Photo of Dr Daniel Abdalla

Dr Daniel Abdalla

Lecturer English


Personal Statement

My research ranges widely on literature from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day and focuses on the ways that authors engage with science, race, and the environment. I also serve as Deputy Director of the Literature and Science Hub Research Centre.

My first monograph, Paths of Inheritance: Heredity in Transatlantic Literary Culture, 1880-1930, is currently under review. It focuses on how four prominent American writers--Henry James, Edith Wharton, Elizabeth Robins, and W. E. B. Du Bois--engaged with contemporary scientific theories of heredity in their literary works. I draw on extensive archival research and the neglected genres of these canonical authors' careers. Key to my approach is reading these authors through the lens of their own interests in the modern drama of playwrights such as Henrik Ibsen, George Bernard Shaw, Rachel Crothers, Susan Glaspell, Willis Richardson, Zora Neale Hurston, WB Yeats, and Samuel Beckett.

This project is based on my doctoral thesis in English at the University of Oxford (2021), where I was Esmond Harmsworth Graduate Scholar at the Rothermere American Institute, as well as doctoral research assistant on the European Research-funded project Diseases of Modern Life. Work from the project has been presented at venues such as the 19th Annual Shaw Symposium in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario (2022), for which I was awarded the Ronald Bryden Scholarship. Part of my argument for revising our idea of Henry James as a 'failed' playwright has been published in Modern Drama; related work on forgotten plays from the Harlem Renaissance is featured in a co-authored chapter with Kirsten E. Shepherd-Barr for an upcoming volume of the Cambridge Companion series.

I started at Liverpool as the William Noble Research Fellow in English in 2021 before becoming Lecturer in 2023. At the moment, I am also developing a new research project on literary engagements with the North and South Poles (1800-present), which focuses on indigeneity, climate change and activism. This work draws on scholarship from the fields of world literature, science fiction, literature and science, and the environmental humanities. It focuses on a diverse set of authors including Matthew Henson, Vladimir Nabokov, and Elizabeth Robins. Work from the project has recently been selected to appear as part of the British Academy-Royal Irish Academy Knowledge Frontiers Symposium on the Future and has received collaborative SHAPE seed funding for upcoming projects. It will also be featured in a special session on 'Antarctic Literature' at the upcoming 2024 MLA Annual Convention in Philadelphia.

In addition to my research, I also work alongside colleagues at other universities in my role as executive committee member at the British Association for Modernist Studies, where I serve as chair of Equality, Diveristy and Inclusion. I am also a member of the British Society for Literature and Science, British Association for American Studies, International Shaw Society, and Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, UK and Ireland.

I was on the organizing committee for the 2023 biennial conference for the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, UK and Ireland, which I helped to host at the Literature and Science Research Hub. I also recently organized and hosted the 2023 New Work in Modernist Studies Graduate Conference.

Since 2018, I have been a core member of the digital reading project LitHits, which is a public-facing project that aims to connect non-specialist readers to works of literature and has been developed alongside Oxford University Innovations. To learn more, sign up for our weekly Substack here..

I'd be interested in hearing from prospective PhD students working in any of the topics mentioned above. My academic support and feedback hours are Fridays, from 3-5pm. E-mail me to make an appointment.