Posts by David

Detective Novels and the First World War, Thursday 8th March

20 February 2018

 

Thursday 8th March 2018, 5.00 pm
Room 351, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2HW

Detective Novels and the First World War
Professor Jane Mattisson Ekstam (Østfold University College, Norway)

Hosted by our friends in History, Professor Ekstam, who is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at Westminster, discusses the relationship between detective novels and representation of the First World War. This provides a particularly fertile context for examining human motivation and suffering, and for looking at ways of dealing with crime in war and peace, not least in Britain where the majority of war-related detective fiction was produced. Followed by drinks reception.

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Roundtable on London Gothic, Weds 21st February 2018

13 February 2018

Wednesday 21st February 2018, 5.00 pm
Room 206, University of Westminster, 32-38 Wells Street, London W1T 3UW

If there’s something strange in your neighbourhood … A Roundtable on London Gothic
Monica Germana, Emma McEvoy, Alexandra Warwick, Anne Witchard

London has taken a central role in the urban Gothic, from canonical texts like Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Dracula, through modern film and visual culture, to the ‘tourist gothic’ of rebranded gastropubs and ghost tours. As a specific category, London Gothic is becoming as important for understanding ourselves today as it has been for thinking about the cultural productions of the late-nineteenth century. But what does it mean to think of London as a gothic environment? How has this understanding been shaped by historical events and cultural texts? What ghosts and monsters lurk behind the city’s walls? And how does their lingering presence change the way we interact with the streets around us? Join us for an evening of spooky stories and spectral delights as our panel of Westminster experts (Monica Germana, Emma McEvoy, Alex Warwick and Anne Witchard) examine the changing face of London Gothic, past, present, and future.

Followed by the usual drinks at The Green Man …

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Georgina Colby, Forms of Solidarity Weds 7th February

31 January 2018

Wednesday 7th February 2018, 5.00 pm
Room 206, University of Westminster, 32-38 Wells Street, London W1T 3UW

Forms of Solidarity
Georgina Colby (Westminster)

On January 20, 2017, the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration, a pamphlet titled ‘Solidarity Texts: Radiant Re-Sisters’, comprising 69 texts by experimental women writers, was collated and distributed by the poet Laynie Browne to the feminist community ahead of the Women’s March on Washington, scheduled to take place the following day.  The collection of works varied from collages, poems, letters, artworks, scans of handwritten poems in notebooks, shorts essays, animated sketches and links to film and performance works, and experimental prose. The texts each use experimental form as resistance against the increasingly conservative political climate in the U.S. Browne’s distribution of the texts as activist tools for the protest gestures to the revival of experimental works by women writers, artists, and filmmakers as forms of activism in the present climate. This paper explores the relation between forms of feminist solidarity, literary experiment, and new activisms in these texts of resistance.

All welcome! Followed by drinks in the Green Man …

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The Popular Front Novel in Britain – out now!

19 December 2017

Looking for a Christmas present for the literary Marxist in your life? Out now: our own Elinor Taylor’s book The Popular Front Novel in Britain, 1934-1940 (Brill Historical Materialism series)!

In The Popular Front Novel in Britain, 1934-1940, Elinor Taylor provides the first study of the relationship between the British novel and the anti-fascist Popular Front strategy endorsed by the Comintern in 1935. Through readings of novels by British Communists including Jack Lindsay, John Sommerfield, Lewis Jones and James Barke, Taylor shows that the realist novel of the left was a key site in which the politics of anti-fascist alliance were rehearsed. Maintaining a dialogue with theories of populism and with Georg Lukács’s vision of a revived literary realism ensuing from the Popular Front, this book at once illuminates the cultural formation of the Popular Front in Britain and proposes a new framework for reading British fiction of this period.

The nice people at Historical Materialism have also posted a translation of an interview with Elinor, originally published in French in the journal Période, on their website. You can read it here: http://www.historicalmaterialism.org/popular-front-novel-interview-with-elinor-taylor

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Bodies in Women’s Experimental Writing seminar

30 November 2017

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On the Nomos of the Post/Colony seminar, December 1st 2017

23 November 2017

Friday 1st December 2017, 10.00 am – 3.00 pm
Westminster Forum, 5th Floor, University of Westminster, 32-38 Wells Street, London W1T 3UW

Nomos, Postcoloniality and Spatial Justice

Rory Rowan (University of Zurich), “A Neo-Colonial Nomos of the Earth?”
Peter Fitzpatrick (Kent), “Hidden Empires: Finding the Elusive space of Neo-Imperialism – and the Significance of Law”
Carrol Clarkson (University of Amsterdam), “Redrawing the Lines”

Part of the “Nomos, Postcoloniality and Spatial Justice” series of events organised by our friends in the Law and Theory Lab and funded by the British Academy Newton Advanced Fellowship Scheme. Further details from here. Or contact Julia Chryssostalis at J. Chryssostalis@Westminster.ac.uk

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Martin Willis on the Ideals of Sleep seminar, Weds 22 November

16 November 2017

Wednesday 22nd November, 5.00 – 7.00 pm
Room 206, University of Westminster, 32-38 Wells Street, London W1T 3UW

The Ideals of Sleep: Victorian Sleep Research and Utopianism
Martin Willis (Cardiff)

We seem obsessed by the quality of our sleep in the twenty-first century, yet the high point of sleep research was the second half of the nineteenth century, and particularly the period from 1880-1900, when modern sleep studies began. For the Victorians, sleep was an active state (often linked to other cognitive pathologies and dissonances like catalepsy and epilepsy), which enabled or disabled certain functions of mind and body. How one slept was therefore of considerable interest to the general public as well as to physiologists, physicians and neurologists. Concurrent with this avid attention to the epistemologies of sleep, utopian fictions employed sleep as a foundation for asking questions of ideal lives and worlds. Often, other worlds were entered through the medium of sleep. This seminar will consider the connections between sleep and utopia, and ask whether sleep is itself an ideal place. It will do so by thinking not only about Victorian sleep, but about how contemporary sleep studies might inform our own ‘looking backwards’ to earlier scientific knowledge.

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Coming Out In/to Poetry with Stephen Guy-Bray, Friday 17 November

1 November 2017

Friday 17th November, 6 – 8 pm
University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2HW

Coming Out In/To Poetry
Professor Stephen Guy-Bray (University of British Columbia) 

The Queer London Research Forum is hosting Stephen Guy-Bray for its first event this academic year. Professor Guy-Bray’s talk will address the idea that ‘[w]e all have coming out stories and we tend to think of them as personal and individual – our own property, our own history. But as we all have them, a coming out story can also be considered part of a vast communal project and, for poets, as a specifically literary project. In this talk Stephen Guy-Bray looks at two 20th-century poems (Luis Cernuda’s “Diré cómo nacisteis” and Adrienne Rich’s “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning”) and one 21st-century poem (Ocean Vuong’s “Someday I’ll Love Ocean Vuong”) in order to see how some poets have considered coming out as simultaneously personal and public.’

Stephen Guy-Bray is a specialist in Renaissance poetry and queer theory, with interests in poetics and in comparative literature. His publications include Against Reproduction: Where Renaissance Texts Come From (2009), Loving in Verse: Poetic Influence as Erotic (2006), and Homoerotic Space: The Poetics of Loss in Renaissance Literature (2002). Along with Joan Pong Linton and Steve Mentz he edited The Age of Thomas Nashe: Texts, Bodies and Trespasses of Authorship in Early Modern England (2013) and with Vin Nardizzi and Will Stockton, Queer Renaissance Historiography: Backward Gaze (2009)

Attendance is free but booking is mandatory, please register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/coming-out-into-poetry-with-stephen-guy-bray-tickets-39191402540

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Digital Cultures Roundtable, November 8th 2017

31 October 2017

Wednesday 8th November, 5 – 7 pm
Room 206, University of Westminster, 32-38 Wells Street, London W1T 3UW

Digital Cultures: A Roundtable

Hosted by Westminster’s English Literature and Culture research series, and sponsored by the IMCC, this seminar will explore one of the most ubiquitous and at the same time elusive phenomena of contemporary culture: the experience of digitality.

Zara Dinnen is a Lecturer in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature at Queen Mary, University of London and a founding executive committee member of the British Association of Contemporary Literary Studies. Her work focuses on representation of digital media in literary and popular culture. Her monograph, The Digital Banal, will be published by Columbia University Press in 2018.

Seb Franklin is a Lecturer in Contemporary Literature at King’s College London. His research includes literature, visual media, and media theory, especially histories of digital technology and cybernetics. He is the author of Control: Digitally as Cultural Logic (MIT Press, 2015).

Talita Jenman ran the Arts & Culture programme at ZSL London Zoo and has given talks at the National Gallery and Welcome Collection, among others, focusing on memetic culture and its relationship to animals. She is an alumna of MA Art and Visual Culture at Westminster.

Chaired by Kaja Marczewska (Westminster/IMCC)

All welcome – followed by drinks at the Green Man, Riding House Street.

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The Soho Poly Theatre re-opens for one week only! November 20th-24th

19 October 2017

Monday 20th – Friday 24th November 2017
University of Westminster, 4-12 Little Titchfield Street London W1W 7BY

Found Theatre and Poetry: Disrupting the Everyday

As a part of the AHRC / British Academy funded Being Human Festival, the University of Westminster will be opening up London’s most important ‘lost’ theatre, the original Soho Poly Theatre, for the whole week beginning November 20th for visitors to come and see.

The Soho Poly Theatre – the radical forerunner of today’s Soho Theatre on Dean Street – operated out of a tiny basement room belonging to the University from 1972-1990. Many of the country’s best-known writers, actors, designers and directors worked here during this time. Curated by Guy Osborn and our own Matt Morrison, the project offers an opportunity to experience an exciting and varied series of events. Including a newly commissioned piece of digital theatre, live poetry readings and an exhibition of rare Nobby Clark photographs – all to be enjoyed in the specially reopened Soho Poly basement itself.

Tickets available from here

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Theatre and Performance: Tempestuous Technologies seminar, October 25th 2017

18 October 2017

Wednesday 25th October, 5 – 7 pm
Room UG04, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B

Theatre and Performance: Tempestuous Technologies

Bringing together expert scholars and practitioners, this seminar examines the ways in which the use of technology can transform theatrical experience, for better and, perhaps, for worse. How do you conjure magic on a bare stage? Why did the use of special effects in the professional theatre recently cause a national controversy? How can digital  technologies change the way we think about drama and production?

Leading Shakespeare scholar Dr Gwilym Jones talks about the development of early special effects in the Elizabethan theatre. Course leader for the Theatre Studies and English Literature BA and Theatre Studies and Creative Writing BA Dr Kate Graham discusses the outcry over the use of lighting and sound effects at Shakespeare’s Globe. Finally, Dramatist Dr Matthew Morrison will talk about the use of live streaming in his own theatre practice. Join us for an evening of discussion and debate about the relationship between technology and performance in theatres of the past, present and future.

This event is free and open to all students and staff at the University of Westminster – there is no need to book. Members of the public should email Matthew Charles at m.charles1@westminster.ac.uk to register.

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Hybrid Bodies exhibition, London Gallery West

16 October 2017

October 20th – November 16th 2017 (Private View: October 19th, 5-8 pm)
London Gallery West, University of Westminster, The Forum, Watford Road, Harrow, HA1 3TP

Hybrid Bodies
Ingrid Bachmann, Andrew Carnie, Alexa Wright

What does it mean to carry the heart of another person? Why do many heart transplants that appear clinically successful develop unexpected complications or fail? Hybrid Bodies is a multi-disciplinary research project, bringing together the arts, ethics, medicine and social sciences to investigate the complexities of heart transplantation. The project focuses on the lived experiences of heart transplant recipients, translating their stories into medical and academic literature as well as artworks.

Since 2007, artists Ingrid Bachmann, Andrew Carnie and the IMCC’s own Alexa Wright have been part of an international interdisciplinary team lead by Canadian cardiologist Dr Heather Ross and British philosopher Professor Margrit Shildrick. Uniquely for a collaborative project between artists and other specialists, the artists have worked in parallel with the scientists; exploring questions around the emotional, psychological and physiological experience of heart transplantation. The key research material is a collection of video interviews which reveal surprising levels of distress among post-transplant patients, strongly contradicting the belief that receiving a new heart is a simple solution to extending life.

Alexa Wright’s work explores the impact transplant can have on a recipient’s sense of self as a bounded and unique individual. In Heart of the Matter (2014), individual accounts of heart transplant are juxtaposed with personal narratives of lost loves and intimate relationships, forming a web of interconnected testimonies about the effects of a physical or emotional change of heart. Andrew Carnie is interested in how interconnections between different living systems can alter and extend a sense of self. A Change of Heart (2012) is a projected work based on drawings made while the artist listened to taped interviews with post-transplant patients and their analysis by social scientists. His constantly morphing figure captures a sense of everything in flux, in a continual state of becoming. Like the experience of transplant, Ingrid Bachmann’s A-part of Me (2014) is intensely physical, yet immaterial. Indicating both the challenges and benefits of empathetic listening, her sculptural listening device uses bone transducers to conduct sound to the inner ear using the skull as a resonating chamber, allowing participants to hear the narratives of the transplant recipients intimately, both in and through their body.

To find out more about this ongoing project and the people involved, visit www.hybridbodiesproject.com

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Merve and Data Futures project launch electronic edition at the 2017 Frankfurt Book Fair

12 October 2017

First previewed in Frankfurt two years ago, Merve Verlag’s Digital Edition now delivers the complete books of Merve Verlag’s back-catalog via internet access. In 2015 a sample of 100 books was made available for open access in ePub and book-in-browser formats suitable for hand-held devices. Based on this experience – and on related trials by partner Data Futures consortium, based in the IMCC  – they are now launching a permanent service at the 2017 Book Fair, with a number of significant further developments:

  • subscription-based access, ranging from single volumes to complete back- and current catalogs, as well as specific bundle products. Access to all of the out-of-print back-catalog volumes, is free with new subscriptions during Book Fair week including 45 PDFs including OCR. PDF download of all volumes is offered at the flat rate of €50. Unlimited viewing and down-load is granted in perpetuity for all present and future formats, including print-on-demand, as they become available; access to one volume on the same terms is €5.
  • reading using the state-of-the-art Mirador International Image Inter-operability Framework instrument, which enables multiple volumes to be opened at once and supports creation and display of Web Annotation Data Model (WADM) annotations
  • private subscriber space which maintains multiple reading lists and annotations; supports membership of reader groups, enables publication of annotations for review by others and research communities
  • editor community for crowd contribution to the digital edition – sign up and become the editor of the digital version of one of Merve’s books – e-mail de.merve.de for more details
    long-term sustainability of digital edition texts and subscriber annotations using CERN’s Invenio library management framework – a digital library software framework for articles, books, journals, images and videos – providing multiple standards-based formats including MARC-XML and Open Archive Initiative (OAI)

Subscribe or e-mail us at de.merve.de – they’d like to hear your views as they shape the reader community. Many of the books in Merve’s current catalog will be added before the end of 2017 (as an incremental subscription) and they will completely integrate books currently in print with the new community within the next 12 months.

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Reading the Travel Image: Travel Marketing & Popular Photography in Britain, 1888-1939

6 October 2017

We are absolutely delighted to announce the publication of the new book by the IMCC’s Sara Dominici: Travel Marketing and Popular Photography in Britain, 1888-1939 (Routledge), which is partly based on Sara’s research in the University of Westminster’s own archives.  Taking as its touchstone the image archive of the Polytechnic Touring Association, a London-based, originally philanthropic, travel firm, the book reveals the role that people’s increasing familiarity with the camera played in the travel industry’s shift from using lens-based images to mixed media.

Above all, Sara’s investigation uncovers the photographic desires of a new group of camera users – the tourist photographers: what photographs they took and why, and how this shaped how they experienced an increasing production of travel images. Through an exploration of lantern shows; the photography, travel and advertising press of the day; the work of official tour photographers; tourists’ personal photographs; and commercial photographic competitions, the book charts how the educational concerns and commercial imperatives, which successively defined the expected function of travel images, responded to these desires. As the book reveals, the relationship between popular photography and travel marketing was shaped by the different desires and expectations that consumers and institutions projected onto photography, in what became, effectively, a struggle over the interpretation of the travel image itself.

You can find out more details and order a copy here.

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Leigh Wilson on the Fictional, Virtual and Real in the Contemporary Novel seminar

5 October 2017

Wednesday 11th October, 5.00 – 7.00 pm
Room 206, University of Westminster, 32-38 Wells Street, London W1T 3UW

Should We Believe? The Fictional, the Virtual and the Real in the Contemporary Novel
Leigh Wilson (IMCC/University of Westminster)

Recent work from both novelists and literary critics has suggested that the contemporary novel is sick of fiction and has turned instead to the ‘real’. This paper questions this understanding of the contemporary novel and suggests instead that the most important representational model for the contemporary novel is the virtual. In establishing this, the article returns to both a history of the concept of the virtual and to Coleridge’s ‘willing suspension of disbelief’ in order to make visible the role of the virtual as a model for contemporary prose fiction.

All welcome! Followed by drinks in the Green Man …

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The Cultural Legacy and Popular Appeal of James Bond, Oct 12th

4 October 2017

Thursday 12th October, 6.00 – 7.30 pm
City of Westminster Archives Centre, 10 St Ann’s Street, London SW1P

The Cultural Legacy and Popular Appeal of James Bond

Our own Monica Germana will be speaking on a panel organised by The Popular Literature and Culture Research Group at Roehampton University to celebrate the launch of the new International Journal of James Bond Studies.

Booking is essential. Telephone 020 7641 5180 or email archives@westminster.gov.uk

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English Literature and Cultural Studies Research Seminars at Westminster, Oct-Dec 2017

22 September 2017

The English Literature and Cultural Studies Research Seminars hosted at the University of Westminster for 2017 are now confirmed, and there’s lots of IMCC involvement, with excellent papers about ongoing research by Leigh Wilson and Martin Willis and an exciting new series of panels organised by and for postgraduate and doctoral students. All welcome (although external visitors will need to sign-in at reception) and followed by the usual visit to the Green Man pub.

Wednesday 11 October, 5-7pm
Room 206, University of Westminster, Wells Street London W1T 3UW

Leigh Wilson (Westminster/IMCC)
“Should We Believe? The Fictional, the Virtual and the Real in the Contemporary Novel”

Wednesday 8 November, 5-7pm
Room 206, University of Westminster, Wells Street London W1T 3UW

Digital Cultures: Art, Literature and Archives roundtable
Chaired: Kaja Marczewska (Westminster/IMCC)

Wednesday 22 November, 5-7pm
Room 206, University of Westminster, Wells Street London W1T 3UW

Martin Willis (Cardiff)
“The Good Places of Sleep? Victorian Utopias, Sleep Research and Consumer Capitalism”

Wednesday 6 December, 5-7pm
Room UG04, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2HW

Materialisation of the Body in Experimental Writing roundtable
Organised by Isabelle Coy-Dibley and Sally-Shakti Willow (Westminster)

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Front populaire littéraire (and more)

16 September 2017

There’s an interview in French with our own Elinor Taylor about her forthcoming book The Popular Front Novel in Britain, 1934-1940 in the excellent journal période. Read it here.

J’ai commencé à m’intéresser aux rapports que la littérature entretient avec le communisme et l’antifascisme lorsque j’étais une étudiante de premier cycle. Je m’interrogeais sur la manière dont les écrits modernistes, dont on considère qu’ils ont atteint leur point culminant au milieu des années 1920, ont été transformés par la montée du fascisme et l’avènement de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Je m’intéressais également aux écrivains prolétariens et socialistes, tout en constatant que ces figures, ainsi que les développements sociopolitiques plus vastes des dernières années de l’entre-deux-guerres, n’étaient alors que rarement abordés dans l’histoire littéraire majoritaire. […]. 

While we’ve got your attention: a few more recent publications by IMCC people to plug also …

The latest double issue of New Formations, on the theme of Death and the Contemporary, with contributions from Andrea Brady, Lisa Downing, Roger Luckhurst, Warren Montag, and a host of others, is co-edited by our Georgina Colby. Courtesy of the nice people at Lawrence & Wishart, you can read Georgina’s introduction to the issue for free here.

As if that wasn’t enough, our own Lucy Bond has also co-edited the recent special issue of Textual Practice on ‘Planetary Memory in Contemporary American Fiction’, including her own article on Philipp Meyer’s American Rust. Check out the issue introduction here.

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Women, Writing and Freedom October 19th 2017

12 September 2017

Thursday 19th October 2017, 5.30 – 7.30 pm
University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2HW

Women, Writing and Freedom
Keynote talk by Maureen Freely, President of English PEN

In a masculine centred literary tradition that values male over female voices, women refuse to be silenced and continue to tell the truth about their personal and political lives. Join us in exploring the politics of silence and in honouring the voices of women writers everywhere who, despite repression and invisibility, risk all to give voice to the need for liberation and freedom.

Speakers: Maureen Freely, Hema Macherla, Avril Joy, Lynn Michell

Organised by The Contemporary Small Press project at Westminster in collaboration with Linen Press, a small, independent press run by women for women.

For tickets and info please click here.

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