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Durham University

Department of English Studies

July 2012 Prospective Postgraduate Newsletter

Conference Season

Whilst undergraduate students head home, the summer vacation is traditionally the time when academic conferences are held. The Department of English Studies supports a number of conferences run by and for postgraduate students.

Already July has seen a major conference on the modernist poet Basil Bunting, which was organised by four PhD researchers. Basil Bunting lived and worked in the Northeast of England and is a key figure of study within the Department, which hosts the Basil Bunting Poetry Centre. The annual conference of the postgraduate Medieval and Early Modern Student Association attracted researchers from across the country, to discuss the theme of Transition and Transformation.

The Department of English Studies was also involved in an internal postgraduate workshop run by the interdisciplinary Centre for Sex, Gender and Sexualities.

Presentations to Publications

Presentations at academic conferences can often be turned into publication opportunities. The Department offers two in-house means through which postgraduates can disseminate their written work after attending conferences.

English Literature PhD researchers edit and run the international postgraduate journal, Postgraduate English. The twenty-fifth issue of the journal will be a special issue on Basil Bunting and Friends, and will feature selected papers from July's conference on the poet.

Students are also able to contribute responses to Durham conferences on the Department's blog, Research in English At Durham (READ). For example, MA student Costanza Sharpa recently attended the Department's one-day workshop on eighteenth-century letters and journals, and she subsequently posted a report which can now be viewed and commented on by academics from around the world.

Durham University people

Current MA student Gareth Evans gave the opening paper at the conference of the Nordic Gender Network held in Durham, 6-8 July . His address, on "Eradicating Saintly Subjectivity: Gender and Pain in Two Old Icelandic Sagas," was very well received by an audience of established academics from across Scandinavia.

As Gareth's involvement in this conference shows, students taking a taught MA, as well as those studying for research degrees, in the Department of English Studies are encouraged to participate in national and international academic events at the highest level.

Reading Lists

If you are applying to take a taught MA, you should recently have received an email containing your reading lists for your chosen modules. If you have not received your reading list, or you have any other enquiries, please contact Marie Caygill at in the first instance. The office will be closed at some points; if you need a response at such times please contact Dr David Ashurst at

Remember that if you are leaving another university this summer to come to Durham, your old institutional email address may expire, so it is important that you update your details so that we can continue to keep in touch with you before you arrive. If you need to do this, email or