The long stories of short tales: genes, languages and the evolution of folk traditions

The Language and Communication Research cluster is delighted to welcome the acclaimed anthropologist Dr Jamie Tehrani (Durham University) for a presentation on the long stories of short tales: genes, languages and the evolution of folk traditions.

When? Monday 13th November 2017, 16.30 – 18.00

Where? Room C138 (College building), Middlesex University, Hendon campus

Many fairy tales are believed to be derived from oral folk traditions, some of which exhibit remarkable continuities across cultures. Versions of Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood – to take two famous examples – have been recorded in places as diverse as Italy, England, China and Antigua. The question of when and where these so-called “international tale types” originated and how they spread is one that has preoccupied folkorists since the time of the Brothers Grimm. In this talk I will show how some answers can be gleaned by integrating cross-cultural patterns in folktales with data from population genetics and historical linguistics. I will also discuss some of the cultural and psychological properties that might make certain kinds of stories particularly “catchy” and memorable, enabling them to survive the wear-and-tear of oral transmission over so many generations and across such vast distances”

Biography

Jamie Tehrany’s research focuses on how culture evolves as it gets transmitted from person to person and from generation to generation. He is interested in understanding what makes some things catch on, others die out, and how these processes shape patterns of cultural diversity within and across populations. Dr Tehrany was trained in Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics (1995 – 1999) and gained a Master’s degree in Human Evolution and Behaviour at University College London (2000). He remained at UCL to study for a PhD in Anthropology (2005), writing his thesis on the transmission of craft traditions in Iranian tribal groups. In 2006 he took up a postdoctoral research fellowship at the AHRC Centre for the Evolution of Cultural Diversity (CECD) at University College London, before joining Durham in 2007 as a RCUK Fellow, where he was appointed as a Lecturer in Anthropology in 2012, and then Senior Lecturer in 2014. His current work focuses mainly on the transmission of popular narratives, such as traditional folktales, urban legends and modern day conspiracy theories.

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

A Viewpoint is more than a Point of View: ‘Shades of Light’ and City Poetry

The Language and Communication Research cluster is delighted to welcome the acclaimed poet Mary Coghill for a poetry reading/presentation on A Viewpoint is more than a Point of View: ‘Shades of Light’ and City Poetry.

When? Wednesday 14 February 2018, 16.00 – 17.30

Where? Room BG09A (Building 9), Middlesex University, Hendon campus

For this poet, the definition of what might be called a ‘city poetic’ is ongoing.  The understanding of a viewpoint – from what angle the poet sees what is going on around him or her – is central.  The focused use of techniques and imagery which are sympathetic to the demands made by the city environment on those who live in the city day by day, night by night, is also crucial.  This presentation will examine, both through the examination of poetic theory and with examples from Shades of Light, how some of these issues are represented and interpreted, including through the use of Adobe Indesign software.

20130022111658img01Biography: Dr Mary Coghill
Creative Writing MA Plymouth University (2005) which included the narrative poem Designed to Fade (2006) Shearsman Books.

Creative Writing PhD from The London Metropolitan University (2011) with Professor Paul Cobley as Director of Studies: ‘A Theory and Praxis of a City Poetic: Jakobson, Poetic Function and City Space; Women, Deixis and the Narrator: A City Poem: ‘Shades of Light: A Triumph of City’; poem published (2012) www.cityofpoetry.co.uk

Visiting Research Fellowship at the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Studies, University of London (2014-17) included Assay of Blood and Gold: London (2017) www.cityofpoetry.co.uk and theoretical work on Jakobson and Metonymy.

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

Rhyme and Reason: “creative criticism” and thinking in verse

The Language and Communication Research cluster is pleased to welcome you to the first event of our 2017-18 series: a talk and poetry reading by poet, philosopher and literary critic Christopher Norris.

When? Wednesday 18 October 2017, 16.00 – 17.30

Where? Room C223, College building, Middlesex University, Hendon campus

This talk will take the form of a poetry-reading with introductory remarks and a running commentary. The latter will invite reflection on the varied possibilities of thinking creatively in and through verse, especially formal (i.e., rhyming and metrical) verse. It will focus on the kinds of intellectual stimulus offered by such formal constraints, and the way that exigencies of structure can liberate the mind from routine or predictable patterns of thought.

The philosophical verse-essay has suffered an eclipse since its high-point in the English eighteenth-century, along with the very idea of poetry as a discursive or rationally-oriented discourse-genre. That idea has been displaced by the Romantic and Modernist emphasis on metaphor and symbol as supra-rational (hence ‘properly’ poetic) modes of imaginative thought. Christopher’s poetry takes a sharply opposed view of the prospects for at least one perfectly viable and, he would argue, not in the least anachronistic kind of verse-practice.

Brief bio:

chris-norrisChristopher Norris is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Cardiff University. He is the author of more than thirty books on topics in philosophy, literary theory, music, and intellectual history. These include, most recently, Badiou’s Being and Event: a reader’s guide (Continuum) and Philosophy Outside-In (Edinburgh U.P.). More recently he has been writing philosophical poetry with a main focus on the extended verse-essay as a mode of creative criticism.

Three collections have appeared so far: The Cardinal’s Dog (2014), For the Tempus-Fugitives (2017), and The Winnowing Fan (also 2017). Of the latter Terry Eagleton wrote: ‘A major literary event . . . . Christopher Norris has reinvented the poetry of ideas for our time in this enthralling collection of unique, elegant, hugely ambitious works. It’s certainly the most fascinating collection of poems I’ve read for many a year.’

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

Language and Communication Research Seminars 2017-18

We are beyond excited to announce the line-up of speakers for our 2017-18 Language and Communication Research Seminars at our Hendon Campus:

mdx

Term 1:

Term 2:

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

Mesh: a new journal for student work

meshimage
There’s lots going on at Middlesex as we prepare for the new academic year and the arrival of the second group of students to join our new BA English programme.

One thing we’re excited about is the launch of the journal Mesh, which we expect some of our current students to submit to at some point in the future.

Here below is part of an email about it which members of its editorial board (including me, Billy Clark) have been circulating:

. . .
The first issue of Mesh, the online journal for undergraduate work across English studies, is now live at https://www.integratingenglish.com/mesh-journal following its formal launch in July at the English: Shared Futures conference (Newcastle, UK)

We are now open for submissions for the journal’s forthcoming issues.

The journal offers a great opportunity to showcase excellent undergraduate research which brings together or explores ideas relevant to two or more areas of English studies, and to illustrate the rich variety of working going on across the discipline. For example, the first issue includes:

  • an essay combining book publishing history and author studies on the not very well known writer Rose Blaze de Bury
  • a video and article on the literature, architecture and hyperreality of Hollywood
  • a co-authored project (by two students) presenting two innovative and challenging course designs, with accompanying rationales, which draw together language and literature, focusing on news and social media

Please recommend the journal to students and encourage submission, and please pass on details of the journal to colleagues to do the same.

All submissions are reviewed by the academic editorial board and all receive feedback.

Full guidance on submissions is provided on the journal’s website at:

https://www.integratingenglish.com/mesh-journal

Best wishes,

Dr. Andrea Macrae, Dr Billy Clark and Dr. Marcello Giovanelli
The Mesh Editorial team

 

Welcome 2017/18

We are getting really excited about the new academic year at Middlesex. We even have a week’s worth of welcome activities for our 2017-18 BA English cohort.

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For the film Screening on Thursday, September 28th, we are thinking of screening Ruby Sparks:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1839492/

It has literary references and explores lots of ideas relevant to work in English, e.g. about adaptation (without itself being an adaptation), creativity, and interpretation. Some things which have been seen as not fully working in the film (including about its ‘logic’) also raise interesting topics to talk about and we expect discussion also to focus on issues and questions about gender, genres, identity, value, . . . 

Do you have any better ideas?

New Partnership with Haringey Unchained

We are absolutely delighted to be the 2017-18 University partner of the Haringey Unchained. Haringey Unchained is a collective of students aiming to showcase the creative talent of Haringey Sixth Form Centre in Tottenham, London.

This collective publishes a volume of creative writing every year. Below is their 2017 collection, in collaboration with the University of Warwick.

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The collection is a great read and was launched on June 22nd, at  the final show of the Haringey Unchained and We Move Creative Arts Festival. Poetry readings were combined with dance performances inspired by the poems in the collection. Industry experts in the audience enjoyed the show as much as we did.

To find more about the work of Haringey Unchained check their website: https://haringeyunchained.wordpress.com/

We are really looking forward to working with students and staff at Haringey Sixth Form College. Our Middlesex students at BA English will work with and mentor Haringey students in editing volume 3 of Haringey Unchained.

All submissions welcome!