Friday, December 13, 2013

NUM minutes digitised

Dr Stuart Howard

The North East England Mining Archive and Research Centre (NEEMARC), founded by Department of Culture member Dr Stuart Howard (History and Politics) has digitised the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) Durham Association minutes books. The books, which cover the period 1876 to 1942 chronicle the records of the most powerful union in the country in what was arguably the most important region for coal mining, the North East of England. The volumes are now available online for historians, academics, universities, students, and the general public to view without having to leave their desks. They are the first NUM materials anywhere to be digitised.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dr Kim Gilligan

Dr Kim Gilligan
The Department of Culture is pleased to announce that Kim Gilligan, who is a lecturer in the Primary Education Team in the Faculty of Education and Society, has been awarded a PhD in young adult literature. The title of her thesis - which was supervised by Dr Angela Smith and Professor Gill Crozier (University of Roehampton) - is A critical analysis of the representation of male characters in Bali Rai's Unarranged Marriage and Alan Gibbons' Caught in the Crossfire.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Research Excellence Framework 2014


The Department of Culture is delighted to announce that all the members of the English team have been submitted for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). This achievement reflects the strength of research and scholarship in English. In the period covered by the REF, current team members have published six books, 33 book chapters, 24 journal articles and have also been responsible for 13 edited collections.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

John Locke

John Locke by 
Sir Godfrey Kneller. Oil on canvas. Britain, 1697.

Source: Wikimedia Commons 
The English liberal philosopher John Locke (1632-1704) was one of the most influential thinkers to have promoted the view that governments should uphold democracy, tolerance and human rights (rather than promulgate patriarchal, aristocratic, and narrowly religious principles). He is the subject of an encyclopedia entry by Dr Peter Hayes in the recently published Encyclopedia of Modern Political Thought (Sage, 2013).


Monday, December 02, 2013

A Q&A with Peter Hayes on international adoption


In recognition of Adoption Month, the Oxford University Press Blog interviewed Dr Peter Hayes (History and Politics) about intercountry adoption (ICA) to raise awareness of some of the complexities it presents. You can read the Q&A here.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

English Research Seminar


Dr Barry Lewis (Sunderland University) will conclude this semester's series of English research seminars on Wednesday 4th December at 5pm with a talk entitled '"Song is the Magic Cape": Thomas Pynchon's Influence on Popular Music'. Staff and students from all faculties are welcome. The venue is Priestman 313.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Postcolonialism and Islam

Current and past academics from the English and History teams in the Department of Culture have published Postcolonialism and Islam: Theory, Literature, Culture, Society and Film (Routledge, 2013). The book, which had its origins in a conference held at the University of Sunderland in 2010, is edited by Drs Geoff Nash, Kath Kerr-Koch and Sarah Hackett (Bath Spa University).

The essays in the collection examine, question and broaden the applicability of Postcolonialism and Islam from a multifaceted and cross-disciplinary perspective.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The First World War and its Global Legacies: Keynotes announced and final call for papers

Indian soldiers on the Fricourt-Mametz Road
(Imperial War Museum)

The organizers of The First World War and its Global Legacies are pleased to announced the keynote speakers:


Further details about the conference, which will be held at the University of Sunderland on the 5th-7th April 2014, can be found here.

If you wish to contribute a paper please submit a proposal (maximum 300 words) to

Dr Kathleen Kerr-Koch (kath.kerr@sunderland.ac.uk) or 
Dr Angela Smith (angela.smith@sunderland.ac.uk)
Faculty of Education and Society
Priestman Building
Green Terrace
Sunderland
SR1 3PZ

Proposals should be submitted no later than December 1st, 2013.

Conference website

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Fritz Wefelmeyer on Botho Strauß

Dr Fritz Wefelmeyer has published an article on the German playwright Botho Strauß in the journal Pandaemonium Germanicum. Fritz considers the way in which the social theories and world views originally followed by Strauß have - according to Strauß himself - led to a longing for transcendence in the wrong direction, ignoring the true significance of technology. However, Fritz argues that Strauß’ own analysis, which incorporates insights from the natural sciences in particular, fails to take adequate account of creative activity. The article then explores another perspective emerging from Strauß’ representation of the state of unhappy consciousness of the modern individual and the various attempts made to transcend this. Finally, Strauß’ own attempt to achieve transcendence through art is critically examined.

Fritz Wefelmeyer (2013). Die Sehnsucht nach Transzendenz Zu ihrer Bedeutung im Werk von Botho Strauß. Pandaemonium Germanicum. Vol. 16, No. 21, pp. 1-24.


Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Geoff Nash on Ameen Rihani

Ameen Rihani
(Source: Wikipedia)
The Lebanese-American writer Ameen Rihani (1876-1940) - widely regarded as the father of the Arab novel in English - is the subject of a recently published essay by Dr Geoff Nash, who argues that Rihani was a modern figure who manoeuvred his way between the gaps of fixed western and Arab identities.

Geoff's chapter is called 'Beyond Orientalism: Khalid, the Secular City, and the Transcultural Self' and it appears in The Edinburgh Companion to the Arab Novel in English: The Politics of Anglo Arab and Arab American Literature and Culture (Edinburgh University Press, 2013).

Monday, November 04, 2013

English Research Seminar

Dr Helen Freshwater
Dr Helen Freshwater will be the speaker at the English Research Seminar on Wednesday 6th November (Priestman 313, 5pm). Helen is Reader in Theatre and Performance at Newcastle University, and her research focuses on twentieth century British theatre and contemporary performance. She is currently working on a Leverhulme funded project which explores the representation of children and childhood in contemporary British theatre. The title of her talk is 'Consuming Childhoods: Work, Pleasure and the Performing child'.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Border Crossings

A collection of essays edited by Colin Younger (English) has just been published. Border Crossings: Narration, Nation and Imagination in Scots and Irish Literature and Culture (Cambridge Scholars, 2013) examines the ways in which the borderlands, boundaries and frontiers of the 'British Isles' are crucibles for diverse cultures and multiple alternative histories. The book offers a fresh perspective on the liminality of these porous and contested terrains and the peoples therein.

The essays in the collection show that these borders do not have to be geographical, but can extend to any cultural, psychic or social terrain which exists beyond or between accepted categories, power structures, nations or states.

Border Crossings draws together a number of key researchers in their respective fields and enables a dialogue between different disciplines and scholars. The work of three current and one past member of the Faculty of Education and Society at Sunderland appears in the book. The editor Colin Younger contributes the introduction and an essay on the border ballads; Alison O'Malley-Younger's chapters are on Burke and Hare, and - in conjunction with Professor John Strachan of Bath Spa University - William Maginn, the Irish journalist and writer. Peter Rushton - who is Professor of Historical Sociology at Sunderland - explores narratives of banishment, exile and return in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Authenticity and the Border Ballads

Title page of the third edition of
Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1775).
(Source: Wikipedia)
An essay entitled ‘In Praise of Uncertainty: The Liminal Authenticity of the Border Ballads’ by Colin Younger has been published in Border Crossings (Cambridge Scholars, 2013). Colin argues that the Reivers of the Anglo-Scots borders embody a state of in-betweenness. They are neither English nor Scots, neither slave nor master, and their national status vacillates depending where they choose to be on any given day. Colin’s exploration of the Border Ballads interrogates debates over the putative authenticity of the corpus, and suggests that the perceived barbarity and lawlessness of the Borderers resulted  precisely from their existing on a buffer zone between two warring  countries. He maintains that the ballads which emerged from this zone came also from collective experiences and a common past and are therefore exemplars of an underlying connectedness. To this end he concludes that the debate over authenticity is an expression, not of the provenance of the ballads, but of the Romantic zeitgeist in which it is expressed.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Burke and Hare

The execution of William Burke
(Source: Wikipedia)

Dr Alison Younger has published an essay on the notorious Edinburgh grave-robbers and murderers William Burke and William Hare. Alison examines how a tale of two murderers (and essentially two cities) was sensationalised and Gothicised, and the murderers themselves abjected and made monstrous as symptomatic representations of a web of contemporary fears surrounding race, class and the commodification and atomisation of the body (both living and dead). The essay, entitled 'Morbid Anatomy: De'Crypting the Monstrous: Burke and Hare', appears in Border Crossings, a collection of essays edited by Colin Younger (Cambridge Scholars, 2013). The volume also contains a chapter co-written by Alison and Professor John Strachan (Bath Spa University) on the Irish journalist and writer William Maginn.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Kevin Yuill's Assisted Suicide reviewed

A review of Kevin Yuill's latest book - Assisted Suicide: The Liberal Humanist Case Against Legalization (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) - has appeared in the American journal First ThingsThe author (Wesley J. Smith) commends the originality of Kevin's approach, commenting favourably on the book's 'compelling humanistic argument supporting the prohibition of doctor-prescribed death.'

Monday, October 14, 2013

African-Americans and Guns

Dr Kevin Yuill (History and Politics) has published an essay entitled "'Better Die Fighting against Injustice than to Die Like a Dog': African-Americans and Guns, 1866–1941." His chapter appears in the collection A Cultural History of Firearms in the Age of Empire (Ashgate, 2013), edited by Karen Jones, Giacomo Macola and David Welch.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

British widows of the First World War

Newcastle Daily Journal 1916
Dr Angela Smith will be giving a talk entitled 'Sympathy and Suspicion: the state's surveillance of British widows of the First World War' at Northumbria University on Wednesday 9th October.  It starts at 5.30pm in the Lipton Building. Angela is also on the organizing committee of The First World War and Its Global Legacies: 100 Years On, a conference to be held at the University of Sunderland in April 2014.

History Lab

The first History Lab of the 2013-14 academic year features Professor Peter Rushton (Department of Social Sciences, Sunderland University). On Thursday 10th October at 5.00 pm he will be giving a talk entitled ‘Dangerous Words – Sedition and the State in Britain and America, 1660-1800’. Venue: Priestman 111. All welcome.


Monday, October 07, 2013

English Research Seminars

There are three English Research Seminars this semester. They take place on Wednesdays in Priestman 313 and start at 5pm. Staff and students from all faculties are welcome.

Wednesday 9th October 2013: 'An Exploration of the Management of 'Risk' in Young Adult Fiction: Caught in the Crossfire (Alan Gibbons) and Un-arranged Marriage(Bali Rai)'. Kim Gilligan (University of Sunderland).

Wednesday 6th November 2013: Dr Helen Freshwater (Newcastle University). 'Consuming Childhoods: Work, Pleasure and the Performing child'.

Wednesday 4th December 2013 at 5.00pm: '"Song is the Magic Cape": Thomas Pynchon's Influence on Popular Music'. Dr Barry Lewis (University of Sunderland). 


Information about past English Research Seminars is here.

English Research Seminar


Sunderland University's Kim Gilligan (Education) will be kicking off the 2013-14 season of English Research Seminars on Wednesday 9th October at 5.00pm in Priestman 313. Her talk - to which all are welcome - is called 'An Exploration of the Management of ‘Risk’ in Young Adult Fiction: Caught in the Crossfire (Alan Gibbons) and (Un)arranged Marriage (Bali Rai)'. 

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The First World War and its Global Legacies: 100 Years On


The 43rd battalion of Senegalese soldiers (1918). Source: Wikimedia Commons

Call for papers

The Faculty of Education and Society at the University of Sunderland is pleased to announce a conference to be held on 5th-7th April 2014:

The First World War and its Global Legacies: 100 Years On

Keynote Speaker: Kate Adie

A three-day international conference will explore the impact of this first truly global war on the history, culture, philosophy, language and politics of the 100 years following it.   Papers are invited from the international scholar’s community in English in a wide a range of disciplines – history, politics, world literatures, philosophy, sociology, human geography, media, critical and cultural studies, international law, linguistics, colonial and postcolonial studies.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Witchcraft and The Wicker Man

This Hallowe'en, Professor William Hughes of Bath Spa University will be giving a lecture at Sunderland which provides an eco-critical reading of the 1970s British cult horror movie The Wicker Man. The event, organized by the Department of Culture's Spectral Visions team takes place at 6.00pm on Thursday 31st October in Priestman 118 (the lecture theatre). Admission is free but please book early to avoid disappointment as places are limited. For further details and to reserve your place email colin.younger@sunderland.ac.uk.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Colette in Mauritius

Dr Marion Krauthaker-Ringa
Dr Marion Krauthaker-Ringa (Languages), who recently joined Sunderland University from the National University of Ireland (Galway), presented a paper at the International Congress of Francophone Studies in June in Mauritius. She spoke on textual and sexual fluidity in the work of Colette, in a session devoted to homosexuality and identity in French literature.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Pynchon and popular music



In August Dr Barry Lewis gave a paper at the International Pynchon Week held at Durham University. Barry spoke about how Thomas Pynchon's engagement with popular music is close to obsessive. He has written liner notes for albums by Spike Jones and Lotion; bands such as Benny Profane and Yoyodyne have raided his works for their names; and he has even provided an Amazon ‘playlist’ for the music mentioned in 'Inherited Vice'. What is less known is the small canon of popular songs that have been inspired by his works. The most famous of these, perhaps, is 'Sailing to Philadelphia', a duet between Mark Knopfler and James Taylor that neatly encapsulates the relationship between Mason and Dixon, the eponymous subjects of a 1997 novel by Pynchon. Knopfler described this song as "my three-minute take on a three-year book". There are many other such transformations from printed word to recorded song, and these were explored in the Durham talk.

Barry will be giving a talk on Pynchon and popular music at the English Research Seminar on Wednesday 4th December 2013.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Kavanagh's urban flânerie

Patrick Kavanagh by Patrick Swift (1960)
PhD student Marjan Shokouhi has published an article in the Journal of Franco-Irish Studies on the poet and novelist Patrick Kavanagh (1904-1967). Her work examines the ways in which Kavanagh picked his subject matter from the streets of Dublin, capturing memories in the form of poetic sketches like pictures recorded on a photographer’s camera. Marjan offers Kavanagh’s flânerie in Dublin as an example of how poetry can define/redefine our understanding of urban life.




Marjan Shokouhi (2013). "'If you ever go to Dublin town': Kavanagh's urban flânerie and the Irish capital". Journal of Franco-Irish Studies 1(1): 131-142.

Friday, September 06, 2013

History conference for sixth formers

Martin Luther King Jr.
On 11th September the History and Politics team will be welcoming over 120 sixth formers and their teachers from across the North East to a conference entitled 'Politics, Power and Rights'. The conference opens with a keynote address by Professor Clive Webb from Sussex University on British race relations and the American Civil Rights Movement. This is followed by parallel workshop sessions on a variety of topics, led by History and Politics staff, including 'Civil Rights before Brown v. Board of Education' (Dr Kevin Yuill); ''Charitable hatred': toleration after the Reformation' (Dr Delphine Doucet); 'Kings and Queens versus Social History' (Dr Peter Hayes). There will also be sessions on the Great Northern Coalfield 1700-1945 (Dr Stuart Howard), Britain between the two world wars (Dr Keith Wilson), revolutionary 'people' in the nineteenth century (Dr Laura O'Brien), and the second world war as a turning point for Britain (Dr Simon Henig). The closing keynote address, which reconsiders Martin Luther King's civil rights legacy, will be given by Dr Kevin Yuill.


Monday, September 02, 2013

PhD student chairs panel at international conference


Department of Culture PhD student Marjan Shokouhi will be chairing a panel at 'New Crops, Old Fields: (Re)Imagining Irish Folklore', an interdisciplinary conference to be held at Queen's University Belfast (5th-7th September 2013). The panel, entitled 'Re-Imagining Storytelling', is made up of scholars from the USA, Canada and Ireland. Marjan, whose PhD research is on Irish poetry and ecocriticism, is also on the organizing committee of the conference.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Codex: A Journal of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship

The Department of Culture is pleased to announce the publication of the first edition of Codex: A Journal of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship in the Humanities. This annual online journal, edited by Mike Pearce and Delphine Doucet, is a showcase for the scholarship of undergraduates in the department. Work is nominated for publication by members of staff in English, History & Politics, and Languages. All correspondence should be addressed to the editors.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Angela Smith on the BBC

Elmore Leonard 1925-2013

The great American crime writer Elmore Leonard who died this week once set out his ten rules for writers. One of his recommendations was only to use two or three exclamation marks per 100,000 words of prose. This prompted BBC Radio Newcastle's 'Alfie and Charlie at breakfast' to interview Dr Angela Smith on Friday 23rd August to discuss punctuation and spelling, particularly in relation to technology.  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mike Pearce on the BBC

On Thursday 18th July Dr Mike Pearce appeared on BBC Radio Newcastle's 'Alfie and Charlie at breakfast' to talk about attitudes towards accents and dialects. He discussed the reasons underlying the prejudice that Steph McGovern - the BBC Breakfast business correspondent - claims she has faced because of her Teesside accent.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Canny article

In all varieties of a language there are words which possess particular kinds of symbolic power or iconic status. In North East England, one such word is canny, the subject of an article published in the journal English Studies by Dr Michael Pearce. Although canny occurs in varieties of English around the world it is particularly associated with Scots and Scottish English. But it also has a long, well-attested history as a feature of dialect in North East England. Indeed, many people both within and beyond the region regard it as a lexical shibboleth. It is an epithet for the region’s major city (“Canny Newcastle”); it appears in the titles of traditional songs (“Hi Canny Man, Hoy a Ha’Penny Oot”), and even in the names of shops and businesses (“Canny Carpet Clean”). According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word is not found before the seventeenth century, having apparently developed from the verb can (“to know how”, “be able”) and/or the derived Scots noun can (“skill, knowledge”).  In the North East canny has acquired an extensive range of meanings. Michael's article outlines its northern English history, considers its significance as a cultural keyword and explores its usage in contemporary speech, literature and online discourse.




Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Spectral Visions II online

Keynote lectures from the Spectral Visions II conference can be viewed below.



Dr Alison Younger (Sunderland University) on 'Gothic Monstrosities'


Professor John Strachan (Bath Spa University) on 'Gothic and Surrealism'

Monday, July 01, 2013

Why Wittgenstein Matters


Dr Ian Ground has been invited by Bloomsbury to contribute a monograph on Why Wittgenstein Matters to their new high profile series “Why Philosophy Matters” edited by Constantine Sandis. As part of the promotion of the series, Ian has been invited to give a public lecture in 2014, on the impact of Wittgenstein, under the auspices of the Royal Institute of Philosophy, at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

On 14th May 2013 Ian gave the Tenth Annual British Wittgenstein Society lecture. You can read a report of it by Neil O'Hara here.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Access to Higher Education award

Research carried out by Maria Dawson which was funded by the Cultural and Regional Studies Beacon has helped the university win the Quality Assurance Agency's 2013 Access to Higher Education Provider of the Year award. Maria's research on students' understanding of the notion of 'employability' informed the development of a ten-credit module called 'Step Up to HE', aimed to ease the transition from Further to Higher education. She will be giving a conference paper entitled ‘Graduate Voice: My Personal Employability Skills Portfolio’ at EDULEARN13 in Barcelona in July 2013.


Katharine Reed (Student Recruitment), Maria Dawson (CAS),
Lesley Griffin (Student Recruitment)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Celtic Gothic conference announcement

The North East Irish Culture Network (NEICN) in association with the Department of Culture at the University of Sunderland presents Celtic Gothic: Degeneration and Regeneration.

James Hogg (1770-1835).  Author of  The 
Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner 

‘There is’ according to Alan Bissett, ‘something/someone/somebody that haunts the fringes of the Scottish imagination…perhaps the whisper of history, pain, feudalism, legend, all or none of these things, but undoubtedly Scotland’s is a fiction haunted by itself, one in a perpetual state of Gothicism.' As numerous scholars have argued, the same applies to Ireland,

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Why live? The persistence of live tv in a digital age

Dr Angela Smith will be speaking at The Ross Priory Broadcast Talk Research Seminar, which takes place 8th-10th July. Her paper will suggest a reason why there is still ‘live’ tv outside of news and sporting events.  With so much television output pre-recorded, and even more watched online as downloads on iPlayer and other systems, the question arises as to why entertainment programmes continue to be broadcast ‘live’.  This is particularly the case in shows which contain largely unscripted interaction, and thus carry an underlying sense of unpredictability.   Using a case study of the The One Show (BBC1), John Durham Peters’ observation that live broadcasts are akin to gambling (2001: 19) will be drawn on to explore how this is manifest in such shows.   In particular, there is a frequently-made observation that news and sport are broadcast live in part because of their dramatic potential, the notion that viewers can be ‘witnesses’ to an event.  Angela will suggest that in entertainment programmes, this dramatic potential can be linked less to the authenticity and truthfulness of the event, but of the personalities of the presenters.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Spectral Visions II: The Revenge

Following the success of Spectral Visions in 2012, the MA English team present Spectral Visions II: The Revenge, which takes place at the St. Peter's Campus of the University of Sunderland on Friday June 21st 2013.

The keynote speakers are Willy Hughes and John Strachan, from Bath Spa University, and Franklin Bishop (Newstead Abbey). Professor Hughes will be speaking on vampires in Gothic fiction and Professor Strachan will consider Surrealism and Gothic. Franklin Bishop's topic is John Polidori's The Vampyre.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Dr Jairus Omuteche

The Department of Culture is pleased to announce that Jairus Omuteche has been awarded a PhD. His thesis, Representations of Home in Ngugi wa Thiong'o and Toni Morrison: (Re) Vision of Identity and Belonging, was supervised by Drs Kath Kerr-Koch (Director of Studies) and Geoff Nash. Jairus began his doctoral studies - which were funded by a studentship from the Cultural and Regional Studies Beacon - in June 2010. His future research will focus on comparative and postcolonial literatures within the nexus of representations of globalization and diasporic identities and belonging. Dr Omuteche will be resuming his lectureship in the Department of Languages and Literature Studies at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology in Kenya.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Kevin Yuill and race in the Americas


Dr Kevin Yuill has given a paper entitled 'Japan, International Relations and the Formation of American Race Relations' at the inaugural meeting of the Race in the Americas (RITA) group in Birmingham. The paper is now being readied for publishing in a refereed journal. Kevin has also secured funding from the Regional Seminar Series Grant Scheme of the Institute for the Study of the Americas (University of London School of Advanced Study) as lead applicant, with Professor Guy Thompson and James Heath of the University of Warwick, for a seminar series in the Midlands and the North of England. The money will be used to bring speakers connected to a study of the Americas to Sunderland and other areas in the north and midlands of England.

Translating cultures

Dr Delphine Doucet (History and Politics) has begun a collaborative project with historians from Newcastle and Northumbria Universities which will provide a window on how key ideas within early modern political and religious thought were received and adapted in the very different political cultures of a range of European regions. Calls for freedom of the press (as in Milton’s Areopagitica) or proposals for a republican form of government (Harrington’s Oceana) had very different resonances in eighteenth-century France or early nineteenth-century Germany from those that they had in their country and century of origin. This affected the translations themselves (which were often cut, embellished and adapted to suit the audience or context), but also the way in which they were received and read. By tracing how individual texts were presented and received in a range of different contexts across both time and space it will be possible to gain a much more accurate sense than is

Friday, June 07, 2013

Leaders' wives

Samantha Cameron in Hello magazine
Dr Angela Smith has co-written an article with Dr Michael Higgins (University of Strathclyde) for a special edition of the Journal of Political Marketing on the theme of the 2010 General Election.  In spite of a record number of female parliamentary candidates, the 2010 general election campaign became notable for the intensity of coverage given to the female spouses of the three main party leaders. This study finds that this resulted from a combination of party communication strategy, established media discourses, and the agency and visibility of the wives themselves. First, Labour and the Conservatives were the most prominent in integrating their leaders' wives into their campaigns, often to counter the less

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Ian Ground reviews new work on Wittgenstein

Portrait of Ludwig Wittgenstein by Ben Richards

A review by Dr Ian Ground (NECLL) of two recent books about Ludwig Wittgenstein (Paul Horwich's Wittgenstein’s Metaphilosophy, and Wittgenstein and the Philosophy of Mind edited by Jonathan Ellis and Daniel Guevara) has appeared in this week's Times Literary Supplement.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The Language of Journalism

The Language of Journalism: A Multi-Genre Perspective by Dr Angela Smith (English) and Dr Michael Higgins (University of Strathclyde) has just been published by Bloomsbury. It is an accessible, wide-ranging introductory textbook which explores the significance of a range of linguistic practices occurring in journalism, and demonstrates and facilitates the use of analysis in aiding professional journalistic and media practice. The book introduces the differences in language conventions that develop across media platforms and covers the key journalistic mediums available today, including sport, online and citizen journalism alongside the more standard chapters on magazine, newspaper and broadcast journalism.

'A disgrace to the name of woman'

Dr Angela Smith will be speaking to Houghton-le-Spring Women's Institute on Thursday 6th June at 2.30pm in the Kepier Hall. The talk, entitled 'A disgrace to the name of woman: the surveillance of British widows of the First World War' focuses on the ways in which social welfare relating to widows developed in Britain in the early 20th century.  Looking in particular at the war widows’ pension scheme, the paper shows how its implementation involved the development of State-sanctioned surveillance and parsimony that continues to this day. Angela is the author of the recently published Discourses Surrounding British Widows of the First World War (Bloomsbury, 2012).

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

New Suffragettes


To coincide with the one hundredth anniversary of the death of Emily Wilding Davison, who died from injuries sustained when she was trampled by a horse in a political protest at the 1913 Epsom Derby, Drs Angela Smith and Claire Nally (Northumbria University) have written this post on the I.B Tauris blog. They argue that  the legacy of the Suffragettes lives on as modern day feminists continue to use the female body to confront depoliticization.

Angela and Claire are series editors of the I.B. Tauris International Library of Gender in Popular Culture.

Angela is also helping Beamish Museum with their activities to mark the centenary of the death of Emily Wilding Davison. She is taking part in the restaging of Suffragette demonstrations throughout June, including the 1911 Common Cause poster march in Newcastle (8th June) and a weekend of women's suffrage-related events at Beamish 28-30th June.

Monday, May 27, 2013

English Research Seminar

The final English Research Seminar of the semester will be given by Dr Samuel Thomas from the University of Durham. His paper -  '"Yours in Revolution": Retrofitting Carlos the Jackal' - examines representations of the Marxist-Leninist political activist and convicted murderer Ilich Ramírez Sánchez in fiction and film. Staff and students from all faculties are welcome to the talk, which takes place in Priestman 201 at 5pm on Wednesday 29th May.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Jairus Omuteche on Toni Morrison and Ngugi wa Thiong'o

Jairus Omuteche has published an essay in Africa and Her Writers (2013)This collection, edited by Charles Smith and Chin Ce, is the tenth anniversary edition of a series from the International Research Council on African Literature and Culture. Jairus's essay on Toni Morrison and Ngugi wa Thiong'o derives from his PhD research on representations of home in the work of these authors.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Laurence Eagle at the Higher Education Academy

Cross-institutional dialogue can enhance the learning and teaching experience for students in both participating institutions, according to a paper which will be given at the annual conference of the Higher Education Academy in July. Dr Laurence Eagle (CSP) and Dr Peter Lumsden (University of Central Lancashire) will report on the enhancements made to the students’ learning and teaching experience as a result of dialogue.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Peter Hayes on adoption, age and puberty


Children adopted from abroad are more likely than other children to be diagnosed with precocious puberty and are sometimes treated with drugs that delay pubertal development.  Now, in an article in the journal Pediatrics, Dr Peter Hayes (History and Politics) has called the supposedly high risk of precocious puberty amongst internationally adopted children into question.  Dr Hayes suggests that the risk of precocious puberty appears to be high because some adopted children are significantly older than their recorded age.  This raises concerns over the treatment of these children.

‘International Adoption, “Early” Puberty, and Underrecorded Age’ will be published in Pediatrics in June 2013.

Peter’s previous articles on adoption include studies of international adoption, transracial adoption, and adoption in Korea. He is also co-author of the book Adoption in Japan.


Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Dr Abdalla Mustafa Warayet

Abdalla Warayet has been awarded a PhD in TESOL. His thesis, entitled "The influence of speech context, language mode and exposure to English on the use of English discourse markers by EFL students" explores the discourse markers used in English by two groups of Libyan EFL students: those who learned English while living in the UK accompanying parents during their postgraduate studies; and those who had never been abroad and learned the English language in Libya as a part of the school curriculum. The comparison identified how different environments affect the use of English discourse markers - words and phrases which perform a variety of functions relating mainly to structuring and organizing language - through examining the influence of speech contexts such as interviews and discussions, different modes of English use including speaking and writing, and exposure to the English language. Dr Warayet's Director of Studies was Dr Maddalena Taras (Education).

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