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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Jenny Cheshire Lecture 2024 | Prof. Crispin Thurlow

When: Friday, May 31, 2024, 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM
Where: ArtsTwo Lecture Theatre, Mile End Campus


The Department of Linguistics welcomes Prof. Crispin Thurlow (University of Bern) for his lecture entitled Finding value in waste: Language, materiality, and the stuff of words as the next instalment in our Jenny Cheshire Lecture Series. Guests must order a free ticket

The lecture will be followed by a reception in the ArtsTwo foyer with drinks and light snacks.

The Jenny Cheshire Lecture series was founded in 2010 to mark the retirement of Professor Jenny Cheshire FBA. Jenny is a founding member of the QMUL Linguistics department and holds a unique place in the wider community. She has made and continues to make uniquely influential contributions in the areas of grammatical variation, especially syntax and discourse structures, language in education, with a focus on conversational narratives and spoken English, adolescent speech, and especially the identification and documentation of Multicultural London English. 

This year we welcome Prof. Crispin Thurlow for this public lecture, open to the wider Linguistics community. The lecture is a celebration not just of Jenny's unique place in our field, but also a friendly social gathering to mark the end of the academic year.  
Crispin Thurlow is Professor of Language and Communication at the University of Bern, Switzerland. His most recent books are The Business of Words: Linguists, Wordsmiths, and Other Language Workers and Visualizing Digital Discourse. He serves on the editorial boards of journals such as Language in Society, Linguistic Landscape, Critical Discourse Studies, and Visual Communication. He is currently directing a four-year project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation titled Articulating Rubbish: A Sociolinguistic Approach to the “Crisis of Waste”.

Lecture abstract
Whether it’s called trash, garbage, junk, refuse, detritus, or just rubbish, waste is undoubtedly a matter of ecological concern; as such, my talk considers the role of language in this “crisis of waste”. Waste is a phenomenon which pushes at the edges of language in epistemologically and methodologically important ways. On the one hand, language plays a powerful role in naming and categorising the stuff we throw away; as such, words not only define what waste is and isn’t but also help produce, maintain, and regulate everyday practices of waste-making. On the other hand, waste exists besides words as a fully material, spatial, and sensory practice; as such, it is also a non-representational experience. For this reason, precisely, my colleagues and I have been exploring the possibility of a hauntological approach to words and things.

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