Friday, December 28, 2012

Perceptual dialectology website goes live

Dr Mike Pearce has collected together his research on the perceptual dialectology of North East England and made it accessible on a new website. As well as links to his academic articles, the site contains online maps which reveal 'folk' beliefs about language variation across the region.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Kath Kerr-Koch romances fascism

Dr Kathleen Kerr-Koch's Romancing Fascism: Modernity and Allegory in Benjamin, de Man, Shelley is to be published by Bloomsbury in spring 2013. In her monograph Kath takes a wide-ranging approach to the analysis of allegory as it is treated by three controversial writers whose works flank the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the middle and late periods of what we call modernity—Walter Benjamin, Paul de Man and Percy Bysshe Shelley. In the course of her study she argues that intellectual responsibility can only be safeguarded if criticism is mobilised both as a poetic and as a critically enlightened endeavour.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

New Orientalisms for old

Dr Geoff Nash's essay entitled 'New Orientalisms for old: articulations of the East in Raymond Schwab, Edward Said and two nineteenth century French Orientalists' has just been published in Orientalism Revisited: Art, Land and Voyage  (Routledge, 2012). The chapter assesses Edward Said's treatment of Arthur Gobineau's and Ernest Renan's Orientalism - especially the former's reputation as a racist. It concludes that Gobineau was more sympathetic to Middle Eastern peoples than Said or his other critics take him to have been.

The Business of Pleasure

Dr Alison O'Malley-Younger has published an essay entitled 'The Business of Pleasure: modernity, marketing, and music hall in fin-de-siècle Ireland'. The chapter appears in Ireland in/and Europe: Cross-Currents and Exchanges, edited by Werner Huber, Sandra Mayer and Julia Novak (WVT Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2012).

Monday, December 10, 2012

Barry Lewis on Richard Powers

Dr Barry Lewis (English) has published an essay in Ideas of Order: Narrative Patterns in the Novels of Richard Powers, edited by Antje Kley and Jan D. Kucharzewski (Universitätsverlag Winter, 2012). This volume in the American Studies Monograph series, which emerged from a conference on Powers that was held at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in November 2010, aims at establishing a critical approach to Powers’ oeuvre which acknowledges and investigates the implications of the distinct poetics of his novels.

In 'Vertical Perfection, Horizontal Inevitability: The Gold Bug Variations', Barry focuses on Powers’ third novel from 1991 and the reading strategies required to unravel the text’s polyphonic narrative structure which echoes the numerical symmetries of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Frequently referencing Powers’ other novels, Lewis explores the simultaneously mimetic and metafictional narrative of The Gold Bug Variations as a complex interrelation of self-reference and world-reference.

English Research Seminar

Professor John Strachan (Bath Spa University) will be speaking at the English Research Seminar (Wednesday 12th December, 5pm, Priestman 215). His subject is 'Wordsworth on the Olympian summit'. All staff and students are invited.

William Wordsworth by Benjamin Robert Haydon
oil on canvas 1842 (NPG)
Earlier in the day (1-3pm in Priestman 015), John will be joining Angela Smith and Alison Younger to lead a workshop organized by the Cultural and Regional Studies Beacon on the topic of external grant applications. It is aimed at Beacon members with all levels of external grant bidding experience.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Maria Dawson in Madrid

Maria Dawson (Combined Subjects) has recently given a paper entitled 'Student voice: "Personalize my learning"' at the 5th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation in Madrid (19th-21st November 2012). The paper reports on a project which explored students' understandings of the notion of 'employability' and encouraged them to build the relationship between HE and graduate employability in a way that makes sense to them. Maria's findings revealed that transition from undergraduate status to graduate 'work-ready' status requires high-intensity support by academic and student-centred staff teams.

Keynote address now out on video

A keynote address by Dr Ian Ground (NECLL), entitled 'Why does beauty matter?' is now available on video. Ian gave the lecture in July 2012 at the Ethics and Aesthetics of Architecture and the Environment Conference hosted by the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape at Newcastle University.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Gavin Schaffer in the History Lab

Dr Gavin Schaffer (University of Birmingham) will be appearing in the History Lab at 4pm on Thursday 6th December 2012 (Priestman 102). His talk is entitled  'Making multiculturalism on British TV: Postwar British broadcasting and race'. All History Lab seminars last for 30-40 minutes and are followed by an optional trip to the pub and a meal. Staff and students from all faculties are invited.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Philoprogenetive Blake

Frontispiece to William Blake's
 Visions of the Daughters of Albion (1793)
Dr David Fallon has published an essay entitled 'Philoprogenetive Blake' in Blake, Gender and Culture (Pickering & Chatto, 2012). David contextualises Blake’s apocalyptic representations of sexuality, especially female sexuality, within eighteenth- and nineteenth-century discussions of British population. Until the first British census in 1801 and Thomas Malthus's Essay on the Principle of Population (1798), radicals, led by Richard Price, were ‘philoprogenitive’, promoting population growth as a sign of a lively body politic. They believed that Britain’s population was in decline, reflecting the failures of its despotic government to deliver the peace and plenty necessary to a burgeoning population. The essay traces Blake’s links to the Enlightenment population debate and its contributors, especially his hostility to Malthusianism, and notes the importance of philoprogenitive discourse to a number of his poems, including Visions of the Daughters of Albion, America, and The Four Zoas.  Blake’s repeated modifications of this discourse emphasise qualitative female sexual pleasure, which complicates both the traditionally quantitative language of philoprogenitivism but also recent feminist assessments of Blake as a misogynist.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Beacon external funding workshop

John                           Alison                               Angela

The Cultural and Regional Studies Beacon is holding a workshop on the topic of external grant applications on Wednesday, 12th December, 1-3pm in Priestman 015.

The workshop will be led by Professor John Strachan (Bath Spa University), Dr Alison Younger (English) and Dr Angela Smith (English). It is aimed at Beacon members with all levels of external grant bidding experience. John and Alison will start by talking about their experience of bidding. John will also give a short presentation on the new AHRC regulations for Research Fellowships and Alison will offer an insight into philanthropic funders. The second part of the workshop will be led by Angela and will consist of sharing ideas, strategies, enthusiasm and innovation. It would be useful if everyone brought ideas with them regarding bids that have already been submitted or are about to be, developed ideas that are about to be turned into bids, and ideas that are less specific but could be turned into bids.

The aim of the workshop is to provide an informal environment that is both supportive and enjoyable. It is hoped that this might be developed into a more round table get-together for Beacon members to enhance a research environment where our ideas for fundings bids, publications, conferences and general innovation can be shared and supported.

Please email Sarah Hackett ( to confirm your attendance. Mince pies will be provided!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Angela Smith publishes a book about British widows of the First World War

Dr Angela Smith has published Discourses Surrounding British Widows of the First World War (Bloomsbury, 2012). The book develops a stream-lined version of the discourse-historical model of critical discourse analysis, and demonstrates how this can be used to handle a large corpus of mixed-text data. Drawing mainly on recently-released records held in the National Archive, Angela explores the discourses which surround British widows of the First World War with particular attention to national identity, social welfare and morality. Focusing on two widows, the book encourages their individual stories to emerge and gives a voice to an otherwise forgotten group of women whose stories have been lost under the literary tomes of middle-class writers such as Vera Brittain and May Wedderburn Cannon. The discussion is further informed by a wider reading of 300 other such files, which allows wider observations to be made about the nature of the discourses examined, and offers the most complete possible picture for such data.

Monday, November 19, 2012

English Research Seminar

Dr Rehana Ahmed (Teesside University) will be speaking at the English Research Seminar on Wednesday 21st November 2012. Her subject will be 'Writing British Muslims: multiculturalism, class and literary controversies.' The talk takes place in Priestman 215 and starts at 5.00pm. It is open to all staff and students.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

NEICN papers

1864 Mitchell map of Ireland and Scotland

Three members of staff and two PhD students from the Department of Culture will be giving papers at the Tenth Annual NEICN conference which takes place from the 9th to the 11th of November at the City Campus of the University of Sunderland. Dr David Fallon's paper is entitled '"No country for old men": reflections on Yeats's early Platonism'. Colin Younger will be speaking on 'Representations of the Border Reivers as outlaw heroes in the riding ballads' while Dr Alison O'Malley-Younger's paper is called 'Doing their bit for Ireland: Markievicz and Skinnider'. Phd students Jamie Spears and Robert Finnegan will be giving papers on the Rosicrucians and Yeats, and Arthur O’ Shaughnessy and Decadence respectively. Further details about the conference can be found here.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

New PhD student to research the Arab Spring

Mr Fadi El Husseini has started research for his PhD in the Department of Culture. His topic is Turkey's foreign policy and the Arab Spring. Fadi's studies will be supervised by Dr Sarah Hackett (History and Politics) and Dr Geoff Nash (English).

Reporting war

A special issue of the Journal of War & Culture Studies entitled 'Reporting War' has been guest-edited by Dr Angela Smith (English) and Dr Michael Higgins (Strathclyde University). The issue also contains their article 'Strategy, evasion and performance in the live two-way: Kate Adie reporting from Iraq for the BBC'. In it, Angela and Michael explore the use of live two-way interviews in the context of war reporting, using the example of Kate Adie’s reports from the First Gulf War in 1991. The article discusses how such live two-ways are often delivered from a context of approved reporting pools or embedded journalists, and argues that such exchanges are routinely concerned with establishing an ethical framework for the conflict, with establishing alignments between the journalist and the hosting armed forces, and with attesting to the good spirit of the soldiers, rather than engaging in the provision of information. The article also suggests that when information is released through such a live two-way, this tends to be incorporated within an appropriate emotional performance. The article concludes that the live two-way from the theatre of conflict is best understood within the dynamic of the technical affordances of the medium deployed, the necessary strategies of alignment between the reporter and the combatants, and the tactical use of emotional performance.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Mike Pearce uncovers perceptions of dialect differences in Tyne and Wear

Dr Michael Pearce has published an article in Dialectologia et Geolinguistica which explores folk-perceptions of dialect differences within Tyne and Wear, North East England. It presents a qualitative analysis of responses to an online survey in which participants offered their descriptions of linguistic variation. Michael uses these richly detailed accounts to construct a nuanced picture of lay perceptions of linguistic variation in the region, with particular focus on perceived differences in speech between people from Sunderland and from Newcastle.  The article, entitled 'Folk accounts of dialect differences in Tyne and Wear' is the latest in a series of articles Michael has published on the folk linguistics of the region.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

An invitation to the 10th Annual Irish Studies Conference

Staff and students at Sunderland University are invited to the Tenth NEICN Conference on November 9th-11th 2012, entitled 'Ireland and Scotland: Conflicts and Cross Currents'. Keynote speakers include Professor Cairns Craig ('Modernism, Nationalism and the Literary Canon: the Strange Case of Scotland and Ireland') and Professor John Strachan ('The Third Home Rule Bill and the Selling of the Ulster Volunteer Force 1911-1914'). In addition, over thirty papers will be given by scholars from all over the world (including the USA, Japan, Australia and Ireland).

The conference takes place at the City Campus and attendance is free for staff and students at the university. To register, please contact Colin Younger (

Friday, October 19, 2012

Lauren Clark in Oman

Rustaq Fort by Keirn O'Connor
Dr Lauren Clark, who recently received her PhD from the Department of Culture, has taken up a post at Rustaq College of Applied Sciences in Oman.  She will teach English Language and Literature to undergraduates at the university.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Byron in the North East

Detail from a portrait of Lord Byron 
by Robert Westall (1813) NPG
Dr David Fallon has received a grant from the Culture and Regional Studies Beacon to develop a bid for external research funding. His proposed project will coincide with the 200th anniversary of Byron's marriage to Anne Isabella Milbanke, which took place at Seaham Hall in 1815, and will re-assess the marriage's impact on Byron's writing and reputation, and how it contributed to the Byron legend in the nineteenth century.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Alison O'Malley-Younger's Celtic Connections

Dr Alison O'Malley-Younger has co-edited, with Professor Willy Maley from the University of Glasgow, a collection of essays entitled Celtic Connections: Irish-Scottish Relations and the Politics of Culture (Peter Lang, 2013). The volume offers a sustained and up-to-date analysis of the cultural connections between these two neighbour nations, too often overwhelmed by their larger neighbour, England. As well as co-editing the volume, Alison has contributed an essay: 'Doctors and devils: diagnosing racial degeneracy in Stevenson's Gothic fiction'. The collection also contains a chapter by Lauren Clark entitled 'Second cities of Empire: Celtic consumerism exhibited.' Lauren was recently awarded her PhD from the Department of Culture.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Alasdair Raffe in the History Lab

Dr Alasdair Raffe (Northumbria University) will be appearing in the History Lab on Thursday 4th October 2012 (Priestman 013). His talk is entitled 'Charles II, James VII and the problems of the Scottish Church.' All History Lab seminars start at 5pm, last for 30-40 minutes and are followed by an optional trip to the pub and a meal. Staff and students from all faculties are invited.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Susan Mandala in Style

Dr Susan Mandala has published an article in the summer 2012 edition of the journal Style about the work of the North East crime-writer Sheila Quigley. In 'Crime Fiction as Regional Fiction: An Analysis of Dialect and Point of View in Sheila Quigley’s Bad Moon Rising', Susan argues that although the book is ostensibly a crime novel, it makes its most significant contribution as a regional novel by using point of view operations and dialect representation to confront a number of worryingly vicious stereotypes currently circulating about the urban poor. Offering a rare positive view of urban poverty in contemporary British popular culture as it does so, Bad Moon Rising also takes the canon of English Northeastern regional writing in a welcome new direction.

Monday, September 10, 2012

New archaeological findings in Ireland

Geophysics fieldwork in Ireland by a team of students and tutors from the North East Centre for Lifelong Learning has yielded a spectacular finding in the form of the ground plan (hitherto unknown) of the early Christian monastery of Carrowmore in County Donegal. This is the headline result from work which also included some wider appraisal of landscape features and it is one which Colm O'Brien (NECLL) will take to an international conference on Early Christian Landscapes in University College Cork later this month. A journal article is also in the pipeline. You can read how the news was reported in the Irish Independent here. The work was carried out with a gradiometer purchased through a capital funding grant from the university.

New season of History Lab seminars announced

Detail from a portrait of King Charles II
after Adriaen Hanneman (NPG)   
The History Lab has announced its new season of seminars. All talks start at 5pm, last for 30-40 minutes and are followed by a trip to the pub and a meal to which all are invited. The location is Priestman Building, Room 013. Everyone is welcome!

4th October  Dr Alasdair Raffe (Northumbria University) 'Charles II, James VII and the problems of the Scottish Church'

8th November  Dr Neil Ewins (University of
Sunderland) 'Globalization and the case of the UK ceramic industry'

6th December  Dr Gavin Schaffer (University of Birmingham) 'Making multiculturalism on British TV: Postwar British broadcasting and race'

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Geoff Nash on the BBC

In July Dr Geoff Nash (English) appeared on the BBC One programme Great British Islam. The documentary explores the lives and legacies of three English nineteenth-century Muslim converts: William Quilliam, Baron Headley and Marmaduke Pickthall. You can view it here.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ireland and Scotland: Conflicts and Crosscurrents. The 10th North East Irish Culture Network Conference

The North East Irish Culture Network (NEICN) in Association with the Scottish Irish Network (SIN) and the University of Sunderland will hold its tenth annual conference between the 9th and 11th November 2012.

The conference organisers hope to represent a wide range of approaches to Irish and Scottish culture from academics and non-academics alike. Performances, roundtables, collaborative projects, and other non-traditional presentations are encouraged in addition to conference papers. We welcome both individual submissions and proposals for panels. In connection with the conference theme we welcome submissions for panels and papers based around the often  overlapping and interconnected histories and cultures of Ireland and Scotland. Possible themes include, (but are not limited to):

  • Theory; Gender; Advertising and Commodity Culture; Gothic; Fantastic;  Tartan and/or Emerald Noir; Romanticism; Revolution; Evolution;  Language; Immigration; Diaspora; Borderlands and Border Identities; Devolution; Ulster; Partition; Celticism.

Along with papers specific to the conference theme, we are interested in using this conference to highlight the most recent work in the field. Therefore, we welcome  submissions addressing any and all topics or themes relevant to Irish and/or Scottish studies. Following the interdisciplinary nature of the conference we welcome proposals from the areas of:

  • Literature, Linguistics, Creative Writing, Performing Arts, History, Politics, Folklore and Mythology,  Anthropology, Sociology, Geography, Tourism, Art and Art History, Music, Dance, Media and Film Studies, Cultural Studies, Celtic Studies and Studies of the Diaspora.

North American and other international scholars, practitioners in the arts, and postgraduate students are all encouraged to submit proposals to the conference organisers.

Each session will include three or four 20-minute presentations each followed by discussion. A selection of the accepted papers will be subsequently published in the conference proceedings.

The University of Sunderland houses the North East Irish Culture Network, established in 2003 to further the study of Irish Literature and Culture (see It has held seven previous conferences.  Previous speakers include Terry Eagleton, Robert Welch, Luke Gibbons, Ailbhe Smith, Kevin Barry, Siobhan Kilfeather, Shaun Richards, Lance Pettitt, Stephen Regan, Lord David Puttnam, Andrew Carpenter, John Strachan, John Nash and Willy Maley, with readings from Ciaran Carson Medbh McGuckian, Bernard O’Donoghue and Eilis Ni Dhuibhne.

LENGTH: Papers should not exceed 2000 words / 20 minutes’ delivery.

Enquiries and submissions (name, affiliation, title of contribution, and abstract of no more than 200 words) should be submitted by 30th September 2012 to:

Mr Colin Younger (NEICN Manager)

Conference activities will take place at the Chester Road Campus of the University of Sunderland

Registration details, and relevant information on travel arrangements and accommodation will be forwarded to successful delegates.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Ian Ground gives keynote address

Dr Ian Ground (NECLL) pictured giving his keynote address at the Ethics and Aesthetics of Architecture and the Environment conference at Newcastle University on 12th July

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Alison O'Malley-Younger on commodity spectacle

Dr Alison O'Malley-Younger's chapter entitled ''A Parliament of Monsters': Commodity Spectacle in Nineteenth-century Irish Popular Entertainment' appears in Ireland in Drama, Film and Popular Culture (Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2012) edited by Sandra Mayer, Julia Novak and Margarete Rubik.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dr Lauren Clark

Lauren Clark (MA Glasgow) has been awarded a PhD from the Department of Culture. Her thesis, entitled  "Modest Proposals: Irish Children, Consumer Culture, Advertising and Literature, 1860-1921" is a study of the role of the Victorian Irish child in an emergent Irish consumer and advertising culture. Informed by Irish and French Literature and Irish social history, the thesis, which was supervised by Dr Alison O'Malley-Younger (Sunderland) and Professor John Strachan (Northumbria) was one of the key outputs of a three year Leverhulme funded research project "Consumer Culture, Advertising and Literature in Ireland 1848-1921." 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Proton gradiometer for NECLL

Colm O’Brien (NECLL) has been awarded a capital funding grant from the university to purchase a proton gradiometer for archaeological geophysics. This is to enable fieldwork by the Bernician Studies Group within the Explore programme at NECLL (North East Centre for Lifelong Learning).  Colm O’Brien and Max Adams of NECLL will be taking a team of students to County Donegal in the Irish Republic in the second half of August to survey two early medieval monastery sites.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sarah Hackett in Amsterdam

Dr Sarah Hackett (History and Politics) will be giving a paper at the International Migration, Integration and Social Cohesion Conference (IMISCOE) in Amsterdam on the 28th-29th August 2012. Her paper is part of the 'Family Migration Policy and Integration' panel and is entitled 'The Integration of Former Guest-worker Communities in Bremen: The Importance of Family and Education'. Sarah's paper reflects her current research interests in immigration, demography and regional identity, as does her most recent article - a comparative analysis of immigration in Bremen and Newcastle - which appeared in the May 2012 issue of Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Language in Science Fiction and Fantasy by Susan Mandala

Dr Susan Mandala's latest monograph Language in Science Fiction and Fantasy: The Question of Style (Continuum 2012) is now out in paperback.

"The language of science fiction, and of fantasy, has a steep challenge: that of the creation of other worlds, societies and characters that are alien to us in diverse and fundamental ways, but still compelling and knowable.  This exciting book steps away from the issues of race, gender and politics that have saturated sci-fi and fantasy criticism.  Rather, it challenges two widely held but poorly substantiated beliefs circulating about science fiction and fantasy - that they are a) written in plain and unremarkable prose and b) apt to present characters that are flat types rather than fully realised individuals.

Mandala draws on traditional syntactic categories of stylistic analysis as well as the relatively more recent pragmatic and sociolinguistic paradigms such that the original analyses here take our understanding of these two genres beyond the usual confines, to consider how language is used to draw alternative words, represent the far future and distant past, and create psychologically believable characters.

Covering both British and American fiction and television, this is a wide-ranging and perceptive book." (From the publisher's website.)

Friday, July 06, 2012

Spectral Visions reviewed

A still from Buñuel's Un Chien Andalou (1929) 
You can read a review of the conference by Amy McLean (BA English and Drama) here. And this is how the Sunderland Echo reported it.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Angela Smith on Crimewatch

Dr Angela Smith (English) has been invited to give a paper at the 20th Anniversary Seminar of the Ross Priory Broadcast Talk Group (Strathclyde University) 9th-12th July. Her paper is an analysis of the popular BBC programme Crimewatch. Angela looks at how the programme has changed in its presentation since the production moved to Cardiff in 2009, arguing that it is now more akin to a TV detective drama, ameliorated by a hyper-verisimilitude in the studio sequences.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ian Ground on why beauty matters and animal minds

Dr Ian Ground (NECLL) will be giving a keynote address entitled 'Why does beauty matter?' at the Ethics and Aesthetics of Architecture and the Environment conference at Newcastle University (July 11th-13th 2012).

Ian has also been invited to give the 10th annual British Wittgenstein Society lecture in May 2013 at the University of Hertfordshire. He will be speaking on Wittgenstein and animal minds.

Spectral Visions one-day conference

The MA English team at Sunderland is hosting a day conference on 26th June designed to 'lift the veil' on the enduringly popular genre of 'Gothic'.

Keynote speakers include Professor Willy Maley (University of Glasgow) on 'the Dark Side of Macbeth'; Professor John Strachan (University of Northumbria) on Surrealism and Gothic, and Dr Alison O'Malley-Younger (University of Sunderland) on the Gothic Monstrosity.

Workshops delivered by the MA English team include: Dr Susan Mandala on 'the Neanderthal in Fiction'; Dr Alex Pheby on 'Gothic Fantasies - Guided Writing', Dr David Fallon on Wuthering Heights, Dr Alison O'Malley-Younger on 'Late Victorian Gothic', and Mr Colin Younger on 'Northern Ghost Stories and 'Boggle' Tales'. There will also be presentations by current MA students, and an opportunity to speak to them about the course.

Conference organizers in Gothic garb

Angela Smith on professional incivility

An article co-written by Dr Angela Smith in collaboration with Dr Michael Higgins (University of Strathclyde), Professor Martin Montgomery (University of Macau) and Professor Andrew Tolson (De Montfort University) is to be published in the International Journal of Cultural Studies. It is called 'Belligerent broadcasting and makeover television: professional incivility in Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares'. 'Belligerent broadcasting' is a broadcast style that offers as spectacle expressions of anger or impatience, or the exercise of intimidation, against an on-screen interlocutor. Focusing on the performances of Gordon Ramsay, the article analyses the management of on-screen confrontation between participants occupying asymmetrical positions of power and perceived expertise. The article looks at how the face-threatening component of belligerent talk is ameliorated by strategies of authenticity and its representation as a productive force within the narrative of the programme. Finally, we assess the relevance of arguments that this broadcasting style might be seen as part of a ‘new incivility’ across media discourses. 

Bronwen Calvert on Joss Whedon's Angel

Dr Bronwen Calvert (NECLL) has published a chapter called '"The shell I'm in": Illyria and monstrous embodiment'. It is about the popular TV series Angel and it appears in Josh Whedon: The Complete Companion (Titan Books 2012). 

Bronwen is also giving a paper entitled 'Inside the skin: body swapping in the Whedonverse' at Slayage 5 in Vancouver, Canada in July.

Angela Smith on style and the politics of witnessing

An article by Dr Angela Smith (English) and Dr Michael Higgins (University of Strathclyde) is to appear in the journal Journalism. It examines what the authors call the "convenient ambiguity of 'tone'" in Kate Adie's reporting of the 1996 Dunblane tragedy, in which 16 schoolchildren and their teacher were murdered.

Using material from the newly constituted Kate Adie Collection  at the University of Sunderland Library, this article looks at aspects of the ‘tone’ and content in Adie’s reports, and reflects upon the ways in which style and practice can position the reporter relative to the affected community. The article highlights the importance of Adie’s established practices and public renown as a high-profile war reporter for the BBC, as well as the socio-political environment of the reports which includes a political resurgence of Scottish nationalism with an associated identity politics. Through critical analysis, the article sets Adie’s reports within a tradition of media ‘bearing witness’ to tragedy, while suggesting that they offer an insight into potential breaches in the assessment of the emotional performativity of witnessing.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Writing Muslim Identity by Geoff Nash

Dr Geoff Nash's monograph Writing Muslim Identity (Continuum 2012) is now available in paperback.

"The relationship between Islam and the West is one of the most urgent and hotly debated issues of our time. This book is the first to offer a comprehensive overview of the way in which Muslims are represented within modern English writing, ranging from the novel, through memoir and travel writing to journalism. Covering a wide range of texts and authors, it scrutinises the identity ‘Muslim’ by looking at its inscription in recent and contemporary literary writing within the context of significant events like the Rushdie Affair and 9/11. Examining the wide range of writing internationally that takes Islam or Islamic cultures as its focus, the author discusses the representation of Muslim identity in writing by non-Muslim writers, former Muslim ‘native informants’, and practising Muslims." (From the publisher's website.)

Mike Pearce on 'canny'

On May 21st, Dr Mike Pearce (English) gave a talk at the North East Centre for Lifelong Learning entitled '"That word so fraught with meaning": The History, Cultural Significance and Current Use of Canny in North East England.'

The article on which the talk was based is due to appear in English Studies in 2013. You can read a draft of the article here.


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