Dr Arun Sood

Dr Arun Sood

Lecturer in English

School of Humanities and Performing Arts (Faculty of Arts and Humanities)


I was appointed Lecturer in English at the University of Plymouth in 2017. Previously, I held a postdoctoral Fulbright Award at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., where I spent a time researching and writing my first book, Robert Burns and the USA, c.1786-1866: Poetry, Print and Memory 1786-1866 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). During this period, I was also named Kluge Fellow at the John W. Kluge Centre (Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.) where I worked alongside researchers, international lawmakers and policy leaders in order to foster ideas on how a greater awareness of historical transatlantic links might inform future policy making in the arts and humanities. These postdoctoral awards and publications evolved out of a PhD studentship at the University of Glasgow, where I was one of two fully-funded candidates on the AHRC (£1.1million) project Editing Robert Burns For the 21st Century between 2012-16. I have also studied and/or taught at Columbia University, the University of South Carolina, the University of Amsterdam, and the University of Aberdeen; as well as spent time on funded research trips to the British Library, Rothermere American Institute and New York Public Library. Prior to my academic career, I worked as a travel journalist and music critic for Time Out, The Guardian, and Schiphol Magazine, and I continue to work as a freelance journalist on a part time basis.


PhD English Literature, University of Glasgow (2016)
MA English Language, Literature, and Culture, University of Amsterdam (2010)
BA/MA Honours English, University of Aberdeen (2009)
Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, University of Plymouth (2018)

Professional membership

Transatlantic Studies Association (TSA)
Association for Studies in Scottish Literature (ASSL)
Postcolonial Studies Association (PSA)
Modern Language Association (MLA)
British Association for American Studies (BAAS)
European Network in Global History (ENIUGH)

Teaching interests

My teaching and pedagogical approach is informed by research interests in that I predominantly design and deliver modules on nineteenth-century literature and critical theory. I am currently designing a module on Black Atlantic literatures, and lead and also teach on the following modules across all stages of the degree programme:

ENGL501 Romanticism
ENGL502 Gothic Fiction: Villains, Virgins, and Vampires
ENGL603 Modernism
ENGL404 Critical Theory

I also undertake postgraduate supervision and pastoral duties in my roles as personal tutor and exchange coordinator.

Research interests

My research is informed by transnational and postcolonial theoretical perspectives, and I am particularly interested in the ways that cultures of literature and song intersect in the nineteenth-century Atlantic world. In my first monograph, I examined how and why the poems and songs of Robert Burns rose to prominence in nineteenth-century America. The book establishes that convergences in print culture, emigration, politics, and nation-building led to the widespread popularity of his works, and argues that various conceptions of nationhood were integral to literary relations in the period—even within the transnational, cross-border context under consideration.

My interest in transnational literary exchange spans across disciplinary boundaries. Though grounded in literary studies, I conduct extensive archival and historical research into patterns of migration, consider sociological processes of intercultural exchange in both colonial and postcolonial societies, and theoretically engage with memory studies in order to draw wider insights into transatlantic literary culture. My current project, titled Print, Orality, and Empire examines historical tensions between print culture and orality in the context of nineteenth-century Scottish travel writing about various regions of the African continent in the years between 1789 and 1914. This research not only contributes to important interdisciplinary debates about orality and literacy, but also suggests how a more nuanced understanding of the historical formation of knowledge hierarchies might inform future decolonial praxis. 

Grants & contracts

Fulbright Scholar Award (£40,000) (Aug 2016-April 2017)
Kluge Fellowship, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (£9000) (Nov 2016-April 2017)
AHRC Glasgow Life Postdoctoral Award (£12,000) (Jan 2016-April 2016)
Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities ‘Showcase’ Award (&1500) (April 2016)
Eccles Centre Postgraduate Award in American Studies, British Library (£600) (Jun 2014)
AHRC International Research Fellow, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (£7000) (Nov 2013)
David Fleming Brown Scholarship, Columbia University (£500) (Mar 2013)
CABLES Grant, University of Glasgow (£700)(Oct 2013)
Atlantic Cable Grant, University of Glasgow (£700) (Nov 2012)
AHRC PhD Studentship, ‘Editing Robert Burns For the 21st Century’ (£40,000) (Oct 2012)
Seafield Memorial Prize, University of Aberdeen (most distinguished scholar in honours year)(Jul 2009)

Books, Articles & Edited Collections

Sood, Arun, Robert Burns and the United States of America: Poetry, Print and Memory 1786-1866 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018)

Sood, Arun, ‘The Burnsian Palimpsest: Robert Burns in American Cultural Memory, c. 1840-1866’, Symbiosis: A Journal of Transatlantic Literary and Cultural Relations 22:1(2018)

Sood, Arun and Varona, Felix Flores, ‘Monumental National Heroes: Robert Burns and Jose Marti’ in The Burns Chronicle, Summer (2018).

Sood, Arun, ‘John Brown: Madman and Martyr’, The Quarterly Horse. A Journal of [Brief] American Studies 2:1 Fall (2017), http://www.quarterlyhorse.org/fall17/sood/

Sood, Arun, ‘Patrick Colquhoun: Eighteenth-century Glasgow merchant’ in The Eighteenth-Century Intelligencer 32:1 (2017) 15-18.

Sood, Arun ‘(Post)-Revolutionary Print Networks: Pirated Editions of Robert Burns’ Poetry in The United States of America, 1787-1859’ in Oxford Research in English 2 (2015) 23-37.

Sood, Arun ‘A Modern Poet on The Scotch Bard: Walt Whitman’s 1875 Essay on Robert Burns’ in The Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 32:4 (2015) 230-236.

Sood, Arun ‘An American Trove of Burnsiana: The William R. Smith Collection’ in The Burns Chronicle, Spring (2014) 39-46.

Sood, Arun ‘Dreaming of the Self: Thomas De Quincey and the Development of the  Confessional Mode’ in eSharp 20: New Horizons, (2013) 1-13. 

Sood, Arun, Robertson, Brianna & Wheeler, David eds., The Kelvingrove Review 11 (2013).

Academic Reviews

Sood, Arun, Review of James Kelman, Dirt Road (Canongate, 2016) in The Bottle Imp 20 (2017)

Sood, Arun, Review of Carol McGuirk, Reading Robert Burns: Texts. Contexts, Transformations (Pickering & Chatto, 2014) in Kelvingrove Review 14: ‘Myth and Nation’ (2015) 1-3.

Sood, Arun, Review of Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis (Vintage, 2009) in The Open Mind 6 (2011) 7-9.

Travel/Culture Editorials

Sood, Arun, ‘A Toxic Inauguration’, CommonSpace, 24 January (2017)
Sood, Arun, ‘Mangled Monkiers: A Difficult Name’, The Guardian, 14 Oct (2016)
Sood, Arun, ‘A View from DC: US Race Relations’, CommonSpace, 7 Nov (2016)
Sood, Arun, ‘A Global Humanitarian Response Beats Terror’, CommonSpace, 16 Nov (2015)
Sood, Arun, ‘Austin, SXSW: A Liberal Oasis’, The Guardian, 7 Feb (2014)
Sood, Arun, ‘Scotland 2014: A Crisis of Democarcy’, Postmag, 1 Jul (2014)
Sood, Arun, ‘Portavadie: Hogmanay’, The Skinny, 7 Oct (2014)
Sood, Arun, ‘Polynesia and the Art of the Needle’, The Island Review, 8 Dec (2014)
Sood, Arun, ‘Chang Mai: Room With a View’, GQ , 6 Aug (2013)
Sood, Arun, ‘Interview: Pia Jane Bijkerk’, Time Out Amsterdam, Feb (2012)
Sood, Arun, ‘Berlin: A City Guide’, The Guardian, 17 Aug (2011)
Sood, Arun, ‘Top 10 Bars in Berlin’, The Guardian, 17 Aug (2011)
Sood, Arun, ‘Top 10 Clubs in Berlin’, The Guardian, 17 Aug (2011)
Sood, Arun, ‘Amsterdam: A City Guide’, The Guardian, 22 Jun (2011)
Sood, Arun, ‘ Top 10 Bars in Amsterdam’, The Guardian, 22 Jun (2011)
Sood, Arun, ‘ Top 10 Clubs in Amsterdam’, The Guardian, 22 Jun (2011)
Sood, Arun, ‘ Top 10 Markets in Amsterdam’, The Guardian, 22 Jun (2011)
Sood, Arun, ‘Picasso: Reviving The Spirit of Andalusia’, Schiphol Magazine 1 Jun (2011)
Sood, Arun, ‘Riding at the Houston Rodeo’, Schiphol Magazine, Jul (2012)
Sood, Arun, ‘Ghost Island: North Uist', Schiphol Magazine, Aug (2011)
Sood, Arun, ‘Hunting the Northern Lights’, Schiphol Magazine, Nov (2011)
Sood, Arun, ‘Lisbon: An Old World Romance’, Schiphol Magazine, Dec (2011)
Sood, Arun, ‘A Helping Hand in New Delhi’, The Skinny, Aug (2010)

Music/Reviews/Miscellaneous Editorials

Sood, Arun, ‘Andrew Bird Q & A’, Unfold Amsterdam, May (2012)
Sood, Arun, Time Out Amsterdam City Guide: Music (editor) (2012)
Sood, Arun, ‘Jamie Woon: Q & A’, Time Out Amsterdam April (2012)
Sood, Arun, ‘Clubbing: Supperclub’, Time Out Amsterdam, May (2012)
Sood, Arun, ‘Clubbing: Green Room’, Time Out Amsterdam, June (2012)
Sood, Arun, ‘Clubbing: SLAVE’, Time Out Amsterdam, July (2012)
Sood, Arun, ‘Restaurant Review: Restaurant Red’, Amsterdam Magazine, Jan (2011)
Sood, Arun, ‘Restaurant Review: Ken Sa’, Amsterdam Magazine, Feb (2011)
Sood, Arun, ‘Restaurant Review: Kyoto’, Amsterdam Magazine, Mar (2011)
Sood, Arun, ‘Pimp My Ride’, Amsterdam Magazine, Apr (2011)
Sood, Arun, ‘Shop Review: Concerto’, Amsterdam Magazine, Apr (2011)
Sood, Arun, ‘Shop Review: Knopenwinkel’, Amsterdam Magazine, May (2011)
Sood, Arun, ‘Shop Review: Café Winkel’, Amsterdam Magazine, Jun (2011)
Sood, Arun, ‘Tomoko’s Voyage: Preview’, Time Out Amsterdam, Aug (2011)
Sood, Arun, ‘Jamie Woon: Paradiso Preview’, Time Out Amsterdam, Aug (2011)
Sood, Arun, ‘Josh T. Pearson: Son of A Preacher Man’, Time Out Amsterdam, Sep (2011)
Sood, Arun, ‘The National: An Operatic Interview’, Time Out Amsterdam, Oct (2011)
Sood, Arun, ‘The Secret Love Parade: Preview’, Time Out Amsterdam, Nov (2011)
Sood, Arun, ‘Sh(O)ut!’: Preview’, Unfold Amsterdam, Dec (2011)
Sood, Arun, ‘Restaurant Review: Mazzo’, Amsterdam Magazine, Dec (2010)

Poetry & Creative Non-Fiction

Sood, Arun, ‘The Corran Ferry’, Poetry Ireland Review, 135 (2018)
Sood, Arun, ‘So They Say’, Amberflora, 3 (2018)
Sood, Arun, ‘Sonnet For Alice’, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, 18:1 (2017)
Sood, Arun, Sonnet For Paul’, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, 18:2 (2017)
Sood, Arun, ‘Highland Disunion’ and ‘Divali in Kessock’, Aiblins: New Scottish Political Poetry
(Edinburgh, Luath Press, 2016)
Sood, Arun, ‘Peripheries’, Gutter 15 (2016)
Sood, Arun, ‘The Man That Lived With Besty’, Octavius Magazine 5 (2015)
Sood, Arun, ‘A Helping Hand’, The Skinny Jul (2014)
Sood, Arun, ‘Scatter My Ashes’, Volume Magazine 9 (2014)
Sood, Arun, ‘Coffee’, The Open Mind 3 (2013)