Take a look at upcoming events we are running.

Monthly events

We run a monthly seminar during term time, which will be held online via Zoom for the foreseeable future and is open to all. To register, please contact Charlotte Mathieson ( and Constance Bantman (

Semester 2 2021-22

Wednesday 23rd February, 1230-2 PM

Mobilities reading group: discussion of selected works

Tuesday 1st March, 4-5 PM

We are pleased to welcome Dr Tintin Wulia (University of Gothenburg):

Aesthetics that transforms: interventions in a mobile ethnography of cardboard waste in Hong Kong

Aesthetics and ethnography often intersect. In these intersections, aisthesis is generally discussed as a tool for representation and communication, or as an object of study. Departing from the usual, in this talk I will examine how these intersection can be transformative via mobile methods. I will demonstrate this specifically through my aesthetic intervention methodology in a merge with Urry and Sheller's (2006) mobile ethnography, with a focus on cardboard waste as Star's (2010) boundary object. Examples from my case studies (2014-) will clarify how aesthetic interventions in public spaces enabled me to pinpoint subtle shifts in boundary objects’ identity during social processes. These shifts potentially reorganise social networks and can link to transformation in socio-political institutions, particularly when boundary objects are transformed into things-in-common (Wulia 2021).

Dr Tintin Wulia is a UK-based Indonesian-Australian artist and senior researcher at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Her artistic practice has been featured in major exhibitions including the Istanbul Biennale (2005), Yokohama Triennale (2005), Moscow Biennale (2011), Sharjah Biennale (2013), Encounter at Art Basel Hong Kong (2016), and a solo pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017). Her current Swedish Research Council funded project, Protocols of Killings (2021-23), aesthetically draws parallels between distant killings in the historical 1965-66 Indonesian massacres and the future technology of drone warfare. Her upcoming ERC Starting Grant project will develop a theory of aesthetic objects and sociopolitical transformation within the framework of imagination, emotion, and institution. 


Wednesday 23rd March, 1230-2 PM

Mobilities work-in-progress session, discussion of selected works.


Wednesday 4th May, 12:30 PM

We are very pleased to welcome Professor David Herd (University of Kent, and co-organiser of Refugee Tales) for a talk followed by Q&A

Walking Against Expulsion: The Community Politics of Refugee Tales

Since 2015, the Refugee Tales project has shared the stories of people who have experienced immigration detention, in the context of large-scale public walks. In so doing, the project has continuously called out the fact that the UK is the only country in western Europe that detains people indefinitely under immigration rules. In this talk, the co-organiser of Refugee Tales, David Herd, considers the project’s work in light of the seventieth anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention, a document that committed to prohibiting the expulsion of refugees.

David Herd is Professor of Modern Literature at the University of Kent and co-organiser of the project Refugee Tales. His collections of poetry include All Just (2012), Outwith (2012), Through (2016), and Walk Song (Shearsman, 2022). His writings on the politics of human movement have appeared in Los Angeles Review of Books, Parallax, From the European South and the TLS, and his book Writing Against Expulsion:Making Space for the Human in the Postwar World is forthcoming from OUP.


Semester one 2021

Wednesday 20 October – 12:30pm-2pm (Zoom)

Mobilities reading group: discussion of selected works


Wednesday 8 December – 12-1:30pm (Zoom)

Invited Speaker Event

We are pleased to welcome the following speakers who will be discussing their research:

Alice Béja, Senior Lecturer in American History, Sciences Po Lille: 'Left-wing radicalism in the United States: a foreign creed?'

The theme of the upcoming issue of Transatlantica, a journal of US-American studies, is "Left-wing radicalism in the United States: a foreign creed?". It seeks to analyze the way in which the construction of radicalism as foreign to US-American identity was received by radicals themselves, to see how they reacted to the branding of their beliefs as un-American, and how they devised counter-discourses in order to Americanize their ideas, sometimes leading to conflict and contradiction. How can the language of patriotism be combined with a belief in internationalism? What coalitions, what political alliances can be built while maintaining a revolutionary stance? How can the class struggle be rooted in a discourse on US-American society without succumbing to the sirens of exceptionalism? The articles that compose the issue range from the late 19th to the early 21st century and invite us to reflect on the dialectic between national anchoring and internationalism, on how national histories frame political beliefs and the language in which activists, writers and thinkers articulate them in public discourse.

Alice Béja is Associate Professor of US-American Studies at the Lille Institute of Political Science (Sciences Po Lille), and a researcher at CERAPS-CNRS. Her research focuses on left-wing radicalism in the United States at the turn of the 20th century, Emma Goldman, and the intersection between food and radicalism. She has edited the upcoming issue of Transatlantica which is the topic of this talk.


Thomas Jones, Senior Lecturer in History, University of Buckingham: ‘Identity, Ideology, and “Alien” Status in First World War Britain’

At the outbreak of the First World War, the British state took an intense interest in its resident ‘alien’ population. Foreign-born inhabitants were subjected to a growing array of restrictions and differentiated according to their ‘friendly’ or ‘enemy’ statuses, with the latter often facing internment or deportation. National identity was suddenly of paramount importance for Britain’s immigrant populations, and those with political convictions at odds with their official citizenships, such as pro-French Alsatians or anti-Habsburg Czechs, engaged in the complex task of defining and proving their ‘true’ nationalities to an often sceptical British state and public. There was a similar challenge for alien ‘friends’ that held political sentiments, such as pacifism or sympathy for the Russian Revolution, increasingly deemed to be incompatible with Britishness or British interests. This paper will explore the organizations that emerged to defend those with such ambiguous nationalities and the political strategies that they employed in a time of increasingly strict definitions of citizens and ‘aliens’.

Dr Thomas C Jones is a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Buckingham. His work focuses on exile, transnationalism, and political thought in modern Europe. He is currently writing a history of political and religious asylum in Britain from the Reformation to the twentieth century.



(This event has been postponed until the spring): M. G. Sanchez: From Guzman to Gooseman and back again – contesting coloniality in my Gibraltarian fiction

In this talk Gibraltarian novelist M. G. Sanchez will be discussing his native Gibraltar and its representation in his writing. He will start by exploring Gibraltar’s current socio-cultural situation, focusing on matters of identity, coloniality, cultural hybridity and performative self-representation. He’ll then go on to discuss how these elements are worked into his 2020 novel Gooseman, which also deals with issues of migration and xenophobia. Video, photographs and audio clips will be used during what promises to be an eye-opening sixty-minute presentation.

Students reading books

School of Literature and Languages events

Our researchers contribute to a series of conferences, seminars and annual outreach events held at Surrey or based in the local area.