English Studies: Culture (RG 2)
Number of researchers: 23 - Integrated members (with PhD): 12 / PhD students: 3 / Other researchers: 7
The team of researchers that has been commonly known as “Research Group 2”, ever since the beginning of ULICES, has always laid special emphasis on cultural studies. At a time when Literature and Linguistics seemed to monopolise the territory formerly classified under the heading of Philology, the study of “Culture” began to emerge as a comparatively new field of analysis and very quickly moved into interdisciplinary areas that have served to enrich this group’s research themes.
While maintaining the literary origin of our studies intact, concentrating mainly on the areas of fiction and essay-writing, our methodologies of analysis have also opened up paths for studying the history of ideas, social analysis and, more recently, gender and identity studies, as well as ethnic and racial studies, while giving increasing emphasis to the study of visual culture and representation. Within this broad frame of reference, each researcher pursues his or her specialised individual interests, while still remaining permanently in touch with the dynamics of the group as a whole.
The research programme that the group has been working on together is centred on the theme of the “British Empire”. It was begun in 2008-2009 and is designed to be developed over a three-year period. The chosen theme implies a diachronic dimension, in which the history of the Empire and its multiple configurations both allows for and demands a philosophical and political slant to its study. The diversity of the imperial spaces calls for cultural, social and anthropological analyses, in which the variety of representations creates room for visual culture studies. The development of the project has already been subjected to a first phase of public presentation, with the title “British Empire – ideologies, perspectives, perceptions”, which was centred above all on the British Empire in India. The next steps in the development of the project will be dedicated to the various expressions of the Empire in Africa and North and South America.