Dr Sara Wasson

Reader in Gothic Studies

Research Overview

My research specialties are Gothic, science fiction, critical medical humanities, slow violence, and pain. My research is concerned with ethical witness in response to individual and collective suffering. My first monograph, Urban Gothic of the Second World War, won the International Gothic Association’s Allan Lloyd Smith Memorial Prize. I co-edited the collection Gothic Science Fiction, guest edited a special issue of Gothic Studies on Medical Gothic, and lead the AHRC-funded research network Translating Chronic Pain which aims to better represent chronic pain experience through flash writing. My latest monograph is Transplantation Gothic, a shadow cultural history of fantasies of transfer under neoliberal capitalism.

‘ “Undeath” or the Dreams of Plants? The Svalbard Global Seed vault, Human Melancholy and Lively Matter.”
Oral presentation

‘Waiting, Strange: Temporality in Life Writing by Transplant Recipients.’ British Society for Literature and Science (BSLS) Conference, April 2021.
Oral presentation

Public reading/talk as part of the book launch for Uncanny Bodies (Luna Press, 2020), to which I contributed a chapter titled ‘Pain’s Uncanny’.
Public Lecture/ Debate/Seminar

Invited speaker at the University of Salamanca, Spain. Paper title: ‘Making room for stories that don’t sound like stories: nuanced resilience in narratives of pain’.
Invited talk

Placements to Enhance Employability in English, and Motivated vs. Transferable Skills
Oral presentation

Plenary speaker at the international conference Embodying Fantastika. Paper title: ‘Slow Lacerations: Time in Tissue Transfer Fantastika.’
Invited talk

Plenary speaker at the Medical Humanities and the Fantastic international Symposium, Liverpool University. Paper title: ‘Spectrality, Strangeness and Stigmaphilia: Chronic Pain and the Fantastic’.
Invited talk

Invited speaker at Linnaeus University, Sweden, for a workshop on Gothic and the Anthropocene (June 2019). My paper title: ‘An Erotics of Nonhuman Encounter: Caitlín R. Kiernan and Queering the Weird’.
Other

'Translating Chronic Pain', Podcast with pain charity Pain Concern
Other

Interviewed for an article on fan theories, '‘The Impossible Problems and Endless Opportunities of Fan Theories’
Other

Served on the Judging Panel for a poetry competition for the charity Our Minds Leeds.
Other

‘Interrogating Medicine: A Podcast on Humanities and Pain’
Other

Guardian interview. ‘Twilight forever: how superfans kept the vampire critics at bay’
Other

‘“Flash” future? The Potential of Fragments and Short-Form Writing in the project Translating Chronic Pain’. NNMHR: Northern Network Medical Humanities conference (NNMHR), at the University of Leeds. This is an annual conference with international reach
Other

‘Transplantation Metaphors and “Future”-Making in State Discourse and Science Fictions Of Vulnerable Donors’. Northern Network Medical Humanities conference (NNMHR), at the University of Leeds.
Other

‘“Flash” future? The Potential of Fragments and Short-Form Writing in the project Translating Chronic Pain’
Oral presentation

Transplantation Metaphors and “Future”-Making in State Discourse and Science Fictions Of Vulnerable Donors
Oral presentation

Representing Pain: Narrative and Fragments
Participation in conference -Mixed Audience

Pain as Fragment, Moment, Glimpse: Flash Illness Writing
Oral presentation

‘Pain as Fragment, Moment, Glimpse: Flash Illness Writing’. Presented at Representing Pain: Narrative & Fragments, AHRC-Funded Symposium at Lancaster University.
Oral presentation

‘Clinical Labour in the Grey Zone: the biopolitics of transplant horror in Manjula Padmanabhan’s Harvest’
Oral presentation

14th Biennial Conference of the International Gothic Association
Participation in conference -Mixed Audience

Narrative and the Uncanny
Invited talk

Clinical Necropoetics: Cadaveric Donation in Medical Writing
Invited talk

‘Before Narrative’: podcast for the British Medical Journal BMJ Blog.
Other

workshop on writing about pain
Types of Public engagement and outreach - Festival/Exhibition

Led an AHRC-funded Creative Writing Workshop in Manchester
Other

Creative Summit
Participation in workshop, seminar, course

Creative Summit
Participation in workshop, seminar, course

13th Biennial Conference of the International Gothic Association
Participation in conference -Mixed Audience

‘Vulnerable Bodies: Literary Fantasies of Organ Procurement and Economic Precarity’. International Gothic Association Conference, ‘Gothic Traditions and Departures’. Universidad de las Américas Puebla (UDLAP) in Cholula, Mexico.
Oral presentation

Plenary speaker at the University Santiago de Compostela in Spain, international conference The Discourse of Identity II, held by the Faculty of Philology. Paper title: ‘Haunted Selves, Fractured Identities: Writing Chronic Pain in the Gothic Mode’.
Invited talk

Critical Stories: Annual Conference of the Association of Medical Humanities
Participation in conference -Mixed Audience

Complex Chaos: Temporality in Representations of Chronic Pain
Oral presentation

Gothic and the Biomedical Imaginary
Invited talk

II International Conference: The Discourse of Identity
Participation in conference -Mixed Audience

Plenary speaker. Paper title: ‘The National Work of Ghost Fiction on the Second World War British Home Front’
Invited talk

Seventh Annual Gothic Postgraduate Conference and Research Training Day
Participation in conference -Mixed Audience

Bringing Conflict Home_ University of York
Participation in conference -Mixed Audience

Invited speaker, Manchester Metropolitan University, Centre for Gothic Studies, March 2017. Invited to speak about my research on Gothic and medical humanities. Paper titled: ‘Narrative Disruption: Literature of Chronic Pain’ in the Gothic Mode’.
Invited talk

Collaboration with Museum of London: Perspectives of Destruction
Festival/Exhibition/Concert

'Complex Chaos: Temporality in Representations of Chronic Pain’. Association of Medical Humanities Annual Conference, ‘Critical Stories’, Keele University.
Oral presentation

‘Restless Ghosts: Fantasies of the Combatant Dead on the Second World War British Home Front’. University of York, ‘Bringing Conflict Home’ Conference.
Oral presentation

International Gothic Association: Allan Lloyd Smith Memorial Prize (Event)
Membership of committee

Recalcitrant Flesh: Organ Transfer and the Struggle for Narrative Control in Text and Film
Oral presentation

‘Recalcitrant Flesh: Organ Transfer and the Struggle for Narrative Control in Text and Film’, Gothic Technologies/Gothic Techniques, Eleventh Biennial Conference of the International Gothic Association, University of Surrey.
Oral presentation

Dark Ate the Outlines of the House”: Elizabeth Bowen’s Wartime Fiction and Gender Identity in British Interiors
Oral presentation

‘“Tombstones or Crouching Things”: The Politics of Vampire Fiction on The British World War II Home Front
Oral presentation

Medical Gothic: Organ Harvesting and Medicalised Abjection in Kazuo Ishiguro and Neal Shusterman
Oral presentation

Sentient Ruins and the Ventriloquised Dead: Mervyn Peake’s Wartime Poetry
Oral presentation

‘Crying with Phantom Tongue’: the Politics of Lamentation in Mervyn Peake’s Wartime Poetry’
Oral presentation

‘Nurturing Student Confidence in Teaching Literary and Cultural Theory
Oral presentation

Science Fiction and Contemporary Organ Transplant Practice
Invited talk

Plenary speaker at the international conference Embodying Fantastika (2019). Paper title: ‘Slow Lacerations: Time in Tissue Transfer Fantastika’.
Invited talk

Ghostly Authorities & Vampire Fangs: Myths of Englishness revised in Anna Kavan’s Fiction
Oral presentation

The Twilight Saga and the Pleasures of Spectatorship: The Broken Body and the Shining Body
Oral presentation

‘“Half-Masonry, Half Pain”: Death and Nation in Mervyn Peake’s Poetry of Second World War London
Oral presentation

Sara Wasson's monograph Transplantation Gothic was honoured to win the International Gothic Association's Allan Lloyd Smith prize for advancing the field of Gothic studies.
Prize (including medals and awards)

Sara Wasson's monograph Transplantation Gothic was shortlisted for the British Society of Literature and Science book award.
Prize (including medals and awards)

Sara Wasson's monograph Urban Gothic of the Second World War won the International Gothic Association's Allan Lloyd Smith prize for advancing the field of Gothic studies.
Prize (including medals and awards)

  • Digital Humanities
  • Gothic and Science Fiction
  • Literature, Science and Medicine