SPECIAL ISSUE: Critique as a Signature Pedagogy in the Arts and Humanities

PM: I found a lot of common threads about critique, and feel that several of the contributions are fairly in line with each other—especially the essays that focused on creative writing, composition, art/design, dance, theater, music. Each of these essays spent some time unpacking the process and value of critique in the classroom, focusing to some extent on the hands-on aspect of critique. I also saw overlap in the structures of critique, such as the need for iteration, the value of reflection, expert/novice relationships, social dynamics and power structures, the need to use disciplinary language, formative vs. summative feedback, procedural steps of a critique, modeling how critique works, etc. Some of the other essays seem a little bit more focused on meta-level issues. Nancy, your essay with Jen and Ben’s on foreign languages are broader in my view, more about the big picture of signature pedagogies writ large. Others, Jill’s in particular, critiqued the process of critique and pointed out that it’s not always rosy and good. I also like Jen’s thoughts about growing as one who critiques towards a level of autonomy and self-sufficiency.

NC: Yes, a developmental activity, not a discrete classroom activity but part of a series that occurs over time. This reminds me of one of the common features of the arts and humanities mentioned at one of our ISSOTL Interest Group panels: the process of any learning activity is as important as product. It strikes me that critique—when facilitated well—is firmly grounded in some of what we know about the processes by which learning happens. In Knowing What Students KnowThe Science and Design of Educational AssessmentPellegrino et al. (2001) conclude that “assessments, especially those conducted in the context of classroom instruction, should focus on making students’ thinking visible to both their teachers and themselves” (4). In most situations, critique or peer review or workshop does precisely that work of making thinking visible—but a very specific moment of guided thinking. Again, Pellegrino et al. say that “students learn more when they understand (and even participate in developing) the criteria by which their work will be evaluated, and when they engage in peer and self-assessment during which they apply those criteria” (9). What’s made visible in critique is the practice in applying these criteria. This metacognitive work is powerful, something we know for certain about how learning best happens…

 

Tuning History Special Issue

 

 

 

http://journals.sagepub.com/toc/ahha/16/4

The Tuning educational project for history has its supporters and its detractors. This overview of the articles contained in this special issue of the journal reflects on some of the complexities of implementing such an ambitious global project and the local and national priorities that have made the process both stimulating and challenging for those involved. And it argues that while lists of competences constitute valuable reference points for discussion of the arts and humanities curriculum in an international context, they should be seen as the starting point for a more detailed and broad-ranging set of global conversations about how we (should) teach our subjects and why this matters for students in today’s world.

Table of Contents

Volume 16, Issue 4, October 2017

Special Issue: Tuning History

Guest Editor : Alan Booth Guest Editor : David Ludvigsson
Editorial

Tuning history

Tuning the discipline of history in the United States: Harmony (and dissonance) in teaching and learning

Tuning history in Latin America

Tuning history: The French experience

Using US Tuning to effect: The American Historical Association’s Tuning Project and the first year research paper

Tuning and History: A personal overview

The yin and yang of Tuning History

Thoughts on history, tuning and the scholarship of teaching and learning in the United States

Critical Creativity: a symposium for Timothy Mathews

Critical Creativity: a symposium for Timothy Mathews 

Friday 22nd Sept.

Why does engagement with art matter? As Timothy Mathews retires from his long career as Professor of Comparative Criticism in the French Department at UCL, this symposium celebrates the diversity of his approach to addressing this question in his teaching and research. Tim is known for his contributions to Comparative Literature, Translation Studies, a broadly creative approach to writing criticism, and, of course, French Studies.
Tim’s colleagues and collaborators from across these fields gather to present short papers and other interventions expressing their own view of Tim’s work and related topics and questions. Contributions range from the affective to the ethical to the theoretical, including their practical applications, and dialogue and discussion – always a feature of Tim’s work – is warmly encouraged.
Guests are welcome to attend. Please register via this page.

Programme:
10.00-10.20 Registration
10.20-10.45 Welcome
10.45-12.30 Panel 1: Comparative thinking
12.30-13.30 Lunch
13.30-15.00 Panel 2: The object as critical theory
15.00-15.30 Tea
15.30-17.00 Panel 3: Poetry and translation
17.00-17.30 ‘Slide-show’. An intervention by Jerome Game
17.30-19.00 Reception

Confirmed speakers:

  • Lucia Boldrini, Goldsmiths
  • Jenny Chamarette, QMUL
  • Martin Crowley, Cambridge
  • Jane Fenoulhet, UCL
  • Patrick ffrench, KCL
  • Clare Finburgh, Kent
  • Jerome Game, American University in Paris
  • Jane Gilbert, UCL
  • Ian James, Cambridge
  • Jo Malt, KCL
  • Sharon Morris, UCL

Northern Network for Medical Humanities Research Congress

Thursday 14th September 2017 Van Mildert College, Durham
Programme Day 1

Keynote address: Ericka Johnson and Kristin Zeiler (Linköping University, Sweden) “Embodiment, Materiality and Normativity in Medical Humanities”

Parallel 1 1a) Medical Posthumanities?: New Approaches to Illness, Disability, and Care 
Amelia DeFalco (University of Leeds) Imagining Posthuman Care

Beverley Clough (University of Leeds) New Materialisms and Posthumanisms: New Directions for Mental Capacity Law

Nick Jenkins (University of the West of Scotland) When Species Meet in Dementia: A critical posthumanist exploration of ‘animal assistance’ for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and associated disorders

1b) Spaces of Madness
Ute Oswald (University of Warwick) ‘The Pleasure is Intense’: Social Activities in British Asylums c. 1800-1890 “In exposing the impact of recreational activities on the nineteenth-century insane, this paper aims to prompt a discussion around the rehabilitative value of these activities, potentially staking a claim in identifying the forerunners of art, music and drama therapy.”

Natalie Mullen (University of Lancaster) ‘The Geography of License’: Asylum Architecture and Patient Agency in Lancaster’s County Asylum, 1840-1915

Cheryl McGeachan (University of Glasgow) Tracking Traces of the Art Extraordinary Collection– historical and cultural geographies of mental (ill)health and asylum spaces; “with particular interests in R.D. Laing, Scottish art therapy and ‘outsider’ art ” this paper feeds into debates concerning the need to expand the scope of archival research in the medical humanities beyond bounded walls and into the hearts, minds, bodies and landscapes of those bound up with histories in the making.”

1c) Tracing Concepts across the Life-Course 
Robbie Duschinsky and Sophie Reijman (University of Cambridge)  “We argue that the disorganised attachment classification has operated as a ‘buzzing boundary object’ – one that magnetises concern and acknowledgement among different groups through creating noise in which each can hear urgent messages, though at the price of reduced understanding and precision between contexts.”

Lesley Gallacher (Northumbria University) From milestones to wayfaring: Geographic metaphors and iconography of embodied growth and change in infancy and early childhood

Rina Knoeff (University of Groningen) Histories of Healthy Ageing: while “organisations increasingly accept “culture” as an important factor in the making of health policy, the “use” of history is problematic. In medicine history is often seen in a narrative of progress, whereby old advice and remedies are easily criticized as old-fashioned. In history the project touches upon the tricky question of whether we can learn from the past.”

Lisa Shaw (University of Liverpool) Cinema, memory and well-being: a pilot project for the over-65s in Petrópolis, Brazil

2a) Historicising bodies and mind
Noelle Dückmann Gallagher (University of Manchester) A Study of Noses: The Syphilitic Nose in Eighteenth-Century British Literature and Art “I examine the weird and wonderful cultural life of the deformed nose in eighteenth century British literature and art. I argue it came to assume a powerful metonymic significance, standing in for many of the broader social dangers that venereal disease could represent.”

Clark Lawlor (Northumbria University) ‘On Fashions in Physic’: Discourses of Fashionable Disease in the Romantic Period.”In a burgeoning medical market…Fashionable diseases were one crucial aspect of the construction of women as objects of conspicuous consumption and all the ideological contradictions that came with their role.”

Åsa Jansson (Durham University) From Self-Help to CBT: Regulating Emotion in a (Neo)Liberal World  “CBT derives from a model of the emotions as involuntary reactions, which we can learn to regulate through practice. This model has its roots in Victorian medicine, where a biological mind co-existed with ideas of moral responsibility and self-help. Disorders of affect were seen to develop over time, and could be prevented, paused, and reversed through habitual wilful effort to modify one’s conduct. By framing habit as a learned skill that restored the individual’s capacity for agency, Victorian physicians retained a moral quality to a model of the mind presented as scientific and objective. The idea of emotional regulation was a bound up with Victorian values of ‘self-help’ and ‘industriousness’, It is no coincidence, then, that the behavioural therapies and a biological, internal model of mental illness dominate in twenty-first-century neoliberal society built on visions of self-sufficiency and independence. However, locating psychiatric illness solely within the individual obscures its socioeconomic context. This ensures that questions about collective responsibility for psychological wellbeing are foreclosed, simultaneously marginalising alternative treatment models and arguments for radical economic and social reform. ”

2b) Concepts in Clinical Practice
Ylva Gustafsson (Åbo Akademi University, Finland) Reflections on the increasingly scientific research on empathy in medicine ” Today’s increase in writings on empathy in medical ethics gives the impression that there is a growing moral awareness of the importance of attending to the patient’s perspective. The aim of the paper is to investigate this impression [but] may in fact lead to a decreasing attention towards individual patients. Does the increasing pressure for cost efficiency in health care make quantifiable and generalizable research on empathy appealing? Is this one reason why cognitive conceptions of empathy have become popular in health care?”

Ian Sabroe (University of Sheffield) Uncertainty in clinical practice “the nature of uncertainty as experienced by clinicians is rarely examined…[nor] How uncertainty impacts … on the experience of the clinician, their practice, and their own health will also be explored.”

Jo Winning (Birkbeck, University of London) Putting theory into practice: embedding a practice-based medical humanities paradigm into the Clinical Assessment of Skills & Competencies examination, Royal College of Psychiatrists

2c) Environmental Factors & Affordances
Brian Ward (Northumbria University) In Search of the Sick South: Exploring Disease, Disability, Dying and Death in the US South “how the language of disease and contagion has critically informed official and popular southern opposition to various forms of popular music, notably jazz in the 1920s, rock and roll in the 1950s, and the British invasion of the 1960s. This language reveals much about the interaction of medical, racial, gender and class coordinates in southern history and culture, both real and imagined”

Arthur Rose (Durham University) Histories of a Killer Dust: 20th century genre fiction about asbestos

Benedict Hoff (University of Sheffield) Taking notice as therapeutic practice: urban mindfulness, curiosity and wellbeing

Parallel Sessions 3 3a) Shame & Multimorbidities
Luna Dolezal (University of Exeter) and Barry Lyons (Trinity College Dublin) Health-Related Shame: An Affective Determinant of Health? “emotional or affective states, in particular shame, can have a significant impact upon health, illness and health-related behaviours. We outline four possible processes: 1. Acute Shame Avoidance Behaviour; 2. Chronic Shame Health-Related Behaviours; 3. Stigma and Social Status Threat; and 4. Biological Mechanisms. We conclude with a proposal for a research agenda that aims to extend the state of knowledge of health-related shame”

Fredrik Nyman (Durham University) Taking sociality and locality as seriously as we do ‘bio’: Early thoughts on the biosocial aspects of support groups for people with chronic breathlessness in northern England

Sarah Atkinson (Durham University) Not Fitting In: Experiences of Living with Multiple Morbidity “accounts of those living with so-called ‘multimorbidity’ document…an integrated embodied experience rather than…a set of discrete conditions [and] breach and blur the boundaries and categories that are fundamental to diagnosis…they must continually rework their experiences into acceptable formats for presentation [to] Clinicians [whose] specific aim is to try to isolate particular diagnoses from others ”

3b) Lifewriting & Metaphor
Sue Vice (University of Sheffield) Dementia as Cultural Metaphor in Holocaust Narratives “Holocaust survivors are so closely associated with the importance of memory that the concept of a survivor who cannot remember, or whose suppressed memories resurface as if in present time, is troubling and fascinating. The representation of dementia prompts ontological questions about personhood and communication, while also demanding experimentation with narrative form.In Holocaust art, dementia… allows for the emergence of different temporalities, locations and languages in a single moment; raises questions about the relationship between trauma and memory; complicates second- and third-generation postmemory; and exaggerates the notion of an incommunicable or secret past. Dementia among survivors generates a specifically Holocaust-related ‘cultural metaphor’.”

Katrina Longhurst (University of Leeds) Collaborative Telling and Interactive Memory in Contemporary Mental Health Life Writing “Lauren Slater’s second memoir, Welcome to my Country (1996) is a compilation of tales, each centred on the relationship between Slater, in her role as clinical psychologist, and a patient. Slater argues that the text is a memoir on the basis that so much of her exploration of self emerges through the connections with another in the therapeutic encounter. She therefore uses her patients’ stories, and the narrative of her relationship with them, as vehicles by which to indirectly tell her own history of mental illness and abuse. By emphasising moments of reciprocity, identification, and interconnection Slater foregrounds relationships as spaces from which life writing emerges.

Mimi Huang (Northumbria University) Narrative modulation and meaning construction in the storytelling of women with breast cancer “First-hand accounts of breast cancer survivors’ experiences in going through the transitional periods provide valuable insights into the ways individuals perceive, conceptualize and negotiate life-changing events in their life journeys…With a focus on meaning construction, this paper proposes “narrative modulation” that functions to regulate, adjust and advance storylines and their associated themes…considers conceptual metaphors [and] the performative stance of storytelling.

3c) Provocations Chair: Angela Woods
Natalie Riley (Durham University) Cognition and Theoria “I contest Colebrook’s claim that work between the cognitive sciences and the humanities comprises a simple appeal to legitimating biological truths…highlighting the importance of a broader dialogue with other branches of critical theory ”
Diana Beljaars (Cardiff University) A vitalist ethics and spatial imagination of compulsivity? “explores the idea of imagining compulsivity as both producer and product of an emergent relationship between the human body and its surroundings [and] hopes to incite new ways of understanding and alleviating the suffering purported by compulsivity”
Louise Mackenzie (Northumbria University) Art Practice in the Laboratory: Imposition as Methodology “ I use synthetic biology techniques to understand more deeply the implications of biotechnology as a form of art practice – a ‘thinking through making’ (Ingold, 2013).The work sits within the Cultural Negotiation of Science (CNoS) research group based at Northumbria University. The group takes a performative approach to the production of knowledge that actively challenges the use of art as an instrumental or illustrative device to interpret science”
Caitlin Stobie (University of Leeds) White Elephants in the Room, or, New Materialism and Abortion Narratives I”argue that such reproductive issues should be addressed by interdisciplinary and intersectional research. The abortion debate revolves around issues of personhood – when a foetus [has] gained personal agency. Rhetoric draws attention away from the physical capabilities of the zygote in the present, and focuses instead on its future potential as an autonomous human being. Simultaneously, the abortion debate highlights the agency – or lack thereof – of the person who is pregnant…This provocation does not adhere to the typical conflation of humanity with personhood [but] suggests that we should reconceive of the very notion of agency. To best represent this, and the transformative potential of a truly feminist new materialism, I refer to a range of literary abortions”
Lena Wånggren (University of Edinburgh) Working conditions, health, and illness in the contemporary university

Conf. Programme English: Shared Futures Wed 5th-Fri 7th July Newcastle, UK

THE STUDY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE, LANGUAGE AND CREATIVE WRITING IS AN IMPORTANT AND DYNAMIC ENTERPRISE.

We will celebrate the discipline’s intellectual strength, diversity and creativity and explore its futures in the nations of the UK and across the world.

Wednesday 5th July

10.30 – 12.15  Registration

11.30 – 12.30 English Association Welcoming/Mentoring Session Pandon Room More info

12.30 – 1.45 Panel Sessions

  1. Defending, Advocating, Promoting the Value and Importance of Literary Study (Early Career Academics – ECA)
  2. HEA Roundtable: Who We Are
  3. B/Orders of Standard English: Registering Linguistic Difference in the Academic Writing Classroom
  4. Investigating English: Translating Linguistic Research for the Secondary English Classroom
  5. Migration and Borders
  6. Beyond Story – An Examination of the ‘Authentic’ in Fiction and Poetry
  7. Contemporary Women’s Writing: Archiving for the Future (Contemporary Women’s Writing Association – CWWA)
  8. Shared Responsibility: Auto/Biography and the Ethics of Representation
  9. Feminist Pedagogies, Feminist Classrooms
  10. Place Writing: People, Partnerships and Pedagogy; or Impact, Exchange and Policy
  11. Teaching 21st Century Genre
  12. Digital Humanities: GIS and English Studies
  13. Book Parts: Flash Panel

2.00 – 3.15 English: The Journal of the English Association presents the Plenary Panel

Literary Biography: Andrew Hadfield, Kathryn Hughes, Martin Stannard

3.30 – 4.45 Panel Sessions

  1. University English (UE) presents The Discipline of English and the Work of the Humanities
  2. English Association Literary Salon: Helen Mort
  3. Contemporary British Tragedy: Re-imagining Spectatorship and Community through Ethics and Affect / Immersive Poetics: Creative Response Writing as an Enactive Approach to Poetry
  4. Making it New: On the Future of Modernist Studies (British Association for Modernist Studies – BAMS)
  5. HEA Teaching Surgery
  6. Useless Articles: English and Instrumentalism
  7. Poetics of Feminism
  8. Knowledge About Language and Linguistics in the Classroom
  9. Contemporary Women’s Writing: Apocalyptic Narratives (CWWA)
  10. Social Justice and Literature Workshop
  11. Realists of a Larger Reality: Teaching Genre Fiction Writing (NAWE)
  12. Literary Societies in Action: Creativity, Engagement and Learning
  13. The Concept of Storyworld in Relation to the Impact of New Technology of Writing Practices

5.00 – 6.15 Panel Sessions

  1. University English (UE) presents The Discipline of English and the Work of the Humanities
  2. English Association Literary Salon: Elleke Boehmer
  3. Women Who Dare (NAWE)
  4. Making it New is the Oldest Trick in the Book: On Current Modernist Studies (BAMS)
  5. How to Get Published?  A Roundtable on Publishing (ECA)
  6. Creative Work and Critical Practice: a Roundtable (CWWA)
  7. Close Reading and Queer Reputation-Building
  8. Reshaping Reality: Creative Work in Progress
  9. ‘trans-‘
  10. Neo-Victorian Mortalities
  11. Goldsmiths’ Writers Reading
  12. Make Your Own Mocktail: MESH Journal Launch

6.15 – 7.30 Conference Drinks Reception in association with Palgrave, with the launch of Ben Knights’ Pedagogic Criticism (2017)

Cultural Fringe Events

The Materiality of Books Workshop 16:00 to 17:30

Join Hannah Humes and Joanna Taylor as they explore the materiality of books as objects in collections. The workshop will offer practical insight into working in libraries and how the digital humanities can offer exciting and original understandings of collections.  It will also include an introduction to working with collections and a show-and-tell session of some of the special resources held at the Lit & Phil!

The Literary and Philosophical Society, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SE

Migration and Borders Poetry Reading 19:30 to 20:30

Mary Jean Chan, Hannah Lowe, and Jennifer Wong

Mary Jean will be reading new work, as well as her 2017 shortlisted Forward Prize for Best Single Poem; Hannah will read from her books Chick and Chan and Jennifer will read new work alongside pieces from her book Goldfish.

Quilliam Brothers’ Tea House, 1 Eldon Place, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RD

Thursday 6th July

9.30 – 10.45 Panel Sessions

  1. Delivering English: a roundtable of subject leads and department heads
  2. Experience, Practice and Pedagogy: ECA Open Voices Session
  3. After Brexit: Life without Erasmus (NAWE)
  4. Performing Shakespeare’s Language Then and Now (British Shakespeare Association – BSA)
  5. ‘The Past is My Present to Your Future’: Capitalizing on the Linguistic Heritage of the North East
  6. Literature and Cultural Politics in the Long Eighteenth Century
  7. Flight Paths in English Studies: Searching for Lines of Consistency in Learner Activity from 11 to Postgraduate (and Beyond)
  8. The Borders of Irish Literature (British Association for Irish Studies – BAIS)
  9. Closed Circles? English Literature and the Return of Canonical Exclusivity
  10. Renaissance Outreach (Society for Renaissance Studies – SRS)
  11. Teaching Excellence Framework Workshop (HEA)
  12. Distance Learning: default or fault?
  13. Cross-Pollination:Politics,, Railways, Publications and Productions

11.00 – 12.15 Panel Sessions

  1. Don’t Give Up Your Day Job: Preparing Creative Writing Graduates for Lifelong Careers (NAWE)
  2. Working Outside the Academy: NAWE Creative Writing Postgraduate Network (NAWE)
  3. The Future of the Victorians: Victorians in the 21st century (British Association for Victorian Studies – BAVS)
  4. Sharing Shakespeare’s Language (BSA)
  5. Contemporary Fiction, Method, Manifesto: Towards a Response
  6. Audio-Visual Romanticism
  7. What Kind of Knowledge is Creative Writing?
  8. Towards a Theory of Poetry Writing Development
  9. Gender, Sexuality and (Un)doing English
  10. Tomorrow’s English Today: Problems in Predicting the Linguistic Future
  11. Writing Shared Futures:  African American Literature and Racialisation (British Association for American Studies – BAAS)
  12. At the Borders of Globalisation
  13. Contemporary Women’s Writing and Book Publication Workshop (CWWA)
  14. Grassroot Feminist Novels of Sixties England / Celebrity Culture and Corruption in the Indian Graphic Novel Legends of Halahala / John Donne

12.30 – 1.45 Panel Sessions

  1. Strange Cargo: Poetry Reading by US, UK and Australian Poets (NAWE)
  2. From A Level to HE: Reading
  3. On Reflection: Voice and Medium in the Reflective Component of Practice-Led Research
  4. Literature, Science and In-between (British Society for Literature and Science BSLS)
  5. Global Futures
  6. PhD Students Teaching Workshop (ECA) [Numbers limited, pre-booking required]
  7. Academia, Scholarly Societies and Engaged Publics (British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies)
  8. The Future of the Victorians: Digital Curation (BAVS)
  9. Competence Modelling and English Literature
  10. Romanticism, Mutability and Mobilite
  11. Multi-Cultural Textualities I: Religion, Secularism, Space and Place
  12. Ethics in Memoir, Poetry and Fiction (NAWE)
  13. Contemporary Women’s Writing and the Academic Journal: Professional Development Workshop (CWWA)
  14. ‘Between and Across Languages’: Scottish Literary Studies in the Twenty-first Century (Association for Scottish Literary Studies)

2.00 – 3.15 Plenary – Language and the Problem of Female Authority, Deborah Cameron

3.30 – 4.45 Panel Sessions

  1. Employability and English Studies
  2. English Association Literary Salon: John Mullan
  3. Sharing Pedagogies Integrating English project and Poetics and Linguistics Association
  4. Literature and the New Cognitive Science
  5. From A Level to HE: Writing
  6. Creative Pedagogy and Public Engagement with Modernism
  7. Public Linguistics and Impact
  8. Renaissance Literature Beyond the Canon (SRS)
  9. The Environmental Humanities: Changing Ecologies, Persistence and Possibility
  10. Creative Writing in Higher Education: Interdisciplinary Collaboration, Public Benefit and Income Generation
  11. Multi-Cultural Textualities II: South Asia, History, Genre and Gender
  12. Defining the Contemporary (Contemporary Studies Network)
  13. Poetry: Form and Experiment Workshop (NAWE)
  14. Romanticism and the Stigmatised: Transnationalism, Migration and Trauma

5.00 – 6.15 Panel Sessions

  1. A Dialogue on Funding (Institute of English Studies – IES)
  2. English Association Literary Salon: Dinah Birch
  3. REF for PhDs and Early Career Academics (ECA)
  4. ECAs and PhDs in an Age of Anxiety (ECA)
  5. Sharing Futures Across Primary, Secondary and University Education (BSA)
  6. Harold Rosen: Writings on Life, Language and Learning 1958 to 2008
  7. Englishes: Writing and Thinking in Multiple Voices
  8. What Do We Do When We Analyse Texts? (Poetics and Linguistics Association)
  9. Divided by a Common Language: Creative Writing Discourse in the US, UK and Australia (NAWE)
  10. The Living Archive: Archives and Contemporary Poetry
  11. Shakespeare 400+
  12. Romantic Liminology: A Roundtable Discussion
  13. The Environmental Humanities: The Interdependent Present

Cultural Fringe Events

Seven Stories: Talk, Archive, Exhibitions, Tour: come along for all or part of the day! 10:30 to 15:00 (to include lunch at 12:30)

The Seven Stories Collection and the IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) Silent Book Collection: Jessica Medhurst introduces both collections in this interactive workshop and discusses the retellings, adaptations and interpretations of children’s books.

A Noisy Silence: Wendy O’Shea-Meddour discusses the issues of ‘diversity’ (or the lack of it) in contemporary children’s books, and considers how we textually construct ‘the Other.’

Lunch @ 12:30

Creative Writing in the footsteps of David Almond and Lorna Hill: tour of Victoria Tunnel

Seven Stories National Centre for Children’s Books, Lime Street, Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 2PQ

To book, and arrange transport, please email Helen Limon @ Helen.Limon@ncl.ac.uk

The Cold Boat Green Room 13:00 – 14:00

Join Tracy Gillman and Joanne Clement in this informal space to hear Poetry of Witness in performance and watch topical cinema screenings. Take part in the conversation or sit back and listen. All welcome, please feel free to bring your own lunch or refreshments.

Culture Lab, Newcastle University, King’s Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU

Domestic Noir and the rise of the thriller women & landscapes of crime: sea, sand and fair grounds 16:00 to 17:30

Nicky Harlow and Joanne Reardon Lloyd will read from their PhD crime novels and discuss aspects of their research into the genre. Nicky will be looking at women as readers, writers, criminals and victims in Domestic Noir thrillers; Joanne will be exploring the influence of landscape on crime writers. The session will finish with a writing workshop: ‘Last meals’.

The Literary and Philosophical Society, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SE

Three Laureates’ Reading: Carol Ann Duffy, Lorna Goodison and Jackie Kay 18:30 to 19:45

Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts welcomes three very distinguished poets, Carol Ann Duffy, Lorna Goodison and Jackie Kay who are the poet laureates of England, Jamaica and Scotland respectively, for a reading which celebrates the pleasures of poetry and the power of its public role. Carol Ann Duffy’s Collected Poems was published in 2015, whilst Lorna Goodison’s Collected Poems has just been published this spring. Jackie Kay’s new collection, Bantam, is available from the autumn.

Curtis Auditorium, Herschel Building, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU

Please note you do need to book for this event at www.ncl.ac.uk/ncla/events

British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies Launch Party 18:30 (to include a buffet)

BACLS is pleased to celebrate its launch as a new learned society in 2017 at a party during the ESF conference.

As You Like It (terrace bar), Archbold Terrace, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 1DB

The Humour of Failure: Laughing at the Achievement Society 21:00–22.00

What does failure mean? Are you a failure? Do you find it difficult to remain upbeat and engaged? Does your capacity to hope seem merely a mocking reminder of your powerlessness? Lars Iyer and William Large, aka the fictional characters Lars and W. of Lars Iyer’s Spurious trilogy (Melville House, 2011-13), consider how humour might permit a tactics of withdrawal from contemporary opportunism and cynicism.

Cumberland Arms, James Place Street, Ouseburn, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 1LD

 

Friday 7th July

9.30 – 10.45 Panel Sessions

  1. Shared Subject Knowledge? English Across School, University, and PGCE
  2. Researching Living Writers
  3. Sexual Harrassment in Higher Education
  4. Roundtable on BAME ECA Experiences (ECA)
  5. Paper Nations: Building a Creative nation for Young Writers (NAWE)
  6. Performing the Archive: Wild Laughter and the Work of Sidelong Glance
  7. Anglo-Saxon Futures I: Roundtable discussion
  8. Epic Transformation? Developing the English Curriculum at University
  9. Literature in Britain Today: Findings of a National Opinion Poll (Royal Society of Literature)
  10. Renaissance Literature: New Pedagogies (SRS)
  11. HEA Fellowship Workshop
  12. What is the Industry Standard for Digital Research in English?
  13. Writing Workshop: The Poem as Witness: War and its Aftermath

11.00 – 12.15 Panel Sessions

  1. The Past, Present and Future of Postcolonial Literary Studies
  2. Broadcasting English
  3. Shared Futures for Literary Theory I
  4. Contemporary British and American Poetics: the Trans-Atlantic Avant-Garde (Centre for Contemporary Poetry)
  5. Englishes Online
  6. Teaching Through Imitation
  7. Anglo-Saxon Futures II: Roundtable discussion
  8. Career Development Workshop (ECA) [Numbers limited, pre-booking required]
  9. National Literatures and New ‘Englishes’: Writing from Wales
  10. External Examining and Academic Standards: seeking greater consistency (HEA)
  11. Renaissance Literature: New Perspectives
  12. English Studies and Careers: Opening a Conversation
  13. Beyond the East/West Divide

12.30 – 1.45 Panel Sessions

  1. How to Grow an English Student (Common English Forum)
  2. The Real Future of Reading (IES)
  3. Shared Futures for Literary Theory II
  4. Literary Research and Teaching in the Age of DH
  5. Academics in the Classroom: How Can Universities Deliver English Outreach for Schools?
  6. Reflections on Time and Place: the Creative Writing PhD in Historical Fiction
  7. How Can Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes Support People to Improve their Mental Health
  8. Writing (out of) Wales
  9. Literary Criticism in an Age of Radical Politics
  10. Hometowns and Influences (NAWE)
  11. Awake and Present: a roundtable on why contemporary literary studies matters (British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies)
  12. The Future of English Studies I: Periodisation
  13. Pioneering Women

2.00 – 3.15 The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society ALCS presents the Plenary – Creative Writing, Bernardine Evaristo

3.30 – 4.45 Panel Sessions

  1. Diversity in Teaching and Learning (NAWE)
  2. English Association Literary Salon: Marina Warner
  3. Music as Literature, Literature as Music
  4. Creativity and Research in the 21st Century (NAWE)
  5. Across the Great Divide: the Scientific Humanities and the Future of the Discipline
  6. Difficult Identities: How the Academy and Literature Must Do Justice to their Own Complexity
  7. Story as Medicine: Creative Writing Workshop
  8. CWWA Meeting
  9. Crossing Borders in the Nineteenth Century: Genre and Time
  10. Transnational Scholarship and the Digital Edition
  11. Scholarly Editing in the 21st Century
  12. The Future of English Studies II: English Studies in Ruins? (ECA)

5.00 – 6.15 Plenary – Martin Luther King in Newcastle, Brian Ward

Cultural Fringe Events

Friday 7th July

The Cold Boat Green Room 13:00 – 14:00

Join Joanne Clement and Tracy Gillman in this informal space to hear Poetry of Witness in performance and watch topical cinema screenings. Take part in the conversation or sit back and listen. All welcome, please feel free to bring your own lunch or refreshments.

Culture Lab, Newcastle University, King’s Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU

You may like to visit this exhibition:

Time Machines: the past, the future, and how stories take us there

Palace Green Library, Durham University (27 May – 3 September 2017)

Hubris: an ancient concept for a modern age?

Shaoni Bhattacharya

What did four of the last five British Prime Ministers have in spades? So offensive a vice (or quality) that it was a crime in ancient Athens, that even children, slaves and women – who had no rights to bring lawsuits – were protected from in law.

In Shakespeare, kings died of it. In classical texts, it led to unmitigated disaster, such as in Herodotus’s account of the Persian king Xerxes’ invasion and attempt to subjugate ancient Greece.

In modern life, it meant Margaret Thatcher could not fathom the reaction she got to her riot-inducing poll tax policy in the early 1990s, nor Tony Blair the consequences of the Iraq War early this century.

It was the disease of kings, the surfeit that sovereigns died from, and the characteristic that Britain’s current prime minister, Theresa May, stands accused of?

After winning – but yet losing – in the UK’s general election last month, headlines in media outlets the world over  invoked an ancient Greek word and concept in relation to the current political chaos in the UK, that of hubris, or hybris (with the ancient Greek spelling).

‘From hubris to humiliation’ heralded the front page of UK newspaper The Guardian on 10 June, after the UK election results showed that although incumbent prime minister Theresa May had won the election, she had hugely weakened her own position.

By calling an election, which crucially she didn’t have to for another three years, May lost her majority in Parliament. Just after the vote, opposition leaders called for her resignation, and members of her own party gleefully bestowed epithets like “dead woman walking” upon her.

But when May called the UK’s snap election she had a 20-point lead in the polls ahead of the main opposition party Labour. Confident of her own clear victory, her intention in calling an election appeared to have been to gain major validation and endorsement politically and publically so that she could steam ahead with Britain’s Brexit from the European Union without having to kowtow to dissenters.

So confident was she, that May’s now heavily criticized election campaign focused on denigrating the opposition; trotting out policies in her manifesto that served to alienate core voters like the elderly; and not putting in the time or public appearances to win over voters. She decided not to participate in a televised debate days before the election, when her main rival Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn did, sending instead her rather unpopular Home Secretary Amber Rudd.

Within the space of a few weeks, May’s 20-point lead dwindled. Rather than get the strong public backing to do what she wanted as prime minister, she failed to get an overall majority of seats in the House of Commons.

The situation in Britain is currently turbulent. The country feels in chaos after a spate of sudden and horrible events including terrorist attacks and the UK’s worst disaster in decades at Grenfell Tower in London on the night of 14 June. What should have been a contained household fire in one apartment ran amok and scorched the whole tower block with hundreds of occupants – many still missing, within hours, and which many are saying was as a result of years of neglect and austerity measures put on social housing and local government by May’s party.

To boot, May came in for more criticism when she visited the accident site and failed to meet a single member of the public affected by the tragedy, speaking with only emergency services staff. Just days later, Brexit negotiations with the EU started and are ongoing but Britain has not yet got it’s own house in order.

While hundreds of people are being evacuated from tower blocks with the same external cladding – a possible cause of the Grenfell Tower fire’s rapid spread, some worry about civil unrest and controversy still mires Theresa May’s government.

Pre-election, perhaps on a wave of hubris, May told an NHS nurse who had not had a pay rise in eight years that there was no “magic money tree”. This week, her offer of a £1 billion sweetener to the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland to form a government with her party, unsurprisingly has been met with derision that the tree has been found.

Without the support of the DUP, the Conservative party will have a minority government and its power will be severely curtailed.

So, rather than bolster her position, May’s decision to call an early election has disastrously weakened her. Was it hubris that led her down a path she didn’t have to take? To her spectacular “own goal of the season” as one UK sports commentator noted?

But what is hubris?

It is an ancient concept that the academic world can tell us much about, yet it is far from abstract and it has indubitably modern connotations.

The UK’s Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) in London, ran a fascinating and timely conference in the month before the UK election: Power, gender, hubris: success and arrogance as risks to leadership in healthcare and beyond.

Insights at the meeting organised by the RSM’s Psychiatry section in association with the Daedalus Trust and Medical Women’s Federation, came from an eclectic line-up of speakers including doctors, scientists, economists and classicists.

Professor Douglas Cairns, professor of classics at the University of Edinburgh, gave delegates a crash course into the concept’s origins.

Ancient hybris was more nuanced than the modern idea, though it still has huge connotations for the modern world.

Hybris could be the over-exuberant excess that literally grew from plenty, an overtipping of nature’s balance that labelled as hubristic luxuriant vines or fruit trees that flourished with abandon in rich soils without bearing fruit.

Even horses could be hubristic – and frequently were, turning their long noses up at humans, until they were tamed.

In ancient Greek terms, where plants and animals were considered inferior, this hubristic behaviour meant that they were failing to fulfil their purposes. For example, a fruit tree which produces plenty of leaves and branches, but no fruit fails in its social role (from an ancient farmer’s point of view).

Hubris comes from “too much of a good thing”, as Professor Cairns put it. And ancient hybris is inextricably linked with the concept of honour. He said that “hybris is a way of going wrong about honour”.

It is a distortion of balance in the respect between yourself and other people – what they owe you and you owe.

So in ancient Athens, hubris could be prosecutable in its intention to shame or dishonour another person. Professor Cairns gave the example of the case of Demosthenes Against Meidias.

The 4th century BC orator Demosthenes was involved in organising a major musical and civic festival at a theatre when he was punched in the face by his enemy Meidias. He brought criminal proceedings against his aggressor – not for assault, but rather for the manner of it: for the hubristic demeanour that Meidias displayed as he delivered the blow.

Often the perpetrator of hubris would be a person in position of power, but not necessarily. But hubris in leaders can lead carry overconfidence and excessive self-belief that can skew decision-making, distort reality and justice and lead to a shipwreck of disaster. In simple terms, perhaps the old proverb – Pride goes before a fall.

In ancient Greece hubris could stem from ‘koros’ (the word for indigestion or satiety) – and to hubristically carry on ‘consuming’ or indulging yourself when you were already sated led to ‘atê’, or ruin.

So Xerxes’ father says in Persians, written by Aeschylus in 472 BC, just eight years after Athens was rescued from Persian invasion:

“For Hybris has burst into bloom and borne fruit in a crop of disaster (atê), from which it reaps an abundant harvest of tears.”

Quite.

But is the modern hubris always bad?

A degree of hubris may be necessary for a person to become a powerful leader in the first place. Ordinary people do not want to be prime minister, as political historian and biographer, and vice-chancellor of Buckingham University Sir Anthony Seldon pointed at the meeting.

But the huge self-belief that drives a person to political success, if it then grows to excess, may also lead to their downfall, personal unhappiness and tarnished legacy. Hubris, according to Seldon, is excessive self-confidence and risk-taking.

In the career game generally, a degree of hubris may carry benefits that drive a person who believes unerringly in themselves forwards. It may be something you see in politics, healthcare and even higher education and academia. Hierarchy and power are hubris’s natural home.

Indeed sometimes a small dose of hubris can be helpful – though not, of course, in kingdom-destroying quantities.

So which one of the last five UK prime ministers was not hubristic? (And arguably might have been helped by a little dose of hubris).

While Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron all suffered from hubris, according to Seldon; the answer, unsurprisingly, is John Major.

What are they thinking?

(Photo credit: Isaac James Creative. AAMC Foundation)

An email has this banner image across the top. What are you likely to think? If you are me, you recognize “my world.” A lecture hall, filled with name-tagged, slightly bored people. What are they thinking? “Why won’t scholars stick to the 20-minute limit?” “Someone made this argument 30 years ago, and better.” “Where is that wine reception? I need to beat the line.”
But I opened this particular email because of the subject line: In-Conversation: “Art & Social Justice” presented by Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC) Foundation. Now there is a topic worthy of a large auditorium. The accompanying text describes a promising program including a diverse group of participants representing various institutions and perspectives: “The event brings together five prominent arts leaders to have a conversation around the power of art – created and presented by artists, arts organizations, scholars, activists, and of course, curators – to instigate action, produce impactful outcomes, bring attention to critical issues, and open conversations by offering different points of view.”

Museums have been the subject of harsh critique for their perpetuation of oppressive systems, for their practices of exclusion. This is particularly the case for art museums, with their colonialist, Eurocentric perspectives, their elitism, their whiteness. Has progress been made? Indeed. Does more work need to be done? Absolutely. New York Times art critic Holland Cotter has some suggestions.

So the AAMC initiative is part of an ongoing conversation about the role that curators and other arts professionals play in maintaining the status quo, and in spearheading change. As the most public face for my own discipline, art history, museums, through the efforts of the AAMC, could advance the progress of a socially-engaged art history, one which actually benefits the communities where it is practiced.

The roundtable description does not specify which critical issues are of most concern. “Social justice” as a term generally means “justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.” Art museums in this context are a mixed bag. They are famously lacking in diverse leadership, serve the interests of the very wealthy, and regularly make headlines for accusations of race and gender inequality, and cultural appropriation and insensitivity. And yet they are, too, the front line for some of the best progress that has been made in recognizing and acknowledging their own complicity, and developing programs and practices to promote accessibility, accountability, and respect for all cultures. Two recent examples offer case studies: the objection at the Whitney Museum to the painting of Emmett Till by Dana Schutz and the objection at the Walker Art Center to a sculpture by Sam Durant that references the mass execution of 38 Dakota men in 1862. Both examples and their resolutions demonstrate the tricky navigation of intersectional issues of representation, power, and voice.

So can museums use curatorial, educational and other practices to actively promote social justice? That, admirably, is what AAMC sought to examine in this event. I, for one, hope that there were some concrete outcomes, some action items.

Now back to that picture. The other notable aspect is its unbearable whiteness of being. It is difficult to confidently identify a single African-American, and only one or two persons of color can be spotted in that audience. As a convening of the American Association of Museum Curators, it is a visual indictment of the organization’s own lack of progress. Did they slyly intend that self-critique in their choice of images? In other words, what were they thinking? Well, they weren’t. The response to my query was that it is “our own stock photo that we use often for programming.”[1] That lack of attentiveness to visual rhetoric sends the message that the organization’s intended audience reflects the very absence of diversity that is one of the roots of the social justice issues they intend to discuss. Who is allowed a seat at this table?

[1] Judith Pineiro, Executive Director AAMC, e-mail June 8, 2017.

#ArtHistoryEngaged

Author Biography

Karen J. Leader is Associate Professor of Art History, and Faculty Associate in the Center for Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Florida Atlantic University. Her activities on behalf of art history and the humanities can be found here. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @proftinkerbell.

Read more by the author here, and here.

 

AHHE journal Special Issue: Tuning History

                                                                                                      Editorial: Tuning history

by David Ludvigsson, Linkoping University and Alan Booth, University of Nottingham.               DOI: 10.1177/1474022216686507

The Tuning educational project for History has its supporters and its detractors. This overview of the articles contained in this special issue of the journal reflects on some of the complexities of implementing such an ambitious global project and the local and national priorities that have made the process both stimulating and challenging for those involved. And it argues that while lists of competences constitute valuable reference points for discussion of the arts and humanities curriculum in an international context, they should be seen as the starting point for a more detailed and broad-ranging set of global conversations about how we (should) teach our subjects and why this matters for students in today’s world.

by  DOI: 10.1177/1474022216686508

The Tuning Movement and the scholarship of teaching and learning have each had a significant impact on teaching history in higher education in the United States. But the isolation of these initiatives from each other has lessened their potential impact. Interactions between the two might bring together the intellectual exploration of scholarship of teaching and learning and the activist engagement with practical challenges present in the U.S. Tuning Movement. The work of groups, such as the History Learning Project, could facilitate such interactions.

Tuning the discipline of history in the United States: Harmony (and dissonance) in teaching and learning

by Daniel J McInerney DOI: 10.1177/1474022216686523

by  DOI: 10.1177/1474022216686522

by  DOI: 10.1177/1474022216686525

by  DOI: 10.1177/1474022216628379

by  DOI: 10.1177/1474022216686506

by  DOI: 10.1177/1474022216686524

 

Reflections on ‘Reading Bodies, Writing Minds: Mental Health in the Medical Humanities’conference

Reading Bodies, Writing Minds: Mental Health in the Medical Humanities Conference

Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership

‘Reading Bodies, Writing Minds: Mental Health in the Medical Humanities’ conference

Reflections by Jan Parker, University of Cambridge

Sincere thanks are due to the Organisers from the University of Nottingham, Michele McIntosh and Martin Brooks
And to the AHRC Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership & University of Nottingham’s School of English for their support

Reading : Writing Minds : Bodies: Medicine: Humanities Research : Practice

This conference delighted in crossing boundaries and braiding disciplinary traditional practices to ask and answer multifaceted questions. Exemplary: so important in cross domain (domains with different epistemological practices as well as methodological traditions, as, here, Medicine and Humanities) collaborations.

The result is to challenge categories as well as frames of understanding so often shown in a conference full of perceptive readings of all kinds of texts (with all kinds of audience, purpose, structure and authority, questioning each in turn).

Throughout, papers questioned the very dichotomies of the title – Reading : Writing/ Minds : Bodies / Medicine: Humanities…… and, importantly, I would add: Research : Practice.

What was everywhere evident and truly inspiring was the reflective attitude to the participants’ ‘home’ discipline when used on an interdisciplinary problem. Bringing together complementary discrete Humanities research traditions and [medical, historical] practice-based inquiry serves so vitally and importantly to question the purposes as well as research approach of those disciplines.

For ‘Medieval narratives offer alternative perspectives for hearing and mental health which can generate rich and fruitful dialogues with modern accounts’ concluded Bonnie Millar (University of Nottingham) in ‘Dissolving Boundaries: Medieval and Modern Perspectives on Hearing’.

This fascinating study added considerably to the awareness-generating and boundary-questioning, patient experiences collective www.hearing-voices.org. (Their ‘mission statement’ declares: ‘Our reputation is growing as the limitations of a solely medical approach to voices become better known. Psychiatry traditionally refers to hearing voices as ‘auditory hallucinations’ but research shows that there are many explanations for hearing voices…’;their ‘position paper’ opposes the all defining American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition: DSM V , saying ‘Rather than seeing voices, visions and extreme states as symptoms of an underlying illness, we believe it is helpful to view them as meaningful experiences.’)

Dr Millar argued that ‘In both medieval self-narratives and fictional stories hearing and authority can be intrinsically linked. The sensory components of these women’s visions have spawned a number of alternative retrospective modern medical diagnoses ranging from migraine attacks, neurosis, and bipolar disorder to temporal lobe epilepsy and Tourette’s syndrome. However, this paper will examine how through auditory metamorphosis Teresa de Cartagena, a fifteenth-century nun … depicts her acquired profound deafness as a virtue… Nonnormative hearing patterns and auditory transformations are indicative of virtue, communication with the divine or female authority. Medieval narratives offer alternative perspectives for hearing and mental health which can generate rich and fruitful dialogues with modern accounts.’

Indeed, in signalling its intention to question all the boundaries, the conference started with considering the abject those ‘freaks’ of nature that challenge the boundaries between life and death; flesh and spirit, self and other – conjoined twins (Joseph Holloway, University of Exeter: ‘Death Infecting Life: Conjoined Twins, Personal Identity & the Abject’).

Inter-disciplinary Epistemology and Meaning making

The immediate problem is to gather ‘evidence’ about mental states which modern medicine categorise differently; states whose causes, definitions and implications are described and ascribed very differently at different periods. The result is not just to document changing attitudes to & treatments of, eg, ‘lunacy’ (As, importantly, ‘Robert Goemans and Rebecca Goddard, University of Lincoln, on ‘Madness, Gender, and Class: The Construction of Identity and Experiences in the Lincoln Lunatic Asylum 1820-1840’: they showed how their research data allows an analysis of how restraint was applied differently to different groups, so indicating how late Georgian society constructed gender, class, and madness.)

But, more, by reflecting on the context to question the very process of cultural definition and framings of the category – are those with ‘melancholy’ ‘mad, bad or sad’?

This question demanded intercultural reading and brought surprising sympathies: Natalie Calder, Queen’s University Belfast, in ‘“all swetnes & deuocion is taken from me’: Remedying Spiritual Despair in Late Medieval England’ juxtaposed two texts written at either end of the ‘long’ fifteenth century in an examination of the ways in which such spiritual guides addressed despair and extreme mental distress in their audiences. And which ‘provide a sophisticated and sensitive means of addressing issues of mental illness among their audiences that is recognised almost as an expected state of being amongst those readers who sought to obtain a deeper, cognitive connection with God.’ The paper outlined the (perhaps surprisingly) sympathetic approaches each writer has towards his reader who is struggling to reconcile their extreme doubts and self-criticism with their faith. Linking the mental afflictions of unstable belief with other, more traditional examples of emotional and physical ailment, the texts seek to remedy what could be described (committing the cardinal sin of anachronism!) as depression within their audiences.

‘the cardinal sin of anachronism’

In fact, each and every speaker was exemplary in their understanding of the constructedness of the terms they were using. And this was not the least of the important implications of the conference: that ‘melancholy’, for instance, and indeed mental illness, is identified and evaluated multifacetedly across time and across cultures.

Starting with the keynote, Chantelle Saville, University of Auckland, ‘Picturing Pigritia in Late Medieval Moral Psychology’, each speaker was clear they were dealing with the representation as well as the embedding of terms ‘reading and writing’ ‘minds and bodies’.

From the problematics of ‘attempting to access the genuine mood, emotions and priorities’ from Medieval Last Wills and Testaments’ (Esther Lewis, University of Nottingham) to adumbrating and distinguishing contemporary definitions – Jonathan Coope, University of Nottingham, ‘On Eco-psychiatry and Historiography: Exploring Transcultural Mental Health Narratives through the Lens of Nature-connectedness “Theory” the importance and problematics of using kaleidoscopic and multidimensional as well as multidisciplinary lenses were demonstrated.

Addressing Melancholy

The delight, challenge and sometimes despair of real interdisciplinary work is when a term like ‘melancholy’ ‘depression’ ‘trauma and PTSD’ is simultaneously illuminated & contested. This is a vital challenge to the [continuously varied] baseline understandings of the now 5 editions of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

So I particularly valued the conference’s central concern with the portrayal (sic) of ‘melancholy’ – the medieval, Elizabethan and indeed Greco-Roman humoral disturbance.

Kevin Binfield and Kaley Owens, Murray State University discussed Mary Rawes’ ‘Address to Melancholy’, which ‘became a fixture in the portrayal of melancholy’. During her first confinement in 1808 in The Retreat at York, labouring under ‘a considerable degree of active mania’, she immediately wrote twelve quatrains. They argued that as an expression, the ‘Address’ provides a naked glance into Rawes’ psychological condition, diagnosed with ‘melancholia and hysterical mania’; that as a poem, it draws upon and varies conventions of literary form and the lexicon of melancholy. They concluded, significantly for the whole debate, that ‘the tensions between raw self-account and literary conventions as well as the question of authenticity that must arise in reading an account of depression written in a manic phase.’

This raises the continuously central issue of the question of identity: self and other representations of mental [in]stability. In ‘Margaret Cavendish and the Problem of Melancholy’, Molly Bridges (University of Birmingham) discussed Margaret Cavendish’s ‘eccentricity’, ‘madness’, diagnosis of melancholy. As her condition was corporeal, the question is raised then as now of the ‘psycho-somatic’; also the ‘parallel tradition that endowed the genial melancholic with a special capacity for creative brilliance’.

Similarly, Tim Craven (University of Edinburgh) in ‘The Metaphorical Representation of the Mind and Emotional Dysfunction in the Poetry of Anne Sexton’(1950s) examined how Sexton constructs and utilises metaphor to evoke the mind in extremis. Using close readings of individual examples, applying the analytical framework of cognitive poetics, and exploring the socio-medical context reflected in their creation he provided a model of literary-socio-medical analysis.

Representing/Writing mental illness

The analytical methodology of narratology deployed in ‘writing mental illness’ was both illuminatingly explored and critiqued by Ralph Höger (Universität Heidelberg): ‘Writing the psychiatric patient. A narratological approach to historical patient records’. He argued that as narratological analyses of this complex source material are still rare, the patient in doctors’ notes appears as a heavily fictionalised character; a literary unit first dissected by the implicit organisational laws of the asylum and then rearranged in the records according to cultural, scientific, and clinical criteria.

All these fascinating accounts raise the central question of Representation. Eg, Fiona Johnstone (Birkbeck, University of London): ‘Curating Mental Illness: Mr. A Moves in Mysterious Ways’ asked ‘Can exhibitions actively inform or improve experiences of mental health, rather than merely historicizing or critiquing them?’

And Kevin Harvey, Gavin Brookes and Dr Neil Chadborn (all University of Nottingham) raised the central contemporary question of multimodal discourse representation: ‘“Our Biggest Killer”[?]: Multimodal Discourse Representations of Dementia in the British Media’.

Civil war poetry & prose structuring (? expressing? revealing?) ‘PTSD’

Another ‘anachronistic’ term was fascinatingly explored by Erin Peters (University of Gloucestershire): ‘“Suddaine cures are commonly unsound”: Seventeenth-century Narrative Therapies’. In examining the public narration of psychological disability brought on by the lingering effects of combat trauma and memories of fear among soldiers and civilians during and after the English Civil Wars, she argued that ‘alongside the official and authorised interpretation of disability as a physical impairment, a popular understanding of the disabling and disfiguring nature of psychological damage developed. While conventional histories of psychiatry depict the medieval and early modern periods as dominated by demonological ideas about mental illness [mad as devilishly bad] and treatment of the afflicted as cruel and inhumane, the construction and dissemination, in popular print, of psychological disability theories and narratives before, during, and after the wars reveal that this period saw a growth of interest in the conceptualisation of psychological damage that was removed from ideas of ‘good’ and ‘evil’.

I was particularly interested in what seemed to be historical cases of ‘narrative therapy’ – of using the structuring activity of poetry to give shape to and control over a condition that is today diagnosed but not fully understood – PTSD. Demonstrating ‘the curative methods by which people attempted to treat invisible wounds and arguing that contemporary responses to the disabling nature of psychological trauma demonstrate a cognizance of the therapeutic value of attempting to construct publically available trauma narratives’.

Therapy – as restorying the self

This chimed with a concern in several of the presentations with arts therapies: eg Dramatherapy which ‘provides an unspoken voice for the client’s feelings to be expressed in a manner that is personally revealing, socially acceptable, culturally accessible and therapeutically constructive. Clients can represent mental health issues, reconstruct and link together past and present experiences to build an emotional life narrative, and construct a new way forward for the future. Through dramatherapy the problems that the children face can be located back within the story of their parent, rather than cast within the children themselves. Dramatherapy becomes a way to “re-story” themselves in the way they need, be it to re-cast themselves as the heroes of their own story or to lament the complicated loss of a parent’s presence.

Reflective inter-disciplinary and inter-domain hermeneutic strategies

Throughout, the richness of the material discussed and the confident deployment of hermeneutic strategies was itself exemplary and inspiring, as was the tact (difficult and important) in which terms like ‘melancholy’ were deployed.

For the impossible to draw Venn diagram of mental illness covers:

a) ‘diagnosis’- biomedical model;

b) ‘mad, bad, sad’ – the cultural construction and definition of the cause of ‘abnormal’ mental states and

c) ‘memetic’- the popular adoption and influential circulation of representations of models of, eg, the ‘hysteric’ or ‘melancholic’.

One paper was exemplary – sic – in managing to analyse a problem through these tripartite lenses.I quote:

Moira Hansen (University of Glasgow): ‘“O wad some pow’r the gift tae gie us”: Redefining the Melancholy of Robert Burns’.

‘Robert Burns, celebrated at home and abroad as the ‘heav’n-taught ploughman’ who gave a voice to the ordinary man, is probably as well-known for his tempestuous personal history as he is for his poetry and songs. In the 220 years since the poet’s premature death at the age of 37, his flaws and failings have been notoriously exaggerated and misrepresented as artefacts of excessive alcohol consumption or his temperamental poetic genius. Burns, however, has his own insights to offer; his personal correspondence includes regular references to episodes of melancholy, at times rendering the poet bed-ridden and unable to work, let alone capable of any creative output. Derived from on-going research exploring Burns’s mental health, a much-neglected aspect of the poet’s biography, this paper will draw on the poet’s letters and commonplace books to explore his understanding of and relationship with his melancholy. It will go on to illustrate how literary analysis of Burns’s writings within the context of a modern psychiatric framework is clarifying the nature of that melancholy, indicating it is not the consequence of an alcohol addiction or the artificial construction of a poetic persona, but evidence of an identifiable mood disorder as defined by clinical diagnostic criteria, representing a significant development of our understanding of the influences affecting the personal and creative life of Scotland’s national Bard’.

And, I would add a significant development of our understanding of the influences affecting the personal and creative self, the identification of the self with prevailing constructions and evaluation of mental states, of the boundaries and interconnections of mind, self and body, of the varying norms drawn by society beating the bounds of the acceptable and the moral and not least, questioning the ‘identification of mood disorder’ and the ‘definition by [culturally and historically various] clinical diagnostic criteria’.

The medical and psychiatric profession needs the challenge of the multifaceted, inter-domain as well as interdisciplinary Humanities research so evident throughout this conference, in order to challenge the ‘algorithmic’ approach to diagnosis, differentiation and discrimination of mental distress and illness.

The organisers wanted to thank the AHRC, Midlands 3 Cities, and the University of Nottingham’s School of English for their support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ENGLISH SHARED FUTURES CONF.NEWCASTLE 5TH-7TH JULY

http://www.englishsharedfutures.uk/

‘THE STUDY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE, LANGUAGE AND CREATIVE WRITING IS AN IMPORTANT AND DYNAMIC ENTERPRISE.

We will celebrate the discipline’s intellectual strength, diversity and creativity and explore its futures in the nations of the UK and across the world.’

Wednesday 5th July

10.30 – 12.15  Registration

11.30 – 12.30 English Association Welcoming/Mentoring Session

12.30 – 1.45 Panel Sessions

  1. Advocating and Promoting English Studies (Early Career Academics – ECA)
  2. B/Orders of Standard English: Registering Linguistic Difference in the Academic Writing Classroom
  3. Investigating English: Translating Linguistic Research for the Secondary English Classroom
  4. Digital Humanities: GIS and English Studies
  5. Book Parts: Flash Panel
  6. HEA Roundtable: Who We Are
  7. Place Writing: People, Partnerships and Pedagogy; or Impact, Exchange and Policy
  8. Teaching 21st Century Genre
  9. Contemporary Women’s Writing: Archiving for the Future (Contemporary Women’s Writing Association – CWWA)
  10. Women Who Dare (National Association of Writers in Education – NAWE)
  11. Feminist Pedagogies, Feminist Classrooms
  12. Beyond Story – An Examination of the ‘Authentic’ in Fiction and Poetry
  13. Migration and Borders

2.00 – 3.15 English: The Journal of the English Association presents the Plenary Panel – Literary Biography: Andrew Hadfield, Kathryn Hughes, Hermione Lee

3.30 – 4.45 Panel Sessions

  1. University English (UE) presents The Discipline of English and the Work of the Humanities
  2. English Association Literary Salon: Helen Mort
  3. Social Justice and Literature
  4. Making it New: On the Future of Modernist Studies British Association for Modernist Studies – BAMS)
  5. Teaching Genre Fiction Writing (NAWE)
  6. The Concept of Storyworld in Relation to the Impact of New Technology on Writing Practices
  7. HEA Teaching Surgery
  8. Useless Articles: English and Instrumentalism
  9. Knowledge About Language and Linguistics in the Classroom
  10. Contemporary Women’s Writing: Apocalyptic Narratives (CWWA)
  11. Contemporary British Tragedy / Symptoms at the Surface: On Postcolonial Critical Reading / Immersive Poetics
  12. Poetics of Feminism
  13. Literary Societies in Action: Creativity, Engagement and Learning

5.00 – 6.15 Panel Sessions

  1. University English (UE) presents The Discipline of English and the Work of the Humanities
  2. English Association Literary Salon: Elleke Boehmer
  3. Publishing Roundtable (ECA)
  4. Making it New is the Oldest Trick in the Book: On Current Modernist Studies (BAMS)
  5. Contemporary Critical Perspectives: Looking Back, Moving Forward
  6. Reshaping Reality: Creative Work in Progress
  7. Creative Work (CWWA)
  8. ‘trans-‘
  9. Neo-Victorian Mortalities
  10. Gender, Sexuality and (Un)doing English
  11. Goldsmiths’ Writers

6.15 – 7.30 Conference Drinks Reception in association with Palgrave, with the launch of Ben Knights’ Pedagogic Criticism (2017)

Thursday 6th July

9.30 – 10.45 Panel Sessions

  1. The Borders of Irish Literature (British Association for Irish Studies – BAIS)
  2. Virtual Collegiality: Putting the ‘Social’ Back into Social Media (CWWA)
  3. Flight Paths in English Studies: Searching for Lines of Consistency in Learner Activity from 11 to Postgraduate (and Beyond
  4. Open Voice Session (ECA)
  5. Cross-Pollination: Music, Railways, Publications and Productions
  6. ‘The Past is My Present to Your Future’: Capitalizing on the Linguistic Heritage of the North East
  7. After Brexit: Life without Erasmus (NAWE)
  8. Distance Learning: default or fault?
  9. Teaching Excellence Framework Workshop (HEA)
  10. Delivering English: a roundtable of subject leads and department heads
  11. Renaissance Outreach (Society for Renaissance Studies – SRS)
  12. Closed Circles? English Literature and the Return of Canonical Exclusivity
  13. Why Shakespeare Now? (British Shakespeare Association – BSA)
  14. Literature and Cultural Politics in the Long Eighteenth Century

11.00 – 12.15 Panel Sessions

  1. Writing Shared Futures:  African American Literature and Racialisation (British Association for American Studies – BAAS)
  2. Contemporary Women’s Writing and Book Publication Workshop (CWWA)
  3. Towards a Theory of Poetry Writing Development
  4. Close Reading and Queer Reputation-Building
  5. At the Borders of Globalisation
  6. Tomorrow’s English Today
  7. Don’t Give Up Your Day Job: Preparing Creative Writing Graduates for Lifelong Careers (NAWE)
  8. Creative Writing, Knowledge and Emancipatory Strategies
  9. The Future of the Victorians: Neo-Victorians (British Association for Victorian Studies – BAVS)
  10. PhD Network: Alternative Futures: 70/30 (NAWE)
  11. Audio-Visual Romanticism
  12. Contemporary Fiction, Method, Manifesto: Towards a Response
  13. Sharing Shakespeare’s Language (BSA)
  14. Grassroot Feminist Novels of Sixties England / Celebrity Culture and Corruption in the Indian Graphic Novel Legends of Halahala / John Donne

12.30 – 1.45 Panel Sessions

  1. Literature, Science and Inbetween (British Society for Literature and Science BSLS)
  2. Publishing and Contemporary Women’s Writing Workshop (CWWA)
  3. From A Level to HE: Reading
  4. PhD Students Teaching Workshop (ECA) [Numbers limited, pre-booking required]
  5. On Reflection: Voice and Medium in the Reflective Component of Practice-Led Research
  6. Competence Modelling and English Literature
  7. Ethics in Creative Writing and Life Research (NAWE)
  8. Academics and Engaged Publics (British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies)
  9. The Future of the Victorians: Digital Curation (BAVS)
  10. Global Futures
  11. Romanticism, Mutability and Mobilite
  12. Poetry Reading by US, UK and Australian Poets (NAWE)
  13. Multi-Cultural Textualities I

2.00 – 3.15 Plenary – Language and the Problem of Female Authority, Deborah Cameron

3.30 – 4.45 Panel Sessions

  1. Defining the Contemporary (Contemporary Studies Network)
  2. English Association Literary Salon: John Mullan
  3. From A Level to HE: Writing
  4. Barriers to Access (ECA) [Numbers limited, pre-booking required]
  5. Creative Writing in Higher Education
  6. Public Linguistics and Impact
  7. Poetry: Form and Experiment Workshop (NAWE)
  8. Renaissance Literature Beyond the Canon (SRS)
  9. Sharing Pedagogies Integrating English project and Poetics and Linguistics Association
  10. Literature and the New Cognitive Science
  11. Romanticism and the Stigmatised: Transnationalism, Migration and Trauma
  12. The Environmental Humanities: Changing Ecologies, Persistence and Possibility
  13. Multi-Cultural Textualities II
  14. Employability and English Studies

5.00 – 6.15 Panel Sessions

  1. HE for Our Time (Institute of English Studies – IES)
  2. English Association Literary Salon: Dinah Birch
  3. The Living Archive: Archives and Contemporary Poetry
  4. REF for PhDs and Early Career Academics (ECA)
  5. ECAs and PhDs in an Age of Anxiety (ECA)
  6. Englishes: Writing and Thinking in Multiple Voices
  7. Harold Rosen Lecture
  8. Sharing Futures Across Primary, Secondary and University Education (BSA)
  9. What Do We Do When We Analyse Texts? (Poetics and Linguistics Association)
  10. Divided by a Common Language: Creative Writing Discourse in the US, UK and Australia (NAWE)
  11. Romantic Liminology: A Roundtable Discussion
  12. The Environmental Humanities: The Interdependent Present
  13. Getting Ready for ‘The Modernist Party as Pedagogy’: A Critique of Role-Play in the Teaching of Modernism
  14. Shakespearean Futures 400+

Friday 7th July

9.30 – 10.45 Panel Sessions

  1. HEA Fellowship Workshop
  2. Shared Subject Knowledge? English Across School, University, and PGCE
  3. The Past, Present and Future of Postcolonial Literary Studies
  4. BAME Roundtable (ECA)
  5. Paper Nations: Building a Creative nation for Young Writers (NAWE)
  6. Writing Workshop: The Poem as Witness: War and its Aftermath
  7. Sexual Harrassment
  8. What is the Industry Standard for Digital Research in English?
  9. Epic Transformation? Developing the English Curriculum at University
  10. Anglo-Saxon Futures I
  11. Literature in Britain Today: Findings of a National Opinion Poll (Royal Society of Literature)
  12. Researching Living Writers
  13. Renaissance Literature: New Pedagogies (SRS)
  14. Wild Laughter: Performing Life/Staging Biography

11.00 – 12.15 Panel Sessions

  1. External Examining and Academic Standards: seeking greater consistency (HEA)
  2. Teaching Through Imitation
  3. Career Development Workshop (ECA) [Numbers limited, pre-booking required]
  4. Shared Futures for Literary Theory I
  5. Shared Responsibility: Auto/Biography and the Ethics of Representation
  6. Contemporary British and American Poetics: the Trans-Atlantic Avant-Garde (Centre for Contemporary Poetry)
  7. Broadcasting English
  8. Englishes Online
  9. Anglo-Saxon Futures II
  10. Beyond the East/West Divide: Bangladesh as Travelling Culture in Monica Ali’s Brick Lane
  11. English Studies and Careers: Opening a Conversation
  12. Renaissance Literature: New Perspectives (SRS)
  13. National Literatures and New ‘Englishes’: Writing from Wales

12.30 – 1.45 Panel Sessions

  1. How to Grow an English Student (Common English Forum)
  2. Academics in the Classroom: How Can Universities Deliver English Outreach for Schools
  3. The Future of English Studies I: Periodisation (ECA)
  4. Shared Futures for Literary Theory II
  5. How Can Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes Support People to Improve their Mental Health
  6. Reflections on Time and Place: the Creative Writing PhD in Historical Fiction
  7. Hometowns and Influences (NAWE)
  8. Literary Research and Teaching in the Age of DH
  9. Literary Criticism in an Age of Radical Politics
  10. Awake and Present: a roundtable on why contemporary literary studies matters (British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies)
  11. Stella Benson and I Pose / Ellen Terry and the Archives
  12. Reading (IES)
  13. Writing (out of) Wales

2.00 – 3.15 The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society ALCS presents the Plenary – Creative Writing, Bernardine Evaristo

3.30 – 4.45 Panel Sessions

  1. Diversity in Teaching and Learning (NAWE)
  2. English Association Literary Salon: Marina Warner
  3. The Future of English Studies II: English Studies in Ruins? (ECA)
  4. CWWA Meeting
  5. Story as Medicine: Creative Writing Workshop
  6. Creativity and Research in the 21st Century (NAWE)
  7. Crossing Borders in the Nineteenth Century: Genre and Time
  8. Across the Great Divide: the Scientific Humanities and the Future of the Discipline
  9. Transnational Scholarship and the Digital Edition
  10. Difficult Identities: How the Academy and Literature Must Do Justice to their Own Complexity
  11. Music as Literature, Literature as Music
  12. Scholarly Editing in the 21st Century

5.00 – 6.15 Plenary – Martin Luther King in Newcastle, Brian Ward