Sunday, December 11, 2016


In the first Humanities Research Seminar of 2016 Professor Angela Smith's topic is banter. It has long been recognized that jocular argument and teasing are central to social bonding.  In Western society, this is most often seen as being a feature of masculine behaviour.  Various studies (eg Gough 2001, Benwell 2006, Smith 2016); have shown that this is a central concern of male bonding, with Mike Souter (the first editor of FHM magazine) commenting that in a social group, the wittiest guy is the most popular.  However, when this is transferred to the domain of broadcast media, it has the capacity to be misinterpreted and have the opposite effect of binding social groups.  The majority of complaints sent to the BBC relate to the ‘offensive’ remarks on programmes such as Top Gear, whilst on Channel 4 the same is the case on programmes in the ‘comedy quiz panel show’ genre.  Most often this is defended as being a ‘misunderstanding’ of an in-show joke (the usual defence of Top Gear in the Clarkson years), but at other times it has led to the removal of the main culprit, such as regular panelist Frankie Boyle on Mock the Week, or cancellation of the show, such as Radio 4’s David Baddiel show Don't Make Me Laugh.  So how is it that a strategy for social bonding can be open to such debate?  Professor Angela Smith's talk will explore how the linguistic features of banter are inherently marked by insincerity, relying on the in-group knowledge of regular viewers, the cooperation of the studio audience, and the contrivances of the on-stage performers.

Time: Wednesday 14th December 2016 at 4pm.
Location: Priestman 101

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

New edition of the Journal of Intercultural Inquiry

The new edition of the Journal of Intercultural Inquiry edited by Drs Geoff Nash and Michael Pearce is out now. Its diverse articles (by authors based in India, Romania, Germany and Saudi Arabia) cover Don DeLillo and Martin Amis on 9/11, gender and translation, English in India, and the German poet Holger Benkel. Enjoy it here.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

BAVS review

Culture PhD student Philippa Abbott has published a review in the newsletter of the British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS). She looks at Victorian Popular Culture (a website from Adam Matthew's Digital) and describes it as 'an invaluable resource to any researcher or teacher with an interest in popular entertainment in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries'; one which brings together resources which would otherwise be difficult to access.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Understanding language and culture through multimodal text analysis

Dr Neil Johnson
Dr Neil Johnson (Team Leader for TESOL) will be giving a talk in the Languages Research Seminar series at 5pm on Tuesday November 22nd 2016 (Forster 301).  In the increasingly globalized and digital context of higher education, with concomitant pressure to internationalize through raised proficiency standards and greater intercultural understanding, the dominant skills-based, discreet approach to language teaching may not be optimally effective. In his presentation, entitled "Understanding language and culture through multimodal text analysis", Neil will describe the Literacy-based approach to language education that seeks to address these concerns. This approach was used to re-imagine a course for second year undergraduates at a small private university in Japan, and operationalizes both reading and writing as essentially similar processes of meaning making and design (New London Group, 1996). The course was re-structured so that learners are involved in iterative cycles of textual analysis, interpretation, and production as content shifts from the familiar texts of daily interaction to the texts and discourses of public and academic settings. A key feature of the course is the focus on intercultural and multimodal meaning. While multimodality has long been understood as a key concept in both education and new literacy research, how best to utilize this construct in foreign language education has yet to be fully understood. Having students explore what Stein (2009 p.26) describes as the “affordances and constraints of mode” for making meaning offers rich potential for developing understanding of the cultural orientations to the world that are presented in texts. Kress (2003) has argued that the different affordances of writing and image, between narrative and display, for example, produce very different takes on the world. Certain modes are used by sign makers to convey particular content in ways that other modes cannot. Considering issues of representation provides a way to understand text as socially situated and culturally shaped communication, as well as the emergent nature of meaning in language itself. In this session, Neil will share classroom examples from the course that exemplify this approach, focusing on a unit of work built around the concept of consumerism that demonstrates how a program can meaningfully connect inquiry into mode of representation with reading and writing pedagogy. He will also offer evidence from student work that multimodal textual analysis promotes development of textual, intercultural and linguistic awareness. It will be argued that this approach, even for students with relatively low levels of language proficiency, is important to foster the kinds of dispositions towards language, communication and culture that are necessary for these changed and changing times.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Beowulf on film

Dr. Miguel Gomes (Languages) will be giving a talk about the proliferation of film (sub)versions of the Old English poem Beowulf, particularly in the last twenty years. His talk, entitled 'And this shall be a place of merriment, joy, and fornication': Representing the monstrous other in Beowulf and its cinematic adaptations, explores  how the process of adapting early medieval heroic narratives and the alterity of monstrosities to the medium of film has led to new representations of Evil in popular medievalism. Miguel argues that a process of transformation, caused by modern sensibilities and fantasies about ‘anything medieval’, has produced a number of cinematic adaptations of the Anglo-Saxon poem in which Evil has been sexualized and the hero has been portrayed as undoubtedly guilty. In order to account for these changes, the nature of film as a medium and its multiple social and commercial implications will be considered in detail.

Time: Wednesday 16th November 2016 17:00 to 18:00
Location: Priestman 314
Email: for more info.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Seagull City launch event

The Seagull City project is part of events for the Sunderland City of Culture 2021 bid. It takes people on a journey, literally and metaphorically, exploring the literary and cultural heritage of Sunderland. By focusing on the city centre, river and coastline, this project will encourage people to see Sunderland as a place with a rich history and dynamic future. The title of this project echoes that of the Sunderland 2021 City of Culture bid anthem, ‘Seagulls and the Saints’. The project has been devised by two School of Culture academics: Professor Angela Smith and Dr David Fallon

Elephant Tea Rooms, High Street West, Friday 4 November, 6.30 pm. This event is free but must be booked in advance via the University Online Store.

PhD student convenes theatre talk

Culture PhD student Patrick Low has been asked by Newcastle's Live Theatre to co-convene a panel for a post-performance talk on pseudoscience for their latest play called, Harriet Martineau Dreams of Dancing. The talk is to be given by Dr Ella Dzelzainis, Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Literature at Newcastle University and co-author of Harriet Martineau: Authorship, Society and Empire (2010). More details about the event, which takes place on 20th November 2016, can be found here.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Sunderland Literature and Creative Writing Festival 2016

Several members of the School of Culture will be taking part in the Sunderland Literature and Creative Writing Festival this autumn. Click on the links below to find out who will be doing what and where. The festival starts on September 30th (the full schedule is here).

Spectral Visions book launch

Against the Grayne: Learning about your Reiver ancestry

Witchcraft and wizardry in Wearside

Northern Gothic: Jane Harvey's The Castle at Tynemouth (1806)

Eternity in an hour: William Blake and popular music

Gothic Wearside

World books to read before you die

Apples and Snakes performance poetry

Flash Fiction in a flash: how to write it and how to get it published

Reading philosophy to lose weight

The terrorist novel from Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent to Hamid Mohsen's The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Of Peter and Jemima: An introduction to the extraordinary life of Beatrix Potter

'Not quite a Geordie': The ethnonyms of North East England

Wizards, goblins and forbidden love: Sir Walter Scott's Lay of the Last Minstrel

'My own, my native land'

University of Sunderland and Waterstones short story competition

A fatal North East marriage: Mad Lord Byron and the Princess of Parallelograms

Halloween guided fantasy

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Belligerent broadcasting book

Professor Angela Smith and Dr Michael Higgins (Strathclyde University) have published a book entitled Belligerent Broadcasting: Synthetic Argument in Broadcast Talk (Routledge 2017).  The volume reflects upon and analyses the development of 'belligerent broadcasting', beginning with an exploration of belligerence in its historical context and as an aspect of wider cultural concerns surrounding the retreat of civility.  With attention to the different relations of power expressed in the various forms of belligerent conduct across a range of media genres, Angela and Michael explore its manifestation in political interviews, in 'confrontation' in talk shows, in makeover television, as an 'authentic' means of proffering opinion, and as a form of sociability in banter. The book uses examples from a range of well-known shows such as The Apprentice, Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, The Jeremy Kyle Show, and Top Gear to reflect on the consequences and potentialities of belligerence in the media and the public sphere. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Sincerity, authenticity and broadcast sociability

At the annual Ross Priory Broadcast Talk Seminar Group (held this year at the Hellenic Army Academy, Athens, Greece) Dr Angela Smith gave a paper on the rise of 'dating shows' on television.  She explored the ways in the conventions of observational documentary have been adapted to engage audiences in a more sympathetic reviewing of participants through her discussion of Channel 4's First Dates.  This show employs a 'diary room' convention from reality TV formats, whilst also engaging in a minimal use of voice-over and absence of the conventional host of such shows.  In this way, Angela argues, we are encouraged to think of the participants as being more authentic and sincere, whilst the hidden formal production markers ensure that there is a perception of a partly mediated, independent reality.  In this way, the audience are not invited to laugh at people in the way the game show format of dating shows encourage, but instead we empathise with them. 

Friday, September 02, 2016

Flirtation, desire and cut-glass biscuit barrels

Dr Angela Smith has co-written an article with Michael Higgins which looks at the development of broadcast talk in those reality TV genres associated with shopping and negotiation, focusing on Antiques Road Trip. In a context in which reality TV has become associated with judgement and rancour, Angela is concerned with the balance between expertise and ordinariness, and exploring the place of conversational and interactional styles we have come to associate with “sociability” and the maintenance of “face”, both in terms of pleasure and spectacle and providing a tactical basis for on-screen negotiation. Angela argues that these performances differ from conventional discourses of expertise as arbiters of specialist insight and market value, and offer new performances of expertise, based on a tactical mix of professional capital and sociability.

Smith, A. and Higgins, M. (2016) Flirtation, desire and cut-glass biscuit barrels: Forms of expertise in Antiques Road Trip. Discourse, Context & Media. Vol. 14.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Male anti-authoritarianism and anti-environmentalism

Dr Angela Smith has co-written an article with Professor Philip Drake (Edge Hill University) which considers the format and cultural politics of the hugely successful UK television program Top Gear (BBC 2002–2015). 'Belligerent broadcasting, male anti-authoritarianism and anti-environmentalism: the case of Top Gear' analyzes how—through its presenting team—it constructed an informal address predicated around anti-authoritarian or contrarian banter and protest masculinity. Regular targets for Top Gear presenter’s protest—curtailed by broadcast guidelines in terms of gender and ethnicity—are deflected onto the “soft” targets of government legislation on environmental issues or various forms of regulation “red tape. Repeated references to speed cameras, central London congestion charges and “excessive” signage are all anti-authoritarian, libertarian discourses delivered through a comedic form of performance address. Thus, the BBC’s primary response to complaints made about this program was to defend the program’s political views as being part of the humour. The article draws on critical discourse analysis and conversation analysis to consider how the program licensed a particular form of engagement that helped it to deflect criticisms, and considers the limits to such discursive positioning. The article concludes by examining the controversies that finally led, in 2015, to the removal of the main presenter, Jeremy Clarkson, and the ending of this version of the program through the departure of the team to an on-demand online television service.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A terrible beauty is bought

The journal Irish Studies Review is shortly to publish a special commemorative 1916 edition entitled ‘Commemorating Connolly’. Amongst the seven invited papers for the issue is an article by Dr Alison Younger entitled 'A terrible beauty is bought: 1916, commemoration and commodification'. Mindful of Benedict Anderson’s emphasis in Imagined Communities on the power of print culture – and print-capitalism – to shape and share national ideas and identities, her article offers a comparative analysis of the commemorations in Ireland of 1798 and 1916 by looking at commemorative ephemera: kitschy memorabilia, themed merchandise, newspaper cuttings and advertisements, handbills and inventively branded commodities, as important cultural texts which purveyed ideological values and meanings at the time of their production. It suggests that the consumer sphere allows us to shed light on the commemorative discourses these ephemeral objects produce, retelling and retailing the risings in question. Texts often regarded as throwaway or lowbrow vied for their share in the ideological marketplace to form part of the heritage of 1798 and 1916, the centenary of the one feeding into the ferment of the other. The reception and representation of the pivotal figures of Wolfe Tone and James Connolly is discussed through the prism of Thomas Richards’ conception of commodity culture, and attention is paid to counter-commemorative strands as well as positive rhetorics of remembrance.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Fourth edition of Codex out now

Every summer, the Department of Culture publishes a selection of some of the best dissertations in English, History & Politics and Languages in its online scholarly journal Codex. This year topics range from the representation of witches in Early Modern English drama to classroom discourse. Read the articles here.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Mindful cooking

Dr Angela Smith was invited to give a paper at the second FoodKom seminar, held at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, on 16-18 June.  Her paper, 'Cooking to be Happy: Simply Nigella and the rise of mindful cooking', explored how the current trend in self-help therapy glossed as 'mindfulness' has recently extended to cookery programmes.  Through an exploration of Nigella Lawson's cookery series in the UK (BBC November/December 2015) and its associated cookery book, Angela suggests that mindfulness is actually central to this show rather than its more peripheral place in others, and that this is part of a growing trend for such self-help psychology.


Monday, June 20, 2016

PhD student wins research prize

Katie Ward (Culture), Ammar Said Suliman (Pharmacy) and Olugbenga Oyeniyi (Pharmacy)  
Culture PhD student Katie Ward has won first prize in the Regional Three Minute Thesis competition, in which 14 competitors from across North East England had to summarize their research in three minutes to an audience and panel of judges. Students from Sunderland swept the board, taking the top-three slots.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Postgraduate Conference 2016

We are pleased to announce the 2016 Postgraduate Conference at the University of Sunderland. This one-day multidisciplinary conference is designed to give postgraduate students from any institution an opportunity to present and discuss their research. The conference is focused on Critical Approaches to Research, and aims to encourage the development of student communication and research networks. Research students will be giving papers based on their own research and will have the opportunity to meet peers who engage in similar research activities and get valuable feedback. The event will be held on Tuesday 21st June in David Goldman Building – Room 107, St. Peter’s Campus, University of Sunderland. More information, and instructions about how to book your (FREE) place can be found here.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

How to write a movie

The Department of Culture's new writer-in-residence Rob Young will be giving a talk called 'How to Write a Movie' on Friday 3rd June 2016 (1-2pm, Priestman Building 118). Rob was born and bred in South Shields. He is an award-winning writer and BAFTA Screenplay Judge. His feature film - Miranda (2002) - won the main prize at London's Raindance Film Festival. Everyone is welcome to this crash-course in screenwriting from a local boy made good!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Haunted landscapes

Colin Younger and Alison Younger have collaborated on a chapter which will appear in an edited collection called Haunted Landscapes: Super-Nature and the Environment (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016). The volume, edited by Ruth Heholt and Niamh Downing, examines the concept of landscape as a multitude of places and spaces haunted by spectres, memory, trauma and nostalgia in literature, art and film from Victorian times to the present. Colin and Alison's chapter is called 'The Supernatural Borders: on Reivers, Revenants and Redcaps'.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Discourse, culture and politics

PhD student Maria Fotiadou has given a paper at an interdisciplinary symposium in the humanities and social sciences organized by the Newcastle Critical Discourse Group and held at Newcastle University (18th May 2016). Her talk, entitled 'Careers advisers' expert roles in UK university websites', examined a corpus consisting of approximately 2.6 million words from 58 UK Universities' Careers and Employability webpages. Her analysis looked at collocations of the keyword 'careers', then considered personal and impersonal self-representation as revealed in high-frequency phraseological patterns.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The linguistic landscape of North East England

Dr Mike Pearce has been invited to give a talk at the Centre of Research in Linguistics and Language Sciences at Newcastle University. His topic is the linguistic landscape of North East England. Research on language attitudes and perceptual dialectology has shown that North East English is one of the most widely recognized and positively evaluated varieties in Britain. There is a rich tradition of dialect writing associated with the region, and a long history of both 'folk' and scholarly attention to local forms of language - for example, it is the only part of England to have a major corpus devoted to it: the Diachronic Electronic Corpus of Tyneside English at Newcastle University. However, one element is missing from the otherwise well-charted dialectological terrain: an account of localized forms in the 'linguistic landscape' (that is, the public display and representation of written language on road signs, advertisements, house names, vehicles, and so on). This talk will offer a first foray into this under-researched aspect of our local linguistic ecology. Location: King George VI Building, LTh 6. Time/Date: 26th April 2016, 16:00-17:00.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Discourse and democracy

Culture PhD student Maria Fotiadou has had a review of Michael Farrelly's Discourse and Democracy: Critical Analysis of the Language of Government (Routledge, 2015) published in Critical Discourse Studies.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Pharmacy in Ancient Egypt

The History Society is pleased to announce that Professor Rosalie David (University of Manchester) will be giving a talk on recent research on the topic of pharmacy in Ancient Egypt. The event is free to all and takes place on Wednesday 13th April 5-6.30pm in Priestman 118.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Victorian culture and the origin of disciplines

Patrick Low
History PhD student Patrick Low will be giving a talk at a one-day conference to be held at Durham University on Saturday 12th March 2016. The conference focuses on Victorian culture's creation, maintenance and promulgation of disciplines, covering the period of the long nineteenth century. Patrick's talk is entitled 'Dying in Private and the Death of Public Discipline: Execution in the North East, 1868-1878'. The full programme is here.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

English Research Seminar

Dr Dale Townshend
The next English research seminar features Dr Dale Townshend (University of Stirling) on Wednesday 16th March at 5pm in Priestman 216. He will be giving a talk on Walpole's The Castle of Otranto (1765). Ever since Walpole disclosed the authorship of his ‘Gothic Story’ in the second edition, it has been assumed that the ‘real’ and ‘particular’ castle to which he, in his guise as the ‘translator’ William Marshal, referred in the Preface to the first edition of the novel was Strawberry Hill, the ‘little Gothic castle’ in Twickenham that he had set about ‘Gothicizing’ since the late 1740s. However, according to Dr Townshend this is really only half of the story, for while the castle at Otranto certainly, as Walpole would later phrase it, ‘puts one in mind’ of Strawberry Hill, it also looks to the architectural formations of ‘ancient’ or ‘Gothic’ romance for its structure, its effects, and even its eventual disappearance. More specifically, Manfred’s castle at Otranto is, in a number of respects, a reworking of the trope of the enchanted castle that featured so prominently in the epic romances of Torquato Tasso, Ludovico Ariosto, Edmund Spenser, and others.  And if The Castle of Otranto is, indeed, closely linked to Strawberry Hill, this is not simply because Walpole ‘writes’ his home into his novel, but because both fiction and house looked to the architectural structures of medieval romance as their ultimate point of inspiration.  Having explored the trope of the enchanted castle as it figures in The Castle of Otranto and Walpole’s correspondence around Strawberry Hill, Dr Townshend concludes by tracing its uptake in the later Gothic dramas and fictions of Miles Peter Andrews, Clara Reeve, Anna Laetitia Aikin, and Ann Radcliffe.  

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Telders lecture

Dr Kevin Yuill

Dr Kevin Yuill will present the annual Telders Lecture in the Hague on March 15th, 2016. The Telders Foundation is a Dutch think tank for liberalism, affiliated to the VVD party. It annually organizes a lecture in which a prominent academic, journalist or politician presents his or her view on recent events or current debates. The title of the lecture is 'The Implications for a Liberal Society of Legalized Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia'.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Languages Research Seminar

The third seminar in the language research series will be taking place on Monday 29th February in Forster 302 at 5.00pm. The talk will be given by a new member of TESOL staff Dr Michael Hepworth. The topic of his talk is 'Argumentation and citizenship in the adult TESOL classroom'. All welcome!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Blake and Radiohead

Thom Yorke (source: Wikipedia)
Blake scholar Dr David Fallon has appeared on the BBC World Service's Newshour to discuss the lyrics of Radiohead's 'Airbag'. Oxfam will be auctioning a donated copy of William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience which contains the first draft of Thom Yorke's lyric. The singer's annotations of various poems can also be seen in the volume. In his radio interview, David explores the links between 'A Cradle Song' and 'Airbag', as well as discussing Blake's influence on rock music more generally. You can hear David here (the interview starts at 18' 10"). 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Postmodernism and Islam

Dr Geoff Nash's article 'Postmodernism' is an entry in Gale's newly published Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World (ed. Richard C. Martin, Gale 2016). It outlines how Islam was viewed by a postmodern philosopher such as Foucault, what Muslim intellectuals like Ziauddin Sardar, Salman Sayyid and Anouar Majid have written about postmodernism, and how Muslim writers and film-makers have responded creatively to the postmodern period. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

English Research Seminar

William Gifford Palgrave, 1868
© National Portrait Gallery, London
The next talk in this semester's series of English research seminars will be given by Dr Geoff Nash. Drawing on the National Portrait Gallery’s current display, Geoff will consider the extraordinary life of the leading British explorer and scholar of the Middle East, William Gifford Palgrave (1826-1888), assessing his adoption of disguise, and his reputation as a 'brilliant failure'. After serving for a time in the Indian army, Palgrave converted to Roman Catholicism and worked as a missionary in southern India until 1853. He began his long engagement with the Arab world in 1855 as a missionary in Syria, where he witnessed the persecution of Syrian Christians. Palgrave’s most notable achievement lay in exploring Arabia, which had for years been closed to Europeans. In 1862 and 1863 he became the first Westerner to cross Arabia by a diagonal route, from north-west to south-east, travelling in disguise and at great risk as a European. A deep interest in identity, whether racial, national and religious is made evident in Palgrave’s writings, as is his propensity for disguise and his multiple name changes. All are welcome to attend the event, which takes place on Wednesday 17th February in Priestman Building 301: 5-6pm.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

The Book of Khalid

Dr Geoff Nash has contributed an essay to a new critical edition of Ameen Rihani's 1911 novel The Book of Khalid (2016, Syracus University Press, edited with an Introduction by Todd Fine). Geoff discusses the novel in relation to Ameen Rihani, Kahlil Gibran and the migrant scene in New York and Boston in the first decades of the twentieth century, foregrounding the contemporary vogue for Arab/Oriental writers and discussing in particular their championing by influential American women.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Languages Research Seminar

Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel the Elder c.1563

The second talk in the new series of Languages Research Seminars will be given by Dr Susan Mandala on the topic of 'ESL and EFL voices in English literature’. It takes place on Monday 8th February at 6.00pm in FR 302 (Forster building , City Campus). All welcome!

Sunday, January 31, 2016


Dr Geoff Nash has had an article published on 'Orientalism' in The Encyclopedia of Empire (John Wiley, 2016). Geoff shows how the term is first used in the late 18th century to refer to scholarly study of the East and a style in the arts. In the same period the British East India Company was expanding its control of the Indian subcontinent, while in Islamic domains Napoleon's expedition to Egypt of 1798 was followed by French colonization of Algeria beginning in 1830. The British decision to demote Eastern languages and culture in India in favor of education in Western knowledge signaled the emergence of an imperialistic sense of Western superiority. As orientalism became institutionalized in Europe, it contributed to imperialist governance in the East. However, the extent to which orientalists individually and collectively were responsible for buttressing imperialist ideology was not fully debated until the publication of Edward Said's Orientalism in 1978. Click here to read the abstract.

Friday, January 22, 2016

English Research Seminar

me black and white
Fintan O’Higgins has worked as a script and storyline writer for several television soaps and is currently working as a script editor on Channel 4’s Hollyoaks. He will be discussing the particular demands of storytelling for the screen. Friday 29th January, Priestman Building 312, City Campus 1-2pm. This event is free. For further information contact Dr Sarah Dobbs (

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Folk-ethnonyms of North East England

Some are widely-known and have a long history; others are rarer and were coined more recently, but if you're from the North East you will have an opinion about them. In an article published in Nomina (the journal of the Society for Name Studies in Britain and Ireland), Dr Mike Pearce explores the history of North East ethnonyms, focusing on Geordie, Mackem, Sand Dancer, Smoggie, Pit Yacker and Monkey Hanger. Combining newly unearthed evidence from historical research with folk-accounts from surveys and online discussion forums, the article offers the most complete account of these fascinating and culturally significant terms yet published (for more on ethnonyms, click here).

Pearce, M. 'Not quite a Geordie': the folk-ethnonyms of North East England. Nomina Vol. 37.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Social memory and the landscape

John Kippin - Kielder

On 23rd January 2016, history PhD student Patrick Low will take part in an event at the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art in Sunderland. He and Emeritus Professor of photography at Sunderland John Kippin will be in conversation with photographer Danni Harper on the subject of social memory and the landscape. Further details can be found here.  

Saturday, January 09, 2016

The spectre of Japan

In a recently published article on race relations in the USA, Dr Kevin Yuill explores how, before 1905, most observers assumed the inferiority of Blacks and saw race conflict as the fault of African Americans. But a new possibility arose when the fate of African Americans was linked to the rising power of Japan, occurring after the defeat of Russia by Japan in 1904–5. Race conflict, in this new model, was a form of conflict between nations. Kevin's paper explores the thesis that a liberal perspective based on developments in contemporary international relations slowly changed the way race was regarded in the United States. From 1905 onwards, a new liberal paradigm sought to manage race conflict. It was this—rather than labour-based racial antipathies or commitment to racial equality—that shaped US race relations in the twentieth century.

Friday, January 08, 2016

National Portrait Gallery lecture

William Gifford Palgrave
© National Portrait Gallery, London
Dr Geoff Nash will be giving the lunchtime lecture at the National Portrait Gallery on 21st January 2016 (1.15pm). Drawing on the Gallery’s current display, Geoff looks at the extraordinary life of the leading British explorer and scholar of the Middle East, William Gifford Palgrave (1826-1888). After serving for a time in the Indian army, Palgrave converted to Roman Catholicism and worked as a missionary in southern India until 1853. He began his long engagement with the Arab world in 1855 as a missionary in Syria, where he witnessed the persecution of Syrian Christians. Palgrave’s most notable achievement lay in exploring Arabia, which had for years been closed to Europeans. In 1862 and 1863 he became the first Westerner to cross Arabia by a diagonal route, from north-west to south-east, travelling in disguise and at great risk as a European. A deep interest in identity, whether racial, national and religious is made evident in Palgrave’s writings, his propensity for disguise and by his multiple name changes.

Tickets: £3 (£2 concessions and Gallery Supporters). Book online, or visit the Gallery in person.


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