I am an interdisciplinary early modernist scholar with a specialism in gender and sexuality. At present, I am a temporary Lecturer in English at Northumbria University.
My research interests concern gender and sexuality in medieval and early modern literature and culture, particularly the representation of transgressive gendered and sexual behaviour.
My first book, The Reputation of Edward II, 1305-1695: A Literary Transformation of History, is out now with Amsterdam University Press:
During his lifetime and the four centuries following his death, King Edward II (1307-1327) acquired a reputation for having engaged in sexual and romantic relationships with his male favourites, and having been murdered by penetration with a red-hot spit. This book provides the first account of how this reputation developed. In doing so, it provides new insights into the processes and priorities that shaped narratives of sexual transgression in medieval and early modern England; the changing vocabulary of sexual transgression in English, Latin and French; the conditions that created space for sympathetic depictions of same-sex love; the use of medieval history in early modern political polemic; and the cultural impact of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II (c.1591-92). Through close reading of chronicle accounts and political pamphlets alongside poetry and drama, it demonstrates that Edward’s medieval and early modern afterlife was significantly shaped by the influence of literary texts and techniques – and makes the case for a ‘literary transformation’ of historiographical methodology, as an apposite response to the factors that shaped medieval and early modern narratives of the past.
Click here to download the table of contents and introduction.
My current research project investigates the history of reading, writing and printing sexual content in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England, illuminating the way in which readers approached – or were encouraged to approach – everyday encounters with sexual content in books that were not primarily framed as titillation.
More broadly, having worked extensively within the LGBT History Month movement, I am interested in diversifying the scope of queer and trans histories, and particularly in developing methodological approaches to past gender nonconformity where motivations for this behaviour are unknown or heterogeneous. Following successful discussions at Approaching Gender Nonconformity: an online unconference, which I co-organised, I am exploring options for developing a network focused on these issues: I would be keen to hear from anyone who is interested in being involved in this.
The Reputation of Edward II, 1305-1695: A Literary Transformation of History (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2020) [table of contents and index]
‘Gender nonconformity and military internment: curating the Knockaloe slides’, Critical Military Studies: Special Issue, ‘Curating Conflict’ (2019) DOI:10.1080/23337486.2019.1651045
‘Paratexts and pornographic potential in seventeenth-century anatomy books’, The Seventeenth Century (2018) DOI:10.1080/0268117X.2018.1506355
‘Creating trans-inclusive libraries: the UX perspective’, in User Experience in Libraries: Yearbook 2018, ed. by Andy Priestner (UX In Libraries, 2018), pp. 36-51.
Book review: ‘Unperfect histories: the Mirror for Magistrates, 1559-1610 by Harriet Archer’, The Seventeenth Century 34:1 (2018) DOI:10.1080/0268117X.2018.1475251
Book review: ‘Barbara Gribling, ‘The image of Edward the Black Prince in Georgian and Victorian England: negotiating the late medieval past’’, Royal Studies Journal 5:1 (2018), pp. 191-193
Book review: ‘John S. Garrison, Friendship and queer theory in the Renaissance: gender and sexuality in early modern England’, The Seventeenth Century 30:4 (2015), pp. 486-488 DOI:DOI:10.1080/0268117X.2015.1082078
‘York Lesbian Arts Festival, 2000-2008: “It was like we took over the city…”’, Queer Beyond London (24/05/2017)
‘Maleficent favourites: seductive bewitchment at the English court’, NOTCHES: remarks on the history of sexuality (29/11/2016)
‘Rainbow plaques: mapping York’s LGBT history’, NOTCHES: remarks on the history of sexuality (23/07/2015)
‘Beyond penetration: rethinking the murder of Edward II’, NOTCHES: remarks on the history of sexuality (24/03/2015)
- “Kit is a really great seminar tutor. I get so much from the seminars – interactive, engaging, well thought through.”
- “Kit’s enthusiasm was on another level.”
- “Kit’s prompts sparked great conversations and encouraged us to think outside of the box, leading to come stimulating debates and fantastic new ideas.”
- “Kit’s feedback was so helpful and constructive.”
- “I thought Kit struck an excellent balance between allowing students to express opinions and engage with each other and also directing debate down relevant and thought-provoking avenues.”
- “Kit’s [lecture delivery] has been extremely clear, engaging and interesting.”
- “Kit has been the absolute best at one-to-one meetings…made the time when needed and really made sure to hear you out and suggests practical steps to help you not just with the content of the module, but also with prepping for assessments.”
Department of English, King’s College London (2019-20)
- Module convenor/lecturer/seminar tutor, ‘Life of the Sonnet’ (Y3); ‘Poetry of Revolution’ (Y2)
- Seminar tutor, ‘Premodern Dialogues’ (MA); ‘Working With Early Modern Literary Texts’ (MA); ‘Comedy and Identity’ (Y2); ‘Language on the Edge’ (Y2); ‘Classical and Biblical Contexts’ (Y1); ‘Reading Poetry’ (Y1)
- Lecturer, ‘Early Modern Literary Culture’ (Y1)
School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics, Newcastle University (2018-19)
- Module co-leader, ‘Other Renaissances: Gender, Sexuality and Race in Early Modern Culture’ (Level 3)
- Lecturer and seminar tutor, ‘Writing the Renaissance’ (Level 2)
School of English, University of Leeds (2014-18)
- Seminar tutor, ‘Medieval Literature’ and ‘Renaissance Literature’ (Level 2); ‘The Plays of Shakespeare’ (Level 1)
- Lecturer, ‘Narratives of Witchcraft and Magic’ (Level 1)
- Workshop leader, ‘Study Skills for Final Year Project in Medieval and Early Modern Literature’ (Level 3)
School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds (2018)
- Lecturer/workshop leader, ‘Placement in Context’ (MA)
Lifelong Learning Centre, University of Leeds (2017-18)
- Guest lecturer, ‘The Renaissance’ (Level 0)
School of Humanities, York St John University (2015, 2019)
- Visiting lecturer, ‘Identities’ (Liberal Arts Foundation level)
- Visiting lecturer, ‘Shakespeare and his Contemporaries’ (Level 2)
For past media appearances, please see my media page.
In 2016-17 I was the curatorial team lead for the exhibition York Out of the Closet: 50 Years of LGBT History (York Castle Museum). The exhibition combined oral histories, loaned objects and photographs to tell the story of LGBT life in York – focusing on social life, activism, crime, health and the history of York Pride – from 1967-2017.
In 2015-16, I curated the exhibition For All Time: Shakespeare In Yorkshire at the Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery. Showcasing the Brotherton’s English Literature collection, the exhibition explored Shakespeare’s engagement with English (particularly Yorkshire) history, and the ways in which directors and actors continue to use his work to ask questions about regional identity.
Activist public history work
I coordinate Rainbow Plaques, a participatory public history project which invites members of the public to make DIY cardboard plaques marking places significant to local, national or personal LGBT history. I have received commissions from Centre for Live Art Yorkshire and West Yorkshire Queer Stories; delivered art workshops with groups of diverse ages in York, Leeds, Wakefield and Bradford; and engaged with York and Leeds Civic Trusts to create semi-permanent and permanent rainbow plaques.
In 2016-17, I was the Lead Coordinator of York LGBT History Month; prior to this, I was the Outreach Coordinator from 2014-16. This involved:
- Managing an activist public history project, chairing charity committee and developing overall project plan
- Developing links and liaising with academic, heritage sector, public sector and third sector partners to coordinate programme of around 50 events during February (LGBT History Month)
- Media liaison, fundraising and budget coordination
- Communicating history to general public, prison inmates and secondary school pupils