Dr Juha Virtanen

Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Literature
+44 (0) 1227 826550
Dr Juha Virtanen


MA, PhD, Kent

Born in Espoo (Finland) and brought up in Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Juha has lived in the UK since 2004. He received his PhD from the University of Kent in 2013.  

Juha’s current research interests are primarily concerned with ecology, apocalypse and speculative fiction. Making use of a series of theoretical perspectives – including ecological thought, psychoanalysis, feminism, utopian theory, multi-species theory, Mad Studies, and more – Juha is interested in thinking through the multiple ways in which speculative writing can (or cannot) speak to the urgencies of climate catastrophe. This ongoing research focuses on topics such as the sensations of sinking and falling in ecological awareness; embodied carbon and the living dead; etymologies of linguistic failure; and everyday life after the end of the world. He is also interested in the ways in which writing can imagine different solidarities between human and other-than-human life.  

In addition, Juha’s research has a strong foundation in the field of modern and contemporary poetry, with a special focus on interdisciplinary studies of non-normative UK poetry from the 1970s to the present day. He is the author of Poetry and Performance During the British Poetry Revival 1960-1980: Event and Effect (Palgrave Macmillan 2017), which examined intersections of poetry and performance during the British Poetry Revival. His other research projects on contemporary poetry have focused on topics such as the role of collage and graffiti in Allen Fisher and Ulli Freer; the readership of modern poetry; the political implications of food and cooking in the work of Bill Griffiths; reading Eric Mottram through the archive; and hostile environments and Necropolitics in the works of Nat Raha and Jay Bernard.

Juha also has research expertise in comics studies, with a particular interest in popular American comics and their wider transmedia adaptation and circulation. Research projects around this area have, for instance, explored the possibility of radical politics in supervillains.

Juha’s creative practice intersects writing, visual art, and performance. His most recent poetry collection DOOM ENGINES was published by Veer Books in 2022. Some of Juha’s other work in this area can be found in Back Channel Apraxia (Contraband Books 2014), -LAND (Oystercatcher Press 2016). He has performed his work across the UK and abroad, and some of his writing has been translated into Dutch. 

Juha co-edits DATABLEED together with Dr Eleanor Perry. 

Research interests

In broad terms, Juha’s research interests include ecology, climate change, and the so-called end of the world; speculative fiction, including dystopias, science fiction, fantasy, and weird fiction; non-normative poetries from the UK and North America, especially from the 1970s to the present day; comics studies, especially superhero comics; contemporary popular culture, in its cinematic, televisual, and digital mediums; critical theories and methods, including post-structuralism, posthumanism, Marxism, feminism, queer theory, object-oriented ontology, critical race theory, and Mad Studies; and creative and creative-critical writing.


To date, Juha has supervised PhD projects on a diverse range of areas including contemporary fiction, post-war poetry, and comics studies. He would be keen to supervise doctoral and postdoctoral students with projects relating to any of his research interests, as described above. He also enjoys working as part of cross-disciplinary supervisory teams.  

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