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Holly Brown


Holly Brown writes on biopolitics, corporeality and medicine, and is currently reading for a PhD in literature at Ghent University. Prior to this, she obtained a BA in American Studies at Nottingham University, where she was an exchange student at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. She also holds an MA in Comparative Literary Studies from Goldsmiths, University of London. From January to June 2017, she was a Visiting Scholar with the School of Critical Studies at the California Institute for the Arts, Los Angeles.

Holly’s PhD thesis explores the recurring trope of the sick male body in contemporary American fiction and late-twentieth-century performance art to prise open the complex biopolitical conditions of living in late capitalism. Bringing together philosophical theorizations of immunity with critical approaches to embodiment found in gender, queer, and disability studies as well as the medical humanities, it contends that the disintegration of bodies once considered “immune” is crucial for thinking about the neoliberal normalization of precarity. By placing fiction by Joshua Ferris, Ben Marcus, and Hanya Yanagihara into dialogue with the earlier endurance art of Ron Athey, Chris Burden, Bob Flanagan, and Tehching Hsieh, the thesis examines the effects of neoliberal ideology on lived experience and gauges the potential for new modes of relationality outside of this political and economic framework.


Department of Literary Studies / Room 130.029FullSizeRender
Ghent University
Blandijnberg 2
9000 Ghent
Tel: +32 (0)9 264 36 55
Fax: +32 (0)9 264 41 79