My interdisciplinary PhD, situated between social and environmental accounting, sustainability, ecolinguistics, critical discourse studies, critical animal studies, and sociolinguistics, provided an excellent opportunity to join quite a few research clusters at my university. At Lings Lunch, a research cluster run by Dr Chris Montgomery and Dr Jane Hodson, I get to hear about fascinating sociolinguistic research on ‘clear and dark /r/ (not /l/!): Liquid polarity and diachronic change’ presented by Ranjan Sen or Dr Emma Moore’s plenary on her research titled “Girls and grammar: Using ethnography to understand the social meanings of nonstandard English”. At SCADS (Sheffield Critical Discourse Analysis research cluster), headed by Dr Jane Mulderrig, I meet other PhD students and have stimulating discussions on Critical Realism vs Social Contructionism. As a previously sworn Foucauldian poststructuralist, following discussions and suggested readings, I am now considering (or conceding?) critical realism as part of my ontology.
In the sustainability arena, being funded by the activist and wonderful Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, I participated in and led my own journal club session in which us scholars bring in for discussion articles from varying fields of research ranging from engeneering, chemistry, political theory, agriculture, biofuels, accounting, plant sciences and biology and more, all to do with sustainability problems and solutions.
In the domain of animal studies, ShARC for which I am co-web manager, and which is led by the triumvirate or Dr Robert McKay (and my supervisor!), Dr John Miller, and Dr Alasdair Cochrane. We put on a programme of works-in-progress, talks by post-docs working in human-animal studies, have reading groups and welcome invited speakers.
In Management School, I take part in CRAFiC (Centre for Research into Accounting and Finance in Context) events, directed by Dr Stewart Smyth. Particularly in the theme of Social and Environmental Accounting and Democratic Accountability,
The need for an international ecolinguistics reading group
Although I take part in these diverse research clusters, I find myself wanting to discuss ecolinguistic papers I read, methods and approaches taken in the studies, and expand on the range of ecosophies that are presented in them (and the fact that at times they are not discussed at all!). As an emerging discipline, ecolinguists are dispersed over institutions and geographies making meeting each other reserved for a conference or a sympausium.
Therefore, as bibliography editor and co-covenor of the International Ecolinguistics Association, I am starting up an international online ecolinguistics reading group, to bring together scholars, PhD students and other academics working interdisciplinarily to discuss their work, projects and articles within ecolinguistics. (Which ‘branch’ of ecolinguistics? Well, if you have been following my blog, you can probably tell which ecolinguistic persuasion I follow).
What will the reading group entail?
Meeting online once a month via GoogleHangout, I will be sending out a link to all of you who have expressed an interest in participating. All you would have to do is click on the link and have the appropriate technology (microphone, headphones) to participate in a conversation online.
I will also require volunteers to be leading each session. This could be either (1) presenting your work in a work-in-progress, or as a talk. (2) You could also volunteer to lead a reading session by selecting an article you are interested in, preparing some questions and sending it round in our mailing list in advance. (3) Give a talk about your recent article – it would be wonderful to hear from experienced ecolinguists who would like to share their projects with us.
Who can join?
If you are working with critical discourse analysis, ecolinguistics, Hallidayan systemic functional linguistics or in adjacent and crossing fields of critical animal studies, envrionmental communication, environmental accounting, environmental art or any other related field and you would like to join and contribute to the reading group, please contact me.