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Dr Clare Birchall

Dr Clare BirchallSenior Lecturer in Contemporary Culture

Tel +44 (0)20 7848 7091


Address Department of English
King's College London
Room 6.27, Virginia Woolf Building 
22 Kingsway
London WC2B 6LE

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Dr Clare Birchall joined King’s College London in 2012. Before arriving at King’s, she taught Cultural and Media Studies at the University of Kent and Middlesex University. With a first degree in English from Exeter University, Dr Birchall went on to study Critical Theory at Sussex University.

 Dr Birchall is the author of Knowledge Goes Pop: From Conspiracy Theory to Gossip (Berg, 2006) and co-editor of New Cultural Studies: Adventures in Theory (Edinburgh University Press, 2007). She has also edited special issues of the journals Theory, Culture and Society (Dec 2011) and Cultural Studies (Jan 2007). Her most recent research is concerned with the relationship between secrecy and transparency in the digital age and has given talks and keynote lectures in the UK, the EU and the US on this subject. Dr Birchall is part of an ESRC-funded series of research seminars on privacy issues entitled ‘DATA - PSST! Debating and Assessing Transparency Arrangements - Privacy, Security, Surveillance, Trust’.

 Alongside more traditional scholarship, Dr Birchall is involved with a number of digital projects. She is one of the editors for the online journal Culture Machine ; an editorial board member and series co-editor for the Open Humanities Press ; and part of the team behind the JISC-funded Living Books about Life series. These books, produced by an international network of humanities and social science scholars, repackage and re-present open access science-related research on topics such as air, bioethics, surveillance and, Dr Birchall’s own contribution, invisibility. By creating 21 such ‘living books’ in seven months, the series represents a new model of publishing in a sustainable, low-cost manner. Clare also collaboratively produces a series of online videos entitled Liquid Theory TV. Watch an episode on Gilles Deleuze’s idea of control societies; and an episode on secrecy and transparency.

Research interests
  • Secrecy
  • Transparency
  • Conspiracy theories
  • Popular culture
  • Cultural studies and cultural theory
  • Neoliberalism
  • Visual culture
  • Digital culture and datafication

Dr Birchall is currently supervising PhDs on a wide variety of topics including Obama era representations of torture in film and television, and raced subjectivities in contemporary American television. She welcomes applications to study with her on any of the research interests outlined above.

Selected publications
  •  ‘Between Transparency and Secrecy’, Theory, Culture & Society, Volume 28, Nos. 7-8, December 2011.
  • ‘The Secret Issue’, Cultural Studies, Volume 21, No.1 January 2007.
  • ‘ Delimiting Transparency’, European Journal of Social Theory 18(2) March 2015.
  •  ‘Aesthetics of the Secret’, New Formations 83, January 2015: 25-46.
  •  ‘Radical Transparency?’, Cultural Studies <=> Critical Methodologies 14(1), February 2014: 77-88.

For a complete list of publications, please see her full research profile









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