Dr Emily Cuming

Humanities and Social Science

My main research interests are on British literature and culture from the nineteenth century to the present with a focus on working-class writing, representations of domestic and urban space, and life writing. My first monograph, Housing, Class and Gender in Modern British Writing, 1880-2012, examined depictions of working-class interiors, housing and selves in literature from the Victorian period to the present. I am currently writing a second book, Maritime Relations: Family and Kinship Across Oceans, 1830-1915, centring on the figure of the working sailor and global maritime culture in the long nineteenth century. Alongside this I am working on a project that explores girlhood through archives of nineteenth-century working-class autobiography. I am particularly interested in the historical relationship between literature, life writing and other forms of nonfiction, and my research and teaching lie at the intersection of literary and historical enquiry.

Before joining the department in January 2017 I was a Research Fellow for three years in the School of English at the University of Leeds. Prior to that I lived and worked in Los Angeles, California for seven years, teaching literature and interdisciplinary humanities at Scripps College, Harvey Mudd College, the University of Redlands, and Whittier College.

I currently lead two undergraduate modules at LJMU: Life Stories and Our House: Representing Domestic Space. I also teach the Foundation-level course Waterscapes and the MA course Place: Imagining Place in Modern Times.

I currently supervise two PhD projects and warmly welcome enquiries from students considering doctoral research in any of my areas of interest.


2006, University of Manchester, UK, PhD
2002, University of Manchester, UK, MA
2001, University of Manchester, UK, BA Hons English & Russian

Highlighted publications

Cuming E. 2016. Housing, Class and Gender in Modern British Writing, 1880-2012 Cambridge University Press 9781107150188 DOI Publisher Url

Journal article

Allen V, Bohata K, Braithwaite P, Cuming EM, Von Rosenberg I, Woodward K. 2021. On Working with Williams: Five Female Perspectives Coils of the Serpent, 2021 :63-81 Publisher Url Public Url

Cuming EM. 2019. At Home in the World?: The Ornamental Life of Sailors in Victorian Sailortown Victorian Literature and Culture, 47 :463-485 DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Rogers H, Cuming EM. 2019. ‘Revealing Fragments: Close and Distant Reading of Working-Class Autobiography’ Family and Community History, 21 :180-201 DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Cuming E. 2013. Private Lives, Social Housing: Female Coming-of-Age Stories on the British Council Estate Contemporary Women's Writing, 7 :328-345 DOI Publisher Url

Cuming E. 2013. ‘Home is home be it never so homely’: Reading Mid-Victorian Slum Interiors Journal of Victorian Culture, 18 :368-386 DOI Publisher Url

Cuming EM. 2006. ‘The Order of Things Past: Ciaran Carson’s Autobiographical Bricolage’ Life Writing, 1 :17-38


Cuming E. 2016. Housing, Class and Gender in Modern British Writing, 1880-2012 Cambridge University Press 9781107150188 DOI Publisher Url

Book review

Cuming EM. 2016. Home in British Working-Class Fiction Key Words: A Journal of Cultural Materialism, 14 :128-130

Cuming EM. Anglo-Irish Autobiography: Class, Gender and the Forms of Narrative Irish Studies Review, 14


Cuming EM. Spaces of Girlhood: Autobiographical Recollections of Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Working-Class Holmes V, Joseph H, Nevalainen L. The Working Class at Home, 1770-1940 Palgrave Macmillan Public Url

Cuming EM. Leave to Remain: Bedsits, B&Bs and Borders in Contemporary Fictions of Asylum Briganti C, Mezei K. Living with Strangers Bloomsbury Academic. London Publisher Url Public Url

Conference presentation:

Writing Home: Sailors' Journals and the Forging of Kinship, STAY HOME - New perspectives on the home, The Royal Danish Academy, Copenhagen, Denmark, Oral presentation. 2022

Sea Diaries: Life Writing and Oceanic Time, International Auto/Biography Association (IABA) conference; Life-Writing: Imagining the Past, Present and Future, University of Turku, Turku, Finland, Oral presentation. 2022

'Objects of Desire: Dolls and Dollhouses in Memoirs of Working-Class Girlhood', Objects of Poverty, 1100-2021 - Online Conference, Oral presentation. 2021

‘Ornamental Sailors: Surface Readings of the Victorian Seafarer’, 'Victorian Patterns', British Association of Victorian Studies (BAVS) Conference, University of Exeter, Oral presentation. 2018

‘New Directions for Studying Working-Class Autobiography’ (with Dr Helen Rogers), Fragmentary Lives: The Survival and Interpretation of Historic Ego Documents, The National Archives, Oral presentation. 2018

‘Prison Voices in the Classroom: Crime, Punishment, and Pedagogy in the Digital Age' (with Dr Jude Piesse), Crime Fiction(s): Victorian and Neo-Victorian Narratives of Crime and Punishment, Edinburgh Napier University, Oral presentation. 2018

'Digital Victorians: Investigating the Victorians in the 21st Century', North West Print Culture Network meeting, Liverpool John Moores University, Oral presentation. 2017

‘Looking Out for “Jack Ashore”: Ship-Shape Life in the Victorian Sailors’ Home', Rethinking the Institution, Liverpool John Moores University, Oral presentation. 2017

'Beyond Hosts and Guests: Co-Production and Questions of Hospitality in Practice Research', TaPRA: The Theatre and Performance Research Association, University of Bristol, Oral presentation. 2016

‘Spaces of Co-Production: Reflections on Working with Community Organisations and Architects’ with Dr Lisa Procter and Gemma Nash (Venture Arts), Changing the Future Research Landscape, University of East Anglia, Oral presentation. 2016

Hospitable Research? (with Dr Alison Jeffers), Changing the Future Research Landscape, University of East Anglia, Oral presentation. 2016

‘Hospitality Praxis: Problematising the Power Relations of Co-Production Through the Arts of Hospitality’, CSA: Cultural Studies Association, University of Riverside, California, Oral presentation. 2015

‘The Use of Domestic Evidence in the Production of Urban Knowledge: Henry Mayhew’s Morning Chronicle Investigation’, Urban History Group, University of Wolverhampton, Oral presentation. 2015

‘Unreliable Narration and the British Country House’, The Country House in Britain, 1914-2013, University of Newcastle, Oral presentation. 2014


Caird Short-term Research Fellowship, Royal Museums Greenwich. 2022

Other invited event:

‘Seeing the World: Diaries, Journals, Sketches and Other Sailors’ Writing’, Tate Liverpool, Invited presentation for the launch of the Research Institute for Literature and Cultural History, Liverpool John Moores University.. 2019

‘“A Bit of Place”: Home, Work and Gender in Mid-Victorian Surveys of Working-Class Environments’, Institute for Historical Research (IHR), London, Invited paper for IHR Winter Conference on 'Home: New Histories of Living.. 2018

‘Archives and “Ordinary” Lives’., Leeds Humanities Research Institute, University of Leeds., Invited presentation for the Sadler Seminar Series: 'Shh! Encounters in the Unquiet Library'.. 2018

'At Home in the World? Sailors’ Homes, Port Cities and Melville’s Redburn’, University of Warwick, Invited paper for Victorian World Literatures conference. 2016

'Home Truths: Re-visiting Henry Mayhew’s Morning Chronicle Survey’., University of Leeds, Invited research paper for the Victorian Research Group seminar series, School of English.. 2015

'Housing and Culture'., University of Leeds, Invited speaker and participant at AHRC–funded Research Network workshop, ''Home, Crisis and the Imagination'.. 2014

'At Home with Strangers: The Social Space of the Boarding-House in Twentieth-Century British Fiction’, Nottingham Trent University, Invited speaker at English Faculty Research Seminar Series.. 2014

Research Grants Awarded:

AHRC Connected Communities, ''Servicing Utopia: Critical Considerations for Social Change Through Accessible Design', Lisa Procter (Manchester Metropolitan University); Jenny Slater (Sheffield Hallam University), Grant value (£): 10,000, Duration of research project: 4 months. 2016

AHRC Connected Communities, 'Travelling Toilet Tales', Jenny Slater (Sheffield Hallam University); Lisa Procter (Manchester Metropolitan University), Grant value (£): 20,000, Duration of research project: 4 months. 2016

AHRC Connected Communities, ‘Around the Toilet: Co-Creating Intersectional Understandings of Gender, Disability and Access’, Jenny Slater (Sheffield Hallam University); Lisa Procter (Manchester Metropolitan University), Grant value (£): 46,000, Duration of research project: 9 months. 2015

AHRC Connected Communities, ‘The Hospitality Project: Exploring Hospitality as an Arts-Based Praxis to Remake Relationships of Co-Production’, Naomi Millner (University of Bristol); Alison Jeffers (University of Manchester), Grant value (£): 55,000, Duration of research project: 11 months. 2015

Conference organisation:

Bodies, Identities & Design: A Speaker Event, Organiser. 2015

Invited co-organiser and convener of ‘Gender, Space and Architecture’ session, for British Academy-sponsored event 'Is Gender Still Relevant?', University of Bradford, September 2014.. 2014

Editorial boards:

Key Words: A Journal of Cultural Materialism, Editor, https://raymondwilliams.co.uk/journal/. 2015

Membership of professional bodies:

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Higher Education Academy.

Fellow, Royal Historical Society.