Eamonn Connor


Research title: Ocean Liners: Cultures of Promotion

Research Summary

This thesis explores forms of life writing and self-inscription relating to the experience of taking a leisure cruise during the interwar and post-war periods in Britain. Understanding the social and material processes that structured autobiographical practices like diary-keeping, amateur filmmaking, and letter writing illuminates the experiential realities of cruising during the “Golden Age” of ocean liners and allows us to consider how individuals and communities recognised themselves as participants and protagonists in British modernity. By reading the ocean liner as a spatial and social environment of modernity, this study situates the ‘cruise holiday’ within the broader cultural development of leisure within Britain from 1880-1960.

The cruise ship embodies the power of modernity to generate forms of outward spectacle so dazzling that it can blind observers to its ruinous interior. As both a technology of modernization and an environment of modernity, the cruise allows passengers to experience pleasure in mobility, to thrive on exploration, and to look forward to future developments in conditions of work and leisure. At the same time, these modern experiences are predicated on the continuation of an imperial maritime logic inherited from British colonialism. Examining forms of autobiography thus approaches the cruise as a symptomatic practice of modernity that exposes different, and often paradoxical, experiences of modernization as exploration and containment, novelty and tradition, freedom and discipline, leisure and exploitation.


Connor, Eamonn. ““If a Tree Falls”: Posthuman Testimony in C.D. Wright’s Casting Deep Shade.” a/b: Auto/Biography Studies, vol. 35, no. 1, 123-143, 2020.

Connor, Eamonn. “Diffractive Visions: Towards an Oceanic Trans-corporeality in Leviathan (2012).” The Cine-Files: A Scholarly Journal of Cinema Studies, Issue 14 (Spring 2019), edited by Mary Wiles & Tracy Cox-Stanton.


Lord Kelvin Adam Smith Scholarship 2019-2023

Travel Award, University of Glasgow (2021), £1,000

ICON Travel Award, Universiteit Utrecht (2018), £500


Connor, Eamonn. “Life Writing During the ‘Golden Age’ of Cruise Ships.” Paper presented at Narrated Lives, Remembered SelvesEmerging Research in Life Writing Studies, International Auto/Biography Association online conference, 2021.

Connor, Eamonn. “Leisure Aesthetics: Amateur Film and the Ocean Cruise.” Paper presented at New Work in Modernist Studies, online conference, 2020.

Connor, Eamonn. “Towards a Posthuman Account of Testimony.” Paper presented at IABA International Conference on Auto/Biography Studies, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain, 2019.

Connor, Eamonn. “Animal Testimony in the Work of Adel Abdessemed.” Paper presented at Universiteit Utrecht Graduate Conference, Universiteit Utrecht, Netherlands, 2019.

Connor, Eamonn. “Creative Assemblages and The Nonhuman Witness.” Paper presented at ASLE International Conference on Ecocriticism and Environmental Studies, University of London, England, 2018.

Connor, Eamonn. “‘Everything Will Be as It Is Now, Just a Little Different’: Scales of Extinction in Ben Lerner’s 10:04.” Paper presented at In the Name of … Conference on Animal Studies, Jagiellonian University, Poland, 2018.


  • Civil War to Civil Rights, Universiteit Utrecht, 2018-2019

Additional Information


Lord Kelvin Adam Smith Scholarship 2019-2023

Travel Award, University of Glasgow (2021), £1,000

ICON Travel Award, Universiteit Utrecht (2018), £500

Other Roles

  • Planetary Modernisms Network