Out of the Echo Chamber: Listening to Voices from the Past | Best of Bristol

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Out of the Echo Chamber: Listening to Voices from the Past | Best of Bristol

Presented by Dr Gareth Griffiths

  • I work primarily on the literature of the Middle English period, with a particular interest in synthesising literary and manuscript studies to interpret written culture.  I have published on the manuscripts of Middle English romance in their linguistic and social contexts, and on narrative landscapes as an influence on reader response.  I also work on biblical translations retellings in the vernacular across the Old and Middle English periods.
  • In a world with so many pressing problems, why waste time reading literature, especially literature from the distant past? Isn't it too obscure to be useful, and too specialised to be of interest except to the privileged few?


As a medievalist who spends most of his working day in what is called 'Widening Participation', I want to use this lecture to argue that reading and studying literature together could be one way to address increasing polarisation in the world we live in.  A curriculum that is chronologically and geographically inclusive, read and discussed together by a student community that represents the full diversity of our society, is a powerful tool to break out of the 'echo chamber' of our own opinions. 


By taking time to listen hard to voices from the past, and from the present, that see the world differently from each of us, we can all develop an increased awareness of difference, and an ability to engage productively with viewpoints that differ markedly from our own.




This lecture is part of the Best of Bristol series - a free lecture series showcasing the most inspiring lecturers at University of Bristol, as voted for by Bristol students. There are eight lectures taking place across the series from 14 - 30 March. Find all the lectures at www.bristolsu.org.uk/bestofbristol


Venue: Great Hall, Wills Memorial Building


Start Date Tuesday 21-03-2017 - 13:00

End Date Tuesday 21-03-2017 - 14:00

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