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Freyja Alice McCreery

PhD by Research





Mind over Matter: Trauma, Identity, and Anxiety in the age of the Networked Neoliberal Superhero

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 (HBO), 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 televisual 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, as an update or variation on understandings of the narrative self.



I am have been a GTA for the TV History and Analysis undergraduate module and I am currently undertaking the York Learning and Teaching award to further my teaching capability and interest.
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 choose the MA in Culture and Thought after 1945 to further specialise in the contemporary period. My dissertation for the MA, 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.

As part of work experience with the @Work scheme at the University of York, I contributed to the research and production of a crowdfunding handbook for entrepreneurial graduate students and campaign video for the YuCycle fundraising challenge.
finalist in York's 3 Minute Thesis competition for 2020.



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.

Conference Papers
“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

“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


Contact details

Freyja Alice McCreery
Department of Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media