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Personal profile

Research interests

I am Professor in the department of English Language and Literature at Åbo Akademi University. My thirteen authored or co-edited books and special issues include 'Mediating and Representing the Slum' (Journal of Urban History, 2023), Deep Locational Criticism (Benjamins, 2016), Literatures of Urban Possibility (Palgrave, co-edited, 2021) and The Materiality of Literary Narratives in Urban History (Routledge, co-edited 2020). My current research concentrates on two main areas: the literary urban history of London as mediated through representations of housing and mobilities; and the secondary city in literary urban studies, with a focus on St. Louis, Missouri and the Midwestern USA.

I have been on the editorial board of the Nordic Journal of English Studies since 2021, and in 2023 became one of the three editors of Nordic Irish Studies. I am on the board of the Finnish Society for the Study of English (FINSSE) and the European Society for the Study of English (ESSE).

Visiting research positions internationally have included extended periods at the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, UK (2013), and the School of Geography, Queen Mary University of London, UK (2014), as part of my postdoc, and as an Honorary Visiting Fellow in the Center for the Humanities connected with the Divided City Initiative at Washington University St. Louis, USA (2022 and 2024). I have also been a visiting researcher at the Centre for Mobility Humanities (MoHu) at the University of Padua, Italy, for spells in 2020 and 2022.


A Londoner originally, I took my BA at the University of Birmingham (1991) and my MPhil at the University of Oxford (1994). In the 1990s and 2000s I worked on the revision of the Oxford English Dictionary, as a London advertising executive and then as a lecturer at the Estonian Institute of Humanities, Tallinn University, Estonia. I came to Åbo Akademi University (ÅAU) in 2005 and defended my PhD thesis here in 2011. From 2012-15 I held an Academy of Finland postdoctoral research position. In 2016 I gained the title of Docent in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Turku and then in 2016 I became a tenure-track Assistant Professor at ÅAU, rising to Associate Professor in 2019, and full Professor in 2023.


Since 2006 I have taught courses in every aspect of English literary studies in the department of English Language and Literature at Åbo Akademi University, at levels ranging from first year to master's. I have supervised over 30 BA and MA theses and eleven PhD theses, five as main supervisor. I also have university teaching experience in Estonia (Tallinn University) and the UK (Brasenose College, Oxford).

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, PhD, English Language and Literature – Åbo Akademi University – Thesis title: 'E.M. Forster and English Place: A Literary Topography'. Supervisor, Roger D. Sell (ÅAU). Pre-examiners: Patrick Parrinder (University of Reading), Philip Gardner (Memorial University of Newfoundland). Faculty opponent: Philip Gardner (Memorial University of Newfoundland), Åbo Akademi University

1 Aug 200515 Apr 2011

Award Date: 15 Jun 2011

Master, MPhil, English Studies. Thesis title: 'Richard Hakluyt and the English Nation'. Supervisors John Carey (Merton College, Oxford) and Robert J.C. Young (Wadham College, Oxford), University of Oxford

1 Oct 19921 Jul 1994

Award Date: 1 Nov 1994

Bachelor, BA, English Language and Literature, University of Birmingham

1 Oct 19881 Jul 1991

Award Date: 15 Jul 1991

External positions

Adjunct Professor, Department of Comparative Literature, University of Turku

1 Jan 2016 → …


  • PR English literature
  • city
  • London
  • urban studies
  • housing
  • transport
  • public space


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