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20142022

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Personal profile

Research Statement

Alison Garden is a Lecturer and UKRI Future Leaders Fellow. Alison was the first person in the UK from a Literary Studies background to hold a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship within a Literature department; she is also very proud to be the first (and currently only) FLF in the Humanities at Queen’s and in NI.

Previously, Alison was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow here at Queen's. Before coming to Queen's, Alison held an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow (2016-2018) and Leverhulme Trust Fellowship (2015-2016) at University College Dublin

Her first book, The Literary Afterlives of Roger Casement1899-2016, was published by Liverpool University Press in June 2020. She is currently working on her second monograph, Love Across the Divide: desire and colonial culture in Northern Ireland, 1970-present. She is co-editor of ‘Brian Moore in Context’ (Canadian Journal of Irish Studies 2023), 'Rethinking the 1980/81 Hunger Strikes' (Irish Review 2020) and ‘The Irish Atlantic’ (Symbiosis 2015). 

In 2019 Alison worked with BBC NI to put together a series of short programmes on four novels exploring the dangerous thrill of illicit love during the Northern Ireland Troubles. Produced with Jason Martin as part of the BBC’s ‘100 Novels that Shaped Our World’ project, these went live on the BBC website on 9th May 2020. You can access these here. She enjoys writing for diverse audiences and her criticism, essays, reviews and interviews have been published in TIME, Aeon, The TangerineAl JazeeraThe Irish Timesthe GuardianRTÉ and elsewhere. 

Alison is passionate about supporting Early Career Researchers (ECRs) and demystifying the postdoc experience, and you can find her guides to various postdoc schemes here. In July 2021, she hosted #ECRday2021, a day of online talks exploring academic opportunities after the PhD. You can catch up with the videos from the day here. Thanks to support from the Research Culture Seed fund and the Postdoctoral Development Centre, this ran again in May 2022: you can catch up with the videos from the day here. Alison is also a member of the Postdoctoral Development Centre Network. 

Alison is a firm believer in the effectiveness of structured writing retreats and was lucky enough to train as a writing retreat facilitator with Professor Rowena Murray. She currently runs a writing group for ECRs and structured writing retreats for Queen's University and Ulster University.

Research Focus

Alison is a literary critic and cultural historian, fascinated by how national narratives intersect with the intimate, everyday realities of people’s lives and the stories we tell about this. She has expertise on Irish literary, cultural and political history; 'the Troubles'; sexuality studies; girlhood; and has particular interests in the histories and cultures of love, romance and sexuality.

Alison's UKRI Future Leaders award is supporting her current research project, ‘Acts of Union: Mixed Marriage in Modern Ireland’. Alison is delighted to be working with a project team that includes the historian Dr Ruth Duffy and their Co-Investigator, Professor Diane Urquhart, Chair of Gender History here at Queen’s University Belfast. Alison is working with the arts and cultural sector to produce an interdisciplinary social and cultural history of mixed marriage, or love across the divide, in modern Ireland. The project will engage with multiple cultural institutions and organisations across the island, including the Belfast-based theatre company Kabosh, and the Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI), based in Dublin, to help bring her research findings to life.

Alongside this, Alison is writing her second monograph, Love Across the Divide: desire and colonial culture in Northern Ireland, 1970-present. This monograph will be the first study of the pervasive ‘Love Across the Divide’ phenomenon: narratives that feature a frustrated and dangerous romance between lovers from the North’s ostensibly antagonistic communities. Largely overlooked by scholars, this enormously and enduringly popular motif can be found across all literary and cultural forms, from novels, short fiction and poetry, to drama, TV and film. Exploring a range of both canonical and underexplored texts, from 1970 to the present, this cultural history asserts how vitally important, political and revealing such narratives are, as an essential component to making sense of the deeply intimate history of Anglo-Irish relations.

Teaching

Alison contributes to:

ENG1002: Introduction to Contemporary Fiction.

ENG1001: English in Transition.

ENG2081: Irish Literature.

She also runs the third year option course, ENG3187: Love Across the Divide: Northern Irish Literature and Culture 1968-Present.

With Professor Ramona Wray, Alison is delighted to be supervising Molly Quinn-Leitch's PhD on Shakespeare and Northern Ireland (funded by the Northern Bridge AHRC Doctoral Consortium). 

Alison is a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy. 

 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

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