My research (which is generously funded by the Faculty’s Winton Studentship) looks at the relationship between literature and financial crisis. I’m particularly interested in the similarities between language and money; both are quantifiable in one sense and unquantifiable in another, and both have a slippery relationship with ideas of ‘value’. One of my chapters looks at the role of metaphor in the development of our vocabulary of crisis. An example of this is the word ‘bubble’ – it’s thrown about in all sorts of contexts in the financial press, but economists can’t agree on what it really means.
I think it is essential to understand how and why we speak and write the way that we do about the world – it is a field that expands far beyond my specific topic, and I feel very privileged to have been given the opportunity to work on this for three years (and hopefully longer!)
I’m often asked why I came back to Murray Edwards rather than choose a new college for my postgraduate work, and since this blog piece has been written as part of the college’s 60th anniversary celebrations, I thought I’d address the question here. I have quite a few reasons, but I can genuinely say that the most important of them is the excellent teaching and encouragement I received from the English fellows at the college during my time here as an undergraduate. Beyond this, Murray Edwards itself is an engaging environment – we have prestigious academics and excellent resources, not to mention a strong and inclusive sense of community.
Possibly the best thing about being at such a young college, though, is that it is still forming its identity. The seven years I’ve been linked to Murray Edwards represent more than 10% of the time that the college has existed. I like being part of a changing environment, and I like the way that very little here is set in stone (even if there’s a lot set in concrete, physically speaking…). We have both male and female fellows in college, and the atmosphere is dynamic and forward looking.
My personal hope for the college is that it will reach a point where its aims can be enhanced by admitting male students. It would be wonderful to be a part of a mixed-sex college with a strong philosophy on the equality of women and men.