Theodore Koulouris is an academic working in literary and media theory especially in modernism.
He has researched literary Hellenism and published widely in the areas of literary and cultural modernism, with a special focus on mourning. He has more recently researched and taught in media studies and theory.
Theodore Koulouris teaches across the undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum in the School of Media. His research interests lie in the interstices of media and literary theory with a focus on the intersections of Marxism with deconstruction, on the political significances of mourning, on media ethics, and on literary and socio-political articulations of feminism, gender performativity, and feminist activism in the digital era.
Scholarly biography and interest
My background is in literary and critical theory. I started my teaching career in the School of English at the University of Sussex, where I worked as a teaching fellow since the completion of my doctorate in 2005.
My doctoral thesis explored Virginia Woolf’s classical Greek influences and the ways in which she solidified what I call a ‘poetics of loss,’ by navigating the post-1850s phenomenon of British Hellenism. My thesis was reworked into a monograph entitled Hellenism and Loss in the Work of Virginia Woolf (2011), the first (and hitherto only) book-length study of the author’s relationship with what she called her ‘dead Greeks.’
At Sussex, my teaching and research expertise lay mainly in post-1860s British literature and culture (especially Anglo-American and European modernisms, focusing particularly on the work of Virginia Woolf), in 20th-century constructions of sexuality (especially in representations of same-sex desire in post-1850s British literature and culture), and in genre theory (focusing especially on the theory of the novel).
My teaching and research interests took a decidedly material turn following the global financial crisis of 2007/8 and, especially, during the sovereign debt crisis in Greece post-2009. Since coming to the University of Brighton in 2010, I have sought to explore the ways in which the media – roughly conceptualized – perpetuate existing social, cultural and, mainly, political hegemonies whilst opening up avenues capable of accommodating a socio-political imaginary predicated on egalitarianism, collective effort and justice.
How I like to teach
I have taught in the University of Brighton since 2010. A senior lecturer in media theory since February 2017, I teach across the undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum on the following BA (Hons) degree programmes: Media Studies (MS), Media, Industry and Innovation (MII), and Media and Environmental Communication (MEC).
In addition to my duties as level 4 tutor and shadow course leader of the MS BA (Hons) degree programme, I also convene modules in media theory and digital culture (level 4), in the nature, history, and future(s) of television (level 4), in media and digital ethics (level 5), in national, European and global media studies (level 6), and in political communication (level 6). I also teach on our MA programme in Digital Media, Culture and Society.
I endeavour to engage students by highlighting the ways in which theory – whether we talk about media, literature, politics or indeed philosophy – bears heavily on the culture we consume daily, as well as on the articulation and implementation of political decisions that materially influence our lives. To do so, I rely heavily on twentieth-century continental theory whilst drawing on a diverse array of primary sources and/or media texts mined from an equally diverse spectrum of media platforms: from legacy media to social media platforms and social networking sites.
I try to inculcate my students with a respect for the value of abstract thinking in everyday life, and with a belief in the emancipatory potential of critical engagement. I cannot conceptualize a higher education study that does not question that which appears natural or naturalized – that is, to paraphrase Derrida, I cannot conceptualize deconstruction if not as a form of radicalization.
My two expectations from students are that they are a) conscientious, and b) intellectually daring.
I am an Associate of the Higher Education Academy (AHEA), and recipient of a Supporting Learning Award from SEDA (Staff and Educational Association [Sussex University, 2008]).
I am mainly interested in media and literary theory, with a focus on politics, ethics, feminism, and the philosophy of media.
In particular, I am interested in conceptualizations of the ‘archive’ (Derrida) and its philosophico-political applications in digital culture, especially in relation to the ways in which the ethics and politics of mourning may foster fruitful forms of resistance. In doing so, I seek to explore the extent to which deconstruction may be combined with classical Marxist thought and with contemporary iterations of material philosophy.
Current research projects
First, I am working on a project whose aim is to instigate discussion on the need for a normative, ontologically-driven philosophical framework in digital media theory informed by Jacques Derrida’s work – in particular, by supplementarity, the archive, the artifactuality of tele-technology, and, finally, by mourning. My goal is to articulate a fresh theoretical approach to digital ontology – and hopefully the beginning of a more pronounced politico-philosophical inflection to the important existing work on digital self-representation, digital citizenship, digital death and digital mourning.
Second, I am engaged with completing and publishing my transcription of Virginia Woolf’s legendary ‘Greek Notebook’ (1907-1909), which contains the author’s translations and analyses of several classical Greek texts (from Homer and Plato to Euripides and Aristophanes). I drew heavily on this work in Hellenism and Loss (2011), but I am currently reworking the introduction with a view to reconceptualizing it as a work that is essentially and unavoidably political.
Previous research projects
Koulouris, R (2018), 'Online Misogyny and the Alternative Right: Debating the Undebatable', Feminist Media Studies (in press), https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2018.1447428%20
Koulouris, T (2016), 'Traumatic Europe: The Impossibility of Mourning in W.G. Sebald’s Austerlitz'. In Andrew Hammond (ed), The Novel and Europe. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. https://www.palgrave.com/la/book/9781137526267#aboutBook
Koulouris, T (2011), 'Jacques Derrida in Virginia Woolf: Death, Loss and Mourning in Jacob's Room',Pacific Coast Philology, Vol 46: 65-79. https://www.jstor.org/stable/41413532?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
Koulouris, T (2011), Hellenism and Loss in the Work of Virginia Woolf, London: Routledge. https://www.routledge.com/Hellenism-and-Loss-in-the-Work-of-Virginia-Woolf/Koulouris/p/book/9781409404453
Additional research and scholarship
Conference paper: "'To be is to inherit": The Concept of Labour and the Political Ontology of Woolf's Archive', at the 28th International Virginia Woolf Conference, Woolf College, University of Kent, 21-27 June.
Organising Committee of 'Digital Culture Meets Data' Conference, School of Media, University of Brighton [ECREA Digital Culture and Communication Section], 6-7 November, 2017.
Conference paper: 'Mourning to fail, failing to mourn: a Derridean approach to the archivology of mourning on digital media.' ECREA Conference, Prague, November 2016.
'Mickey Mouse and the State of our Disciplines' Three-D, issue 27, MeCCSA, http://www.meccsa.org.uk/news/three-d-issue-27-mickey-mouse-and-the-state-of-media-and-cultural-studies/
Invitation to speak at ‘Democracy Rising International Conference’ (Athens, 16-19 July), organised by the Global Center of Advanced Studies (GCAS), alongside Tariq Ali, Jodi Dean, Alex Callinicos, Stathis Kouvelakis, Leonidas Vatikiotis, Paolo Gerbaudo, Dave Hill and representatives from Greece’s Syriza and Spain’s Podemos.. https://gcasblog.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/gcas-world-conference-athens-free-and-open-to-the-public/
‘Syriza, the Greek Elections and Jacques Derrida’s “Undecidability”’, for www.AnalyzeGreece.gr (Analyze Greece is a new online outlet sponsored by the Greek newspaper Avgi) – see here:http://www.analyzegreece.gr/notes/item/69-thodoris-koulouris-syriza-the-greek-elections-and-jacques-derrida-s-undecidability
‘Two Cheers for Hope’, in Roman Gerodimos (ed), First Thoughts on the 25 January 2015 Election in Greece. Greek Politics Specialist Group (GPSG) part of the Political Studies Association (PSA), University of Bournemouth (available here: http://www.gpsg.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/GPSG-Pamphlet-4-January-2015.pdf)
Review: Virginia Woolf, Jane Ellen Harrison and the Spirit of Modernist Classicism, by Jean Mills (Ohio State UP, 2014). In Tulsa Studies of Women's Literature 33.2 (Fall 2014).
30 May 'Radical Democracy, Literariness and the Contemporary Independent Documentary' (conference paper at 'Chronicles of Crisis: Public Culture, Austerity and Documentary in Greece'. School of Media, Film and Music, University of Sussex (UK) - footage of the conference may be viewed here: http://vimeo.com/102429063
'Traumatic Europe - The Impossibility of Mourning in W. G. Sebald's Austerlitz' (Work in Progress for Andrew Hammond (ed), Continental Fictions, forthcoming).
26-28 June 'The Elasticity of Outsiders - Three Guineas and the Politics of Negativity' at 'Modernism Now! Conference', British Association of Modernist Studies, Institute of English, London (UK)
May 2013 – University of Sussex, MA in English Literature Guest Lecturer / topic: ‘The Novel: The Name; the Genre; the Democratic Gesture’ (UK).
18-19 July 2012 – ‘Sophocles’ Antigone: Protest, Resistance, Ambiguity’ at ‘The Politics of Critique Conference’, University of Brighton (UK).
1 July 2012 – ‘Poetry Parnassus and the Southbank Centre on Tour – Speaking Volumes’ in collaboration with Ace Stories Brighton – A Conversation with poet Katerina Iliopoulou (Greece); Brighton (UK) - the interview, which covers the place of contemporary Greek poetry amid times of austerity and the place of the media in dealing with poetry and austerity, may be heard here: https://soundcloud.com/ace-stories-archive/katerina-with-theodore
Hellenism and Loss in the Work of Virginia Woolf, Farnham: Ashgate, 2011 (Monograph) http://www.ashgate.com/isbn/9781409404453
‘Jacques Derrida in Virginia Woolf: Death, Loss and Mourning in Jacob’s Room’ inPacific Coast Philology (46: 2011); (Peer-reviewed journal essay)
25 September 2011 – Ace Stories Brighton; ‘Then the curtain rose. They spoke’: A Commemorative Event on Virginia Woolf. Theodore Koulouris and Rachel Bowlby in Conversation; Brighton (UK)
9-12 June 2011 – ‘Ambivalent Feminisms: Woolf, Greece and Gender’ at ‘Contradictory Woolf’, the 21st International Virginia Woolf Conference, University of Glasgow (UK).
Sponsored Lecture: 14 November 2010 – PAMLA 2010 Conference – Virginia Woolf Special Session; Chaminade University, Honolulu; ‘Derrida’s “Mourning” and Virginia Woolf’s “Death”’ (USA)
10 November 2010 – College of Humanities, San Francisco State University; ‘Modernism, Entopia and Loss: ‘Virginia Woolf and Odysseas Elytis’ (USA)
Research Centres and Groups:
Centre for Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics
Social Media Links
Academia edu: http://brighton.academia.edu/TheodoreKoulouris
Reviews of Hellenism and Loss in the Work of Virginia Woolf (2011)
'… [a] thoughtful and illuminating study of Woolf's complex and distinctive engagements not just with Greek but with British Hellenism… Koulouris has given us a useful and stimulating contribution not just to Woolf criticism but to the emerging field of classical reception studies.' English
'Koulouris does a superb job of contextualizing Woolf's Greek Notebook in relation to Hellenism… The depth of archival research, the rich dialectical relationship he establishes between Woolf's Greek Notebook and "British Hellenism," and the account of Greek language and literature as especially crucial to Woolf's early conceptions of her own aesthetic make Hellenism and Loss in the Work of Virginia Woolf an important contribution both to Woolf studies and to Modernist studies in general.' Pacific Coast Philology
'The book provides a robust introduction to Hellenism and its pervading presence in the Victorian era in which Virginia Stephen was born, as well as a fascinating consideration of her entries in the slight Greek Notebook… Koulouris successfully gets us thinking, and he allows us to see the Greek Notebooks, with its relatively few entries, as a tantalising opportunity for Woolf scholars - as if it might be a magic key to open new understandings of the Woolf who continues to live, immortalised in the words that enliven her anew each time we return to them.' Virginia Woolf Bulletin
'The range of Woolf criticism has illustrated Woolf’s narrative techniques, especially in the novels, are so much a product of her vast reading of literary history that is impossible to definitively define their origins. Koulouris, however, has certainly shown that the Greeks were among her earliest and most powerful influences.' Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature
'This study offers a welcome reevaluation of Woolf’s relation to the Greeks and to British Hellenism and the consequences of her private study on her political views and aesthetics.' Virginia Woolf Miscellany
'Koulouris structures his understanding of Woolf’s encounter with Greece through ideas of loss and mourning, an association which leads to some interesting readings, but the book’s greatest value will be as an extended and revealing work of scholarship on the influence of an important cultural formation that fascinated Woolf throughout her adult life.' Women: A Cultural Review
‘…wide ranging, carefully documented, rich in specific insights, and a pleasure to read.’Woolf Studies Annual
College of Humanities, San Francisco State University (SFSU) to lecture in the College 9-16 November 2010.
The British Academy Conference Research Fund for ‘The Novel: Democracy’s Form?’, April 2007.
Reader for Pacific Coast Philology (PAMLA)
Associate of the Higher Education Academy of Great Britain (AHEA), August 2008.
Supporting Learning Award (SEDA, Staff and Educational Development Association UK), University of Sussex, May 2008.