CFP: Transitions 9 Conference
Feb25

CFP: Transitions 9 Conference

CALL FOR PAPERS: TRANSITIONS 9 – new directions in comics studies 2021 Online 8-10 April 2021 Hosted By BIRKBECK, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON   Following the cancellation of Transitions 2020, we are delighted to re-announce the call for papers for Transitions 9 in 2021. Transitions is a platform for emerging research in comics that is free to attend and participate. This event is focused towards postgraduate and early career speakers, and draws a diverse crowd of both new and more established researchers, as well as creators, aficionados and other interested parties. Our aim is to build connections between comics scholars working in diverse contexts of research and practice, to provide a platform for productive debate, and to create a space from which further collaborations can emerge. Key note speakers: Prof Dr Sylvia Kesper-Biermann (Universität Hamburg) and Dr Nick Sousanis (San Francisco State University) Respondent(s): TBA Rather than adopting a narrow theme, the shape and identity of the programme will emerge from the submitted papers. We thus welcome abstracts for 20 minute papers, or pre-constituted panels of three, on topics including (but not limited to): Comics, comix, comic strips, graphic novels, manga, manhwa, bande dessinée superheroes, adventure, war, horror, fantasy, crime, romance, humour & other genres; documentary/historical/journalistic comics, autobiographical/biographical modes, graphic medicine politics of representation and inclusion in comics texts and productions, formal approaches, transgressive comics, educational and didactic comics, comics for young adults & children readers and fandoms, creators, comics & the law, publishing histories, web-comics & comics exhibitions, transnational circulation, political economy of comics Since Transitions this year will be held through video conferencing, we ask that presenters record a 20 minute presentation in advance, which will be followed by live q&a sessions for each panel. Further details for pre-recorded presentations will be shared once proposals have been confirmed. As always, Transitions 9 will be free and open to all. Please send your proposal to transitionssymposium@gmail.com. Please attach your abstract of 250-300 words plus a short biographical note (preferably as a Word document), indicating ‘abstract’ in the email subject line and your name in the file’s title. This year we are also seeking volunteers to sketchnote / visually record each panel, in order to compile a visual record of the conference. If you’d be interested in recording a panel, please email us a couple of (low-res) images or a link to an online portfolio at the above address with ‘sketchnoting’ in the subject line. You do not need to be submitting a paper to take part in this. The deadline for submissions is 7 March. We aim to notify applicants by 14 March. With best wishes, The Transitions Team...

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MIR Live 2021
Feb25

MIR Live 2021

The CCL's very own Mechanics' Institute Review (MIR) is launching a new online series of evening events, MIRLive. Our first MIRLive of 2021 on Friday 26th February will be headlined by Femi Kayode whose debut novel Lightseekers comes out February 4th, published by Raven Books.  Femi Kayode grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. He studied Clinical Psychology at the University of Ibadan and has worked in advertising over the last two decades. He was a Packard Fellow in Film and Media at the University of Southern California and a Gates-Packard Fellow in International Health at the University of Washington, Seattle. His writing credits include several award-winning works for the stage and screen. In 2017 he was awarded the UEA Literary Festival Scholarship, which helped to fund his MA in Creative Writing Crime Fiction. Whilst studying at UEA, his debut novel Lightseekers won the Little, Brown/UEA Crime Fiction Award. He lives in Namibia with his family. The show starts at 7.30 pm (GMT)   Reading alongside Femi will be: Linda Mannheim Liam Hogan Tom Browning David Plans Stephen Vowles Elizabeth Holli Wood   Watch Live via our Youtube Channel SUBMISSIONS ARE NOW CLOSED. Each event features a range of UK-based writers, from established authors to the next generation. Valuing diversity in literature, MIRLive is an inclusive and inspiring night. It is hosted by writers and comedians Kayleigh Cassidy and Alexandra Petropoulos, so expect a fun and engaging evening. It really is the best place to enjoy fresh writing within a supportive community. Guest authors to date include Bernardine Evaristo, Jonathan Coe, Abi Dare, Louise Hare, Derek Johns, Hari Kunzru, Susan Elderkin, Zoë Fairbairns, Russell Celyn Jones, Peter Hobbs, Benjamin Markovits, Erica Wagner, Marie Phillips, Kate Pullinger, Helen Simpson, Richard T. Kelly, Jeremy Sheldon, Sarah Salway, Jean McNeil, Rich Hall, Julia Bell, Richard Milward, Emer Martin, Blake Morrison, Nii Parkes, Robert Hudson, Amanda Smyth, Chloe Aridjis, Magnus Mills, A.L. Kennedy, Niall O’Sullivan, Alex Preston, Toby Litt, Monique Roffey, Michael Rosen, Mez Packer,  Zoe Gilbert, Alan Beard, and Ronan Hession. The MIRLive team will put out a call for submissions for each event and readers may also be selected from the wider submissions pool. As we read your submissions, we may find a piece of work that we feel would be excellent read aloud and will get in touch to ask you to appear at one of our spoken-word events. If you feel that your work would be great for MIRLive, please do flag this up to us in your submissions email. Find out how to submit your work to The Mechanics’ Institute Review here. Submissions for MIRLive should be prose of up to 1500 words and poetry up to...

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In Conversation with Jaspreet Kaur
Feb22

In Conversation with Jaspreet Kaur

Friday 26 February, Format: Online, 6.30-8pm Please book a place here Spoken word artist and teacher Jaspreet Kaur will be in conversation with  Dr Ben Worthy (Birkbeck) to discuss her new memoir/manifesto Brown Girl Like Me (forthcoming Autumn 2021). The event is organised in connection with Jaspreet's work as the current Ben PiImlott Writer in Residence and is co-organised by the Birkbeck Centre for British Political Life and the Centre for Contemporary Literature. Brown Girl Like Me is an inspiring memoir-manifesto challenging existing portrayals of young South Asian women in the UK; providing a millennial perspective on how brown women navigate and balance the intersectionality of their identities in the new political climate. This book will ask and answer urgent questions about the current state of the world for young British Asian women through interviews with brown women across the country. Brown Girl Like Me aims to empower, support and equip brown women with the confidence and tools to navigate the difficulties that come with an intersectional identity, unpacking key issues such as the home, the media, the workplace, education, mental health, culture, confidence and the body.  For more information about Jaspreet, see here: http://www.behindthenetra.com/ For more information about Jaspreet's memoir-manifesto, Brown Girl Like Me, see here: https://www.thebookseller.com/news/bluebird-snaps-kaurs-agenda-setting-debut-1206744#   Featured image on the website homepage by Bold Content shared under a CC By 2.0...

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The Robots Are Us
Jan11

The Robots Are Us

CCL members Prof. Roger Luckhurst and Dr Caroline Edwards featured in a recent radio programme on BBC Radio 3 broadcast on Sunday 10 January 2021. Titled "The Robots Are Us" and presented by Ken Hollings, the programme looked at the legacy of Karel Čapek's play Rossum's Universal Robots (R.U.R.) on the 100th anniversary of the play's premiere in Prague's National Theatre in January 1921. Programme description: In January 1921, in a Europe still reeling from war and revolution, the Czech writer Karel Čapek created a worldwide hit with his 'comedy of science and truth' R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), flesh not metal, are sold around the world first to create a world free from arduous labour and then to fight our wars. Free from consciousness or feelings. What could possibly go wrong? Humanity stops breeding and a new class of feeling robots strike out for a brave new world once humankind is all but exterminated. This now seems awfully familiar but in 1921 not so much. Ken Hollings examines the creation and legacy of a play that both gifted the world the word Robot and began an enduring cliché that intelligent machines will rise up and destroy us. Written before pulp science fiction and at the height of Taylorism and the Ford assembly line, it found an international audience anxious about the fate of workers and work, revolution and mass production. But Čapek's fleshy creations, more replicant that TOBOR, would soon be overlayed with the image of the clanking metal machine that would surely seek world domination on the covers of pulp science fiction and movies. In fiction the SKYNET is always falling, our robot overlords must be welcomed and the singularity is just around the corner. The science of Robotics would only begin in earnest decades after R.U.R. and A.I. and its ethical conundrums of existence, rights and reasoning belong to our 21st century yet Capek's notion of the revolt of the machines still dances through our debates and imagination. Ken Hollings talks to historians, roboticists, to grasp the power of R.U.R. and all that has followed. Click here to listen to the programme on BBC Sounds. For further information on the MA programmes that Prof. Roger Luckhurst and Dr Caroline Edwards direct, see our MA Modern and Contemporary Literature and MA Contemporary Literature and Culture.   Featured image by Марьян Блан | @marjanblan on...

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Notes on Camp, 2020
Jan08

Notes on Camp, 2020

Birkbeck PhD student Dickon Edwards recently gave a short talk on the relevance of camp to a number of recent literary and theoretical works published in 2020. Delivered as part of our biannual PhD Conference held on 17 December 2020, Dickon’s talk, titled “Notes on Camp, 2020,” considered different forms of camp performance, including cosplay, wearing masks, and drag as a strategy of healing. You can watch a recording of Dickon’s talk and PowerPoint below, or read the transcript underneath. Featured image by Bret Kavanaugh on Unsplash Notes on Camp 2020 At this time of year there is a tradition in the media to publish reviews of the 12 months just gone. The following talk represents my own survey of the year 2020, in terms of the new books and cultural events which appeared on the radar of my research. 1.  Camp Modernism – definitions My research is on camp modernism. This can be thought of as the intersection between ‘Camp’, which is typically associated with exaggeration and irony, external surfaces, externalised behaviour, and is particularly associated with the history of homosexual subcultures. ‘Modernism’, meanwhile, is a label often associated with fragmentation, with depth, and with interiority. Until recently these two concepts were thought incompatible.  So much so, that modernism has sometimes been thought of as a mainly heterosexual idea, because it doesn’t easily lend itself to camp.  2.  Books of the Year There is certainly a hint of that theory in the title of one of my books of 2020. No Modernism Without Lesbians by Diana Souhami suggests in its title alone that if modernism is associated with depth and internalised experience, it has tended to mean, by default, heterosexual depth and heterosexual experience. Souhami’s title is even something of a camp flourish, suggesting that modernism is just another artificial category, as with gender and sexuality, that needs to be played with and questioned. The book explicitly mentions camp in the case of the work of the writer Gertrude Stein, who often used humour, innuendo and wordplay to create a space for a form of modernist lesbian identity. Decadent Catholicism by Martin Lockerd, meanwhile, touches on the complicated way that Victorian decadence drew upon the aesthetics of Catholicism yet playfully mocked those as well. Indeed, this type of decadence then evolved into the more secular style of twentieth-century camp. The single most referenced essay on camp, Susan Sontag’s ‘Notes on Camp’ (1964) is not only dedicated to Oscar Wilde, but it is written in the style of Wilde’s aphorisms, which is one reason why it’s so eminently quotable. Masks is a collection of essays by Slavoj Zizek and...

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Katherine Angel LRB Book Launch
Jan08

Katherine Angel LRB Book Launch

1st March 2021, 7pm (LRB bookshop online) CCL member and Director of our MA Creative and Critical Writing, Dr Katherine Angel, will be launching her new book at the London Review of Books on 1st March 2021 at 7pm (GMT). Titled Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again: Women and Desire in the Age of Consent, Katherine Angel will discuss the work in conversation with Olivia Laing, author of Funny Weather (Picador). Spanning science and popular culture, Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again examines pornography and literature, debates on #MeToo, consent and feminism to challenge our assumptions about women’s desire. Why, she asks, should they be expected to know their desires? And how do we take sexual violence seriously, when not knowing what we want is key to both eroticism and personhood? In today’s crucial moment of renewed attention to violence and power, Angel urges that we remake our thinking about sex, pleasure, and autonomy without any illusions about perfect self-knowledge. Only then will we fulfil Michel Foucault’s teasing promise, in 1976, that “tomorrow sex will be good again.” The book has already been described as “a provocative, elegantly written analysis of female desire, consent, and sexuality in the age of MeToo.” Olivia Laing calls it “[a]n ardent, rigorous, nuanced investigation into the question of consent, at once illuminating and empowering. A truly vital guide to navigating the difficult waters of 21st century desire.” To book your ticket for the LRB online book launch, click here. To pre-order a copy of Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again, click here. For further information on the MA Creative and Critical Writing that Katherine Angel directs, click...

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