Dr Alexander Beaumont

Senior Lecturer: Literature and Politics

School of Humanities, Religion & Philosophy

E: a.beaumont@yorksj.ac.uk

T: 876 716

Dr Alexander Beaumont

My teaching and research take place across the English Literature and Politics programmes at YSJU, where I am a specialist in literature and culture 1945-present, critical theory and political philosophy. I received my BA in English Literature from the University of Exeter and hold an MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature and Culture from the University of York. I completed my PhD at the University of York in 2011 and taught there until autumn 2013, when I took up my position at York St John University. I completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice in 2015 and am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy; I also co-edit the open-access journal Literary Geographies.


Further Information



My research is organised around the intersection of politics and spatiality in British cultural production of the 1980s and after; my work focuses on how contemporary culture conceptualises, but frequently forecloses, visions of the democratic public sphere and 'the political' more broadly. I have particular interests in theories of space, the political theory of Hannah Arendt, republican political philosophy and the post-Marxist tradition of critical theory.

My monograph Contemporary British Fiction and the Cultural Politics of Disenfranchisement (Palgrave Macmillan 2015) examines representations of urban space across a range of fiction published in the wake of Thatcherism in order to evaluate the political legacy of British cultural studies in the field of literary production. I have co-edited and published material in special issues of Literary Geographies (on J.G. Ballard’s Concrete Island), C21 Literature (on melancholia in contemporary British and Irish fiction) and the Open Library of Humanities (on the topic of ‘Freedom After Neoliberalism’). My work has appeared in Contemporary Literature and the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies as well as edited collections on the cultural politics of Thatcherism, the novelist Maggie Gee and as part of Cambridge UP’s ‘British Literature in Transition’ series. More recently, I have turned my attention to the representation of rural space – specifically the uplands of northern England – in the context of the constitutional tensions at work within the UK.

I welcome PhD proposals in any area of postwar and contemporary culture, critical theory and contemporary political philosophy.




II am coordinator for level 6 (third year) of the undergraduate degree in English Literature and the MA in Contemporary Literature. I teach the following modules:

  • Canonicity
  • Cultures of the Now
  • Gender, Sexualities and Contemporary Popular Culture
  • Literary Theory
  • Political Ideologies
  • Political Philosophy: Themes and Thinkers
  • Theorising Literature: Power and Identity




Beaumont, A. and D’hoker, E., (eds.) (under development) Sarah Hall: Critical Essays. Canterbury: Gylphi.

Beaumont, A. (2015) Contemporary British Fiction and the Cultural Politics of Disenfranchisement. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Journal Issues (as editor)

Beaumont, A. and Kelly, A. (eds.) (2018) ‘Freedom After Neoliberalism.’ Open Library of Humanities 4(2).

Beaumont, A. and Magennis, C. (eds.) (2017) ‘The Melancholy Islands.’ C21 Literature 5(1).

Beaumont, A. and Martin, D. (eds.) (2016) ‘Ballard’s Island: Histories, Modernities and Materialities.’ Literary Geographies 2(1).

Chapters and Articles

Beaumont, A. (forthcoming 2020) ‘Hannah Arendt: Integrity and World.’ In: Carpenter, A. and Wiseman, R. (eds.) Portraits of Integrity. London: Bloomsbury.

Beaumont, A. (2018) ‘Cosmopolitanism without a World? David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas.’ Open Library of Humanities 4(2): 21, pp.1-39.

Beaumont, A. (2018) ‘Dystopia and Euphoria: Time-Space Compression and the City.’ In: Pollard, E. and Schoene, B. (eds.) Accelerated Times: British Literature in Transition, Volume 5: 1980-2000. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 273-288.

Beaumont, A. and Kelly, A. (2018) ‘Freedom After Neoliberalism.’ Open Library of Humanities 4(2): 25, pp.1-26.

Beaumont, A. and Magennis, C. (2017) ‘Introduction: The Melancholy Islands’. C21 Literature 5(1), pp.1-4.

Beaumont, A. (2016) ‘Ballard’s Island(s): White Heat, National Decline and Technology After Technicity Between “The Terminal Beach” and Concrete Island.’ Literary Geographies 2(1), pp.96-113.

Beaumont, A. and Martin, D. (2016) ‘Introduction: Ballard’s Island’. Literary Geographies 2(1), pp.16-30.

Beaumont, A. (2015) ‘Original Modern or a New Kind of Ordinary?’ Alluvium 4(3), n.p.

Beaumont, A. (2015) ‘Reproductive Politics and the Public Sphere: Natalism, Natality and Apocalypse.’ In: Dillon, S. and Edwards, C. (eds) Maggie Gee: Critical Essays. Canterbury: Gylphi, pp.51-77.

Beaumont, A. (2014) ‘Exile and Freedom in Jeanette Winterson's The Passion: Venice, the British Inner Cities and the Cultural Politics of Disenfranchisement.’ Contemporary Literature 55(2), pp.270-303.

Beaumont, A. (2012) ‘From Subculture to Urban Pastoral: Mapping the City, Mapping the Left.’ British Politics Review: Journal of the British Politics Society, 7(4), pp. 12-13.

Beaumont, A. (2010) ‘“New Times” Television? Channel 4 and My Beautiful Laundrette.’ In: Ho, E. and Hadley, L. (eds.) Thatcher and After: Margaret Thatcher and Her Afterlife in Contemporary Culture. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp.53-74.


Beaumont, A. (forthcoming 2019) Review of J.G. Ballard: Landscapes of Tomorrow, by Brown, R., C. and Stainforth, E. (eds.). Literary Geographies.

Beaumont, A. (2016) ‘Literary Studies After the Spatial Turn’. Journal of Urban Cultural Studies 3(3), pp.395-405. 





Beaumont, A. (2016) ‘Cosmopolitanism Without a World? Ethics versus the Political in David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas.’ Keynote address presented to the Bath Spa Early Stage Researcher Conference, Bath Spa University, 16 May.

Beaumont, A. (2015) ‘English Literature and Britain’s Norths / British Literature and England’s North.’ Keynote address presented to the Melancholy Empire: British and Irish Literature in the 21st Century conference, University of Salford, 16 April.

Invited Talks

Beaumont, A. (2018) ‘Austerity and Suffering Agency in Blow Your House Down and On Black Sisters’ Street.’ Address at Humanities Approaches to Austerity in Europe and the Global South Conference, Clark University / Training Center and Séminaires De La Chambre Employees, Luxemburg, 15-18 June.

Beaumont, A. (2017) ‘Fiction, Politics and Post-Truth.’ Address at Fiction and Fake News Meets Management Conference, University of Cambridge, 18 October.

Beaumont, A. (2014) ‘Arendt, Truth and Politics.’ Address at Theoria research seminar, University of St Andrews, 12 March.

Beaumont, A. (2013) ‘Epidemics of the Will” and the Uses of Freedom.’ evekosofskysedgwick.net [Internet]

Beaumont, A. (2011) ‘Jeanette Winterson’s Venice and the Cultural Politics of Disenfranchisement.’ Address at the Centre for Modern Studies research seminar, University of York, 20 October.


Public Engagement


Beaumont, A. (2016) Four Thought [radio] BBC Radio 4. 27 January.

Beaumont, A. (2013) ‘Epidemics of the Will” and the Uses of Freedom.’evekosofskysedgwick.net [Internet]

Beaumont, A. (2012) ‘The BBC and the North.’ opendemocracy [Internet]

Beaumont, A. (2012) ‘The Olympic Dream.’ Manchester Salon [Internet]



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