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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.

ModCon Postgraduate Research Forum

29th January 2019, 18:00 to 19:00, ER147, Olly Teregulova and Alice Smith

The Modern and Contemporary Literature Network (ModCon)’s first informal postgraduate research forum is themed around ‘Non-Linear Time'.

Olly Teregulova, ‘H. G. Wells’s A Modern Utopia as Board Game’

This paper explores H. G. Wells’s rhizomatic conception of time in A Modern Utopia (1905)— through the hermeneutical framework of a board game. For the philosopher Giles Deleuze, rhizomatic thought is that which counters the arboreal (linear) structure of Western thinking. He viewed evolution, history, philosophy, time, and thought itself as non-linear but taking the form of the rhizome. Board games— as a genre— are able to convey the rhizomatic nature of a universal history— they are both inside and outside time and structurality. In dissecting the paracosm of A Modern Utopia through the framework of a board game, this paper analyses the ludological techniques, conventions, and structures of the narrative, exploring characters as ‘players’, the setting of the text as the tabletop, the plot as gameplay, and other aspects such as the currency, the index, and the role of the narrator as grandmaster.

Alice Smith, ‘Indian Corn and Harvest Moons: Cycle and Guilt in American AgriLit’

This talk will particularly focus on corn, otherwise known as maize or Indian Corn. Since the colonial era, corn has come to facilitate and simultaneously represent economic, spiritual and imperial security, a dynamic crystallised in Betty Fussell’s assertion that ‘high corn is an index of national success.’ Placing a variety of canonical texts as well as examples of horror and science fiction into dialogue with each other, I will demonstrate that throughout the 20th- and 21st-centuries, writers have increasingly explored a darker set of alternate associations, in which the cultivation of corn evidences the unjust seizure of Native American land, alongside anthropocentric abuse of the environment. I will argue that the cyclical notions also encoded into crop imagery, allows corn imagery to be deployed in order to explore anxieties centring on retribution and invasion.

Contact a.s.thampuran@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.


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