Professor Daniel G. Williams - Public Lecture and Book Launch

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On Thursday, April 30, Professor Daniel G. Williams of Swansea University will deliver the lecture ‘One Nation! Which Nation? Assimilating Wales from Shakespeare to Miliband’. The evening will also see the launch of Professor Williams’s new collection of essays, Wales Unchained: Literature, Politics and Identity in the American Century.

Date: Thursday, 30 April

Time: 6.30pm, book launch and reception from 6.00 pm

Venue:  Wallace Lecture Theatre, Wallace Building, Swansea University, SA2 8PP

The lecture will be delivered in Welsh, simultaneous translation will be provided. 

Wales Unchained ‘One Nation! Which Nation?  Assimilating Wales from Shakespeare to Miliband’

What are the bases of Britishness? Does the idea of Britain entail ‘one nation’ homogeneity, or is multicultural Britishness a defence against the excesses of nationalism? With a General Election upon us in which constitutional questions are at the heart of political and cultural debate, this inaugural lecture will explore the ways in which Britishness has been imagined and re-imagined in literature. What is the relationship between Britishness and Welshness? How has that relationship been imagined in literature and culture? Beginning in the Renaissance and ending in the Twenty-First century, Professor Daniel G. Williams will ask whether there are any lessons for the future that can be learnt from the imaging and imagining of Britishness in literature.

Wales Unchained: Literature, Politics and Identity in the American Century (University of Wales Press)

Described by broadcaster Huw Edwards as a ‘dazzling read’ the volume asks how have the Welsh defined themselves, and how have they been defined by others? What are the social and cultural implications of these definitions? Do forms of identification based on class, gender or language result in compatible or competing solidarities? Is multiculturalism a threat to minority cultures, or does it offer an enabling context for their development? Williams discusses ideas of race in the writings of Rhys Davies and D. H. Lawrence, explores the simultaneous impact of Dylan Thomas and saxophonist Charlie Parker on 1950s America, juxtaposes the uses made of class and ethnicity in the thought of Aneurin Bevan and Paul Robeson, and probes the relationship between gender and language in the poetry of Menna Elfyn and Gwyneth Lewis. Transatlantic in scope and comparative in method, this book will engage readers interested in literature, politics, history and contemporary cultural debate.

Professor Daniel G. Williams

Yr Athro Daniel G. Williams Professor Williams is Professor of English Literature and Director of the Richard Burton Centre for the Study of Wales at Swansea University. He was educated at the University of East Anglia, Harvard University, and Cambridge University (King’s College). He is the author of Ethnicity and Cultural Authority: From Arnold to Du Bois (Edinburgh University Press, 2006) and Black Skin, Blue Books: African Americans and Wales (University of Wales Press, 2012). He has edited Slanderous Tongues: Essays on Welsh Poetry in English 1970-2005 (Seren, 2010), Canu Caeth: Affro-Americaniaid a’r Cymry (Gomer, 2010), co-edited (with Alyce von Rothkirch) Beyond the Difference: Welsh Literature in Comparative Contexts (University of Wales Press, 2004), and edited a collection of Raymond Williams’s writings, Who Speaks for Wales? Nation, Culture, Identity (University of Wales Press, 2003).

He is general editor of the Welsh-language cultural studies series Safbwyntiau (2012 - ) and co-edits (with Kirsti Bohata) the CREW series of monographs ‘Writing Wales in English’ (both University of Wales Press). He is also editor of a special edition of Comparative American Studies on ‘The Celtic Nations and the African-Americas’ (2010) and a special edition of Keywords on ‘Raymond Williams in Japan’. (2011).

He was a Leverhulme Trust funded Visiting Professor at Harvard University in 2012, and Director of the Centre for Research into the Literature and Language of Wales from 2007-2010.

Major research interests include: Welsh literature in Welsh and English, American literature, African-American literature, nationalism, the New Left, Critical Theory and Intellectual History. He is also saxophonist with the jazz-folk sextet ‘Burum’ who have recorded two albums: Alawon: The Songs of Welsh Folk (Fflach, 2007), Caniadau (Bopa, 2012).