PhD Research in CTTR

Posted in Postgraduate Research Students, Reseacher Profiles, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

In Conversation with Juliet Gilkes-Romera 29 October 2020

The University of Wolverhampton is pleased to present a talk with playwright and journalist Juliet Gilkes-Romero. Hosted by CTTR lecturer Dr Daisy Black and Phd student Ifemu Omari-Webber. This is a free online event on Thursday, 29 October 2020, at 5:30 p.m. For joining instructions register with Eventbrite.

Juliet Gilkes Romero is an award winning stage and screenwriter. Her plays include; The Whip performed at the RSC’s Swan Theatre, 2020. Day of The Living performed at The Other Place as part of RSC’s Mischief Festival, 2018. Upper Cut at the Southwark Playhouse, 2015. At The Gates of Gaza, Birmingham Rep & tour winner of the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain Best Play Award 2009, Bilad Al-Sudan performed at the Tricycle Theatre (now Kiln) as part of its 2006 season dealing with genocidal conflict in Darfur.

Television includes: Soon Gone; A Windrush Chronicle (co-produced by Sir Lenny Henry’s production company Douglas Road and the Young Vic Theatre. Juliet is writing a TV drama currently in development. She is the recipient of the Roland Rees Bursary 2019, named in honour of the co-founder of the Alfred Fagon Award.


Posted in Events, Public Lectures | Tagged , | Leave a comment

BCLA Announces Glyn Hambrook Postgraduate Research Award

The Glyn Hambrook Postgraduate Research Award (deadline Friday 31 July 2020) offers postgraduate students assistance in the present situation caused by COVID-19 and its repercussions. The award is worth £250.00, to be used for any costs incurred in research activities (registration fees for online conferences or seminars, enrolment for relevant training courses, purchase and download of software, or costs of books, journals, and stationery). Applicants should be members of the BCLA (see Homepage or Membership page) and be students registered for a postgraduate degree (MA, MRes, MPhil or PhD) in the field of comparative literature, defined here as the interaction of at least two bodies of literature (writers, genres, etc), usually across languages. No applications can be accepted after this date. The application form is on the BCLA’s Funding page: please download, complete the form electronically and send it as an attachment to

This award has been made possible through the generosity of Dr Glyn Hambrook, Honorary Research Fellow, University of Wolverhampton, Honorary Lecturer in the English Department, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, former member of the BCLA Executive Committee, and organiser of the 2016 BCLA Triennial Conference, “Salvage”.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Research Seminar, 24 March 2020: Emily Garside on Kushner’s ‘Angels in America’

Dr Emily Garside (Independent Scholar) will be presenting her paper, ‘British-American Angels: How Angels in America flew into Britain’s National Theatre’, at 3.30 p.m. on Tuesday, 24 March 2020. The event will take place in the University of Wolverhampton’s Mary Seacole Building, MH 002.

Tony Kushner’s 1994 play Angels in America is a landmark work of American and LGBTQ drama, a key response to the AIDS crisis, and a landmark production for
Britain’s National Theatre. The play, and Kushner’s relationship with the National beyond it, are integral to both the playwright, play and theatre’s history. This talk will cover productions of Angels in America with particular emphasis on the ‘bookends’ of
the original 1993 National Theatre production and the 2017 revival (including the 2018 Broadway transfer). The previously unexplored connection between Angels and Britain’s National Theatre allows for a unique angle of analysis framing Kushner’s text in respect to the first and most recent productions at the National.

Emily Garside is a playwright, dramaturg, and academic specialising in the role of theatre as a social tool, particularly in response to the AIDS epidemic. She is a leading authority on Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, and was academic advisor to the 2016 National Theatre production of the play. Her other academic interests include activism and performance, audience research, and Fan Studies. She has published across a range of interests/disciplines including Iain Banks, Sherlock Holmes, Location and TV, and Punchdrunk. As a playwright, Emily’s work has been performed across the UK.

Posted in Research Seminars | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ishiguro Weekend 31 January – 2 February


An international festival celebrating the work of Kazuo Ishiguro
Keynote: CYNTHIA WONG (University of Colorado, Denver, USA)

Saturday 1 February 2020
10am – 6pm Chancellor’s Hall

University of Wolverhampton
Wulfruna Street

Kazuo Ishiguro remains one of the finest writers of our times, yet, as the twenty-first  century world is changing, how do we see these new, turbulent times reflected in his body of work? The early twentieth-century presents us with a host of pressing contexts and
challenges, from concerns about climate change and technological innovation to diversity issues and shifts in geopolitical power. To what extent does Ishiguro’s writing anticipate and comment on the early twenty-first century Zeitgeist? Surely, The Remains of the Day anticipates Brexit, Never Let Me Go argues against posthumanism, whilst The Buried Giant comments on our distracted, amnesic times.

You can also join our other, free Ishiguro events that are part of the Wolverhampton Literature Festival.

On Friday 31 January, Japanese critics will give their culturally specific perspective on Ishiguro in the Wolverhampton Art Gallery (5.15-6.15pm).

On Sunday 2 February, Professor Sebastian Groes and three PhD students will stage a Masterclass on Never Let Me Go in the Wolverhampton Art Gallery (12-1.30pm).

For more information, see http:/ or contact Prof. Groes:

Please join us for this exciting conference. Book your tickets here.

Posted in Conferences, Events | Tagged | Leave a comment

Research Seminar, 19 December 2019: Esther Asprey on Black Country Dialect

Dr Esther Asprey (Birmingham City University) will be presenting her paper, ‘Black Coutry dialect literature and what it can tell us about Black Country dialect’, at 2.00 p.m. on Thursday, 19 December 2019. The event will take place in the University of Wolverhampton’s Millennium City Building, MC 226.

This talk tracks spelling representations across time and region to add to what is known about patterns of linguistic change within one of the UK’s most socially stigmatised dialects. The area in which Black Country dialect is spoken centres on the town of Dudley and has been changed demographically since the start of the Industrial Revolution in the 1750s. 12 Waves of migrant workers from Wales, Shropshire, and the wider north (Lancashire, Yorkshire, Scotland), as well as Ireland, came during the 18th and 19th centuries, and are now succeeded by migration from former UK colonies (India, Pakistan, the Caribbean). Such migration has been mooted as a source of change in the region. Added to this is the complexity of the Black Country linguistic system. It has a system of modal verbs which negate by ablaut, a phonological system which is at its most local end of the continuum between less and more localised, extremely different to RP, and retains many older Midlands morphemes lost in other dialects including [ɜ:] er for the third person singular female subject pronoun, and -n suffixing for the present tense verbal infinitive. It is, then, a rich dialect which has been seen to be moving from a more Northern system to a Southern system over the past 100 years. Examination of the two Black Country texts in the Salamanca corpus, together with selected dialect poems and monologues collected from local interest newspapers, novels and poetry collections and spanning 1850 to the present day, will tell us more about the nature of these changes.

Esther Asprey is a sociolinguist and dialectologist whose specialist area of research is linguistic variation in the West Midlands. She gained her first degree in English Language and German at the University of Edinburgh before going on to complete a Masters. She gained her PhD from the University of Leeds in 2007, writing on Black Country English and Black Country Identity. Esther went on to teach at the University of Birmingham and then at Aston University, where she was Research Assistant for three years on a series of funded projects looking at performances of identity using Birmingham and Black Country dialects.

Posted in Research Seminars | Tagged | Leave a comment

Being Human Festival – Wolverhampton Unscene

Last week CTTR colleagues organised three highly successful events for the Being Human Festival. Proust in Transylvania, Warhol in Wolverhampton, and The Secret Life of Suffragettes saw over 200 people engage with research in the School of Humanities, with the help of colleagues in other departments.

This week we’ll have three more events:

Tonight between 6-8 p.m., Candi Miller and Rob Francis present Dementia Dialogues, a creative writing workshop that will explore writing as a therapeutic means to deal with the trauma that can emerge when people care for loved ones suffering from dementia.

On Wednesday, 20 November, Meena Dhanda’s Overlooked Overlockers will explore memories of the regional textile industry in the Georgian Room at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery.

On Saturday, 24 November, we are undertaking a multi-sensory, interactive walk of the Black Country, starting in Wolverhampton, and ending with a spectacular finale at the Black Country Living Museum. You can dip in and out of the events part of Making Sense of the Black Country, or commit yourself for the duration of the events. A coach will provide transport for people less mobile.

Follow the links for more information.



Posted in Events | Tagged | Leave a comment

Research Seminar, 13 November 2019: Caroline Tagg on Mobile Messaging

Dr Caroline Tagg (Open University) will be presenting her paper, ‘Mobile messaging by migrant micro-entrepreneurs in UK city contexts’, at 2.00 p.m. on Wednesday, 13 November 2019. The event will take place in the University of Wolverhampton’s Millennium City Building, MC 331.

This talk explores an aspect of contemporary social life that is only now coming to the attention of social media or business communication researchers, that of the use of mobile phones by small business owners, including those who have migrated to the country where they now work. Drawing on data from a large multi-sited blended linguistic ethnography, the talk draws attention, firstly, to the use of mobile messaging apps by migrant micro-entrepreneurs in establishing ethnically and linguistically homogeneous social support networks; and, secondly, to the way in which their virtual interactions are grounded in their everyday social lives and business transactions. Importantly, the chapter documents how migrants draw resourcefully on their mobile phones as a tool for getting things done and maintaining relationships in contemporary multicultural city spaces.

Caroline Tagg is Senior Lecturer at the Open University. Her research into language and digital technologies rests on the understanding that digital communication practices are deeply embedded into individuals’ wider social, economic and political lives. Caroline has expertise in a range of research methods from corpus linguistics to linguistic ethnography, and in various analytical concepts including Appraisal theory, audience design, everyday creativity, heteroglossia and translanguaging.

Posted in Events, Research Seminars, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Professor Meena Dhanda on Dr Ambedkar, Religion, and Morality

Lord Harries of Pentregarth, the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Dalits and The Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organisations UK invited Professor Meena Dhanda of CTTR as a guest speaker at the 128th birth commemoration of Dr Ambedkar at the House of Lords on Tuesday 7 May 2019. The following is the text of the speech delivered by Professor Dhanda.


Professor Dhanda (2nd from right) addressing All-Party Parliamentary Group

Dr Ambedkar on Religion and Morality

Honourable Chair, Reverend Lord Richard Harries, distinguished guests and fellow admirers of an exemplary human being: Dr B.R. Ambedkar, a superb jurist, an untiring champion of social justice, an uncompromising seeker of truth, a kind soul who taught us to follow the great Buddha in acknowledging the various causes of suffering and dedicate our lives to uprooting them. We are here to remember Dr Ambedkar’s contributions and it is my task today to share the essence of his thoughts on religion and morality.

Babasaheb extolled moral uprightness. As he writes in The Buddha and his Dhamma, Dhamma is first and foremost morality. Religion on the other hand, especially when ritualistically followed, he took to task for the hypocrisies it generated and the inertia it induced. He challenged the supposedly unchanging and supposedly infallible command of Religion with a capital R. He wrote: ‘Every religion preaches morality but morality is not the root of religion. It is a wagon attached to it. It is attached and detached as the occasion arises’ (Ambedkar 1957, p.322). In contrast ‘Morality is Dhamma and Dhamma is Morality’. Dhamma is social, essentially so. In Dhamma the need for morality does not arise from the ‘sanction of God’ but directly from the need for man to love man. ‘The purpose of Religion is to explain the origin of the world. The purpose of Dhamma is to reconstruct the world’ (Ibid.).

Rather than the rituals and sacrifices embedded in Religions, Ambedkar considers morality itself as ‘sacred’. The reason he gives for making morality itself ‘sacred’ is that there is a social need to protect what he calls “the best”. The best, however, he does not equate with the fittest. The best may actually be the weak, the ones who are in need of protection. Therefore, Morality as Dhamma, must impose restraints on the fittest to stop them from infringing on the rights of the weak.

Continue reading

Posted in Events, Public Lectures | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ian James Kidd on Pathophobia

Guest blogger, Dr  Ian James Kidd, will deliver a CTTR-sponsored Faculty of Arts Public Lecture, ‘Pathophobia, Illness, and Vices’, on Wednesday, 10 April, 4-6 p.m., MK405 George Wallis Building.

Pathophobia as the social oppression of ill persons

Everyone knows that being chronically ill is awful – the pain, loss of functions, and the trials of treatment and recovery are hugely physically, psychologically, and emotionally difficult. A less obvious source of the awfulness of illness is the awful treatment to which chronically ill persons are typically subjected. If one read through the testimonies and narrative written by ill person, one finds constant descriptions of morally awful treatment – of hostile stares and glares, of intrusive questions, of thoughtless remarks, of insensitive comments, of a horrible lack of care and concern. The American feminist, Audre Lorde, summarised this very nicely in her Cancer Journals, written during her experience of breast cancer as a woman of colour. Their main theme is what she called her ‘fury at the outside world’s viciousness, the stupid, brutal lack of consciousness or concern that passes for the way things are’.

Audre Lorde, The Cancer Journals (1980)

What Lorde is describing are experiences of what I’ve labelled pathophobia – the variety of morally objectionable forms of treatment to which somatically ill persons are subjected. Pathophobia can involve ways of thinking and talking about illness and ways of interacting with ill persons that either cause them harms, or express various failings or vices. Subjection to pathophobia can harm chronically ill persons in all sorts of ways. It can cause anger, bitterness, frustration, and resentment, of the sort described by Lorde, and worsen feelings of low self-esteem, social alienation, and loss of agency. Such bad consequences are especially bad since they come on top of the various bad effects of illness, such as pain and diminished mobility. But pathophobia can also express certain failings, such as what Lorde described at a ‘stupid, brutal lack of consciousness or concern’.

The ultimate value of the concept of pathophobia is that it might help us to reduce the incidence and severity of the offending sorts of behaviour. By naming these behaviours, we take a first step towards understanding their sources and wrongness, which in turn helps us to do something about them. (Compare it with the concept of sexual harassment, which was developed in the Sixties by women as a means of identifying and describing the variety of discriminatory behaviours to which they were subjected.) We already have concepts like ableism and sanism, of course, but these relate to morally awful treatment of persons with disabilities and mental health conditions. Although they overlap with pathophobia, they are not specific to chronic somatic illness, while the sociological concept of ‘stigma’ describes a source of pathophobia, rather than the wider phenomenon itself.

In my talk at Wolverhampton, I’ll introduce the concept of pathophobia and give you a set of examples from some influential pathographies, such as Kathlyn Conway’s Ordinary Life and Porochista Khakpour’s recent memoir, Sick. Such first-persons narratives offer lucid descriptions of the everyday experiences of pathophobia that scar the lived experiences of people with chronic somatic illnesses. I also suggest we can make sense of the moral wrongs of pathophobia by thinking in terms of clusters of pathophobic vices – negative character traits and dispositions such as banality, coldness, callousness, negligence, selfishness, and cold-heartedness. Such vices are a pervasive feature of narrative accounts of pathophobia, in the form of cruel actions, insensitive questioning, and tactless comments.

Hopefully, the concept of pathophobia can help us to mitigate such morally awful treatment of somatically ill persons.

Dr Ian James Kidd is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy, University of Nottingham. His research interests range from, in his own words ‘epistemic virtue and and vice in education, moral and spiritual exemplarity in ancient Indian and Chinese philosophy, and the philosophical significance of illness’. For more information, see:

Posted in Guest Blogs, Public Lectures | Tagged | Leave a comment