• From Domus to Polis: Hybrid Identities in Southey’s Letters from England (1807) and Blanco White’s Letters from Spain (1822)

      Colbert, Benjamin (Taylor and Francis, 2018-10-01)
      Robert Southey’s fictive travelogue, Letters from England, by Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella (1807), inspired several imitators, most importantly José María Blanco White’s Letters from Spain (1822). These works rejuvenate a fictional device popularised by Montesquieu’s Persian Letters – the “familiar stranger” – at a crucial juncture when British involvement in the affairs of Europe provoked a reassessment of pre-Revolutionary cosmopolitanism. The stranger as “home-interpreter” calls attention to an emerging emphasis in European Romantic thought on the contingency of freedom with hybrid, mobile identities, prefiguring the psycho-social-historical terrain in which Jean-François Lyotard and Dean MacCannell link modernity with travel and tourism. This essay argues that the Romantic figure of the foreign traveller expresses a condition of travel, reflecting Lyotard’s critique of human contingency in his essay, “Domus and Megalopolis.” Southey’s sympathetic stranger modulates a conversation with Wordsworth about the nature of modern subjectivity, historically contingent yet paradoxically liberated from historical particulars. Blanco White’s Letters from Spain demonstrates how displacement, emigration, and expatriation become refigured as conditions of the modern psyche, especially visible in moments of political crisis, when the cosmopolitan polis is immobilised by the myth of the domus.
    • Sex Sells (Out): Neoliberalism and Erotic Fan Fiction

      Byrne, Aidan; Fleming, Samantha (Wiley Blackwell, 2018-08)
      Fiction by fans is not new: despite the development of copyright law in the eighteenth century, unofficial sequels were common. For example, Samuel Richardson’s Pamela (1740) was followed by anonymous and pseudonymous sequels and satires, including Pamela’s Conduct in High Life (1741) and Conny Keyber’s (Henry Fielding’s) An Apology for the Life of Mrs Shamela Andrews (1741). The commercial publishing world still produces such work: Jane Austen sequels and retellings include Arielle Eckstut’s Pride and Promiscuity: The Lost Sex Scenes of Jane Austen, Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2009), Mitzi Szereto’s Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts (2011), P. D. James’s Death Comes To Pemberley (2011), Jo Baker’s Longbourn (2014), Val McDermid’s Northanger Abbey (2015), and Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible (2016). The market recognizes and legitimizes consumer demand for derivative fiction.
    • Social and political activism amongst British Sikhs: Responses to issues of equality and human rights – a new way forward?

      Takhar, Opinderjit Kaur; School of Humanities, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK (Taylor & Francis, 2018-06-12)
      This article discusses two key issues relating to activism amongst British Sikhs. The exploration focuses upon the mobilisation of Sikhs at rallies and protests surrounding human rights issues, as well as their overall objection to caste legislation in British Law. The revelations surrounding the British Government’s involvement in Operation Bluestar came as a huge shock not only to British Sikhs but also to Sikhs worldwide. This paper will discuss whether the British Sikh community has taken on a fresh approach when confronted with issues surrounding equality and human rights and will explore how youth led Sikh groups and organisations have responded to contemporary challenges by using Sikhi to encourage activism amongst British Sikhs.
    • Worlds turned back to front: the politics of the mirror universe in Doctor Who and Star Trek

      Byrne, Aidan; Jones, Mark (Intellect, 2018-06-01)
      It is a curious parallel that unquestionably the most successful science fiction television series to emerge from the UK and the US both began in the 1960s, endured lengthy hiatuses, oscillated between mainstream and cult appreciation, and both currently revel in their cross-media commercial appeal. Doctor Who (1963-89, 2005-present) and Star Trek (1966-9), through their lengthy broadcast histories, might be used to chart any number of cultural shifts in their host communities. Far from being abstruse and introspective creations of geeky fandoms, both have been central to the popular culture of their respective societies – Matt Hills noted that ‘for much of its cultural life Doctor Who has actually occupied the mainstream of British television programming’ (Hills 2010: 98); John Tulloch’s and Henry Jenkins’ examination of science fiction audiences make it clear that in creating Star Trek Gene Roddenberry evinced a ‘desire to reach a mass viewership and a desire to address the burning social issues of the day’ (Jenkins and Tulloch 1995: 7). Popular television in general has always been a prime site for the exploration of pressing social concerns (Williams 1974: 58), and science fiction is also often politically engaged: Hassler and Wilcox point out that ‘[p]olitical science often addresses many of the same questions as those raised in science fiction…the role of the state…the nature of the just society’ (Hassler and Wilcox 1997: 1). Doctor Who and Star Trek are both notable for openly or covertly addressing the distinctive social and political problems faced by their respective societies. Star Trek returned to the question of the Vietnam War’s legitimacy multiple times (Franklin 2000: 131-50), ‘and other episodes were commentaries on race relations, feminism, and the hippies of the 1960s’ (Reagin 2013: 2). Under Russell T. Davies’ revival Doctor Who continually referenced the ‘war on terror’ (Charles 2008), but the ‘classic’ serial also engaged with contemporary British politics: the Sylvester McCoy series were openly anti-Thatcherite (O’Day 2010: 271-8), while in the 1970s under producer Barry Letts many Doctor Who serials dealt with environmental issues and their politics (Orthia 2011: 26-30). The disparate political engagements present in Doctor Who are generally anti-authoritarian, and the Doctor ‘has consistently … [the] liberal-populist role in criticising “sectionalist” forces of “Left” and “Right”, and in rebuking the “official” and the powerful’ (Tulloch and Alvarado 1983: 52). This pragmatic politics, however, was not available to Star Trek, which ‘was created as a style of social commentary, intent on criticising America in the late 1960s during a period of extreme social and political turmoil’, and therefore wrestling with the contradictions between the philosophical absolutes of American exceptionalism and ‘manifest destiny’ (Geraghty 2007: 72).
    • British Legislation Against Caste Based Discrimination and the demand for the Sunset Clause

      Takhar, Opinderjit (Routeledge, 2017-07-18)
      On 23 April 2013, British Parliament agreed an Amendment on caste to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill (ERR Bill). The Bill received Royal Assent on 25 April 2013 and Section 97 of the ERR Act (that provides that Government `shall’ use Section 9(5)a to make caste an aspect of race) came into force on 25 June 2013. The Amendment will be made to the Equality Act 2010 by ‘adding caste as ‘an aspect of’ the protected characteristic of race’ (Waughray 2014). Importantly, although the Government’s timetable states that the legislation will be enforced not before October 2015, the considerable delay in implementation is consequential of the opposition from both Sikh and Hindu organisations. To some degree, there was unanimity amongst most British Sikhs that legislation against caste discrimination was unnecessary under British law. The Sikh Council UK (SCUK) declared that ‘caste allegiances were on their way out in the UK’ and demanded a Sunset Clause which essentially renders the caste legislation as temporary for a period of ten years since the credence of the SCUK is that caste will have absolutely no significance for subsequent generations of British Sikhs. This paper provides an analysis of attitudes, primarily from the British Sikh and Punjabi Dalit communities towards caste discrimination legislation in British Law and in particular attitudes towards the proposal of the Sunset Clause
    • Romantic Palingenesis, or History from the Ashes

      Colbert, Benjamin (Taylor & Francis, 2017-03)
      Palingenesis, or regeneration from decay, is variously invoked by eighteenth to early-nineteenth-century natural philosophy, psychology, mythography, and literature. Its currency derives from the Swiss-French scientist Charles Bonnet’s Palingénésie philosophique (1769), which conceives of natural history as repeated renewal after epochal catastrophes. Herder’s Über die seelenwanderung (1782) develops an idea of “natural palingenesis” as the internal “rebirth” of selfhood within memory despite physiological decay. Pierre-Simon Ballanche’s fragmentary magnum opus Essais de palingénésie sociale (1827-29) turned to political upheaval, locating the French Revolution within a process by which expiatory suffering gives birth to a new social order. Other writers looked back to alchemical experiments. Robert Southey reviewed these experiments in Omniana (1812) under the heading, “Spectral Flowers,” and still other writers explored the palingenetic properties of resurrected bodies and ghosts. In the light of this not altogether unified discourse, this paper will consider the more discontented, sceptical, at times satiric, strain within Shelley’s poetry, where beautiful idealisms of progressivist transformation do not entirely overcome the fact of death, decay, degeneration, and loss that is their substrata.
    • Casteism amongst Punjabis in Britain

      Dhanda, Meena (Sameeksha Trust Mumbai, 2017-01)
      Despite clear evidence of caste-based discrimination, harassment and victimisation, Punjabis in Britain stand divided on identifying with the victims of casteism. In the context of legislative, religious and academic contestations on caste discrimination in Britain, this article argues for acknowledging casteism where it exists.
    • Narrating Migrant Workplace Experiences: Social Remittances to Poland as Knowledge of British Workplace Cultures

      Galasińska, Aleksandra; Haynes, Mike (Centre of Migration Research, University of Warsaw and Polish Academy of Sciences, 2016-10)
      This paper explores how the workplace experience of migrants helps to determine part of the social remittances they can make to their country of origin. The social remittance literature needs to pay more attention to work as an element of the migrant experience. Focus is placed on public internet forums related to newspapers in Poland because these are a very open means of communicating experience to the public sphere. To support the analysis, UK census and other data are used to show both the breadth of work done by Polish migrants in the UK and some of its peculiarities. This is then followed with a more qualitative analysis of selected comments from the gazeta.pl website. The complexities of both the range of migrants’ ideas about their work and also the analysis of internet-based newspaper com-ment sites as a form of public communication are shown.
    • British Women’s Travel Writing, 1780-1840: Bibliographical Reflections

      Colbert, Benjamin (Taylor & Francis, 2016-07)
      Launched online in 2014, the Women’s Travel Writing database provides full and accurate bibliographical records for all the known books of travel published in Britain and Ireland by women between 1780 and 1840. This article critically and statistically reflects on these 204 titles, the authors who wrote them, and the patterns and trends that they suggest when considered together during the period in which women first gained a firm foothold in a genre traditionally considered men’s territory. The database reveals patterns of women writing on the generic borders between scribal and print culture, conforming to and manipulating rhetorical conventions in prefaces and advertisements (the “modesty topos”), while striking a balance between assertions of authorial independence and expressions of gendered reticence. Overall, the database reveals a sharp upward trend in the rate at which women published travel writings during the census dates, with 74 titles appearing in the 1830s compared to 5 in the 1780s. In considering the bibliographical nuances of women’s increasing presence in the travel writing marketplace, this article also poses questions about the insights and limitations of statistical approaches to cultural analysis.
    • Caste and Identity Processes among British Sikhs in the Midlands

      Jaspal, Rusi; Takhar, Opinderjit (Taylor & Francis, 2016-06-27)
      This article examines the role of caste in the lives and identities of a small sample of young Sikhs in the English Midlands, using social psychological theory. In many academic writings, there is an implicit representation of caste as a negative aspect of South Asian culture and religion, and of caste identification as a means of oppressing vulnerable outgroups. Twenty-three young Sikhs were interviewed, and the qualitative data were analysed using Identity Process Theory. The following themes are discussed: (i) Caste as a Dormant Social Category, (ii) Anchoring the Caste Ingroup to Positive Social Representations, and (iii) Caste as an Inherent or Constructed Aspect of Identity? It is argued that neither caste nor caste-based prejudice appear to be prominent in the lives and identities of our interviewees but that, because caste is an important symbolic aspect of identity which can acquire salient in particular contexts, some Sikhs may wish to maintain this identity though endogamy. What is understood as caste-based prejudice can be better understood in terms of the downward comparison principle in social psychology. The implications for caste legislation are discussed.
    • Caste in Britain: Socio-Legal Review

      Dhanda, Meena; Waughray, Annapurna; Keane, David; Mosse, David; Green, Roger; Whittle, Stephen (Equality and Human Rights Commission, UK, 2016-05-18)
      Background and aims of the project In April 2013, the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act was enacted. Section 97 of the Act requires government to introduce a statutory prohibition of caste discrimination into British equality law by making caste ‘an aspect of’ the protected characteristic of race in the Equality Act 2010. In light of this, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) contracted a team of academics drawn from different research institutions to conduct an independent study in two parts: • a review of existing socio-legal research on British equality law and caste; and • two supporting events (for experts and stakeholders). This report (Dhanda et al, 2014a) details the findings from the first part of the study and is best read alongside the report of the experts’ seminar and stakeholders’ workshop (Dhanda et al, 2014b).
    • Slime and Western Man: H. P. Lovecraft in the Time of Modernism

      Carlin, Gerry; Allen, Nicola (2016-04-06)
      In 1931, Salvador Dali produced one of the most famous and influential paintings of the modern era. “The Persistence of Memory” depicts “melting” watches. The piece epitomizes Dali’s interest in the notions of “softness” and “hardness,” and in it, time is firmly located within the former category. The painting was part of The Museum of Modern Art’s 1936/7 program entitled: “Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism.” The exhibition secured Surrealism’s nationwide renown in the United States. However, “The Persistence of Memory” is more than a famous piece of avant-garde antirationalism; it is also a powerful emblem, the immense fame of which established an abiding public perception of a synonymous, perhaps almost exclusive, relationship between modernist art movements and the artistic/creative community’s response to the disintegration of former scientific certainties. However, the appeals of such glimpses into the unknown were also demonstrably taken up by (at least) one less overtly avant-garde writer. In fact, the collapse of the notion of a fixed cosmic chronology shapes H. P. Lovecraft’s formulation of what should constitute weird fiction.
    • Experiencing Time: Freudian concepts in Life on Mars

      Allen, Nicola (I B Tauris & Co Ltd, 2016-03)
    • “Our observations should not be disunited”: Collaborative Women’s Travel Writing, 1780-1840

      Colbert, Benjamin (Universite Blaise-Pascal, France, 2016-03)
      Before 1780, only ten books of travel by women had been published in Britain and Ireland, all by single authors if we discount the role of translators (two of the ten were translations from the French)1. After 1780, as the Database of Women’s Travel Writing (2014) demonstrates with statistical accuracy, women for the first time established themselves as a continuous presence in the travel writing market, increasing their output from 5 titles in the 1780s to 74 in the 1830s2. These figures include diverse travel genres, principally narratives, guidebooks, and letterpress plate books, but also travel-based storybooks for young audiences, digests, and collections. For the first time, we begin to see female travel writers experimenting with authorial roles such as co-author, contributor, editor, translator, abridger, compiler, letterpress writer, and illustrator. In other instances, women’s travel writing finds its way into print, sometime posthumously, only through the intervention of others, editors who overlay their own language, perspectives, and agendas, a form of collaboration to be sure, but not one that embodies the joint production some might associate with the term. Of the 204 titles covered by the Database, 47 (or 23 %) involve multiple authorial relationships, though only seven of these are jointly written works where authors have coordinated their writings with the aim of publication. This article and the taxonomic checklist that follows it explore in more detail the nature of and motivations behind authorial partnerships in the light of particular instances of them, addressing fundamental questions: What types of collaboration are there, and what are the conditions of co-writing? How is joint production presented textually and paratextually? How do men and women collaborators negotiate the gendered spaces and expectations of travel and travel writing?
    • Home, (bitter)sweet home’. Voices of post-EU enlargement returnees to Poland

      Galasinska, Aleksandra (LIT, 2016)
      This study examines the various discourses surrounding the return to Poland of migrants who left the country following accession to the EU in 2004. The data, which was analysed from the perspectives of discourse and narrative, stemmed from two complementary research projects. The first netnographic study examined a number of entries on an internet forum triggered by newspaper reports and articles related to (re)migration and published in the online issues of the ‘Gazeta Wyborcza’ since 2004. The data gathered from online media was coupled with semi-structured interviews with returnees collected during an ethnographic project conducted in 2013–14. The analysis revealed two distinctive themes: a tendency to complain about the home country upon return and the prospect of remigration. This chapter will attempt to explain how discourses of migration, return and remigration are thematically linked with – and at the same time contextualized in – post-communist transition, as well as how the micro-level of individual/semi-private stories feeds into general patterns of (re)migration to post-communist European countries.
    • Anti-Castism and Misplaced Nativism: Mapping caste as an aspect of race

      Dhanda, Meena (NA, 2015-07)
      From September 2013 to February 2014 I led a project on ‘Caste in Britain’ for the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). [*] It culminated in two research reports. [1] The remit of the project was, first, to review existing socio-legal research on British equality law and caste, and, second, to conduct two supporting events with the aim of bringing together interdisciplinary expertise and a range of stakeholder views on caste, and discrimination on the basis of caste, in the UK. In April 2013, MPs and peers had voted in both Houses of Parliament to enact the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, Section 97 of which requires government to introduce a statutory prohibition of caste discrimination into British equality law by making caste an aspect of the protected characteristic of race in the Equality Act 2010 (EA 2010). [2] Following direction by the government, the EHRC contracted a team of academics from different universities, led by me, to carry out an independent study on caste in Britain. We set out to identify concerns and common ground in relation to the implementation of the statuary prohibition on caste discrimination in advance of and in anticipation of the required secondary legislation that will make caste ‘an aspect of race’ in the EA 2010.
    • The Secret Fantasies of the Political Classes

      Allen, Nicola; Byrne, Aidan (2015-01-08)