6 June 2011

"The Uses of Literature: the Uses of English Departments"

Please join us for the final instalment of "The Uses of Literature" seminars. In a fitting end to our series, we're delighted to welcome Professor Robert Eaglestone (Royal Holloway, University of London) for a talk about literature and education.

Please note that this seminar will start slightly later than usual, at 6.30pm, and will take place on Monday 13th June 2011.

"The Uses of Literature: the Uses of English Departments"
Robert Eaglestone, Royal Holloway, University of London
6.30pm, Monday 13th June 2011
Hallgarth House Seminar Room, Hallgarth Street, Durham

"Intellectual history is to a large extent simultaneously the history of educational practices. Disciplines as bodies of knowledge are simultaneously communities of practice, performing their own protocols, for argument and dialogue" - Ben Knights

One central activity, one thing we use literature for in universities, is teaching. While the media representation of the academic still suggests we only care for our 'arcane' research, I want to suggest that the experience of how and what we teach, and our commitment to education, shapes our discipline (our numerous sub-disciplines, in fact) much more than we often admit. And this, in turn, of course, shapes our - and others - view of literature.

Drawing on work by Clifford Geertz, Tony Becher and Ben Knights, I want to explore the ways we use literature common to all 'Englishes', what some of this might mean both for us and for literature, and to look at some possibilities for the future of the discipline(s).

Robert Eaglestone is Professor of Contemporary Literature and Thought at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is Deputy Director (and was formerly Director) of the Holocaust Research Centre and was Deputy Dean of Arts and Humanities at Royal Holloway. His main interests are in the contemporary, spanning literature (mainly fiction), philosophy and history. He works on contemporary literature and literary theory, contemporary philosophy and on Holocaust and Genocide studies. He is also strongly committed to interdisciplinarity and collaborative research work and has an interest in pedagogy. Professor Eaglestone is currently completing a manuscript on the Holocaust and genocide in contemporary literature and culture, and a volume of the Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Literary and Cultural Theory (Volume 2 1966 to Present day).
As usual, the paper will be followed by a discussion and then drinks at the Victoria.

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