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 (sarah.hackett-1@sunderland.ac.uk) 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.

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