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Dr Diletta De Cristofaro

Assistant Professor

Department: Humanities

I research and write about contemporary literature and culture. I am particularly interested in North American and British writings responding to twenty-first-century anxieties and crises, and in what these narratives tell us about our society, our sense of self, and of time. I am an expert in the apocalyptic imagination, especially narratives about the climate crisis. My book on the topic, The Contemporary Post-Apocalyptic Novel: Critical Temporalities and the End Times, is out with Bloomsbury. In addition to the environmental humanities, my work intervenes in the medical humanities. At present, I am the Principal Investigator on two Wellcome Trust-funded projects exploring sleep and sleeplessness in the twenty-first century: the research project “Writing the Sleep Crisis” and the public engagement project "Understanding and Reimagining Sleep and Its Disorders". My work on sleep was also awarded funding from the European Commission.

My essays and criticism have appeared in publications ranging from ParallaxASAP/JCritique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, and boundary 2 online, to SalonThe WeekRTÉ, The Conversation, and Post45 Contemporaries. I am a public speaker and contribute to literary and science festivals, such as Durham Book Festival, the European Researchers Night, and the Being Human Festival.

In 2021-2022, I was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow at Politecnico di Milano (Italy), and in 2017 I was a Research Fellow at the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin (USA). Since 2018, I have been part of the Executive Committee of the British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies.  

For up-to-date information about my work see my personal website and the website of my current research project, "Writing the Sleep Crisis".

Diletta De Cristofaro

I’m particularly interested in North American and British writings responding to twenty-first-century anxieties and crises that range from climate breakdown and other apocalyptic threats for my first book to the sleep crisis for my second book project. 

My current research project, "Writing the Sleep Crisis", was awarded funding from the Wellcome Trust and the European Commission - visit the project's website here. This is the first study to explore cultural engagements with the so-called sleep crisis, namely, contemporary society's presumed widespread sleep deprivation and rise of sleep disorders. I consider a wide range of twenty-first-century writings across fiction, non-fiction, and digital culture. Analysing these texts, I explore the concerns about contemporary life highlighted by the notion of a sleep crisis and what these concerns reveal about the relationship between health, in particular mental health, and neoliberal ideologies, especially those shaping our sense of self, experience of time, and working lives. 

I am an expert in the contemporary apocalyptic imagination. My book on the topic, The Contemporary Post-Apocalyptic Novel: Critical Temporalities and the End Times, is out with Bloomsbury. Today, we tend to think about the apocalypse as a catastrophe of overwhelmingly dystopian consequences but, traditionally, apocalyptic narratives concern the advent of a utopian world at the end of history. My research investigates what is at stake in this shift to a dystopian apocalyptic imagination by theorising the significance of time in the contemporary post-apocalyptic novel. You can read the introduction of my book on the contemporary post-apocalyptic novel here.

My work on the apocalyptic imagination engages with the threat of climate breakdown and the Anthropocene, the current geological epoch defined by the devastating impact of human activities on the Earth system. With Daniel Cordle, I edited The Literature of the Anthropocene, a special issue of C21 Literature: Journal of 21st-Century Writing (2018).

In 2017, I was awarded a Harry Ransom Center Research Fellowship in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin (USA) to research the previously unexplored archival materials of the Jim Crace Papers. You can read more about this project here.

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • The Contemporary Post-Apocalyptic Novel: Critical Temporalities and the End Times, De Cristofaro, D. 26 Dec 2019
  • Quantified Sleep: Self-Tracking Technologies and the Reshaping of 21st-Century Subjectivity, De Cristofaro, D., Chiodo, S. May 2023, In: Historical Social Research
  • Patterns of Repetition: Colonialism, Capitalism and Climate Breakdown in Contemporary Post-Apocalyptic Fiction, De Cristofaro, D. 2021, In: Parallax
  • “Time, no arrow, no boomerang, but a concertina”: Cloud Atlas and the anti-apocalyptic critical temporalities of the contemporary post-apocalyptic novel: Cloud Atlas and the anti-apocalyptic critical temporalities of the contemporary post-apocalyptic novel, De Cristofaro, D. 15 Mar 2018, In: Critique - Studies in Contemporary Fiction
  • Critical Temporalities: Station Eleven and the Contemporary Post-Apocalyptic Novel, De Cristofaro, D. 23 Nov 2018, In: Open Library of Humanities
  • ‘Every day is like Sunday’: Reading the Time of Lockdown via Douglas Coupland, De Cristofaro, D. 13 May 2020, In: Boundary 2
  • The Politics of the Archive in Nineteen Eighty-Four, De Cristofaro, D. 2020, The Cambridge Companion to Nineteen Eighty-Four, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press
  • “What’s the Plot, Man?”: Alternate History and the Sense of an Ending in David Means’ Hystopia, De Cristofaro, D. 18 Jul 2020, 21st Century US Historical Fiction, Springer
  • ‘False patterns out of chaos’: Writing Beyond the Sense of an Ending in Being Dead and The Pesthouse, De Cristofaro, D. 29 Sep 2018, Jim Crace, Springer
  • Introduction: The Literature of the Anthropocene, De Cristofaro, D., Cordle, D. 12 Feb 2018, In: C21 Literature: Journal of 21st-century Writings

  • American Studies PhD
  • Philosophy MPhil
  • Philosophy BA (Hons)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy FHEA


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