+44(0) 113 343 4740
Summary: The politics of language, specifically the way in which language constructs, and is constructed by, forms of social power; the interrelations between language and history in Britain and Ireland.
My work covers a number of fields, including specifically: the politics of language; language and power; the interrelations between language and history in Britain and Ireland (Renaissance to the present); language in Liverpool (1850-the present); the use of non-standard language in literature; the literature of Liverpool (particularly the Liverpool novel from the mid nineteenth century); contemporary Irish culture; the murals of Northern Ireland 1979-the present.
My research interests lie broadly in the area of the politics of language, understood in general terms as the way in which language constructs, and is constructed by, forms of social power. Thus in my published work I have focussed on several distinct but related fields. These include: the idea of Standard English and the uses to which it has been, and is, put socially (The Politics of Discourse: The Standard Language Question in British Cultural Debates); the interrelations between language and history in Britain and Ireland (Language in History: Theories and Texts); the complex history of language in colonial and post-colonial Ireland (Wars of Words: The Politics of Language in Ireland 1537-2004); and the invention and deployment of Scouse as a cultural and linguistic category (Scouse: A Cultural and Social History). My current research is two-fold: the compilation of a glossary of language in Liverpool (1850-2010), and an investigation of the social and educational effects of the stigmatisation of a form of language on its users.
Apart from these main interests, I also have a number of other projects: the literature of Liverpool (particularly the Liverpool novel from the mid nineteenth century); the use of non-standard language in literature (principally modern and contemporary); the murals of Northern Ireland. This last project involves the compilation of an on-line archive of my photographic record of the murals that have appeared in Northern Ireland in the period 1979-the present. The construction of the archive is on-going, but currently features more than three thousand images with full historical notation and contextualisation (available at http://ccdl.libraries.claremont.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/mni).
I currently teach core modules in the English language (including English: Culture, Context and Style, and Language in Society), as well as option modules in The Politics of Language and Keywords: the words we use and the ways we use them. I intend to develop a series of modules at the undergraduate and graduate levels that draw upon the research interests outlined above.
I welcome enquiries from postgraduate students wishing to research in any of the areas outlined above.
Scouse: A Social and Cultural History, Liverpool and Chicago: Liverpool University Press, 2012, pp. xiii + 224.
Language and Social Change: a Complex Case History, in Rethinking Approaches to the History of English, eds. Terttu Nevalainen and Elizabeth Traugott, Oxford University Press, 2011.
The Complaint Tradition, in Historical Linguistics of English: An International Handbook, A. Bergs and L. Brinton, eds., Mouton de Gruyer, 2011.
Joyce, Irish and English: the problem of language, in Joyce: Critical Insights, ed. Al Wachtel, Ebsco, 2013.
James Joyce and lexicography: I must look that word up. Upon my word I must, Dictionaries, 31, 2010.
The art of memory: the murals of Northern Ireland and the management of history, Field Day Journal of Irish Studies, 7, 2011.
Signs, Socialism and Ethics, Keywords: A Journal of Cultural Materialism, 9, 2011.
Dissident: an essay in historical semiotics, Critical Quarterly, 53.2, 2011.
Belfast 1972-1986, photographs and text, in collaboration with Eric Madigan Heck and Kristopher Banks, Nomenus Quarterly, 13 (The Privilege of Living), April 2012.
Class Accent (interview), Red Pepper, Feb/Mar, 2013.
Abuse (Keyword entry), Keywords, 11, Winter 2013.
Scouse (Keyword entry), Keywords, 12, Winter 2014.
The Murals of Northern Ireland 1979-2013: