Please read our student and staff community guidance on COVID-19
Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Paul Whitehouse

About Me

Hi everyone and welcome to my eportfolio! My name is Paul Whitehouse and I am a seminar tutor and Widening Participation Officer in the department of English and Comparative Literary Studies. My research interests lie in 20th century American and Native American literature, literary explorations of violence, dystopian literatures, and creative pedagogies. I also run the Transformations Project and Performance and Pedagogy Project in the English Department.


My Research

Thesis Title: Violence and Frontier in 20th Century Native American literature

The central argument of my doctoral thesis is that authors Leslie Marmon Silko, Louis Owens,and Gerald Vizenor, working in the latter half of the twentieth century, use violence as a literary device (literary violence) for exposing and critiquing modes of systemic violence inherent in the formative originary myths of dominant US culture, specifically the mythic frontier and West. I argue that they engage with questions arising out of the systemic and normative violence required to sustain exceptionalist and supremacist Euramerican myth, which in turn sanitise the unspeakable violence of settler colonialism. This sanitising effect produces a form of transcendent violence, so called because the violence it describes is deemed to be justified in accordance with dominant ideology. In addressing this, Silko rewrites the mythic legacies of frontier and the West, rearticulating the unspeakable violence of conquest and domination, resulting in an anti-Western, pre-apocalyptic vision that turns away from European modernity and late twentieth century capitalism, looking instead to an Indigenous worldview. Owens similarly proposes an alternative reading of frontier where binaries of racial and cultural difference become malleable and diffuse, producing unexpected breaks with established ideology and narratives of dominance. The unseen systemic violence of the provincial town, in many ways the American societal idyll in microcosm, emerges during key confrontations betweenNative and non-Native characters in the liminal spaces that bound the town. Bringing these different threads together, Vizenor critiques systemic and institutionalised violence in his fiction and non-fiction work. His breakthrough novel Darkness in Saint Louis Bearheart shares key characteristics with the work of Silko and Owens in this regard. Transgressing borders of taste, binaries of simulated Indianness, and notions of Euramerican cultural dominance, Vizenor’s mocking laugh destabilises the notion of completed conquest and closed frontiers as the final word on Euramerican supremacy.

Department: English and Comparative Literary Studies Supervisors: Dr Nick Monk


University of Warwick: EN122 Modes of Reading

University of Warwick: EN304 Twentieth Century U.S. Literature

University of Leicester: Centre for American Studies, University of Leicester. Module: The West; The Frontier in Native American Literature and Culture (March 2015)

University of Warwick: Transformations Project (2012-present)

Graduate Teaching

University of Warwick: EN903 Literatures of The American Southwest (2013)

University of Warwick: Performance and Pedagogy (2014-2015)

Awards, Fellowships, Grants

Winner of 2012 Warwick Award for Teaching Excellence for Postgraduate Research Students (WATEPGR).

Articles and Publications

'Supporting Cultures of Tertiary Progression in UK Schools and Academies', Academies Update (2012), with Dr Paul Prescott.

‘Seeing Red: Violence and Cultural Memory in D’Arcy McNickle’s The Surrounded’, Dandelion Postgraduate Arts Journal and Research Network, Vol. 2.1 (2011)

‘Website Development for Teachers of English’, NATE Classroom, Issue 13 (2011).

Author of ‘helpmewithenglish: an educational website’ (2008).

‘Going into School Teaching after Academic Study’, in ‘Careers Tools and Advice’ (2007), with Dr Catherine Armstrong.


“Putting the Violence Back in: Reimagining the Western Frontier in Leslie Marmon Silko’s Almanac of the Dead,” Violence and the American Imagination, Loughborough University, July 2015.

“How the Colonizers Never Left and the Frontier Never Closed in Louis Owens’s Uninterrupted Frontier,”

6th Annual Native Studies Research Network conference, Institute for the Study of the Americas, September


“Understanding Widening Participation,” Coventry BEEM Steering Group, Coventry City Council, September


“Trickster Aesthetics and Systemic Violence in 20th Century Native American Literature,” Indigeneity and the Arts: Visual Culture and Communication, 3rd Annual Native Studies Research Network Conference, University of Kent, July 2011.

“Story and Survival,” Fourth Annual Geneva Native Studies Masterclass, University of Geneva, March 2011.

“Seeing Red: Violence and Cultural Memory in D’Arcy McNickle’s The Surrounded,” Second Annual Critical

Theory Conference: Violence and Reconciliation, University of Exeter, September 2010.

Services to the Academy

Member: British Association of American Studies (BAAS); Native Studies Research Network (NSRN); American Indian Workshop (AIW).

Public Engagement, Outreach, Widening Participation

Convenor: Transformations Project; Performance and Pedagogy Project; Transformations Summer School; A-Level Revision Masterclasses.

Invited Speaker The Rosa Parks Centenary: Civil Rights, Women's Rights & Human Rights, Centre for American Studies and the British Association for American Studies (BAAS), University of Leicester, February 2013. Coverage on BBC Radio 4 and Economist.



Paul Whitehouse

P dot C dot Whitehouse at warwick dot ac dot uk