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Dr Kirsten Harris


My chosen pronouns are she/her.

Please call me Kirsten; listen to me pronounce itLink opens in a new window

Contact details

Room: R3.17 (Ramphal Building)

Office Hours

Associate Professor


BA in English Literature (University of Sheffield); MA in Nineteenth-Century Studies (University of Sheffield); PhD in English Literature (University of Sheffield); Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (University of Nottingham)

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Research interests

My first monograph, Walt Whitman and British Socialism: 'The Love of Comrades' was published by Routledge in 2016. It combines two of my primary research interests: the American poet Walt Whitman and nineteenth-century British socialist culture. This research explores the different ways that Whitman was interpreted, appropriated and put to use by British socialists at the turn of the century, despite his outright refusal to endorse a socialist political programme.

My current research focuses on utopian texts, thought and practice. Research on socialist utopias has developed into a long-view, interdisciplinary interest in the utopian tradition, which I lead a module on at Warwick. Combining imagined societies, theory and lived practice, I explore the problems humans navigate when trying to create a better world.

Other research is on socialist print culture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, particularly in the poetry of the so-called 'socialist revival'. I'm interested in debates in the socialist press about poetic voice, form, aesthetic and canon, and how these discussions were integrated in nuanced ways into debates about the nature and purpose of socialism itself. More generally, I'm concerned with the relationship between art and radical political and social movements in different time periods.

I sit on the editorial board of the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review and serve on the editorial team at Utopian Studies.

I lead creative community workshops and give public talks on topics relating to Walt Whitman, utopias and the relationship between art and activism. I'm very open to discussing possible collaborations with community groups and external organisations.

Read the transcript for this video.


I am currently the Deputy Head of School for Liberal Arts, and the Liberal Arts Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Before taking on these roles, my major administrative responsibilities were in equity and inclusion. I have served as the department's widening participation and student equity lead, and served as the School for Cross-faculty Studies Equity and Inclusion Officer for three years. In May 2021, I successfully led the School's first Athena SWAN bronze submission. I'm deeply committed to educational justice, and in researching and implementing evidence-based strategies to achieve it.

I contribute regularly to outreach events such as schools work, Warwick summer schools and Sutton Trust initiatives.

In my previous role as a Senior Tutor in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Bristol, I had responsibility for ensuring the best possible student experience through transition to university studies and academic development initiatives, and by implementing a full programme of pastoral support. Having served as disability officer (physical and mental health) for a number of years, I'm committed to creating a fully inclusive campus and curriculum. I've worked extensively with students managing their studies in a range of challenging circumstances and I'm very happy to talk to students about any such issues. A Warwick LGBTUA+ supporter.

Areas of expertise: widening participation, transition to university studies, physical and mental health; community-building


I have also designed and delivered a range of literature modules across different times periods and genres in English departments at former institutions.



  • British Socialism and Walt Whitman: ‘The Love of Comrades’ (New York: Routledge, Feb 2016)


  • ‘Poetry and Fin de Siècle Socialism’, Literature Compass (November 2016)
  • ‘The “Labour Prophet”?: Representations of Walt Whitman in the British Nineteenth-Century Socialist Press’, Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, 30 (2013), 115-137
  • ‘The Evolution of Consciousness: Edward Carpenter’s Towards Democracy’, Victorian Spiritualities, Leeds Working Papers in Victorian Studies, 12 (Spring 2012), 226-235
  • ‘“Have the elder races halted?”: British Socialist Readings of “Pioneers! O Pioneers!”’, 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, 9 (Autumn 2009)