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Race, Power, and Poetics Series: Seminar 3: Thursday 20th May, 4.00 - 5.30pm

Andrea di Bonaiuto painting (1365-69)

Shazia Jagot (University of York): Decolonizing Chaucer

A number of Arabic and Persian polymathic figures appear in Chaucer’s poetry: ‘Avycen’ (Avicenna; Ibn Sina) ‘Averois’ (Averroes; Ibn Rushd); ‘Myssal’ (Messahalla; Masha’Allah ibn Athari)’ all of whom encapsulate an extraordinary range of rich scholarship on the natural sciences, philosophy, astronomy, mathematics, alchemy, cultivated and produced in locations that stretched across multiple Islamic worlds from Samanid Persia, to Almohad Andalusia, and Abbasid Baghdad. And yet, more than often within the context of Chaucer’s poetics, these names are either dismissed as colourful citations or collapsed into a generic mould of Arabic medieval philosophers except, as in the case of Messahalla, a possible direct source is located that might indicate ‘influence’. The question of sources (and analogues) is a well-established bedrock of Chaucer scholarship that brings with it the thorny notion of influence. As the art historian Hans Belting notes, the idea of influence is itself colonial seeking to enforce one dominant narrative over another - ‘conceding a non-European culture’s influence in one area but still relegating it to a lower level of importance overall’ (Baghdad and Florence, p. 4.). With this in mind, this paper seeks to ask how can we move away from the thorny colonial notion of influence in Chaucer scholarship? What is at stake when we shift from an unconscious, implicit understanding of acknowledging that an Arabic intellectual heritage had a presence in Middle English to a conscious deployment of that understanding? How might this open up ways of working across cultures and languages beyond Northern Europe in medieval literary studies? And how can we begin to undo the hierarchies and structures of critical study that have led the approaches and shaped perspectives on Chaucer’s literature

Pre booking by registration with Eventbrite

Race, Power, and Poetics is a series of events coordinated by Dr Xine Yao and Dr Rachel E. Holmes. A cross-period examination of the inextricability of its central terms, ‘Race, Power, and Poetics’ considers the implication of poetic practices and shaping role in racial and ideological dynamics. 


Cities Imaginaries Lecture 2021: Thursday 20th May, 6.00 - 7.30pm

Roger Robinson: The Actuality of Gentrification

The danger with gentrification is that it breaks up long-held communities and bonds and histories without acknowledging and valuing them. Brixton has resisted gentrification before and it will again but a lot of energy and resources are being placed into the process of its gentrification, far more than the resources that were available to support its long time inhabitants.

Roger Robinson profile photo

Roger Robinson is a writer who has performed worldwide. He is the winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize 2019 and the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2020, shortlisted for the Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry 2020, the OCM Bocas Poetry Prize, the Oxford Brookes Poetry Prize, and highly commended by the Forward Poetry Prize. His latest collection A Portable Paradise was a New Statesman Book of the Year. He was chosen by Decibel as one of 50 writers who have influenced the Black British writing canon. He is an alumnus of The Complete Works and he has toured extensively with the British Council.

Registration is open: https://citiesimaginaries21.eventbrite.co.uk/

 https://bit.ly/citiesimaginaries21
 


Race, Power, and Poetics Seminar Series: Seminar 4: Thursday 3rd June, 4.00 - 5.30pm

Detail from Olaus Magnuss Carta Marina 1593

Eugenia Zuroski (McMaster University): The Gothic Art of Sinking

This paper considers an underexplored aspect of Horace Walpole’s gothic resistance to neoclassicism: its experiments in ludic energy. Framing a reading of The Castle of Otranto with a discussion of Alexander Pope’s satire Peri Bathous, or the Art of Sinking in Poetry (1728), I argue that Walpole’s embrace of the classical grotesque adopts “sinking” as a deliberate method. Debasement, falling in ruins, moral descent—these are valences of “sinking” that are familiar to our understanding of the gothic. Yet in Walpole’s work as writer and as collector, additional valences are equally significant: the spectre of being lost at sea, introduced by the tale’s Mediterranean setting; the irreverent gathering of cultural debris in combinations unsanctioned by classical order; and the giddiness of bathos, of suddenly slipping the hold of cultural dignity. By attending to these aspects of Walpole’s fiction through the paradigm of the ludic, I show how the gothic generates sites of play in which the distinction between comedy and tragedy does not hold.

This talk is in conversation with Laura Sarnelli's 'The Mediterranean Gothic,' which engages with the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean, and draws upon Black studies scholars like Hortense Spillers, Christina Sharpe, and Alexander Weheliye.

 Pre booking by registration with Eventbrite

Race, Power, and Poetics is a series of events coordinated by Dr Xine Yao and Dr Rachel E. Holmes. A cross-period examination of the inextricability of its central terms, ‘Race, Power, and Poetics’ considers the implication of poetic practices and shaping role in racial and ideological dynamics. 


Race, Power, and Poetics Series, Seminar 5: Thursday 10th June, 4.00 - 5.30pm

Photograph of Nedda Mehdizadeh

Nedda Mehdizadeh (UCLA): Fantasies of Empire: Persia’s Past and England’s Future

This talk argues that England’s mercantile and imperial agenda was shaped by its fantasies of Persia. Early modern English writing about the ancient empire described it as both an exemplary model for excellent leadership and an inert empire in ruins, making Persia an ideal entry point into the east. By temporally othering Persia, these writers positioned England as the inheritors of a longer tradition of empire that would ensure England’s (white) imperial future.

Pre booking by registration with Eventbrite

Race, Power, and Poetics is a series of events coordinated by Dr Xine Yao and Dr Rachel E. Holmes. A cross-period examination of the inextricability of its central terms, ‘Race, Power, and Poetics’ considers the implication of poetic practices and shaping role in racial and ideological dynamics. 


Please see the following links for joint Faculty wide events