2 MLitt students awarded AHRC PhD studentships

Issued: Tue, 27 May 2014 10:27:00 BST

Two postgraduate students taking the MLitt in American Studies have secured AHRC awards for their PhD:

Rebecca Dunbar (American Studies PhD): From Betty Crocker to Mildred Pierce: The Representation of Female Success in Depression-era America

This interdisciplinary project examines women, work and business in 1920s and 1930s America using film, fiction, magazines, statistical data and autobiographical texts to assess the ways in which middle-class women experienced the Great Depression. The project is particularly concerned with female entrepreneurship as witnessed in the commercialisation of traditional female labour, in both fictional and real-life examples. From Marjorie Husted’s hugely successful ‘Betty Crocker’ baking brand to James M. Cain’s Mildred Pierce (1941), the cultural reaction and response to female success will be interrogated and situated within the broader context of mass media representations of women during this tumultuous era in American history.

Jamie Redgate (American Lit PhD in English Lit): Cognition, Consciousness, and Dualism in the Fiction of David Foster Wallace

Though Wallace is well known for his oft-quoted statement that "fiction's about what it is to be a human being", the major studies of his fiction hardly engage with cognition and consciousness - arguably the source of the human being - in his work. My aim is to enlarge and contribute to the burgeoning field of Wallace Studies by bringing it into greater dialogue with the emerging field of Cognitive Literary Criticism. I will set Wallace's fiction and nonfiction against a complex history of cognition, stemming from René Descartes and William James down to modern neuroscience.