Speaking at The Third Annual Edinburgh Undergraduate Literature Conference by Angelica Hill

On Sunday 19th February I headed off to King’s Cross Train Station to catch an 11 o’clock train up to Edinburgh for the Annual Edinburgh Undergraduate Literature Conference. The theme of this conference was “Diversion and Connection”, and Queen Mary’s School of English and Drama had generously sponsored my travel and accommodation for the event. I had four long hours alone on the train to go over, and over, and over, my presentation, getting progressively more nervous and apprehensive. Since I wasn’t presenting until the following morning I tried to take my mind off my nerves by working on other things too.

I got into Edinburgh at about 4 o’clock in the evening, dropped my things at the cheap hotel I had found 5 minutes from the station, and spent the evening walking around the city. I hadn’t been to Edinburgh before. It is beautiful! If I were to give you one piece of advice when attending conferences outside of London, aside from making the most of the intellectual and academic opportunities, it would be to be a tourist. I really enjoyed taking the time to explore the city, the university and to learn a little about the area. It was great to see where fellow students are making their work. Edinburgh has such a rich literary, artistic, and cultural landscape that it was exciting to have the chance to be there for a little bit.

I had submitted a proposal in January this year to speak about my 3rd year dissertation research into Shakespeare’s glorification of the 17th Century concept of “Englishness” in his trilogy of Henry VI plays. These plays were produced in the 1590s but stage the struggles and bloodshed of the 1420s-1470s amongst the English and between the English and French. Shakespeare emphasizes the differences and divisions between the English/ foreigners (the French); men/ women and Church of England/ Catholics.  With only 15 minutes to speak, I focused on the presentation of gender and, in particular, on the characterisations of Joan of Arc and Margaret of Anjou in the plays. I considered both the Elizabethan context and the modern-day resonance of the gender and xenophobia issues. In today’s post-Brexit Trumpian world this work contributes to wider urgent conversations around cultural appropriation, nationalism, and the portrayal of other ethnicities, sexes, and religions.

The conference divided into three sections. The first section of the day consisted of two groups of undergraduates (including myself) presenting literature papers ranging from The Medieval and Shakespeare to 18th and 19th Century writers. Speakers spoke about Virginia Woolf and the progression of feminist theory; the contrast between the representation of male and female desire in Troubadour poetry; the way Merlin and King Arthur are presented in Medieval literature; as well as an exploration of the boom in children’s literature during the Victorian era. My presentation went well which was a relief. Everyone reacted viscerally to the photo montage of Trump, Farage, Wilders, May, and others, with which I concluded my presentation. I was delighted that this resonance of the ideas with current issues provoked lots of conversation and I had some really stimulating questions about crossover work and ideas from other peers presenting.

After the tea break (where I am unashamed to say I stuffed my face on all the cakes, cookies, and free coffee ), another two panels of undergraduates spoke firstly about 20th Century Literature, and then International Literature. The speakers in this section spoke about the relation between the genocide of Australian aboriginal people and Jewish people in the Holocaust through literature (with this speaker having flown in from Canada); the dichotomy between the East and West as expressed through Arab literature, with a specific focus on the work of Rabih Alameddine, Chinese language internet literature, and the struggles of national identity and sexuality in Mexican literature.

The day concluded after lunch (again free and plentiful) with a Postgraduate Panel talking about their research in Universities including Edinburgh, York, Durham, Oxford, Cambridge, Canada and Spain, the benefits of postgraduate study. We also heard from the conference Keynote Speaker, Dr Richard Walsh from the University of York, about narrative structure and wonder.

Attending this conference was beneficial in three key ways: firstly, it was great practice presenting and discussing my research with fellow literary scholars who could identify and question gaps in my research and suggest theorists and texts I could explore to broaden and deepen my research; secondly, it was a great opportunity to hear about other sections of literary research which I would have otherwise not had the opportunity to hear about; and thirdly, it is extremely enjoyable to meet with fellow literature lovers and hear about other university courses, and experiences as I go on to consider the possibility of Masters degrees and further academic study in the future. There was a lot of free food, coffee, tea, and wine to drown our nerves with, and everyone was really friendly and constructive. I have set up an online group for participants where we have already shared our written papers and exchanged messages since the conference. I hope to keep in touch with them.

It was an honour to represent Queen Mary’s English Department at the conference, which has an open application policy.  I would recommend other students to make an application to attend next year.

In the meantime, The Centre for Early Modern Studies at King’s College London is holding a Bodies in Motion in the Early Modern World Conference this June. Worth trying to go to it, or there is also the opportunity to submitting a poster, linked to a paper of yours, for presentation at the conference. If you’re interested email cemsconference@gmail.com.

Win tickets to a special event at Shakespeare’s Globe with Jerry Brotton #SEDbookforlife

We were reading this rather excellent article for World Book Day (2 March) on Huck Magazine’s website about books that have the power to transform our lives.

So we decided to launch a competition on World Book Day 2017 to celebrate the books that transform us.

We’ve got 3 prizes to give away to celebrate the launch of our very own Jerry Brotton’s :

  • 1 x This Orient Isle paperback + 2 x tickets to A Wheeling and Extravagant Stranger: Othello, Elizabeth and Islam event with Jerry Brotton on Thursday 9 March.
  • 2 runners up prizes of 2 x tickets to Jerry Brotton’s event (detailed above).

TO ENTER TO WIN SIMPLY ANSWER THIS:

Which book has transformed your life?

Tweet with the hashtag #SEDbookforlife:

.

Or email us: sed-web@qmul.ac.uk with your name and answer.


Information about the event

For generations race has defined interpretations of Othello. Important though this tradition has been in addressing issues like civil rights and apartheid, Jerry Brotton will argue in this talk that current preoccupations with race obscure how Elizabethan England’s religious and imperial relations with the Islamic world shaped the dramatic action of plays like Othello.

In close readings of key passages (Othello’s ‘travel’s history’, the ‘Willow song’ scene and Othello’s last speech), Professor Brotton offers a new interpretation of the play that resonates with our current anxieties about religious extremism, immigration and cosmopolitanism.

To learn more, read Jerry Brotton’s blog ‘On Othello, Elizabeth and Islam’.

“Where better to speak about Othello and its reflection of our current global predicament than at a place called the Globe? Such predicaments are now understood as much through debates about faith and belonging as race…”

Terms and conditions: Competition closes on Tuesday 7 March at 5pm GMT. The competition is open to anyone based in the UK. 3 winners will be selected to win a prize. There are 3 prizes available of:

  • 1 x This Orient Isle paperback + 2 x tickets to A Wheeling and Extravagant Stranger: Othello, Elizabeth and Islam event with Jerry Brotton on Thursday 9 March.
  • 2 runners up prizes of 2 x tickets to Jerry Brotton’s event (detailed above).

 

#SEDweekly – Events and Opportunities Digest – Wednesday 1 March 2017

Here’s our latest events and opportunities we’ve sourced that are coming up in the next week (from Thursday to Wednesday).

Please do get in touch if you have any listings for our next edition.

Events

 

THIS WEEK

English PGR Seminar Series: David Higgins | Thu 2 March | QMUL, Mile End

We welcome Dr. David Higgins to our English Postgraduate Research Seminar for a session entitled: ‘Planets turn to ashes’: Byron, Climate Change, and Extinction.

For more SED events see our calendar here

 

Jobs & Paid Internships

No listings this week.

Opportunities & Volunteering

New Diorama Theatre Artist Development Programme

“New Diorama Theatre has just launched the search for the best six graduating, or recently graduated, companies from across the UK to take part on our artist development programme 2017.

Companies taking part showcase their work at New Diorama, receiving 100% of their box office and a series of workshops lead by industry professionals on subjects such as Marketing, Access, Finances, Charity status, Fundraising and producing amongst others. They also receive the support of New Diorama Theatre’s staff team over the course of the whole year, and beyond!

Companies have gone on from the course to be part of the Emerging Companies programme, which has featured companies such as LOST WATCH, BREACH THEATRE and SMOKE AND OAKUM, who are now both regular features on the New Diorama Theatre season programme.

We are looking for the next really exciting generation of theatre companies, and your course was highlighted to us as somewhere encouraging the making of unique, exciting theatre. If you know anyone who might be interested in taking part on our Graduate Emerging Companies programme, please send them this link, or ask them to get in touch with me directly and I can advise them on how to apply. https://goo.gl/rZaKEc

Companies can be within two years of graduating.”

 

Call Out For Artists for Freshly Scratched – Battersea Arts Centre | Deadline: Mon 3  Apr

“Freshly Scratched is an open platform for emerging artists to try out new ideas, in an early stage of development, in front of an audience.

We are interested in artists that push boundaries, who want to reach out to people who would not otherwise go to art centres, and we are interested in work that looks and feels new. Each idea can last anything up to ten minutes, and we usually programme six or seven pieces alongside each other, creating an evening of rough and ready flashes of inspiration.

Want to get involved? Visit our website for more information on how to apply.”

 

Calls for Papers & Contributions

Literary London Conference 2017 – Call for Papers | Deadline: Fri 17 Mar

Literary London Society is looking for papers around the theme of: ‘Fantastic London: Dream, Speculation and Nightmare’.

Details about the CfP

To add a listing to next week’s digest please email us by Monday 6 March 2017 at 5pm

We try and keep these listings as accurate as possible but errors can occur. Please check with the relevant party before going to an event or taking up an opportunity.

SED Drama Professor Jen Harvie Launches New Theatre Podcast

We’re excited to see that Jen Harvie has launched her new podcast series, which explores contemporary arts and culture with the people who make it.

The first episode which you can listen to below is with Sh!t Theatre (QMUL graduates too!) who are currently performing at Soho Theatre until 11 February.

Topics covered in the podcast range from from love to death, gentrification, friendship, money, and cardboard comets.

Find out more about Jen Harvie
Find out more about Sh!t Theatre