Harriet Stilley



Dr Harriet Stilley holds a MA (Joint Hons), MSc (Distinction), and PhD from the University of Edinburgh, where she is currently working as a teacher of American and English literature. Her research interests are located in modern and contemporary American fiction and culture, and specfically within masculinity studies. Harriet's work has featured in a variety of American, British and European Journals, including the Cormac McCarthy Journal and the European Journal of American Studies.

Harriet is also an active member of the British Association for American Studies and the Scottish Association for American Studies, and she has acted as a peer-reviewer for the Journal of American Studies, the European Journal of American Culture, and FORUM: the Postgraduate Journal of Culture and the Arts at Edinburgh.   





Undergraduate teaching


American Political Fiction since 1945

American Innocence

Shakespeare: Modes & Genres 


English Literature 2 

Scottish Literature 2

English Literature 1

Postgraduate teaching

MSc Research Methods and Problems Dissertation Workshop Chair

Research summary

Harriet’s research focuses on gender, race, and diversity in late twentieth-century American fiction. Specifically, she is interested in the various ways post-war American authors engage with the tension between late capitalist consumer culture and traditional national conceptions of American manhood. Harriet's first monograph entitled, From the Delivered to the Dispatched: Masculinity in Modern American Fiction, published as part of Routledge Studies in Contemporary Literature, is a politically sophisticated study of the cultural production of American masculinities in a time of social and political turbulence and rapid change. The book offers a fresh perspective on the development of masculinities in the American 1970s, and the post-Sixties, post-Vietnam, and ultimately post-Fordist shocks that the United States experienced during that decade. In it she employs a number of prolific contemporary American writers, including John Cheever, James Dickey, Cormac McCarthy, Toni Morrison and Michael Herr, together with an investigation into hypermasculine male violence, the classical and grotesque body, serial killer mythology, and specific regional themes such as the Western frontier, the American Adam, the Southern Gothic and the Suburban Gothic. Her wider research interests include twentieth-century feminist and Marxist theory, critiques of postmodernity and late capitalist commodity culture, as well as studies of American history and mythology.


Project activity

Harriet is currently working on her second monograph, which  will deliver an innovative examiantion of Asian American masculinity in contemporary crime fiction. The aim of this project is to challenge the constitution of ‘Asian American’ literary discourse through a critical engagement with the hard-boiled detective genre. By way of in-depth literary analysis, historical investigation and sociological critique, her project examines heretofore-uncharted territory for the study of both Asian American literature and detective novels in order to disrupt the invidiously white, male, heterosexual bias of the crime novel and allow for an alternative understanding of both Asian American male subjectivity and the crime genre in the late twentieth century. With reference to select post-Vietnam War crime novels, Harriet's project challenges the conventional Orientalist vocabulary of the crime genre and uses gender theory to expand the genre as a form of social commentary, the study of which will contribute to a burgeoning emphasis on gender and masculinity in Asian American literary criticism. 

Harriet is also currently co-organising an interdisciplinary workshop on true crime in contemporary US culture funded by the British Association for American Studies. 

Current project grants

Rothermere American Institute Postdoctoral Visiting Research Fellowship (University of Oxford)

British Association for American Studies Small Conference Grant

Conference details

Violence in the American Imagination. Loughborough University, 22-23 July 2015 

God Outside the Machine: Melodrama, Masculinity and the Cosmological Imagination. The University of Edinburgh, 13th November 2015. 

Robert Lowell’s Benito Cereno and American Civil Rights in the 1960s. The University of Edinburgh, 3rd March 2017. 

Invited speaker

Violence in the American South. The University of Bristol, 3-4 March 2019


Making a Murderer. The University of Edinburgh (Forthcoming: 2019) 


From the Delivered to the Dispatched: Masculinity in Modern American Fiction, 1969-1977. New York: Routledge. 2018.


Peer-Reviewed Journal Publications: 

“The land that he saw looked like a paradise. It was not, he knew.” Suburbia and the Maladjusted American Male in John Cheever’s Bullet Park. European Journal of American Studies, Vol. 11, No. 2 (Summer 2016), Document 7 

“White pussy is nothin but trouble.” Hypermasculine Hysteria and the Displacement of the Feminine Body in Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God. Cormac McCarthy Journal, Vol. 14, No.1 (Spring 2016), pp. 96-116 


Journal Reviews: 

Contemporary Masculinities in Fiction, Film and Television, by Brian Baker. European Journal of American CultureVol. 37, No. 3 (October 2018), pp. 285-287 

Masculinity and the Paradox of Violence, by Maggie McKinley. Journal of American StudiesVol. 50, Issue 4 (November 2016), pp. 1140- 1142 

Jonathan Franzen and the Romance of Community: Narratives of Salvation, by Jesús Blanco Hidalga. Journal of American Studies(In Press: 2018)