In Welsh literary and cultural studies there is a strong tradition of engagement across disciplines: of exchanges between women’s history and literature, post-devolution politics and poetry, art history and the creation of cultural traditions, to give but a few examples. Wales Studies, as it is being developed by The Learned Society of Wales,* may provide further opportunities for multi-disciplinary thinking about Welsh literature. But what are the rewards or challenges of working across disciplines? What might Wales Studies mean in an increasingly fragmented UK?
A further strand of the conference will focus on theoretical and methodological directions in the field. What is the future direction of gender studies, queer theory and other identity-based approaches? Does postcolonial theory still offer any useful models? How far will the much vaunted spatial turn influence the interpretation of Welsh writing in English? What might the digital turn yield in this field? Is there a case for the return to a more text-focused approach, what one scholar recently described as ‘just reading’?
This conference aims to encourage a conversation about the values and challenges of multi-disciplinary approaches to literature, to map the kinds of critical, methodological and theoretical practices that seem to be of most value at the present time, and to look ahead to the likely preoccupations of the field over the next decade.
Professor M. Wynn Thomas OBE FLSW (Emyr Humphreys Professor of Welsh Writing in English, Swansea University)
Professor Roger Scully FLSW (Professor of Political Science, Cardiff University)
Dr Jon Anderson (Reader in Human Geography, Cardiff University)
Dr Jasmine Donahaye FLSW (Author and Associate Professor of Creative Writing, Swansea University)