Dr Eric White

Reader in American Literature

School of Education, Humanities and Languages


Eric White is Reader in American Literature at Oxford Brookes University, and his research specializes in transatlantic avant-garde writing and culture.

He pursued his BA at the University of British Columbia in Canada before completing his postgraduate work at the University of Cambridge, supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada doctoral fellowship. Before starting at Oxford Brookes, he taught at the University of Cambridge, Anglia Ruskin University, and the University of Edinburgh. He has been awarded fellowships by the Beinecke Library, Yale University, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Oxford.

Together with Dr. Georgina Colby, he is Co-Editor of the Edinburgh Critical Studies in Avant-Garde Writing and Edinburgh Foundations in Avant-Garde Writing Series. Complementing his literary research and editing work, Eric is also PI of the Avant-Gardes and Speculative Technology (AGAST) Project, a digital humanities collaboration that re-imagines modernists’ inventions with prize-winning writers such as Iain Sinclair and Jay Bernard using eXtended Reality (XR).  AGAST projects have been funded by CILIP/Arts Council England, the European Research Council and the Independent Social Research Foundation.

Teaching and supervision


Modules taught


  • World Literature
  • Crticial Theory in Action
  • American Vistas: Literature and Culture of the USA
  • The Culture of Modernity
  • The Shock of the New
  • African-American Avant-Gardes
  • Creative Writing: Experiments in Writing


  • Critical Debates and Methods in Postgraduate English
  • Twentieth Century Texts: American Literature and its Transatlantic Contexts
  • Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics
  • Independent Study in English Studies


  • MA dissertations on American and Twentieth/Twenty-first Century Literature Topics
  • PhD Supervisor: Avant-Garde Writing, Technology and the Everyday; Transatlantic Receptions of Edgar Allen Poe (completed); Hybridity and the 'American Strain' in Twentieth Century American Poetry (now completed)
  • PhD Supervision team: Marilyn Robinson and Communities of Mourning; ‘Dylan Thomas: The Film and Radio Scripts’(both completed).


Eric works on American modernism in the transatlantic context, and his research focuses on  avant-garde writing, literary networks, and technology. His first monograph, Transatlantic Avant-Gardes: Little Magazines and Localist Modernism (EUP 2013) investigates how modernist writers interrogated the relationship between physical places, the printed page, and cultural identity in artist-run journals. He has also edited critical facsimile editions of William Carlos Williams’s early prose, and with Craig Saper, the influential vanguardist anthology Readies for Bob Brown's Machine. Eric's new book Reading Machines in the Modernist Transatlantic: Avant-Gardes, Technology and the Everyday (EUP 2020) argues that modernist avant-gardes used technology not only as a means of analysing culture, but as a way of feeding back into it with their inventions and collaborations as well as their creative work. Eric’s AGAST Project – an Impact Case Study for REF 2020 emerging from this research – seeks to extend this ethos using eXtended Reality (XR). By doing so, AGAST seeks to empower communities by making creative digital technologies more accessible.

Research impact

The Avant-Gardes and Speculative Technology (AGAST) Project recovers the forgotten promise of modernism: that art and technology can combine to produce significant social change. Since launching in 2014, AGAST has dismantled barriers to social, technological, and cultural inclusion in the UK and internationally by: A) improving outreach, digital heritage, and STEAM policy and provision in libraries and museums; B) building capacity and enhancing outreach for marginalised young people in third-sector organisations; and C) generating new public works of art from research. Together with Humanities colleagues Alex Goody and Craig Saper (UMBC), Digital Production colleague John Twycross (UCL), and Computing colleague Fridolin Wild (Open University), these activities have empowered disenfranchised groups, especially young people, to combine creative and technical activity for positive social change.

Centres and institutes




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Professional information


Conferences Organised

  • Surrealist Topographies Symposium, Maison Française, Oxford, April 2016 (with Nathalie Aubert)
  • 'Avant-Gardes Now!' Symposium, May 2015, Oxford Brookes University (with Niall Munro)
  • ‘Modernist Magazines in the Americas: Points of Departure’, December 2012, Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford (with Alex Goody and Niall Munro)

Selected Conference Papers, Plenaries, and Panel Chairing

  • Invited paper: ‘Reading (and Building) Machines: Modernist Women Poets and Emancipatory Technicities’, Department of English, University of Oxford, Oct 2020.
  • 'Reading Machines' [TED talk on Bob Brown's Reading Machine and the AGAST Project], TEDx Whitehall, Royal Society, London, Jan 2018 
  • 'A Machine of Words, a Machine of Mirrors: William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound and Networked New York', MLA Conference, New York, NY, USA, Jan 2018 
  • ‘On the Move and On the Margins: Stranded Expatriates in Globe and The New Review’, North American Periodical Studies/Centre for Travel Writing Studies Symposium, Nottingham Trent University, September 2017
  • ‘The Avant-Gardes and Speculative Technology Reading Machine’, Digital Exhibition, Modernist Studies Association Annual Conference, Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam, August 2017
  • ‘The Future's Future is in the Past: Augmented Reality, Digital Humanities, and the Modernist Archive’, invited presentation, Centre for the Digital Humanities, Princeton University, April 2017
  • ‘Bob Brown’s Reading Machine: Augmented Technicities and Augmented Selves’, MSA 2017 Conference, Pasedena, CA, USA, November 2016
  • Invited paper, ‘Augmented Avant-Gardes’, English Research Seminar, University of Sheffield, May 2016
  • ‘Railroad Avenue: Rail Technologies and Periodical Print Culture in African American Modernist Writing', NAPS Periodical and American Studies Symposium, British Library, December 2015
  • ‘Pragmatism, Cultural Localism, and Modernism’, ‘Local Modernisms: 1890-1950’, University of Birmingham, June 2015.
  • 'Avant-Garde Periodicals and WWI', London Modernism Seminar, Senate House, London, May 2015.
  • 'Unfinished Business: Speculation and Modernist Legacies in Avant-Garde Journals',  The Contemporary Small Press: A Symposium, University of Westminster, February 2015.
  • '"A Dark, Distorted, Tricky, Mirror": The Aging Machine in Late Modernist Manhattan', 'Late Modernist Manhattan' panel, MLA 2015, Vancouver, CA, January 2015.
  • '"What is Under My Nose': William Carlos Williams, Locality and the Modernist Transatlantic', Department of English and Modern Languages Research Seminar Series, Oxford Brookes University, November 2014.
  • 'Dazzle Camouflage: Avant-Gardes and Invisibility in WW1', Transatlantic Seminar Series, Department of English, University of Oxford, October 2014.
  • 'Modernist Avant-Gardes and Speculative Technologies' presentation, AHRC Science and Culture Ignite! Event, Natural History Museum, London, Wednesday 26th March 2014.
  • ‘American Histories: Bricolage, Pastiche, and Robert McAlmon’s Contact Editions’, MSA 15 Conference: ‘Everydayness and the Event’, University of Sussex, Brighton, September 2013.
  • ‘“Unnatural Mirrors”: the Revolution of the Word in Paris, New York, and London’, Symbiosis Conference, Brunel University, Uxbridge, June 2013.
  • Plenary Lecture: ‘Localism and “the Local” in the Modernist Transatlantic’, ‘Mapping the Self’ Symposium, Dec. 2012, Oxford Brookes University. 
  • ‘The Transatlantic Avant-Garde, and the Voyage to Pagany’, Modern Languages Association Conference, Seattle, WA, USA, January 2012.
  • ‘The Missing Baedeker: The Travel Writing of Pound and Williams’, 24th Ezra Pound International Conference, Senate House, University of London, July 2011.
  • ‘American Localist Modernism and the Transatlantic Avant-Garde’, American Literature Graduate Seminar, Rothermere American Insitute, University of Oxford, February 2011.
  • ‘“My God † What Eyes”: Bob Brown, Marcel Duchamp, and the Optical Mechanics of Modernism’, European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies Conference 2010, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland, 9-11 September 2010
  • Co-organiser (with Laura Marcus), ‘Automatic Writing / Automated Reading: Technology and Modernist Legacies’ panel, at the ‘Material Cultures: Technology, Textuality, and Transmission’ Conference, University of Edinburgh, 16-18 July, 2010.
  • ‘“Marcel’s Color Machine”: the Technological Improvisations of Marcel Duchamp and William Carlos Williams’, ‘Material Cultures: Technology, Textuality, and Transmission’ Conference, University of Edinburgh, 16-18 July, 2010.
  • ‘The Machine Age in Transatlantic Modernism’, ‘Modernism, Cultural Exchange and Transnationality’: The Second Conference of the Modernist Magazines Project, University of Sussex, Brighton, July 2009.
  • ‘“See, They Return”: American Modernists in Contact Editions and the transatlantic review’, Scottish Network for Modernist Studies Seminar, the University of Edinburgh, May 2009.
  • ‘Technology and American Identity in the Transatlantic Avant-Garde’, STAR (Scotland’s Transatlantic Relations) Research Seminar, IASH, the University of Edinburgh, March 2009.
  • ‘Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams in the Transatlantic Context’, Literature Speaker Series, School of English Literature, University of Newcastle, February 2009.
  • ‘“A Core About Which/Not a Box Inside Which”: American Modernism Under Construction’, American Studies Seminar, University of Sussex, Brighton, December 2008.
  • ‘Modernist Magazines, Transatlantic Print Culture, and the Rise of the Avant-Garde’, plenary lecture, OU Book History Series, Senate House, London, December 2008.
  • ‘“Descend into Place”: Cultural Localism and Dislocation in The Exile and Pagany’, presented at the ‘Modernist Magazines and Politics’ Conference, Université du Maine, Le Mans, FR, June 2008.
  • ‘The Crowd Master?: Blast and the Question of Audience’, presented at the ‘Wyndham Lewis: Modernity and Critique’ Conference, Birmingham and Midland Institute, January 2008.
  • ‘Building an American Avant-Garde: the Early Prose of William Carlos Williams’, Gallup Plenary Lecture, Beinecke Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA, January 2008.
  • Chair, ‘William Carlos Williams and Little Magazines’ Panel, held at the Annual Modern Languages Association Conference, Chicago, IL, USA, December 2007.
  • ‘“Location, Location, Location”: Place and Advertising in BlastNew York Dada, and Contact’, presented at the Modernist Atlantic Conference, De Montfort University, Leicester, July 2007.