Raymond Williams Society Annual Lecture 2018

We are delighted to announce that the 2018 Raymond Williams Society Lecture will be given by Professor Michael Denning of Yale University.

The lecture will take place at Roscoe Building Theatre B, Brunswick Street (off Oxford Road), Manchester, UK, M13 9PY, on Wednesday March 7 2018 at 5pm.

Free entry.

Arrive early to avoid disappointment.


The lecture is being co-hosted by the Taylor Fellowship at the University of Manchester.

There will be a wine reception to follow, from 6.30pm onwards.

Michael Denning is William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of American Studies and English at Yale. He is the author of Mechanic Accents: Dime Novels and Working Class Culture in America, The Cultural Front: The Laboring of American Culture in the Twentieth Century, and Noise Uprising: The Audiopolitics of a World Musical Revolution.

RWS Postgraduate Essay Prize Winner 2017

We are delighted to announce that the winner of the Raymond Williams Society Postgraduate Essay Competition for 2017 (The Simon Dentith Memorial Prize) is Ryan David Furlong.

Ryan, a PhD candidate in English and American Literature at The University of Iowa, submitted an excellent essay titled ‘”White Slaves” as “Black Slaves”: Re-evaluating the 19th c. Working-Class Autobiography within the (Con)texts of Transatlantic Abolitionism’.

He will receive £100 in prize money, a year’s subscription to the society, and we look forward to his essay appearing in a future edition of Key Words. The editorial board would like to warmly congratulate him on this impressive achievement.

rws logo 8

Alan Sinfield (1941-2017)

The Committee of the Raymond Williams Society and the Editorial Committee of Key Words are deeply saddened to hear of the recent death of Alan Sinfield, and would like to offer their condolences to his partner, Vincent Quinn.
        Alan was a gay socialist critic strongly committed to the principles of cultural materialism first elaborated by Raymond Williams. He spent the majority of his academic career at the University of Sussex, where he co-founded the MA programme in Sexual Dissidence and Social Change, the first of its kind in Britain. His writing has been profoundly influential in the fields of Shakespeare and Early Modern Studies, Tennyson and Victorian Poetry, and Queer Studies. The magisterial study, Literature, Politics and Culture in Postwar Britain (1989), provided a distinctive analysis of welfare capitalism and the politics of the New Left, as well as a positive evaluation of the potential role of subcultures in response to the hegemony of the Thatcherite Right. It also exemplified his more general commitment to the not incompatible principles of rigour and generosity in scholarship, as well as to the democratic priority of communication through a style that conveys even complex arguments with clarity and urgency.
        Alan’s loss to us all is considerable, but his personality was everywhere present in his work, and we are fortunate indeed still to have that. His range was remarkable: other major works include The Language of Tennyson’s In Memoriam (1971), Literature in Protestant England, 1560-1660 (1983), the co-edited collection (with Jonathan Dollimore) Political Shakespeare: Essays in Cultural Materialism (1989), Faultlines: Cultural Materialism and the Politics of Dissident Reading (1992), Cultural Politics – Queer Reading (1994), The Wilde Century: Oscar Wilde, Effeminacy and the Queer Moment (1994), Gay and After: Gender, Culture and Consumption (1998), Out on Stage: Lesbian and Gay Theatre in the Twentieth Century (1999), On Sexuality and Power (2004), and his final collection of essays before illness made writing impossible, Shakespeare, Authority and Sexuality: Unfinished Business in Cultural Materialism (2006). A recent issue of the journal, Textual Practice – of which he was a former editor – marked the scope and importance of his output. A full obituary will appear in Key Words in 2018.


Cultural Populism Then and Now

Cultural Populism Then and Now: The Work of Jim McGuigan

To celebrate 25 years since the publication of Cultural Populism by Jim McGuigan, a one-day event is being held at City, University of London on Friday 1st December.

Speakers include Stuart Allan, Ros Brunt, Kate Lacey, Angela McRobbie, Toby Miller, Graham Murdock, Deborah Philips,Tom Steele, Nick Stevenson, Chris Rojek, and Garry Whannel as well as Prof McGuigan.

To register visit: https://www.city.ac.uk/events/2017/december/cultural-populism-then-and-now

The event is free. Full details: Friday 1st December 2017, 10:45am to 5pm, Northampton Suite, University Building, City, University of London, Northampton Square, London, EC1V 0HB

Cultural Populism Event Poster


‘Antonio Gramsci: The Prison Notebooks’ Exhibition

On the 80th anniversary of Antonio Gramsci’s death, the Italian Cultural Institute in London is hosting an exhibition featuring the originals of Gramsci’s 33 Prison Notebooks. It will be the first time that the notebooks have gone on display in the United Kingdom and outside of Italy. The exhibition, curated by Silvio Pons and Francesco Giasi, will run from 30th October 2017 until 10th November and will open with a lecture on the 30th by Professor Pons.

For more information visit: http://www.icilondon.esteri.it/iic_londra/en/gli_eventi/calendario/2017/10/i-quaderni-del-carcere-di-antonio.html

AGM 2017

The 2017 Annual General Meeting of the Raymond Williams Society will take place on Saturday 28 October 2017 at 2pm at the Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount Street, Manchester, M2 5NS. All are welcome. The annual lecture has been moved to spring and will be given by Professor Michael Denning in Manchester on Wednesday 7 March 2018.

We are now receiving nominations for RWS executive committee posts. If you wish to be considered then please email raymondwilliamssocietyrws@gmail.com. Each nominee must have a proposer and a seconder. For any queries or questions, email philip.obrien@manchester.ac.uk. The nomination process is open to all. Deadline for nominations is 2pm on Saturday 21 October 2017.

Representing Revolution: Russia in 1917

To mark the centenary of the October Revolution, Dumfries TUC, in partnership with the local Robert Burns Centre Film Theatre (RBCFT), the Scottish Labour History Society and the Scottish Morning Star Campaign Committee is organising Representing Revolution, a programme of American, British, French and Russian (Soviet) films to explore how the October Revolution has been presented in film.

The event will take place over the weekend of Friday-Sunday, 27-29 October at RBCFT and guest speakers, including Professor John Foster (Glasgow), Professor Lesley Milne (Nottingham) and Dr David Archibald (Glasgow), will introduce and lead discussions on the films, which comprise Warren Beatty’s Reds (1981), Sergei Eisenstein’s October (1928), David Lean’s Doctor Zhivago (1965/6), Chris Marker’s The Last Bolshevik (1993), Nikita Mikhalkov’s At Home Among Strangers (1974) and Vsevelod Pudovkin’s The End of St Petersburg (1927).

Further details here:



We are delighted to announce details of this year’s postgraduate essay prize:

The Raymond Williams Society postgraduate essay competition, now in its sixth year, is open to anyone studying for a higher degree (masters or doctoral) in the UK or elsewhere, or who graduated no earlier than 31 July 2015. The prize for the winning entry is 100 GBP and a year’s subscription to the Society. The winning essay will also be published in the peer-reviewed academic journal Key Words. The competition aims to encourage a new generation of scholars working in the tradition of cultural materialism, especially those whose research is rooted in the work of Raymond Williams.

Entries should be 5-7,000 words in length, including endnotes, which should normally be kept to a minimum. Entries must follow the Key Words Style Notes for contributors. The Style Notes, and information about previous winning entries, can be found elsewhere on our website.

Entries should be sent to Dr Emily Cuming at e.m.cuming@ljmu.ac.uk

They should be accompanied by a brief coversheet with the following details: Name, Postal address, Email address, Institutional affiliation, Current or most recent programme of study, Date of graduation (if applicable), Title of essay, Word count. Please ask your supervisor to send us an email confirming your status. We also request that you confirm the article is not under consideration for publication elsewhere.

The closing date for entries is 1 September 2017.