Monday, 31 October 2016

Paul Robeson Seminar / November



 
Arts and Humanities Conference Room, B03.
Ystafell Gynadledda’r Celfyddydau a’r Dyniaethau, B03.
 
Wednesday, November 2,  2pm – 3.30 pm
Dydd Mercher, Tachwedd 2, 2pm – 3.30pm


To coincide with Marilyn Robeson’s visit this seminar will explore recent work in African American studies at Swansea University.




Yn ystod ymweliad Marilyn Robeson â Phrifysgol Abertawe, cynhelir seminar ymchwil ar waith diweddar ym maes astudiaethau Affro-Americanaidd.

Opening Remarks: Hywel Francis.



Rachel Farebrother, 'The Styling of Black Diasporic Identity in Eslanda Goode Robeson's Paul Robeson, Negro (1930)'

Clare Davies, 'Patronizing the Primitive? Dorothy Edwards, Nella Larsen, and modernist patronage networks'

Daniel Williams, ‘Michael S. Harper, Paul Robeson and Remembering Aberfan’


Monday, 17 October 2016

Crossing Borders Conference

A one day conference on art and literature to accompany the exhibition 'Four Painters in Raymond Williams's Border Country' at MOMA Machynlleth

Saturday 5th November


10am Coffee

10.15 Welcome and introduction

Morning Session : Art and Literature in the 1930s to 1950s

10.30 Dr Peter Wakelin, exhibition curator
Four realist painters in South Wales: Baker, Burton, Elwyn, Isaac
 
11.00 Professor Daniel G. Williams, Swansea University
Raymond Williams and the Image
 
11.30 Peter Lord, independent scholar
Related Landscapes: some lines of communication in Welsh painting from the ‘30s to the ‘50s
 
12.00 Dan Gerke, Swansea University
Raymond Williams on Realism

12.20 Break to visit the exhibition
Attendees make own arrangements for lunch (choice of cafés & shops)

Afternoon Session : Borders and Crossings in Art and Literature
13:30 Dr Mary-Ann Constantine, Centre for Advanced Welsh & Celtic Studies
‘Boundaries, drawn by the eye’: Crossing borders in Romantic-era Wales

14:00 Clare Davies, Swansea University
T. S. Eliot, Raymond Williams and Satellite Cultures

14:20 Dr Luke Thurston, Aberystwyth University
Unhomely Borders

14.50 Tea

15:15 Discussion with contemporary writers and artists, chaired by Mary-Ann Constantine

16.15 End

£15 (£10 unwaged) includes tea and coffee
Queries: info@moma.machynlleth.org.uk or phone 01654 703355 

To register http://moma.machynlleth.org.uk/?page_id=810 

Friday, 23 September 2016

Farewell / Ffarwel/ さようなら Shintaro Kono a Takashi Onuki

Richard Burton Centre / CREW International Fellows 2015-16

It was a great privilege this past academic year to welcome our first international fellows to Swansea. Brief biographies of our two International Fellows appear below, followed by their impressions of the year spent at Swansea University.

Biographies

Shintaro Kono is an associate professor at Hitotsubashi University and was a Richard Burton Centre Fellow at Swansea University (2015-16). He has been studying British Modernism, Welsh writing in English, and cultural criticism and theory in the 20th century (including, above all, Raymond Williams), and he is also making critical investigations into the cultures of neoliberalism and globalisation. His works include The Genealogy of the Country and the City (in Japanese, Minerva Shobo, 2013), and Critical Keywords: Reading Culture and Society (in Japanese, co-edited with Yasuo Kawabata and Takashi Onuki, Kenkyusha, 2013), and he has translated Raymond Williams's essays which have been included in  Towards Common Culture: Cultural Studies, vol. 1, a Japanese edition of Williams's essays (edited by Yasuo Kawabata, Musuzu Shobo, 2013; vol. 2 to be issued in December 2015), and Tony Judt's Thinking the Twentieth Century (Misuzu Shobo, 2015) among many other books.

Takashi Onuki is Associate Professor at Kwansei Gakuin University, was Richard Burton Centre Fellow at Swansea Univeristy with 'Research Abroad with Full Sponsorship from KG'. His fields of interests are Raymond Williams and his contemporary writers; culture and society in twentieth-century Britain. His works include Cultural History: Affections and Struggles in Britain, 1951-2010 (in Japanese, co-edited with Yasuo Kawabata, Shintaro Kono, et al., 2011) and Critical Keywords: Reading Culture and Society (in Japanese, co-edited with Shintaro Kono and Yasuo Kawabata, 2013). Writers whose works he co-translated include Edward W. Said, Eqbal Ahmad and Raymond Williams: Towards Common Culture: Cultural Studies, vol. 1, a Japanese edition of Williams's essays (edited by Yasuo Kawabata, 2013; vol. 2 to be issued in December 2015).

Shintaro Kono, Daniel Williams, Takashi Onuki
Reports

Shintaro Kono

My year as a Richard Burton Centre Fellow at Swansea University turned out to be very productive thanks to the Richard Burton Archive and the untiring support from its staff, and to the staff and students of CREW. My two main aims in Swansea have been to make research the Raymond Williams archive, which is a part of the Richard Burton Archive, and more generally to develop my knowledge of Welsh writing in English. Specifically, what I tried to do was to look in detail into the formation of Raymond Williams's famous book Culture and Society (1958). I was also interested in fictional works by Raymond Williams, and the archive turned out to hold a vast collection of unpublished or unfinished fictional works. I feel that a year was far from enough to exhaust such vast materials, and although I made many discoveries and my research progressed at the archive, it still gives me a good reason to come back to Swansea again.

I was also very happy to be part of the research community of Swansea University. The attendance at an MA course in Welsh writing in English broadened my view on the subject, and my project on Lewis Jones (about whom I finished a book chapter during my stay in Swansea, to be published next year, I hope) was greatly inspired by it. Also, the Raymond Williams Reading Group, which was organised by Professor Daniel G. Williams, gave me a great opportunity not only to learn how Raymond Williams can be read in various productive ways now in Wales, but to get to know such inspiring Raymond Williams scholars who gave papers at the meetings.

Apart from, or along with, these scholarly achievements, to get the firsthand experience of the culture and life of Wales was an invaluable gain for me. Socially and politically, we have to admit that the year I spent in Wales was a year in turmoil, as, for instance, the troubles with the Tata steelworks in Port Talbot, the results of the Welsh Assembly election and, above all, of the EU referendum will show. But these experiences helped me understand in what context Welsh writers were and are writing. After all, as a scholar of literary studies, getting down to 'experience' (however remote it may seem) is vital. In addition, I really appreciated the welcoming spirit which we -- I and my family -- encountered in Swansea. This was the first experience for me and my family to settle in a foreign place, but not only those at the university, but my neighbours and the teachers and school friends of my children were always ready to help us, and we were able to enjoy our stay fully thanks to that. Lastly, my gratitude goes to the staff and the students at Swansea University. It would have been an honour to get to know them even briefly, but the honour was doubled by the fact that I was able to feel that I was really the part of this learning community. I hope our academic exchanges will last. Our friendship certainly will.


Takashi Onuki

I stayed as a visiting fellow at Swansea University from September 2015 to August 2016. The main purpose of my visit was to explore the Raymond Williams Papers, especially materials relating to his novels. By being in close contact with the people of Swansea University and of Wales, I hoped to learn various concepts that would be necessary to interpret Williams’s works. Above all, I wanted to understand the intention and motivations informing the writing of Raymond Williams’s last novel People of the Black Mountains (1989-90). I supposed that ‘placeable bonding’, a phrase found in his controversial essay ‘The Culture of Nations’ (1983), would be one of the keys to deciphering this posthumous novel; however, without the perspective of Welsh Writing in English, it was very difficult to describe Williams’s ‘place’ in relation to other writers in Wales and in England. And without that perspective, I also thought, my discussion on Williams would be too abstract. Looking back, I found it a remarkably fruitful year in which I did research at the Richard Burton Archives, read two papers at international conferences, and above all published a monograph in Japanese which had a strong emphasis on Wales and Welsh culture.

I am not exaggerating at all when I say that without auditing the MA course by Professor Daniel G. Williams, attending the Raymond Williams Discussion Group held every other week - always followed by a lively discussion with the various people gathered there - I wouldn’t have has such a productive year. My book written in Japanese titled Towards “My Socialism”: Raymond Williams and a Twentieth-Century Culture in Britain (Tokyo: Kenkyusha, 2016) features an analysis on Raymond Williams’s last novel People of the Black Mountains, probably the first substantial attempt in Japan. In analysing this work by Raymond Williams - a cultural critic and novelist famous even in Japan - what played an indispensable role was the term ‘Welsh Europeanism’, a concpet which we discussed on that MA course. Although I had understood the basic meaning of ‘Welsh Europeanism’ before going to Wales, it was the way in which the course dealt widley with Welsh Writing in English in the 20th century that helped me to grasp the significance of the phrase in its historical context, and its strong tension with other ideas and frames of identity. Something local and something universal are emphasised at the same time: this idea lying at the core of Williams’s ‘Welsh Europeanism’ turned into a lived experience, not an abstract concept, during my stay in Wales. It follows that ‘placeable bonding’ in Williams was not just ‘local’ but something to be held in common. Furthermore, a lecture by Dai Smith, Raymond Williams Professor at Swansea University, at the Discussion Group gave me another insight into this phrase which derived from the identity of the border. Dai Smith referred to a ‘deviousness’ in Williams, a necessary quality perhaps for the resilient people of the border country between Wales and England having to deal with conflicting cultures and loyalties.  This gave further insight into the phrase ‘placeable bonding’ and the novel People of the Black Mountains.

Lastly, I would like to express my deep gratitude for everything that my family and I have experienced in Swansea and in Wales, but can’t find a brief expression for that. Instead please let me introduce my wife’s words. She said: ‘I actually had no knowledge about Wales before coming here, but I found myself in deep love with Wales at some point during my stay!’ I think she felt ‘placeable bonding’ with this place, and please let me say the same thing and hope our friendship and academic collaboration will last for a long time.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Updated Programme- 2nd June

Richard Burton Centre Annual Postgraduate Conference in Welsh Studies
Thursday 2nd June 2016 10am-5.30pm
Arts and Humanities Conference Room, B02/3, James Callaghan Building, Swansea University

Provisional Programme

10.00-11.30 Panel One
Cath Beard, Nesta’s Scream: Representations of working-class women in Raymond Williams’s Loyalties
Dan Gerke, Raymond Williams with Frustration: The Long Reception of Georg Lukacs
John Boaler, At work: Miners’ wives and mothers


11.30-11.45 Coffee/Tea


11.45-12.45 Panel Two
Sophie Williams The Politics of Welshness: A Response to Bradbury and Andrews
Brian Roper The Multiple Identities of Modern Wales


12.45-1.30 Lunch/Cinio


1.30- 2.30 Panel Three
Alex Lovell Model newydd ar gyfer Cymraeg Ail Iaith? Astudiaeth ar sut orau y gellir cyflwyno’r Gymraeg fel ail iaith yn llwyddiannus i’r rhai yn yr ardaloedd mwyaf Seisnig yng Nghymru (session yn y Gymraeg- translation facilities available).
Jay Rees, Student experience, a mere footnote in education history: a case study of Swansea University


2.30-3.30 Panel Four
Clare Davies, Remembering 1926: Representations of the General Strike in Welsh Writing in English
Syd Morgan, Jack White: Wales and Ireland, Socialisms and Nationalisms


3.30-4.00 Coffee/Tea

4.00-5.30 Keynote Lecture,
Dr Angharad Closs Stephens (Swansea University) ‘From National Mood to Political Affects: notes from the funeral of Margaret Thatcher.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Conference Report: Beyond the Border Country/ Tu Hwnt i’r Gororau / 辺境をこえて

On the fifth anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan, killing 16,000 people and causing the Fukushima reactor meltdowns, an international one-day symposium on ‘New Directions in Raymond Williams Studies’ took place in Williams’ birthplace of Pandy, Monmouthshire. Two seemingly unconnected events, but by the end of the conference, in the moving summing up by Shintaro Kono, a thread linking the two had been established.

The first panel - ‘Culture and Materialism’ - featured papers from Ryota Nishi (Chuo University), Alice Barnaby (Swansea University) and Masashi Hoshino (Manchester University). Beginning with an examination of Raymond Williams’ encounters with eco-criticism, Ryota Nishi introduced the notion of ‘red and green working together’ which came to encapsulate the political direction Williams himself both had taken in association with both Plaid Cymru and Labour, and his move toward a greener socialist politics at the end of his life. Alice Barnaby injected a note of controversy with her presentation on the ‘Problems of new materialism’, offering a compelling overview of ‘Thing Theory’. This connected well with Ryota Nishi’s earlier link between colonisation and the nature of the Fukushima disaster. If the object has agency, it can also have power. Williams’ anticipation of some aspects of new materialism was placed against this idea of ‘thing power’ and the question it poses- ‘does it turn too far from the human subject?’. A meaty theoretical sandwich was completed by a presentation from Masashi Hoshino on Ernst Bloch and Raymond Williams. The ‘sense and the impulse’ of the long revolution was the connecting factor between Williams and Bloch’s ‘unmastered now’.  The idea that ‘the old is pregnant in its forces of production’ linked in with Williams’ belief in the fundamental power and importance of experience, both as a resource of hope and as a way of understanding in itself. 



It is worth mentioning the coffee break for the great spilling out into the early spring sunshine, where tea and biscuits were enjoyed in the shadow of the Skirrid, outside the village hall in Pandy. For a conference celebrating a figure so aware of place, it was entirely fitting that we did not remain sequestered and separate from it but escaped into it at every opportunity. 


Following the break Tony Pinkney (Lancaster University) spoke on the subject of Raymond Williamsas Oxford Thinker. Williams is most often connected with Cambridge, yet many formative parts of his life took place in Oxford, and the city itself provided the physical setting for his novel Second Generation. Pinkney opened by describing how Oxford had woven itself into his memories of Williams. It was at Oxford that Williams first memorial event took place, 16 days after his death. His son’s first outing was at a lecture where ‘I lifted up my 6 week old [son] and said ‘you’ve got to see Raymond Williams’. Oxford is where Williams built the reputation that takes him back to Cambridge. It is where he writes Culture and Society- and Pinkney argues it is the experience of being in Oxford at that time, the academic connections and ‘distinctively Oxfordian moment’ in Williams development, the influence of Matthew Arnold and William Morris as much as F R Leavis, that results in this work. Williams is an Oxford Thinker, academically and in his considerations of Oxford itself. Oxford gave Williams the resources to become fully himself, and the Oxford story needs retelling to rebalance this.

Following lunch, and another spilling out into the sunshine, the afternoon session took place with a focus on Aesthetics, Art and Literature. Fuhito Endo (Seikei University, Tokyo), Takashi Onuki (Swansea University), Cath Beard (Swansea University), and Peter Wakelin considered Marxism, translation, critical receptions, and aesthetic interpretations of Williams and Wales. Fuhito Endo placed Williams alongside Jameson and Felman in an analysis of the institutionalism of new historicism in the early 1980’s. Takashi Onuki gave a fascinating insight into the issues thrown up during translation in his paper on translating People of the Black Mountains. The intricacies of language and translation as an act of revealing valuation gave a fascinating insight into the politics of the act of reading. Cath Beard examined how critical responses to the 1985 publication of Loyalties betrayed an anti-Welshness at the heart of anglocentric criticism, but also helped to magnify the value of considered examination in the works by Bruce Robbins and Tony Pinkney. Set against each other it was clear the fiction of Williams had been unfairly treated as the poor relation by many who cast a critical eye over his body of work, and was worthy of re-evaluation. The session drew to a close with Peter Wakelin’s moving presentation of ‘Border Country in paint: Raymond Williams artist contemporaries’. This collection brought much of what had been discussed during the day into visual representation and was a fitting end of the panels.

In the conference overview that followed, Daniel Williams (Swansea University), Shintaro Kono (Swansea University) and Daniel Gerke (Swansea University) wove together the treads of the differing presentations.

‘The sense and the impulse’ - at first glance the papers making up the body of the international symposium ‘Beyond the Border Country- New Directions in Raymond Williams studies’ may have seemed only vaguely related. Yet a fascinating thread ran through and within each presentation, building into a wider feeling. Agency, ecology, the body, the indiscriminate anger of the elements, the connection with the earth, Williams’ ‘locatedness’ (from Wales to Oxford) and the power of the image combined to provide a structure of feeling culminating in a moving summing up by Shintaro Kono. Shintaro described the impact of being in Tokyo on the day of the earthquake and tsunami, and the fear of radiation from Fukushima. The coming together of ‘red and green’ and the new direction toward ecologically aware politics that Williams was taking is needed now, more than ever. Hugely diverse papers came together within this context to make the Yeats quote paraphrased by Tony Pinkney ‘Our best labourer dead, and all the sheaves still to bind’ the end result of the day. The new academic and critical labourers are set to tying the sheaves left behind, especially those languishing in the field of ecocriticism, the direction perhaps in which Williams was moving towards the end of his life. 

Following the conference, delegates headed to The Art Shop and Chapel, Abergavenny, for the launch of Peter Lord’s ‘The Tradition: A new History of Welsh Art’. Part of the Parthian tour to celebrate the book, we enjoyed a 30 minute talk from Peter Lord, along with tea and cake. In the best tradition of Williams’s scholarship, Lord deconstructed the ‘selective traditions’ of the past that rendered a Welsh artistic tradition invisible. But his is no mere act of deconstruction, for his work and career has been dedicated to the construction of a Welsh artistic ‘Tradition’. The fruit of that work is distilled in his new, lavishly illustrated, volume. It is a fabulous book that all reading this should head out and buy immediately.


Cath Beard 

The Conference was supported by:
Richard Burton Centre for the Study of Wales 
CREW  - Canolfan Ymchwil i Lên ac Iaith Saesneg Cymru / Centre for Research into the Literature and Language of Wales
Raymond Williams Kenkyukai with the support of JSPS/MEXT Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research 
Parthian Books 
Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Sir Fynwy a’r Cyffiniau
With special thanks to Stuart Neale of Pandy Village Hall