Research Futures: Novel Reading During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Research Futures  Novel Reading During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • 21 April 2021
  • 14:00 - 15:00
  • FREE
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Lockdown Reading Project will explore how reading is affected during a crisis such as the Coronavirus pandemic and its associated lockdowns

Join the University of Portsmouth's Interdisciplinary Webinar Series, chaired by  Leïla Choukroune, Professor of International Law and Director of the University of Portsmouth Thematic Area in Democratic Citizenship, and members of the Lockdown Reading Project from the University of Portsmouth and the University of Copenhagen.

What do people do with novels and how do they read during a time of crisis? Does a crisis such as the Coronavirus pandemic and its associated lockdowns simply offer more time for reading, as many journalists initially proposed? How is reading affected under such conditions? These are just some of a series of interconnected questions this talk by members of the Lockdown Reading Project will explore.

Working with quantitative and qualitative data collected as part of this research collaboration between the University of Copenhagen and the University of Portsmouth, this talk will examine, in particular, the ways in which the pandemic has unevenly disrupted people’s time, with some gaining time for reading and others losing it.

Against simplistic early calls in the media that lockdown would enable us all to read War and Peace, we shall discuss the complexity of book use and reading during lockdown in the two nations, teasing apart the tensions between, for example, increases in time for reading and the difficulties people have experienced when reading this past year. Ultimately, our research has shown, the uneven redistribution of time has resulted in a renewed appreciation of time and time-use themselves during the pandemic, in terms of both lived experienced and narrative interrogation.

Christina Lupton is Professor and Director of the Institute of Modern Languages at the University of Copenhagen. She is author of three monographs: Knowing Books (2012), Reading and the Making of Time (Johns Hopkins, 2018), and Love and the Novel (Profile, 2021).

Johanne Gormsen Schmidt is postdoc at the Institute of Modern Languages at the University of Copenhagen. Her dissertation, The Art of Insignificance: Aesthetics and Practice at the Publishing House Basilisk (2020), is invested in the current efforts to combine sociology and literature. She is editor of the literary journal Passage.

Ben Davies is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Portsmouth, UK. He is the author of Sex, Time, and Space in Contemporary Fiction (2016), editor of John Burnside (2020) and co-editor of Sex, Gender and Time in Fiction and Culture (2011).

Date: 21 April 2021 | Wednesday

Time: 2:00pm to 3:00pm (UK Time)

(The webinar link with full joining instructions will be sent to you by email. Please check your inbox after you have registered and keep the joining instructions safely.)

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