Tuesday, December 19, 2017

A festive publication

An illustration from The Present

You are never too young to debate questions of politics. That is the view of Dr Peter Hayes, Senior Lecturer in Politics.  He has just published a book called The Present, which introduces young readers to contested political issues through a story concerning Father Christmas.

“Father Christmas is magic but his Christmas gift giving involves him in a number of serious real-world issues,” Peter explains. “These issues include the working conditions of people making Christmas presents; the regimentation and surveillance that underpins our modern consumerist society; the increasingly hard border between those within the industrial core and those outside it, and the contribution of consumerism to global warming.  All of these international political issues lie behind the annual appearance of Father Christmas.”

The Present does not try to answer what we should do about all this, but it does raise questions, and encourages children and their family and friends to think about, discuss and perhaps argue over these matters.

The Present is available from online book retailers. Watch a video about the book here.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Listening to the Neanderthals

Dr Susan Mandala has published an article in the journal Discourse, Context & Media. In ''Listening' to the Neanderthals in William Golding’s The Inheritors: A sociopragmatic approach to fictional dialogue', Susan employs theory of mind and intentionality as analytical tools in order to ‘listen’ more closely to the Neanderthals in Golding’s 1955 novel. Paying particular attention to these characters as they express their religious beliefs, engage in storytelling, and work through interpersonal conflicts, she argues that readers are invited to infer that the Neanderthal characters are themselves inferring beings, and further demonstrate that this interpretation has implications not only for how individuals approach the novel, but for the way The Inheritors as a cultural text can be understood to participate in discursively mediating our relationship with the figure of the Neanderthal.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

When minorities say no


School of Culture PhD student Wjoud Almadani will be speaking at the first seminar in a series designed to showcase the work of PhD students across the university (details above). Everyone is welcome!

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