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Our Uncommon Ground: Modern Languages and Cultures for the 21st Century addresses the pressing ethical imperatives for the study of Modern Languages and Cultures as a diverse and yet coherent discipline in a world which is increasingly –  and acrimoniously – divided.

There has never been a more important time to articulate and embrace the values of a discipline equipped to study cultures and their interactions in historical perspective. And yet, Modern Languages continues to struggle with its disciplinary identity; as Michael Worton argued, almost a decade ago, one of the major challenges facing the discipline is a move towards separatism and forms of protectionism, which emerged at the very moment when it is vital that new forms of partnership and collaboration be established. This conference represents an attempt to sketch out the uncommon ground between the many (sub-)disciplines that comprise Modern Languages and Cultures. It offers a platform from which to establish a regular UK-based gathering of the Modern Languages and Cultures research community to promote the productive exchange of ideas across existing subject boundaries.

We are pleased to be joined by a set of distinguished keynote speakers from the UK and beyond.

We welcome participation from colleagues in the broad field of Modern Languages and Cultures. Please see our call for papers which is now open.

Programme

10.00-11.00 Registration and Coffee
11.00-11.30 Welcome and Opening Remarks

Professor David Cowling, PVC Arts and Humanities, Durham University

Professor Claire O’Malley, PVC Global, Durham University

Professor Janet Stewart, Head of School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Durham University: ‘Our Uncommon Ground’

11.30 – 13.00 Plenary Lecture 1 Professor David Bates, UC Berkeley [Chair: Dr Gerald Moore]
13.00-14.15 Lunch
14.15-15.45 Parallel Session 1

Chair: Andy Byford

OWRI: Cross-Language Dynamics

Parallel Session 2

Chair: Jonathan Long / Janet Stewart

Photographic Practices

Parallel Session 3

Chair: Marcela Cazzoli

Transnationality & Modern Languages

 Parallel Session 4

Chair: Kerstin Oloff

Ecology and Modern Languages I

15.45-16.15 Tea Break
16.15-17.45 Parallel Session 5

Co-Chairs: Francisco-J Hernandez Adrián / Marc Botha

Transversalities of Atlantic, Caribbean and Global North/South Studies I: Transterritories

Parallel Session 6

Chair: Santiago Fouz-Hernandez / Katrin Wehling

The Language of European Cinema

Parallel Session 7

Chair: Fusako Innami

The Body, Gesture and Affect

Parallel Session 8

Chair: Laura Campbell

Ecologies and Modern Languages II

17.45-18.00 Pause
18.00-19.30 Plenary Panel 1  

MEITS OWRI project: Multilingualism: empowering individuals, transforming societies

  Free evening
9.00-9.30 Coffee
9.30-11.00 Parallel Session 9 

Chair: Adam Talib

Islam at the Limits of Language

Parallel Session 10 

Chair: Santiago Fouz Hernandez

New Approaches to Spanish Film

Parallel Session 11 

Chair: tbc

Open Session

Parallel Session 12 

Chair: Kerstin Oloff:

Ecologies and Modern Languages III

11.00-11.30 Coffee Break
11.30-13.00 Plenary Lecture 2 Professor Sharon Kinoshita, UC Santa Cruz [Chair: Luke Sunderland]
13.00-14.15 Lunch
14.15-15.45 Parallel Session 13 

Chair: Gerald Moore

Technologies of Automation

Parallel Session 14 

Chair: Annalisa Cipollone

Philology and the Future of Modern Languages

Parallel Session 15 

Chair: Bingham Zheng / Serrgey Tyulenev / Marc Schachter

Beyond the Boundary of Translation: Applying Translation to the Studies of Modern Languages and Cultures

Parallel Session 16 

Chair: Claudia Nitschke

Moral Emotions in Literature

15.45-16.15 Tea Break
16.15-17.45 Parallel Session 17 

Chair: Stefano Cracolici

Spanish Art in Global Context

Parallel Session 18 

Chair: TBC

Open Session

Parallel Session 19 

Chair: Luke Sunderland

Medieval World System

Parallel Session 20 

Co-Chairs: Francisco-J Hernandez Adrián / Marc Botha

Transversalities of Atlantic, Caribbean and Global North/South Studies II: Transtemporalities

17.45 -18.00 Pause
18.00-19.30 Plenary Lecture 3 Alberto Manguel [Chair: Professor Carlo Caruso]
20.00 Conference Dinner (Castle)
9.00-9.30 Coffee
9.30-11.00 Parallel Session 21 

Chair: Nick Saul

Science & Modern Languages

Parallel Session 22 

Chair: Carlo Caruso

Middle Ground or No Man’s Land? The Classical Tradition/Reception between Modern Languages and Classics

Parallel Session 23 

Chair: Dora Osborne

Rethinking the Atlas

Parallel Session 24 

Chair: tbc

Open Session

11.00-11.30 Coffee Break
11.30-13.00  Plenary Round Table: Our Uncommon Ground
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Distinguished Speakers

As one of the broadest constituencies of its kind in the UK, Modern Languages and Cultures at Durham University is responding to calls for wishes to bring together a wide spectrum of activities and interests that cross historical, geographical and methodological boundaries. To achieve this, the School is hosting a major conference designed to enable participants to reflect on the state of the discipline and to develop new intellectual agendas.

Alberto Manguel

Alberto Manguel

Distinguished author and Director of the Biblioteca Nacional of Argentina

Sharon Kinoshita

Sharon Kinoshita

Professor of Literature and Co-director of the Center for Mediterranean Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz

David Bates

David Bates

Professor of Rhetoric at Berkeley

Janice Carruthers

Janice Carruthers

Professor of French at Queen’s University Belfast and AHRC Leadership Fellow for Modern Languages

Nigel Vincent

Nigel Vincent

Professor Emeritus at Manchester University and former Vice-President of the British Academy

Neil Kenny

Neil Kenny

Professor of French at Oxford University, Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College and Fellow of the British Academy.

Catherine Davies

Catherine Davies

Professor of Hispanic and Latin American Studies at the University of Nottingham and Director of the Institute of Modern Languages Research at the School of Advanced Study, University of London.

Stephen Hutchings

Stephen Hutchings

Professor of Russian Studies at the University of Manchester and Principal Investigator on the AHRC Open World Research Initiative ‘Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community’

Charles Forsdick

Charles Forsdick

Charles Forsdick is James Barrow Professor of French at the University of Liverpool. Since 2012 he has been the AHRC Theme Leadership Fellow for ‘Translating Cultures’.

Contact Us

Our Uncommon Ground

Postal Address:
School of Modern Languages & Cultures
Durham University
Elvet Riverside
New Elvet
Durham DH1 3JT

General Telephone Enquiries: 
+44 (0) 191-334-2630

Contact Us

Our Uncommon Ground: Modern Languages and Cultures for the 21st Century highlights the pressing ethical imperatives for the study of Modern Languages and Cultures as a diverse and yet coherent discipline in a world which is increasingly – and acrimoniously – divided. There has never been a more important time to articulate and embrace the values of a discipline equipped to study cultures and their interactions in historical perspective.

As one of the broadest constituencies of its kind in the UK, the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at Durham University is pleased to bring together a wide spectrum of research activities and interests that cross historical, geographical and methodological boundaries both within and well beyond the discipline. This conference provides a platform from which regular meetings of the Modern Languages and Cultures community in the UK can develop.