Keynote Addresses

You can view all our Keynote lectures as ‘videocast’ slideshows, or alternatively download an audio podcast, and access the full text. You can also discuss and share your thoughts on the issues raised.


PDF download: Keynote Speaker Profiles

Professor Regenia Gagnier

Gagnier Polaroid
Why Interdisciplinarity?

The books of Regenia Gagnier have shaped the study of Victorian and modern culture with highly influential work on decadence, aesthetics and aestheticism, lifewriting and subjectivity, economics, individualism, and globalization. Idylls of the Marketplace: Oscar Wilde and the Victorian Public (Stanford, 1986) considered the role of the artist in market society. Subjectivities: A History of Self-Representation in Britain 1832-1920 (Oxford, 1991) analyzed the relationship of social class and gender to literary form. The Insatiability of Human Wants: Economics and Aesthetics in Market Society (Chicago, 2000) traced the moment when aesthetics and economics shifted from substantive to formal models and production to consumption. She has just completed Individualism, Decadence, and Globalization (forthcoming Palgrave 2010), and her current research is on the global circulation of the literatures of liberalism. Gagnier is Editor in Chief of Literature Compass and Professor of English at the University of Exeter, and Director of Exeter Interdisciplinary Institute (EII).

You can watch Prof. Gagnier’s keynote address at

Professor Roger Griffin

‘The Rainbow Bridge’: Reflections on Interdisciplinarity in the Cybernetic Age

Griffin PolaroidRoger Griffin is Professor in Modern History at Oxford Brookes University (UK) where he gives courses on fascism, modernism, and terrorism, and has written on a wide range of political, cultural, and socio-psychological phenomena relating to generic fascism and right-wing extremism. His more than 100 publications include the two monographs The Nature of Fascism (Pinter, 1991), Modernism and Fascism. The Sense of a Beginning under Mussolini and Hitler (Palgrave, 2007), and the collection of essays A Fascist Century (Palgrave, 2008). He also edited the anthologies of primary and secondary sources Fascism (OUP, 1995), International Fascism. Theories, Causes and the New Consensus (Arnold, 1998); and (with Matthew Feldman) the 5 volumes of Critical Concepts in Political Science: Fascism (Routledge, 2003). He is now working on the volume Modernism and Terrorism for his series Modernism and… (Palgrave). His two main contributions to comparative studies of extremist ideologies lie first in his exploration of the central role of the myth of imminent palingenesis as a universal component of the social imaginary of revolutionaries (including fascist ones) of every cultural background, religious or secular, anywhere in the world, and second in his investigation of the way this myth is the hallmark of a modernist reaction to the ‘nomocidal’ conditions of globalizing and secularizing modernity.

You can watch Prof. Griffin’s keynote address at

Professor David Crystal

Crystal PolaroidLanguage Death’

David Crystal works from his home in Holyhead, North Wales, as a writer, editor, lecturer, and broadcaster, and is Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Bangor. He read English at University College London, specialised in English language studies, did some research there at the Survey of English Usage under Randolph Quirk, then joined academic life as a lecturer in linguistics, first at Bangor, then at Reading, where he was professor linguistics from 1975 to 1984. His research has been mainly in English language studies, in such fields as intonation and stylistics, and in the application of linguistics to religious, educational, clinical, and electronic contexts. His authored works include the subject of his keynote talk, Language Death, as well as several introductory texts, notably his two encyclopedias for Cambridge University Press, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language and The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. An autobiography, Just a Phrase I’m Going Through: My Life in Language, appeared in 2009.

You can watch Prof. Crystal’s keynote address at

Professor Mark Macklin

Floodplain Catastrophes and Climate Change: Lessons from the Rise and Fall of Riverine Societies

Macklin PolaroidMark Macklin’s research is located at the intersection of geomorphology, Quaternary science and archaeology. He has written papers in these areas for Antiquity, Catena, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Geoarchaeology, Geological Society of America Bulletin, Geology, Geomorphology, Hydrological Processes, Journal of Archaeological Science, Journal of Quaternary Science, Progress in Physical Geography, Quaternary Research, Quaternary Science Reviews, The Holocene, and Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. His edited books Archaeology Under Alluvium (Oxbow 1992) and Mediterranean Quaternary River Environments (Balkema 1995) prompted a paradigm shift in European alluvial archaeology by demonstrating the benefits of interdisciplinary research that utilized new dating techniques, climate proxies and process-based explanations of river environment-human interactions. He is currently investigating the role of rapid environmental change on the development of floodwater farming in the Nile Valley, northern Sudan and in the ‘lost’ Saraswati River, south eastern Pakistan. He has held fellowships and visiting professorships from Massey University, the University of Arizona, the University of Indiana and the University of Wisconsin. Before coming to Aberystwyth University in 1999 as Professor of Physical Geography and founder of the River Basin Dynamics and Hydrology Research Group, Macklin taught at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and the University of Leeds. He holds a BSc and PhD in Physical Geography from the University of Wales Aberystwyth.

You can view this keynote address at

Professor Peter Ludlow

Virtual Communities, Virtual Cultures, Virtual Governance

Ludlow PolaroidPeter Ludlow is Professor of Philosophy at Northwestern University. He has worked on a number of topics at the intersection of philosophy, linguistics, and cognitive science, and has also published a number of works on the emergence of community and governance in virtual worlds, including High Noon on the Electronic Frontier (MIT Press 1995) and Crypto Anarchy, Cyberstates, and Pirate Utopias (MIT Press, 2001). His most recent work, co-authored with Mark Wallace, is The Second Life Herald: the Virtual Tabloid that Witnessed the Dawn of the Metaverse (MIT Press 2007). Reflecting the boundary crashing content of that work, the book received the American Association of Publishers, Professional/Scholarly Publishing award for “Best Book in Media and Cultural Studies, 2007”, was a Choice “Outstanding Academic Title, 2008”, and a Library Journal “Top Sci-Tech Book, 2007,” (ranked one of top 39 science books of 2007 and top book in category of Computer Science). In 2006, named Ludlow one of the ten most influential video game players of all time.

You can watch Prof. Ludlow’s keynote address at:

Professor Roy F. Baumeister

What is the Human Mind Designed for?’

Baumeister PolaroidRoy F. Baumeister is currently the Eppes Eminent Professor of Psychology and head of the social psychology graduate program at Florida State University. He grew up in Cleveland, the oldest child of a schoolteacher and an immigrant businessman. He received his Ph.D. in social psychology from Princeton in 1978 and did a postdoctoral fellowship in sociology at the University of California at Berkeley. He spent over two decades at Case Western Reserve University, where he eventually was the first to hold the Elsie Smith professorship. He has also worked at the University of Texas, the University of Virginia, the Max-Planck-Institute, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Baumeister’s research spans multiple topics, including self and identity, self-regulation, interpersonal rejection and the need to belong, sexuality and gender, aggression, self-esteem, meaning, and self-presentation. He has received research grants from the National Institutes of Health and from the Templeton Foundation. He has over 400 publications, and his books include Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty, The Cultural Animal, and Meanings of Life. The Institute for Scientific Information lists him among the handful of most cited (most influential) psychologists in the world. He lives by a small lake in Florida with his beloved family. In his rare spare time, he enjoys windsurfing, skiing, and jazz guitar.

You can watch Prof. Baumeister’s keynote address at:

Professor Eileen Joy

‘Reading Beowulf in the Ruins of Grozny: Pre/modern, Post/human, and the Question of Being-Together’

Joy PolaroidEileen Joy is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in English at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (PhD University of Tennessee, 2001), and her main interests are in Old English literature, cultural studies, embodied affectivities, and ethics. She has published articles and book chapters on: Beowulf, suicide terrorism, and Emmanuel Levinas; Tony Kushner’s play Homebody/Kabul and the Old English Ruin; historical artifacts and cultural memory; eros and the Old English legend The Seven Sleepers; the Anglo-Latin Wonders of the East and the 2002 massacre of Muslims in Gujarat, India; and the intellectual history of early modern bibliography. Her current research/writing project is on the Anglo-Latin and Old English Lives of Saint Guthlac and the queer erotics of unsettled and optimistic inter-subjectivities. She is a regular reviewer for Sixteenth Century Journal, is on the editorial board of Blackwell’s Literature Compass, is a column editor for The Heroic Age, and is a regular contributor to the medieval studies group weblog In The Middle. She is the co-editor of The Postmodern Beowulf: A Critical Casebook (West Virginia University Press, 2007), Cultural Studies of the Modern Middle Ages (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), and Premodern to Modern Humanisms: The BABEL Project (special issue, Journal of Narrative Theory 37.2 [Summer 2007]), and is also working on a monograph, tentatively titled Postcard from the Volcano: Beowulf, Memory, History. She is also the Editor, with Myra Seaman, of postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies (a joint production of the BABEL Working Group, of which she is the co-founder, and Palgrave Macmillan).

You can watch Prof. Joy’s keynote address at


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