School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

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Image of Ruth Maxey

Ruth Maxey

Associate Professor in 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 have just completed my second monograph, Understanding Bharati Mukherjee, for the University of South Carolina Press.

Selected Publications

  • MAXEY, R., 2012. South Asian Atlantic literature, 1970-2010 Edinburgh University Press.
  • MAXEY, R., 2012. "Beige outlaws": Hanif Kureishi, miscegenation and diasporic experience. In: SELL, J.P.A., ed., Metaphor and diaspora in contemporary writing Palgrave Macmillan. 80-98
  • MAXEY, R., 2008. "Representative" of British Asian fiction? the critical reception of Monica Ali’s Brick Lane. In: MURPHY, N. and SIM, W., eds., British Asian fiction: framing the contemporary Cambria Press. 217-236

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; and immigrant 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, and contemporary US literature more widely.

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; narratology; and the textual uses of hidden histories. I have also explored American and postcolonial life-writing.

Future Research

The main topics for my future research beyond my second book will be 21st-century US fiction and the history and development of American life-writing.

School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

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