Thursday, July 17, 2014

Changing attitudes to transracial adoption

Dr Peter Hayes has published a review essay in the journal Adoption Quarterly (Volume 17, Issue 2). The books he reviews - Adversity, Adoption and Afterwards and Rethinking Matching in Adoptions from Care - question, according to Peter, widely held beliefs about the efficacy of professional attempts at 'matching' between potential adopters and adoptees.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

In the Moral Maze

Dr Kevin Yuill has appeared on the flagship BBC Radio 4 programme Moral Maze. He was invited to be a witness in a discussion on assisted dying. What are the moral, ethical, philosophical and religious principles at stake in this debate? What happens when two moral principles collide and both sides could be right? What moral calculus can you apply to decide how to choose between right and wrong? You can listen to a podcast of the programme here.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The sensational mind of William Blake

William Blake by John Flaxman (c. 1804)
Source: Wikipedia
'The Sensational Mind of William Blake' is the title of an essay by Dr David Fallon which appears in Réfléchir [sur] la Sensation. Volume 2: Littérature et Création dans la Monde Britannique (2014, Éditions des archives contemporaines). David explores the role of sensation in Blake's depiction of the mind's development and growth, arguing that the Blakean philosophy of mind has a much closer and nuanced relationship to Enlightenment modes of thought than has previously been recognised.  

Sunday, July 06, 2014

The linguistic landscape of North East England

Dr Mike Pearce has begun a research project on the visual representation of North East dialect in the public domain. So far, most research on the language of the road signs, advertising hoardings, street names, shop signs and other written messages which make up the linguistic landscape of a given area has focused on issues surrounding multilingualism. In contrast, Mike's project will focus on the use of vernacular North East English lexis, grammar and orthography in public settings. There is a 'crowd-sourcing' element to the project: if you see any instances of dialect use, please consider sending a photo to (with details of where it was taken) and I'll add it to the project website.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Belligerent broadcasting

Dr Angela Smith and Dr Michael Higgins (Strathclyde University) have published an article on the emerging practices of confrontation and incivility in media talk which they term 'belligerent broadcasting'. It appears in SemiotiX New Series, an online global information bulletin which aims to provide periodic snapshots of the situation of semiotic research.

You can read 'Belligerent broadcasting: antagonism in media talk?' here.

Friday, July 04, 2014

New research network

A new university-wide research network has been set up in the Department of Culture. If your research, scholarship or creative practice engages with aspects of the culture, history, geography, language, sociology, literature, architecture, politics, and visual and performing arts of North East England, then the North East Research Network (NERN) is for you. Its aim is to expand interdisciplinary links across the university in the broad field of North East Studies. NERN's website is here. The site is looked after by Mike Pearce (

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Flirtation, desire and desperation

Dr Angela Smith will be giving a paper at the 21st annual Ross Priory Broadcast Research Seminar, held at the University of Brittany in France (1-3 July 2014). Angela will explore the everyday interactive use of persuasive devices in a popular TV programme, in a paper entitled 'Flirtation, desire and desperation: the shameless persuasive strategies of Antiques Road Trip'.

The secret life of Britain's guns

Dr Kevin Yuill has appeared on Voice of Russia radio to discuss the pros and cons of relaxing Britain's gun laws. You can listen to a podcast of the broadcast here.

David Catterick workshop on video

Dr David Catterick (Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics, Briercrest College Canada) recently delivered a guest seminar to students and staff on the MA in TESOL entitled 'Beginning beneath one's feet: the journey to finding a suitable topic for your MA TESOL dissertation'. You can view the video below.


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SURE: Research from the University of Sunderland