Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


IAS Book Launch: Keywords for Today

12 October 2018, 4:00 pm–7:00 pm


The IAS is delighted to host the book launch of Keywords for today, edited by Colin MacCabe and Holly Yanacek

Event Information

Open to





Kathryn Allan


IAS Common Ground
Ground Floor, South Wing, UCL
United Kingdom

Originally conceived as the glossary to another work, Raymond Williams’ Keywords has proved to be a seminal work across disciplines including sociology, literary studies, cultural studies and linguistics since its publication in 1976. Over forty years later, Keywords for Today updates Williams’ work for the twenty-first century and for new generations of readers, exploring the shifting senses and uses of words that are culturally and socially significant or contested.

Keywords for Today is the product of a decade of collaboration between members of the Keywords Project, a cross-institutional and cross-disciplinary research initiative which involved international scholars from the UK, US and Sri Lanka. The book presents original entries on new keywords which reflect a radically different social and political landscape, and also incorporates many of Williams’ own entries, reproduced alongside added material on recent developments. At the heart of the volume is close analysis of the histories of these keywords, and their changing contexts of use.

This event brings together a world-class panel of linguists and scholars interested in language change, who will discuss different aspects of the book with members of the Keywords Project, including co-editor Colin MacCabe, UCL’s Kathryn Allan, Sylvia Adamson (Sheffield and Cambridge), Alan Durant (Middlesex), Philip Durkin (OED), and Seth Mehl (Sheffield). The event will be followed by a drinks reception, to which all are welcome.


  • Marc Alexander (Professor of English Linguistics and Director of the Historical Thesaurus of English, University of Glasgow)
  • John Mullan (Lord Northcliffe Chair of Modern English Literature, UCL)
  • Lynne Murphy (Professor of Linguistics, University of Sussex)
  • Terttu Nevalainen (Professor and Chair of English Philology and Director of the Research Unit for Variation, Contacts and Change in English, University of Helsinki)
  • Antoinette Renouf (Emeritus Professor of English Language and Linguistics, Birmingham City University)
  • Louise Sylvester (Professor of English Language, University of Westminster)

Please note that there may be photography and/or audio recording at some events and that admission is on a first come first served basis. Please follow this FAQ link for more information.