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.

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