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Dr Debra Benita Shaw

Reader in Cultural Theory

Centre for Cultural Studies Research, Humanities and Creative Industries, Arts and Digital Industries (ADI)

Debra teaches history and theory on undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Visual Arts and Architecture and supervises doctoral candidates in Fine Art and Cultural Studies.

  • EB 1.18, Docklands Campus
    School of Arts and Digital Industries (ADI)
    University of East London
    Docklands Campus
    E16 2RD
  • +442082237474
    Debra Benita Shaw is Reader in Cultural Theory in the School of Architecture and Visual Arts and co-Director of the Centre for Cultural Studies Research. She has over 20 years’ experience of teaching in Arts & Humanities, Cultural Studies and related fields and is known internationally as a critical posthumanist interested in urban studies, feminism and science fiction criticism. Her textbook, Technoculture: The Key Concepts (2009) is used on science and technology studies courses around the world and she is regularly invited to address symposia on approaches to urban change, posthuman theory and literary criticism. With Jeremy Gilbert, she organises the yearly seminar series Culture, Power & Politics.

    PhD English Literature, University of East Anglia (1995)
    Debra serves on the editorial boards of the journals New Formations (Lawrence & Wishart) and Science as Culture (Taylor & Francis) and is founding editor of the Radical Cultural Studies book series published by Rowman & Littlefield International.


    Debra’s research in the cultural study of science and technology, feminism, critical posthumanism and urban studies is well known in the UK, EU and US and is widely cited in international journals, monographs and edited collections. She is recognised as an expert in science fiction criticism and has also gained considerable recognition in the fields of architecture and critical geography.

    Debra is currently researching the relationship between domestic violence and Covid-19 in the context of contemporary urbanism.


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    Monographs and edited collections:

    Posthuman Urbanism: Mapping Bodies in Contemporary City Space (Rowman & Littlefield International, 2018).

    Radical Space: Exploring Politics & Practice (with Maggie Humm. Rowman & Littlefield International, 2016)

    TechnoDeath: Technology, Death & The Cultural Imagination. Science as Culture 18:3 (2009)

    Technoculture: The Key Concepts (Bloomsbury, 2008)

    Women, Science & Fiction:  The Frankenstein Inheritance, (Palgrave, 2000)

    Selected Journal Articles & Book Chapters

    ‘Urban Space and the Posthuman Imaginary’, in Lindner, Christoph and Meissner, Miriam (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Urban Imaginaries. (Routledge, 2019)

    ‘How can it not know what it is?’: Blade Runner as an ambiguous dystopia’, Science Fiction Film & Television. 9:1 (2016)

    ‘Streets for Cyborgs: The Electronic Flâneur and the Posthuman City’ Space and Culture, 18 (2015)

    'Strange Zones: Science Fiction, Fantasy & The Posthuman City' in City: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action. 17:6  (2013).

    'Monsters in the Metropolis: Pirate Utopias and the New Politics of Space' in Ted Guernelos & David J Gunkel (eds.) Transgression 2.0: Cultural Opposition in a Digital Age, (Continuum, 2011)

    Systems, Architecture & The Digital Body' in Parallax, 14:3. (2008)

    'Sex and the Single Starship Captain: Compulsory Heterosexuality and Star Trek: Voyager' in Femspec, Vol VII, Issue 1 (2006). Awarded ‘best of the second five years’, 2010

    ‘Bodies Out of This World: The Space Suit as Cultural Icon’ in Science as Culture, Vol 13, No 1 (2004)



    Debra Benita Shaw is a Reader in Cultural Theory and Co-Director of the Centre for Cultural Studies Research.



    - Photography: Final Major Project
    - Architecture: History and Theory (postgraduate and undergraduate)
    - Cultural and Critical Theory
    - Supervision of doctoral candidates