Events calendar

Forthcoming events:

We Were Here (David Weissman et al, 2011) screening with introduction and Q&A led by Dr Jonathan Bell.

24 October 2012 at 7pm, Minghella Cinema (History Film Season)

This film documents the devastating impact of AIDS on San Francisco in the 1980s, illustrated through the recollections of men and women who lived through it. Though the focus is on the terrible toll the epidemic inflicted on the gay population of the city, we are also given an insight into the community activism and emotional bonds that were forged as people mobilised to provide care to those suffering from the disease and to obtain resource from state and federal governments often ignorant of the scale and impact of the disaster.

For more information contact Dr Jonathan Bell ( or to book contact the Reading Film Theatre (


Margins to Mainstream: The Story of Black Theatre in Britain (2012) screening in celebration of Black History Month

29 October 2012 at 6.30pm, Minghella Cinema

The event is free, and will be followed by a wine reception. To register please contact Nicola Abram:

This film was produced by the Octavia Foundation and Nu Century Arts, and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. More information is available here:


Stenton Lecture 2012: War, women and enslavement in Medieval Britain, Emeritus Professor John Gillingham, FBA

22 November 2012 at 7.30pm, Henley Business School, Whiteknights

Attendance is free but places are limited. To book a place, please contact the Events office:

The lecture will be preceded by the Stenton Symposium:

War, women and slavery from the Classical world to the Twentieth Century, 2.15-5.15pm, Henley Business School

Papers will be given by:

Dr Emily West (University of Reading)

Dr Annalisa Marzano (University of Reading)

Professor Simon Barton (University of Exeter)

Professor Anne Curry (University of Southampton)

Professor Beatrice Heuser (University of Reading)

To book a free place at the symposium contact


Surviving Objects devised multi-media research performance on refugee and diasporic experience

5-8 December 2012, Bulmershe Theatre, Minghella Building

This performance will address refugee and diasporic experience and debates concerning UK multi-culturalism. Its main focus is the deportation narratives associated with the post-war British-Polish community, and the performance will draw on practices of documentary performance and storytelling, as well as photographs, recordings and objects to investigate and contextualise childhood refugee experiences and memories.

For more information, contact the performance director Dr Teresa Murjas (



Past events

Black Ephemera: Depictions of People of African Descent study day

4 July 2012, Centre for Ephemera Studies, Department of Typography & Graphic Communication

This study day focuses on the ways in which black people from the African and Caribbean diaspora have been represented in ephemera over the last two hundred years.

Beginning with images printed before the abolition of slavery, ephemera have provided a wide range of opportunities for advertisers and others to depict black people unfavourably for their own ends. The graphic and verbal stereotyping that has resulted from such practices will be discussed in relation to particular forms of racial bias and different kinds of ephemera (trade cards, sheet music, advertising, packaging, postcards, greetings cards).

An exhibition of ephemera will document some of the most common forms of stereotyping over the years and provide a backdrop to discussions. Contributions will be made by historians of black culture, ephemerists, and those concerned with racial equality and community relations.

For more information contact Diane Bilbey at the Centre for Ephemera Studies:


The Insurgent: Myth and Fiction interdiscplinary symposium

21 June 2012, Minghella Cinema

This one-day symposium seeks to bring together scholars and researchers working in a range of disciplines to debate the figure of the insurgent.

In a post-9/11, post-7/7, post-Iraq and -Afghanistan world, the concept of the 'insurgent' has become highly politicised. Deployed repeatedly in British and US political and media discourse in relation to questions of national security, the 'War on Terror', and regime stabilisation, the concept has often mutated to serve the needs of those who use it. The symposium will invite reflection on the following key questions:

What is the relationship between the realities of contemporary insurgency, and the myths and fictions elaborated by politicians, media commentators, and other groups?

How is the figure of the insurgent constructed in fictional and documentary contexts - in literature, film, art, television, news reporting?

What impulses underlie these multiplying and frequently in some sense 'fictionalised' constructions of insurgency?

Keynote speakers:

Professor Martin Barker (author of A 'Toxic Genre': The Iraq War Films): 'Where have all the insurgents gone?'

Dr David Holloway (author of 9/11 and the War on Terror): 'The Moral Clarity of Perpetual War: Deconstructing the Neocon Insurgency'

For more information see the symposium website ( or contact Dr Lisa Purse (


Diasporic Literary Archives Workshop: Questions informing scattered legacies

7-8 June 2012, Museum of English and Rural Life

This workshop examines the foundational questions of how to define and situate diasporic archives, and identifies what circuits of value and benefit the network can facilitate, establishing the affirmative and pragmatic approach of the network while addressing the serious and sensitive questions around location.

For more information see the website:


Ifeona Fulani - Public Reading

19 March 2012 at 6pm, Old Whiteknights House, G09

Ifeona Fulani holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from New York University and an MFA in Creative Writing, also from NYU. Her research interests include Literatures of Africa and the African Diaspora, Caribbean Literary and Cultural Studies, Globalization and Transnational Feminisms. She has published scholarly articles in Small Axe, Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal and Frontiers. An edited volume of essays titled Archipalegos of Sound: Transnational Caribbeanities, Women and Music, is forthcoming from the University of West Indies Press in June 2012. She is the author of a novel, Seasons of Dust (Harlem River Press 1997) and a collection of short stories, Ten Days in Jamaica, forthcoming from Peepal Tree Press in September 2012. She is on the faculty of the Liberal Studies Program at New York University.


Merle Collins - Grenadian Writer - Public Reading

15 November 2011 at 6pm, HumSS 125

Acclaimed Grenadian writer, Merle Collins will be leading a graduate seminar on 15 November 2011, 1-3.30pm. Places are limited so please book by 7 October.

For more information and to reserve a place, please contact Alison Donnell

Merle Collins was born in 1950 in Aruba to Grenadian parents, she was taken to Grenada shortly after her birth. Her primary education was in St Georges.

She graduated from the University of the West Indies in Mona,  Jamaica, where she took a degree in English and in Spanish. After graduating in 1972, she returned to Grenada, where she taught History and Spanish for the next two years. She has also taught in St Lucia. In 1980 she was awarded a Masters Georgetown University in Latin American Studies

She was deeply involved in the Grenadian revolution and served as a coordinator for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean for the Government of Grenada. She left Grenada in 1983.

In her new edition of her novel Angel, first published in 1987, Collins ³seizes the opportunity to revise and expand the last part of the novel, not to arrive at different conclusions, but to look again at episodes that at the time of the novel¹s first writing proved too raw to be handled to her satisfaction².

Her 2011 collection of short stories, The Ladies are Upstairs is both lyrical and intensely real in its exploration of Caribbean lives.

All are welcome to this free event.


Stenton Symposium - What is democratic art? What is queer art? 

17 November 2011

2.00-3.00 Panel A - Dan Healey (Reading) - Freedom to love? A brief history of Russian gay porn

Fiona Anderson (KCL) - "Pay it no mind": queer art and activism on the abandoned Manhattan waterfront


3.15-4.45 Panel B - Alison Donnell (Reading) - Writing macho, reading queer: sexual politics in Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Celeste-Marie Bernier (Nottingham) - "Suppose Nat Turner painted?": Towards an aesthetisized politics and politicized aesthetics of black visual representation

Mark Turner (KCL) - The queer freedoms of Forrest Bess

4.45-5.45 Panel C - Lisa Purse (Reading) - On the limits of a popular form: "queered" masculinities in the contemporary action film

Skyler Hijazi (KCL) - Free (post) productions? Queer fanart, workplace disobedience, and the political economy of "NSFW"

6pm - Reception

7pm - Stenton Lecture - Professor John Howard (KCL) - On the limits of democratic art

For more details contact Dr Jonathan Bell


Contesting 'British Chinese' Culture: Forms, Histories, Identities

24-25 September 2011, Minghella Building

The aim of this conference is to examine diverse contestations and constructions of 'British Chinese' culture/'Chinese culture in Britain' by facilitating dialogue among academics and practitioners across disciplines and art forms. How can the perceived homogeneity of 'British Chinese' culture be challenged to reflect the diversity of identities and experiences in the UK diaspora? Who plays a part in constructing these strands of culture and for whom are they constructed? What is the relationship between communal forms of identity and the individual identities of artists? To what extent do ethno-national discourses impact upon the making of work? Such contestations over culture are well known in other contexts (e.g. 'black British', 'BrAsian', Asian-American), but the debates over 'British Chinese' culture has yet to make significant impact in the public debate with no published books on this subject to date. This conference seeks to bring together academics and practitioners for the first time, from any discipline, to move debates forward on the contested nature of British Chinese culture.
Keynote Speakers:
Prof. Greg Benton (University of Cardiff)
Prof. Gao Minglu (University of Pittsburgh)
Dr. Daphne Lei (University of California Irvine)
Public Lecture:
A lecture by the artist Isaac Julien will be held on the evening of Saturday 24th September. He will discuss his recent project Ten Thousand Waves.

A series of performances will also take place on the evening of Saturday 24th September
Conference Fees and Booking:
Delegates will be able to book places on the conference from early July. We anticipate costs of around £100 for those with institutional affiliation, and £40 for postgraduates / delegates without institutional affiliation.
For updates on the conference, to reserve a place, or be notified when the conference opens for booking, please contact Lilly Mae Liddicott at


7 May 2011

Minority Identities: Rights and Representation

A One-Day Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Conference

Keynote Speaker: 

Professor Vesna Goldsworthy 


11 May 2011

In a Queer Time and Place

Robert Mills (King's College London),'Epistemology of the Cloister'

Matt Cook (Birkbeck College, University of London), 'Queer Domesticities'

4.30pm, room details to follow.


Spring and Summer Speakers


Michael Ondaatje, 'Black conservatism in the civil rights era'

Matt Cook and Bob Mills, Seminar on A Gay History of Britain

Manzu Islam, Reading and discussion of Song of the Swampland

Kussoom Vadgama, Lecture on Britain's Most Valuable Asian Woman: Cornelia Sorabji


1 March 2011

Faculty Research Seminar - Minority Identities: Rights and Representation

5.00pm, Palmer 109
Dr Alison Donnell (English)  'Caribbeanizing the Queer'
Dr Julia Waters (Modern Languages)  Respondent
Dr Jonathan Bell (History) 'Queering American Social Politics'
Dr Catriona McKinnon (Politics)  Respondent
The seminar will be followed by a reception to celebrate the launch of the Minorities Faculty Research Theme.
All colleagues and students welcome.


14 March 2011

Thomas Glave, the award-winning author and editor of the ground-breaking anthology Our Caribbean: A Gathering of Lesbian and Gay Writing from the Antilles (2008).

5.00pm, Old Whiteknights House
Professor Glave will also be leading a graduate seminar on Caribbean Sexualities on 14 March 2011, 1-4pm. Places are limited so please book by 28 Feb.
For more information and to reserve a place, please contact Alison Donnell,
Thomas Glave was born in the Bronx and grew up there and in Kingston, Jamaica. A graduate of Bowdoin College and Brown University, Glave traveled as a Fulbright Scholar to Jamaica, where he studied Jamaican historiography and Caribbean intellectual and literary traditions. He is currently Professor at Binghamton University, New York. While in Jamaica, Glave worked on issues of social justice, and helped found the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals, and Gays (J-FLAG, His other literary works include: The Torturer's Wife (2008); Words To Our Now: Imagination and Dissent (2005) and Whose Song? And Other Stories (2000). 


8-11 December 2010

Research Performance:

The Making of Gertrude Stein devised and directed by Lib Taylor

7.30pm, Bob Kayley Studio Theatre, Bulmershe Court


22 November 2010

"Your town could be their killing ground': moral panic, menace and myth in media responses to the Hells Angels during the 1960s.'

Bill Osgerby (London Metropolitan University)

5.15pm, Humms 142


10 November 2010

Talk by Peter Sellars, American theatre director

Sponsored by The Asian Performing Arts Forum (of which Reading is a major part) and SOAS.

Visit the Asian Performing Arts Forum website>>>

18.30pm, SOAS, London


3 November 2010

'Ulysses in Black: Ralph Ellison and the Classics in African-American Literature'

Patrice Rankin, Purdue University


28 October 2010

Reading by Kei Miller

6.30pm Humss 128

Learn more abou Kei Miller>>>


27 October 2010

Symposium on the work Shani Mootoo

See associated project 'Breaking Sexual Silences'


26 October 2010

"Other things I know": knowledge and power in the domestic space in Caribbean and South African women's writings'

Denise DeCaires Narain, University of Sussex

4.30pm Humss 25


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