Professor Gowan Dawson

Personal details | Publications | Research | Teaching | Supervision | Media

Professor of Victorian Literature and Culture

dawson, gowan

Department: English

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2779

Email: gd31@le.ac.uk

Office: Room 1413, Attenborough Tower

Address: School of Arts, University of Leicester, University Road,Leicester, LE1 7RH

Personal details

Biography

I am Professor of Victorian Literature and Culture and Director of the Victorian Studies Centre, which recently celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. Before coming to Leicester, I was a Leverhulme Research Fellow on the ‘Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical’ (SciPer) project at the Universities of Leeds and Sheffield. My main research interests lie in the nineteenth century, especially in the cultural history of Victorian science, as well as in the print culture of the period, and I have written three books and edited six more on these subjects. Alongside Sally Shuttleworth and Chris Lintott, I am co-director of the AHRC-funded project ‘Constructing Scientific Communities: Citizen Science in the 19th and 21st Centuries’, an innovative collaboration between the University of Leicester, Oxford University, the Natural History Museum, the Royal College of Surgeons and the Royal Society.  The project, which was awarded a large grant in the AHRC ‘Science in Culture’ theme, examines how methods of communication and engagement developed in the nineteenth-century periodical press offer potential models for facilitating ‘citizen’ involvement in contemporary science. I am also an Honorary Research Fellow of the Natural History Museum.

Qualifications

  • BA (Hons) University of East Anglia
  • MA University of Nottingham
  • PhD University of Sheffield
  • Associate Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy

Publications

Books

Edited books and journals

  • With Bernard Lightman, Victorian Scientific Naturalism: Community, Identity, Continuity (University of Chicago Press, 2014)
  • With Geoffrey Cantor, The Correspondence of John Tyndall, vol. 1: 1840–43 (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014)
  • With Bernard Lightman, Victorian Science and Literature, 8 vols. (Routledge, 2011–12)
  • With Laurel Brake and Marysa Demoor et al., Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century Journalism (British Library, 2009)
  • With Louise Henson, Geoffrey Cantor, Richard Noakes, Sally Shuttleworth, and Jonathan R. Topham, Culture and Science in the Nineteenth-Century Media (Ashgate, 2004)
  • With Sally Shuttleworth, Victorian Poetry, special number on ‘Science and Victorian Poetry’, 41 (2003)

Journal articles

  • ‘Dickens, Dinosaurs, and Design’, Victorian Literature and Culture 44 (2016): 761–78
  • ‘Up in the Air: Evolution and Victorian Culture’, Victorian Review 41 (2015): 9–13
  • With Sally Shuttleworth and Chris Lintott, ‘Constructing Scientific Communities: Citizen Science in the Nineteenth and Twenty-First Centuries’, Journal of Victorian Culture 20 (2015): 246–54
  • ‘Darwin Decentred’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 46 (2014): 93–96
  • ‘Paleontology in Parts: Richard Owen, William John Broderip, and the Serialization of Science in Early Victorian Britain’, Isis 103 (2012): 637–67
  • ‘Literary Megatheriums and Loose Baggy Monsters: Paleontology and the Victorian Novel’, Victorian Studies 53 (2011): 203–30
  • ‘“By a Comparison of Incidents and Dialogue”: Richard Owen, Comparative Anatomy and Victorian Serial Fiction’, 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century 11 (2010)
  • ‘Literature and Science under the Microscope’, Journal of Victorian Culture 11 (2006): 301–15
  • ‘Walter Pater’s Marius the Epicurean and the Discourse of Science in Macmillan’s Magazine: “A Creature of the Nineteenth Century”’, English Literature in Transition 1880–1920 48 (2005): 38–54
  • With Jonathan R. Topham, ‘Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical’, Literature Compass 1 (2004) VI 056, 1–9
  • ‘Intrinsic Earthliness: Science, Materialism and the Fleshly School of Poetry’, Victorian Poetry 41 (2003): 113–29
  • With Sally Shuttleworth, ‘Introduction: Science and Victorian Poetry’, Victorian Poetry 41 (2003): 1–10
  • ‘Stranger than Fiction: Spiritualism, Intertextuality, and William Makepeace Thackeray’s Editorship of the Cornhill Magazine, 1860–62’, Journal of Victorian Culture 7 (2002): 220–38
  • With Sally Shuttleworth and Richard Noakes, ‘Women, Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century’, Women: A Cultural Review 12 (2001): 57–70

Book chapters

  • ‘Literary Replication and the Making of a Scientific “Fact”: Richard Owen’s Discovery of the Dinornis’, Replication in the Long Nineteenth Century: Re-makings and Reproductions, ed. by Julie Codell and Linda K. Hughes (Edinburgh University Press, 2018): 181–94
  • ‘Science in the Periodical Press’, in The Routledge Research Companion to Nineteenth-Century British Literature and Science, ed. by John Holmes and Sharon Ruston (Routledge, 2017): 172–86
  • ‘“The Great O. versus the Jermyn St. Pet”: Huxley, Falconer, and Owen on Paleontological Method’, in Victorian Scientific Naturalism: Community, Identity, Continuity, ed. by Gowan Dawson and Bernard Lightman (University of Chicago Press, 2014): 27–54
  • With Bernard Lightman, ‘Introduction’, in Victorian Scientific Naturalism: Community, Identity, Continuity, ed. by Gowan Dawson and Bernard Lightman (University of Chicago Press, 2014): 1–24
  • ‘Literature’ in The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Darwin and Evolutionary Thought, ed. by Michael Ruse (Cambridge University Press, 2013): 436–42
  • ‘“Like a Megatherium Smoking a Cigar”: Darwin’s Beagle Fossils in Nineteenth-Century Popular Culture’, in Darwin, Tennyson and Their Readers: Explorations in Victorian Literature and Science, ed. by Valerie Purton (Anthem Press, 2013): 81–96
  • ‘Science and Its Popularization’, in The Cambridge Companion to English Literature 1830–1914, ed. by Joanne Shattock (Cambridge University Press, 2010): 165–83
  • ‘Aestheticism, Immorality and the Reception of Darwinism in Victorian Britain’, in Unmapped Countries: Biological Visions in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture, ed. by Anne-Julia Zwierlein (Anthem Press, 2005): 43–54
  • ‘Victorian Periodicals and the Making of William Kingdon Clifford’s Posthumous Reputation’, in Science Serialized: Representations of the Sciences in Nineteenth-Century Periodicals, ed. by Sally Shuttleworth and Geoffrey Cantor (MIT Press, 2004): 259–84
  • ‘Contextualising the “War” Between Science and Religion’, in Reinventing Christianity: Nineteenth Century Contexts, ed. by Linda Woodhead (Ashgate, 2001): 239–50

Research

My main research interests lie in the nineteenth century, especially in the cultural history of Victorian science, as well as in the print culture of the period.  I’m the author of Show Me the Bone: Reconstructing Prehistoric Monsters in Nineteenth-Century Britain and America (University of Chicago Press, 2016) and Darwin, Literature and Victorian Respectability (Cambridge University Press, 2007), and co-author of Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: Reading the Magazine of Nature (Cambridge University Press, 2004).  With Bernard Lightman, I’m general editor of Victorian Science and Literature, 8 vols. (Routledge, 2011–12), and editor of Victorian Scientific Naturalism: Community, Identity, Continuity (University of Chicago Press, 2014).  I’ve also published articles on Dickens, Thackeray, Pater and D.G. Rossetti in Victorian Studies, Victorian Literature and Culture, the Journal of Victorian Culture, English Literature in Transition 1880–1920 and Victorian Poetry.  I’m an Honorary Research Fellow of the Natural History Museum in London, and serve on the editorial boards of the British Journal for the History of Science, the Journal of Victorian Culture and Notes and Records of the Royal Society.  In 2012/13 I held a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship, and have also received research grants from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Academy, the National Science Foundation (USA), the UK-India Education and Research Initiative and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Teaching

I teach on the following undergraduate and MA courses:

Supervision

I am keen to supervise PhD research in any areas of Victorian literature and print culture, as well as the cultural history of nineteenth-century science. My current and recent research students include:

Completed:

  • Matthew Wale, ‘“The Sympathy of a Crowd”: Periodicals and the Practices of Natural History in Nineteenth-Century Britain’ (AHRC funded). Awarded with minor corrections in 2017.
  • Derek Ball, ‘Mathematics in George Eliot’s Novels’. Awarded with minor corrections in 2016.
  • Danielle Benyon-Payne, ‘The Suicide Question in Late-Victorian Gothic Fiction’. Awarded with minor corrections in 2015.
Current:
  • Richard Fallon, ‘Reshaping Dinosaurs: The Popularisation of Extinct Animals in Anglo-American Culture 1877–1921’ (AHRC funded)
  • Hayley Flynn, ‘Victorian Dream Theory and the Periodical Press’
  • Miyuki Kamezawa, ‘Masculinity in Thomas Hardy’s Later Novels’
  • Aditi Premnath, ‘Degenerate Minds: Bram Stoker’s Experimental Fiction’

Media

I have appeared with Giles Brandreth on BBC1’s The One Show (2016), and also on Locomotion: Dan Snow’s History of Railways for BBC2 (2012).  I have written articles for the Times Literary Supplement, Nature and American Scientist, and, as part of the AHRC-funded ‘Constructing Scientific Communities’ project, have recorded podcasts for a series on public participation in science called ‘The Conversationalist’.

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