Grace Halden

Birkbeck College, University of London

Senior Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Literature

Birkbeck staff profile here.



 I am a cultural historian with a focus on ruination, war, technology, reproduction, bioethics and the human condition as represented in literature. Here, is a brief overview of select work. For research interests go here; for a full resume please contact me. Note: I was on maternity leave Feb 2019-Feb 2020. From October 2020-October 2021 I will be on funded research leave (ISSF).

Select publications and research projects





Three Mile Island: The Meltdown Crisis and Nuclear Power in American Popular Culture (Routledge, 2017). Flyer here . Order here: ,

Forthcoming: Contemporary Posthumanism: Transcending the Human in Contemporary Posthuman Literature, Media, and Culture (TBA)  (on hold due to maternity leave and ISSF project)


Chapters in edited collections

'British Science Fiction 1990s-2010: Technology and Society', Blackwell/Wiley Encyclopedia of Contemporary British and  Irish Literature, ed. by Richard Bradford (Blackwell/Wiley, 2020)


'Cyberpunk Photography and Art', The Routledge Companion to Cyberpunk Culture, ed. by Graham J. Murphy et al (Routledge, 2019)

‘Growing up in the 21st Century: Pretty Little Liars and their Pretty Little Devices’, in Girl Talk:  The Influence of Girls’ Series Books on American Popular Culture, ed. by LuElla D’Amico (New York: Lexington Books, 2016).


Edited Collections


Waste: Papers on Disposability, Decay, and Depletion, ed. by Grace Halden and Alice Burks (Open Library of Humanities Special Collection, 2018): (this is a rolling publication)

Concerning Evil, ed. by Grace Halden and Gabriela Madlo (Oxford: IDP, 2013).

Current Research Areas

See here

Research Projects


2020-2021. ISSF Wellcome full funding for 12 months. Project: 'Cyborg Conception: technologized reproduction and posthuman families in literary and cultural imagination'. Summary: this project will intervene in the interdisciplinary field of the medical humanities by understanding the cultural mediation of assisted reproduction through literature since 1978. Across three key genres, ‘Cyborg Conception’ analyses how literature forms part of the reimagined ‘entangled’ medical humanities (as articulated by Fitzgerald and Callard), interrogating and even ‘reanimating’ medical understandings of, and discourses around, assisted reproduction. More information here.

Collaborative funded


2017-Current. WASTE (with Alice Burks). Event:  ‘Waste: A Symposium. Papers on Disposability, Decay, and Depletion’, 21 September. An interdisciplinary event exploring representations of waste, both material and metaphorical, within contemporary culture. Publication secured with Open Library Humanities (peer reviewed, for 2018). Funding awarded by Birkbeck’s Research Committee.


2016-Current.  ‘The Contemporary: An Exhibition’. This is an annual exhibition conceptualized for Arts Week 2016 and 2017. I lead the exhibition and work with Birkbeck postgraduate students to present a rich mixture of art, photography and dramatic performance on the theme of Art and Politics in the contemporary. Funding granted by Arts Week Committee.


2014-15. The ArtLess Group. This project involved researching ways to unite the humanities and

sciences to promote new, innovative, collaborative research in the twenty-first century. I was invited onto the team to manage events and public outreach, and to conduct, facilitate, and disseminate new interdisciplinary research. One of the project’s outreach programmes included creating research exhibitions for Bury Art Museum and for tour in Japan. AHRC funded group.


2015.  Critical Waves project member. Within this role, I was invited onto the team as one of six project leaders developing panel discussions and radio broadcasts for Resonance FM and the Institute of Contemporary Arts. The aim of this project was to encourage further research in media and facilitate the global reach of research. The project’s events were pedagogical and enabled young researchers to consider the social importance and relevance of voice and the power of research dissemination in the twenty-first century. AHRC funded group.


Collaborative unfunded


2017    ‘Ruin and Rebuild: Exhibition of Urban Dereliction’, Being Human Festival, 25 November 2017.

2017-   First Contact Research Group. A research cluster at Birkbeck seeking to explore modern narratives about a diversity of contemporary issues. Intended outputs include publications, grants, and international collaborations. Founding member.

2015: Technology for Teaching and Learning. Representative for The Satellite Group (2015-2019), subcommittee of Birkbeck’s Teaching and Quality Enhancement Committee (focused on technology-enhanced learning). I have done a series of talks/workshops/training initiatives for Birkbeck on the subject of technology enhanced learning.

Select Articles and Reviews

  • Forthcoming: 'Dramatic Engines and ‘So What?’ Parentage: Arguing Against The Immortality of Donor Conception Through "World Literature"'2021 (part of the ISSF/Wellcome Cyborg Conception funded project)

  • Forthcoming: 'Writing Cyborg Conception: Solo Mothers By Choice In Contemporary Fiction on the "Single Mother" 2021 (part of the ISSF/Wellcome Cyborg Conception funded project)

  • 'Haunting Clouds', in Nuclear Narratives, Alluvium Journal, ed. by Christopher Daley, (29 July, 2016) .

  • ‘Light’, in World of the American Revolution: A Daily Life Encyclopedia ed. by Dr Merril Smith (ABC-CLIO) (California: Greenwood 2015).

  • ‘Mills’, in World of the American Revolution: A Daily Life Encyclopedia ed. by Dr Merril Smith (ABC-CLIO) (California: Greenwood 2015).

  • ‘Incandescent: Light Bulbs and Conspiracies’, in Dandelion Postgraduate Journal, ed. by Robert Stearn and Paul Ingram, 5.2 (March, 2015) .

  • ‘20 Things You Didn’t Know About Immortality’, Discover Magazine (April 2015).

  • ‘Review: Aaron Tucker’s Interfacing with the Internet in Popular Cinema’, in Science Fiction Film and Television 8.3 (January 1, 2015).

  • ‘Review:David Wittenberg, Time Travel: The Popular Philosophy of Narrative’, in Foundation, 44.1 (2015).

  • ‘Review: Jonathan Oliver, End of the Road’, in Foundation, 44: 118, (2015).

  • ‘Critical Reflection on Christopher Eccelstone’s Doctor’, , 7.2, 244-6 (2014).

  • ‘Textual Non-Event of Nuclear War’, , 20 (2012): 1-20

  • ‘Review: Andrew Blum’s Tubes’, in Foundation, 43: 117, 98-101 (2014).

  • ‘Review: 2B: The Era of Flesh is Over’, in Trespassing Journal: Trespassing Medicine, ed. by Hivren Demir-Atay, 4, 112-115 (December 2014). Double blind peer reviewed.

  • ‘Review: Edward M .Learner’s Small Miracles’, in Foundation, 42:116, 112-15 (2014).

  • ‘Revolution 2.0’ in Warscapes (2013):




2021: Winner: Best Dissertation/Project Supervisor for Birkbeck Heroes (Birkbeck Students' Union)


2018: High commendation for 'Ruin and Rebuild' at the Public Engagement Awards

2017: Birkbeck Excellence in Teaching Award (BETA)

Honorary Roles / Membership


2021: Volunteer for the Donor Conception Network 


2021: Professional membership: Donor Conception Network

2021: Professional membership: SFRA


2020-Current: Open Access Sub-Committee at Birkbeck.


2020-Current: Digital Education Sub-Committee at Birkbeck.


2017-Current: Fellow Higher Education Academy


2017-Current: Member of the Atomic Photographer’s Guild ; personal profile here: Grace Halden


2017-2018: Online Editor for Alluvium


2015- 2019: Representative for The Satellite Group, subcommittee of Birkbeck’s Teaching and Quality Enhancement Committee (focused on technology-enhanced learning).


2015- Current: Reviewer: Science Fiction Film and Television.


Select Interviews and Talks



2017    ‘Waste: A Symposium. Papers on Disposability, Decay, and Depletion’, 21 September. An interdisciplinary event exploring representations of waste, both material and metaphorical, within contemporary culture. Publication secured with Open Library Humanities (peer reviewed, for 2018). Funding awarded by Birkbeck’s Research Committee.




2021    Forthcoming:  'Nuclear Memories - An International Comparison', Roundtable. October 22. Invited speaker.

2021    Forthcoming: 'Barren Planets and the Ovum-like Death Star: Family, Fertility and Assisted Reproduction in Star Wars (1977-2019)', June 21.

2018    Creative Climate Symposium, May 8th. Invited speaker.

2018    ‘Technology for Assessment and Extra-Curricular Extension’, Centre for Transformational Practice in Learning and Teaching. 31 January. Invited speaker.

2017    Roundtable discussion at Birkbeck for Post-War to the Contemporary, December. Invited speaker.

2017    ‘American Crisis’, Waterstones Gower Street, May. Invited speaker.

2017    ‘Disability, Equality and Digital Technology in Teaching and Assessment’, Arts Week, Birkbeck, May. Invited speaker.

2017    ‘Ordinary Digital Humanities’, Arts Week, Birkbeck, May. Invited speaker.

2016    Talk for Birkbeck’s Teaching Day, ‘Using Panopto for Assessment’, December. Invited speaker.

2016    Roundtable discussion at Birkbeck on science fiction, December. Invited speaker.

2016    Talk for Institute of Contemporary Arts, ‘Exploration: Ruined Things’, May. Invited speaker.

2015    Interviewed by Workers Educational Association, February. Invited speaker.

2015    Roundtable discussion at Birkbeck on science fiction, May. Invited speaker.

2015    Lecture for EMC's Dystopia, Speculative Fiction, ‘Future Fiction’, December. Invited speaker.

2014    ‘Ascending or Descending? Ideas of Disability and the Singularity in Stargate Universe’, Current Research in Speculative Fiction, University of Liverpool, June.

2014    ‘Technophobia and Technoparanoia: Looms, Luddites, and Laptops’, Fear and Loathing, Kent, May.

2014    '(Future) Apocalypse Now', Memories of the Future, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL, May.

2014    'Light Bulbs: Theories and Conspiracies and Representation’, Holding things in common: the vernacular, everyday objects and memory, Birkbeck, May.

2013    ‘The Pursuit of Legal Rights for AGI in the Speculative Future’, Beyond AI 2013, University of West Bohemia. Fully Funded Speaker; receiver of funding for best paper.

2013    ‘The dominance of technology in Gravity’s Rainbow: the light bulb and the cybernetic apocalypse’, Lines, Legacies, Anniversaries: International Pynchon Week, Durham University, August.

2013    ‘Gender in Virtual Worlds: Masking of Identity and Intention’, Ignite© Gender violence and virtual worlds: brave new world(s) of regulation?, Open University, September.

2013    ‘The Digitalisation of Reader Response’, E-reading between the lines: 21st century literature, digital platforms and literacies, Brighton University, July.

2013    ‘The Technologically Rapine’, Current Research in Speculative Fiction, The University of Liverpool, June.

2013    The ‘bare life’ of the human in conflict contexts: the static behaviour and group movement of war zombie’, Zombies: Eating, Walking & Performance, Plymouth University, April.

2013    ‘Technology, psychological doubling and genocide.  How remote technology facilitates evil acts as explored through science fiction after World War II’, Evil and Human Wickedness 14th Global Conference,, April. Partially Funded speaker.

2013    ‘Memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: projected fictional landscapes based on the memory of nuclear holocaust’, Memories of Conflict, Conflict of Memories International Conference, University College London, February.

2012    ‘Apocalyptic imagination: the fear of a nuclear driven apocalyptic event within American Cold War literature’, Two Cultures or Co-evolution? Science and Literature 1800-Present, Keele University, May.





MA by Research: English

BA Hons: English (1st)

Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)

PGCHE (2017)

Fellow HEA (2017)

Image and Film

2010 - present

2010 - present