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.

How the right to die undermines autonomy

In an article published in the journal Ethics, Medicine & Public Health, Dr Kevin Yuill explicates the libertarian case against assisted dying. He argues that there is a broad discussion throughout many countries in the West about whether or not assisted suicide/dying will increase human happiness by decreasing suffering. Understandably, many of the articles address the issue from a medical standpoint but, at the same time, they assume that freedom will increase with legalization. Kevin's article is critical of that assumption and shows that the individual autonomy purportedly increased by assisted suicide will in fact decrease. This article stresses the dangers to general freedoms that will accompany a law that sets objective criteria for suicide, which is a subjective decision.

Yuill, K. 2015. The unfreedom of assisted suicide: How the right to die undermines autonomy.
Ethics, Medicine & Public Health 1(4): 494-502.


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