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Autumn Seminar Series: Politics in Performance and Language

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Centre for Irish Studies Autumn Seminar Series 2018

2018.09.04 | Sanne Overgaard Larsen

Date Wed 10 Oct
Time 16:30 18:00
Location Nobelparken Building 1481, room 224

The Centre for Irish Studies and the Embassy of Ireland are happy to announce that the third seminar in our CISA Autumn Seminar Series 2018 will be taking place on October 10 at 16.30-18.00 in Nobelparken, building 1481 room 224.

The seminar series comprises a total of three double lectures, as well as five film screenings with companion lectures. All events are fuelled by snacks and followed by discussions.

What Your Dialect Says about You: Language Change and Politics in Belfast

Speaker: Anna Bothe Jespersen, Department of English AU

A person’s voice contains cues to their social identity. From a short conversation, we as listeners may recognise dialectal traits from the speaker’s home area, vocal habits associated with their social groups, and physiological cues to their age, sex and health. In this talk I draw on this fact to argue that if we know what to look for, a Belfast English speaker’s choice of dialect features can provide listeners with strong evidence for their political background. I will argue that the ways in which younger Belfast speakers use such features is rapidly changing from the speech habits of older generations, but not in a way where sectarian divisions are becoming less clear-cut. As part of this discussion, I will consider a small number of my recorded speakers who do not conform to the general patterns and discuss their social motivations for such linguistic misbehaviour. 

Prometheus and the IRA in the late 1980’s

Speaker: Isabelle Torrance, AIAS

This paper argues that Tom Paulin’s play Seize the Fire, an adaptation of Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound, produced in a film version by the BBC in 1989, should be read in the context of political tensions between Britain and Ireland in the late 1980s, specifically the controversy surrounding the deaths of three IRA members on the Rock of Gibraltar in 1988. The disconnect between the published version of the play and the film version, this paper suggests, hints towards efforts at disguising the political content of the original script.