Rex Ferguson


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I have supervised students on a range of topics including Modernism and Marketing, the literary impressionism of Freud's writing and the memoirs of Detectives from the early twentieth-century.

I would be very happy to hear from prospective students working in the following areas:

Twentieth-century Fiction
Law and Literature
Education and Literature
Cultural Studies
Philosophical Approaches (especially phenomenological)

1995 …2021

Research activity per year

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Personal profile


I have been a member of the English Literature department since 2011. Prior to that, I undertook my undergraduate degree in English Literature and Philosophy from the University of Glasgow in 2004, going on to complete an MLitt degree in ‘Modernities’ and a PhD at the same institution. In September 2010 I took up a postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh.

Research interests

My research to date has comprised three main strands. These are:


  1. Law and Literature. Since the publication of my first monograph Criminal Law and the Modernist Novel: Experience on Trial (CUP, 2013), my research has been partly focussed upon the critical intersections between law and literature. I have developed this strand of my research through chapter-length contributions to field-defining publications by major international presses - Cambridge Critical Concepts: Law and Literature (CUP, 2018); The Oxford Handbook of Law and Humanities (OUP, 2019); British Literature in Transition, 1900-1920 (CUP, 2019).
  2. Phenomenology. The second strand of my research stretches back to my academic training in philosophy and is based on the rich opportunities for scholarly study brought about when literary texts are placed in dialogue with the phenomenological thought of philosophers such as Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. This work has been advanced through articles based around specific concepts and/or embodied states of being – for example, jealousy, hands, heat and mood – and has appeared in some of the leading peer-reviewed journals in my discipline (Critical Quarterly (2014),Textual Practice (2017), Philosophy and Literature (2017)) and in a chapter-length contribution to a recent collection published by Routledge (2019).
  3. Identification and Identity. The work that has dominated my focus most recently in many ways marries the interests of 1 and 2. There is, clearly, a legal component to the analysis of how identification practices function within society. More importantly, however, is the phenomenological approach which has allowed me to consider how embodied experience is indissolubly connected to a world that is made of a natural environment but also of technologies, social structures, institutional processes and texts. In other words, the experience of being in one’s own body is only precisely what it is because of the culture in which one finds oneself. The central concern of my work on identification has therefore been how objective knowledge (which envisages the individual as an object of information) is involved in the subjective experience of being. The work that I have developed in this strand of my research has come to fruition in a monograph Identification Practices in Twentieth-Century Fiction (OUP, 2021) and an edited collection The Art of Identification: Forensics, Surveillance, Identity (Penn State UP, 2021).

My current research is on literary representations of learning from the 1960s to the present day. I am particularly interested in how these representations connect to theories of learning and to radical educational practices.

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 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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