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Durham University

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Professor Alastair Renfrew, BA Strathclyde, PhD Sheffield

Head of Department and Chair of Board of Studies in the Department of English Studies
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43821
Room number: Room A59, Elvet Riverside 1

Contact Professor Alastair Renfrew (email at


I taught at the universities of Strathclyde and Exeter before coming to Durham in 2007. My main area of research specialization is literary and critical theory. I've published widely on Mikhail Bakhtin and the so-called Russian Formalists, including the monograph Towards a New Material Aesthetics (Legenda, 2006), the collection Critical Theory in Russia and the West (Routledge 2010), and an introduction to Bakhtin for Routledge Critical Thinkers (2015). I've also taught and published on Russian and Scottish Literature and on Russian and Soviet Cinema.

I've just completed a three-year stint as Director of Undergraduate Studies, during which time I led major curriculum review and substantial revision of the compulsory second-year module Theory and Practice of Literary Criticism; I am currently Head of department.

I'd welcome enquiries about postgraduate research in:

- any area of literary and critical theory;
- theory and history of the novel;
- twentieth-century fiction, with particular emphasis on Scottish fiction, the Campus novel, and working-class fiction;
- Lenin.

Proposals with a comparative dimension are particularly welcome.


Authored book

Chapter in book

Edited book

Edited Journal

  • Renfrew, Alastair & Ni Dhuill, Caitrıona (2016). No Future I. Poetics Today, 37 (2): Duke University Press.
  • Renfrew, Alastair & Ni Dhuill, Caitriona (2016). No Future II. Poetics Today, 37 (3): Duke University Press.

Journal Article

Other (Print)

  • Renfrew, Alastair (2008). Kryl'ia kholopa. Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema 2(3).
  • Renfrew, Alastair (2003). Why We're All Theorists Now. Times Higher Educational Supplement 14 November 2003: 4.

Selected Grants

  • 2012: The Russian Centre (£94098.89 from Russkiy Mir Foundation)
  • 2009: The Humanities in Russia and the West (£12655.00 from The Leverhulme Trust)
  • 2005: British Academy: £6170 for archival work on Russian and Soviet Cinema
  • 2001: Arts and Humanities Research Board: £10,622 under the Research Leave Scheme for completion of a monograph on Mikhail Bakhtin and literary aesthetics
  • 2000: Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland: £1970 for archival research on Valentin Voloshinov