Tuesday, October 21, 2014

'I'm against euthanasia because I'm a humanist'

On 11th October 2014 an interview with Dr Kevin Yuill on the subject of euthanasia and assisted suicide was published in the Dutch magazine Trouw. In the interview, Kevin discusses the apparent contradiction - for some - encapsulated in the headline: 'Ik ben humanist en dus tegen euthanasie'. Kevin is the author of Assisted Suicide: The Liberal, Humanist Case Against Legalization (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).

Monday, October 20, 2014

Geoff Nash gives the Sir Syed Memorial Lecture


Sir Syed Ahmad Khan (1817–98)
Dr Geoff Nash gave the annual Sir Syed Memorial Lecture to the Aligarh Muslim University Alumni Association (UK) at 41 Fitzroy Sq. London on October 19, 2014. His address was entitled; 'Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan and the Postcolonial Age'. Geoff discussed the conundrum of this great Victorian Indian thinker, reformer and seminal figure of Islamic Modernism being today well known but little studied. He discussed Sayyid Ahmad's attitudes toward British imperialism and modern Islam in the context of today's religious extremism and the contribution of British Muslims of South Asian origin to multicultural Britain.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Twitter and its agonistic publics

In an article co-authored with Dr Michael Higgins (University of Strathclyde), Dr Angela Smith examines forms of political and public engagement to emerge  in Web  2.0.  Focusing on the platform  Twitter, the  authors look at both antagonistic and agonistic  types  of  political engagement. Their article discusses Twitter’s capacity for direct contact with main political party leaders as part of  an antagonistic  public discourse,  geared towards creative expressions of individualised disaffiliation. However, in interventions around @EverydaySexism, the authors find collectivising practices more in keeping with an agonistic public discourse based upon involvement and the tactical use of irony and humour. While showing that the platform provides for new forms  of antagonistic engagement  with  political  elites,  the article therefore offers  support for the view that Web  2.0 gives  rise  to  new  and  shifting formations of non-institutionally-aligned political publics.


Higgins, M. and Smith, A. 2014. 'Disaffiliation and belonging: Twitter and its agonistic publics.' Sociologia e Politiche Sociali, Vol. 17 (2): 77-89. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

English Research Seminar



Philip Roth in 1973


The first English Research Seminar of the academic year will take place at 5pm on Wednesday 22nd October in Room 313, Priestman Building. The speaker is Peter Dempsey (University of Sunderland), who will be giving a paper entitled 'Philip Roth and the Writing Life'. All staff and students are welcome.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Sunderland culture graduate receives PhD studentship

Maria Fotiadou, who graduated with First Class honours in BA English Language and Literature in 2014, has been awarded a three-year studentship to pursue doctoral research in the Department of Culture. She will be using corpus-assisted methods to explore the discourses of employability in the context of UK higher education. Her work will be supervised by Drs Mike Pearce and Angela Smith.

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SURE: Research from the University of Sunderland