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Durham University

Department of English Studies

Event Archive

This is an archive of past events within the Department of English Studies. Please see our current events for forthcoming activities.

Some of our public events are recorded and are available as podcasts via our Research English At Durham blog.

Imagining Surveillance in Literature and Film: 1516-2013

10th June 2014, 17:15 to 18:15, Elvet Riverside 247, Associate Professor Peter Marks
The rocketing US sales of Nineteen Eighty-Four after Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations underline its centrality to the public imagination. This paper situates Orwell’s classic text in a long history of utopian and dystopian texts, exploring what they have contributed individually and collectively to public and scholarly understanding of surveillance. Through literary and cinematic examples from Thomas More’s Utopia (1516) to Neil Blomkamp’s Elysium (2013), it explores what ‘utopian dreaming’ in the broad sense has to tell us about the past, present and future of surveillance.
Peter Marks is Associate Professor of English at the University of Sydney, researching on the interplay between literature, cinema and politics. He is the author of British Filmmakers: Terry Gilliam (2009) and George Orwell the Essayist: Literature, Politics and the Periodical Culture (2011). He is currently completing Monitoring the Future: Surveillance in Utopian and Dystopian Literature and Cinema for Edinburgh University Press.

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Research in English At Durham (READ) blog showcasing the the literary research emerging from the Department of English Studies


We host a large number of conferences, lectures and seminars each year, many of them open to the public. Find out more on our Events page.


Many of our public lectures, seminars and conferences are recorded, and can be listened to as podcasts.

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Next Event

  • 29th January 2021
  • Title TBC
  • Online (Zoom)
  • Dr Hannah-Rose Murray (University of Edinburgh)