LJMU English Masters student to speak at ‘Cityscapes’ Conference

LJMU English Masters student to speak at ‘Cityscapes’ Conference

LJMU English's MRes student Charlotte Neely has had her paper accepted by the 'Cityscapes: Media Textualities and Urban Visions' conference to be held at York St John University on 23rd April. The paper is entitled 'Re-mapping Possibilities: The Immigrant Child's Experience of New York's Urban Ghetto', and Charlotte will be speaking about Henry Roth's 1934 novel Call it Sleep and how it can be illuminated by the theory and practice of psychogeography; the study of the influence of geographical locale on the mind and behaviour. This newly emerging discipline places particular emphasis upon playfulness and drifting within the urban environment, and she will draw upon its ideas to reinterpret the movements of Roth's child protagonist David Schearl through New York's Lower East Side during the years leading up to the Great Depression. Charlotte's paper will argue that, despite facing impoverished conditions and ethnic discrimination, David locates spaces of play that transgress boundaries and disrupt mechanisms of power. As the protagonist makes his impromptu journey through the city,...
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Masculinity and the Metropolis: LJMU English Student to give paper at University of Kent Conference

Masculinity and the Metropolis: LJMU English Student to give paper at University of Kent Conference

Lois Walker, a postgraduate student on LJMU English's Masters by Research programme, has had her conference paper proposal accepted for the 'Masculinity and the Metropolis' conference at the University of Kent in April 2016. The interdisciplinary conference, which spans two days, will include scholars of literature, art history and film. Lois's paper is entitled 'The Myth of Gay "Golden Age" New York', and will focus upon two novels from the period - John Rechy’s Rushes (1979) and Andrew Holleran’s Dancer from the Dance (1978). She seeks to challenge the romanticised ideal of an urban 'safe space' by exposing ways in which male homosexual experience was forced into the de-industrialised and derelict dark spaces of New York city such as the piers and the waterfront bars. Her chosen writers express within their novels a duality within gay metropolitan life and illustrate several conflicts between the individual and the community, the homosexual male and the city, and the discourses of private and public life within the urban. Lois graduated...
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English MRes Residential 2016: Gladstone’s Library

English MRes Residential 2016: Gladstone’s Library

Every year, LJMU English's Masters by Research students attend a residential with their supervisors and some of the department's PhD students to talk, read, and reflect on their studies on the programme so far. Here, Edward Dafnis gives his account of our (wonderful) trip in January 2016: An hour’s drive from LJMU is Gladstone’s Library in Hawarden, North Wales. Completed in 1902 to house William Gladstone’s personal collection of over 20, 000 books, periodicals and journals – all read by the man himself and with an estimated 11, 000 containing annotations, the library now houses 250, 000 texts and promised to be a reflective place of study and discussion. Articles by Walter Benjemin, Jorge Luis Borges and Alberto Manguel plus a short story by Alice Munro started the afternoon discussions before a tour of the spectacular library. Nestled amongst the rows of leather bound tomes were armchairs and simple wooden tables where people sat and read and worked in silence. Despite...
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Liverpool Postcolonial Reading Group: Concerning Violence

Liverpool Postcolonial Reading Group: Concerning Violence

On Thursday 4th February the Liverpool Postcolonial Reading Group, which was founded by postgraduate students in LJMU's School of Humanities and Social Science, will be showing Göran Olsson’s Concerning Violence (2014). This documentary about imperialism and decolonisation across the African continent, is based on Franz Fanon’s 1961 The Wretched of the Earth and narrated by Lauryn Hill. The reviewer for Variety noted: ‘Göran Hugo Olsson doesn’t make documentaries so much as incendiary devices, diving deep into Swedish film archives for vintage clips that have sat like so much undetonated ordnance all these years.’ The session will begin at 5pm with a short introduction to the film, and there will be time for discussion afterwards. You can see the film's official trailer here. If you're working with postcolonial issues at any of Liverpool's four universities, and you fancy coming along, please contact the group via email liverpoolpostcolonial@gmail.com or Twitter: @Lpoolpostcolonial...
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LJMU PhD Scholarship Scheme: Now Open for Applications

LJMU PhD Scholarship Scheme: Now Open for Applications

As part of its ongoing commitment to extend and diversify the PhD community at LJMU, the university have just announced this year's round of scholarships. These include both fully-funded and fees-only opportunities. A number of LJMU English's current postgraduate students were able to work with us because of their success in this scheme. So if you are considering undertaking a doctorate in English, and think your work might fit well within our Research Centre for Literature and Cultural History, please get in touch with a member of the team as soon as possible to discuss your ideas. You can read about our research interests by clicking on individual staff and student pictures to the right of the screen. All details of the scheme are available here: https://www.ljmu.ac.uk/research/phd-scholarships and the deadline for applications is 18th March 2016.  ...
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Marginal Irish Modernisms in the USA

Marginal Irish Modernisms in the USA

Dr Deaglán Ó Donghaile of LJMU English spent three weeks of September in the United States promoting the project Marginal Irish Modernisms which secured a grant of over £30,000 from the prestigious Arts and Humanities Research Council. This is a new scholarly network that was established by Deaglán and LJMU English's Dr Gerry Smyth (the project's leader), in order to explore the work of marginalised or critically-neglected Irish modernist writers. Other writers who whose work will form part of the project include Maeve Brennan, J. W. Dunne, Lord Dunsany, Lennox Robinson and John Rutherford. Deaglán met with modernism scholars at the University of California, Los Angeles, at Arizona State University in Phoenix  and at the Mapping Yeats Symposium, held in Kansas City, Missouri.  At Arizona State University, he spoke to staff and students from the Barrett Honors College on the writings of Ernie O’Malley, an Irish republican author whose memoirs offer an aesthetically experimental reflection on the Irish War of Independence. At UCLA, Deaglán also had the...
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Liverpool Postcolonial Reading Group Begins at LJMU

Liverpool Postcolonial Reading Group Begins at LJMU

  'Every empire [...] tells itself and the world that it is unlike all other empires, that its mission is not to plunder and control but to educate and liberate'. Edward Said.     LJMU postgraduate students in the School of Humanities and Social Science are starting a new group that will bring together all those with an interest in postcolonial studies across Liverpool's four universities. Christinna Hobbs and Sam Caddick, both LJMU English students, together with James Brocklesby, who is doing a PhD in History, came up the idea when they discovered that there were several researchers within their own School who were working broadly within postcolonial studies, although in different departments. Christinna said, 'We thought a reading group might help connect those with an interest, and allow participants to share ideas and support one another's work. Realising that there was not a group already set up at any of the local universities, we decided to make the group as inclusive as possible, in...
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LJMU English at Liverpool Irish Festival

LJMU English at Liverpool Irish Festival

Gerry Smyth of LJMU English has organised a number of events as part of the public engagement activities associated with the English programme's Marginal Irish Modernisms Research Network. These events (which are running under the joint auspices of the Liverpool Irish Festival) are free to attend, although the film premiere and the Bluecoat concert require pre-booking. * Lost Irish Books of the Modernist Era (Liverpool Central Library, Friday 16 October, 3.00-4.30) Three leading academics introduce rare books of Irish interest from the library's extensive holdings. * Nora & Jim (Joe H. Makin Theatre, Pilgrim Street, Saturday 17 October, 7.00 - 9.00) A new play based on an episode in the lives of James Joyce and his partner Nora Barnacle, followed by a Q&A with the writer, director and cast. * Experimenting with Time: J.W. Dunne and Irish Modernism (Room 1.21, John Foster Building, Monday 19 October, 5.30-7.00) Professor Keith Hopper (Oxford) introduces the gloriously eccentric J.W. Dunne (1875-1949), an Irish aeronautical engineer who wrote a series of books on parapsychology and precognition, and who served as the model...
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Teaching the British 1950s in China, 2015

Teaching the British 1950s in China, 2015

Each year, Shanghai University run an 'International Semester' in June, when students completing their first year of study have the chance to pick short courses across a range of disciplines that are designed and taught by academics from outside China. In June this year, I was lucky enough to be one of those 60 or so teachers myself, and offered a course based upon material both from my last book, Good, Brave Causes: Literature of the 1950s, and my experience on teaching one of LJMU English's first year modules, Literature in Context. I stayed on campus - which, as SU has just under 40,000 students, is like a town within the city, with canteens, sports facilities, and supermarkets, and dormitories sleeping four undergraduates to a room. My class consisted of 32 students studying a wide variety of subjects, from engineering to... well, English. Though all of the students had studied the English language since primary school, not all of them had practice in...
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Singing a Song of Victorian Poverty

Singing a Song of Victorian Poverty

In a summer break largely consumed by traditional conference duties (Victorian Periodicals in Ghent in July, more periodicals in Stockholm in September) it has been a relief to step out a little from normal scholarly events. In late July, on the strength of a long standing interest in writing by labouring class men and women in the nineteenth century, I was invited by a radio producer based in Manchester to contribute to a programme on the popular literature of the industrial revolution to be broadcast on Radio 4. The great attraction, apart from the fascination of seeing how something like this is put together, was that the presenter of the programme is Eliza Carthy, one of Britain’s leading traditional singers. I had heard Eliza and her father Martin sing and play together a few weeks previously, and I was very interested to meet her. The programme was put together in Chetham’s Library in Manchester, a library based in beautiful medieval buildings...
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LJMU Lecturer on BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking

LJMU Lecturer on BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking

As part of the BBC and AHRC New Generation Thinkers scheme, Dr Nadine Muller recorded her first broadcast for national radio at the Hay Festival on Monday, 25 May 2015. The programme, which introduces four of this year's New Generation Thinkers, was broadcast on Thursday, 28 May 2015, and you can listen to it here. In it, Nadine provides a snapshot of her research on the literary and cultural history of widows in Britain, a topic on which you'll be able to hear more on Free Thinking later on in the year. ...
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PhD Success: Judge David Lynch

PhD Success: Judge David Lynch

Judge David Lynch, an Honorary Fellow of LJMU, gained his PhD with flying colours in May 2015. His thesis on ‘The Role of the Circuit Courts in the Development of Federal Justice’ makes a significant contribution to literature on the development of early American law and was passed without emendations. When he retired from the Bench David embarked on an MRes in Literature and Cultural History and completed his Masters in 2011. Rather than relaxing into retirement, he then began working towards his Doctorate. His Director of Studies was Dr Colin Harrison, whose own research is on North American cultural history and his supervisory team included Professor Glenda Norquay (English) and Dr Carlo Panara (Reader in Law). With the encouragement of the External Examiner, Professor Penny Darbyshire, Kingston Law School, David (now 75) is now planning to produce a book out of his research....
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Scotland & The Caribbean, c.1740-1833: Michael Morris’s New Book

Scotland & The Caribbean, c.1740-1833: Michael Morris’s New Book

Since joining LJMU English in June 2014, Dr Michael Morris has completed his first book, which participates in the modern recovery of the memory of the long-forgotten relationship between Scotland and the Caribbean. Drawing on theoretical paradigms of world literature and transnationalism, it argues that Caribbean slavery profoundly shaped Scotland’s economic, social and cultural development, and draws out the implications for current debates on Scotland’s national narratives of identity. Eighteenth- to nineteenth-century Scottish writers are re-examined in this new light. Michael's book explores the ways that discourses of 'improvement' in both Scotland and the Caribbean are mediated by the modes of pastoral and georgic which struggle to explain and contain the labour conditions of agricultural labourers, both free and enslaved. The ambivalent relationship of Scottish writers, including Robert Burns, to questions around abolition allows fresh perspectives on the era. Furthermore, Michael considers the origins of a hybrid Scottish-Creole identity through two nineteenth-century figures - Robert Wedderburn and Mary Seacole. The final chapter moves forward to consider the...
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Mobilities & Place: A Multidisciplinary Travel Symposium

Mobilities & Place: A Multidisciplinary Travel Symposium

On Saturday May 9th 2015, LJMU English will host the ‘Mobilities and Place’ Symposium. This will be the ninth annual Liverpool Travel Seminar, organised by Liverpool John Moores University, in collaboration with the University of Liverpool and Liverpool Hope University. In addition to keynote speakers including Dr. Catherine Armstrong (University of Loughborough), Professor Simon Bainbridge (University of Lancaster) and Dr. Debbie Lisle (Queen’s University, Belfast), the symposium will feature four panels of international delegates. LJMU's Dr. Kate Walchester, whose research specialism is in nineteenth century travel narratives, said, ''From the range and diversity of papers the symposium promises to be an exciting event. The Liverpool Travel Seminar is an established forum for interdisciplinary debate and this year's event will extend its reach to a wider international network of scholars". For further information, please contact Kate at K.A.Walchester@ljmu.ac.uk. The event is free, but interested parties need to register here. ...
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Research Seminar: Dr Fionualla Dillane, ‘New Old Formalism, Old New Historicism, Victorian Periodicals and the Problem of Genre’

Research Seminar: Dr Fionualla Dillane, ‘New Old Formalism, Old New Historicism, Victorian Periodicals and the Problem of Genre’

10th March, 2015. After a warm welcome to LJMU from Professor Brian Maidment, Dr Fionualla Dillane from University College Dublin outlined the crux of her discussion. Is the study of periodicals under threat from the ‘new old formalism’ that encourages the researcher to think of the periodical as a ‘training ground’ for writers approaching established forms. By broaching the muddy waters of genre using the return to formalism, genre, Fionualla suggested, is a methodological tool and a conceptual frame. The study of periodicals has always been interdisciplinary due to the diverse field and contents of periodicals. Fionualla unpacked the concept of new formalism, giving rich analysis of the pivotal texts and argued that a return to formalism privileges the literary, which, by extension, deprivileges other texts defined as lacking literary merit and designated as craft. This is a conservative approach which Fioualla successfully argued is ‘turning back’. Fionualla argued that the study of periodicals is still at the stage of description rather than...
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The Judas Kiss: Treason and Betrayal in Six Modern Irish Novels

The Judas Kiss: Treason and Betrayal in Six Modern Irish Novels

Gerry Smyth's new book argues that modern Irish history encompasses a deep-seated fear of betrayal, and that this fear has been especially prevalent since the revolutionary period at the outset of the twentieth century. The author goes on to argue that the novel is the literary form most apt for the exploration of betrayal in its social, political and psychological dimensions. The significance of this thesis comes into focus in terms of a number of recent developments – most notably, the economic downturn (and the political and civic betrayals implicated therein) and revelations of the Catholic Church’s failure in its pastoral mission. As many observers note, such developments have brought the language of betrayal to the forefront of contemporary Irish life. This book offers a powerful analysis of modern Irish history as regarded from the perspective of some its most incisive minds, including James Joyce, Liam O’Flaherty, Elizabeth Bowen, Francis Stuart, Eugene McCabe and Anne Enright. ...
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Northern Postcolonial Network Has Its First Meeting At LJMU

Northern Postcolonial Network Has Its First Meeting At LJMU

The inaugural event of the research group the Northern Postcolonial Network will be taking place at LJMU this week, on Wednesday, 25th April 2015. Organised by LJMU English's Dr Kate Houlden, the day will involve a mixture of discussion about the aims and priorities of the network, a postgraduate panel, a keynote address from Professor John McLeod of Leeds University and an evening event featuring a reading by acclaimed Leeds poet Khadijah Ibrahiim. Other speakers include LJMU English PhD student Christina Hobbs, whose paper is entitled, ‘Comparing Independence in Literature of the Danish North Sea Empire: A Study in World Literature’. A full programme, and registration details for this free event, are available at: http://northernpostcolonialnetwork.com/events/...
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REF 2014: Our Results

REF 2014: Our Results

English at LJMU is delighted with its performance in the Research Excellence Framework exercise 2014. In this national audit of research quality, 68% of our work was recognised as world-leading or internationally excellent. Within the University, English is now the third strongest area in research activity and 5th for the subject in the North West. We are ranked 38th out of 74 institutions in England for the subject. LJMU has also moved up 19 places in research quality ranking, from 81st in the UK in RAE 2008 to 62nd for REF 2014 (THES). Professor Glenda Norquay, REF Co-ordinator for English, commented: ‘We are very pleased with this result. We have significantly moved up the league tables for our subject and as a university and are delighted with this external recognition of the exciting scholarship that takes place at LJMU. The fact that 50% of our ‘impact’ was awarded a ‘world-leading’ rating also indicates the reach of our engagement with a...
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Dr Jon Cranfield and the Holmesian Phenomenon

Dr Jon Cranfield and the Holmesian Phenomenon

Jon Cranfield's new book, co-edited with Tom Ue, received an excellent review in the Guardian this week. Sherlock Holmes is part of a series called Fan Phenomena which explores how enduring cultural icons are continually reinvented by their fans. The essays cover a wide range of these creative reinterpretations, from Steampunk iPad apps to Shakespeare and including, of course, the most recent television reappearance, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Jon's own chapter in the book is entitled 'Sherlock Holmes: Fan Culture and Fan Letters'. Look out for a copy arriving soon in the Aldham Robarts Library....
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LJMU English Help Set Up Northern Postcolonial Network

LJMU English Help Set Up Northern Postcolonial Network

Kate Houlden from LJMU English has been integral in bringing the department into collaboration with a range of new colleagues across the North of England (from Salford, Sheffield and Manchester Universities). Working with Michael Morris and Fiona Tolan, she is part of the newly established Northern Postcolonial Network, which aims to support knowledge exchange and networking amongst scholars and other individuals and groups in the field. LJMU will be hosting the network’s inaugural event in the Spring of 2015, with an exciting programme to follow. Kate says ‘We’re very pleased to be working with these partner institutions. Such collaboration will allow us to engage with key questions in postcolonial studies, benefitting staff and students alike. For more information, please visit the group's website, or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.  ...
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Alice Ferrebe, Literature of the 1950s: Good Brave Causes

Alice Ferrebe, Literature of the 1950s: Good Brave Causes

Alice Ferrebe's study rereads the decade and its literature as crucial in twentieth-century British history for its emergent and increasingly complicated politics of difference, as ideas about identity, authority and belonging were tested and contested. By placing a diverse selection of texts alongside those of the established canon of Movement and 'Angry' writing, a literary culture of true diversity and depth is brought into view. The volume characterises the 1950s as a time of confrontation with a range of concerns still avidly debated today, including immigration, education, the challenging behaviour of youth, nuclear threat, the post-industrial and post-imperial legacy, a consumerist economy and a feminist movement hampered by the perceivedly comprehensive nature of its recent success. Contrary to Jimmy Porter's defeatist judgement on his era in John Osborne's 1956 play Look Back in Anger, the volume upholds such concerns as 'good, brave causes' indeed. Literature of the 1950s: Good Brave Causes was published by Edinburgh University Press in 2012....
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Joe Moran, Armchair Nation

Joe Moran, Armchair Nation

'But what does your furniture point at?' asks the character Joey in the sitcom Friends, on hearing an acquaintance has no TV. It's a good question: since its beginnings during WW2, television has assumed a central role in our houses and our lives, just as satellite dishes and aerials have become features of urban skylines. Television (or 'the idiot's lantern', depending on your feelings about it) has created controversy, brought coronations and World Cups into living rooms, allowed us access to 24hr news and media and provided a thousand conversation starters. As shows come and go in popularity, the history of television shows us how our society has changed. Joe Moran's Armchair Nation: An Intimate History of Britain in Front of the TV reveals the fascinating, lyrical and sometimes surprising history of telly, from the first demonstration of television by John Logie Baird (in Selfridges) to the fear and excitement that greeted its arrival in households (some viewers worried it might control their...
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Postfeminism & Contemporary Hollywood Cinema

Postfeminism & Contemporary Hollywood Cinema

Much ground has been covered in terms of (post)feminist analyses of popular film and television, and box office successes such as Bridget Jones's Diary and television phenomena such as Sex and the City have become established parts of the now canonical critical texts on postfeminism, media and popular culture. By analyzing the negotiation of femininities and masculinities within contemporary Hollywood cinema, by charting trends in film production and media reception, and by focusing on the largely neglected intersections between postfeminism and queer theory,Postfeminism and Contemporary Hollywood Cinema presents diverse interrogations of popular cinema. The chapters in this collection position contemporary commercial production as a space where female empowerment is both celebrated and undermined, and signal the necessity of further debate surrounding the formation of gender identity in postmillennial Hollywood cinema. You can purchase print and electronic copies of this publication and find out more about the contributions collected in it here....
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Dr Gerry Smyth Wins Prestigious Essay Competition

Dr Gerry Smyth Wins Prestigious Essay Competition

Dr Gerry Smyth from LJMU's English Department has won a UK and Ireland essay competition. The essay entitled ‘Place-naming and Space-knowing: An Analysis of Two Irish Poems’ has won the Society for Name Studies in Britain and Ireland Essay Competition for 2012. The judges commented: "This is an intelligently written and thoughtful essay, which offers a sustained analysis of the use of the term tuaim in ‘Suibne the Lunatic’ and Seamus Heaney’s ‘Toome’." ...
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Nineteenth-Century Periodicals Research Day

Nineteenth-Century Periodicals Research Day

On November 8th 2013 LJMU held the Nineteenth-Century Periodicals Research Day. Organised by Brian Maidment (English), Val Stevenson (Library), and Clare Horrocks (Media, Culture, and Communication), the symposium generated a forum in which many of the contemporary issues relevant to periodical research could be discussed. In addition the event celebrated ‘Punch Re-Rooted’—the new archive collection and exhibition of nineteenth-century periodicals at the Aldham Robarts Library. The first speaker was James Baker from the British Library’s digital research department. James’s presentation emphasised the advanced ways in which Digital Humanities enables us to engage with primary source material and how these modern research methods may lead to opening up and crafting a new canon. Next up was Jonathan Canfield (English, LJMU). Jonathan’s study of Arthur Conan Doyle’s work for The Strand Magazine was helpful in evaluating my own approach to archival research. Focusing on a specific period of The Strand’s publication Jonathan identified a transition in the voice of the magazine as it...
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Professor Joe Moran’s ‘Intimate History’ of British TV Gets Rave Reviews

Professor Joe Moran’s ‘Intimate History’ of British TV Gets Rave Reviews

Professor of English and Cultural History, Joe Moran, has just released his latest book, ‘Armchair Nation: An Intimate History of Britain in Front of the TV’, which tells the story of television over the generations. A follow-up to his critically-acclaimed book, ‘Queuing for Beginners’, Joe’s fascinating and perceptive observations on British life chart viewing habits and programme developments throughout the years, covering major milestones such as the Queen’s Coronation and the first televised FA Cup Final in 1953, the first moon landing, telly going colour, Ted Heath’s proposed 10.30pm TV curfew in 1973, the popularity of the Sopranos and US imports of the ‘naughties’ and the impact shows like the X Factor has had on the viewing public. Read a full review of the book here from Saturday’s Observer Commenting on the book, Joe said: "It’s not so much a history of TV as a history of watching TV. The challenge for me was to write about something that is such an everyday feature of...
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Punch Ledgers Launch

Punch Ledgers Launch

Valerie Stevenson, Head of Research and Learner Support at LJMU's Aldham Roberts Learning Resource Centre, introduced the Punch and the Victorian Periodical Press Collection. A satirical magazine, Punch or the London Charivari ran from 1841-2002. It was printed weekly in a standardised format, containing text and image. It is a highly useful resource in that the magazines can be used to give context to literary or historical moments. For example, the case of Jack the Ripper and serial killers in London give historical insight into the social concerns surrounding the novella Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde. It can also be used solely on its own merits, as a primary resource. Liverpool John Moores’ database of the Punch Ledgers, on which Clare Horrocks has been working for a number of years,  offers a special insight into the inner workings of Punch. As Clare demonstrated, the Ledgers, and their digitised excel counterparts,  contain such details as the names of contributors, their pay, the...
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Research Seminar: Feeling Cold: Phenomenology, Spatiality, & The Politics of Sensation

Research Seminar: Feeling Cold: Phenomenology, Spatiality, & The Politics of Sensation

En route to this week’s research seminar, I begin to fancy I understand a lot about ‘feeling cold’ and very little about spatiality. Icy needles of relentless rain drip down my neck and flood my shoes while the Dean Walters building seems to have mysteriously relocated to a space far further from my new job at London Road than I had remembered. Still, I scurry on through sodden Liverpool, crashing through the door thankfully just in time to catch the beginning of Stephanie Clare’s thoughtful and stimulating first paper of seminar season. And not a moment too soon. Stephanie has a lot of ground to cover with us this evening and she carefully guides us through her interesting and challenging concept by dividing her paper into three distinct sections. Using examples from Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks and Sandra L Bartky’s work on feminism and phenomenology; she shows how characters who become suddenly aware of being objectified in some way,...
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