School of English

Medical Humanities - MA


Medicine is one of the great human activities. The changes that medicine has undergone, and the problems and opportunities it raises, should be of interest to everyone.


In this MA programme, you are introduced to many questions asked about medicine from within the humanities. For example, you have the opportunity to examine the history of Western medicine and to consider how medical practice is presented in, and shaped by, literature and the arts. You have the chance to reflect on what is involved in classifying something as a disease or an abnormal mental state, and to explore various ethical and legal problems that arise within medicine. You also learn about the history of the medical humanities as a field and the debates that have surrounded its identity and role.

As an interdisciplinary programme, the MA is taught by scholars from many different disciplines across the University, including the Schools of EnglishArtsHistory and Law and the Departments of PhilosophyClassical & Archaeological StudiesComparative Literature and Religious Studies. You take four modules across the autumn and spring terms, including one core module and from a variety of optional modules, before undertaking a supervised 12,000-word dissertation over the summer.

The programme is aimed primarily at people with a humanities background, but we also welcome healthcare practitioners or those with medical backgrounds who are interested in the growing field of the medical humanities.

About the School of English

The School of English has a strong international reputation and global perspective, apparent both in the background of its staff and in the diversity of our teaching and research interests.

Our expertise ranges from the medieval to the postmodern, including British, American and Irish literature, postcolonial writing, 18th-century studies, Shakespeare, early modern literature and culture, Victorian studies, modern poetry, critical theory and cultural history. The international standing of the School ensures that we have a lively, confident research culture, sustained by a vibrant, ambitious intellectual community. We also count a number of distinguished creative writers among our staff, and we actively explore crossovers between critical and creative writing in all our areas of teaching and research.

The Research Excellence Framework 2014 has produced very strong results for the School of English at Kent. With 74% of our work graded as world-leading or internationally excellent, the School is ranked 10th out of 89 English departments in terms of Research Intensity (Times Higher Education). The School also received an outstanding assessment of the quality of its research environment and public impact work.

National ratings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of English was ranked 10th for research intensity and 15th for research power in the UK.

An impressive 100% of our research-active staff submitted to the REF and 95% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School's environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.


Course structure

You take two modules in the autumn term and two in the spring term. You are also expected to attend the Faculty and School Research Methods Programmes.

You then write the dissertation between the start of the Summer Term and the end of August.


The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

HI817 - Deformed, Deranged and Deviant (30 credits)

From those viewed as medical marvels in the nineteenth century to questions surrounding quality of life in the late twentieth century, the course explores the continuities and changes in the relationship between medical science and difference. Between the eighteenth and nineteenth century, and into the twentieth, the increasing influence of medical practitioners ensured that disability, deformity, disfigurement and mental illness were categorised through a medical perspective. Categories about the acceptability of physical and social norms were constructed from the eighteenth century, indeed, the term ‘normal’ was not commonly used in the English language until the 1840s. In the nineteenth century, the growth of capitalism and the concentration on industrialization, excluded those deemed different from the workplace and the community as they were not judged to be economically useful. In addition, philanthropic gestures which grew in the nineteenth century, saw people who were categorised as different, moved from mainstream society into institutions, which were often supported by the medical profession. Medical practitioners and the general public were fascinated by difference in body and mind, and often those considered different were observed, studied and experimented on. The influence of medical practice grew in the twentieth century and the course will explore this in relation to (amongst others) the two World Wars, the growth of special institutions and new types of therapy.

Overall, the course will investigate the ways that medicine has understood, categorised and treated those whose body or behaviour was considered different. It will also examine the body and mind as contested sites; spaces occupied by those considered different; the establishment of normality versus deviance; the changing conceptions of difference in this historical period and the shifting theories and methodologies of medical practice in relation to it.

Topics include:

The history of anatomy

Idiocy and feeblemindedness


The development of forensic science


Dying and the rituals of death

Agency, freakery and the politics of display

Homosexuality as deviance

Madness and mental health

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

Read more

HI866 - Science and Medicine in Context (30 credits)

There is no better way to understand how scientific knowledge is made and consumed today than to look at how this happened in the past. Our examples come from 400 years ago up to the present day, and highlight how changes in the media of knowledge have shaped our understanding of science – printing presses, public lectures, museums and TV. How have audience needs and interests changed during this time, and how has the medium affected the message?

Themes and Topics

• The printing press and the scientific revolution

• Cabinets of curiosity: the first museums?

• Science on display in the 18th century

• Science and the steam-driven press in the 19th century

• Science and film in the 20th century

• Science wars and the public understanding of science in the late 20th century

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

Read more

LW862 - Death and Dying (20 credits)

This module aims to explore how the law is involved in matters to do with death and dying. The curriculum includes an investigation of the dying process and how this impacts on definitions of death. The relationship of medical law and ethics to the criminal law in relation to physician assisted death will be explored and evaluated as it is manifested in various jurisdictions. The appropriate role for autonomy, rights and ethical considerations where making decisions over death is concerned will be related to existing mechanisms such as advance directives.

Topics covered

• legal definitions of death

• ethical, spiritual and medical frameworks underpinning understandings of death and the dying process

• the practical and ethical difficulties associated with death and the dying process

• the care and needs of the dying

• euthanasia and clinically assisted death and their implications

• overview of how different jurisdictions provide ethical and legal regulation of end of life decision making, and the impact this has on those concerned

• the role of living wills, advance directives and clinical judgement

• the role of patient autonomy in relation to death and dying

Credits: 20 credits (10 ECTS credits).

Read more

LW863 - Consent to Treatment (20 credits)

This module aims to explore the legal principles which underpin the need for consent to medical treatment.

Topics covered

• salient principles such as the respect for autonomy

• the entitlement to informed consent

• the criteria for competence and capacity

• the consequences of incapacity for minors and those adjudged to be incompetent

• the criminal and tortuous consequences of treatment without consent

• limitations on consent

Credits: 20 credits (10 ECTS credits).

Read more

LW866 - Medical Practice and Malpractice (20 credits)

This module seeks to provide the student with an understanding of the legal, ethical and practical issues involved in medical practice and malpractice. Those issues will be explored from the ground up and will provide all students a full opportunity, regardless of their knowledge of law, to get to grips with the fundamental principles of practical legal analysis from a fault-based perspective. In so doing, the legal and institutional contexts within which the many duties of medicine operate will be subjected to a detailed critical analysis.

Essentially, this module will link the multifarious medical legal theories to the realities of medical negligence and litigation; thereby affording the student a practitioner based insight into how modern medicine interacts within current legal practice.

Topics Covered

• the legal relationship between the practitioner, the patient and the NHS

• analysis of the legal and evidential burdens in medical negligence

• complaints and discipline procedures for healthcare professionals

• courts and tribunal processes in medical negligence litigation

• resource allocation constraints

• legal concepts of risk and recklessness in medical practice

• the role of money and litigation

Credits: 20 credits (10 ECTS credits).

Read more

LW867 - Reproduction and the Beginnings of Life (20 credits)

This module aims to explore legal and ethical issues in medicine relating to human reproduction and the beginning of life.

Topics covered

• the moral status of the embryo/foetus

• abortion

• the regulation of pregnancy, including liability for antenatal harm

• childbirth

• human fertilization and embryology, including embryo research, cloning, human admixed embryos (animal/human 'hybrids'), artificial gametes etc

• the 'designer baby' debates and selecting the characteristics of future children via pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (including sex selection, selecting for/against disability, saviour siblings).

• surrogacy

Credits: 20 credits (10 ECTS credits).

Read more

LW921 - Privacy and Data Protection Law (20 credits)

The module will explore emerging privacy and data protection issues, including Big Data, CTV surveillance, Internet and cyber surveillance, and cross-border information flows, legal structures and privacy protection measures. Students will be challenged to critically examine how personal, financial, health and transactional data are managed and who has access to this information. It will require students to assess emerging legal, regulatory, data protection and personal privacy issues raised by widespread access to personal information, including genetic data. The module will focus on the legal data protection, human rights, consent, confidentiality, and IT data security questions that arise when personal information is accessed by the state, law enforcement agencies, corporations and business, employers, health clinicians and researchers.

The essential aims and objectives of the module are to equip students to undertake a sustained analysis of privacy and data protection law. Students will be asked to critically examine whether privacy protection, consent and confidentiality measures are proportionate to the legal requirements to protect personal information while balancing the requirements of economic commerce, the state and public administrations to collect, use and share personal information.

Credits: 20 credits (10 ECTS credits).

Read more

PL806 - Special Topics II (30 credits)

This module may be ‘satisfied’ by a large number of mixed-level modules including, but not limited to: Greek Philosophy, Descartes-Kant, Hegel and Marx, Wittgenstein, Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Mathematics, Advanced Topics in Mind and Language, Philosophy of Cognitive Science and AI, Philosophy of Medicine, Philosophy of Law, Aesthetics, Social Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind, Normative Ethics, Metaethics, Philosophy of War, etc.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

Read more

CL821 - Ancient Greek Science: Astronomy and Medicine (30 credits)

Ancient Greek concepts of 'rational science' were vastly different from modern perceptions and discipline classifications. Its foundation was grounded in philosophical discussions that considered the nature of the cosmos and all that existed within it. This module demonstrates how the subjects were interlinked through a close analysis of the development of ancient astronomy and medicine, from the Geometric to the Hellenistic periods. It discusses literary, philosophical and archaeological material. The first half of the module will focus on astronomy. The second half of the module will concentrate on medicine and begin with a discussion of the pre-Socratic philosophers’ introduction of the theory of the four elements: earth, air, fire and water that were present within everything, including the stars and the body. From here students will examine how the theory of the four elements was transformed into the humoural system. Consideration will also be given to how the body and health were influenced by environment and astronomy discussed in the first half of the module.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

Read more

EN835 - Dickens, The Victorians and the Body (30 credits)

This module explores the Victorians' fascination with the body and its metaphors. Using the works of Dickens as its principal lens, the module will explore notions of disease, infection, health and illness in the national body, the social body and the biological body. Engaging with debates on laissez-faire economics, prostitution, nationalism, and anxieties concerning sexual and fiscal production, this module will explore how authors, thinkers and artists of the nineteenth century worked through ideas about the body in Victorian culture.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

Read more

Show more...

EN868 - Queer Enlightenments: Eighteenth-Century Narratives of Sex and Gender (30 credits)

This module explores the emergence of 'sexual normalcy' in the literature of the Enlightenment period in Britain by focusing on the phobic constitution of the sodomite in literary and legal texts. Beginning with accounts of late seventeenth-century sodomy trials and moving on to Edmund Burke's impassioned speech to the House of Commons (12th April 1780) on the fatal pillorying of two sodomites, this module critiques the ways in which authors and political commentators deployed the sodomite – both male and female – as a condensed symbol for a number of cultural and political transgressions. Participants will examine how anxieties about the sodomite informed the construction of heteronormativity in this period, while also considering the implications that this has for sexual and gender identities today.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

Read more

EN900 - Illness and Disability in American Culture (30 credits)

This module explores representations of illness and disability in American literature and culture from the nineteenth century to the present, with a particular focus on the cultural and political work of contemporary illness narratives.

The course follows a thematic rather than chronological framework and is divided into three sections. The first section has a more historical flavour and is concerned with the disabled and modified body in American culture. It starts with the history of the nineteenth-century freak show, and its consideration by disability scholars in week 1, turns to prosthetics in post-war and contemporary American culture in week 2, and concludes with a memoir focusing on disability activism during the American counterculture of the 60s and 70s in week 3. The second section, "Illness as many narratives", explores a range of illness narratives and representations of disabled bodies across media. It begins with a theoretical work, Sontag's study on illness as metaphor (week 3), and proceeds to investigate illness as metaphor and the politics of illness using as case studies cancer and AIDS narratives from the twentieth century, including a consideration of drama, photography and multimedia narrative experiments. In week 7, we turn to fiction and read DeLillo's novel White Noise alongside questions of statistical panic and fears of illness and death in postmodern American culture. Weeks 8 and 9 continue the exploration of illness in life writing (especially within the memoir as a genre) looking at the medicalisation of emotions (in particular during adolescence) and the emergence of "new" diseases such as Alzheimer's. These two weeks raise questions about the relationship of mental and cognitive illness to age. The final section of the module entitled "The Art of Medicine" turns to the depiction of doctors and their patients’ conditions in American fiction, memoir and poetry written by doctors, as well as in popular culture. Particular attention is given here, through the autobiographical accounts of a Cuban American doctor and a Navajo female surgeon, to the importance of adopting cross-cultural perspectives on health/illness, and within medical practice, and to the rise of medical humanities as an academic field. A brief lecture will introduce each of the sections to provide theoretical underpinning

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

Read more

EN912 - Affect in Contemporary American Literature (30 credits)

This course investigates what has come to be known as the affective turn in literary criticism. This turn, acting as a response to linguistic criticisms popularized during the moment of high postmodernism in the 1970s-1980s, seeks non-linguistic, or pre-linguistic ways of understanding the world. Under this new critical regime, feelings, mood, forces, and emotions become ways of tracking, describing, and engaging with the contemporary. In both the literature and the theory, students will be tasked with investigating representations of subjectivity in the present. The contemporary sees an enmeshing of theoretical and literary texts where both become crucial tools of critical inquiry. Thus, the literary texts in the module will reflect the theoretical concerns of the theoretical texts, and vice versa.

Students will examine a range of contemporary American fiction and poetry that investigate representations of feelings, emotions, and mood. In this way the module will focus on the place of humans within a larger ecological structure, and through working with the literary and theoretical texts students will ex-amine the construction of boundaries between humans and their surroundings. Some broad questions the module seeks to explore: What is the relationship between the individual, the public, and literature? What can the study of affect add to literary criticism? Finally, are there particular aesthetic techniques that capture something as ephemeral as a mood, or a feeling?

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

Read more

EN909 - Medical Humanities: An Introduction (30 credits)

Medicine is one of the great human activities. It has a rich and deep history, and it has both created challenges for humans and solved many of our problems. Various academic subjects – such as History, Literature, Philosophy, Law, Archaeology, Drama and Religious Studies – have interesting perspectives on Medicine. For example, through an appreciation of some of medicine's history one can see the tensions that may exist between the scientific spirit and the demands of a society. Similarly, the study of illness narratives and works of literature that explore illness reveals the tension between the lived experience of illness and clinical understandings of disease. Moreover, medical science creates interesting ethical and legal problems, both for society at large and for medical practitioners. In this team-taught module we will study various topics about medicine through the eyes of a number of academic disciplines. You will also come to appreciate the different styles of thought and investigation peculiar to individual disciplines. Topics that stem from the individual academic disciplines will be studied on their own terms in the sessions, although common threads will emerge. (e.g. 'The Humanities', 'Contribution to Medical Practice', 'Illness', 'The Medical Practitioner’, ‘Medicine and Society’, ’The Arts as Therapy’, ‘Perspectives on Mental Health’ etc).

An overarching theme and idea in this module, and the programme, is that a multidisciplinary approach through the Humanities is a highly illuminating way to appreciate medicine.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

Read more

EN998 - Dissertation:GPMS (60 credits)

Writing a Masters dissertation provides the opportunity for you to explore a topic of interest at greater length and in more depth than any academic assignment you will have undertaken to date. As such, it can be both an exciting and daunting experience. This module addresses what is involved in writing a dissertation and helps you to plan your research and prepare your dissertation proposal. It also provides a forum to share ideas with other students and to discuss any questions you might have about the process of researching and writing an extended piece of work.

Credits: 60 credits (30 ECTS credits).

Read more

Teaching and Assessment

Assessments vary across the modules. Typically the main assessment is a 5,000 word essay and a dissertation of 12,000 words.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

  • introduce you to a variety of ways in which medical science and practice can be examined within the humanities and social sciences, and to a range of questions and issues that it raises.  In doing so, part of the richness of medical science will be revealed, as well as its problems. The relevant disciplines include history, literature, philosophy and law
  • place the study of various materials (such as texts, images, data, legal judgments, etc) at the centre of student learning and analysis
  • expose you to a variety of methods, writing styles, researching styles, concepts (etc) that are used across a range of academic disciplines in relation to specific topics and questions in medical science and practice
  • expose you to some of the various possibilities and problems that medical science and practice has raised and continues to raise
  • develop your capacities to think critically about past and present events and experiences in relation to medicine
  • encourage you to relate the academic study of medical science and practice to questions of public debate and concern
  • promote a curriculum supported by scholarship, staff development and a research culture that promotes breadth and depth of intellectual enquiry and debate from different Humanities and related disciplines
  • assist you to develop cognitive and transferable skills relevant to their vocational and personal development.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You will gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • various medical roles, such as the doctor, the nurse, the patient, the medical scientist, the (medical test) subject, and how these are seen in connection with insights derived from one or more of the various Humanities disciplines
  • various medical concepts, such as disease, illness, treatment, medical trial, health, and how these are seen in connection with insights derived from one or more of the various Humanities disciplines.
  • various moral and legal problems that medical science has raised, and how various societies, codes and laws have been developed to solve and cope with them
  • the history of medicine in different eras, centred on Western medicine but incorporating other traditions also
  • the way in which presentations of medical practice and practitioners in fiction has altered, and the effects on medical practice itself
  • the ways in which different Humanities and related disciplines approach the study of medicine
  • how different people and groups may be biased, for good or ill, when commenting on and presenting aspects of medical practice, and how this affects our understanding of medicine.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual skills in:

  • the ability to gather, organise and deploy various data from relevant primary and secondary sources
  • the ability to develop reasoned defensible arguments based on reflection, study and critical judgement
  • the ability to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship, and to evaluate methodologies
  • the ability to propose new arguments and hypotheses
  • the ability to reflect on, and manage, their learning and seek to make use of constructive feedback from peers and staff to enhance their performance and personal skills
  • the ability to understand and articulate the similarities and differences between the different disciplines' approach to medical science and practice.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in:

  • an understanding of the social, economic, and cultural history of medicine and relating those to the political and ethical issues of the modern period and their significance within a global perspective
  • a comprehensive understanding of the ways in which philosophers form and argue about problems in relation to medicine
  • a comprehensive understanding of how the law works in relation to medicine and the challenges that the one brings to the other
  • an understanding of fictional and other depictions of medical practice and practitioners
  • evaluate different interpretations, sources and argumentative positions
  • application of methods, concepts and theories used by one or more of the relevant disciplines.

Transferable skills

You will gain the following transferable skills:

  • communication: the ability to organise information clearly, respond to various sources and arguments, present information and arguments orally and in writing, adapt your style for different audiences and disciplines, use images as a communications tool
  • numeracy: the ability to read graphs and tables, integrate numerical and non-numerical information, understand the limits and potentialities of arguments based on quantitative information
  • information technology: produce written documents, undertake online research, communicate using email, process information using databases and spreadsheets where necessary
  • independence of mind and initiative
  • self-discipline and self-motivation
  • the ability to work with others and have respect for others' reasoned views.

Study support

Postgraduate resources

The MA in Medical Humanities is administered by the School of English, with additional teaching from other Schools and Departments at Kent. This means that students enrolled on the MA in Medical Humanities can draw on the excellent resources of a diverse team of teachers with expertise in many key areas of the University.

The Templeman Library is well stocked with excellent research resources, as are Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library. There are a number of special collections: the John Crow Collection of Elizabethan and other early printed texts; the Reading/Raynor Collection of theatre history (over 7,000 texts or manuscripts); ECCO (Eighteenth-Century Collections Online); the Melville manuscripts relating to popular culture in the 19th and early 20th centuries; the Pettingell Collection (over 7,500 items) of 19th-century drama; the Eliot Collection; children's literature; and popular literature. A gift from Mrs Valerie Eliot has increased the Library's already extensive holdings in modern poetry. The British Library in London is also within easy reach. Kent has extensive facilities to support research, and the Templeman Library has excellent holdings in all of our areas of research interest. Special Collections has recently acquired a unique collection of contemporary artists' books on wellbeing and medicine.

Besides the Templeman Library, School resources include photocopying, fax and telephone access, support for attending and organising conferences, and a dedicated postgraduate study space equipped with computer terminals and a printer.

Conferences and seminars

Our research centres organise many international conferences, symposia and workshops. The School also plays a pivotal role in the Kent Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, of which all graduates are associate members. The Institute hosts interdisciplinary conferences, colloquia, and other events, and establishes international links for all Kent graduates through its network with other advanced institutes worldwide.

School of English postgraduate students are encouraged to organise and participate in a conference which takes place in the summer term. This provides students with the invaluable experience of presenting their work to their peers.

The School runs several series of seminars, lectures and readings throughout the academic year. Our weekly research seminars are organised collaboratively by staff and graduates in the School. Speakers range from our own postgraduate students, to members of staff, to distinguished lecturers who are at the forefront of contemporary research nationally and internationally.

The Centre for Creative Writing hosts a very popular and successful weekly reading series; guests have included poets Katherine Pierpoint, Tony Lopez, Christopher Reid and George Szirtes, and novelists Abdulrazak Gurnah, Ali Smith, Marina Warner and Will Self.

The University of Kent is now in partnership with the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA). Benefits from this affiliation include free membership for incoming students; embedded seminar opportunities at the ICA and a small number of internships for our students. The School of English also runs an interdisciplinary MA programme in the Contemporary which offers students an internship at the Institute of Contemporary Arts.

Dynamic publishing culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. They also edit several periodicals including: Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities; The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature: 600-1500; The Dickensian; Literature Compass; Oxford Literary Review; Theatre Notebook and Wasafiri.

Global Skills Award

All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.  


Many career paths can benefit from the writing and analytical skills that you develop as a postgraduate student in the School of English. Our students have gone on to work in academia, journalism, broadcasting and media, publishing, writing and teaching; as well as more general areas such as banking, marketing analysis and project management.

Entry requirements

A first or upper-second class honours degree in a relevant subject (or equivalent).

General entry requirements

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, and professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications. 

International students

Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country. 

English language entry requirements

The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Need help with English?

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

Research areas

The School has a Medical Humanities Research Cluster that fosters interdisciplinary research and teaching. The main research interests of the School of English staff in this area are in illness narrative, literature and public health, phenomenology of health and illness, creative practice, embodiment and disability, the history of blindness, affect and the body, the study of intelligence in literature and conceptions of death and dying. See the School of English website for individual staff profiles and publications.

To find out about the research of other members of staff across the university who contribute to this programme, click here.

Staff research interests

Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.

Dr Stella Bolaki: Senior Lecturer in American Literature

Multi-ethnic American literature (especially with a focus on migration/diaspora and transnational approaches); the Bildungsroman; gender theory; life writing and illness/disability; medical humanities. 


Dr Michael Collins: Senior Lecturer in American Literature

Nineteenth-century print culture, theatre, American studies and New York intellectual history; performance theory; new historicist and/or transnational methodologies.


Dr Vybarr Cregan-Reid: Reader in English and Environmental Humanities

Nineteenth-century literature and culture, especially representations of nature and the environment, time, history, queer theory; sublimity; ecology and psychogeography.


Patricia Debney: Reader in Creative Writing

Creative writing (prose poetry, short fiction); auto/biography; translation and adaptation; collaborative/interdisciplinary work; feminist theory; psychoanalytic theory.


Dr Declan Kavanagh: Lecturer in 18th-Century Literature

Eighteenth-century poetry; satire; political writing; masculinity; Irish literature; queer theory; gay, lesbian and transgender writing and culture; phobia in literature; disability studies.


Dr Sara Lyons: Senior Lecturer in Victorian Literature

Nineteenth-century literature and culture; Victorian poetry and critical prose; fin-de-siècle aestheticism and decadence; the interrelations between literature, religion, secularism in the long nineteenth century.


Dr Ariane Mildenberg: Senior Lecturer in Modernism

Modernist poetry; Wallace Stevens; Gertrude Stein; Virginia Woolf; the kinship of method and concern between phenomenology and modernist literature and art; the interaction of contemporary philosophy with theology; the relationship between modernism and postcolonial writing; translation of Scandinavian poetry.


Dr Katja Haustein: Lecturer in Comparative Literature

French and German autobiographical writing; visual culture; memory and identity; literature and the emotions; women and gender; art and medicine.


Dr Patricia Novillo-Corvalan: Senior Lecturer in Comparative Literature

Modernism, 20th-century Hispanic and Latin American literature; Borges, Cortázar, Joyce; reception studies; medical humanities.


Dr Anna Katharina Schaffner: Reader in Comparative Literature

Modernist literature, the history of sexuality, the European avant-garde, the history of medicine and psychoanalysis.


Dr Larry Duffy: Lecturer

Nineteenth-century French literature, thought and culture; Flaubert, Zola; Houellebecq; realism, naturalism and documentary literature; the body.


Dr David Corfield: Senior Lecturer in Philosophy

Philosophy of mathematics; philosophy of science; philosophy of psychology.


Professor Jeremy Carrette: Professor of Religion and Culture

Michel Foucault; William James; critical psychology and religion; globalisation, social theory and religion; politics of spirituality; capitalism and religion; theology and economics; Christian ethics; gender, sexuality and theology. 


Dr Julie Anderson: Reader in the History of Modern Medicine

The cultural and social history of 20th-century medicine in Britain and the Commonwealth, particularly with regard to war and medicine, surgery and disability.


Dr Charlotte Sleigh: Reader in the History of Science

History and culture of the life sciences in the 19th and 20th centuries; history of natural history; literature; gender.


Professor Nicola Shaughnessy: Professor

Contemporary performance, live and participatory art, cognition, creativity, auto/biography, autism, gender, neurodiversity, well-being.


Dr Melissa Trimingham: Senior Lecturer

The modernist period, Bauhaus and Oskar Schlemmer; puppet and object theatre; communication on the autistic spectrum using puppetry; the relationship between robotics and puppetry.


Dr Ruth Cain: Senior Lecturer

Regulation and representation of reproduction and parenting, especially maternity, tracking relationships between law, literature, popular culture and the media, and how these shape perceptions of gender, sexuality and embodiment, health care law, including mental health law; the gendering of capitalism, neo-imperialism and post 9/11 trauma.


Professor Robin Mackenzie: Professor

Bioscience and law; body modification; constructions of addiction; death and the dying process; enhancement; feminist perspectives; genetics and other new technologies; neuroethics and law; neuroscience; propertisation and biovalue; psychoactive substances; public health governance; reprogenetics; strategic rhetoric in regulation; surrogacy; critical and cultural theory applied to all of the above.


Professor Sally Sheldon: Professor

Medical ethics and law, particularly with reference to reproductive issues; legal regulation of gender and sexuality; fatherhood.


Enquire or order a prospectus



Admissions enquiries

T: +44 (0)1227 827272

Subject enquiries

School of English:

School websites

Open days

We hold regular Open Events at our Canterbury and Medway campuses. You will be able to talk to specialist academics and admissions staff, find out about our competitive fees, discuss funding opportunities and tour the campuses.

You can also discuss the programmes we run at our specialist centres in Brussels, Athens, Rome and Paris at the Canterbury Open Events. If you can't attend but would like to find out more you can come for an informal visit, contact our information team or find out more on our website.  

Please check which of our locations offers the courses you are interested in before choosing which event to attend.

The University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in its publicity materials is fair and accurate and to provide educational services as described. However, the courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Full details of our terms and conditions can be found at:

*Where fees are regulated (such as by the Department for Education or Research Council UK) permitted increases are normally inflationary and the University therefore reserves the right to increase tuition fees by inflation (RPI excluding mortgage interest payments) as permitted by law or Government policy in the second and subsequent years of your course. If we intend to exercise this right to increase tuition fees, we will let you know by the end of June in the academic year before the one in which we intend to exercise that right.

If, in the future, the increases to regulated fees permitted by law or Government policy exceed the rate of inflation, we reserve the right to increase fees to the maximum permitted level. If we intend to exercise this extended right to increase tuition fees, we will let you know by the end of June in the academic year before the one in which we intend to exercise that right.


School of English, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NX

The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 823054

Last Updated: 06/04/2017