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LEDS Session 3 – 20th November: An ethnohistorical approach to multimodality

5 November 2019

Our third LEDS session of this term will be facilitated by Dr Lauren O’Hagan, Research Associate in the Centre for Language and Communication Research.

Lauren will talk to us about her innovative research, which explores literacy and class conflict in Edwardian Britain (1901-14) through book inscriptions. Lauren uses an ethnohistorical approach to multimodality, which blends visual analysis with archival and historical research, in order to gain a better understanding of the ways in which identity performance, book ownership and readership varied according to social class in early twentieth-century Britain. An important aspect of her research is unlocking the ‘hidden histories’ of working-class and lower-middle-class individuals who have typically been left out of official records of the Edwardian era. Lauren’s current project is entitled “Reading, Writing and… Rebellion: Understanding Literacies and Class Conflict Through the Edwardian Book Inscription”, and is supported by an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship (2019-20).

Before the session

Before our session, please have a quick look at this article:

As you read, think about the following questions:

  1. What do you think ethnohistory adds to multimodal analysis?
  2. Do you think it could be applied to other types of texts/artefacts?

With thanks in advance to Lauren – we are looking forward to exploring historical ethnography and multimodal analysis with you!

About Lauren

In 2014, Lauren obtained a BA Hons in Modern Language Studies (Spanish, Italian and Linguistics) with the Open University. Throughout the four years of her undergraduate degree, she worked as an online shop manager for Oxfam. It was during her time in this role that Lauren developed a knowledge of antiquarian books and became interested in book inscriptions. After completing her undergraduate studies, Lauren set up her own translation and proofreading company: B_Abel Linguistic Services. Lauren worked with professional clients across the world, including Monarch Airlines, Google, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Minchō Magazine and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. Lauren ran B_Abel Linguistic Services from 2014 until 2019 during which time she completed an MA in Applied Linguistics and a PhD in Language and Communication from Cardiff University. Lauren’s MA dissertation explored multimodality in a small dataset of Edwardian bookplates. This study formed a starting point for her doctoral research on class conflict in the Edwardian book inscription.