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Durham University

Department of English Studies

Inventions of the Text Seminar Series

Inventions of the Text complements our Research Seminar series. Inventions is organised by a team of postgraduate researchers, and combines papers by academics from Durham and beyond with presentations by PhD students. Seminars run roughly every couple of weeks during term time, with around eight or nine events a year. After each seminar, attendees are welcome to socialise with the speaker(s) over dinner. They are generally for University staff and students, although sometimes open to the public.

Forthcoming Inventions of the Text Seminars

Inventions of the Text

Staff Roundtable

16th October 2019, 17:30 to 19:00, Seminar Room, Hallgarth House, Dr. Venetia Bridges, Dr. Gillian Skinner, Dr. Abbie Garrington and Dr. Daniel Grausam

Do you ever wonder what members of staff in the Department of English Studies are researching? Do you wish there was an opportunity to learn about it and network in a relaxed and friendly environment? Are you planning to pursue PhD study and would like to find out about potential supervisors? Postgraduates and Staff in English Studies need look no further.

Inventions of the Text is pleased to invite you to a Durham Staff Rountable with Dr. Venetia Bridges, Dr. Gillian Skinner, Dr. Abbie Garrington and Dr. Daniel Grausam, who will give us an overview of their current research projects. There will be time for questions at the end, and we hope to continue the conversation over a drink at The Vic. PG students and staff welcome!

Please see below some information on the research projects to be discussed:

Dr. Venetia Bridges (more information to follow)

Dr. Gillian Skinner (more information to follow)

Dr. Abbie Garrington - The Modernist Fidget
Gathering a corpus of fidget figures in the early twentieth century, this project suggests that fidgeting is the quintessential gesture, or gestural set, for the modernist period. Understood as both pathological response to life under capitalism, and as a scratch ground for creative practice and therefore the source of resistance to just such a life (since a fidget is, if it is anything, a gesture that makes nothing), fidgeting is much remarked upon in literary texts, and in the wider public discourse at this time. Just as fidgeting takes place on the peripheries of the body, so is the fidget figure pushed to the social margins, contrasted with a centralised military and governmental discourse of steady handedness and corporeal rigidity. Considering the work of Virginia Woolf, Rainer Maria Rilke, D. H. Lawrence and Charlie Chaplin amongst others, my project uses fidgeting to parse broader questions about gesture, attention and agency and draws notice to peculiar and often overlooked acts of bodily rebellion, while also thinking about writing's capacity to fidget, fret and fiddle in the modernist years.

Dr. Daniel Grausam - Half Lives: American Culture and the Atomic State after 1989
Despite the optimistic hopes that accompanied the events of 1989, recent history has given us ample evidence that the end of the Cold War didn’t put the nuclear genie back in its bottle, and Half Lives is the first sustained interdisciplinary study of the ways in which post-Cold War American culture remains haunted by this persistence of the atomic age. Half Lives has three goals: the first is to reveal the pervasive presence of nuclear concerns in contemporary (post-1989) American cultural production; the second is to suggest that this presence should lead us to think in new ways about how we periodize recent culture, especially in relation to 1989 and 9/11; and the third is to demonstrate that the complex questions posed by the bomb and nuclear waste are perhaps best addressed through the resources of fictional aesthetic production.

We hope you will be able to join us for this exciting event!

Beatriz, Hope and Francesco
(Conveners of Inventions of the Text 2019-20)

Contact inventionsofthetext@gmail.com for more information about this event.

Related Links


Past Inventions of the Text Seminars