Dr Monique Rooney

Senior Lecturer In English Literature
College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • North American Literature 200506
  • Screen And Media Culture 200212
  • Literary Theory 200525

Research interests

Melodrama; new media, film and television; attention economy; US literature. 

Researcher's projects

My academic career began with a doctoral thesis on the act and theme of passing-for-white in US literature and film for which I engaged with the intersections of race, sex and gender in post-Civil War US cultural production. My research has since branched into a number of cognate areas concerned again with race, sex, gender and class in the context of the longue durée of melodrama as an aesthetic form persisting from the Enlightenment age to the present My book Living Screens: Melodrama and Plasticity in Contemporary Film and Television (Rowman and Littlefield International 2015) draws on thinkers ranging from Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Marshall McLuhan and Catherine Malabou in order to explore melodrama as a highly adaptable, plastic and durable mode that mutates as it crosses modalities and media. Rousseau's ur-melodrama, Pygmalion: Scene Lyrique (1762; 1770), is a touchstone for my argument that melodrama is a plasticity that recreates itself through the melding of old with new technologies. This book includes chapters on the television series Mad Men (2007 - present), Todd Haynes's mini-series Mildred Pierce (2011) and Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011).

I am now working on two research projects: 

1) a book titled Interbrow: Literacy and Cognitive Capitalism. ‘Interbrow’ is my coinage for the distributed relations and 'brows' structuring our present-day media ecology;

2) with Professor Gillian Russell (York University), a research project on 'Elemental Melodrama: Earth, Air, Water, Fire, Aether.     



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Updated:  16 May 2021 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers