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PhD Students in Literature, Language, and Theatre Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities

Name:  Yasmin Begum

SupervisorsDr Justine Baillie, Dr John Morton

Thesis title:  Consequences of Clothing:  The significance of dress in the work of Postcolonial South Asian Authors

Biography:  Yasmin Begum's research interests are in Postcolonial Literature and in particular identity politics as a result of colonisation and its legacy from a postcolonial perspective.  Her thesis focuses on authors with a South Asian connection, and examines the viewpoints of the indigene and the diaspora.  Yasmin will focus on representations of dress from the cusp of Indian Independence in 1947 to a contemporary context where notions of transnationalism are increasingly visible both in literature and in culture.  Through close textual analysis from a range of writers, such as the lesser known Santha Rama Rau (1923-2009) to more popular writers such as Monica Ali (1967- ), the thesis considers the migrant experience and how representations of dress reflect identity constructions during and post colonisation. 

Yasmin currently teaches on an undergraduate course in English and also helps run the Student Research Reading Group which meets monthly.


Name: Deborah Canavan

SupervisorsProfessor Andrew KingDr John Morton, Dr Deborah Mutch

Thesis Title: The significance of gender in the production and representations of two temperance magazines, The British Workman (and Friends of the Sons of Toil) (1855-1921) and The British Workwoman (Out and At Home)(1863-1913?). 

Biography: Deborah began her research in September 2016 in receipt of a Vice-Chancellor's scholarship. She completed an MA in English Literature (Literary London) at the University of Greenwich in 2015. Her dissertation topic – 'fallen women' in nineteenth-century literature ‑ ignited her interest in the archival research of marginalised periodicals. In 2016 she was engaged as a research assistant on a University of Greenwich pilot project 'Nineteenth Century Business, Labour, Temperance, And Trade Periodicals' (BLT19). The project aims to encourage students and educators to access and engage with digitised nineteenth-century periodicals. In 2017 she was awarded a Curran Fellowship grant to aid access to primary print and archival sources.  Deborah was also awarded a grant from the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals (RSVP) to present a paper at their 2017 annual conference.


Name: Siyu Chen

Supervisors: Dr. Xin WangDr. Claire Monks

Thesis title: The effect of Supra-segmental information on cross-language segmental processing in bilingual speakers.

Biography. Siyu got her BA (First-Class Honours) from the University of Surrey in 2012, followed by an MA from the University of Bristol in 2014. From 2012-2015 she worked in Dongbei University of Finance and Economics as a teaching assistant and from 2015-2017 she worked in the New Oriental Education & Technology Institution as a full-time English teacher. She began her PhD at Greenwich in 2017. Her research question concerns the interaction between languages which differ in the status of lexical tone, as is the case in Mandarin-English Bilinguals. She is currently collecting data for her first project in the PhD process.


Name: Julian E. Day

SupervisorsProfessor Andrew King, Professor David Finkelstein (University of Edinburgh)

Thesis Title: Reframing Media Discourses: Periodical Journalism, Theatre and Professional Actresses in Eighteenth-Century London.

Biography: Following a successful senior management career in international publishing, exhibitions (Reed Elsevier) and then in arts development (Peter Moores Foundation), Julian returned to full-time academic study completing an MA in 'Shakespeare and the Theatre' at the University of Birmingham (Shakespeare Institute). Julian has specialist knowledge of theatre history in performance, particularly English and American Drama. He has researched Shakespeare performed at the Lyceum in the nineteenth century and his MA thesis was devoted to the performances of the Victorian actress Dame Ellen Terry. Julian has presented papers on both 'Restoration Drama' and the rise of the 'Professional Actress' at Royal Museums, Greenwich, as part of their adult learning programme. This year for The British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Julian presented a paper on 'Liminal discourse as a function of eighteenth-century print media', for their autumn conference at Swansea University. At the University of Greenwich, Julian's current interdisciplinary research covers eighteenth-century print media and the theatre. He is exploring the connections, influence and social networks operating between the theatre and periodicals, through specific case studies of key events, plays and professional actresses in eighteenth-century London.


Name: Beth Gaskell

SupervisorsProfessor Andrew KingDr Gavin Rand, Professor Laurel Brake (Birkbeck)

Thesis Title: The Development of Military Periodicals and the Making of the Military Professional

Biography: Beth's research, funded through a Vice-Chancellor's Scholarship, investigates military writing, military-media relations and the professionalisation of the British Army in the long nineteenth century, with a particular focus on the rise of the professional periodical press. She is a committee member of HistoryLab, the national postgraduate network for historians, based at the Institute of Historical Research, and has been involved in organizing and running events and conferences on their behalf. She is a qualified Librarian who has undertaken project work at the Royal Astronomical Society, and has previously held posts at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, the National Army Museum and the International Institute for Strategic Studies. She has won two grants from RSVP (2015 and 2016) and a Cardiff University vlogging bursary to attend BAVS 2016 (her vlogs can he found here). Her chapter on "Bibliographic Issues: Titles, Numbers, Frequencies" appeared in Researching the Nineteenth-Century Press: Case Studies (Routledge) in July 2017. She is currently curator of newspapers at the British Library.


Name: Ann M. Hale

Supervisors: : Professor Andrew KingDr John Morton, Professor Laurel Brake (Birkbeck)

Thesis Title: Law and Nineteenth-Century Periodicals

Biography: Ann M. Hale is a PhD candidate at the University of Greenwich, in receipt of a Vice-Chancellor's Scholarship. Her research focuses on law and nineteenth-century periodicals. In addition to her thesis, she is collaborating with Shannon R. Smith on "Mapping the Strand Magazine," a digital humanities project centred on the publication's creative and corporate geographies (2015-present). An article on this can be seen in the Special Issue of Victorian Periodicals Review that she and Smith edited in 2016. Hale had previously been awarded the 2014 Rosemary VanArsdel Prize for the best graduate student essay investigating Victorian periodicals and newspapers published in Spring 2015. Other outputs include essays and curation for BLT19 and several commissioned research blog posts such as  "on Serendipity" for RSVP and on gender and the law for BAVS.  Hale holds an M.A. in English literature from the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota). She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School and a member of the State of Minnesota Bar.


Name: Joanna Holt

Supervisors:Dr Sarah Liszka, Professor Andrew Lambirth.

Thesis Title: Foreign language learning through a multimodal approach: an exploratory study with young novice learners of French.

Biography: Joanna's research focus is on how a multimodal approach to text production can contribute to the teaching of modern foreign languages to children in English primary schools. The research is exploring the nature of the learners' engagement with multimodal text creation, the interplay between written language and other modes of communication, and the pedagogical implications of using a multimodal approach with young novice learners of modern foreign languages in English primary schools. As an experienced teacher of modern foreign languages, and with an MA in Language Teaching, Joanna is working collaboratively with the Department of Literature, Language and Theatre and the School of Education.


Name: Gwyn Jenkins

SupervisorsDr Daniel WestonDr John Morton

Thesis Title: 'The Presentation of Education in the Literature of the Modernist Period (1890-1939)'

Biography: registered October 2013 (part-time)


Name: Dan Liu (Ms)

Supervisors: Dr Maria Arche, Hamida Demirdache (CNRS-University of Nantes)

Thesis Title: The acquisition of temporal relations in Mandarin Chinese: a study on second language and heritage speakers

Biography: After graduating with a master degree from The University of Greenwich in 2011, Dan Liu worked in the education industry for 5 years​. She kept an interest in linguistics and returned in April 2017 to continue her research on Mandarin. Her research is focused on the precise factors that play a decisive role in the establishment of ​temporal relations in Mandarin, where tense marking is inexistent, and how second language and heritage Mandarin speakers acquire such a system. Second language learners of Chinese are an increasingly important population, as Mandarin is quickly becoming a second language in most educational settings; heritage language speakers, defined as those ​bilinguals exposed to the language since childhood in a context where the majority social language is different, are an important group to study due to the migration waves brought by globalization. The study of these two groups of speakers will shed light onto our understanding of the role of quantity and quality of input received versus age of onset of exposure. 


Name: Harriet Lowe

SupervisorsDr Cécile Laval, Professor Michael Sharwood Smith

Thesis Title: Explicit Information and Cumulative effects of Processing Instruction in regards to trainable aspect of Grammatical Sensitivity

Biography: Harriet is currently researching individual differences in second language acquisition, primarily the role of foreign language aptitude in the field of processing instruction. Her interest in the field came from teaching foreign languages in England and Italy, receiving a TELF certificate and Certificate in English Language Teaching for Adults. This interest has continued alongside her PhD research in language processing, teaching Academic Writing at the University of Greenwich. Her current research questions the stability and trainability of language learners' aptitude. Additionally, she is using eye-tracking technology to measure the effects of the pedagogical intervention, processing instruction. More details of her research can be found on her website https://harrietllowe.wordpress.com/. She is an active member of CAROLE (Centre for Applied Research and Outreach in Language Education) and Teaching House.


Name: Ms Esther Mediero Duran

Supervisors: Dr Maria Arche, Cristina Sánchez López (University Complutensis of Madrid)

Thesis Title:  Input and the acquisition of word order

Biography: I graduated in Translation and Interpreting at Pontificia de Comillas University (Madrid, Spain). I have always enjoyed learning new languages and their cultures. Although I have spent most of my career as an English teacher in Spain, I was fortunate enough to travel and work as a Spanish and French teacher in the UK, France and the USA. As part of my continuing training I went on to study a Postgraduate programme in Educational Management at the Autonomous University of Madrid and specialised in quality criteria for corpuses within domains of expertise. I started collaborating with research groups at the Autonomous University devoted to SLA (TREACLE and ALEGRO projects, both funded by the Spanish Ministry of Education).​ At the end of 2016 I obtained a scholarship from the Research Centre CAROLE at the University of Greenwich to undertake a PhD study on the acquisition of word order in English and its relation to the quality and quantity of input, by focusing on native speakers of Spanish studying at bilingual secondary schools. 


Name: Agnieszka Anna Marciszewska

SupervisorsDr Cécile Laval, Professor Michael Sharwood-Smith

Thesis title: Processing Instruction: language typology and L3 grammar

Biography: Multilingualism sparked Agnieszka's interest in 2001, which resulted in her pursuing research into language typology and its role in the acquisition of lexical items in L5. She went on to study translation, linguistic discourse and the relationship between language and gender. Her teaching qualifications include IELTS and Cambridge academic suite courses as well as a Certificate in Teaching English for Academic Purposes. Being a practitioner, Agnieszka places a high value on classroom-based research that has practical application. Currently, Agnieszka is continuing her research in the area of structural proximity and transfer in third language acquisition with the focus on grammatical input in the formal context. More information about Agnieszka's project may be found on www.amaris-studio.com .


Name: Fiona Snailham

SupervisorsProfessor Andrew KingDr John Morton, Professor David Finkelstein

Thesis Title: More than a Misogynist? Re-visiting the works of Eliza Lynn Linton

Biography: Fiona's thesis aims to re-evaluate the work of the novelist and journalist Eliza Lynn Linton, seeking to re-establish her reputation as an actor of note in the nineteenth-century literary market in order to investigate our own investment in disparaged figures in literary history - 'bad mothers' of modern women.  Fiona won a Vice-Chancellor's scholarship and began work on her thesis in January 2016 after a career as a secondary school teacher. She holds BAs in Law (Oxford) and in English (OU), and an MA in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture (Reading).  Her wider research interests include the nineteenth-century novel, women in nineteenth-century journalism, Victorian periodicals and gender studies. In 2017, she won a Santander Networking Award and was awarded a travel bursary by the British Association for Victorian Studies. This funding will enable Fiona to travel to Florence in May 2017, to share some of her research at a conference co-hosted by the North American Victorian Studies Association and the Australasian Victorian Studies Association.


Name: Niall Somerville

SupervisorsDr John MortonDr Daniel Weston, Professor Tracey Reynolds

Thesis title: 'The reappropriation of the Victorian by modern women writers: Angela Carter & Margaret Atwood'

Biography: Niall began his thesis in early 2012. His research interests are in twentieth century fiction, with his thesis focusing on the influence of Victorian and Edwardian literature on the novels of both Carter and Margaret Atwood. This is to consider how their motifs, themes, and structures are used and subverted by their contemporary set works in addition to their 'neo-Victorian' fiction. He has previously completed a Masters degree in English with the dissertation topic examining Angela Carter's use of place in her novels, as well as a Bachelors degree in Creative Writing & English.

Recent PhD students (completed since 2014):

Name: Dr Polly North

SupervisorsDr Justine Baillie, Dr Emrys Jones

Thesis Title: 'The 'I' in Diary'

Completed:  October 2016


Name: Dr Stephanie Peter - 3/12/12 - 08/07/16;

Supervisors: Professor Alessandro Benati, Dr Cécile Laval

Thesis Title: 'Thinking outside the Box – Processing Instruction and Individual Differences in Working Memory Capacity'

Completed July 2016


Name: Gillian Stacey

Supervisors: Dr Carolyn Brown, Dr Justine Baillie

Thesis Title: Lee Miller. Beyond the Muse: A Very Modern Woman. A Woman of Her Time

Biography: Gillian began work on her thesis in April 2013 after graduating with a Distinction in her Masters from the University of Greenwich in 2012. She worked previously as an English teacher in a secondary school in South East London after achieving qualified teacher status in 1998. Having several positions of responsibility within the department and across the school, she became an Advanced Skills Teacher in 2008 and worked alongside the Senior Leadership Team to improve teaching and learning. Deciding to study for a Masters' degree in 2011, she became interested in British surrealism. Her current research challenges the dominant view of Lee Miller (fashion model, surrealist artist, muse, photographer, war correspondent) as defined by the familial discourse and its associated narrative arc of trauma, success, and decline. It emphasises her years in Egypt and the Balkans as formative of her engagement with documenting life, and with contemporary technological and artistic developments.


Name: Patricia Vazquez-Lopez

SupervisorsDr Maria Arche,  Professor Alessandro Benati

Thesis Title: 'The acquisition of alternation in a second language'

Biography: In 2016 Patricia Vazquez passed her PhD in Applied Linguistics at the University of Greenwich, where she was the beneficiary of a Vice-Chancellor Scholarship. She investigated the pathway of acquisition of the Spanish copular verbs ser and estar by English speakers of L2 Spanish who have only one copular verb in their L1 (i.e. be). Her cross-sectional study containing four elicitation tasks was administered to 71 English-speaking undergraduates of Spanish at three levels of proficiency and 25 Peninsular Spanish natives. Additionally, she has taught Spanish to undergraduates at all proficiency levels and is currently teaching linguistics at the University of Greenwich. Her research interests lie in second language acquisition, specifically copular verbs, adjectives, native-likeness and the syntax–pragmatics interface.