Thesis title: Horror of Personality: Exploring the gothicization of depictions of mental illness in mid-century American Fiction
Vicki completed her PhD on mid-century American gothic fiction at the University of Edinburgh in 2019 after earning both an MA (Hons) and MScR (with distinction) from the same institution.
In her first year of doctoral study, Vicki's article “'We found the witch, may we burn her?': Suburban gothic, witch-hunting, and anxiety-induced conformity in Stephen King’s Carrie" was accepted for publication by the Journal of American Culture. Her second academic article, "'Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?': Gothic feminism and the final girl in The Witch," is due for publication in the Palgrave Macmillan edited collection Final Girls, Feminism and Popular Culture in May 2020.
In the past, Vicki has been a writer and editor for Inciting Sparks, an interdisciplinary, multimedia blog that shares insights into arts and humanities research. She was the 2017 co-editor of FORUM: University of Edinburgh’s Postgraduate Journal of Culture & the Arts and acted as an editor for Project Myopia, an initiative that strives to diversify university curricula by highlighting key works from marginalised voices. She is also the co-founder of LLC's American Television Reading Group and co-organised numerous events and workshops during her PhD studies, including Madness, Mental Illness and Mind Doctors in 20th and 21st Century Popular Culture, an interdisciplinary medical humanities conference held at the University of Edinburgh in May 2018.
- English Literature 2
Vicki’s research explores the ways in which mental illness, particularly disorders of personality, have been gothicised in mid-century American fiction. Her project examines the intersections between literature, social history, and concurrent developments in psychiatry with an emphasis on the implications of gender and the influence of psychoanalysis. Vicki’s thesis centres on the themes of deviance, monstrosity, mythology, and the uncanny while engaging a number of prolific American writers including Robert Bloch, Shirley Jackson, Henry Farrell, and William March. Her wider research interests include Victorian and fin-de-siècle gothic, weird fiction, feminist psychoanalytic theory, and the suburban gothic, on which she wrote her master’s thesis.
Vicki regularly coordinates a variety of workshops centring on popular culture and American studies for University of Edinburgh students. Most recently, she co-organised "Making a Murder: An Interdisciplinary Workshop Examining the Significance of True Crime in American Popular Culture," in November 2019. A follow-up workshop on depictions of cybercrime is currently in the works for Spring 2020.
Past project grants
2019: BAAS Small Conference Grant for True Crime in American Popular Culture workshop (£180)
2018: Institute for Academic Development (IAD) Action Fund Small Grant for “Facts and Fallacies” and “Edinburgh Gothic” Workshops (£500)
2018: SGSAH Cohort Development Funding for “Madness, Mental Illness and Mind Doctors in 20th and 21st Century Popular Culture” conference (£3850)
2017: Institute for Academic Development (IAD) Action Fund Regular Grant for “Madness, Mental Illness and Mind Doctors in 20th and 21st Century Popular Culture” conference (£2244)
2017: Student-Led Initiative Funding for “Madness, Mental Illness and Mind Doctors in 20th and 21st Century Popular Culture” medical humanities conference (£300)
2015: Student-Led Initiative Funding for LLC Blethers (£300)
2015: Innovative Learning Week Event Support Funding for LLC Blethers (£300)
2013: Master’s Bursary from the University of Edinburgh awarded for being one of ten graduates from the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures to have achieved a first class award with the highest academic average grades at undergraduate level (£1000)
- Co-organiser of the "Madness, Mental Illness and Mind Doctors in 20th and 21st Century Popular Culture" conference, to be held at the University of Edinburgh on 3-4 May, 2018.
- Co-organised the LLC's Latest Learning Colloquy as part of the department's "Getting Over the Fear" project, serving as conference programme chair and publicity officer (2014).
“Grande Dame Bluebeard: What Ever Happened to Baby Jane’s Subversion of the Paranoid Woman’s Film.” Gothic Realities, 24-25 October, 2019, University of Stirling.
“The Beast Within: Exploring the gothicisation of dissociative identity disorder in American fiction and psychiatry.” 14th International Gothic Association Conference: Gothic Hybridities: Interdisciplinary, Multimodal and Transhistorical Approaches, 31 July – 3 August, Manchester Metropolitan University.
“Haunted House, Haunted Heroine: Uncanny women in American Horror Story: Murder House.” Lit-TV: A Two-Day Symposium Exploring Contemporary US Television and “the Literary,” 5-6 May, 2018, Edinburgh Napier University.
“Elizabeth, Beth, Betsy, and Bess: Examining Multiple Personality Disorder in Shirley Jackson’s The Bird’s Nest (1954).” EBAAS, 4-7 April, 2018, KCL, UCL and the British Library.
“‘Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?’: Gothic feminism and the final girl in The Witch.” Gothic Feminism: Women in Peril or Final Girls? Representing Women in Gothic and Horror Cinema, 24-26 May, 2017, University of Kent. Conference Presentation.
- “Bluebeard’s Castle Redux: Hommes fatals and patriarchal spaces in Psycho and American Gothic.” Deeper than Swords: Fear and Loathing in Fantasy and Folklore, 19-20 January 2017, University of Edinburgh. Conference Presentation.
- “The Virgin Suicides: Perpetual adolescence in Jeffrey Eugenides’s gothic suburbia.” Temporal Discombobulations: Time and experience of the gothic, 22-24 August 2017, University of Surrey. Conference Presentation.
- “‘Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?’: Gothic feminism and the final girl in The Witch.” Final Girls, Feminism and Popular Culture, edited by Stacy Rusnak and Katarzyna Paszkiewicz. Palgrave Macmillan, expected 20 May 2020.
- “‘We found the witch, may we burn her?’: Suburban gothic, witch-hunting and anxiety-induced conformity in Stephen King’s Carrie.” The Journal of American Culture, vol. 40, no. 1, 2017, pp. 7-20.
- "Shirley Jackson's The Bird's Nest." Project Myopia. Project Myopia, 25 Mar 2017. Web.
- "Trumpocalypse Now: Musings on what lies ahead." Inciting Sparks. Inciting Sparks, 9 Jan 2017. Web.
- "Donald Trump: Psychopath." Inciting Sparks. Inciting Sparks, 27 Aug 2016. Web.
- "Hungry for Murder: Interrogating America's Obsession with True Crime." Inciting Sparks. Inciting Sparks, 30 May 2016. Web.