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School of English and Drama

Research Seminar


QMCECS offers a programme of early evening seminars with speakers from a range of disciplines. We have six seminars a year, and recent speakers have included Sophie Gee (Princeton), Chloe Wigston-Smith (York), Karen Harvey (Birmingham), and Suvir Kaul (Penn). For a list of speakers in the last five years see the seminar archive.


Winter 2021 Programme   

*Seminars will be available both digitally and in person: sign up links will be here and on the mailing list a fortnight before each event. 

19 October. Nicole Aljoe (Northeastern), ‘Racing the Rise of the Novel: Black Lives and the Development of the English Novel from 1688-1832’. Chair: Markman Ellis. 17:30 (UK Time). 

This talk comes from a larger study that aims to analyze the complex relationships between the development of the novel and narratives of Black lives in Britain during the long 18th-century (1688-1837), as well as contribute to conversations about the impact of notions of race and empire on the development of the novel in Europe during this time. Tracking the representations of Black lives across novels and other texts throughout the century highlights the ways in which Black and White writers used these representations to engage particular questions not only about the aesthetics and form of the new genre, but also important attendant questions about notions of subjectivity and human rights. The appearance of a range of black characters and protagonists in early European writings over the course of the century provides a useful framework for revealing an/Other story of the development of the novel that complicates the often nativist and frequently exclusive narratives of the “rise” of the genre that continue to dominate in the field. In essence, this talk aims to explore what happens when Watt’s “rise of the novel” model is “recast” with a focus on Black texts.

16 November. Stella Tillyard, 'The Red Line and the Blue Sea: Five Lives in Revolutionary Times, 1774-1821'. Chair: Miles Ogborn.

This seminar is an opportunity for discussion of Stella Tillyard’s ongoing work for a new book on the interconnected lives and Atlantic crossings of five men: Tom Paine, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, Anthony Small, Lord Castlereagh and General Charles O'Hara. Stella will briefly present the book’s key ideas and the protagonists and their interrelationships. We will then invite questions, reflections, contributions and discussion of the issues raised, including: combining biography and Atlantic history; understandings of eighteenth-century politics and culture; empire, revolution and reaction; masculinity, race and power; and whatever others bring to the table.

30 November. David O'Shaughnessy (Galway NUI). ‘Accounting for taste: the business of Georgian theatre’. Chair: Will Bowers