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Dr Melanie Waters

Assistant Professor

Department: Humanities

Melanie Waters studied at Newcastle University (BA, Ma, PhD) and joined Northumbria University in 2008. She is currently Co-Investigator on the AHRC-funded project Liberating Histories: Women's Movement Magazines, Media Activism and Periodical Pedagogies (2022-2025), which analyses feminist periodical culture in the UK from 1968 to the present day. Her publications include Feminism and Popular Culture: Investigating the Postfeminist Mystique (New York: Rutgers University Press, 2014); Women on Screen: Feminism and Femininity in Visual Culture (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2011); articles in Textual Practice, Modern Fiction Studies, Women: A Cultural Review, and Critical Survey; and, as editor, the special issue Feminist Periodical Culture: From Suffrage to Second Wave (2017), Poetry and Autobiography (London: Routledge, 2011), and three editions of the Journal of International Women's Studies. Melanie's co-authored book, Feminist Periodcals and the UK Women's Movement: Networks of Feelings Since 1968 is under contract with Edinburgh University Press.

Melanie Waters

Campus Address

Office: Lipman 419



Melanie's research investigates the dynamic relationship between feminism, form and politics in twentieth-century literature and culture. Much of her recent work instrumentalises the latest research on activism and affect, alongside philosophies of time, to shed distinctive new light on a range of feminist writing, including poetry, novels, non-fiction, and drama. 

Melanie is especially interested in feminist periodicals and how they have shaped feminist subjects, debates and campaigns from the 1960s onwards. This is the focus of the AHRC-funded project Liberating Histories: Women's Movement Magazines, Media Activism and Periodical Pedagogies and the monograph Feminist Periodicals and the UK Women's Movement: Networks of Feeling Since 1968 (EUP), which she is currently co-authoring with Dr Victoria Bazin and Dr Eleanor Careless. 

Her first book, Feminism and Popular Culture: Investigating the Postfeminist Mystique (with Dr Rebecca Munford), examines the peculiar temporality of postfeminist through reference to the complex ways in which popular culture negotiates debates within and about feminism. The changing role of feminism in public-sphere discourses continues to inform Melanie's research, from her articles on the magazines Ms., Spare Rib and Just Seventeen to her most recent publications about the novels of Doris Lessing, Marilyn French and Lisa Alther. 

Melanie's research has featured in The Times and USA Today

She welcomes research proposals on any aspect of feminism, or in any of the areas indicated above. 

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Wasting time? The politics and poetics of feminist waiting, Waters, M. 22 Aug 2022, In: Textual Practice
  • "What’s the Time, Anna Wulf? Crisis Temporality and Feminist Untimeliness in Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook", Waters, M. 21 Feb 2022, In: MFS - Modern Fiction Studies
  • Risky Ms.-ness? The Business of Women’s Liberation Periodicals in the 1970s, Waters, M. 2 Oct 2021, In: Women: A Cultural Review
  • ‘Everything a girl could ask for’? Fashioning Feminism in Just Seventeen, Waters, M. 1 Oct 2020, Women's Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1940s-2000s, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press
  • Bad Sex and the City? Feminist (Re)Awakenings in HBO’s Girls, Waters, M. 23 Jul 2017, Reading Lena Dunham's Girls: Feminism, postfeminism, authenticity and gendered performance in contemporary television, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan
  • Mediated and Mediating Feminisms: Periodical Culture from Suffrage to Second Wave, Bazin, V., Waters, M. May 2017, In: Women: A Cultural Review
  • ‘Yours in Struggle’: Bad Feelings and Revolutionary Politics in Spare Rib, Waters, M. May 2017, In: Women: A Cultural Review
  • Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath and confessional poetry, Waters, M. Oct 2015, The Cambridge Companion to American Poets, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press
  • Feminism and Popular Culture: Investigating the Postfeminist Mystique, Munford, R., Waters, M. 30 Aug 2013

  • Amy Thorpe Emerging Feminisms: Gender, Female Identity and Visual Culture in the Suffrage and Periodical Press, 1909-1920 Start Date: 01/10/2021
  • Megan Sormus Collage Grrrls: Reclaiming Contradictory Femininities in Anti-Chick Lit. Start Date: 20/09/2016 End Date: 31/01/2018

  • English Literature PhD January 30 2006
  • English Literature MA October 31 2002
  • Fellow (FHEA) Higher Education Academy (HEA) 2015


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