the Student Services Committee. In his role as Director of Summer School Programmes, he was responsible for the inaugural 2011 University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus Summer Schools, and continued as the Executive Director for 2012.

Sean was elected a University of Nottingham Dearing Fellow for 2011/12, during which he established, with Professor Christine Ennew, the Knowledge Without Borders Network.

Sean teaches at all levels of the International Communications Studies programmes, specialising in cultural theory and intellectual history. Most recently, modules have included 'Introduction to Cultural Studies', 'Studying Modern Literature', 'Cultural Politics' and, at Masters Level, 'Research Methods in Cultural Studies'. In the UK, he designed and delivered a final year module 'Class, Culture and Criticism in Postwar Britain' and taught widely in the English Studies programme, with a particular emphasis on twentieth and twenty-first century topics. He has also supervised a range of doctoral students in topics ranging from cultural theory and postcolonialism, through postwar and contemporary culture, and - in his previous incarnation as the Director of the D. H. Lawrence Research Centre at Nottingham, UK - the work of D. H. Lawrence and other modernist writers.

Current Research

Current projects include Raymond Williams for the Routledge Critical Thinkers Series; a short work, Reading the Contemporary: British Writing 1979-Present Day (Continuum); and a monograph for the Edinburgh University Press History of Twentieth Century Literature: The 1990s: The Major Phase? He is also series editor (with Bas Groes, Peter Childs and Jeannette Baxter) for the Continuum series on contemporary writers New Perspectives: volumes on Julian Barnes, Kazuo Ishiguro, J. G. Ballard and Ian McEwan have already been published, and further work on Salman Rushdie, Andrea Levy and Haruki Murakami is in progress.

Past Research

Most recently Sean has edited collection of essays about Kazuo Ishiguro (Continuum, 2010), an essay on the Chatterley Trial in Howard Booth's collection New D. H. Lawrence (MUP 2009), a critical history of the journal Scrutiny in the Oxford History of Modernist Magazines (OUP 2009), and a polemic about contemporary critical theory in the Continuum Handbook of Contemporary Literature (Continuum, 2009).

Earlier work includes pieces concerned with Richard Hoggart, including an article tracing the influence of D.H. Lawrence in Hoggart's work, 'The Uses of Lady Chatterley' (in the Journal of D.H. Lawrence Studies); and an interview with Hoggart himself (in Keywords: A Journal of Cultural Materialism). This writing relates to a period of research in intellectual history, concerned primarily with the emergence of Cultural Studies in the 1950s, which has also resulted in pieces on Raymond Williams ('Change and Theory in Raymond Williams's "Structure of Feeling"', in Pretexts, 'Other Possible Outcomes' in Key Words), and F.R. Leavis ('The Responsibilities of Dissent: Leavis After Scrutiny', in Literature and History). Sean has contributed a number of profiles for the British Council website, www.contemporarywriters.com, and long entries on 'Postmodernism', and 'Politics and Literature' for the Continuum Encyclopaedia of British Literature.

In recent years Sean chaired the British Council's flagship Oxford Conference on the Teaching of Literature (2004, 2005, 2007), and been a member of the Arts Advisory Board. He has also lectured for the Council in Japan, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland.

Future Research

Since arriving in Malaysia, Sean has been increasingly involved in the study of the South East Asian public sphere, with attention to Malaysian cultural politics. Necessarily, working at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, above all in a School of Modern Languages and Cultures, has intensified his concern for the politics of globalisation, particularly in its relation to education - the University of Nottingham Dearing Fellowship (2011/12) promises the opportunity to explore further these two emergent areas of interest.

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