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Katharine Cox

Dr Katharine Cox PhD, FHEA

Head of English


I am a Principal Lecturer in English and Head of English at Sheffield Hallam University, within the Department of Humanities. I am a leader who has a strong record of translating Higher Education policy into strategy and practice as it relates to the Humanities. I actively develop and empower the teams I work with to strive for excellence in teaching, research, administration and external engagement, placing an emphasis on an excellent student experience. I have significant experience in management and leadership of complex teams within the Humanities disciplines, including performance management.

Having worked with teams at various points of transition, I have found it essential to offer stability through the strategic overview of consistent application of management systems (Academic Work Planning, Appraisals, Timetabling etc) and working closely with University stakeholders to provide a clear and consistent implementation of University strategy. My experience of curriculum design and revalidation includes reviewing the sustainability of current provision leading to the development of new provision at both undergraduate and taught postgraduate level and the closing of under-performing courses and subjects. 

I have overseen the development of attractive and distinctive portfolios of degrees with an applied focus, rising student aspirations, progression and retention rates, DLHE and National Student Survey metrics in the process. I work with local and international stakeholders to develop and implement an applied curriculum and have experience of developing and implementing graduate attributes across Humanities (CMU). I am a member of the Humanities Leadership Group, Strategy Group and Research Strategy Forum. I currently manage two deputies to provide academic leadership across three disciplines of English, approximately 40 people.

  • About

    My research is concerned with ideas of space, identity and structure in contemporary text. This focus has included work on sf, film, children’s literature and detective fiction. An exploration of ‘textual architecture’ informs most of my work to date. 

    I welcome applications for PhD and Masters by Research students in the areas of contemporary literature with a focus on aspects of space and/or gender. I enjoy the mentoring aspect of my role on supervisory teams. I’m particularly keen that we support postgraduate students through Graduate Teaching Placements so that students with an aspiration to teach in academia have a solid apprenticeship behind them. 

    I am currently Secretary of University English, the main professional body for the English subject community. My work for University English focuses on the co-ordination of the organisation's OGM, and the co-ordination and delivery of the networking event for Heads of Department and Subject Leaders at the organisation's AGM.

    Specialist areas of interest

    My work concentrates on the interrelationship of space, place and identity in contemporary fiction. My current projects include a co-edited collection with Dr Kate Watson entitled Marking and Re-Marking: Tattoos in Crime and Detective Narratives (MUP), an essay on the origins and horror and the labyrinth (Palgrave), and an article on textualities and fear in Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves. I am working on a monograph examining space, gender and narrative through representations of the labyrinth in contemporary literature.

  • Teaching

    I work collaboratively on community engagement projects with local and international stakeholders. These projects have focused on literary tourism and include Literary Tourism Project: Cardiff, Literature Wales: Literary Tours, and a collaboration Writing Sheffield with Word Life, Writing Yorkshire and Sheffield Hallam University.

    Subject area



    BA (Honours) English
    BA (Honours) English Literature
    BA (Honours) English and History
    BA (Honours) Creative Writing


    Recent teaching has included

    Introduction to Critical Theory
    Space, Place and Identity
    The Contemporary Writer

  • Research

    Cox, K. (contracted) ‘The tattoo wakes: sentient ink, taxonomies and writing the new weird in China Miéville’s Kraken: an anatomy‘. in Cox, K. and Watson, K. 

    Watson, K. and Cox, K. (eds) (contracted) Tattoos in crime and detective narratives: marking and remarking. (Manchester University Press) 

    Cox, K. (contracted) ‘Literary labyrinths: spaces of horror from classical antiquity to the present’ Dr Kevin Corstorphine and Laura Kremmel (eds) The Palgrave Handbook to Horror Literature.

  • Publications

    Cox, K. (contracted) ‘The tattoo wakes: sentient ink, taxonomies and writing the new weird in China Miéville’s Kraken: an anatomy‘. in Cox, K. and Watson, K.

    Watson, K. and Cox, K. (eds) (contracted) Tattoos in crime and detective narratives: marking and remarking. (Manchester University Press) 

    Cox, K. (contracted) ‘Literary labyrinths: spaces of horror from classical antiquity to the present’ Dr Kevin Corstorphine and Laura Kremmel (eds) The Palgrave Handbook to Horror Literature

    Cox, K. (2014) ‘Becoming James Bond: Daniel Craig, rebirth, and refashioning masculinity in Casino Royale‘. Gender Studies 23 (2). 

    Cox, K. (2013) ‘Textual Crossings: Transgressive Devices in Iain (M.) Banks’ Fiction’. pp. 87-100 

    Cox, K. and Colebrook, M. (2013) (eds) The Transgressive Iain (M.) Banks (McFarland) 

    Cox, K. and Jordan, S. (2013) ‘Reading Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials: A Special Edition of the Journal of Children’s Literature Studies’. Journal of Children’s Literature Studies (9.2) October, pp. 3-6. 

    Cox, K. and Jordan, S. (2013) ‘Philip Pullman’s Oxford: representations of the city of Oxford in His Dark Materials and Lyra’s Oxford’. Journal of Children’s Literature Studies (9.2) October, pp. 19-30. 

    Cox, K. and Barfield, S. (eds) (2011) Critical Perspectives on Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials: Essays on the Novels, the Film and the Stage Productions (McFarland) 

    Cox, K. (2011) “Imagine Dust with a Capital Letter”: Interpreting the Social and Cultural Contexts for Philip Pullman’s Transformation of Dust 

    Cox, K. (2009) ‘Knotting up the Cat’s Cradle: Exploring Time and Space in Jeanette Winterson’s Novels’ in Sönmez, Margaret J-M and Özyurt Kılıç, Mine (eds) (Cambridge Scholars) 

    Cox, K. (2008) '"I was in the red forest and she was leading me home" (Winterson 1988, 129): Representations of the Maze and the Labyrinth in Jeanette Winterson's The Passion. Critical Engagements' (ed.) Philip Tew (Summer) 2:1 pp. 111-136 

    Cox, K. (2006) ‘What has made me?’ Locating mother in the textual labyrinth of Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves‘. Critical Survey 18 (2) 4-15 


    Cox, K. (2011) ‘Jeanette Winterson’ Jeanette Winterson: a critical conference. University of Leeds 

    Cox, K. and Jackson, S. (2005) co-keynote "Mentoring: The ITT/CPD Interface" Yorkshire and Humber ITT Partnership Conference, Wakefield. 24th June 2005 

    Selected conferences

    Cox, K. and McPherson, S. ‘Changing Steps, Step Changes: The Department of Humanities Assessment and Feedback Project’ Sheffield Hallam University Faculty Forum 21st March 2018 

    Cox, K. (2018) ‘Fantasy: Writing Stark Reality’ Writing Childhoods Conference, Sheffield Hallam University 31st January 2018

    Cox, K. (2017) ‘Epic Transformations: Curriculum co-design’. English Shared Futures. Newcastle 7th July 2017

    Cox, K. (2013) ‘The Ties that Bind: Jeanette Winterson’s Narratives of Adoption’ Contemporary Experimental Women’s Writing Conference Manchester 

    Cox, K. (2012) ‘Encounters with Cardiff Bay: Reading place through ‘found’ literature.’ LITandTOUR, Universidade de Lisboa 26-27/11/12 http://www.oslit.nl/littour-international-conference-on-literature-and-tourism/ 

    Cox, K., Fimi, D., Jordan, S. and North, K. (2011) 'Literary Walks: Exploring Cardiff Bay (UK) through E-Learning'. Education & e-Learning Conference. Global Science and Technology Forum (GSTF) Singapore. [presented by K. Cox] 8th November 2011 http://dl.globalstf.org/ 

    Cox, K., Fimi, D. and North, K. (2011) ‘Literary Tourism: Exploring Cardiff.’ Critical Tourism Studies Conference IV: Cardiff, UWIC. 6th August 2011 

    Cox, K. (2009) "We are all haunted houses" (H.D., 1995:146): spatial phobia and the threat to textual integrity in Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves (2000). PHOBIA: Constructing the Phenomenology of Chronic Fear, 1789 to the Present, University of Glamorgan. 9th May 2009 

    Cox, K. (2009) ‘Queering the Maze: Representations of Gendered Space in Jeanette Winterson’s The Passion’ Women Writing Space. University of Warwick 

    Cox, K. (2007) "Every new beginning prompts a return" (Winterson, 2004: 209): The journey as 'leitmotif' in Jeanette Winterson's oeuvre. "In Transit": Literature on the Move, University of Hull. 20th May 2007 

    Cox, K. (2006) Bridging Fantasies: The Writing of Iain (M.) Banks, University of Westminster. Co-organiser, host, chair. 2nd September 2006

    Cox, K. (2005) "'What has made me?' Mother as Text in Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves," Near and Dear - Gender, Generation and Genealogy: Friends and Family Figures in Contemporary Fiction, University of Hull. 14th May 2005 

    Cox, K. (2003) "'The future is foretold from the past and the future is only possible because of the past' Jeanette Winterson's Labyrinthine Reconstruction of the Past," Hystorical Fictions: Women, History and Authorship International Women's Conference, Swansea University. 3rd August 2003 

    Cox, K. (2003) "Navigating The Passion: Jeanette Winterson's Labyrinthine Reconstruction of the Past" European Intertexts Fourth Annual International Conference, University of Naples. 3rd June 2003

  • Other activities

    • External examiner for English courses at Liverpool John Moores University (2016-present) and University of Ulster (2017-present)
    • Secretary University English 2017-present Deputy Vice-Chair of University English Sept 2014-2016
    • Executive committee University English April 2012-present 
    • Member BACLS (British Association of Contemporary Literary Studies) 2017-present
    • Member Contemporary Women's Writing 2010-present
    • Member Modern Fiction Network UK 2010-present
    • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2009 (member number: 34949)

  • Postgraduate supervision


    ‘Horror and Space in Contemporary British Cinema’
    ‘Authentic Relationships in Contemporary Fiction: A Feminist Endeavour’
    ‘The Application of Trans Theory to Post 1990s Trans Authored Fiction’


    ‘Angels at the National and Bohemians in the West End: Transposing and Reviving American dramatic depictions of AIDS to the British stage in Angels in America and Rent’ Cardiff Metropolitan University 2016

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