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Linguistic Landscape, Loving Machine, and Visual Poetry in the Modern Age

Thursday 30 April 2020, 1.00PM

The first virtual session of the Countervoices PG Forum Summer Series. The forum is a series of termly events that offer Masters and PhD students in and beyond the Centre for Modern Studies the opportunity to present a short piece of work to an interdisciplinary audience. 

The event will consist of invited presentations from Heng Hu (Nottingham), Daniel Bowman(Sheffield) and Bowen Wang (TCD). It will be followed by a Q&A. 


West Street v.s. London Road: A Comparative Research on the Linguistic Landscape in Sheffield

Heng Hu, University of Nottingham (Ningbo)

Living in the modern society, we are surrounded by plenty of public signage such as those signs carrying the names for buildings and shops, various warning or directory signs, colorful posters, well-designed billboards and shops. In fact, those linguistic signage visables plays an important role in developing better understanding about how language use in public space and therefore deserves special attention. As one of the most heated topics in applied linguistics and sociolinguistics, linguistic landscape studies, which take their core the language on public signage, have attracted more and more attention from scholars across the world.

This research takes both West Street and London Road as a case study to compare linguistic landscape in both places. West Street is located near the University of Sheffield South Yorkshire whose target customers are mostly international students. Compared with West Street, Chinese people who are living in the London Road are mostly 1980-1990 immigrants from Hong Kong before the handover and other parts of the world. Moreover, there are two writing systems widely used in Chinese society. One is called simplified Chinese writing system Another is called Traditional Chinese writing system which is widely used in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Therefore, this study also compares how these two Chinese systems are used in Sheffield.

Heng Hu is a first year PhD student at the University of Nottingham (Ningbo). He finished his MA programme of English Language and Linguistics at the University of Sheffield. His research interests include Critical Discourse Analysis, the Belt and Road Initiative and Linguistic Landscape in Contemporary China.


Loving Machines: Animals in Early Automotive Culture

Daniel J Bowman, University of Sheffield

In the first automotive periodical ever published in the English language—The Horseless Age—the editor E. P. Ingersoll claimed that the automobile was a ‘humane’ technology, which would ensure the liberation of horses from human service. Whilst the automobile offered equines some relief from their heavier burdens, this form of humanitarianism sought to remove horses entirely from human society—to usher in a horseless age. In this paper, I evaluate the extent to which early automotive culture truly encouraged the humane treatment of nonhuman animals in the U.S., considering factors such as roadkill and habitat destruction notably absent from automobile advertisements. By analysing some of the earliest texts of a now-classic U.S. genre—the road narrative—I will reveal some surprising features of our relationship with this revolutionary technology. Human tendency to zoomorphise these machines leads to the formation of emotional bonds, and even calls for more ‘humane treatment of automobiles.’ In a world where humans have increasingly fewer meaningful relationships with other animals, what does it mean to care about cars—to love horsepower more than horses?

Daniel J Bowman is a WRoCAH-funded PhD candidate at the University of Sheffield. His project, Horsepower: Animals in Automotive Culture, 1895-1935, explores the impact of the automobile on the lives of animals, both human and nonhuman, in U.S. literature. Daniel is also a member of the Sheffield Animal Research Centre (ShARC).


Visual Poetry and Its Visual Turn: Past, Present, and Future

Bowen Wang, Trinity College Dublin

Modernism and avant-garde movements of literature and visual art have witnessed an innovative formation and re-presentation of the hybridity of poetry and other non-verbal media, namely visual poetry or concrete poetry. It is a historical term originated from the antiquity, which describes a poem fully or partially featured by visual design, creative conception, and perceptual experience of senses. Developing as an experimental type of literary genre since the early twentieth century, visual poetry tends to be identified as a new mode of writing/reading that requires more intellectual inquiries and aesthetic comprehension. This presentation, therefore, attempts to demonstrate how and why visual poetry has changed from the past to the future. Compared to its Hellenistic origin and early modern representative George Herbert, contemporary visual poets such as Eugen Gomringer, Guilaume Apollinaire, e. e. cummings, Ian Hamiltoandsc Pon Finlay, Mary Ellen Solt all exhibit a formal experimentalism far away from conventional poetics toward the radical expressions of newly-emerging cultural, aesthetic, and technological phenomena. Famous especially in the western world, this combined hybrid form, transgressive various boundaries, has deeply influenced the way in which we see and read, and presented us with different approaches to viewing and understanding modern art and literary artefacts.

Bowen Wang is a Ph.D. candidate in English Literature, Trinity College Dublin (TCD-CSC joint scholarship programme). He received his M.Sc. in Literature and Modernity at University of Edinburgh, following the completion of his B.A. in English Language and Literature at Sun Yat-sen University and an exchange year in English/American Studies at University of Southern Denmark. His research interests include modernism and postmodernism, intermediality between literature and visual art, experimental poetry and poetics, and twentieth-century critical theory.


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