Dr Duco van Oostrum

Senior Lecturer in American Literature


Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover Street
S3 7RA


I have taught in the School of English since 1995.

After a book monograph on Henry James and Henry Adams, my research has encompassed more contemporary fields in African-American culture, sports literature, urban contemporary fiction, and autobiography.

I have always tried to put research-led teaching into practice, and as a result, became more and more involved in pedagogy and the student learning experience. As part of a group of like-minded individuals across the Arts and Social Sciences, I was part of the successful HEFCE Centre of Learning and Teaching Excellence grant for CILASS (Centre For Inquiry-Based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences).

In 2005, I became the first CILASS Academic Fellow and, together with Richard Steadman-Jones, set up major research-led teaching projects within the School of English. In 2003, I received a University Senate Award for Teaching, followed in 2007 with a National Teaching Fellowship.


Male Authors, Female Subjects: The Woman Within/Beyond the Borders of Henry Adams, Henry James and Others (1995) reflects my interest in late nineteenth-century American Literature, representations of gender by men, and autobiography.

I also work on African-American Literature and Sports Literature, writing on such diverse people as:

  • Toni Morrison
  • Bill Russell
  • Jack Kerouac
  • John Edgar Wideman
  • Michael Jordan and many others

Autobiography and the manner in which stories are told remain at the centre of this research. I am fascinated by ghost-written autobiographies (such as slave narratives and most sports autobiographies) which complicate notions of a written self.


See the 'overview' for a resume of my interests in teaching.

Roots Routes: The CILASS team have put together a stunning website, with resources, explanations, and many video and podcast links which highlight my approach to learning and teaching.

Roots Routes

Video showing e-learning innovation


I welcome research students in most fields of American literature, and in particular those with interest in African-American culture, urban and consumer literature, and sports.

Current research students, for example, are working on research topics such as, John Edgar Wideman, Oprah Studies, Female Consumer Fiction, and Mountaineering Literature, to name a few. Completed PhDs include topics such as the letters of Thomas Carlyle and Ralph Waldo Emerson, Contemporary American Consumer Fiction, Representation of White Women in African-American female fiction. I am also the convenor of the MA pathway in American literature and, as part of that MA, teach the module, Tales of the City: Urban Space in Contemporary American fiction.

  • Duco van Oostrum and Richard Steadman-Jones, "Taking the Imaginative Leap: Creative Writing and Inquiry-Based Learning," Pedagogy 7.3 (Fall 2007), 556-66.
  • "Transatlantic Exchanges: Mediating Student Learning through e-Discussions," in Teaching, Technology, Textuality: Approaches to the New Media, edited by Michael Hanrahan and Deborah Madson. Palgrave 2006. 122-134.
  • "The Black Athlete´s Battle Royal of the 1960s: Anti-American Protests in American Sports." (Anti)-Americanisms. Edited by Michael Draxlbauer, Thomas Froeschl and Astrid Fellner. Vienna: Lit Verlag, 2004. 268-284.
  • "Slam History." Post-Cold War Europe, Post-Cold War America. Eds. Ruud Janssens and Rob Kroes. Amsterdam: VU UP, 2004. 194-2002.
  • "Home Again: Riding along in the Peleton of Dutch sport literature," Dutch Crossing, vol. 27. 2 (2003): 253-269.
  • "The Printed Dimension: The Battle for Authorial Control in the Football Autobiographies of Tony Adams and David Beckham. Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature 21.1 (Fall 2003): 25-44.
  • Male Authors, Female Subjects: The Woman Within/Beyond the Borders of Henry Adams, Henry James, and Others. Postmodern Studies 14. Amsterdam/Atlanta, GA: Rodopi, 1995. 274pp.