Writing trans and non-binary lives in the 20th and 21st centuries: autobiography, autofiction, autotheory

   School of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law

   Sunday, June 30, 2024  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

This research project aims to explore the ways in which trans and non-binary people have been using different approaches in writing about their lived experiences. Writing trans and non-binary lives and publishing about it is met with various expectations which can be difficult to balance: the interest of reading publics in engaging and often sensationalist stories, the need to make oneself heard as a member of a marginalised group, and the pressure to act as a role model for other individuals in similar circumstances.

Autobiography, autofiction, and autotheory each offer distinct modes of representation and communication which help negotiate the tension between constructing an autobiographical self and (sometimes concurrently) transitioning. Trans and non-binary authors align their personal social presentation and embodiment with their innate knowledge about a non-standard gendered identity whilst being involved in constructing texts.

This project lends itself to a comparative approach between different language areas and the diverging societies in which the texts are written and read. Equally, this project may include elements of participatory research (working with trans, non-binary and queer community groups) and/or an element of practice research (creative writing as a complementary form of knowledge production to standard academic research).

For informal enquiries about the project, contact Professor Gratzke ()

For general enquiries about the University of Dundee, contact

Our research community thrives on the diversity of students and staff which helps to make the University of Dundee a UK university of choice for postgraduate research. We welcome applications from all talented individuals and are committed to widening access to those who have the ability and potential to benefit from higher education.


Applicants must have obtained, or expect to obtain, a UK honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent for non-UK qualifications), and/or a Masters degree in a relevant discipline. For international qualifications, please see equivalent entry requirements here: www.dundee.ac.uk/study/international/country/.

English language requirement: IELTS (Academic) overall score must be at least 7 (with not less than 7 in reading, listening, speaking or writing). The University of Dundee accepts a variety of equivalent qualifications and alternative ways to demonstrate language proficiency; please see full details of the University’s English language requirements here: www.dundee.ac.uk/guides/english-language-requirements.



Step 1: Email Professor Michael Gratzke () to (1) send a copy of your CV and (2) discuss your potential application and any practicalities (e.g. suitable start date).

Step 2: After discussion with Professor Gratzke, formal applications can be made via our direct application system. When applying, please follow the instructions below:

Candidates must apply for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in English (3 Year) using our direct application system: apply for a PhD in English.

Please select the study mode (full-time/part-time) and start date agreed with the lead supervisor.

In the Research Proposal section, please:

-         Enter the lead supervisor’s name in the ‘proposed supervisor’ box

-         Enter the project title listed at the top of this page in the ‘proposed project title’ box

In the ‘personal statement’ section, please outline your suitability for the project selected.

Creative Arts & Design (9) Languages, Literature & Culture (21) Sociology (32)

Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for tuition fees and living expenses, via external sponsorship or self-funding.

Register your interest for this project

Where will I study?

Search Suggestions
Search suggestions

Based on your current searches we recommend the following search filters.