Dr Joana Jacob Ramalho

Dr Joana Jacob Ramalho

Lecturer (Teaching)


Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Joined UCL
1st Jan 2010

Research summary

I am an interdisciplinary scholar working across the fields of screen media, cultural studies, literature and language. My research focuses on the Gothic in its many iterations across media, national contexts and historical moments. I have additional research interests in: Film (esp. classical Hollywood cinema, gothic, noir and musicals); alternative entertainment (particularly cabaret, burlesque, circus and freak shows); gender politics in film, television and music; intermediality and generic hybridity; mental illness in fiction; political in/correctness, satire and radical humour; Victorianism (esp. visual culture and mourning practices); music.

My monograph, Memory and the Gothic Aesthetic in Film (forthcoming, Palgrave Macmillan), analyses the Gothic as centrally concerned with memory and travel. Among other issues, my book investigates touch, the hand (and hand amputation), as well as the way women are dollified through processes of repeated masquerading.

My doctoral thesis explored transnational émigré and exile films from 1907 to 1958 and argued that exile, a condition of modernity, is integral to the workings of these texts. I have published on haptic motifs and what I call ‘sensory contagion’ in gothic cinema; thing theory and the figure of the doll in gothic and horror films; portraits in 1940s psychological thrillers; gender politics in postmillennial gothic musicals; sexsationalist feminism; British punk cabaret trio The Tiger Lillies; and King Ludwig II of Bavaria. I have presented my work at several international conferences in the UK, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, Austria and Portugal and am a peer reviewer for Fantastika Journal and Studies in the Fantastic.

My most recent research project concerns the (d)evolution of the clown persona in popular fiction from Antiquity to the present.

I welcome proposals for UG, MA and PhD projects that focus on or overlap with any of the research specialisms above.

Teaching summary

I am Language Coordinator for Portuguese, so please get in touch with any queries or concerns about the programme.

I currently convene three UG modulesSPAN0042 Spanish Film from the 1990s: New Ways of Seeing; PORT0005 Intermediate Portuguese and PORT0008 Advanced Portuguese. 

At PGT level, I teach on the Comparative Literature MA: CMII0189 The Gothic, CMII0169 Intermedial Comparison & CMII0169 Musical Satire, and CMII0191 Research and Writing Skills for Comparative Literature: Essay Writing - Structure & Argument.

I often teach Portuguese language post-A level modules and contribute to the Translation Studies MA (Translation From and Into Portuguese). Other modules I have convened include ELCS6096 Gothic Cinema and CMII0078 The Gothic: Reading for Defilement.


University College London
Doctorate, Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy | 2015
University College London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2015
University College London
Other higher degree, Master of Arts | 2009


I studied Communication Sciences and Journalism at the New University of Lisbon (Universidade Nova de Lisboa) and the Université catholique de Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium). I gained my master's degree in Film Studies at UCL in 2009 with a dissertation analysing the disenchanted worlds of Vincente Minnelli's comedies, musicals, and melodramas. In September 2009, I joined what was then known as the department of Spanish and Latin American Studies (now SPLAS - Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies), where I developed the programme for the first Portuguese language module in the department. I have since designed and convened several UG and MA language and content modules, continually contributing to curriculum development at UCL. In 2015, I completed my PhD on the transatlantic Romantic-Gothic films of early émigré and exile directors at the UCL Centre for Multidisciplinary and Intercultural Inquiry (CMII). That same year, I became Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and a UCL Arena Fellow.