Dr Sarah Lawson Welsh: Reflection on Black History Month and the Ones We Leave Out, Part 2

A display of books by Afro Caribbean writers with a picture and a Rasta Mouse toy
Caribbean Writing #BlackHistoryMonth Image (c) Dr Sarah Lawson Welsh

In the second of two blog posts looking back at Black History Month, Dr. Sarah Lawson Welsh discusses the importance of the representation of Caribbean writers and artists. She is an Associate Professor and Reader in English and Postcolonial Literature in the School of Humanities, and has written widely on this topic. You can read her first blog post here.

I think it is fair to say that the nationalist agendas of Caribbean writing and the role of black writers and thinkers in mid-twentieth century independence movements are much less well known than the American civil rights movement of the same era, even though there are some parallels between the two. Even such intellectual giants of the Anglophone Caribbean tradition, writers and thinkers such as Guyanese Wilson Harris (1921-2018) and Trinidadian C.L.R. James (1901-1989), are little known outside of specialist academic circles. Yet Harris, a former land surveyor who had worked in the Amazonian rainforest was writing about environmental issues and conceptualizing new ways of thinking about space, time and memory in relation to pre- and post-Columbian contexts as early as the 1960s. Even earlier in the century, in the 1930s Continue reading “Dr Sarah Lawson Welsh: Reflection on Black History Month and the Ones We Leave Out, Part 2”

Dr Sarah Lawson Welsh: Reflection on Black History Month and the Ones We Leave Out, Part 1

a white woman with long blonde hair smiles at the camera
Dr Sarah Lawson Welsh

In the first of two blog posts looking back at Black History Month, Dr. Sarah Lawson Welsh introduces her choices for the display in the York St John library foyer. She is an Associate Professor & Reader in English and Postcolonial Literature in the School of Humanities, and has written widely on this topic. Read her second blog post here.

Every year the Library and the Learning services team put on a black history month (BHM) display with a new topic every week. This year, Marcia Sanderson, a former BA English and MA in Contemporary Literature student who works in the library, contacted me to ask if I had any black British and Caribbean book or film suggestions, based on my teaching and research specialisms in these areas. The topics the library and learning services had chosen were: hidden black historical figures, black authors speaking back to literature and film, staff picks – our favourite texts by black authors and black people in cinema and horror films. Continue reading “Dr Sarah Lawson Welsh: Reflection on Black History Month and the Ones We Leave Out, Part 1”

Words Matter 2022: “Literature and Its Uses” with Dr Adam J. Smith

Join us for the fifth annual Words Matter Lecture on Thursday 10th November, at 5pm.

Book here for a free ticket. The event is open to all, and includes a drinks reception.

The Lecture

 

Drawing on his research exploring the role played by print in mediating the relationship between citizens and the state throughout the long eighteenth century, Dr Adam James Smith (Associate Professor, English Literature) will consider the “uses” of literature. Adam will introduce a series of case-studies in which literature was “used” for the purposes of propaganda, protest and satire during the eighteenth century, before examining the ways in which this same literature was used (and perhaps also abused) by readers and critics. Tracing a brief history of reading, misreading, deliberate misrepresentation and the active avoidance of reading, Adam will argue that most valuable “uses” of Literature arise from a deep, careful and sincere engagement with the form and substance of texts. Finally, the lecture will investigate recent advocations for the “use” of Literature as a means of promoting citizenship, empathy and social justice.


Dr Adam J Smith

Adam James Smith is an Associate Professor of English Literature, specialising in eighteenth-century print culture. Adam has a PhD from the University of Sheffield, where he also completed an AHRC-funded post-doctoral project before joining York St John University full-time in 2016. He has published on the works of Joseph Addison, Richard Steele, Eliza Haywood, James Montgomery and Virginia Woolf, amongst others. He has co-edited three volumes – Poetry Conspiracy and Radicalism in Sheffield (Spirit Duplicator, 2016), Print Culture, Agency and Regionality in the Handpress Era (Palgrave, 2022) and Impolite Periodicals (Bucknell, forthcoming). He is also currently a series editor for People of Print (Cambridge University Press), a multi-volume collection of printer biographies documenting the lives of individuals who were integral to the print industry but who have been, historically, less well represented.

Adam is also co-director of the York Research Unit for the Study of Satire, co-host of the ongoing monthly podcast Smith & Waugh Talk About Satire, he sits on the executive committee for the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (BSECS) and is chief editor of Criticks, the online reviews site for BSECS. His recent writing examines the relationship between politeness and satire and the character of the satirist across the long eighteenth century.

 

#YSJBigSummerRead VOTING NOW OPEN!

VOTE HERE!

Every year “Words Matter” (the Literature Blog at York St John University) hosts the #YSJBigSummerRead, in which anyone who wants can join us in reading the same book! 

This year #YSJBigSummerRead will take place between  25 July – 5 September. Everyone is welcome to get involved. All you need to do is get the book and share your thoughts and experiences reading it on social media using #YSJBigSummerRead (and please do feel free to tag us directly using @YSJLIT). 

The texts below have been nominated by our followers, and now you are invited to vote for which one you’d most like to read this summer! This year’s #YSJBigSummerRead will then be announced on 21 July, giving you just enough time to grab a copy before the Read begins on 25 July. 

Taylor Jenkins Reid, Daisy Jones and The Six (2019)

Robert Adams, Plague Dogs (1977)

Alison Rumfitt, Tell Me I’m Worthless (2021)

Kiley Reid, Such a Fun Age (2019)

Yaa Gyasi, Homecoming (2016)

Kirsty Capes, Careless (2022)

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar (1963)

Hannah Bourne-Taylor, Fledgling (2022)

 

The Human Experience of War: Online lecture on 1st December

Literature staff and students are invited to hear a special online lecture by Dr Carla Barqueiro, who is based at Johns Hopkins University in the United States. Dr Barquerio will be talking about the human experience of war. The lecture will be held on Wednesday 1 December at 5pm. It is free and open to all. To register, please go to: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/human-experiences-of-war-tickets-209213572427?aff=Internal

Black History Month 2021 Event!

https://cdn.evbuc.com/images/146918139/14297485693/1/original.20210907-091915 (800×400)

Join us for a fascinating discussion on feminism, systemic racism, and identity with Sophie Williams, acclaimed author of Anti Racist Ally and Millennial Black. Sophie will be in joining our Associate Professor in Literature Dr Janine Bradbury in conversation to explore how we can make space for racially marginalised people and how small conversations can spark big change.

To book your free place for this online event click here.

About Sophie Williams

Sophie Williams is a TED Speaker, leading anti-racism advocate and author of Anti Racist Ally and Millennial Black.

She has written for publications such as The Guardian, Cosmopolitan and Elle as well as delivering sessions training for major organisations such as Apple, Sky, Cambridge University and UK Civil Service.

Prior to her writing career, she had a career in advertising, holding positions including Head of Production, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Financial Officer. She is now a Manager at Netflix, leading Production Planning throughout EMEA.

Event: Words Matter Lecture 2021

man holding wind instrumentWe warmly invite you to join us for the Annual Words Matter English Literature lecture – it is free and open to students, staff, alumni, and members of the public!

Hamlet is, according to UNESCO, the most famous and most translated play in the world. This year, Dr Saffron Vickers Walkling introduces three contemporary global productions of Hamlet and explores how they appropriate Shakespeare’s play to speak to a seismic moment in history: 1989, the year that saw the ending of the Cold War. Lin Zhaohu’s Hamlet (1990/1995) from late communist China and Jan Klata’s H. (2004/2006) from post-communist Poland both hark back to the legacy of that moment of history, particularly its economic legacy. Additionally, Dr Vickers Walkling explores Sulayman Al Bassam’s The Al-Hamlet Summit (2002/2004) which is set in a non-specific country in the Arab world, over two decades later, as the West turned its gaze from the Cold War to the “War on Terror”. In true Hamlet style, each production holds “a mirror up” to their respective local tensions and ideological shifts in a rapidly changing world, and whilst viewed together combine to reflect the splintering and reconfiguring new world orders. Please do join us for what promises to be a fascinating discussion of Shakespeare’s most famous play.

To read more and book a place, click here

 

Hello and Welcome Back!

pink and yellow hello neon light

It is the start of a new semester here at York St John! If you’ve just joined us, welcome to our Words Matter Blog where you can read student writing and find out more about what is happening on the English Literature Programme. And if you are a returning student, welcome back! And if you are part of the broader YSJ community – a warm hello to you too.

We’re wishing you the happiest of starts to the academic year!

The Winner of the YSJ Big Summer Read 2021 is…

Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (2019)

Find out more about this award-winning book from the acclaimed poet Ocean Vuong and listen to a sample here.

Over the Summer months we’ll be posting updates and links to materials both here on our blog and via Twitter (#YSJBigSummerRead2021).

Copies of the book are available in our campus library and regional libraries, and an audiobook is also available via Overdrive and other audiobook suppliers.

Reading together brings us together. We’d love for you to join in – whether you are a past, present, or prospective student, a member of staff, or part of our extended community – read the book and share your reflections using the hashtag above.

More to follow…in the meantime, here is an interview with the author on the key themes and ideas in the novel. Enjoy!

The Shortlist! The YSJ Big Summer Read 2021

Our Big Summer Read team have shortlisted the nominations for this year!  Thank you to all of you who nominated books. All of the suggestions were fantastic and we hope the shortlist reflects a wide variety of styles, forms, and experiences. The shortlist is:

 To cast your vote for the 2021 YSJ Big Summer Read click here.

To find out more about the YSJ Big Summer Read click here.

Voting closes at 23.45 on Friday 25th June 2020 and the winner will be announced here and on Twitter in early July.    

And to find out more about each of the shortlisted texts please read on….

Continue reading “The Shortlist! The YSJ Big Summer Read 2021”

Recognition for The English Literature Programme at the YSJU Awards 2021

This Friday evening (28th May 2021), York St John Students’ Union will be hosting the annual Student Union Awards Ceremony online! Not only was the English Literature programme nominated for Course of the Year but individual colleagues were also nominated for awards recognising their invaluable teaching and support.

Our Associate Head, Dr Anne-Marie Evans has been nominated for the Best Feedback and Most Support Supportive Staff Member awards. Dr Fraser Mann was nominated for his Inspirational Teaching.  And Dr Janine Bradbury was also nominated for Best Feedback.

Congratulations and good luck to all who have been nominated this year!

For more information on the awards and to book a place to attend, visit:  https://ysjsu.com/events/1197-su-awards-2021

It’s that time of year! Nominate a book for this year’s YSJ Big Summer Read 2021!

Every year the English Literature programme hosts the #YSJBigSummerRead, in which prospective students, current students, and our alumni – are invited to join staff across the University in all reading the same book over the summer.

Previous Big Summer Read selections include:

Previous Big Summer Reads

  • Candice Carty-Williams’ Queenie (Big Summer Read 2020)
  • Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad (Big Summer Read 2019)
  • Anna Burns’ Milkman (Big Summer Read 2018)
  • Colm Tóibín’s The Testament of Mary (Big Summer Read 2017)

Which book would you like to nominate this year? We welcome nominations of short story collections, novels, and poetry collections.

Nominations close at 11pm on Monday 31st May, the shortlist will be announced in early June, followed by your votes for the YSJ Big Summer Read 2021!

To nominate a text click here.

PROGRAMME EVENT! English Literature Research Showcase (13 May 2021)

Photo of books
Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

You are warmly invited to come along and hear staff present short papers on their current research and chat about research during the time of lockdowns, remote working and endless zooming.

You will hear members of the team talk about magical women of Arthurian romance, representations of the architect in twentieth-century novels, Virginia Woolf’s representation of early eighteenth-century essayist Joseph Addison in her 1928 novel Orlando, the legacy of Andrea Levy, the challenges in guest editing a special edition journal, renovating My Beautiful Laundrette for the 21st Century, honesty in the work of C.H. Sisson, speculative genealogies, and the social value of writing about independent music space. All in one evening!

This range of subjects reflects the breadth of research within our fantastic programme. Our staff look forward to giving you a snapshot of their specialisms. We hope you’ll come along.

To book a place click here.