Jess H. Anderson

Profile

I joined the School of English as a PhD student in October 2018, where I work on late 20th and early 21st-century US true crime memoir. My doctoral project is fully funded by the John Barnard doctoral scholarship.

I hold a Scottish MA (Hons) in English Literature from the University of Aberdeen, and an M.Phil in Popular Literature from Trinity College Dublin. 

Research interests

My thesis focuses on the workings of genre within the late 20th and early 21st century American 'murder memoir', a genre I define as one which concerns two parallel narratives: an interrogation of an author's childhood trauma, and a murder investigation conducted by that author. These narratives interact in the murder memoir, producing a reading of the self against the public crime.I analyse multiple examples of this new genre within my thesis, including work by Maggie Nelson, James Ellroy, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich and Sarah Perry, among others. By establishing the framework of the murder memoir, my thesis interrogates the anxieties surrounding the production of the contemporary true crime memoir. I then trace those anxieties to determine how individual and national identities are produced within this subgenre of memoir, and how those identities collide within the texts through their encounters with textual materiality, the archive, the crime scene, and racial difference. 

More widely, my research interests include US memoir, true crime, detective fiction, the misery memoir, comics, whiteness in US literature, archive theory, and theories of the popular. I'm also interested in new forms of non-fiction storytelling, such as the podcast and the online fan forum.

Teaching

  • Autumn 2019/20: Foundations of English Studies (seminars)
  • Spring 2020/21: American Words, American Worlds (seminars)
  • Autumn 2021/22: Foundations of English Studies (seminars and lectures)

I am also an Education Outreach Fellow with the Leeds Arts Outreach team (2019–present), where I design and lead workshops for school pupils in West Yorkshire and beyond.

Publications

Jess H. Anderson, “I Know What I Want Is Impossible”: The Contemporary U.S. Murder Memoir and Protective Mechanisms in True Crime”, Studies in Crime Writing, 3 (forthcoming 2022)

Reviews

Review: Jess H. Anderson, “My Friend Dahmer, dir. by Marc Meyers (FilmRise, 2017)”, The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies, 17 (2018), pp.139–142

Selected Conference Papers

  • '"Benign" Emotions, Outsider Voices: Reading the Victim Impact Statement in the Contemporary US Murder Memoir' at Following the Affective Turn (Postgraduate Symposium), University of Brighton, September 13–17 2021
  • "Genre Trouble: True Crime and Protective Mechanisms in Maggie Nelson’s The Red Parts" at Delicate Infractions: The VIII International Crime Genre Research Group Conference, Maynooth University, June 14–15 2019
  • “Blood and Gutters: Reading Violence and the Archive in Brian Michael Bendis’ and Marc Andreyko’s Torso” at Criminal Heritage: Crime, Fiction and History, Leeds Beckett University, September 5 2017

 

Qualifications

  • MA (Hons) English Literature, University of Aberdeen
  • M.Phil Popular Literature, Trinity College Dublin