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Durham University


Our Uncommon Ground

Modern Languages and Cultures for the 21st Century

International Conference

Durham University

16–18 April 2018

Our Uncommon Ground: Modern Languages and Cultures for the 21st Century will present and debate cutting-edge research carried out in the field, highlighting the pressing ethical imperatives for the study of Modern Languages and Cultures as a diverse and yet coherent discipline in a world which is increasingly - and acrimoniously - divided. There has never been a more important time to articulate and embrace the values of a discipline equipped to study cultures and their interactions in historical perspective.

As one of the broadest constituencies of its kind in the UK, Modern Languages and Cultures at Durham University wishes to bring together a wide spectrum of education and research activities and interests that cross historical, geographical and methodological boundaries both within and well beyond the discipline and academia. To achieve this, this 3 day conference will host a number of keynote addresses, plenary panel sessions, over 20 parallel panel sessions and other related activities. Conference attendees will be able to hear about, discuss and debate the current state and future direction of the discipline.

Speakers who have provisionally confirmed their presence include world-famous author and Director of the Biblioteca Nacional of Argentina Alberto Manguel, the AHRC Leadership Fellow for Modern Languages Professor Janice Carruthers and former Vice-President of the British Academy Professor Nigel Vincent. The conference will involve further representatives of UCLM, AULC, IMLR and of the main subject associations of Modern Languages in the UK, and will be followed by the conference of UK Lingua, to be held also in Durham on 20-21 April 2018.

These are some of the themes that will be debated at the conference.

  • The practice and cultural value of reading in different languages
  • Shared territories: Modern Languages in/and the Humanities
  • Modern Languages and the Sciences
  • Ecocriticism in its historical dimension
  • Modern Languages and Cultures: the visual and performative dimension
  • European and World cinema
  • East/West cultural exchanges and synergies
  • Notions of citizenship, displacement, intercultural communication
  • The challenge of poetry in ages of cultural globalisation
  • Philology and the transmission of knowledge
  • Philology as a discipline of difference
  • The transnational dimension in Modern Language teaching
  • Medieval and early modern languages and cultures: a doubly foreign country
  • Strengthening the link School-University
  • UK library and archive collections in languages other than English: challenges and opportunities
  • Literature and ethics
  • The role(s) of translation
  • Modern Languages, Linguistics and research evaluation in the UK context