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Name: Richard Bromhall

PhD: Contemporary Literary Studies, Class Studies

Thesis Title: 

After the Crash: Class and Contemporary British Fiction

Thesis Description:

In April 2008, the IMF described the global economic crises as ‘the largest financial shock since the Great Depression’ and historians will surely come to document this moment as one of the most significant of the twenty-first century. Following the crash in Britain, house prices fell consistently for the first time in decades, several significant high street banks went bust, saved only by central government bailouts, and austerity fiscal policies meant a reduction in social services' provision. A mere eight years later, Britain voted to leave the European Union, and as Philipp Ther has shown, the combination of immigration from Eastern Europe, strains on public services, and other unmitigated effects of the financial and economic crises from 2008 onwards.

The relationship between the crises of 2008 and Brexit should not be underplayed, I contend, and though a body of work is now emerging on the subject, it is concentrated in the social sciences. My thesis examines fictional writing about England in this period, and will provide the first detailed analysis of this work and the theoretical concerns at play in it. Focusing on an incipient canon of writing, as wide ranging as Capital (2012) by John Lanchester and Autumn (2016) by Ali Smith, my thesis considers modes of writing that flirts with notions of the 'real', realism, and irrealism. Paying particular attention to the way in which class figures as a concept in this work, my thesis explores how conceptual notions of ethnicity and class intersect and places class formation in the context of post-globalization, arguing that this cultural moment enables a new form of writing and literary critical vocabulary through which to understand the lurch from economic crisis to cultural crisis.

Supervisors and Institution(s):

Phil Leonard (NTU)

Dominic Head (UoN)

Nahem Yousaf (NTU)


  • Midlands3Cities/AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership (Nottingham Trent University)
  • Masters by Research in English Literary Research: Distinction (Nottingham Trent University)
  • BA (Hons) English: First Class Honours (Nottingham Trent University)

Other Research Interests:

  • Working-class writing in Britain
  • British post-war writing
  • Contemporary politics
  • 20th and 21st century writing
  • Class formation and the contemporary novel
  • Automation
  • Happiness


I was NTU's representative on the Student Advisory Forum (SAF) between January 2016 and May 2017 and played an important role in M3C's governance structure. At termly meetings, I met with M3C's central team, met with local site directors, attended and presented at M3C events, facilitated CDF and cohort development more generally, and because of my involvement with SAF, I ended up taking a leading role in a centrally-organised CDF event, Journey to Justice: Nottingham (See below for more information). I was instrumental in re-shaping the recruitment policy, co-writing a new recruitment document and guidelines for SAF.

I also represented SAF on M3C's Management Committee between June 2016 and May 2017. Here, I played a part in developing the DTP's routes out programme.

Reading Groups

Since November 2017, I have co-organised Nottingham's Class and Capitalism reading group alongside David Civil and Abigail Rhodes, which meets every two months. I chaired the second session on 'Who are the working classes today?' on Monday 29 January and 'Strikes and Paperwork' on 20 March 2018. If you're interested in attending any future meetings, get in touch with me, Abi or David via Twitter or by email and we will gladly send you the reading material.

In our sessions so far, graduate students from Nottingham Trent University and University of Nottingham have attended, as well as researchers from further afield, including University of Lincoln, University of Leicester, University of Birmingham and University of Sussex.

The next session - 'Class Feelings' - on class and affect will take place on Thursday 26 July and will be facilitated by Sean Richardson. Get in touch for the reading. 


July 2018: Movements: Protest, Politics, and Activism in the 21st Century (July 2018)

Alongside Abigail Rhodes and David Civil, I organised a one-day, interdisciplinary conference at Nottingham Contemporary on social movements. This event showcased academic work across a range of fields, exploring social and political movements in the twenty-first century. In all, Movements platformed academic research, creative work, representation from the cultural sector, and activists from the local and national communities. Movements hosted researchers from universities across four continents, with researchers from six continents represented. A link to our website and the CFP can still be viewed here. Keep an eye on the Twitter account for information relating to Movements 2019.

July 2018: BACLS WHN Conference

Continuity, Collectivity, and Repeatability: Nostalgia in Jonathan Coe's Number 11

May 2018: Orientations: A Conference of Narrative and Place

The Class Politics of Space

December 2017: Cultural Studies Association of Australasia: 'Cultures of Capitalism'

Hanging On: Undoing Neoliberalism, Literary Prize Culture, and Social Class

September 2016, RAISE2016: Excellence in Student Engagement

'Experts by Experience': Students Talk about Improving Student Attainment in Higher Education with Lisa Clughen and Ben Haworth.

September 2015, Whatever Happened to the Working Class?: Rediscovering Class Consciousness in Contemporary Literature

Staying on the Bus: Representations of Chavs in Contemporary British Fiction 

Scholarly / Public Engagement Activities:

Journey to Justice: Nottingham PGR Project Lead, January - May 2017

In 2017, I took up the role of PGR lead for the Journey to Justice: Nottingham project, overseeing thirteen projects M3C researchers facilitated. I also played an instrumental role in curating the exhibition, organising the launch event, managing the online platforms, and steering the complimentary events' programme.

At Midlands3Cities' 2017 Research Festival, I was awarded a cultural engagement award for my work on Journey to Justice. This award recognises a students' commitment to public engagement. 


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