Detailed information about the course

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Beside Words: Rethinking Discourse/Text as Theory and Practice


June 6-7


Prof. Crispin Thurlow, UNIBE


Prof. Rodney Jones, City University of Hong Kong

Prof. Kenneth Goldsmith, University of Pennsylvania,

Prof. Susan Foster, UCLA



This two‐day, transdisciplinary workshop is designed for doctoral candidates working in the intellectual borderland of the humanistic social sciences; specifically, those committed to the study of discourse/texts from a more cultural theory approach or a more communication theory approach. As such, the workshop is deliberately conceived with both literature and linguistics CUSO members in mind.



The workshop is rooted in the scholarship of three internationally renowned scholars/artists as invited instructors:



Rodney Jones


Mediated discourse studies and creativity


Professor of Sociolinguistics and New Media, Reading University, UK



Kenneth Goldsmith


Poetics and (un)creative writing


Poet and Adjunct Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania, USA


Susan Leigh Foster


Dance/corporeality studies and performative writing


Professor of World Arts/Dance, University of California Los Angeles, USA



Discourse/text studies, both broadly defined, are currently in a state of revision as the humanistic social sciences undergo a series of so called visual, spatial, embodied, material, and affective turns. Where does this leave words? Where does this leave the study of language and written/print texts? How do we make better sense of "writing" practices – literary and communicative – in the age of new media? How are we to make better sense of representational practices – texts and interactions – in an age marked by such intensive multimodality, and at a time when academics are increasingly attentive to the multisensory and the "more‐ than‐representational"?


These are the kinds of theoretical‐cum‐methodological challenges many emerging scholars are grappling with nowadays, something this workshop seeks to address in provocative, productive ways. The workshop will be open to students working in a range of discourse‐/text‐ analytic traditions (e.g. cultural studies, rhetorical studies, intermediality studies, linguistic anthropology, sociolinguistics) from within and without English studies. The workshop will be conducted through English, but should appeal to students working on/in any language.



Over two days, participants will engage in "master classes" led by internationally renowned scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds; the fourth class will be led by workshop director Crispin Thurlow, Professor of Language and Communication at the University of Bern.detail-module Each of these fairly hands‐on sessions will be organized around a short presentation‐cum-demonstration, applied exercises (e.g. textual analysis and creative work) and student‐oriented discussions about conceptual/methodological issues. Throughout, students will be encouraged to re‐examine the semiotic modalities of their research and to re‐imagine new possibilities for their own academic "writing".


Participating doctoral students will be requested to prepare an academic poster about their own research to help the invited instructors connect quickly with their work and to highlight points of contact with other participants. These posters will be on permanent display during the two‐day workshop. Students will likely be required to read at least one indicative paper (or view video material) from each instructor in advance of the workshop and prepare some initial research notes/talking points. Students will have opportunities for mentoring from the invited instructors during lunches and dinners on both days.






For doctoral students registered with CUSO, attendance at this workshop is free and includes second class half‐fare train travel from their home university to Berne, shared accommodation for two nights, both lunches and both dinners. Non‐affiliated students are welcome to apply for a place in the workshop if available. All applicants should register via the CUSO website by Friday 11 March 2016. Please direct any questions about the academic programme to Professor Thurlow ( xxx ); all practical enquiries should go to the workshop administrator Maida Bilkic ( xxx ).



Deadline for registration 11.03.2016
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