Dr Donna McCormack

Chancellor'S Fellow And Senior Lecturer


Personal statement

My research is situated at the intersection of post- and anti-colonial studies, queer theory, and the medical humanities. In much of my work I formulate post- and anti-colonial, critical race and queercrip ways of analysing contemporary fiction in order to both critique systems of violence and to open up space for imagining what is possible. My focus is the body in the context of health and illness and trauma studies. I work across literatures from North Africa, the Caribbean and Canada. I am currently working on a monograph entitled Vital Death: Organ Transplantation in Contemporary Fiction.

I recently completed an AHRC Leadership Fellowship on Transplant Imaginaries: Haunted Times, Segregated Spaces and Embodied Ethics, which focused on organ transplantation in contemporary fiction. My long-standing interest in organ transplantation in memoirs and fiction (novels and films) is both a concern with how narratives of transplantation may be reimagined, and an analysis of how new bodily imaginaries may offer alternative ways of thinking belonging, community and nation. Indeed, this intersection of visceral body and community boundaries is at the heart of my research.

My first book Queer Postcolonial Narratives and the Ethics of Witnessing (Bloomsbury 2014) examined the relation between familial and national violence and trauma in Moroccan, Canadian and Trinidadian literatures. Exploring how trauma may be passed on through the generations without language and through the use of the senses, this book offers a theory of sensory knowledge as a mode of bearing witness to unspeakable and unspoken familial and national traumas. It explores the endless collective work necessary to remember these often silenced histories.

I also have a strong interest in monsters and am a founding member of the Monster Network. I have written on Richard Goldschmidt’s theory of hopeful monsters, and I am interested in alternative evolution theories as forms of anti-colonial, anti-racist, and anti-homo- and transphobic resistance. I am currently developing a project on Queer Fish.

I am currently the coordinator of the Nordic Network Gender, Body, Health.


Transplantation : changing biotechnologies and imaginaries
McCormack Donna, Shildrick Margrit
Medical Humanities Vol 47, pp. 385-387 (2021)
The times and spaces of transplantation : queercrip histories as futurities
McCormack Donna
Medical Humanities Vol 47, pp. 397-406 (2021)
Queering health and biomedicine
Dolezal Luna, Folkmarson Käll Lisa, McCormack Donna, Oikkonen Venla, Shildrick Margrit
Lambda Nordica Vol 26, pp. 7–18 (2021)
Carceral imaginaries : segregating space and organs through national reproductive norms
McCormack Donna
Lambda Nordica Vol 26, pp. 129-155 (2021)
The haunting temporalities of transplantation
McCormack Donna
Body and Society Vol 27, pp. 58–82 (2021)
'Do you believe that space can give life, or take it away, that space has power?' : space and organ transplantation in contemporary film
McCormack Donna
Entangled Bodies Art, Identity and Intercorporeality (2021) (2021)

More publications

Professional activities

Feminist Monster Studies
Invited speaker
Monsters of the Anthropocene Halloween Event
Nordic Network Gender, Body, Health Seminar Series

More professional activities


Monsters of the Anthropocene
McCormack, Donna (Co-investigator)
What monsters roam the Anthropocene? And how might they help us understand our current moment? Drawing on feminist theory, decolonial theory, queer theory and critical disability studies, the Monsters of the Anthropocene collaboratory invites creative and critical engagements with the figure of the monster in order to address questions of power, vulnerability and othering in the Anthropocene.
01-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2023
Capturing Chronic Illness
McCormack, Donna (Co-investigator) Young, Ingrid (Co-investigator)
Social Acoustics
McCormack, Donna (CoI) Halstead, Jill (Principal Investigator)
Social Acoustics focuses on the potentialities of sound’s relational, material and artistic qualities. In particular, the project engages sound as a productive medium for nurturing collaboration and an ethics of radical openness, and for challenging models of knowledge and agency defined by the apparent, the legible and the quantifiable.

Sounds are deeply relational enabling gestures of compassion and sharing as well as disruption and cacophony. Social Acoustics asks how forms of sonic practice might contribute to contemporary struggles exploring if there are particular discourses on embodiment and community to be drawn from the experiences of audition. Might certain affordances be garnered by way of sonic knowledge, particularly to challenge what Isabell Lorey terms “governing through insecurity” prevalent today?
01-Jan-2020 - 31-Jan-2022
Transplant Imaginaries: Haunted Times, Segregated Spaces and Embodied Ethics
McCormack, Donna (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 15-Jan-2021

More projects