• ‘All the figures I used to see’: using Cognitive Grammar to grapple with rhythmic and intertextual meaning-making in Radiohead’s ‘Pyramid Song’

      Neary, Clara; University of Chester
      This article constitutes an application of Cognitive Grammar and Zbikowski's theory of Musical Grammar to Radiohead's 'Pyramid Song'.
    • Christian Salvations in a Multi-Faith World: Challenging the Cult of Normalcy

      Wayne Morris; University of Chester (Bloomsbury, 2015-08-27)
      This paper explores that alternative understandings of salvations from within Christianity may be useful for developing new forms of Christian praxes for a multi-faith world today, conscious that the future of the planet is largely dependent on respectful forms of human co-operation that were not necessarily observed in the past.
    • Cultural Representations: Hair as the Abundant Signifier

      West, Sally; University of Chester (Bloomsbury, 2018-12-13)
      This contribution to A Cultural History of Hair: The Age of Empire considers a variety of representations of hair in literature and wider culture. It argues that such representations exhibit a complex array of significations, including moral judgements and cultural anxieties of the age.
    • Dieting for Salvation: Becoming God by Weighing Less?

      Bacon, Hannah; University of Chester (Bloomsbury, 2015-12-17)
      This chapter argues that the historical legacy of suspicion towards the body, time and material existence forwarded in much classical theology also lurks behind contemporary cultural assumptions about weight. Drawing on the experiences of dieting women inside one UK secular commercial weight loss group this chapter argues that ancient theological understandings of salvation as a quest for perfection and hope for a future in which the body is reconditioned resurface in this secular context as women seek a similar future where their bodies do not take up so much space. Rendered theologically, salvation emerges as a spurious form of theosis as women’s efforts to remove their weight and freeze their bodies in time forge their bodies in the image of the phallic God. Attending mainly to the difficulties with such salvation narratives, the chapter ends by suggesting that a theological rooting of hope within the crucible of history has the potential to invest women’s present bodies with soteriological value.
    • Feminist Theology and Contemporary Dieting Culture: Sin, Salvation and Women’s Weight Loss Narratives

      Bacon, Hannah; University of Chester (Bloomsbury, 2019-08-08)
      The fat body has increasingly become a site for a confrontation of different ideologies about lifestyle, as it is increasingly stigmatized and concerns about the obesity 'epidemic' create headlines in the newspapers. Weight-loss industries are booming, and the rise in faith-based dieting among Protestant evangelical women in the US evidences a growing relationship between Christian devotion and the pursuit of female thinness. What exactly though is the relationship between Christianity and secular commercial diet plans? Bacon draws on qualitative research conducted inside one UK secular commercial weight loss group to show how Christian religious forms and theological discourses inform contemporary weight-loss narratives. Notions of sin and salvation resurface in secular guise, but in ways that repeat well-established theological meanings. Theological tropes help produce and sustain a set of contradictions and tensions about weight loss which conform the women's bodies to patriarchal norms while simultaneously providing opportunities for women's self-development. Taking into account these tensions, Bacon asks what a specifically feminist theological response to weight loss might look like. If notions of sin and salvation service hegemonic discourses about fat, how might they be rethought to challenge fat phobia and the frenetic pursuit of thinness? While naming as 'sin' principles and practices which diminish women's appetites and bodies, this book gives theological expression to the conviction of many women in the group, that food and the body can be important sites of power, wisdom and transformation.
    • ‘Filling up the Full Measure of their Sins’: Matthew Henry on the Destruction of the Jerusalem Temple

      Middleton, Paul; University of Chester (Bloomsbury, 2019-05-30)
      This essay examines the treatment of the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple by the 17th century Bible expositor Matthew Henry.
    • Flash Fiction

      Blair, Peter; University of Chester (Bloomsbury, 2014)
      This article, which appears in the bestselling guide to publishing and the media, introduces the short-short story, most commonly known as 'flash fiction'. It outlines the historical rise of the flash, considers the defining characteristics of the form, and offers advice on writing flash fiction and getting it published. It includes an example of flash fiction and a structured list of suggestions for further primary and secondary reading.
    • Making History Otherwise: Learning to Talk and The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher

      Pollard, Eileen J.; Carpenter, Ginette; University of Chester; Manchester Metropolitan University (Bloomsbury, 2018-06-09)
      This chapter will explore ambiguous representations of history in Hilary Mantel’s two short story collections to date, Learning to Talk (2003) and The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher (2014). The chapter will consider the figure of the ellipsis, which is traced metaphorically and literally in the stories, as a pertinent means by which to read them, including the titular ‘The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher’ in Mantel’s more recent collection. Despite the media furore that followed the publication of this book, this chapter will argue that it is less the fantasy of the shooting of the premier that disturbed, but rather the pervasive sense of ambiguity. The uncertainty of individual biographies in Learning to Talk develops into an unsettling national narrative in her 2014 collection. For example, as stated in the titular story concerning Thatcher, ‘note the cold wind that blows through [the door] when you open it a crack. History could always have been otherwise’ (2014: 239-40).
    • The medieval English landscape, 1000-1540

      White, Graeme J.; University of Chester (Bloomsbury, 2013-01-08)
      This book discusses continuity and change in the medieval English landscape and the landscapes of farming and hunting, rural settlement, towns and trade, religion, and fortification.
    • Oppositions and ideology in news discourse

      Davies, Matt; University of Chester (Bloomsbury, 2012-11-08)
      This book discusses how binary oppositions are constructed discursively and the potential ideological repercussions of their usage in news reports in the British press. The focus is particularly on the ways that a variety of common syntactic structures can contribute to the positive representation of groups and individuals subsumed under the first person plural pronouns 'us' and 'we', and the simultaneous marginalisation of groups designated as 'they' or 'them'. Exploring the dynamic relations between the linguistic system and language in context this is a key publication for those involved in discourse analysis (including critical discourse analysis) and stylistics.
    • Postliberal positions in public theology

      Fulford, Ben; University of Chester (Bloomsbury, 2022-06-30)
      In this chapter, I seek to show that, contrary to widespread caricatures as fideists eschewing publicly intelligible critical scrutiny, or sectarians advocating Christian disengagement from the public realm, postliberal theologians have a deep commitment to publicness in both these senses, which arises from their commitment to the irreducible particularity of Christian beliefs, practices and the stories which norm them. It is, I argue first, because of this commitment to Christian particularity and the orientation to the public it entails, that they are critical of attempts to establish the public status of Christian belief and practice on a putatively universalist foundation or general theory of human existence or religion. They pursue this critique in order to preserve the public character of Christian faith. Second, to different degrees, they seek to mobilise what they take to be core resources of Christian tradition, not least its central scriptural narratives, in order to frame, orient and exemplify constructive Christian engagement with public issues and events. Third, they have sought to find ways to articulate the modes and terms of critical public accountability for Christian beliefs and practices without lapsing back into the very modes of theological and ethical argument against which they protest. These tend to liken the public intelligibility of Christian meanings to those of the culture of a community, to combine realist, coherentist and pragmatic understandings to describe what it means to call Christianity ‘true’, which admit of a range of public ways of assessing Christian discourse without subordinating it to a distorting set of criteria.
    • Reflections on the Language of Salvation in Twelve-Step Recovery

      Dossett, Wendy; University of Chester (Bloomsbury, 2015-12-17)
      ‘In return for a bottle and a hangover we have been given the Keys to the Kingdom’ (The ‘Big Book’ Alcoholics Anonymous) Many who find recovery from alcoholism through the twelve steps speak implicitly or explicitly in terms of a salvific experience. Active alcoholism is experienced phenomenologically as a totally hopeless condition from which there is no escape; yet escape is made possible for millions by the discipline of the twelve steps and the support of twelve step mutual help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and/or treatment centres. For many, the profound transformation of recovery from a hopeless and terminal condition can be understood only by reference to a Higher Power, or even a transcendent being, and thus the experience is understood as ‘spiritual’ in nature. In a volume which interrogates and widens discourse about salvation, this chapter questions the utility of soteriological language in the context of addictions recovery. Is such language in this context descriptive, or normative? What are the risks in using it? Are new languages of release from addiction being developed? The chapter draws on some case studies from the Higher Power Project, a qualitative study of spirituality and recovery at the University of Chester to explore these questions.
    • Religion, Devotion and Medicine in North India. The Healing Power of Sitala

      Ferrari, Fabrizio M.; University of Chester (Bloomsbury, 2014-11-20)
      This volume examines notions of health and illness in North Indian devotional culture, with particular attention paid to the worship of the goddess Sitala, the Cold Lady. Consistently portrayed in colonial and postcolonial literature as the ambiguous 'smallpox goddess', Sitala is here discussed as a protector of children and women, a portrayal that emerges from textual sources as well as material culture. The eradication of smallpox did not pose a threat to Sitala and her worship. She continues to be an extremely popular goddess. Religion, Devotion and Medicine in North India critically examines the rise and affirmation of the 'smallpox myth' in India and beyond, and explains how Indian narratives, ritual texts and devotional songs have celebrated Sitala as a loving mother who protects her children from the effects, and the fear, of poxes, fevers and infantile disorders but also all sorts of new threats (such as global pandemics, addictions and environmental catastrophes). The book explores a wide range of ritual and devotional practices, including scheduled festivals, songs, vows, pageants, austerities, possession, animal sacrifices and various forms of offering. Built on extensive fieldwork and a close textual analysis of sources in Sanskrit and vernacular languages (Hindi, Bhojpuri and Bengali) as well as on a rich bibliography on the struggle against smallpox in colonial and post-colonial India, the book reflects on the ambiguous nature of Sitala as a phenomenon largely dependent on the enduring fascination with the exotic, and the horrific, that has pervaded public renditions of Indian culture in indigenous fiction, colonial reports, medical literature and now global culture. To aid study, the volume includes images, web links, appendixes and a filmography.
    • Signs of Salvation: Insecurity, Risk and the End of the World in Late Modernity

      Knowles, Steve; University of Chester (Bloomsbury, 2017-06-29)
      This chapter is divided into three parts. First, an outline of Ulrich Beck’s world risk society thesis will provide an important part of the sociological context within which fundamentalism has flourished, particularly in the last 50 years. Second, an introduction to one specific aspect of Christian fundamentalism—namely ‘rapture culture’ (Frykholm 2004) provides the theological context for the discussion. Third, examples of contemporary ‘rapture culture’ are examined which demonstrates the influence of risk and the concomitant insecurity that serves such a theological perspective. Within this culture signs of the end of the world provide succour and point to the possibility that salvation is close at hand.
    • “Unlock Paradise with your own Blood”: Martyrdom and Salvation in Islam and Christianity

      Middleton, Paul; University of Chester (Bloomsbury, 2015-12-17)
      The essay compares theologies of salvation in the martyr texts of early Christianity and Islam, demonstrating how martyrdom troubles more orthodox notions of salvation in both cases.
    • The vagina: A literary and cultural history

      Rees, Emma L. E.; University of Chester (Bloomsbury, 2013-08-01)
      From South Park to Kathy Acker, and from Lars Von Trier to Sex and the City, women’s sexual organs are demonized. Rees traces the fascinating evolution of this demonization, considering how calling the ‘c-word’ obscene both legitimates and perpetuates the fractured identities of women globally. Rees demonstrates how writers, artists, and filmmakers contend with the dilemma of the vagina’s puzzlingly ‘covert visibility’. In our postmodern, porn-obsessed culture, vaginas appear to be everywhere, literally or symbolically but, crucially, they are as silenced as they are objectified. The Vagina: A Literary and Cultural History examines the paradox of female genitalia through five fields of artistic expression: literature, film, TV, visual, and performance art. There is a peculiar paradox – unlike any other – regarding female genitalia. Rees focuses on this paradox of what is termed the ‘covert visibility’ of the vagina and on its monstrous manifestations. That is, what happens when the female body refuses to be pathologized, eroticized, or rendered subordinate to the will or intention of another? Common, and often offensive, slang terms for the vagina can be seen as an attempt to divert attention away from the reality of women’s lived sexual experiences such that we don’t ‘look’ at the vagina itself – slang offers a convenient distraction to something so taboo. The Vagina: A Literary and Cultural History is an important contribution to the ongoing debate in understanding the feminine identity.
    • ‘What cannot be fixed, measured, confined’: The mobile texts of Hilary Mantel

      Pollard, Eileen J.; Carpenter, Ginette; University of Chester; Manchester Metropolitan University (Bloomsbury, 2018-09-06)
      ‘I don’t know, you wait twenty years for a Booker prize, two come along at once!’ was Hilary Mantel’s laconic response to winning for the second time. A respected, if critically neglected, British author, she had in fact been writing and publishing for over twenty years when she won the Booker prize in 2009 for her tenth novel, Wolf Hall. She then made literary history by winning for a second time in 2012 with the sequel, Bring Up the Bodies, an unprecedented achievement that catapulted her into the realms of global stardom. The Tudor novels have since been adapted for the stage by Mike Poulton and have been performed to much critical acclaim in Stratford, London and Broadway. Similarly, the 2015 BBC dramatization has aired in both the UK and the US to glowing reviews. Yet, despite Mantel’s renown and popularity at home and abroad, there remains surprisingly little critical material interpreting the rich and varied content of her work. As a result, this collection of essays aims to introduce students, scholars and general readers of Mantel’s writing to the diversity of her texts in order to showcase the extraordinary range and reach of this contemporary British author, currently at the peak of her writing life. The essays will explore the recurring themes of ambiguity, ghosts, trauma, childhood and memory that both trace and, in many ways, define Mantel’s oeuvre. The collection will also examine the challenge to conventional evocations of the past that underpins Mantel’s historical novels, from A Place of Greater Safety (1992) through to Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, as well as the complex experimentation with perspective and tense that really sets apart her later work on Thomas Cromwell. The main objective of this book is to provide a wide-range of readers with a guide to Mantel’s historical fiction, autobiographical writing and short stories, as well as some of her more experimental early novels, that will help explain those most ambiguous elements of her corpus while demonstrating her fearlessness and breadth as a writer.