Dr Joana Jacob Ramalho

Dr Joana Jacob Ramalho

Senior Teaching Fellow


Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Joined UCL
1st Jan 2010

Research summary

My research focuses on:

the Gothic (film, television, music and literature)

the connections and overlaps between Romanticism, the Gothic and Victorianism

cinematic representations of death, memory, mourning and the senses

intermediality and generic hybridity

gender politics

film musicals and musical moments in film and television

radical humour and political correctness

dark/punk cabaret

I have published on thresholds, haptic motifs and sensory contagion in Gothic terror cinema; thing theory and the figure of the doll in Gothic and horror productions; and the role of portraits in 1940s psychological thrillers. I have presented my work at several international conferences in the UK, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, Austria and Portugal. I am a reviewer for the online journal Fantastika.

My current research project deploys the concept of carnival to investigate the ways in which specific forms of entertainment (low art, film, live-cinema, and dark cabaret artists) rewrite and externalise the convoluted dispute between an official culture and its rejects, while commenting on the failings of post-millennial socio-political systems and their neglect of subcultures and gender minorities. This research has so far resulted in three book chapters that explore marginal films and musicians.

To date, I have undertaken UG and PGT dissertation supervision in Comparative Literature, Language and Culture (BALC), Film Studies, and Translation Studies on a range of topics including Francoist cinema, Almada Negreiros, Beyoncé's Lemonade and intermediality, film musicals, Gothic and Romantic literature and poetry, and melancholy (Heimweh) and disenchantment (Entzauberung).

From 2020-21, I am jointly supervising a doctoral candidate working towards a PhD in Creative Critical Writing (CMII).

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

Teaching summary

I currently convene three UG modules on Portuguese language and Lusophone culture (PORT0001, PORT0005 and PORT0008). At PGT level, I deliver two modules for the MA in Comparative Literature: The Gothic - Literature and Film (CMII0140) and Musical Satire (CMII0078).

I often teach Portuguese language post-A level modules (Portuguese Language Portfolio I and II) and contribute to the Translation Studies MA (PORT0011 Translation From and Into Portuguese). I have convened two film modules, Spanish Film From the 1990s (SPAN0042) and Gothic Cinema (ELCS6096), and an MA-level Comparative Literature module, The Gothic: Reading for Defilement.


University College London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2015
University College London
Doctorate, Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy | 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. My dissertation focused on 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 language and content modules at undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PGT) levels, 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.