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.

Blog Post: Reflecting on “A Sculpture for Mary Wollstonecraft” by Megan Sales

In a recent lecture and seminar for our module Revolution and Response, we discussed Mary Wollstonecraft’s text The Rights of Woman (1792). Two important points were raised to do with the context of this work; the first is that the concept of gender, as we understand it today, did not exist when Wollstonecraft was writing and the second being that feminism did not exist as a term then either. Wollstonecraft is considered by many to be the mother of feminism and even though the term did not exist during her time, her views on gender equality were pioneering. She discussed how women are satirised by male writers for being ignorant while these same men denied women access to education. Furthermore, she discusses how women are objectified and are led to believe that their only worth lies in their beauty and ability to please men.

The debate surrounding Maggi Hambling’s “A Sculpture for Mary Wollstonecraft” [pictured] erected in London in November 2020 has become a focal point for discussing some of these issues. Continue reading “Blog Post: Reflecting on “A Sculpture for Mary Wollstonecraft” by Megan Sales”

Blog Post: COVID 19: One Year On. How can Shakespeare’s portrayal of Time alter our perspectives? By Annie Denton

We have recently marked one year since the UK went into a national lockdown. I keep thinking about how quickly it all changed. In Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, Time is a character, who struts upon the stage to say: “I, that please some, try all, both joy and terror Of good and bad, that makes and unfolds error, Now take upon me, in the name of Time, To use my wings. Impute it not a crime To me or my swift passage” (The Winter’s Tale 4:1). These lines stuck with me when I read the play for the module I’m taking on Shakespeare. It altered my perspective. I realised that I have it all wrong: a year passing is not a bad thing at all. Of course, I could get political and complain about how we should not be in our third national lockdown, or that I was just getting settled in at university before it was all taken away. We can be pessimistic about ‘losing a year’ of our lives, but I like Shakespeare’s personification of Time. There is nothing that resonates more than “please some, try all, both joy and terror of good and bad…” when we all consider the last 365 days. Yet, Time begs us to “impute it not a crime” that time is passing. I understood this as acceptance. Time will use its wings to fly by us, and by accepting that the passage of time is life – whether it be good or bad, joy or terror. I choose to take the perspective that Time is inevitable and will “try [us] all” and that’s okay. We can’t neglect the year we have had, choose to ignore it, or tell people we have ‘lost’ a year. We lived through it all, and hopefully, we are better people for it, and strong enough to face whatever errors Time will throw at us next.

 

Annie Denton is a second year student at York St John University taking our second year module Shakespeare: Perspectives.

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.

How Did Lockdown Help Me Come Out As Non-Binary? by Ripley Cook for Trans Day of Visibility

In this post by one of our YSJ literature students, Ripley Cook, they explain how lockdown helped them understand their neurodiversity and their gender identity. 

nonbinary flag
The non-binary flag via Stonewall

For most of my life I can honestly say that I was never comfortable in my own body. I put it down to a lot of different reasons: how men perceived me and the sexism that came with that, basic insecurities, and the bullying I experienced because of my appearance in high school. It never occurred to me that it was more than that, at least not until lockdown. Continue reading “How Did Lockdown Help Me Come Out As Non-Binary? by Ripley Cook for Trans Day of Visibility”

Mask 4 Mask: Should we really be comparing COVID and AIDS? by Adam Kirkbride for LGBT History Month

As human beings, we have a tendency to look back at our history and compare it to what is happening in the present. This, by and large, is a fairly good thing. We get to learn from our past mistakes and exorcise the ghosts that haunt our cultural memory. However, the recent tendency to compare the COVID19 pandemic to the AIDS crisis is, I believe, a tendency that is rooted in ignorance.  Continue reading “Mask 4 Mask: Should we really be comparing COVID and AIDS? by Adam Kirkbride for LGBT History Month”

LGBT History Month Events!

There’s still time to catch some brilliant LGBT+ History Month activities in the area before the end of February!church covered in flagsEmily Balmer, our YSJSU LGBTQ+ Liberation Officer, has been sharing stories, advice and resources all month. Find all of her LGBT+ History Month posts on Facebook.

Jane Speck is in conversation with members of the YSJ LGBTQ+ community. In her latest video, Jane chats to Director of International and LGBT+ staff network chair, Phill Gray. Listen to his take on spirituality and religion in relation to LGBTQ+ issues as he reflects on his own journey. Catch Jane’s other conversations with Helen Sauntson and Saffron Vickers Walkling here.

And check out this brilliant graphic which tracks Google searches for popular LGBT+ figures. It was made by Pierre-Philippe – one of our Senior Lecturers in Mathematical Sciences and LGBT+ Staff Network steering group member.  

Outside Event:

 

Matthew Todd: LGBTQ+ Mental Health

YUSU LGBTQ+ and Matthew Todd

Friday 26 February, 6:00pm

Multi-award winning author Matthew Todd will join YUSU LGBTQ+ to give a talk on mental health within the LGBTQ+ community, followed by a Q&A session. Full details on the YUSU website.

 

 

An Unexpected Surprise in Julius Caesar! by Annie Denton

cast signaturesAs a literature student, I am used to buying books second hand. The quality of the copy doesn’t necessarily matter because when we’re finished with it, it will undoubtedly have illegible scribbles in the margins and post-it notes spilling out of its edges. For this year’s Shakespeare: Perspectives module, I found an online supplier of second-hand books for the exact editions that were suggested for the reading list. I found a copy of Julius Caesar with the description “excellent condition, slight yellowing of the pages and a lovely dedication”.

 When it arrived, flicking through the pages to see the condition, I discovered a series of signatures on the inside cover. I immediately researched some of the more legible names, as they were unknown to me at the time. I discovered the names belong to the Royal Shakespeare Company cast of 2004, starring Christopher Saul as Caesar and Zubin Varla as Brutus. Continue reading “An Unexpected Surprise in Julius Caesar! by Annie Denton”

LGBT+ History Month Events

York St John University proudly supports LGBT+ History Month in February; details of two forthcoming online events can be found below.
 
Jamie Windust sat cross legged with their hand on their head weating a bright red turtle neck jumper and patterned jacket. They wearing large red glasses with matching red lipstick. Jamie sits on a yellow chair with a plant in the background.

Jamie Windust in Conversation

6.00pm | Monday 15 February | Free 

Join author and model Jamie Windust and Dr Esther McIntosh, Associate Head of Religion, Politics and International Relations at York St John University, for a fun and frank evening of conversation about the key issues for the LGBT+ community in 2021.

Jamie will discuss their debut book, ‘In Their Shoes: Navigating Non-Binary Life’, and share their thoughts on topics ranging from the need for kindness in the LGBT+ community to the impact of Pride cancellations in 2020.

To book a ticket,  click here.

Beyond the Binary: Scientific Thinking about Sex 1900-1950

5.00pm | Tuesday 16 February | Free

On the left there is a pink female outline on the right there is a blue male outline. Between the two are a gradient of transformations between the two genders ranging from pink to blue. The image is sat against a navy background.

In the last decade, a growing number of young people identify as non-binary. Some governments are now considering recognition of a neutral gender in official documents. However trans and non binary people are still being stigmatised by the media. In these instances science is invoked to help us defend or challenge our understandings of gender and sex to enable systemic change. In this talk Dr Chiara Beccalossi (University of Lincoln) discusses how science increasingly sees gender and sex as a spectrum. 

To book a ticket, click here.

Online Learning: Reflections/Top Tips From Current Students

laptop and notesAs we entered into our third national lockdown in response to the Coronavirus Pandemic at the beginning of this month, we have asked our students to share their reflections and their tips on online learning. For some students, online learning can seem alien and a challenge, whilst for others it opens up accessibility. Three York St John Literature students from different stages of their degree share their reflections and their tips on approaching online learning in these times. Continue reading “Online Learning: Reflections/Top Tips From Current Students”

YSJU Chaplaincy Support for Wellbeing

Jane Speck, YSJU Chaplain
“Chaplaincy isn’t just here for religious people”: Jane Speck, YSJU Chaplain.

As part of our Wellbeing and Welfare Series, we have asked our YSJU Chaplain, Jane Speck, to introduce the Chaplaincy to us and outline the ways it can support us. The Chaplaincy is there for people of all faiths and none. Incidentally, Jane also has a degree in English Literature!

Wellbeing and the Chaplaincy by Jane Speck

I sometimes wonder what people think of when they hear the word, ‘Chaplaincy’.  These days if I ask people, I more often than not get a blank stare!  It’s not a word that’s used very often, and if people have heard it at all they tend to associate it strongly with religion (which is fair enough!), but then think that Chaplaincy is only for religious people. Continue reading “YSJU Chaplaincy Support for Wellbeing”