Dr Monica Germana

Dr Monica Germana

Monica Germana's research focuses on contemporary fiction, the Gothic, and popular culture.

I graduated from the University of Viterbo (Italy) with a first-class degree in Modern Languages, with a dissertation focusing on the shared supernatural elements in James Hogg's Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824) and Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights (1847). In 1997 I began my postgraduate career at the University of Glasgow and in 1999 I graduated with an MPhil in Scottish Studies with distinction. As part of the course, I spent a term on a research fellowship at St Mary's University, Nova Scotia. This gave me the opportunity to undertake some archival research into the representations of Scottish identity in Canada, which formed the basis for my postgraduate dissertation. I continued to work in the area of Scottish studies when I started my PhD in Scottish Literature, with a thesis on the function of traditional supernatural elements in contemporary Scottish Women's writing.

Before joining Westminster in September 2008, I was a lecturer in English Literature at the University of Derby (2006–08) and an associate lecturer in English Literature and Creative Writing at Roehampton University (2004–06). While studying for my doctoral degree at the University of Glasgow (1999–2003), I also worked as tutor in several departments and was one of the founders and former editors of esharp, an established peer-reviewed postgraduate journal based at the University of Glasgow.

I joined the University of Westminster in 2008 and I became Reader in Gothic and Contemporary Studies in 2020.

My research to date has had a strong focus on 20th- and 21st-century literature and film, with a particular emphasis on gender, the Gothic tradition, Scottish studies and popular culture. I have co-edited (with Emily Horton) a collection of essays on Contemporary Critical Perspectives: Ali Smith (Bloomsbury, 2013). My co-edited collection Scottish Gothic: An Edinburgh Companion was short-listed for the Allan Lloyd Smith Prize in 2019. Stemming from the same research area in Gothic culture is also a collection of essays on Apocalyptic Discourse in Contemporary Culture (co-edited with Aris Mousoutzanis), which includes contributions by Lee Quinby, Adam Roberts and Avril Horner (Routledge, 2014).

My current research is also branching out to integrate the interdisciplinary areas of text, space and material cultures.  My second monograph (Bond Girls: Body, Fashion and Gender; Bloomsbury, 2019), is an interdisciplinary exploration of the critical intersections of fashion and gender in relation to the treatment of Bond Girls in Ian Fleming's novels and subsequent cinematic adaptations. It has been awarded an honourable mention for the Emily Toth Award for Best Single Work in Women’s Studies by the Popular Cultural Association in America in 2020. My interest in the interdisciplinary intersections between fashion and literature has underpinned also my publications in Postcolonial Spaces: The Politics of Place in Contemporary Culture (ed. Andrew Teverson and Sara Upstone, Palgrave 2011) and Contemporary Critical Perspectives: Sarah Waters (ed. Kaye Mitchell, Bloomsbury, 2013).

My most recent project explores the cultural relationship between Scotland and the Arctic, with particular emphasis on the fantastic and Gothic elements in the oral and literary traditions of Northern countries. In 2019 I was awarded a Visiting Researched Fellowship to support my archival research at the Sir Duncan Rice Library Special Collections, University of Aberdeen. My research project, which focused on sea monsters and other features of the Scottish/Arctic otherworlds, has inspired a feature at the 2020 Spectra Light Festival in Aberdeen.

Previous research

My previous research has focused mainly on contemporary Scottish fiction. My first monograph, now republished in paperback, Scottish Women's Gothic and Fantastic Writing: Fiction since 1978 (Edinburgh University Press, 2010) investigates the persistence of supernatural motifs in contemporary Western cultures and produces the first study of Scottish women's fantasy writing of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The book has inspired a special 1-day conference on 'Scottish women's Gothic and Fantastic Writing' co-organised by the Institute of Advanced Studies (Edinburgh University) and Scottish PEN (Edinburgh, 8 March 2013). I have edited a special issue of Gothic Studies on Contemporary Scottish Gothic (2011) and published articles and chapters on Emma Tennant, Janice Galloway, A.L. Kennedy, James Kelman, Iain Banks and Alasdair Gray.

Research students

I am currently supervising two Creative Writing PhD projects: Valeria Ryrak's project focuses on autofiction and memory in creative writing and Kevin MacNeil explores the overlap between Buddhist and creative practices. In the past, I successfully supervised Dr Aisling McKeown's doctoral thesis on 'The Representation of Migrancy and Otherness in Contemporary Irish Narrative' (2013) and Kate Turner's doctoral thesis on 'The Queer Moment in Contemporary Scottish Fiction'. I would be interested in supervising research projects on contemporary Scottish literature, and particularly within the Gothic genre, as well as interdisciplinary projects on film, popular culture and costume.

Membership of professional bodies

I have been serving as Executive Secretary of the International Gothic Association (IGA) since 2011. I am also a member of the International Association for the Study of Scottish Literatures (IASSL) and the Scottish Society for Northern Studies (SSNS).

  • Creative Writing
  • Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture
  • Literary Studies

In brief

Research areas

Gothic Studies, Contemporary Studies, Scottish Literature, Popular Culture and James Bond Studies

Skills / expertise

Gothic, Monsters, James Bond, Scottish Literature

Supervision interests

Gothic Studies, Contemporary Fiction and Film, Literature, Film and Fashion and Scottish Literature
Emily Toth Award for Best Single Work in Women's Studies

American Association of Popular Culture

Allan lloyd Smith Prize

International Gothic Association

Visiting Scholar Award

Friends of the Duncan Rice Library - University of Aberdeen