Samuel Williams, Queens'

Degree: PhD
Course: CC
Supervisor: Dr Louise Joy
Dissertation Title:

Queer theory and the representation of sexual and gender diversity in adolescent literature


Biographical Information

I studied Creative Writing as an undergraduate at Flinders University in South Australia. After completing my Honours, I worked freelance for a couple of years as a writer, editor, teacher and translator.

My short fiction and reviews have appeared in a handful of Australian publications including Voiceworks and Australian Book Review, and my playwriting has gone up at the Bakehouse Theatre in Adelaide. My employers have included the South Australian Writers' Centre, ActNow Theatre and Scotch College Adelaide, with volunteer work at Feast supporting LGBTI youth. I’ve taught writing to kids of all ages, working particularly with 10-15 year olds, and for four years I facilitated a monthly young writers’ group at my local independent bookstore, Mostly Books.

In 2016 I won a John Monash Scholarship, co-sponsored by Tim Fairfax and the Australia Council for the Arts, to continue my Honours research on LGBT representation in adolescent literature with a PhD at Cambridge.

Research Interests

I am a literary Darwinist scholar with a broad interest in approaches to literary study that are consistent with scientific rationalism.

At the moment I work specifically on sexual and gender diversity in literature, and on issues of structural injustice and minority representation. Other interests include Wittgensteinian and post-critical reading.

My PhD attempts to blend work from empirical sociology, political theory and ordinary language philosophy to argue for a new way of reading LGBT+ literature in English departments, and, by extension, a way of reading after Theory. My case study is the dominance of queer theory over the interpretation of LGBT+ literature since the 1990s, particularly in children’s literature.

I am a member of the Human Behaviour and Evolution Society and a graduate affiliate of Heterodox Academy.

Areas of Supervision

I am trained to teach in the English Faculty and am open to supervising on any of the research areas mentioned above, including:

  • queer theory
  • sexual and gender diversity in literature
  • children’s literature
  • evolutionary literary study

Where appropriate, I am also happy to provide supervision across disciplines – e.g. philosophy, gender studies, biological anthropology – if the work has a literary focus and overlaps with the interests above.