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Profile summary

  • Senior Lecturer in English
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Art His, Class St, Eng&CW, Mus
  • English & Creative Writing
  • shafquat.towheed

Professional biography

I was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1973, and grew up in Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, and England. I received my first two degrees from University College London (BA English, 1995; MA English, 1996), and my PhD, which examined the relationship between copyright law and literature in England between 1880 and 1914, from Cambridge University. I have taught at Nottingham University, the Institute of English Studies (University of London), and since 2006, as an Associate Lecturer with the Open University. I was appointed to a lectureship in Book History in June 2007, and I am currently a Senior Lecturer in the department.

Research interests

The main thrust of my research is in nineteenth and twentieth century British and American literature, with a particular interest in the history of the book. Within this broad and inclusive subject, I have three specific areas of interest: (1) the history of reading; (2) the relationship between authors and publishers; and (3) the relationship between copyright law and literature. In addition, I also work on South Asian writing in English.

I am Director of one of the Open University’s most inclusive research projects, ‘The Reading Experience Database, 1450-1945’ (RED). A recipient of two rounds of Arts and Humanities Research Council funding, RED records experiences of reading in the British Isles (or by British subjects abroad) over five centuries. The database is constantly growing, and there are currently over 30,000 entries. Partner projects have been established in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and New Zealand. Follow this link for more details of RED, and how you could contribute to it.

I am Director of the Open University’s Book History Research Group, one of the main research groups in the English Department. You can find more about the Book History Research Group’s activities by following this link. The group’s seminar series meets regularly at the Institute of English Studies.

Publications

I have written, edited, and co-edited 8 books, and my articles have appeared in leading scholarly journals, such as Victorian Studies, Book History, Publishing History, Nineteenth-Century Contexts, Nineteenth-Century Literature, Journal of Victorian Culture, English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920, Primerjalna Književnost (Comparative Literature) and The Yearbook of English Studies. I regularly review for a number of peer-reviewed journals. Follow this link for a list of my publications.

Supervision

I have supervised two PhD students to completion, and am currently supervising two more:  Isabelle Parsons, who is working on women and silence in the works of Edith Wharton; and Claire Choroba, working on the writings of Rumer Godden. I have served as an external PhD examiner at the University of St Andrews and at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and have twice been an internal PhD examiner at the Open University.

I am willing to supervise PhD students wishing to work on any aspect of the history of reading; in book history in Britain, America or South Asia after 1800; on Edith Wharton, Vernon Lee, Robert Louis Stevenson or Joseph Conrad; or more generally on 19th and early 20th century literature and culture.

 

Teaching interests

Most of my teaching has been in 19th and 20th century British, American and South Asian literature, with a particular interest in the history of the book and the history of reading. Currently I am chair in production for our new Level 3 module, A334 English Literature from Shakespeare to Austen (first presentation October 2015), and I have previously chaired another Level 3 module in presentation - AA316, The Nineteenth-Century Novel (2009-2013). You can find out more about A334 English Literature from Shakespeare to Austen and watch a promotional video by following this link.

I have written teaching material for a number of other modules, including A815, The MA in English, Part 1 and A230 Reading and Studying Literature.  Outside of the Open University, I also teach the ‘The Historical Reader’ seminar series, part of the MA in the History of the Book, and the newly launched ‘The History of Readers and Reading, 1770-2010’ option for the London Rare Book School. Follow this link for further information.

Impact and engagement

I have given a number of public lectures and interviews in different media. These include:
A talk about the RED project on YouTube

A public lecture on the history of reading at Acadia University, Canada, 22 October 2010

A public lecture on Vernon Lee’s reading at the British Institute of Florence, Italy, 6 March 2012

Interviewed for ‘The Secret Lives of Readers’, Chronicle of Higher Education, 17 December 2012

A public lecture on RED and the history of reading at Haverford College, Philadelphia, USA, 15 April 2014

A public lecture on British readers in Italy at the British Institute of Florence, Italy, 14 May 2014

External collaborations

I am an active member of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP), having served as a jury member and chair for the DeLong Book History Prize (2006-2009). I was a working group member of the European COST-Action funded ‘Women Writers in History’ project (2009-2013) and am a founder member of the International Vernon Lee Society. I am currently a member of the Advisory Group for the AHRC funded project, Memories of Fiction: An Oral History of Readers’ Life Stories (2014-17) and lead Working Group 5 for the French National Research Council network, 'Reading in Europe: Contemporary Issues in Historical and Comparative Perspectives' (2015-2017). I am co-editor of Palgrave's New Directions in Book History series and an editorial board member for the peer-reviewed, open access journal, Palgrave Communications.

Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Book History and Bibliography Research GroupGroupFaculty of Arts

 

Externally funded projects

Reading Communities: Connecting the Past and Present

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01/Dec/201530/Nov/2016AHRC (Arts & Humanities Research Council)
‘Reading Communities: Connecting the Past and Present’ addresses the AHRC 10th-Anniversary Follow-On Scheme Highlight Notice, which invites proposals that will ‘enhance engagement with, and impact from, research funded by the AHRC during the first two years after its establishment in 2005’. This project is intended as a follow on from the ‘Reading Experience Database 1800–1945’ (2006–2009), which was funded by a £292,108 Resource Enhancement grant awarded by the AHRC in 2006. This one-year project builds on the success of the Reading Experience Database (RED) to create a series of city-focused reading outreach events. These will include lectures, oral history interviews and community workshops focused on crowdsourcing from participants' diaries or other documents. Activities will take place in Belfast, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Birmingham and London.

Publications

South Asian writing between the wars: publishers, reviewers, readers (2012-05)
Towheed, Shafquat
Wasafiri, 27(2) (pp. 80-82)
Locating the reader, or what do we do with the man in the hat? Methodological perspectives and evidence from the United Kingdom Reading Experience Database, 1450-1945 (UK RED) (2011-08)
Towheed, Shafquat
Primerjalna knizevnost (Comparative Literature), 34(2) (pp. 173-186)
‘Music is not merely for musicians’: Vernon Lee's musical reading and response (2010-07)
Towheed, Shafquat
Yearbook of English Studies, 40(1-2) (pp. 273-294)
Reading in the digital archive (2010-04)
Towheed, Shafquat
Journal of Victorian Culture, 15(1) (pp. 139-143)
Reading History and Nation: Robert Louis Stevenson's Reading of William Forbes-Mitchell's Reminiscences of the Great Mutiny 1857-9 (2009-03-01)
Towheed, Shafquat
Nineteenth-Century Contexts, 31(1) (pp. 3-17)
Geneva v. Saint Petersburg: Two Concepts of Literary Property and the Material Lives of Books in Under Western Eyes (2007)
Towheed, Shafquat
Book History, 10 (pp. 169-191)
The Creative Evolution of Scientific Paradigms: Vernon Lee and the Debate over the Hereditary Transmission of Acquired Characters (2006-10)
Towheed, Shafquat
Victorian Studies, 49(1) (pp. 33-61)
Determining 'Fluctuating Opinions': Vernon Lee, Popular Fiction, and Theories of Reading (2005-09-01)
Towheed, Shafquat
Nineteenth-Century Literature, 60(2) (pp. 199-236)
Rudyard Kipling's Literary Property, International Copyright Law and The Naulahka (2005-09)
Towheed, Shafquat
English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920, 48(4) (pp. 420-435)
“An appreciative and grateful author”: Edith Wharton and the House of Macmillan (2005)
Towheed, Shafquat
Publishing History, 58 (pp. 43-77)
The science of musical memory: Vernon Lee and the remembrance of sounds past (2013-08-15)
Towheed, Shafquat
In: Ellis, Katharine and Weliver, Phyllis eds. Words and Notes in the Long Nineteenth-Century (pp. 104-122)
ISBN : 9781843838111 | Publisher : Boydell & Brewer | Published : Woodbridge, Suffolk
Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four (2011-11-30)
Towheed, Shafquat
In: Watson, Nicola J. and Towheed, Shafquat eds. Romantics and Victorians. Reading and Studying Literature (2) (pp. 411-437)
ISBN : 9781849666237 | Publisher : Bloomsbury Academic | Published : London
Robert Louis Stevenson, 'The Beach of Falesá' (2011-11-30)
Towheed, Shafquat
In: Watson, Nicola J. and Towheed, Shafquat eds. Romantics and Victorians. Reading and Studying Literature (2) (pp. 439-464)
ISBN : 9781849666237 | Publisher : Bloomsbury Academic | Published : London
Introduction (2011-08-26)
Towheed, Shafquat and Owens, W. R.
In: Towheed, Shafquat and Owens, W. R. eds. The History of Reading, Volume 1: International Perspectives, c.1500-1990 (pp. 1-12)
ISBN : 9780230247512 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke, UK
Introduction (2011-08-26)
Towheed, Shafquat
In: Crone, Rosalind and Towheed, Shafquat eds. The History of Reading, Volume 3: Methods, Strategies, Tactics (pp. 1-12)
ISBN : 9780230247567 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke, UK
Negotiating the list: launching Macmillan's Colonial Library and author contracts (2011-02-04)
Towheed, Shafquat
In: Spiers, John ed. The Culture of the Publisher's Series: Nationalisms and the National Canon
ISBN : 9780230284036 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke
Copyright and libel (2010-12-17)
Towheed, Shafquat
In: Logan, Peter Melville ed. The Encyclopedia of the Novel. The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Literature (1) (pp. 212-218)
ISBN : 9781405161848 | Publisher : Wiley-Blackwell | Published : Malden
Geneva v. St Petersburg: two concepts of literary property and the material lives of books in Under Western Eyes (2010-04-28)
Towheed, Shafquat
In: Weedon, Alexis ed. The History of the Book in the West: 1914-2000. The History of the Book in the West: A Library of Critical Essays (5)
ISBN : 9780754627838 | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Aldershot
Examining the evidence of reading: three examples from the Reading Experience Database, 1450-1945 (2010-04)
Towheed, Shafquat; Crone, Rosalind and Halsey, Katie
In: Gunzenhauser, Bonnie ed. Reading in History: New Methodologies from the Anglo-American Tradition. The History of the Book (pp. 29-45)
ISBN : 9781851966288 | Publisher : Pickering and Chatto | Published : London
When the reading had to stop: Readers, reading and the circulation of texts in 'The Custom of the Country' (2010-01)
Towheed, Shafquat
In: Rattray, Laura ed. Edith Wharton's The Custom of the Country: A Reassessment. Gender and Genre (3) (pp. 29-41)
ISBN : 9781851962242 | Publisher : Pickering and Chatto | Published : London
Tools and techniques for literary research: Using online and printed sources (2009-08-20)
Towheed, Shafquat
In: Da Sousa Correa, Delia and Owens, W. R. eds. The Handbook to Literary Research (Second Edition) (pp. 9-35)
ISBN : 9780415485005 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon
Territory, space, modernity: Elizabeth Bowen's 'The Demon Lover and Other Stories' and wartime London (2009-05-15)
Towheed, Shafquat
In: Osborn, Susan ed. Elizabeth Bowen: New Critical Perspectives (pp. 113-131)
ISBN : 978-1-85918-435-6 | Publisher : Cork University Press | Published : Cork
Two paradigms of literary production: the production, circulation and legal status of Rudyard Kipling's Departmental Ditties and Indian Railway Library Texts (2008-07-10)
Towheed, Shafquat
In: Fraser, Robert and Hammond, Mary eds. Books Without Borders (pp. 125-136)
ISBN : 978-0-230-21033-2 | Publisher : Palgrave | Published : Basingstoke
Containing the Decadent Text: Decadent Readers, Reading Decadence (2006-04)
Towheed, Shafquat
In: Fox, Paul ed. Decadences: Morality and Aesthetics in British Literature. Studies in English Literatures (2) (pp. 1-31)
ISBN : 3-89821-573-3 | Publisher : Ibidem Verlag | Published : Stuttgart, Germany
Reading and the First World War: Readers, Texts, Archives (2015-08)
Towheed, Shafquat and King, Edmund eds.
New Directions in Book History
ISBN : 9781137302700 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke
Romantics and Victorians (2011-11-30)
Watson, Nicola J. and Towheed, Shafquat eds.
Reading and Studying Literature
ISBN : 9781849666237 | Publisher : Bloomsbury Academic | Published : London
The History of Reading, Volume 1: International Perspectives, c.1500-1990 (2011-08-26)
Towheed, Shafquat and Owens, W. R. eds.
ISBN : 9780230247512 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke, UK
The History of Reading, Volume 3: Methods, Strategies, Tactics (2011-08-26)
Crone, Rosalind and Towheed, Shafquat eds.
ISBN : 9780230247567 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke, UK
The History of Reading (2010)
Crone, Rosalind; Halsey, Katie and Towheed, Shafquat eds.
Routledge Literature Readers
ISBN : 9780415484213 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London
The Correspondence of Edith Wharton and Macmillan, 1901-1930 (2007-10-12)
Towheed, Shafquat ed.
ISBN : 9780230008434 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke, UK
New Readings in the Literature of British India, c.1780-1947 (2007-10)
Towheed, Shafquat ed.
Studies in English Literatures, Koray Melikoglu (ed.)
ISBN : 9783898216739 | Publisher : Ibidem Verlag | Published : Stuttgart, Germany
Publishing in the First World War: Essays in Book History (2007-05-16)
Hammond, Mary and Towheed, Shafquat eds.
ISBN : 9780230500761 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke, UK
The Sign of Four (2010-07-15)
Conan Doyle, Arthur
Broadview Press, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.