School of English and Drama

Upcoming Events

The School of English and Drama hosts and organises a wide variety of lectures, workshops, conferences, and seminars.

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School Events

Jay Parini Public Lecture, ‘Writing the Biographical Novel’
Thursday 23 January, 6-8pm, Queen Mary University of London

Public lecture by acclaimed American writer Jay Parini A prize-winning novelist, biographer, poet, and critic, Jay Parini’s biographical novel about Walter Benjamin, Benjamin’s Crossing, was a New York Times Notable Book in 1997. He has written biographies of John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, Gore Vidal, and Robert Frost (which won the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize in 2000). His celebrated novel about Tolstoy’s final days, The Last Station, was adapted into a film starring Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer, and James McAvoy. In 2020 Parini is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow in QMUL’s School of English and Drama; he is D. E. Axinn Professor of English and Creative Writing at Middlebury College in Vermont.


Show and Tell #11

Wednesday 5 February 2020, 6-8pm, Queen Mary University of London – ArtsOne Lecture Theatre

Show and Tell is a series of events championing inspiring mini talks from pioneering speakers across the arts, humanities and social sciences.

Follow us to see when the line up is announced:


To be confirmed

  • Drama Annual Lecture: Spring TBC
  • Lisa Jardine Annual English Lecture: Autumn TBC


Research Events


London Paris Romanticism Seminar

Friday 24 January 2020

Claire Connolly (University College Cork)

The Impending Era: Irish Romanticism Before and After the Famine

17.30-19.30  Senate House, Bloomsbury Room/ G35 (ground floor)


QUORUM Drama Postgraduate Research Seminar

Wednesday 29 January 2020, 6:00pm

Ilka Theurich: Collateral Damage – my new self

Abstract:'COLLATERAL DAMAGE - my new self' sounds like an advertisement slogan from the sports or health industry. As a promise, that you can leave the gym as a new person after just a few workouts. But underneath it transports also the desire for a change, for something new - EGO 2.0! In addition, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram offer us the opportunity to create an entirely new persona of ourselves - a virtual alter ego. This performance art based research questions narcissism and the rise of a personality disorder in our society. Since Ovid, the concept of narcissism was studied within and beyond the psychoanalytic community. But what we can observe today have reached epidemic proportions with serious political and cultural consequences.


"I listen, speak, write, perform, imagine, curate, edit, coach, fight, communicate..." Ilka Theurich's artistic work revolves around questions of the performative context of space, horizontal democracy, critical spatial practice and spatial politics. She is interested in the deployment of her social-poetical-performance-practice as a methodology in the field of critical spatial practice. She collaboratively works and consults on conceptualising and implementing performance art based research on urban planning and architecture.


English Postgraduate Research Seminar

Thursday 30 January

Dr. Christine ‘Xine’ Yao will be speaking on: 'A General Strike Against Emotional Labour: Unsympathetic Blackness, Oriental Inscrutability, and their Counterintimacies.'

How might “I don’t care” operate as self-care and open up new forms of sociality precisely because of its antisociality? I propose “unfeeling” as the term towards a methodology that refuses the demand for the marginalized to prove their affective interiorities as evidence of their humanity. In my research I argue that racialized and queer unfeeling dissents from expectations of expressive and responsive affective labour according to sentimental biopolitics. To take literally Arlie Hochschild's famous phrase "emotional labour," how might withholding in the form of unfeeling operate as a potential opening for a general strike against hegemony? In doing so, I follow from queer of colour theorist Martin Manalansan IV’s figuration of disaffection in its causal, affective, and political senses. The negativity of “unfeeling” registers how minoritarian affects are occluded in the American culture of sentiment; instead, I take this demonization of affective tactics of survival and resistance as indicative of the insurgent potential of alternative structures of feeling. I will discuss Blake; or the Huts of America (1859, 1861-2), the only novel by Martin R. Delany an early proponent of Black nationalism, and the writings of Edith Maude Eaton aka Sui Sin Far, the first Asian North American woman writer who worked at the turn of the century.

My paper then explores how the term intervenes in the inadequacies of affect theory to address race through the antisocial turn. I share how “unfeeling” brings together conversations about refusal and dissatisfaction with the universal human indebted to Wynter and da Silva by centering unsympathetic Blackness and Oriental inscrutability as two such queer, racialized genealogies that disrupt the colonial order of affectability. "Oriental inscrutability" is a recognizable phrase that suggests how that mode of East Asian unfeeling persists as a concept in the cultural imagination. Nonetheless, its relative legibility and aestheticization as opacity compares to the illegitimacy of any articulation of Black expression or inexpression which can be rendered as illegitimate, unfeeling as the opposition to universal feeling. Still, through Delany's imagining of revolutionary counterintimacies between Black, Indigenous, and even Chinese peoples against Sui Sin Far's antinationalist antisociality, I wish to think through how these modes of turning away from what Lisa Lowe calls the intimacies of four continents may converge precisely through their disaffection, a general strike against racialized affectability, enabling counterintimacies to allow insurgent structures of feeling to arise.

Dr. Christine ‘Xine’ Yao is Lecturer in American Literature in 1900 at University College London. Her book Disaffected: The Cultural Politics of Unfeeling in Nineteenth-Century America is under contract with Duke University Press with the Perverse Modernities series edited by jack Halberstam and Lisa Lowe. Her scholarly essays have appeared in J19, Occasion, and American Quarterly. Xine is the co-host of PhDivas, a podcast about academia, culture, and social justice across the STEM/humanities divide, and a judge for the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction. Her honours include the ASA Yasuo Sakakibara Essay Prize and her research has been supported by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. 

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The Ritual Turn from Tarot to Tantra

Thursday 23 January, Tate Modern

Join our very own Nisha Ramayya (Creative Writing), Candida Powell-Williams and Sarah Shin to explore ritual practices

What is driving the ritual turn in today’s poetry and art? From tarot, spells and tantra – and their relationships to today. With readings and images, the speakers will consider how mystical ideas find form in poetry and sculpture. Using the Ignota Diary, the speakers will discuss how to become more creative and focused in 2020. Nisha and Candida are contributors to the Ignota Diary 2020. The diary is a tool for everyday life, with seasonal rituals, tarot spreads and astrology charts.

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Related events

Holocaust Memorial Day in the People’s Palace: A Special Preview Performance: ‘Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski’

Monday 27 January, Queen Mary University of London

Queen Mary University London is proud to be hosting the UK premiere of a virtuoso performance by the Oscar-nominated actor David Strathairn (Good Night and Good Luck; Lincoln) in collaboration with the international charity Human Rights Watch and prestigious US-global Georgetown University.

This timely work brings to life the legacy of Jan Karski, a Polish Catholic World War II hero, Holocaust witness, and late beloved professor at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service. Together, we will explore the enduring lessons of Karski’s extraordinary life — especially his belief in humanity, even in the darkest times.

The evening includes a panel discussion and live Q&A with the Director, Actor, politician and human rights expert Baroness Arminka Helic, and Queen Mary’s Penny Green, Professor of Law and specialist in the study of genocide and state crime.

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Past Events

Anticolonial Hong Kong? Reflections on Revolutions of our Times

Wednesday 15 January, Institute of Advanced Study UCL

Pragya Dhital (English – British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow) chairs this urgent debate around protests in Hong Kong:

‘The 2019 Hong Kong protests have reinvigorated the city’s sense of political purpose. They are also part of a larger, global set of protests, including Beirut and Kashmir, which raise significant questions for the contemporary moment. The Hong Kong protests claim to be a ‘revolution for our times’: what does ‘revolution’ look like, and how might these protests offer a clear assessment of ‘our times’? How do the Hong Kong protests demand that we revisit the twentieth-century vocabulary of anti-imperialism — decolonisation, liberation, anticolonialism, revolution — for a twenty-first-century world? What types of revolutionary thinking is required for ‘our times’, and what role do the 2019 protests play in revising anti-imperial critique?’ Book tickets


Queen Mary Centre for Religion

Shiva Mihan (Harvard),

“An Art of Subtlety: Fingernail Works in the 19th-Century Persianate World”

Time: 5.15-6.45pm, Wednesday 22 January 2020

Place: Queen Mary University of London, Mile End campus, ArtsTwo, 2.18*

This talk introduces the Persian technique of fingernail art and the masterpieces of preserved in albums from the Qajar period (c.1781-c.1900). Shiva Mihan is Schroeder Curatorial Fellow at Harvard Art Museums, where she researches Islamic art, Persian arts of the book, and codicology. Recent publications include essays on Prince Baysunghur’s Library in Herat.

All are welcome.



21-22 January, Katzpace

Alumni Joseph Winer and Eilis Price are putting on their play Pictland, a political comedy which deconstructs democracy at Katzpace in January. The cast includes Alice Hope Wilson (English & Drama grad), Huw Landauer (Drama grad), Andrew Atha (Drama second year), Shavariya Padayachee (Law final year), with Caelan Oram as technical designer (Drama second year) and Roma Radford on Stage Management (History grad).

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