Images of tradition

Robert Eaglestone from Royal Holloway discusses the roles that the idea of ‘tradition’ plays at an upcoming Language and Communication Research Seminar.

Date: Thursday 8th December 2016

Time: 15.00-16.00

Location: Room CG83 [PLEASE NOTE UPDATED ROOM NUMBER], College Building, Middlesex University, London, NW4 4BT

‘Tradition’ is invoked all the time in many different contexts and for many different and often opposing reasons. It seems an especially important term for scholarship, in pedagogy and in literature (where, for example, ‘genre’ is a marker of tradition). Yet what ‘tradition’ is, in the abstract – if it can be seen in the abstract –  is rarely discussed.

The aim of this exploratory paper is to try to examine some of the different senses through which ‘tradition’ is invoked and what these might mean in terms what we owe to, take on from or reject from traditions. Traditions can be ‘just what we do’; authentic or invented; threads or ropes; things handed on; things taken up; a conversation; a root or enrootedness; an obligation; a chain; a language.  By looking at these metaphors of tradition and what is implied, this talk aims to think about the roles that the idea of ‘tradition’ plays.


Professor Robert Eaglestone is Professor of Contemporary Literature and Thought at Royal Holloway, University of London.  He works on contemporary literature and literary theory, contemporary philosophy and on Holocaust and Genocide studies. He is the author or editor of several books and Series Editor of Routledge Critical Thinkers.

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