The Language and Communication research cluster grows out of research by staff across a number of subject areas in the University. Its members carry out research into the philosophy and theory of communication, pragmatics, the definition of language as a human phenomenon, gender and age in language use, political communication in language, narrative, language in critical theory, semiotics and rhetoric.
In particular, the group shares an interest in the history and practice of 'close reading'. That is, the process of analysis and attention to all kinds of texts, a process that came to the fore in the last century with the work of Saussure in Switzerland; Propp and the Formalists in Russia; Ogden, Richards, Empson and Leavis in Britain; the New Criticism, Innis, McLuhan and Frye in North America; the structuralists in France; the Prague Linguistic Circle in Czechoslovakia; so-called 'Soviet semiotics'; the Copenhagen School in Denmark; systems theory and cybernetics in Europe and the Americas.
This current of thought and practice continues today with Discourse Analysis, Conversation Analysis, investigations into Multimodality, Systemic Functional Linguistics, Critical Discourse Analysis, Modelling Systems Theory and other approaches in the study of language and communication.
Cluster members currently research and publish on topics including prosody, Parliamentary discourse, religion and utopia, narrative, discourses about food and ageing and metaphysics of communication.
The cluster is also home to the journal Empedocles: European Journal for the Philosophy of Communication, co-home to the journal Social Semiotics and the book series Handbooks of Communication Science, and is closely involved in the Section for the Philosophy of Communication of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA).
Language and Communication research seminars
The Language and Communication research cluster hosts fortnightly research seminars during term time that explore work on language, discourse and communication. Literature, creative writing and even film are also considered, taking an inclusive view of the subject area. They include research presentations, workshops and reading groups.
Confirmed speakers for the 2017-18 Language & Communication Research Seminar Series include:
- Christopher Norris (Cardiff): Rhyme and Reason: “creative criticism” and thinking in verse. Wednesday 18 October 2017, 16.00 – 17.30, Room C223 (College building)
- Stephen Cowley (Cambridge and Southern Denmark): Languaging: Just another description of semiosis? Wednesday 15 November 2017, 16.00 – 17.30, W147 (Williams building)
- Jenny Cheshire (Queen Mary): Language innovation and language change: taking the longer view. Wednesday 6 December 2017, 16.00 – 17.30, Room BG09A (Building 9)
- James Kenworth (Middlesex): “Four legs badass, two legs wasteman!”: Reimagining Orwell for Austerity Britain. Wednesday 24 January 2018, 16.00 - 17.30, Room BG09A (Building 9)
- Jamie Tehrani (Durham): The long stories of short tales: genes, languages and the evolution of folk traditions. Tuesday 30 January 2018, 16.00 – 17.30, Room CG83 (College building)
- Jane Hodson (Sheffield): “No one talks like that. Sorry.”: What are people doing when they discuss accents in film and television? Wednesday 7 February 2018, 16.00 – 17.30, Room C110 (College)
- Mary Coghill (School of Advanced Studies, University of London) A Viewpoint is more than a Point of View: ‘Shades of Light’ and City Poetry. Wednesday 14 February 2018, 16.00 – 17.30, Room C110 (College)
- Sara Pons-Sanz (Cardiff): Norse-derived terms in English: The Bread and Butter of Etymological Work. Wednesday 28 February 2018, 16.00 – 17.30, Room C207 (College)
- Aleksandra Vukotic (University of Belgrade): Metafiction in Postmodern American Literature and Popular Culture. Tuesday, 13 March, 12.00-14.00, Room BG09B (Building 9)
- Jonathan Delafield-Butt (Strathclyde): The Embodied Nature of Narrative: Moving with purpose with others, and its disruption in autism. Wednesday 14 March 2018, 16.00 – 17.30, Room BG09A (Building 9)
- Aleksandra Vukotic (University of Belgrade): The ever-present violence in the media and terrorism as a new world narrative. Friday, 16 March 2018, 10.00 – 12.00, Room CG09 (College)
- Ksenijah Kondali (University of Sarajevo): Two Languages: The Challenges of English in Contemporary American Literature. Friday, 16 March 2018, 15.00 – 17.00, Room PAG02 (Portacabin)
For more information, see our London English blog.
The seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For more information or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.