Accessibility statement

Freyja Alice McCreery

PhD by Research





Superheroes, Trauma, and the Internet: Feeling the Relational Self in the Era of Networked Neoliberalism.

My thesis investigates the performance of multiple selves and relational models of self in terms of capital, and dispersed agency. The thesis takes as its material superhero television and film, including Westworld, released since 2008. 2008 is posed as a turning point in understandings of self as capital, alongside the rise of social media networks and related technology.

The central research questions of this project are; how is the self represented in the tele-visual superhero genre, how does affect support relational models of self, how are body and technology related to the performance of self, and who is (and what positions of power are) allowed to represent and perform multiple selves. 

My approach is a close reading of film and tv texts with a rhizomatic approach to access its impact on culture and relationship with hypertext or the internet.



I have been a GTA for the TV History and Analysis, and Interactive Media and Society undergraduate modules. I am an Associate Fellow of the HEA, through completion of the York Learning and Teaching award.

Starting on an English Literature BA, film quickly became an interest through various modules as well as my involvement, as Chair, with the York Student Cinema society. My undergraduate dissertation was on Blade Runner and memory as the foundation of self. To follow my interest in interdisciplinary approaches, I chose the MA in Culture and Thought after 1945 to further specialise in the contemporary period. My dissertation for this, as supervised by Ed Braman, was on the representation of human-animal relationships in animal documentaries.



My main research interests lie in the self, posthumanism, community, empathy, and teaching and learning. However, as I find the revelations that can come from the overlap between distinct spheres can be compelling, I often find myself wondering into the gothic, science in fiction, the effect of the internet, affect, trauma, and memory studies.



The Digital Age of Superheroes. Co-edited book collection by Freyja McCreery and Sarah Young (University of Arizona)

“Westworld’s Super Androids: The Narrative and the Data Self” in SuperCultures, eds. Danny Graydon (University of Hertfordshire) and Torsten Caeners (Universität Duisburg-Essen).


(2021) “Genre, queerness, and transformation in NBC's Hannibal”, Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television (41:1), pp194-186. Available at:

(2021) “Film as embodied art: Bodily meaning in the cinema of stanley kubrick”, Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television (41:2), pp442-443. Available at:

Conference Papers

“Westworld’s Super Androids: The Narrative and the Data Self”, 4th Global Conference on Superheroes, Universität Duisburg-Essen, 6th September 2020. Abstract available at:

“‘What is a person but a collection of choices?’: The importance of death in a world without it”, Death and Culture III, Virtual - University of York and York St John, 4th September 2020. Abstract available at:

“Mind over Matter: Trauma, Identity, and Anxiety in the Marvel Cinematic Universe”, Reality Check - Real Bodies in Performance, 10th Annual Postgraduate Conference in Theatre, Film, Television, and Interactive Media, University of York, 10th July 2019

“The Silent Majority: Haunting in Critical Role's ‘Briarwood Arc’”, Gaming the Gothic, University of Sheffield, 13th April 2018

“Sense, Sensibility and Society: The Problem of Proof”, Third Year Undergraduate Conference in the Renaissance and Eighteenth Century, University of York (received English Department commendation), 23rd May 2017

Creative Works

“Worry Doll” – 3rd Place, The Yorker 2017 Creative Writing Competition, published online 27th February 2017

“May”, The Looking Glass Anthology: Volume 7, 2016, and a reading of the poem at the volume’s launch party.

“Dandelions” and “Titania’s Crown”, The Looking Glass Anthology: Volume 6, 2015.


“Upstaged!” Rowntree Park, York. Performers: Lords of Misrule. 1st-3rd August 2019

“Hrotsvit’s Calimachus” International Medieval Conference, Leeds. Performers: Lords of Misrule. 3rd July 2019

“The Plays of Hrotsvit” Holy Trinity Church, York. Performers: Lords of Misrule. 28th-30th November 2018


External Activity

Advisory Board member for the Journal of Class and Culture.


Contact details

Freyja Alice McCreery
School of Arts and Creative Technologies