School of English


My research has a number of distinct but interlinked strands. First, I write about antebellum American literature, particularly in relation to questions of how print and performance culture interact in this era. My first monograph, entitled The Drama of the American Short Story, 1800 – 1865, came out in October 2016 with University of Michigan Press. In the book I develop a new generic theory of the antebellum short story by utilising performance and ritual theory.
My second area of research developed out of a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship I held at The University of Nottingham and concerns how realist fiction explores the effect of emergent theories of culture upon radical, transnational conceptions of class solidarity. The planned monograph is entitled After Haymarket: Class and Culture in the American Gilded Age. 

I have recently been awarded an AHRC Early Career Grant with Dr. Sara Lyons in the Department for a project entitled "Literary Culture, Meritocracy and the Assessment of Intelligence, 1880 -1920". The project considers how the bildungsroman in late- nineteenth century and early twentieth century culture responded to increasingly fixed and immutable definitions of "intelligence" organised around IQ.

I am Faculty Deputy Director of American Studies and Admissions Tutor.

Since 2014 I have been a Charitable Trustee for the Open Library of Humanities.

Connected with my academic work on the history of intelligence and education is my position as Head of Research for The Kent Education Network: a cross-party campaign group "championing progressive, equal and excellent education in the county" by seeking the abolition of the 11+ test. 

Contact Information


Office: W3 N5 (Rutherford College)

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Collins, Michael James. 2016. The Drama Of The American Short Story, 1800-1865. University of Michigan Press. doi:10.3998/mpub.8783628.
Book section
Collins, Michael James. 2017. "Genre And Form In American Working Class Life Writing From Haymarket To The New Deal". In A History Of American Working Class Literature, Nicholas J. Coles and Lauter, Paul. London: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781316216439.
Collins, Michael James, and Danielle Barrios-O'Neill. 2018. "At Home With The Weird: Dark Eco-Discourse In Tanis And Welcome To Night Vale". Revenant: Critical And Creative Studies Of The Supernatural. Revenant.
Collins, MJ. 2016. "Pod People: Brave New Worlds Of Digital Audio Drama". Alluvium: 21St Century Writing, 21St Century Approaches.
Collins, M.J. 2016. "'Pure Feelings, Noble Aspirations And Generous Ideas' : The Martí–Dana Friendship And The Cuban War Of Independence". Radical Americas. UCL Press. doi:10.14324/111.444.ra.2016.v1.1.003.
Collins, Michael James. 2016. "The "illimitable Dominion" Of Charles Dickens: Transatlantic Print Culture And The Spring Of 1842". Open Library Of Humanities. Open Library of Humanities. doi:10.16995/olh.23.
Collins, Michael James, and Chris Pallant. 2013. "Introduction : Questioning E Pluribus Unum". Comparative American Studies. Maney Publishing. doi:10.1179/1477570013Z.00000000059.
Collins, Michael James. 2013. "Manacled To Identity: Cosmopolitanism, Class, And 'The Culture Concept' In Stephen Crane". Comparative American Studies. Maney Publishing. doi:10.1179/1477570013Z.00000000053.
Collins, Michael James. 2012. "'The Rule Of Men Entirely Great': Republicanism, Ritual, And Richelieu In Melville'S 'The Two Temples'". Comparative American Studies. Maney Publishing. doi:10.1179/1477570012Z.00000000021.
Collins, Michael James. 2012. ""The Master-Key Of Our Theme": Master Betty And The Politics Of Theatricality In Herman Melville's "The Fiddler"". Journal Of American Studies. Cambridge. doi:10.1017/S0021875812001259.
Collins, Michael James. 2008. "Republicanism And The Masonic Imagination In Edgar Allan Poe'S 'The Cask Of Amontillado'". Symbiosis.
Internet publication
Collins, Michael James. 2012. "On Literary Darwinsim". Web article.
Collins, Michael James. 2012. "The Short Story: A Print Culture Reading". Web article.
Collins, Michael James. 2010. "The Knickerbocker Atlantic: Ritual And Federalism In Washington Irving'S The Sketch Book Of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent". Article. U.s. Studies Online.
Collins, Michael James. 2007. "'Sloughing Off The Old Skin': Ideology, Folklore And The Invention Of Tradition In The Tales Of Washington Irving". Article. British Association for American Studies.
Total publications in KAR: 15 [See all in KAR]
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Research Interests

  • Nineteenth-century journalism
  • Nineteenth-century literature
  • Nineteenth-century print culture
  • Twentieth-century American literature
  • Aestheticism
  • African American literature
  • American modernism
  • American studies
  • Autobiographical writing
  • History of emotions
  • Intellectual history
  • Literature and anthropology
  • Literature and performance
  • Literature and science
  • Marxism
  • Periodicals
  • Political literature
  • The short story
  • Transatlantic cultural exchange
  • Transatlantic literature
  • Working-class literature
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Research supervision

I would be delighted to supervise any graduate work in the areas of nineteenth century print culture, the short story, theatre, American Studies, realism, and intellectual history. I am particularly interested in work that uses performance theory, new historicist,  transnationalism and affect studies methodologies.

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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: 06/09/2017