Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Refugees and asylum seekers

History and Politics are organizing a one-day event devoted to considering policy toward refugees and asylum seekers through lectures, discussion, visual displays, theatre, and Q&A.  Speakers include refugees and asylum seekers, as well as academics, members of local organisations, and politicians. Students and staff (morning and afternoon) and students, staff and members of the public (afternoon) are warmly invited to this free event, which takes place on Monday 1st February 2016. Information about booking and the full programme can be found here. The organizer is Dr Peter Hayes (Politics).

Monday, December 21, 2015

Margaret Skinnider and Constance Markievicz

Scotland and the Easter Rising (Luath Press, 2016) features a chapter by Dr Alison Younger about two female revolutionary nationalists. Entitled 'Scotland is my home, but Ireland is my Country: Margaret Skinnider and Constance Markievicz', Alison's essay appears alongside the work of authors and academics such as James Kelman, Irvine Welsh and Owen Dudley-Edwards. The collection mixes fiction, memoir, poetry and essays to explore  Irish-Scottish relations in the context of the 1916 Easter Rising and its intersections with other movements, from Women’s Suffrage to the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum. You can read The Scotsman's review of this volume here.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Bowes Museum talk

British War Widows of World War 1 is the subject of a talk to be given by Dr Angela Smith at the Bowes Museum on 12th January 2016 at 2.30 pm. Booking information can be found here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Brothels and booksellers

The North East Forum in Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Studies is holding an event on Friday 27th November (Priestman 215, 3-5pm). There will be two papers: Catherine Ellis (Durham), ‘Sensual Suppers: Eating and Drinking in the Parisian Brothel’; and David Fallon (Sunderland), ‘Gillrayand Faulderversus the Lascivious Earl: A Bookseller in the Tides of Culture’. All are welcome and the talks will be followed by free drinks!

The forum was founded in 2004. It is a collaboration between Durham University, Newcastle University, Northumbria University and Sunderland. The forum hosts a number of seminars each year in the North East, and aims to foster discussion and research into all aspects of British culture of the long-eighteenth century and Romantic period.

Banter in Sweden

Dr Angela Smith has recently returned from a trip to Sweden where she was invited to give a paper at Örebro University's Media and Communication research symposium.  The paper, based on a chapter in her forthcoming book, Belligerent Broadcasting (co-authored with Michael Higgins), dealt with the phenomenon of argument as entertainment in the form of banter as found on shows such as Top Gear, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, and many other comedy-quiz formats.  Angela suggested that the particular form of banter found in such shows is primarily masculine in character.

English Research Seminar

Debbie Taylor (editor of Mslexia magazine) will be giving her top tips on writing for publication. She will be answering any questions you might have about the industry and providing a unique insight into her role and the submissions process. Friday 27th November, David Goldman 107, 12-1 pm. All welcome.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

First issue of Cadence published

Sunderland University Poetry Society (SUPS) is pleased to announce the launch of Cadence. This new literary magazine, currently available in print, PDF, and ebook formats, has a tripartite structure: poetry from the society, academic interviews, and poetry from published poets. Contributors from the society this autumn are Connor Bell, Jessica Cartner, Ben Taylor, Theodora Roper and the magazine's English undergraduate editor, Samuel D J Weaver; the academic interview is with Dr David Fallon; and Mary Robinson is the Guest poet (you can see one of her poems in last summer’s Poetry Review). SUPS is always looking for new members and students who would like to contribute to their publications.

Cadence can be obtained through the Blurb Bookshop and ibooks.  Print copies are £8.99, PDF copies are £3.50, and ebooks are £0.99.  For more information about the Society, the magazine, and submissions email or contact them through the Society House

Monday, November 16, 2015

Launch of Education and Society Postgraduate Research Group

Are you a postgraduate research student in the Faculty of Education and Society? If so, you might be interested in a development led by PhD students in the Department of Culture. More details can be found on the group's 
website. They also tweet here.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Blake, Albion and the French Revolution

Blake's Albion
An essay by Dr David Fallon has been published in Home and Nation in British Literature from the English to the French Revolutions, a Cambridge University Press collection edited by A.D. Cousins and Geoffrey Payne. In 'Homelands: Blake, Albion, and the French Revolution', David shows the significance in Blake's writing of the Enlightenment discourse of national manners and the emerging notions of nationalism and the militarised nation-state that arose during the British wars with revolutionary France. Blake's poetry reveals a complex relationship to nationalism as he attempts to articulate a form of distinctly British patriotism without endorsing the 'official' martial British nationalism of the time. He argues that Blake, like a number of radical contemporaries, regarded the violence of the French Revolution and the aggressive response of Britain arising from deeply engrained national cultures.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Languages research seminar series

Dr Sheila Walsh (French) is pleased to announce the inaugural event in a new research seminar series. Dr Miguel Gomes (Spanish) will present 'The Challenge of Translating Literature: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Words.' The talk will take place on Monday 30th November at 5pm in Forster 302. All welcome.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

First issue of the Journal of Intercultural Inquiry

Geoff Nash and Mike Pearce are pleased to announce that the first issue of the Journal of Intercultural Inquiry has been published online. It presents the work of scholars from the USA, Russia, Hungary, Lebanon and the UK. Readers will encounter a variety of articles on intercultural themes, including a study of a Neo-Latin inscription on a gravestone on Lindisfarne, an essay about a community of poets based in the Faculty of Asian and African Studies at the State University of St. Petersburg, and an analysis of linguistic codeswitching between Mandarin and English in a US university.

The journal has received generous financial support from Scientia Educational Services.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Riots in Thatcher's Britain

Easington Colliery 1984. Photo by Keith Pattison
Dr Peter Hayes has published a chapter entitled 'Riots in Thatcher's Britain' in Crowd Actions in Britain and France from the Middle Ages to the Modern World (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). He takes a fresh look at three violent confrontations during Margaret Thatcher's period as Prime Minister: the inner city riots, the Miners' Strike and The Poll Tax Riot.  The chapter suggests that Thatcher's response to the inner city riots was not one of mere condemnation as she recognised that racist policing and unemployment were contributory factors. It explains how the decision not to hold a strike ballot caused some of the violence in the Miners' Strike, and contributed to its failure. Finally it considers how the Poll Tax Riot reflected the broader unpopularity of the tax.  This was not only because the poll tax was seen as being unfair but also because local governments had deliberately set the new charge at a high rate.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Ernest Renan and Matthew Arnold

Dr Geoff Nash’s article 'Aryan and Semite in Ernest Renan and Matthew Arnold’s Quest for the Religion of Modernity' has just been published in the latest issue of Religion & Literature. His article shows how Renan and Arnold’s search for a suitable religion for modernity found a focus in Gobineau’s writings about Persian Shi’ism and Babism. Each descried in these manifestations of religious feeling  solvents for the agnostic scientism of Europe, even while their observations remained meshed into the Victorian conflation of race and modernity.

Third edition of Codex out now

Nicholas Wood (1795-1865)
Topics as diverse as islamophobic political discourse, the Great Northern Coalfield, and the subversion of female sexuality are the subject of articles to be found in the latest edition of Codex: A Journal of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship in the Humanities. This online journal, now in its third volume, showcases some of the best undergraduate work in the Department of Culture produced by our final year students. Click here.

Friday, September 11, 2015

PhD student at Corpus Linguistics 2015

In July, PhD student Maria Fotiadou attended the 8th International Corpus Linguistics Conference (CL2015) at Lancaster University. She gave a poster presentation entitled 'Have you developed your entrepreneurial skills? Looking back to the development of a skills-oriented Higher Education.' You can read the poster abstract here.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Angela Smith on mediated political masculinities

Dr Angela Smith has published an article which explores the influential role played by the media in perceptions of political leaders. Since the latter part of the twentieth century, leaders’ personalities have come to play an increasing role in their appeal, in particular their gendered performances. In her article, Angela explores Barack Obama's 2008 election campaign through a gendered lens, contrasting it with the construction of male political leaders in other parts of the world, particularly that of Vladimir Putin in Russia. Building on work carried out in relation to the mediatisation and personalisation of politics in the last 50 years, Angela shows how gendered performances can be seen to mirror changes in society.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Sunderland graduate awarded PhD scholarship at Lancaster University

Sophie Raine
Sophie Raine, who holds a BA in English and Creative Writing and an MA in English Studies from Sunderland, has been awarded a scholarship at Lancaster University to pursue doctoral studies. Her project is entitled 'The Body Currency: Consumer Culture as the Catalyst for Exploitation in Victorian Gothic Literature' and it will explore the role of commodity fetishism and consumer culture in a wide range of popular and canonical texts, analysing their role in both the oppression and liberation of marginalized groups. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

New North East symposium

The New North East one-day symposium took place on 13th July at St Peter's campus. The day - hosted by the Department of Culture and convened by Mike Pearce - saw people from all walks of life attend a wide-ranging programme of talks organized around the theme of culture in the region. Topics covered included the role of archives and museums, dialect, arts policy, and journalism. Landscape photography and poetry was also on the menu. The full programme can be found here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Dainty sandwich carrots

Dr David Fallon recently gave a paper at Romantic Imprints - the British Association of Romantic Studies conference in Cardiff (July 16th-19th). 'Gillray, the Phallic Earl, and the Public Meanings of a 1790s Imprint' discussed James Gillray's caricature Sandwich-Carrots!­—dainty Sandwich-Carrots (3rd December 1796), which lampooned John Montagu, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich. The paper argues that the presence of Robert Faulder's bookshop in the background of the caricature is actually central to the caricature's message.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

The creation of community in public participation media

Dr Angela Smith will be presenting a paper at the 2015 Ross Priory Broadcast Talk Group's annual seminar to be held on the banks of Loch Lomond, 6-9th July. Her subject is how social media is used to create a sense of co-presence and community amongst viewers of the BBC1 show, Strictly Come Dancing, in both the BBC's official social media feeds and in the Guardian’s dedicated blog. In so doing, she will revisit Livingstone and Lunt’s (1994) assessment of the privileging of ‘lay’ over ‘expert’ in public participation shows, as well as the creation online of a sense of co-present liveness that underpins more conventional aspects of broadcast sociability (Scannell, 1991).

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Three years and thirty thousand hits

It's been three years since the first post on the Department of Culture Research Blog. Thirty thousand hits later we're still going strong, showcasing the range of high-quality research and scholarship in the department. Many thanks to all those who have contributed - keep it coming!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Mam or mum?

In an article published in the journal Sociolinguistic Studies, Dr Michael Pearce considers how the technological advances associated with Web 2.0 allow people to interact in online ‘communities’ built around shared interests and concerns. Michael's article examines an online messageboard virtually located in North East England, and explores the ways in which participants’ beliefs about and attitudes towards sociolinguistic variation emerge through discourse. He focuses on a single ‘conversation’ about the sociolinguistic variable mam/mum, revealing the language ideologies which inform the sociolinguistic awareness of participants, and concludes by using the concept of ‘late modernity’ as an interpretive frame to help understand what is happening as people appropriate a global technology for local social action.

Pearce, M. 2015.  Mam or mum? Sociolinguistic awareness and language-ideological debates online. Sociolinguistic Studies, 9 (1): 115-135.

Monday, May 25, 2015

The North and Northness

Dr Mike Pearce has been invited to speak at 'The North and Northness: Ideas of Place, Locatedness and Regions.' This half-day event organized by the Cultural Significance of Place (CSoP) interdisciplinary research group at Newcastle University, takes place on Friday 29th May 2015. Mike's paper is entitled 'Anyone from the north east who says 'Mum' should be shot'.  The event will explore varying understandings of the North, as constructed and applied over a range of disciplines, and consider the role ‘Northness’ has played in the evolution of ideas of place, locatedness and regions. Further details can be found here.

Monday, May 04, 2015

English Research Seminar

The English Research Seminar on Wednesday 6th May will be given by Professor Abdur Raheem Kidwai from Aligarh Muslim University, India. His paper is entitled '"The Challenging Gaze": Islam/Muslims in Today's Globalized World in Qaisra Shahraz's novel Revolt' (2013). Based in Manchester, UK, Qaisra Shahraz, of Pakistani descent, seeks to recontextualize Islam with modernity in her fiction. While displaying a nuanced understanding of today’s challenges, her novels are embedded in the Islamic value system. This amalgam between tradition and modernity, especially in the context of gender parity in Muslim society is a new, interesting aspect of the discourse. All staff and students are welcome to the talk, which starts at 5pm in Priestman 313.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The ethnonym Geordie in North East England

What are the origins and history of the ethnonym Geordie in North East England? How does this history – which according to some authorities has never adequately been explained – help us to understand its current usage and meanings? In an article published in Names: A Journal of Onomastics, Dr Michael Pearce attempts to answer these questions by drawing on evidence from a range of sources (including newly-available material in the British Newspaper Archive).

Pearce, M. 2015. 'The Ethnonym Geordie in North East England.' Names: A Journal of Onomastics 63 (2): 75-85.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The morality of informers

Dr Laura O'Brien has published an essay entitled “La moralité des mouchards: Chenu, de la Hodde et la guerre des pamphlets” [The morality of informers: Chenu, de la Hodde and the war of pamphlets]. Her work, which appears in Morales en révolutions: France, 1789-1940 (Presses Universitaires de Rennes, April 2015) discusses the multifaceted ideas of ‘morality’ in a series of extremely critical contemporary ‘histories’ of the French revolution of 1848, written in 1849 and 1850 by two former police informers and intended to damage the legacy of both the revolution and 1848’s revolutionaries.

Monday, March 30, 2015

PhD successes in Culture

The Department of Culture is pleased to announce four recently completed PhDs:

  • Dr Marjan Shokouhi. The Nature/Culture Dichotomy in an Ecocritical Study of W.B. Yeats, Patrick Kavanagh, and Louis MacNeice. (Supervised by Drs Alison Younger and Angela Smith)
  • Dr Akram Dik. Revisiting the Concept of Displacement: Representations of Home and Identity in Contemporary English Post-colonial Metropolitan Fiction (1956-1990). (Supervised by Drs Kath Kerr-Koch and Geoff Nash)
  • Dr Darren Brooks. Rankin's Scotland: Scottish Crime Fiction and The Narration of Modern Scotland. (Supervised by Dr Barry Lewis and Peter Dempsey)
  • Dr Danny Crew. Published Music as Political Research Tool in American Politics. (Supervised by Dr Kevin Yuill and John Kefala-Kerr)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

REF 2014 accolades for English

The English team has received feedback from the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) sub-panel. In terms of publications, 'international excellence was evident in all areas, and there was the additional strength of world-leading achievement in dialect, language analysis and creative writing'. The impact of research carried out in English was deemed to be 'considerable in terms of reach and significance', with work 'embedded in and committed to enriching its local community'. The full REF results can be found here. Sunderland was one of only seven universities in the UK to enter every member of its English team for the REF.

Monday, March 16, 2015

History Lab talk

Dr Laura O’Brien, lecturer in modern European history in the Department of Culture, will be giving a History Lab talk on Thursday 19th March at 5pm in Priestman 013. ‘Drawing revolution: political caricature in nineteenth-century France’, is based on her research into French political caricature in the first half of the nineteenth century. This is also the subject of her forthcoming book, The Republican Line: Caricature and French Republican Identity, 1830-52 which will be published by Manchester University Press in July.

All are welcome to attend the talk – it’s free for members of the History Lab and £2 for guests.

Monday, March 09, 2015

English Research Seminar

Professor Michael Meyer
The paper at the English Research Seminar on Wednesday 11th March 2015 will be given by Professor Michael Meyer from the University of Koblenz. Michael's talk is entitled 'The intermedial framing of narrative fiction'. He will explore the interplay between visual illustration and verbal representation as interdependent framing devices. The examples under scrutiny (Milne, Byatt, Ackroyd) offer multiple framings and frame-breaks, provoking reflections on representation, media, and interpretation. The conclusion will address the potential of using intermedial framing in the classroom. All staff and students are welcome to the talk, which starts at 5pm in Priestman 313.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Scott and Burns

Walter Scott by Henry Raeburn and Robert Burns by Alexander Nasmyth

Two department members spoke at the recent Burns’ Night celebrations organized by the Spectral Visions Press team. Head of Culture Steve Watts gave a talk called ‘My Native Land: An Introduction to the Borders’ which drew on geographical, anthropological and biographical elements to provide an interdisciplinary perspective on Walter Scott’s The Lay of the Last Minstrel. Colin Younger’s talk on ‘Burns and the Supernatural’ explored the Gothic motifs present in Burns’ most celebrated works. A full account of the evening can be found here

Forming and performing femininity

Dr Angela Smith has co-edited a collection of essays exploring various aspects of feminism and femininity in a twenty-first-century context. The articles address a number of contemporary issues: from the way in which women are represented in make-over shows, fashion blogs, and 'selfies' to the wider discourses that frame such representations, such as gym culture, pop culture, film and literature, as well as television sitcoms. Drawing on feminist theory and the emergence of 'fourth-wave feminism', this collection concludes that there is still much work to be done in terms of gaining gender equality in society.

Nally, Claire and Smith, Angela (eds) 2015.  Twenty-first Century FeminismForming and Performing Femininity. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Capital punishment, phrenology and the Lit & Phil

Source: Wikipedia
On February the 18th 2015, Newcastle's Literary & Philosophical Society (The Lit & Phil) will host a study afternoon featuring a wide-range of short talks from academics and Lit & Phil members on the society's history and archives. Amongst the speakers will be PhD student Patrick Low, who will give a talk entitled 'Capital Punishment, Phrenology and the Lit & Phil: The curious case of the “Bumpologist” Mayor, John Fife.' There will also be a ‘show-and-tell’ session and an opportunity to browse through a sample of the Lit & Phil’s collections. Read the full programme here.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Patriarchal protagonists of crime fiction

Source: Wikipedia
Philippa Abbott, a doctoral student in English, will be speaking about nineteenth-century crime fiction at Newcastle University on Thursday 12th February. Her talk forms part of the second Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies Postgraduate Research Conversation of 2014/15. The Research Conversation will take place in the Armstrong Building from 4pm-6pm. All are welcome to attend and participate in the discussion. More details can be found here.

The Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies (CNCS) is an interdisciplinary centre for research in all aspects of the long nineteenth century, from the 1750s to contemporary neo-Victorianism. CNCS is led by academics representing all five of the North East’s universities and from a wide range of disciplines. It always welcomes new members.

Privacy, punishment and the press

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dr Sarah Dobbs joins the Department of Culture

The Department of Culture is delighted to announce that Dr Sarah Dobbs has been appointed as lecturer in English and Creative Writing. Sarah won a Funds For Women Graduates (FfWG)  award to complete her PhD in Creative writing at Lancaster University in 2011. Her PhD explored coma as fictional space, crime, culture and masculinity and the femme fatale. Her PhD novel, Killing Daniel (Unthank Books), was published in 2012 and she recently edited and co-authored a textbook, English Language, Literature and Creative Writing: A Practical Guide for Students (Anthem Press, 2014). Previous work has been broadcast by the BBC, performed at Bolton Octagon and Cambridge ADC theatres, and published in Flax, Stepaway magazine and Litro. She is currently at work on a novel that considers the relationship between apocalyptic fiction, illness and assisted dying.

Sarah has previously taught at Lancaster, Manchester Metropolitan University, Edge Hill and the Open University, as well as on the Guardian Masterclass series. Her novel was nominated for the Guardian Not the Booker award and her short fiction for the Pushcart Prize. You can read some of her work here, here, here and here.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Alison Younger at Cafe Culture

Café Culture is a series of free events for thinkers which aim to generate discussion, debate and a convivial atmosphere. Held in central Newcastle upon Tyne, they seek to provide a space for people to think, share ideas and to have a lively and inclusive discussion. On December 1st 2014 Dr Alison Younger gave a talk entitled 'Our Monsters: Ourselves' in which she explored the ways monsters reflect the cultural anxieties of the times in which they were spawned. Listen to the podcast here.


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