Dr Monique Rooney

Senior Lecturer In English Literature
College Arts & Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

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

Research interests

Intermediality of contemporary screen culture; melodrama, 'passing-for-white' and US literature, film and television.

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 intersextions of race, sex and gender in 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 fromthe Enlightenment age to the present My book Living Screens: Melodrama and Plasticity in Contemporary Film and Television (Rowman and Littlefield International 2015) is the culmination of research which draws on thinkers ranging from Jean Jacques Rousseau to Marshall McLuhan and Catherine Malabou in order to explore melodrama as a highly adaptable and durable mode that mutates as it crosses modalities and media. Rousseau's ur-melodrama, Pygmalion: scene lyrique, is a touchstone for my argument that melodrama 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 currently working on two research projects. The first is about ‘interbrow’—a term I’ve coined for my analysis of the concept of the middle central to both middlebrow (a class-based or socialised perspective) and intermedia (the mixed aesthetic forms pervading the contemporary mediasphere). My focus is on the emergence of middlebrow as both a category and a perspective that emerges ‘in the middle’ of mass, multi-media forms and platforms that encourage and facilitate connectivitycompelling a will to mediation. The second project extends my research on Rousseau’s Pygmalion aesthetics to investigate melodramatic renderings of 'watery elements', scenes and performances in a range of media.  



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Updated:  25 September 2020 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers