University of Brighton, Research News 29 (Summer, 2012)

Dr John Wrighton, International Research Fellowship

Broadening the University of Brighton’s international reach and impact, Dr John Wrighton, Lecturer in English Literature (School of Humanities), is currently in Toronto, Canada, on secondment for a prestigious two-year International Research Fellowship at the Modern Literature and Culture (MLC) Research Centre, Ryerson University.

Click on image to open gallery. Photos by Matthew Rushworth.


ith a primary research focus on modernist and avant-garde American poetry, Dr Wrighton is collaborating with world-leading scholar, Tier One Canada Research Chair, Professor Irene Gammel. Their collaboration involves high profile dissemination: for the Modernist Studies Association annual conference at State University of New York, Buffalo, they co-organised a panel on ‘Technology and Modernity’, bringing together foremost scholars in the field; at the Canadian Association of American Studies annual conference to be held in Toronto in October, they will present a co-authored paper on ‘ecopoetics as spatial practice’. Synthesizing his studies in ecocriticism and ethical theory with Professor Gammel’s expertise in Dada poetry and art, Dr Wrighton and Professor Gammel are collaborating on co-authored articles, as well as an edited collection of essays for a project on ‘Ethics, Poetics, Modernity’.

In addition to his international collaboration, Dr Wrighton is advancing ongoing investigations into ethical theory, narratology, and experimental poetics. He has a chapter forthcoming entitled ‘Ethnopoetics and the Performativity of Place: Jerome Rothenberg and ‘That Dada Strain’’ in Placing Poetry (Rodopi, 2012) and two new articles near completion. The first, emergent from his work in literary ethics, charts the history and re- assesses the impact of the ‘turn to ethics’ in literary theory. The second advances a new theory of textual practice revealing the tension of language between discursivity and materiality, and engaging contemporary questions of literary affect. Following the success of his first book Ethics and Politics in Modern American Poetry (Routledge, 2010), these projects inform his plan for a second monograph on literary ethics and the modern American novel. With papers at the Charles Olson Centenary Conference (University of Kent, Canterbury) and a guest lecture at University of Edinburgh just prior to his secondment in 2011, Dr Wrighton is disseminating his work at important gatherings and prestigious institutions on both sides of the Atlantic. His guest lecture at Ryerson University in Toronto (also in 2011) formed part of a series of three lectures alongside American poet and feminist literary critic, Rachel Blau DuPlessis (Temple University), and distinguished Professor of Political Philosophy and Social Theory, Susan Buck-Morss (Cornell University).

In his development of an innovative research-led teaching practice, Dr Wrighton is pioneering new work in digital pedagogy. At the MLC Research Center he conceptualised a bespoke Interactive Research Innovation Zone to facilitate the use of a new digital archive. Through his international collaborations, leadership at the MLC (one of the foremost international Centers of research excellence in North America) and through his engagement with Ryerson University’s parallel social regeneration, professional, and applied mandate, Dr Wrighton is developing advanced knowledge in research innovation and the internationalisation of Higher Education, processes crucial both for the contemporary student experience and for the future of our scholarly community.

Dr Wrighton will be returning to the University of Brighton in February 2013.

Visit the Modern Literature and Culture (MLC) Research Centre website.