Robert Yeates

B.A., M.A., M.L.I.S., Ph.D.

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Personal profile

Research Interests

My research interests center around Anglophone literature from the late-nineteenth to the early twenty-first centuries. I am especially interested in speculative fiction, with emphases on early science fiction, new media, race and ethnicity, and representations of architecture and urban spaces. My research also involves study of material culture and print history, especially in terms of how ephemera and the archive inform our understandings of literary texts and their contexts.

My first monograph, American Cities in Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction (UCL Press, 2021) looks at representations of urban ruin in American fiction in a range of media, from early examples of science fiction in mainstream and pulp magazines, through blockbuster film, golden age radio drama, video games, and recent transmedia franchises. I argue that these post-apocalyptic representations of the American city are uniquely suited for explorations of contemporary urban issues, and that creators harness the singular affordances of emerging and developing media to create their immersive and compelling fictional worlds.

In addition to these research interests, I am working collaboratively with scholars in adjacent fields, including teaching English as a second language and information studies, to explore how online fan communities around genre fiction can inform research into education and university-community engagement.


The courses I teach at Okayama University incorporate my research interests in American literature and particularly speculative fiction and African American literature. Areas of focus in these courses include the histories of race and identity in America; connections between developing media and narrative fiction; and modernity and the urban experience. Material culture is also a key component in these classes, with my aim being to introduce students to range of ways of reading which go beyond the words on the page. These include study of the bibliographic features of digitized resources, mass-produced objects, and unique archival materials, contextualizing written texts within a larger history of media technology.

Through study of these areas, students are encouraged to approach literary analysis with an openness to interdisciplinary methods and to allow their research to be informed by adjacent fields, creating opportunity for innovative connections and interpretations.

Education/Academic qualification

Library and Information Studies, M.L.I.S., University of British Columbia

Award Date: May 1 2020

English, Ph.D., University of Exeter

Award Date: Jan 9 2017

English Language and Literature, M.A., University of Tulsa

Award Date: May 13 2013

English and American Studies, B.A., University of Leicester

Award Date: Jul 6 2011


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