Reflections 2 – Planning a Conference on One’s Own: Women in Punch Symposium

 

The prospect of planning and organising your first academic conference often leads one into expressing mixtures of panic and dread, or perhaps very rarely excitement. Reflecting on the conference, which was a long time in gestation, it was an intellectual exercise. But I cannot simply forget the administrative and organisational tasks that are involved in running a conference, including, the site and scope of the event, budgeting, delegates’ needs, and collaborating. Despite a plethora of tasks involved in organising this event, it was a learning experience, as it certainly helped with my research ideas and simultaneously introduced a thought-provoking discussion on this subject.

In organising a one-day conference on Women in Punch, I had some guided principles in mind: that this conference should bring together researchers from different disciplines interested in Victorian journalism and gender studies; that it should itself be a thought-provoking experience and that it should exemplify the contributions of women in magazines like Punch. Indeed, the collective efforts of presenters made this completely successful.   Continue reading

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Reflections 1: Anxieties of a Graduate Teaching Assistant

For postgraduate students there is a tendency to feel our identities have been subsumed under the research we carry out. The dissertation reflects the ultimate form of self-expression even if it is the ideas, not the sentiments behind them, that determine its value. However, there are other instances where the ‘personality’ of research carries great currency in academia. In their second year, several PhD students opt to teach undergraduate seminars. What I have learned from this experience, thus far, is that how I engage with the material shapes their educational experience in the classroom.

This term, one of the modules I’m involved with is taught by my supervisor. Knowing him quite well, it is interesting to see how much of his personality comes into the content of the course. The lectures and seminar activities demonstrate a comprehensive presentation of the module’s topic but also relate back to several critical issues approached in his own research. While he is careful to establish a line between content, criticism, and even personal sentiment, the environment of active engagement that he creates prompts students to do the same. Not all academics are comfortable bringing passion into the classroom. Continue reading

Still Point Blog Theme: Resolution – Call for Submissions

The start of a new year is often a time for reflection; likewise, the Still Point blog has been inspired to take an introspective turn. During the month of February our team, along with other contributors, will be engaging with the topic of ‘Reflections’. For us, this theme encompasses a number of considerations: reflections on the last academic term, individual experiences as Graduate Teaching Assistants and guest lecturers, organising conferences and the proposed strike action by the University and College Union.

We are also pleased to announce that for the month of March the Still Point blog will be focused on the theme of ‘Resolution’. We are seeking blog posts from doctoral and early career researchers – although submissions from Masters students are also welcomed – that directly engage with and examine the subject of ‘Resolution’ in a variety of ways. Topics may include, but are by no means limited to: reflections on new year’s resolutions both academic and recreational (whether successful or otherwise), the quality of resolution as a positive/negative trait, the need for resolution during the research process, figures in the arts and humanities that embody the quality of resolution etc.

Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis until the next theme is announced. Entries often take the form of non-fiction prose, but we also accept fiction, poetry, photography, and other forms of visual art.

Ideally submissions will be:

–          Between 500-750 words that can include high quality images; however, longer feature submissions may also be accepted.

–          For visual and multimedia artists, send us high quality images of your artwork, and embed links to sound, video work, or gifs, accompanied by up to 300 words.

At the Still Point blog we encourage creative and innovative responses both to our themes and the presentation of blog posts. As such this is a unique opportunity to promote your research on an academic platform and creatively respond to your research experiences.

Please send submissions to blog@thestillpointjournal.com

Revolution #3 – Reading Revolution: Lucan’s Civil War

‘aduenisse diem qui fatum rebus in aeuum conderet humanis, et quaeri, Roma quid esset,

illo Marte, palam est.’

‘It is clear, the day which will decide the matters of human life forever has come,

the battle shall decide what Rome shall be.’

-Lucan, Civil War, 7. 131-133.

LucanPharsaliaFrenchEd1657
Attribution: Engraved title page of a French edition of Lucan’s Pharsalia, 1657.

 

How did the young poet Lucan (39-65 AD), writing his epic poem, the Civil War, under the erratic Emperor Nero, manage to explore and engage with the notion of revolution, a term which would wait more than a thousand years to be coined in its current sense?  Continue reading

Revolution #2: Olympe de Gouges’ Fight Against Slavery

Attribution: Alexander Kucharsky, Portrait of Olympe de Gouges, late 18th century

 

 

“I rebel; therefore I exist.”

–          Albert Camus

 

 

 

 

This quote is particularly true for Olympe de Gouges. Born in 1748 in the South of France, Gouges came to live in Paris in the early 1770s. She was well assimilated in the society of the Old Regime and was friend with many men of letters. She started to write in the early 1780s, first with the play Zamore et Mirza, ou L’heureux naufrage, (Zamore and Mirza, or The Fortunate Shipwreck) the story of a slave couple, Zamore and Mirza, who become outlaws and are saved and helped by a French couple. The play has a happy ending, with the slaves being forgiven and freed by their former master. Gouges consequently became a prolific writer: she wrote fifteen plays (that we know of), a novel, a few essays and, from 1788 to 1793, around fifty political Continue reading

Special Feature – Revolution #1: Bonfire Night and the Gunpowder Plot (Two Perspectives)

Hannah

At the very core of civilisations throughout history, there is a grim paradox that might generally be observed: namely, that within civilisation resides the morbid yearning for its antithesis. Nowhere is this more apparent than through cultural preoccupations with violent spectacle and in particular the phenomenon of public executions. Historically, such public forms of capital punishment not only provided the state with an opportunity to potently assert its authority over dissenting persons but also, by virtue of the general public being able to voluntarily attend these executions, it delivered a strikingly grotesque form of entertainment. On 31st January 1606, one such spectacle was partly frustrated. Having witnessed the seven remaining fellow conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot being hanged, drawn and quartered before his own ascent to the scaffold, Guy Fawkes was able to avoid the same fate through a final act of defiance, by jumping from the scaffold and breaking his neck. Undeterred by this slight setback to the proceedings, the executioner quartered his body and his remains were disseminated throughout the kingdom to serve as a powerful deterrent for other potential traitors. Continue reading

Still Point Blog Theme: Revolution – Call for Submissions

For the month of November, our next theme at the Still Point blog will be focused on ‘Revolution’. We are seeking blog posts from doctoral and early career researchers – although submissions from Masters students are also welcomed – that directly engage with and examine the subject of ‘Revolution’ in a variety of ways. Topics may include, but are by no means limited to: historical and political revolutions (whether successful or otherwise), revolution as a positive/negative event, revolutionary figures in the arts and humanities, innovation and revolution in the literary arts, visual arts, and literary criticism etc.

Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis until the next theme is announced. Entries often take the form of non-fiction prose, but we also accept fiction, poetry, photography, and other visual art.

Ideally submissions will be:

– Between 500-750 words that can include high quality images; however, longer feature submissions may also be accepted.

– For visual and multimedia artists, send us high quality images of your artwork of embed links to sound, video work, or gifs, accompanied by up to 300 words.

At the Still Point blog we encourage creative and innovative responses both to our themes and the presentation of blog posts. As such this is a unique opportunity to promote your research on an academic platform and creatively respond to your research experiences.

Please send submissions to blog@thestillpointjournal.com

Research Diaries #2: My Thesis on Stage: Authentic Representation of Northern Ireland in Jez Butterworth’s ‘The Ferryman’

One of the more enjoyable aspects of my PhD research, which focuses on Irish poetry, is the time I spend catching up on contemporary literature and culture which takes Ireland as its subject matter. A particularly striking recent example has been Jez Butterworth’s critically acclaimed new play The Ferryman, which premiered at the Royal Court Theatre before transferring to the West End. The play, which revolves around a Catholic farming family in rural Armagh, takes the Northern Irish Troubles as its theme. Loosely based on the experience of one of its original lead actresses, Laura Donnelly, whose uncle was Continue reading

Research Diaries #1: Stats and Stories, or, the Alchemy of Quantification

Unlike many people working in the humanities, I have never suffered from physics envy. I don’t yearn for concreteness, for the apparently undeniable power of proof by numbers. Deniability and argument are, the way I see it, part of the fun and part of what makes the humanities useful – we relentlessly interrogate, rethink, criticise.

My PhD is an attempt to do at least some of those things. It focuses on the everyday experience of state power in early modern England, which in practical terms means reading lots of legal documents – especially witness statements – to find out what happened when, say, a constable turned up at the door with a search warrant. These are sources full of stories – all unreliable, some patently false.

But PhDs lead down unexpected paths. This summer, in an attempt to figure out what kind of people usually wielded state power (who was the constable?), I spent a lot of time counting. First names: who held what office, when, and for how long? Then dates: when were they born, when did they marry, did they have children? And then money: how much tax did they pay – were they rich or poor? Continue reading

The Still Point Journal: Seeking a Designer for Upcoming Issue III

The Still Point journal is seeking a designer for its third issue. We are a London-based literary journal for Arts and Humanities researchers, and this new issue will feature creative and critical writing on the theme of ‘Borders’.

The work will cover around 50 pages in a B5 format, and will be recompensed by a fixed fee of £250, £150 of which will be paid upfront. You will be required to work with the Still Point team, liaising with the Editor in Chief, and will be responsible for text and image layout, cover design, and creating images to be used in the journal.

Applicants should send a covering letter, a portfolio of previous design and/or illustration work, and a CV, to stillpointjournal@gmail.com by 2 October. Personal access to InDesign, Photoshop, or Illustrator is desirable, and you should be readily available throughout February 2018 for the final few weeks before the journal’s launch. Previous issues of the journal are available to browse here and here.