School of English

Current students 




Image of Sean Matthews

Sean Matthews

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Arts


Expertise Summary

Modern and contemporary literature and culture; transnational education.

Teaching Summary

In Spring 2018, Sean will convene and teach the MA module Q34525 'Literature in Britain Since 1950', and be part of the teams delivering Q32334 'Literature and Popular Culture' and Q32333 'Modern and… read more

Research Summary

Sean is currently researching the relationship between T.S. Eliot and D.H. Lawrence, the significance of Michael Frayn, and the 1990s.

Sean Matthews was educated at the Nottingham High School, UK, then read English at the University of Cambridge, where he also gained his PhD, which traced the emergence of Cultural Studies from English Studies in the 1950s and 1960s. He was a Visiting Lecturer at Kyushu University, Japan, between 1995 and 1998, then Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles, from 1998 to 2000. Returning to the UK, he worked at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth (2000-2002), and the University of East Anglia (2002-2005), before joining Nottingham as the Director of the D. H. Lawrence Research Centre.

In 2010, Sean was seconded to the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus as Head of School for the new School of Modern Languages and Cultures. He was elected a University of Nottingham Dearing Fellow for 2011/12, during which he established, with Professor Christine Ennew, the Knowledge Without Borders Network, a 'think-tank' for issues around the internationalization of Higher Education. He filled a number of roles at UNMC, including Chair of the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus Admissions, Recruitment and Marketing Committee, Project Leader for the University's migration to a 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 was subsequently Executive Director. In 2014 he was Executive Producer for UNMC's first major drama production, the acclaimed Mikado, and led on the design of the UNMC Performing Arts Strategic Plan.

Trained as a literary critic, specializing in modern and contemporary literature and theory, Sean's most recent research has been to reevaluate the relationship between Lawrence and T.S. Eliot. He was founding editor of the Continuum Contemporary Critical Perspectives series. In Malaysia, Sean has also been increasingly involved in projects related to postcolonialism and decolonization, often in relation to transnational education. In May 2017 he contributed a policy paper to the IDEAS (Institute for Democracy and Economic Ideas, Malaysia) project, 'Autonomy and Accountability in Higher Education'.

Sean directed the Universitas 21 'Global Citizenship' international conference at UNMC, in March 2014. He was the host and co-director (with Professor James Piscatori), of the UK's Arts and Humanities Research Council funded workshop, 'Conceptualizing the Umma', held in Kuala Lumpur, in December, 2014, and co-directed (with Claude Alvares) the 7th Multiversity Conference, 'Decolonization, Leadership and Knowledge Democracy in the 21st Century University', an event co-sponsored by the Malaysian Ministry of Education and the Malaysian Higher Education Leadership Academy (AKEPT), at the Nottingham Malaysia Campus.

Sean has had a long association with the British Council, dating from his time in Japan. He was three times Chair of the Oxford Conference on Language and Literature, a member of the Arts Advisory Board, and over the years has lectured and taught on modern and contemporary topics in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, France, Italy, Malaysia and Singapore. Most recently, he was invited to a special meeting at Harvard University for planning discussions relating to the Council's Arts and Humanities strategy.

Sean is currently on research leave until February 2018, based in Berlin.

In Spring 2018, Sean will convene and teach the MA module Q34525 'Literature in Britain Since 1950', and be part of the teams delivering Q32334 'Literature and Popular Culture' and Q32333 'Modern and Contemporary Literature'. Sean will also contribute to Q31314 'Studying Literature'.

Past Research

Sean was most recently part of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), Malaysia, project investigating Higher Education Governance, 'Autonomy and Accountability in Higher Education'. The team delivered a series of Policy Papers and recommendations to the Minister of Higher Education in May 2017. Sean was commended for his work demonstrating the importance of examples from Ghana and Mexico for better understanding and planning the development of Higher Education in middle-income and developing contexts.

During his period in Malaysia (2010-2017) and as a University of Nottingham Dearing Fellow, Sean was particularly involved in research into the internationalisation of Higher Education. As Head of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at the Malaysia Campus, his focus was also on the culture and history of Malaysia and South East Asia, part of his commitment to developing a teaching and research strategy committed to ensuring the relevance of the university's programmes to the local and regional context..

School of English

Trent Building
The University of Nottingham
University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5900
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 5924