Research at Leeds Beckett
Professor Andrew Cooper
About Professor Andrew Cooper
Andrew Cooper is Dean of Cultural Studies and Humanities. He joined our University in September 2015, and in addition to his duties as Dean also teaches and researches in the area of English language and literature.
Before joining Leeds Beckett University, Andrew worked at the University of Salford where he held a number of posts, which included being the first Academic Director for Salford’s Media City Campus. He established the academic portfolio across a spectrum of disciplines in creative media and digital technologies, working in collaboration with neighbours such as the BBC, ITV, Dock 10 Studios, and 250 small and medium businesses on site.
This has shaped Andrew’s passion for trans-disciplinary working and its enhancement of the student experience, and is allied to his teaching and research interests in the politics of language theory and social/cultural discourses. As Dean, he encourages work across a mix of disciplines that interact in dynamic and innovative ways, joining with colleagues and students to create opportunities to enrich the learning experience of those who are part of the School of Cultural Studies and Humanities.
- Victorian Novel
Re-presenting the Cultural Politics of Language Theory in Nineteenth-Century England:
The question of the relationship between words and ideas, and words and things, has been at issue from the beginning of reflection upon language. Consequently, events and ways of thinking and speaking about communication have shaped different responses to that question, producing historically specific definitions of language that have had material impact on the intersections of culture, society and politics. Andrew’s research argues that important work to conceptualise language can be found in poetry and novels of the nineteenth century, as well as in contemporaneous philological writings. This is explored with particular emphasis upon ways in which literary texts expose how gender and class challenge emergent and dominant language theories. Through this lens Andrew examines the advent of a modern conceptualisation of language in which the word operates both as a material thing, and also as the articulator of cultural, social, and political discourses integral to ideological constructions of identity in nineteenth-century England.
Andrew’s current research extends those paradigm shifts to thinking about language and the digital realm: from early dependency on machine codes to the advent of programming language, and culminating in the current explosion of interest in digital communications facilitated by the Internet of Things. His work looks at modifications in the discursively constructed relationship between language and things, showing the impact of these changes upon digital interactions. This research offers new readings of the interdependency of subjectivity, sign systems, and the material world in a sphere of language-based exchanges between objects connected to each other, and to our ‘selves’. Andrew argues that this produces complex re-presentations of social, cultural and political discourses, and that these offer important ideological challenges to dominant conceptualisations of language that determine the digital realm and inform digital citizens.