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Department of English and Modern Languages
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+44 (0)1865 484308
My research, consultancy, teaching and pedagogical projects all have communication and storytelling at their core.
I teach, research and publish in the areas of stylistics, narratology, world literature and cognitive poetics, with a specialism in deixis and deictic shifting. I also teach performance poetry, flash fiction, short stories and twentieth and twenty-first century literature more broadly.
I also research the language of charity fundraising communications, with a focus on attention, absorption, authenticity and trust. I am currently writing a research monograph on these areas and working on some related empirical projects.
I am also interested in student skills literacy, employability and enterprise within HE English, and run several projects on these issues. For example, I lead the Oxford Brookes Student Research Launch Pad, a university-wide project which supports undergraduate and post-graduate taught students in sharing and publishing their research. With Dr. Shirley Shipman I co-run the Humanities and Social Sciences Assessment and Skills project, which supports staff in developing assessment formats and related teaching, to help enhance students' skills development and skills literacy. I am also working on an Enterprise in English project, and an English employability strategy.
I also co-lead the Integrating English project (www.integratingenglish.com), promoting stylistics and its place in English education. I have worked with the AQA in developing aspects of the Language and Literature A level specification and in producing teaching and learning resources for teachers and students.
I have supervised MA dissertations and projects in metafiction, adaptation and performance poetry, and have supervised and examined MPhils on 21st century fiction.
My most recent publication is Discourse Deixis in Metafiction: The Language of Metanarration, Metalepsis and Disnarration (Routledge, 2019)
Oxford Brookes Language and Discourse (OBLaDi) Research Cluster
London Stylistics Circle
Poetics and Linguistics Association
I was Principal Investigator for a project on 'University English Programmes' Responses to the Reformed English A Levels', with Prof Billy Clark and Dr Marcello Giovanelli, funded by the British Academy and Leverhulme Trust Small Research Grant (SG170798).
www.integratingenglish.com - the website of a collaborative project, with Prof Billy Clark and Dr Marcello Giovanelli, including the undergraduate journal Mesh and the Lang-Lit Lab, a blog written for A level English teachers
www.whatthestudiessay.com - a website for people who work in charity communications, summarising useful academic research
www.everydaydeixis.com - a little web intro to deixis
This volume advances scholarly understanding of the ways in which discourse deixis underpins the workings of metafictional novels. Building on existing scholarship in the field, the book begins by mapping out key themes and techniques in metafiction and puts forward a focused and theoretically coherent account of discourse deixis—language which points to a section or aspect of the discourse context in which that language is used—in written literary discourse, highlighting its inherent significance in metafiction specifically. Macrae takes readers through an exploration of discourse deixis as used within the techniques of metanarration, metalepsis, and disnarration, drawing on a mix of both well-established and lesser-known metafictional novels from the late 1960s and early 1970s by such authors as John Barth, Brigid Brophy, Robert Coover, John Fowles, Steve Katz, and B.S. Johnson. This comprehensive account integrates and develops a new approach to understanding discourse deixis and innovative insights into metafictionality more broadly and will be of particular interest to scholars in literary studies, postmodern literature, narratology, and stylistics.
This edited collection brings together an international, interdisciplinary group of scholars who together offer cutting-edge insights into the complex roles, functions, and effects of pronouns in literary texts. The book engages with a range of text-types, including poetry, drama, and prose from different periods and regions, in English and in translation. Beginning with analyses of the first-person pronoun, it moves onto studies of the subject dynamics of first- and second-person, before considering plural modes of narration and how pronoun use can help to disperse narrative perspective. The volume then debates the functional constraints of pronouns in fictional contexts and finally reflects upon the theoretical advancements presented in the collection. This innovative volume will appeal to students and scholars of linguistics, stylistics and cognitive poetics, narratology, theoretical and applied linguistics, psychology and literary criticism.--Provided by publisher.
This article discusses the results of an experiment which investigated relationships between participants' reading and gaming histories, their mental imagery construction, and their perspective-taking within that mental imagery construction, when reading a short fictional scenic narrative. Participants (n=106) read segments of a text, selected images corresponding with their visualisation of the scene, and completed aquestionnaire probing reading and gaming habits. The resulting data suggest that reading habits may mediate text-prompted mental imagery construction and perspective-taking in two ways: participants who read frequently had a greater tendency to visualise the scene during reading than those who did not read frequently; and participants who read frequently had a greater tendency to visualise the scene from aninternal perspective (i.e., the perspective of the character or character-narrator within the fictional scene) than participants who did not read frequently, irrespective of the person and tense of the text stimuli. The resulting data also suggest that computer game playing habits, in particular preferences regarding gaming mode, may mediate textprompted mental imagery construction and perspective-taking: participants who were allocated texts in the present tense and first or second person and who preferred subjective (i.e., 'first person') computer games were less likely to visualise the scene from an internal perspective than participants who did not prefer subjective computer games. This article discusses the possible reasons for these correlations, focussing on differences between experiences of imagery in response to textual and visual media anddifferences between experiences of absorption in reading and gaming.
In September 2015, students in secondary, sixth-form and further education began A-level courses in English (English Literature, English Language, and English Language and Literature), all of which had been newly modified as part of the educational reforms introduced by the coalition government in 2010. This recent modification process was part of a drive to reform school qualifications in England more generally and coincided with a range of other changes to the curriculum and assessment practices in English teaching from primary school upwards. For A level English specifications, the key changes were, in addition to revised content, a shift from a modular to a two-year linear system, the decoupling of AS- and A- level qualifications and a reduction in the weighting of coursework, now rebranded as Non-exam assessment (NEA) (see Ofqual 2015 for a summary of all changes following reform). This paper reports on a survey through which we explored how far undergraduate English course providers were first, aware of this latest round of reform, and second, had made or were making changes to their programmes in light of reform. In the context of discourse around the involvement of universities in reform and the need to develop meaningful links between school and university English, we were interested in the reality of higher education academics’ awareness of and interest in post-16 study. This paper begins by outlining the context and process of A level reform before examining the importance of higher education/school relationships with regards to the curriculum and transition. We then present the findings of the survey, and following this we offer some analysis and discussion of the implications for various stakeholders.
This article reports the results of a survey of UK Higher Education Institution (HEI) providers of undergraduate degree programmes in English. The survey solicited HEI providers’ views on how well each of the A levels in English prepares students for degree programmes, and asked which of the three A levels are included in the entry requirements for those programmes. The survey also asked how far HEI providers were aware of the post-2015 reforms at A level, and what changes had been made to programmes in response to those reforms. After outlining the rationale and methodology of the survey, this article discusses the data, focussing on prerequisites and perceptions of relative usefulness. Findings include: a significant proportion of programmes for which no A level in English is required; mixed perceptions of the usefulness of the A levels; and a need for more cross-phase dialogue around A level content and teaching methods.
This chapter explores manipulation of the reader through deictic positioning. It focuses in particular on the functioning of what is sometimes called ‘empathetic’, ‘social’ or ‘relational’ deixis (Lyons 1977; Levinson 1983; Stockwell 2002) . Grishikova (2018: 201) notes that some deictic terms, such as ‘this’ and ‘that’, and ‘here’ and ‘there’, while often primarily having demonstrative or spatial meaning, may also signal ‘empathy or sympathy, intimacy, intensive sensation, joint attention, familiarity, routine’. As Grishikova’s list suggests, neither ‘empathetic’ nor ‘social’ really cover or clarify the range of meanings that words such as ‘this’ and ‘that’ can signal, and this is before we bring honorifics into the mix. ‘Relational’, on the other hand, is perhaps too encompassing: all deixis is relational in the sense of conveying a relationship. This chapter briefly explores some of the main theoretical issues within previous descriptions and discussions of social deixis.
This chapter discusses the origins, activities so far, and future plans of the Integrating English project (http://integratingenglish.org). This project has aims that are very much in line with those of the English: Shared Futures project, since it seeks to celebrate the diversity of the discipline while also seeing the diverse range of activities it encompasses as unified. They are unified by their focus on how texts are produced, understood, circulated and evaluated. In this essay, we present a brief account of the origins and development of Integrating English, explain the project's approach to the nature of English as a diverse academic discipline and describe some of the activities we have carried out so far. We also highlight connections with English: Shared Futures, including some reflection on activities at the conference in Newcastle in 2017, and conclude with thoughts about how we see the future direction of the project. The main conclusions are that the view of English advocated by our project is timely, beneficial and suggests reasons for optimism about the futures of English.
Origins and Development.
The project began in response to informal discussions with undergraduate students and university staff. Students approached more than one member of the project team asking about ‘lang-lit’ work. Some of these students had taken A-Level Language and Literature and moved on to BA programmes with titles such as ‘English’ or ‘English Language and Literature’. They had noticed that the modules they were now taking each focused either on aspects of language or on aspects of literature. Very few, if any, genuinely involved ‘lang-lit’ work understood as work that included integrated linguistic and literary study. These conversations suggested that students were used to doing integrated linguistic and literary work at AS and A-Level. We later discovered that this was not an accurate impression. At this stage, we discussed these comments with colleagues in other HE institutions who pointed out that many of their programmes were combinations or had ‘joint honours’ structures. Here too, there appeared to be no more connection between work on language and on literature than there would have been if they had combined one of these with any other subject.
Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) is an approach to language study developed by Michael Halliday, who from the early days had language education centrally in mind, and who still regards language education as one of most important applications of his work. SFL discusses a very large number of linguistic choices. The most recent account of SFL, Halliday and Matthiessen, runs to 786 pages. SFL recognises three main aspects of context of situation: field, tenor and mode. Field has to do with what the language is about and what kind of social activity is being enacted in the language. Tenor has to do with the participants in the language event, the speakers, writers, hearers, readers, the roles they are adopting and the relations between them. Mode has to do with the channel of communication, for example, whether the language is spoken or written. Mode has to do with channel of communication, the most obvious distinction here being between speech and writing.
This chapter provides an overview of stylistic approaches to drama and performance, surveying methods of analysis of texts on the page and on the stage. The chapter begins by introducing past approaches taken to drama, particularly structuralist approaches to character and plot. The next section discusses two key critical issues in dramatic stylistics: the nature of communication and interpretation of dramatic discourse, and whether or not the performance of drama can and should be critically discussed beyond the (more stable) play text. This discussion is followed by an outline of current stylistic approaches to drama and performance, including socio-pragmatics, schema theory, deictic shift theory, historical and corpus stylistics, and research on multimodality. Socio-pragmatic and multimodal approaches are then employed in an illustrative analysis of an extract from Noel Coward’s (1930) Private Lives. Though the focus is predominantly upon drama and dramatic performance, the chapter indicates the value and possibilities of stylistic analyses of other kinds of literary performance.
This report is based on a workshop held at Middlesex University on 7 July 2012, which focused onLang/Lit provision at school in English, Wales and Northern Ireland, and at university across the UK. It presents anecdotal and more formal data which we gathered in preparing for the event, and some aspects of discussions that arose following the workshop. We hope that this report will be the beginning of a fuller investigation of issues about Lang/Lit provision. We plan to explore these further ourselves and hope that they will also be explored by other people and institutions involved in the provision of Lang/Lit work. Section 2 explains some of the informal background and motivation for this work. Section 3 considers integrated Lang/Lit provision at A-level (referring collectively to AS and A2 except where the distinction between the two is relevant), the views of students, teachers/lecturers and examiners, and problems and possibilities around this provision. Section 4 addresses the same for BA-level. Section 5 draws these aspects together and reviews transition between the two levels, investigating content, student and provider experience, and obstacles and opportunities for improving the relationships between A-level and BA-level study. Section 6 concludes the report with a summary and suggested avenues for progress.
International Society for the Study of Narrative
European Narratology Network (ENN)
Previously, Expert Panel member for AQA English Language and Literature
I was the project lead for 'The use and misuse of language' project for the Commission on the Donor Experience, and have worked as a brand identity and/or communications consultant for various small businesses.
‘Sharing pedagogies’, English: Shared Futures conference, Newcastle, UK (5-7 July 2017)
‘What do we do when we analyse texts?’ English: Shared Futures conference, Newcastle, UK (5-7 July 2017)
‘Testing, testing … one, two, … see?’, Institute of Fundraising convention, London, UK (3-5 July 2017)
‘Persuasive language: Writing words that work’, Psychology of Communications CharityComms conference, London, UK (29 May 2017)
'Empathetic / social / relational deixis: What does it do and how does it do it?' Aix-en-Provence, France (28 April 2017)
Guest lecture: 'Masterclass in Close Reading', University of Oxford Forum for English, Drama and Media, Oxford, UK (24 Aptil 2017)
'Changing streets into stories: A MCDA analysis of the graffiti appeals of the homeless charity Depaul UK', International Association of Literary Semantics conference, University of Huddersfield, UK (10-12 April 2017)
An interview on narratives and storytelling: http://www.local-legends.org/people/2017/8/13/you-need-to-have-a-set-of-conventions-in-order-to-rebel-against-them