School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

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Image of Ruth Maxey

Ruth Maxey

Associate Professor of Modern American Literature, Faculty of Arts



I graduated with a BA in English Language and Literature from Hertford College, Oxford in 1996 and then worked as a journalist and press officer in London before entering academia. I received my MPhil in American Literature from New Hall (now Murray Edwards College), Cambridge in 2003 and my PhD in British Asian and South Asian American Literature from University College London in 2008. I have taught at the University of Nottingham since 2006.

Expertise Summary

My research interests lie in contemporary American fiction, Asian North American cultural production, and life-writing.

Teaching Summary

I teach undergraduate (UG) courses on 20th-century American literature, contemporary US fiction, and North American regionalism. I also run a UG/postgraduate (PG) module on ethnic and new immigrant… read more

Research Summary

I published my second monograph, Understanding Bharati Mukherjee, with the University of South Carolina Press in 2019. It was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2021.

My collection India at 70: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, co-edited with Paul McGarr, was published by Routledge in 2019 and my edited book, 21st Century US Historical Fiction: Contemporary Responses to the Past (Palgrave), appeared in 2020.

I have edited and introduced a critical edition of The Collected Short Stories of Bharati Mukherjee, published by Temple University Press in 2023.

Selected Publications

I teach undergraduate (UG) courses on 20th-century American literature, contemporary US fiction, and North American regionalism. I also run a UG/postgraduate (PG) module on ethnic and new immigrant writing in the United States from 1890 to the present day. In the past I have delivered a UG/PG course on Asian American literature and I have contributed to the MA American Studies and the UG module English Literature in European and American contexts.

I have supervised numerous dissertations at BA, MA and PhD level. I would welcome applications from prospective MA and PhD candidates interested in researching recent and contemporary American literature; Asian North American writing and cultural production, especially South Asian American and/or Canadian works; life-writing; immigrant literature; and representations of disability in literature.

I find teaching very rewarding and valuable and it is central to my academic role at the University of Nottingham. My educational philosophy is humanistic. I draw on both student- and teacher-centred approaches, but with a greater emphasis on the former, striving to develop autonomous, active learning by making each student feel respected as a unique individual. In May 2016, I received a University of Nottingham Staff Oscar for Teaching - Best Feedback (Runner up). I have since been nominated for a Staff Oscar for Teaching - Most Inspiring (2018) and Teaching - Best All-Rounder (2019).

Past Research

My research has principally focused upon Asian American literature and film, British Asian writing and cinema, transatlantic cross-currents, postcolonial literature, and contemporary US fiction.

In this work I have considered conceptions of home and return, and travel and migration; whiteness, racial mixing, and mixed-race identity; food and eating in an immigrant context; narrative voice; intertextuality and literary legacies; and historical fiction as a genre. I have also explored American and postcolonial life-writing.

Future Research

The main topic for my future research will be disability memoirs in the United States.

School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

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