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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