Dr Rick Crownshaw

Staff details

Position Senior Lecturer
Email r.crownshaw (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone +44 (0)20 7919 7432
Dr Rick Crownshaw

Dr Rick Crownshaw was appointed by Goldsmiths in 2005, before which he was a lecturer in the Department of American Studies, Keele University, 2000-2001, and the Department of English, Manchester Metropolitan University, 2001-2005. 

Academic qualifications

  • BA English and American Studies (Keele University, 1993)
  • MA in Post-1945 American Literature and Literary Theory (University of Sussex, 1994)
  • DPhil in American Literature (University of Sussex, 2000)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (Open University, 2001)



  • Inventing the Nation: American Literature in the Mid-Nineteenth Century
  • Introduction to American Literature and Culture
  • The American South
  • Modern American Fiction
  • Hollywood Cinema, 1945 to the Present Day


  • Twenty-First-Century American Fiction
  • American Literature and Culture: Critical and Theoretical Concepts
  • The Contemporary American Novel in the Era of Climate Change

Current administrative duties

  • Programme Coordinator and Admissions Tutor for the Pathway in American Literature and Culture, MA in Literary Studies
  • Chair, MA Teaching and Learning Committee 

Areas of PhD supervision

I have supervised doctoral theses on Holocaust memoryscapes, and nineteenth-, twentieth- and twenty-first-century American literature and culture (with a particular emphasis on memory and trauma). So far, I have supervised six theses to completion.

Current projects under my supervision include the posthuman in contemporary European and American fiction, and Holocaust literature, memorialisation and the new materialism. In addition to the above areas, I am keen to supervise projects on contemporary American fiction, cultural memory and trauma studies, and representations of Anthropocene (including narratives of climate change/oil/fossil fuels more generally/energy/environmental catastrophe/speculative and science fiction).

Research Interests

Current research 

I am currently working on a monograph, Remembering the Anthropocene in Contemporary American Fiction, which focuses on, among other things, the potential of cultural memory and trauma studies in analyzing literary narratives of climate change, extinction, pollution and toxicity in the American South, the resourcing of war, American petrocultures, and post-oil imaginaries.

Previous research

The Afterlife of Holocaust Memory in Contemporary Literature and Culture:

As living memories of the Holocaust die out with the generation that witnessed the event, practitioners of memory work have focused on the transmission of memory to the next generations. Recent Holocaust memorialisation, in the form of literature, museums, memorials and monuments, must make Holocaust memory meaningful for those born after the event. With this in mind, the arts of Holocaust memorialisation often provoke a sense of secondary memory or vicarious witnessing, an attempt to experience Holocaust memory or even trauma by proxy– in short, the remembrance of things not witnessed.

Recent academic theories of Holocaust memory and trauma are correspondent with these current memorial practices. The problem with this theoretical paradigm, which seems to be shaping current memorial projects of different genres, is that it overlooks the way post-Holocaust memory work can become appropriative, displacing or colonising the memories of witnesses, replacing their trauma with a kind of equivalent experienced vicariously. Such a memorial regime, in which trauma becomes universalised and homogenised, tends to lose sight of the specificity of particular acts of remembering, the identities formed in relation to the remembrance of past events, and the ethical and political questions raised by those acts and identifications.

This book, Afterlife, identifies the ethical implications of such memory work where it becomes appropriative and universalising. Afterlife theorises more robustly the transmission or inheritance of trauma via Holocaust memorials, monuments, museums, and literature in order to differentiate types of trauma and traumatized identities and to reinstall the particularities of memory work. Afterlife investigates the ethical and political ramifications of different instances and practices of memory work and of the identities produced by such work. Afterlife does this by scrutinizing theoretical approaches to the work of W.G. Sebald and Bernard Schlink, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the museum and memorial architecture of Daniel Libeskind and Peter Eisenman, and generates a series of more self-reflexive readings of such representations of the Holocaust.

Recent research networks

Editorial Boards and Refereeing

  • Member of editorial board for the journal Memory Studies (Sage)
  • I have refereed submissions to the following journals: Textual Practice; Seminar, A Journal of Germanic Studies; Patterns of Prejudice; Journal of Modern Jewish Studies; Journal of Material Culture; Journal of Romance Studies; Women: A Cultural Review; Memory Studies; Comparative Literature; Journal of War and Culture Studies; Journal of American Studies; Cinema Journal
  • I have refereed book manuscripts and proposals for the following publishers: Routledge; Berghahn Books; Transaction; Palgrave Macmillan; Manchester University Press; and Fordham University Press.
  • I have referred research projects/grant applications proposed to the AHRC, Flemish Research Council, and Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology.

Publications and research outputs


Crownshaw, Richard. 2010. The Afterlife of Holocaust Memory in Contemporary Literature and Culture. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9780230581876

Edited Book

Crownshaw, Richard, ed. 2014. Transcultural Memory. London and NY: Routledge. ISBN 978-0415824484

Edited Journal

Craps, Stef and Crownshaw, Richard, eds. 2018. Studies in the Novel Special Issue: The Rising Tide of Climate Change Fiction, Studies in the Novel, 50(1). 0039-3827

Book Section

Crownshaw, Richard. 2019. Climate Change Perpetrators: Ecocriticism, Implicated Subjects, and Anthropocene Fiction. In: Susanne C. Knittel and Zachary J. Goldberg, eds. The Routledge International Handbook of Perpetrator Studies. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 9781138103245

Crownshaw, Richard. 2018. Speculative memory, the planetary, and genre fiction. In: Lucy Bond; Ben De Bruyn and Jessica Rapson, eds. Planetary Memory in Contemporary American Fiction. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 35-58. ISBN ‎9781138494411

Crownshaw, Richard. 2016. Cultural Memory Studies in the Epoch of the Anthropocene. In: Lucy Bond; Stef Craps and Pieter Vermeulen, eds. Memory Unbound: Tracing the Dynamics of Memory Studies. Oxford: Berghahn. ISBN 978-1-78533-300-2

Crownshaw, Richard. 2014. A Natural History of Testimony? In: Antony Rowland and Jane Kilby, eds. The Future of Testimony: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Witnessing. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 160-177. ISBN 9780415854450

Crownshaw, Richard. 2014. Depoliticizing and Repoliticizing Holocaust Memory. In: Jenni Adams, ed. The Bloomsbury Companion to Holocaust Literature. London: Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 219-236. ISBN 978-1441129086

Crownshaw, Richard. 2013. Reading in the Library of Catastrophe: W. G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn. In: Sas Mays, ed. Libraries, Literatures, and Archives. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 80-96. ISBN 9780415843874

Crownshaw, Richard. 2010. ‘The Future of Memory’. In: Richard Crownshaw; Jane Kilby and Antony Rowland, eds. The Future of Memory. Berghahn Books. ISBN 978-1845456931

Crownshaw, Richard. 2009. Rereading Der Vorleser, Remembering the Perpetrator. In: Stuart Taberner and Karina Berger, eds. Germans as Victims in the Literary Fiction of the Berlin Republic. 33 Suffolk: Boydell & Brewer, pp. 147-161. ISBN 9781571133939

Crownshaw, Richard. 2006. ‘German suffering or ‘narrative fetishism?’: W. G. Sebald’s ‘Air War and Literature: Zurich Lectures’. In: Lisa Patt and Vance Bell, eds. Searching for Sebald. Los Angeles: Institute for Cultural Inquiry. ISBN 978-1889917115

Crownshaw, Richard and Leydesdorff, Selma. 2005. Introduction. In: Luisa Passerini, ed. Memory and Totalitarianism (Memory and Narrative). Transaction Publishers; New edition. ISBN 978-1412804653

Crownshaw, Richard. 1999. Ethnic Identity and Cultural Heritage: Belsen in the Museum. In: Jane Stokes and Anna Reading, eds. The Media in Britain: Current Debates and Developments (Media, Culture & Society). Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 295-302. ISBN 978-0333730638


Craps, Stef and Crownshaw, Richard. 2018. Introduction: The Rising Tide of Climate Change Fiction. Studies in the Novel, 50(1), pp. 1-8. ISSN 0039-3827

Crownshaw, Richard. 2017. Climate Change Fiction and the Future of Memory: Speculating on Nathaniel Rich's Odds against Tomorrow. Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities, 4(2-3), pp. 127-146. ISSN 2330-8117

Crownshaw, Richard. 2017. Speculative memory, the planetary and genre fiction. Textual Practice, 31(5), pp. 887-910. ISSN 0950-236X

Crownshaw, Richard. 2017. Climate Change Fiction and the Future of Memory: Speculating on Nathaniel Rich’s Odds Against Tomorrow. Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities, 4(2-3), pp. 127-146. ISSN 2330-8117

Crownshaw, Richard. 2011. Introduction. Parallax, 17(4), pp. 1-3. ISSN 1353-4645

Crownshaw, Richard. 2011. Perpetrator Fictions and Transcultural Memory. Parallax, 17(4), pp. 75-89. ISSN 1353-4645

Crownshaw, Richard. 2011. Deterritorializing the “Homeland” in American Studies and American Fiction after 9/11. Journal of American Studies, 45(4), pp. 757-776. ISSN 0021-8758

Crownshaw, Richard. 2009. On reading Sebald criticism: witnessing the text. Journal of Romance Studies, 9(3), pp. 10-22. ISSN 14733536

Crownshaw, Richard. 2009. ‘Review Essay of Roger Luckhurst, The Trauma Question’. Textual Practice, 23(3), pp. 503-504. ISSN 0950-236X

Crownshaw, Richard. 2008. ‘The German Countermonument: Conceptual Indeterminacies and the Retheorisation of the Arts of Vicarious Memory’. Forum for Modern Language Studies, 44(2), pp. 212-227. ISSN 0015-8518

Crownshaw, Richard. 2007. ‘Photography and Memory in Holocaust Museums’. Mortality, 12(2), pp. 176-192. ISSN 1357-6275

Crownshaw, Richard. 2004. Reconsidering Postmemory: Photography, the Archive, and Post-Holocaust Memory in W.G. Sebald's Austerlitz. Mosaic, 37(4), pp. 215-236.

Crownshaw, Richard. 2002. ‘Review Essay of James E. Young’s At Memory’s Edge: After-Images of the Holocaust in Contemporary Art and Architecture,’. Textual Practice, 16(1), pp. 175-183. ISSN 0950-236X

Crownshaw, Richard. 2000. Performing Memory in Holocaust Museums. Performance Research, 5(3), pp. 18-27.

Crownshaw, Richard. 2000. Blacking out Holocaust memory in Saul Bellow's The victim. Saul Bellow Journal, 17(1-2), pp. 253-279. ISSN 0735-1550

Crownshaw, Richard. 1999. Review Essay: The Archaeology of Memory: Martin Gilbert’s Holocaust Journey. Rethinking History, 3(3), pp. 367-370. ISSN 1364-2529

Crownshaw, Richard. 1999. ‘Review Essay of Suzanne Bellamy’s Affective Genealogies: Psychoanalysis, Postmodernism, and the ‘Jewish Question’ after Auschwitz and Dominick LaCapra’s History and Memory after Auschwitz,’. Textual Practice, 13(2), pp. 418-424. ISSN 0950-236X

Crownshaw, Richard. 1998. ‘The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: Trauma, Identity, Architecture and the Nationalisation of Memory,’. Overhere: A European Journal of American Culture, 18(2), pp. 1-16.

Crownshaw, Richard. 1998. ‘Gravity’s Rainbow: Thomas Pynchon’s Holocaust Allegory,’. Pynchon Notes(42-43), pp. 199-212. ISSN 0278-1891

Crownshaw, Richard. 1998. Review Essay of Michael Lambek and Paul Antze (eds.), Tense Past: Cultural Essays in Trauma and Memory and Kali Tal, Worlds of Hurt: Reading the Literatures of Trauma. Textual Practice, 12(2), pp. 407-414. ISSN 0950-236X