Dr Andrew Webb

Dr Andrew Webb
Name
Dr Andrew Webb
Position
Senior Lecturer in Modern English Literature
Email
a.webb@bangor.ac.uk
Phone
01248 388624
Location
Room 308, New Arts

I am a Senior Lecturer in Modern English Literature, Deputy Dean and Director of Teaching and Learning for the College of Arts and Humanities, and member of the Centre for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (with University-wide responsibility for module evaluations). I joined Bangor University in January 2012, having previously held teaching fellowships at Swansea and Birmingham Universities. I was an Early Career Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study at Warwick University in 2010, where I finished my PhD in the same year.

Teaching and Supervision

I teach a broad range of modern English literature from the nineteenth century to contemporary times. At undergraduate level, I convene ‘Studying Literature’, an introductory first-year module (100+ students), as well as a second-year module ‘Literature and Modernity’, which considers British and Irish texts from the first half of the twentieth century. I also teach on ‘Contemporary Literatures’, another second-year module, and offer two third-year options: ‘Going Global’, which looks at world literature, and ‘Modern Four-Nations Literature’, which takes a comparative approach to texts from the range of nations and regions – Northern England, North and South Wales, London, Ireland, Scotland – within these islands.

At postgraduate level, I co-convene the MA in Literatures of Wales, a pioneering Master’s programme, co-taught with the School of Welsh, in which Welsh writing in English is studied alongside Welsh-language literature. I also co-ordinate the M.Arts programme and lead the MA English Literature pathway in Four-Nations Literature, co-convening ‘Revolution and Modernity’ and ‘Welsh Literature in English’, and contributing to the literary theory module. I am currently supervising 3 PhD students working on modernist and Anglophone Welsh writing. I was awarded New Teacher of the Year at Bangor’s Student-Led Teaching Awards, and have since been nominated for Teacher of the Year.

Research Profile

To date, my research has mainly focused on Welsh writing in English in various comparative and materialist contexts. My monograph, Edward Thomas and World Literary Studies, adapted a world-literature approach to this Anglophone Welsh poet in an attempt to challenge the unexamined Anglocentrism of the UK literary academy. I made a more abstract case in my Textual Practice article on the same issue. I am also interested in gender theory, having written on the relation between gender and nationhood in Robert Frost and Edward Thomas (published in Queer Wales), and on ‘excitable speech’ in Allen Ginsberg’s Howl (an article published in Naked Exhibitionism).

More recently, I have become interested in the way that literature records broad shifts in society’s economic development, and its exploitation of environmental resources. For example, I have written on the literary registration of the controversial construction of reservoirs built in Wales to supply expanding English cities. I have also written about the way that R.S. Thomas’s poetry reflects the coming of the ‘nuclear age’, and the way that novelists from the south Wales coalfield first wrote about the new society generated by coal extraction on a large scale. Most recently, I have been working on the transformative changes wrought by World War Two to communities in south Wales, and the ways that these are recorded in the work of Dylan Thomas and Lynette Roberts. In recent years, I have presented my research all over Wales, and further afield, including an invited lecture for Japan’s Raymond Williams’ Society at Japan Women’s University in Tokyo.

I am Series Co-Editor for the Writers of Wales series. I co-organised the AWWE 2014 conference on ‘In/dependent Wales’ in the run-up to the Scottish referendum on independence, and in the same year, I was one of the judges on the Wales Book of the Year Award (English-language categories).

Responsibilities

As member of CELT responsible for module evaluations, I co-ordinate online module evaluations across the University. This involves making initiatives to increase student participation, and discussing the subsequent feedback with Heads of School and Directors of Teaching and Learning. Since I took on this role, participation rates across the University have more than doubled to 32–39%, and Schools have used the data to make hundreds of interventions to improve students’ learning experience across the University. In the same period, student satisfaction scores, according to the National Student Survey, have jumped from 86% to 91%, where they stayed.

In my role as College Deputy Dean and Director of Teaching and Learning, I have co-ordinated the introduction of the M.Arts programme in four Schools across the College (over 50 students in the first year), and introduced Excellence Scholarships in the remaining Schools in order to promote undergraduate recruitment. Participation in the online module evaluations is high across the College, and the average student satisfaction score across the College, according to the National Student Survey (2015), is 95%.

At School level, I am Student Experience Officer, part of which involves organising Staff-Student Liaison meetings. Student satisfaction rates in the School were 100%, according to the National Student Survey (2015).

Recent Publications

Edward Thomas and World Literary Studies (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2013)

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Reviews of Edward Thomas and World Literary Studies

  • ‘An ambitious book: a sympathetic revisionist study of a deeply important poet on the one hand, and a significant milestone in re-centring an understanding of the literatures of the British Isles on the other’. Charles Mundye in Friends of Dymock Poets Newsletter 60 (Jan 2014)
  • ‘An original, thoroughly researched, and clearly structured work of scholarship, providing a highly contextualised and nuanced analysis of previously unexplored features of Thomas’s writings … Significantly, he challenges the reader to look beyond the case of Edward Thomas and consider what non-Anglocentric, post-imperial British identities might look like, and the form that scholarship on these could take. Perhaps most importantly, he reminds us that talk of world literary systems should nevertheless lead us back to the local, particular worlds authors respond to and create.’  Jennifer Upton in Cambridge Quarterly 43.1 (March 2014)
  • ‘Webb expands any reading of Thomas to acknowledge not only his profound understanding of English literary history, but his equally rich Welsh literary heritage… An essential addition to scholarship on Thomas’. Kym Martindale, Poetry Wales 64 (Winter 2013)
  • ‘The greatest achievement of the book is that it manages to pull so many threads of history together to help the reader understand the contexts surrounding Thomas’s legacy … to provide an unmitigated and exciting read that navigates the tripwire of Anglo/Welsh relations bravely and, more importantly, enjoyably too’. Jemma L. King in a review by www.gwales.com with the permission of the Welsh Books Council

 

Book Chapters

  • ‘Writing Welshness in English: R.S. Thomas and Emyr Humphreys’, in The Cambridge History of Welsh Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016)

  • ‘Dylan Thomas and Welsh Modernity’, in Dylan Thomas Unchained: the Centenary (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2016)

  • ‘“Changes Break Before Us”: Peripheral Modernity in Lynette Roberts’s Poetry and Prose’, in Locating Lynette Roberts (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2015)

  • ‘Not friends / But fellows in a union that ends’: Associations of Welshness and Non-heteronormativity in Edward Thomas’, in Queer Wales (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2015)

  • ‘Waving Genitals and Manuscripts’: Ginsberg’s Howl and Butler’s Excitable Speech’, in Naked Exhibitionism: Gendered Performance and Public Exposure (London: I.B. Tauris, 2013)

Journal Articles

  • ‘Anglophone Welsh Literary Responses to Reservoir Construction’, International Journal of Welsh Writing in English 1 Sept 2013)

  •  ‘Anglo-American Anti Modernism’, European Journal of American Culture (July 2009)

Invited Talks

  • ‘Combined and Unveven Development in Dylan Thomas and Lynette Roberts’, the Raymond Williams Lecture Series, Swansea University, December 2015

  • ‘Peripheral Modernity and Lynette Roberts’, Bangor University Research Seminar, November 2015

  • ‘Literature of Uneven Development: the Case of the South Wales Coalfield’, Raymond Williams Conference, Japan Women’s University, Tokyo, April 2014

  • ‘A Literature of Coal? The Example of the South Wales Coalfield’, Aberystwyth University, March 2014

  • ‘Raymond Williams and the South Wales Coalfield’, Bangor University Research Seminar, February 2014

Selected Conference Papers:

  • ‘R.S. Thomas and Nuclear Power’, AWWE Conference, Gregynog, April 2015

  •  ‘Rural Modernity and Dylan Thomas’, Dylan Thomas Centenary Conference, Swansea University, Sept 2014

  • ‘Emergent and Residual Cultures in a Welsh Literature of Coal’, Bangor Energy Symposium, May 2014

  • ‘Joseph Keating: Early Coalfield Literature’, Independent Wales Conference, Gregynog, April 2014 (Conference Co-organiser)

  • ‘Peripheral Modernity in Anglophone Welsh Literature’, Alternative Modernisms Conference, Cardiff, May 2013

  • ‘“Socio-Ecological Regime Change”: AWWE Conference, Gregynog, April 2013

  • ‘Anglophone Welsh Literary Responses to Reservoir Construction’, Bangor Interdisciplinary Forum, February 2013

  • ‘Edward Thomas and Robert Frost: a Welsh-American Literary Relation’, North American Society for Welsh Studies Conference, July 2012

  • ‘Edward Thomas and the Welsh Folk Tradition’, AWWE Conference, Gregynog, May 2012

  • ‘England’s Failed Locales’, Hyphenating Englishness, Swansea, May 2011

  • ‘Wales and “World Literary Studies”’, Global Wales Series, March 2011

  • ‘“Worlding” Anglophone Welsh Literature’, CREW Seminar Series, Swansea, February 2011

  • ‘Casanova’s World Republic’, World Literary Studies Conference, Warwick, April 2010

  • ‘Britain’s Partitioning Consciousness’, Ireland-Wales Conference, Cardiff, Sept 2009

  • ‘Thomas in the Fin-de-Siècle Marketplace’, Fin-de-Siècle Conference, Belfast, September 2008

  • Chair of Panel on Periodical Culture at Fin-de-Siècle Conference, Belfast, September 2008

  • ‘Writing for America: the case of Thomas’, Warwick Symposium, May 2008

  • ‘Paul Verlaine, Robert Frost and Edward Thomas’, Warwick Symposium, May 2007

  • ‘Thomas and National Identity’, Devolution Conference, Warwick, November 2006