Michael McCluskey joined the department in October 2016. He received his PhD in English from University College London (UCL) in 2011. From 2012-13 he was a Research Fellow at Harvard University working with metaLAB (at) Harvard, a digital humanities research centre. From 2013-16 he was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of English at UCL. He has an MA in English from UCL and an EdM in English and Education from Harvard.
Michael’s research looks at the literature and film of the 1920s and 30s to consider the social, spatial, and technological shifts of this radical period and to make connections with the emergence of our own modern world. His research and writing explores ideas of landscape, local and national identity, networks, surveillance, and craft-making—and strategies pulled from cultural geography, modernist studies, anthropology, and material/design history.
His first book Projecting Modernism: Documentary Film and the Future of Britain considers British documentary film of the 1930s and the plans for modern Britain they helped to promote. Documentary films were made expressly to inform audiences of new modes of communication, transportation, town planning, and housing, and to help them adapt to the new regimes they brought with them. The book argues that these films are crucial sources for studies of this complex period and the construction of a modern British identity based on new technologies as well as national heritage.
He is also working on two edited collections: Rural Modernity: A Critical Intervention argues that the rural areas of Britain were impacted by modernisation just as much as urban and suburban areas. It presents case studies from the literature, film, and visual arts of the early twentieth century that crack open the monolithic, idyllic image of ‘the countryside’. Aviation and Interwar Britain explores the role held by flying in interwar Britain through the writings of Orwell, Bowen, Auden, and Woolf as well as the experiences of T. E. Lawrence, Amy Johnson, Lady Mary Heath, and the airport network from Croydon to Capetown.
His current project builds on his postdoctoral research on amateur films and home movies of the 1920s and 30s. It looks at these films alongside the literature of the period to bring to light a shared interest in the formation and disruption of patterns of community and instances of local production.