Anne Schwan

Anne Schwan

Dr Anne Schwan

Associate Professor


I joined Edinburgh Napier in 2007 after completing a PhD at the University of London (Birkbeck). I am Associate Professor/Reader in English. I am also a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Young Academy of Scotland and a Fellow of RSA.

Between July and October 2017 I hold a Visiting Researcher Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH) at the University of Edinburgh to conduct research into Stobsiade, a German-language magazine produced by German prisoners of war at Stobs camp near Hawick in the Scottish Borders, during WWI.

My recent work has focused on representations of imprisonment from a historical and contemporary perspective. I am the author of Convict Voices: Women, Class, and Writing about Prison in Nineteenth-Century England (University of New Hampshire Press, 2014), and coauthor of How to Read Foucault’s Discipline and Punish (Pluto, 2011). Most recent publications include a special issue of Television & New Media on “Screening Women’s Imprisonment: Agency and Exploitation in Orange Is the New Black” (2016) and the chapter “Frederick William Robinson, Charles Dickens, and the Literary Tradition of ‘Low Life’” in Nineteenth-Century Radical Traditions, ed. Joseph Bristow and Josephine McDonagh (2016). I am in the process of embarking on a new research project on German-British relations, c. 1870-1914, including representations of the Franco-Prussian War.

I have an interest in prison-university partnerships and set up a placement scheme for undergraduate students at HMP Edinburgh's learning centre, in collaboration with the Scottish Prison Service and Fife College. This initiative won the Herald Higher Education Partnership Award 2016.

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I teach modules in nineteenth-century literature and culture, literary and cultural theory, and a special honours-level option on "Crime in Text & Film." I welcome applications from prospective PhD students in all of the areas mentioned above.

Research Areas




External Examining/Validations

  • External Examiner BA (Hons) English and History, Leeds Beckett University
  • External Examiner BA (Hons) English and Film Studies, University College Dublin
  • External Examiner BA (Hons) English Studies, University of Teesside


Invited Speaker

  • "German Internees Writing the First World War: Identities, Border Crossings and Humour in Stobsiade." Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh (October 2017)
  • “Women, Class and Writing about Prison in 19th Century England.” Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research/Centre for Gender History, University of Glasgow (March 2015).
  • “Convict Voices: Feminism, Class and Prison Writing in the Long Nineteenth Century.” Gender History Network Seminar, University of Edinburgh (May 2013).
  • “Convict Voices: Feminism, Class and Prison Writing in the Long Nineteenth Century.” Departments of English/Criminology/Philosophy, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), NY (April 2015).
  • “Inside-Out’s Transformative Pedagogy and Prison-University Partnerships,” HMP Shotts Learning Centre (November 2014)
  • Guest lectures on 19th-Century British literature and society, Department of English and Comparative Literature, San Diego State University, California (October 2010).
  • “Revising Cultural Histories of Crime and Punishment: Women and Prison-Writing in Victorian England.” Victorian Studies Centre, University of Leicester (January 2007).
  • “Re-writing Women’s Prison History in Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace (1996) and Sarah Waters’ Affinity (1999).” Department of English, University of Amsterdam (February 2013).
  • “Orange is the New Black and the Women in Prison Genre: Historicizing Cultural Representations of Women’s Imprisonment.” Department of English, Nazareth College, Rochester, NY (April 2015).
  • Keynote "Re-reading Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish" at "Radical Foucault" conference, University of East London
  • "Literature and Literacies in Criminal Justice Settings: Beyond Bibliotherapy and Desistance Theory?" Reading for Life Conference, University of Exeter (April 2017)
  • “Female Prisoners Talking Back: The Problem of Early Convict Autobiography.” Interdisciplinary Research Seminar, Keele University (November 2007).
  • “Gender, Class and Citizenship: The Secret Letters and Prison Diaries of British Suffragettes.” Nazareth College, Rochester, NY (April 2010).


Advisory panels and expert committees/witness

  • Co-founder and Convenor of the Scottish Prisons-Universities Network (UP Network)
  • Member of National Advisory Group on Prison Education



  • Various Review Articles for Journal of Victorian Culture, Journal of Stevenson Studies, Contemporary Women’s Writing, Journal of Literature and Science, Scottish Literary Review
  • Research Assessor for Carnegie Trust (since 2014)
  • Member of AHRC Peer Review College


Conference Activity

  • Co-convenor of Symposium “World-Literatures, Discrepant Transnationalisms: Beyond Region and Nation?” University of Stuttgart, Germany
  • Co-organised conference "Orange is the New Black and New Perspectives on the Women in Prison Genre"
  • Co-organiser “Arts and Humanities at the Parliament: A Showcase” Scottish Parliament
  • Co-organiser “University-Prison Partnerships in International Perspective”
  • Sole Organiser "Reading and Writing in Prison" Conference


Public Engagement Activity

  • Completed Training of the US-based “Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program” Combined with Visits to Prisons and Jails in Pennsylvania and Upstate New York (June/July 2014)
  • Initiated partnership between Edinburgh Napier, Fife (formerly Carnegie) College and HMP Edinburgh for the purpose of student placements (2011 to present)
  • Invited Panelist at AHRC-funded “Prison Reading Groups” Event, Roehampton University
  • Article on Student Placement Scheme at HMP Edinburgh Published in the Prisoners’ Education Trust Newsletter (October 2014)


Fellowships and Awards

  • Herald Higher Education Partnership Award (for Partnership with Scottish Prison Service and Fife College)
  • Higher Education Academy (Fellow status since 2009)
  • Anne Humpherys Prize for the best Birkbeck PhD in Nineteenth-Century Studies in 2005
  • AHRC Fellowship (Early Career)
  • Fellow of RSA
  • Visiting Research Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh


Editorial Activity

  • Member of consultative group for the Taylor & Francis journal Women: A Cultural Review, edited by Helen Carr, Isobel Armstrong, Alison Mark and Laura Marcus.


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