Helen Charman headshot
College positions
College Teaching Officer
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I teach literature from 1830 to the present day. My research is broadly focused on the relationship between literary representation, social history—particularly history from below—and psychoanalysis. My first book, Mother State, coming out in 2024, combines a variety of interpretative modes to consider mothering as an explicitly political and public act in the period 1970 to the present. My current project, ‘Deep Down Below the Memory’, which is in its early stages, is concerned with the relationship between the form of psychoanalytic case studies and the representation of psychic fragmentation in anglophone fiction of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I’ve written recently about consciousness raising practices and the ‘talking cure’ in feminist fiction of the 1970s; Lydia Davis and child analysis; feminist publishing and the British welfare state, and Denise Riley’s republication histories. I have both an academic and a practical interest in experimental lyric poetry.

Before joining Clare, I was a Teaching Fellow in English Studies at Durham University for three years, and I have taught both English and Creative Writing at Glasgow University, Glasgow School of Art, York St John University, Anglia Ruskin University, and Camberwell College of Arts. I completed my BA and MPhil degrees at Emmanuel College and my PhD at Trinity Hall. Alongside academia, I work in more public contexts, often in collaboration with the visual arts: most recently, I’ve collaborated with the Wellcome Collection and with Dundee Contemporary Arts, and I held an editorial residency at MAP magazine, funded by Creative Scotland, from 2020-2021.