Dr Ben Davies is Associate Professor of Literature and Culture, at the University of Portsmouth. 

Ben is a scholar of contemporary literature, focusing primarily on the novel, time use, and reading. His research is situated at the intersections of sociology, narrative studies, and literary theory.

In 2020, Ben and colleagues from the University of Copenhagen were awarded funding from the Carlsberg Foundation for the Lockdown Reading Project, which studied reading practices during the Covid-19 pandemic. The main outcome of this research is the monograph Reading Novels During the Covid-19 Pandemic (Oxford University Press, 2022. Awarded the British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies Monograph Prize).

In 2022, he was awarded funding from the Council for the Defence of British Universities for a pilot project investigating the interconnected issues of when and why reading happens in the humanities.

Ben’s first monograph, Sex, Time and Space in Contemporary Fiction, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2016. He is also the editor of John Burnside: Contemporary Critical Perspectives (Bloomsbury, 2020) and co-editor of Sex, Gender and Time in Fiction and Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). 


Ben’s main research focus during his time at CRASSH will be to continue to investigate the roles reading plays in different disciplines. The rationale for his research is to see when, how, and why academics and students read. Having already undertaken preliminary research on reading practices in Literature, History, and Philosophy, he is now expanding the study to consider the kinds of reading particular to disciplines such as Biology and Computer Science. 

As well as carrying out his university reading research, Ben will also use his time at CRASSH to work with Professor Jennifer Richards on a new project supported by the English Association, the Institute of English Studies, and University English, titled ‘English: Thinking Forwards’. 

Recent Publications

  • Davies, Ben and Christina Lupton. (2023). ‘When Your Job Is to Read After Work’, Reception: Texts, Readers, Audiences, History 15, 51–57. 
  • Davies, Ben, Christina Lupton and Johanne Gormsen Schmidt. (2023). ‘Crisis Time and Rereading’, in Sibylle Baumbach and Brigit Neumann (eds), Temporalities in/of Crises in Anglophone Literatures. New York and London: Routledge, pp. 194-209. 
  • Davies, Ben, Christina Lupton and Johanne Gormsen Schmidt. (2022). Reading Novels During the Covid-19 Pandemic. Oxford University Press. (British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies Monograph Prize 2022).
  • Davies, Ben. (2020). ‘Time, Space and the Humanities: Teaching Literature During Lockdown’, Issues in English 14, 24-6.
  • Davies, Ben. (2020). ‘The Darkness-within-the-Light of Contemporary Fiction: Agamben’s Missing Reader and Ben Lerner’s 10:04’, Textual Practice 34:10, 1729-49.
  • Davies, Ben. (in press). ‘Naked Bookishness: Reading on OnlyFans During the Covid-19 Pandemic’, The New Americanist.


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk