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The University of Southampton
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Professor Clare Hanson 

Emeritus Professor of English

Professor Clare Hanson's photo

Clare Hanson is Professor of English at the University of Southampton

I came to Southampton in 2006, having previously taught at the University of Leicester and Loughborough University. My main research interests are in literature and science and I have published three monographs in this field. I also have a longstanding interest in contemporary women’s writing and am a founder member of the Contemporary Women’s Writing Association.

I have supervised numerous PhDs to successful completion on  topics ranging from modernist poetics to contemporary life-writing.


BA English Language and Literature, University of Oxford. 1972

MA Literature and the Visual Arts, University of Reading, 1977

PhD, University of Reading, 1980

Research interests

My current research focuses on multi-species worlds as they are represented in the biological sciences and in literary and science fiction. It links the contemporary interest in multi-species entanglements, evident in a slew of popular science books and TED talks, with a shift away from the neo-Darwinian theory which had such profound cultural influence in the run-up to the completion of the Human Genome Project. It suggests that this shift is in turn related to the wider context of the climate emergency, which as Bruno Latour has argued, has recalibrated the relationship between the sciences and the humanities, as the foundational category of the human comes under pressure, focusing attention on human/non-human relations. This project explores the writing of multi-species worlds across a range of disciplines and contexts, tracing the commonalities and disjunctions between the assemblages that emerge in such texts as Anna Tsing’s The Mushroom at the End of the World, Lynn Margolis and Dorian Sagan’s Microcosmos and Jeff Van der Meer’s Southern Reach trilogy

Research project(s)

Medicine in History and Society

Initially of interest to physicians from the time of the Enlightenment onwards, the history of medicine has gradually gained the attention of historians, sociologists, philosophers, anthropologists, and other social science students.

Beyond the Gene

This project focuses on the shift in scientific understanding which is currently occurring, as research in epigenetics takes us beyond the powerful, gene-centric model that dominated science and culture in the twentieth-century.  We want to develop an accurate, informed picture of this transition, based on genuine dialogue between the sciences, the humanities and the wider public. We are bringing together leading researchers in biomedicine, literary studies, philosophy and creative writers to explore collaboratively the epigenetic cultures of the 21st century.

Professor Clare Hanson
Faculty of Arts and Humanities University of Southampton Avenue Campus Highfield Southampton SO17 1BF United Kingdom

Room Number : 65/2031

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