Current research by students pursing a PhD or MA by Research


iamge of cath beard

Catherine Beard

PhD supervisor: Professor Daniel G. Williams

Catherine Beard is working on a thesis entitled Reading 1984: Writing Thatcher’s Britain. This study examines the influence of both the mythic and temporal year of 1984 upon British writing across 1983 to 1985. Thematic expressions of Cold War, atomic anxiety, class struggle, feminism, national identity and madness reflect back on a fractured Britain and distil into the literature produced. From this we can create a new narrative, one that considers the year as a pivotal moment in the development of the contemporary British psyche. She utilises a Four Nations approach using the work of Raymond Williams to provide a theoretical frame, with consideration of the impact made by George Orwell and his own manufactured 1984.

Conference papers include 'The half-turned away child: Loyalties and critical responses to the fiction of Raymond Williams' and 'Nesta’s Scream: The representation of working class women in Raymond William’s Loyalties' 

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John Boaler


MA by Research supervisor: Professor Kirsti Bohata

John Boaler's thesis on 'The representation of Work and Industrial Relations in the Literature of south Wales between the Wars' explores the industrial literature of the coalfields, including Rhys Davies, Gwyn Thomas, Lewis Jones, Jack Jones, Idris Davies, Gwyn Jones and Alun Lewis.  Alongside mining and unemployment, the study considers women's work and other work outside heavy industry, such as in shops and pubs.  Drawing on visual art and documentary, it makes a contribution to expanding our understanding of what Raymond Williams described as industrial fiction written from the inside. 


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Clare Davies


PhD supervisor: Professor Daniel Williams

Thesis title: Tradition and Tragedy in the Work of T. S. Eliot, Raymond Williams, and Cornel West

Her PhD thesis focuses on the role of the intellectual in different national contexts. Her main research interests include twentieth-century Welsh Writing in English, American and African-American literature andculture, the figure of the intellectual, national identity and ethnicity, and comparative approaches to literature. Her first article, based on her MA dissertation, ‘Fathers and Phantoms:revealing the unconscious residues in Raymond Williams’s Border Country’, was published in the International Journal of Welsh Writing in English 1/4 (2017) [Gold Open Access]10.16995/ijwwe.4.2.  Her conference papers include “Invisible or Independent?: The Case of DorothyEdwards and Nella Larsen" at 'In/Dependent' the annual conference of the Association for Welsh Writing in English, Gregynog, April 2014 and 'Cultural Contributionism? T. S. Eliot, David Jones and Welsh Culture' at the North American Association for the Study of Welsh Culture and History (NAASWCH) conference at Harvard, July 2016.  She has acted as conference organiser for the Richard Burton Centre for the Study of Modern Wales's annual Postgraduate Conference for several years and currently works at the Welsh Books Council as Project Officer. 

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Dan Gerke


PhD Supervisors: Professor Daniel G. Williams (CREW) and Professor Julian Preece (German)

Dan Gerke's main project is an attempt to establish the influence of European thinkers, in particular the Western Marxists, on the development of Raymond Williams's cultural materialism. In support of this he has presented a number of conference papers on Williams's responses to Lukacs, Sartre and Gramsci, the ambiguities to be found in his Welsh Europeanism and his advocacy of literary realism as a literature of community. His other research interests include psychoanalysis, gender and speculative realism in philosophy. He has presented on the Butler/Zizek debates, Lacanian gender-theory and the possible relation between speculative realism and Marxism.

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Syd Morgan


PhD Supervisor: Professor Daniel G Williams

The Relationship between Fianna Fáil and the Welsh Nationalist Party, 1925-1948

Within transnational history, researching the reciprocal relationship between Irish and Welsh nationalisms following the demise of British Home Rule during World War One and the emergence of state-building New Nationalisms. Part of the global movement towards Self Determination encapsulated by President Wilson’s Fourteen Points, the Irish and Welsh cases are critically analysed through the agency of new political parties which, while Celtic and European, also embraced World-wide anti-colonialism and the new international order. Not just political, these were embedded in national movements which also employed key figures, languages, literature, education, economics and international relations to attain their goals. Interwoven with these is the unevenly revealed rôle of women, currently being reassessed by contemporary historians, and further enriching the studies. The research, thus, requires a broad interdisciplinary approach. 

Syd Morgan has presented widely, including at Four Nations History Network Conference, King’s College, London, 20th February 2015 on Fianna Fáil & Plaid Cymru, Cymdeithas Carnhuanawc, Cardiff, 2016, Captain Jack White: Irish Socialist Republican Pacifist, Wales & Welsh Nationalism, and University of Wolverhampton Symposium: Un-Shared Futures? Teaching the Literatures of Four Nations in Flux, 5th December 2017,  Noëlle: The Moon That Gave Light - Towards a Biography of Dr. Noëlle Ffrench Davies

 Tags: +Transnationalism + Nationalisms +Ireland +Wales +Celtic +Anticolonialism +Feminism +Key Figures +International Relations +Interdisciplinary 


'Welsh state-building or UK state-reforming? Plaid Cymru and the Scottish Nationalist Party' British Politics Review(Oslo) Volume 9 | No. 4 | Autumn 2014,

(With Enric Ucelay-Da Cal), Introduction - Nationalists and the Problem of Overcoming Visibility: Catalunya & WalesStudies in National Movements, Volume 2, 2014 

'The Construction of a ‘New Nationalism' - The Welsh Nationalist Party to 1946', Studies in National Movements, Volume 2, 2014

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Adrian Osbourne


PhD Supervisor: Professor John Goodby

Adrian is researching the Fifth Notebook of Dylan Thomas, a recently discovered handwritten manuscript of Thomas’s poetry, and will be producing an annotated critical edition for publication in collaboration with Professor Goodby. He is also working on a thesis regarding the role of process philosophy in Dylan Thomas’s early short fiction and poetry. Adrian has had an article published in New Welsh Review on Dylan Thomas, and has given academic presentations at Harvard University, University of York, and the Annual Association of Welsh Writing in English.

Rhea Seren Phillips


PhD Supervisor: Professor John Goodby

Rhea Seren Phillips is studying how Welsh poetic forms and metre could be used to reconsider and engage with a contemporary Welsh cultural identity. She has been published in Gogoneddus Ach-y-Fi: an exhibition of work by contemporary Surrealists curated by David Greenslade (2018), Molly Bloom (January 2018), Dissident Voice (two poems in January 2018), The Conversation (two publications in 2017) and The Luxembourg Review (2017). Her poetry will be included in the following upcoming publications: The Lonely Crowd (Issue 9) and Envoi (May 2018). She is funded by The Thomas and Elizabeth Williams Scholarship.