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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.

Storytelling as Time Travel and ‘Out of time’: Counter Futures in Contemporary Black Fiction and Art

19th June 2017, 18:00 to 20:00, Palace Green Library, Professor Simon James and Dr Jennifer Terry

A double bill of evening talks, to complement the exhibition, Time Machine.

Storytelling as Time Travel, with Professor Simon James

Time travel is not only a theme of modern-day science fiction stories such as Dr Who, but has been a property of storytelling for as long as stories have existed. Professor Simon J. James, Head of Department of English Studies at Durham University, discusses how narrative itself is a kind of time travel and how Victorian authors like Charles Dickens, Alfred Tennyson and H.G. Wells, and present-day science-fiction, utopian and dystopian writers use the freedom to travel in time not only to tell wonderful stories, but to look to reshape the world in the present and the future.

‘Out of time’: Counter Futures in Contemporary Black Fiction and Art, with Dr Jennifer Terry

Being ahead of one’s time or being out of one’s time are of interest to both artist Ellen Gallagher and novelist Octavia Butler. Often labelled Afrofuturist, a term Kodwo Eshun links to a critical ‘intervention within the dimension of the predictive,’ their work offers speculative visions that challenge conventional ideas of temporal order, of progress, and of who gets to define and belong in the narrative of the future. Jennifer Terry from Durham University’s English Studies department explores time lapse, time travel and forms of historical archive or time capsule within Butler’s fiction and Gallagher’s art. She asks how, in worlds where time has run out, play with time through story and the recovery of counter futures, open up understandings of power and time, and the possibility of change.

There will be a charge of £12.50 for this special event, which includes a visit to the exhibition and a glass of wine. The exhibition will be open for viewing before 6pm and throughout the event. Booking is essential via Event Durham. To book, click here.

Contact for more information about this event.


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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