Posts from September 2016
The programme for this semester’s English Literature and Cultural Studies research seminar series at Westminster has been announced. The seminars will take place every other Wednesday, from 5-7pm, in room 310 in the University’s Wells Street building, followed, as ever, by a short discussion and drinks in The Green Man.
Wednesday 12 October
“The British Communist Historical Novel: Marxism, Modernity and Historiography”
Elinor Taylor (Westminster/IMCC)
Wednesday 26 October
“The married woman worker in fiction, c. 1870-1960”
Helen Glew (History, Westminster),
Wednesday 9 November
“Lying, Testimony and Murder in Early Modern England: The Case of Annis and George Dell (1606)”
Andrew Hadfield (University of Sussex)
Wednesday 23 November
“‘Detestable residue’: phobic resistances from Freud to Lyotard”
Simon Morgan Wortham (Kingston University)
Wednesday 7 December
“Picturing the Perpetrator”
Paul Lowe (University of Arts, London)
All very welcome!
Another day, another fine book published by a member of the IMCC. We’re delighted to announce that Georgina Colby’s ground-breaking study of Kathy Acker is published this month by Edinburgh University Press.
Kathy Acker’s body of work is one of the most significant collections of experimental writing in English. In Kathy Acker: Writing the Impossible, Georgina Colby explores Acker’s compositional processes and intricate experimental practices, from early poetic exercises written in the 1970s to her final writings in 1997. Through original archival research, Colby traces the stages in Acker’s writing and draws on her knowledge of unpublished manuscripts, notebooks, essays, illustrations, and correspondence to produce new ways of reading Acker’s works. Rather than treating Acker as a postmodern writer this book argues that Acker continued a radical modernist engagement with the crisis of language, and carried out a series of experiments in composition and writing that are comparable in scope and rigor to her modernist predecessors Stein and Joyce. Each chapter focuses on a particular compositional method and insists on the importance of avant-garde experiment to the process of making new non-conventional modes of meaning. Combining close attention to the form of Acker’s experimental writings with a consideration of the literary cultures from which she emerged, Colby positions Acker as a key figure in the American avant-garde, and a pioneer of contemporary experimental women’s writing.
You can order your copy here.
This also seems a good moment to flag up Georgina’s excellent blog post on the Duke University site reflecting on her trip to the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture to consult The Kathy Acker Papers, funded by a Mary Lily Research Grant. You can find it here.
We’re delighted to announce the publication of two fantastic new essay collections put together by members of the IMCC.
First up is IMCC Director John Beck’s Cold War Legacies: Systems, Theory, Aesthetics, co-edited with Ryan Bishop, and based on an IMCC symposium held at the University of Westminster back in 2014. From futures research, pattern recognition algorithms, nuclear waste disposal and surveillance technologies, to smart weapons systems, contemporary fiction and art, this book shows that we are now living in a world imagined and engineered during the Cold War. A great list of contributors include Ken Hollings, Adrian MacKenzie, Jussi Parikka, Adam Piette and Aura Satz, as well as two contributions from John himself.
Order a copy from Edinburgh University Press here: https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/book-cold-war-legacies.html
Also published this month is Sex, Time and Place: Queer Histories of London, c. 1850 to the Present, edited by Simon Avery and Kate Graham, the organisers of Westminster’s wonderful Queer London Research Forum. Incorporating multidisciplinary perspectives – including social history, cultural geography, visual culture, literary representation, ethnography and social studies – the book features essays from an international range of established scholars and emergent voices. Its essays cover topics such as activist and radical communities and groups, AIDS and the city, art and literature, digital archives and technology, drag and performativity, lesbian Londons, notions of bohemianism and deviancy, sex reform and research and queer Black history.
Order a copy from Bloomsbury here: http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/sex-time-and-place-9781474234924/
Matt Charles will be in conversation with Howard Caygill (Kingston), Sara Salih (Toronto) and the editors and translators of The Storyteller, Sam Dolbear, Esther Leslie and Sebastian Truskolaski, for a special event to launch Walter Benjamin’s fiction, collected in English translation for the first time. The Storyteller (Verso, 2016) gathers the fiction of the legendary critic and philosopher, best known for his groundbreaking studies of culture and literature, including Illuminations, One-Way Street and The Arcades Project. His stories revel in the erotic tensions of city life, cross the threshold between rational and hallucinatory realms, celebrate the importance of games, and delve into the peculiar relationship between gambling and fortune-telling, and explore the themes that defined Benjamin. The novellas, fables, histories, aphorisms, parables and riddles in this collection are brought to life by the playful imagery of the modernist artist and Bauhaus figure Paul Klee.
Walter Benjamin’s The Storyteller: Fiction & Form
18:30 – 20:00, Thu 22 September 2016,
The Keynes Library, Birkbeck School of Arts, 43-46 Gordon Square, London
UPDATE: you can now hear a recording of the event by the Backdoor Broadcasting Company.
You can also grab a free copy of Matt’s recent article in Pedagogy, Culture and Society discussing Walter Benjamin’s lesser known writings on education, some of which are translated into English for the first time in The Storyteller: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/w4P7FNn3Pr22ScFQktkh/full.
This follows on from the IMCC’s recent conferences on Avant-Garde Pedagogies (2016) and Walter Benjamin, Pedagogy and the Politics of Youth (2013).
Saturday 15th October, 9.15 – 6.45 (followed by reception)
University of Westminster, London
Elizabeth Barrett Browning and the Legacies of Aurora Leigh: Literature, Politics, Society
On Saturday 15 October, the Department of English, Linguistics & Cultural Studies at the University of Westminster is hosting a one day conference on Elizabeth Barrett Browning and the Legacies of Aurora Leigh. The day will include a range of talks on how Barrett Browning’s major work influenced later writers and thinkers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and our two keynote speakers will be Professor Marjorie Stone, from Dalhousie University, and Professor Margaret Reynolds, from Queen Mary, University of London. There will also be a roundtable discussion on the future of Barrett Browning studies with Professor Cora Kaplan and a reading of extracts from Aurora Leigh by actor and writer, Sharon Eckman. The full programme can be found on the conference website at: https://auroraleigh2016.wordpress.com/programme/
Registration is now open. Attendance at the conference is free but all attendees need to register through the conference website at: https://auroraleigh2016.wordpress.com/registration/
Zodiac, drawing and wall mural (2015).
Wednesday September 14th, 2016, 7-9pm.
Carroll/Fletcher Gallery, 56-57 Eastcastle Street, London, W1W 8EQ.
£5 Tickets available here.
Dawn Poetics: Caroline Bergvall in Conversation with Marina Warner
Artist, writer and performer, Caroline Bergvall, will perform and present a few video documents from earlier works of which Ghost Cargo (2011), Drift (2014) before introducing her performance Ragadawn (2016). Ragadawn, Caroline’s much anticipated new work is a sunrise performance, which explores the crossing of boundaries and altered states of being through vocal composition, rhythmical speech patterns and recorded languages. Following the presentation and screenings, Caroline will join Professor Marina Warner in conversation to talk about dawn poetics, metamorphosis, liminality, gendering, and darkness and light.
Ragadawn (2016) will premiere in the UK as a one-off performance at the Estuary Festival, Sunday 18th September, 2016, 6:38am. The work is co-produced by Metal, Southend-on-Sea, and Festival de la Batie, Geneva. Ragadawn will embark on an international tour in 2017. Ragadawn is supported by Ville de Genève, Etat de Genève, Fondation Wilsdorf, Fondation Göhner and Royal Norwegian Embassy, London.
This event is part of the series Experimental Writing @ Carroll Fletcher, hosted by the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture in collaboration with Carroll Fletcher Gallery. For more information about the event, please contact Georgina Colby at email@example.com
CAROLINE BERGVALL is an artist, writer and performer who works across artforms, media and languages. The recipient of many awards and commissions, her work frequently develops through exploring material traces, literary documents and linguistic detail, language and literary history, sites and histories, hidden or forgotten knowledges. Her sparse textual, spatial and audio works often expose hidden or difficult historical/political events. She is especially noted for her researched multigenre textual work and her strong verbal and vocal performances. Projects alternate between books, printed matter, audio pieces, collaborative performances, site-specific installations. Caroline is based in London and Geneva.
Most recent project: DRIFT (2013-2015): Texts, drawings and maps published as Drift by Nightboat Books (NY, 2014). A collaborative performance involving voice, percussion, datawork toured the UK and Scandinavia (2014) and premieres in Geneva Switzerland (2016). Solo show of graphic works and audio compositions at Callicoon Fine Art gallery (NY, 2015) and CAC (Geneva, 2016). New audio commission TOGETHER (2014), voicework in 3 parts, Swiss radio RTS2 & MAMCO Museum of Contemporary Art (Geneva). Premieres as a performance at Printemps de Septembre, Toulouse, Oct’16.
Other available publications: Meddle English: New and Selected Texts (Nightboat Books, 2011), Middling English (John Hansard Publications, 2010), DVD of installations, Ghost Pieces: five language-based installations (John Hansard Publications, 2011).
Various selected solo and group shows: Whitney Biennial (NY), Tate Modern (London), Louisiania Literature Festival (Copenhagen), Khoj Art Centre (New Delhi), MCA (Denver), The Power Plant Gallery (Toronto), Norrlandsoperan (Sweden), Actoral (Marseille), Poetry International (Southbank Centre), Fundacio Tapiès (Barcelona), Hammer Museum (LA), KUMU (Tallinn), MOMA (NY), Samtidsmuseet (Oslo), Villa Bernasconi (Geneva), Shorelines Literature of the Sea (Southend).
Caroline was Judith E, Wilson Fellow, University of Cambridge (2013-2014), Writer-in-Residence, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2014), Visiting Professor, School of Art and Design, Geneva (2014-2015). Currently a Collaborative Arts Mellon Fellow, Logan Center, University of Chicago (2016).
MARINA WARNER is Professor of English and Creative Writing at Birkbeck College, University of London and a Professorial Research Fellow, SOAS, 2014-2017.
Marina Warner’s mother was Italian and her father an English bookseller; she was brought up in Egypt, Belgium, and Cambridge, England. She has been a writer since she was young, specialising in mythology and fairy-tales, with an emphasis on the part women play in them. Her award-winning books include Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary (1976), Joan of Arc: The Image of Female Heroism (l982), From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers (1994) and No Go the Bogeyman (1998). In 1994 she gave the BBC Reith Lectures on the theme of Six Myths of Our Time. Her books include Phantasmagoria: Spirit Visions, Metaphors, and Media (2006), and Stranger Magic: Charmed States and The Arabian Nights (2011). She also writes fiction: The Lost Father (1988), was short listed for the Booker prize, and in 2000, The Leto Bundle (2000) was long-listed. She has curated exhibitions, including The Inner Eye (1996), Metamorphing (2002-3), and Only Make-Believe: Ways of Playing (2005). She chaired the Man Booker International Prize for 2015, and from 2013-15 she was a Two Year Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford.
Once Upon a Time: A Short History of Fairy Tale (OUP, 2014) will be coming out in paperback later this year. A collection of short stories Fly Away Home was published by Salt in autumn 2015. She is currently working on the theme of Sanctuary and culture in times of dislocation and diaspora, and is writing a memoir-cum-novel set in Cairo in the Fifties.
She is a Fellow of the British Academy, and of the Royal Society of Literature. She was made DBE in 2015, and the same year was awarded the Holberg Prize in the Arts and Humanities.
The Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture
University of Westminster Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies
32-38 Wells Street, London W1T 3UW. United Kingdom.