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Hauntology and Spectrality Research Group

This research group is led by Dr Robert Edgar.

The Hauntology and Spectrality group was established in 2022 to reflect and unify research in the School of Humanities and the wider York St John research community. The group includes research students and scholars and practitioners from outside York St John University.

For the latest information on the group, and a complete list of group members please visit our blog.

Visit our blog


It affects and bereaves it in advance, like the ghost it will become, but this is precisely where haunting begins. And its time, and the untimeliness of its present, of its being ‘out of joint.’ To haunt does not mean to be present, and it is necessary to introduce haunting into the very construction of a concept. Of every concept, beginning with the concepts of being and time. That is what we would be calling here a hauntology.
Jaques Derrida (1994) Spectres of Marx, the state of the debt, the Work of Mourning, & the New International, translated by Peggy Kamuf, Routledge

‘…think of Hauntology as the agency of the virtual, with the spectre understood not as anything supernatural, but that which acts without (physically existing).’
Mark Fisher (2014) Ghosts of My Life, Zero.

‘the priority of being and presence with the figure of the ghost as that which is neither present, nor absent, neither dead nor alive.’
Colin Davis, Hauntology, spectres and phantoms, French Studies, Volume 59, Issue 3, July 2005, pages 373–379.

The group is constituted by the work of its members and exists as a place for individual members to discuss their research, provide peer feedback and support and to generate new ideas and projects for the future.

The work of members of the group covers critical and creative practice in:

  • Hauntology
  • Nostalgia
  • Folk Horror
  • Psychogeography
  • Ontology and Being
  • Spectres of Trauma
  • Children’s Spectral Fiction
  • Weird Fiction
  • Folklore
  • Environmental Anxieties
  • The Uncanny
  • Cold War Histories
  • Haunting and Memoir
  • Historical Horrors
  • Time/dimensional slips
  • Ghost Stories

… and related topics.

Get in touch

You can contact Robert Edgar on

The group welcomes collaborate research enquiries and PhD proposals on any aspect of the group’s work. We are interested in subject specific and interdisciplinary projects. We can also consider practice based PhD projects, with group members also being part of the York Centre for Writing.

Research activity

Stephenson, L, Edgar, R and Marland, J. Horrifying Children: Hauntology and the Legacy of Children's Fiction, Bloomsbury: New York

Edgar, R and Johnson, W, (eds.). The Routledge Companion to Folk Horror, Routledge: London

Smith, A, Edgar, R and Marland, J. Thomas Hardy and the Folk Horror Tradition, Bloomsbury: New York

McDonald, K and Johnson, W. The Spectral Western Publisher tbc

Group members

Robert Edgar

Dr Robert Edgar

Group lead, Associate Professor of Creative Writing

Keith McDonald

Dr Keith McDonald

Group co-lead, Senior Lecturer in Film and Media

Dr Lauren Stephenson

Group co-lead, Senior Lecturer in Film and Media

Professor Abi Curtis

Professor of Creative Writing

Dr Wayne Johnson

Senior Lecturer in Film and Media

John Marland

Senior Lecturer in Literature

Dr Christopher Price

Senior Lecturer in History

Dr Rosie Binfield-Smith

Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Criminology

Staff profile image of Jo Doran

Jo Doran

Lecturer in Criminology and Police Studies

Dr Zoe Enstone 2021

Dr Zoë Enstone

Associate Professor of Literature

Rob O'Connor staff profile image

Dr Rob O'Connor

Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing and Creative Industries

Dr Helen Pleasance

Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing

Profile image of Adam J Smith

Dr Adam James Smith

Associate Professor in English Literature

Research Students

Alex Cojocaru

Creative Writing

Alex Bestwick

Creative Writing

Conor Hannon

Creative Writing

Dylan Henty

Film and Media

Bern Packham-Anderson

Creative Writing

Sam Pheby-McGarvey

Creative Writing

Shirley Stephenson

Creative Writing

Mari Yates

Creative Writing