Department of English Language and Literature

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ConncetTheDots2Meeting Description
Connecting the Dots in a Glocalized World 2016 provided a forum for the exchange of ideas in the four main disciplines of language, linguistics, literature and translation. As the title for the conference suggests, the aim was to highlight the relationship between global themes and local practices. The focus thus was on the under-examined interactions that occur as globalization takes on negotiated forms in different contexts. With an emphasis on interdisciplinary studies and methodologies, the conference centralized research which extended theory, methodology and application (e.g. translation and technology; linguistic frameworks for literary analysis); it also highlighted research that linked local scholarly and pedagogical projects with global concerns (e.g. English as a local/global language; social media and language choice). Proposals which fell outside the focus of the conference, but within the disciplines of language, linguistics, literature and translation, were also be considered.
Keynote Speakers
 Jan Blommaert (Linguistics), Tilburg University, The Netherlands
 Michael Cronin (Translation), Dublin City University, Ireland
 Ian Almond (Literature), Georgetown University, Qatar
 Rani Rubdy (Language), Independent Scholar
Featured Speakers
 Juliane House (Translation), University of Hamburg, Germany
 David Wilmsen (Language and Linguistics), American University of Beirut, Lebanon
 Samina Yasmeen (Literature), Australia
Attendance Details
The conference hosted academics from across the globe (109 presenters and over 300 attendees): The Netherlands, Ireland, Greece, the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Slovakia, Ukraine, Poland, The United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Philippines, India, Morocco, Lebanon, Algeria, Turkey, Jordan as well as the various countries in the Gulf including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Participants also included academics from various institutes of higher education in Oman such as the Higher College of Technology, Sohar University, Nizwa University, Dhofar University, Al-Buraimi University, Modern College of Business and Science as well as the Language Centre, Sultan Qaboos University, and The Research Council.
Conference Publications
1. Dr. Najma Al Zidjaly (Conference Chair) edited a selection of linguistics papers from the 2016 conference and submitted for publication as a Special Issue on Light Identities and Glocalization in the high impact international journal Multilingua. The Special Issue will be published in 2019.
2. Dr. Sandhya Mehta edited a second selection of papers on language, literature and translation from the conference; the edited book will be published in 2019 by the international publisher Springer.
Conference Committee Members
The Chair of the conference was Dr. Najma Al Zidjaly. Members of the committee included: Dr. Abdul Gabbar Al-Sharafi, Dr. Sandhya Rao Mehta, Ms. Lina Al-Jamali, Dr. Fathiya Al-Rashdi, Dr. Mohammed Al-Alawi, Dr. Chandrika Balasubramanian, Ancy Furtado and (previously) Dr. Andrew Littejohn.

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FACULTY SEMINAR FORUM

The English Department Faculty Seminar Forum is an active space for faculty researchers as well as guest speakers to present papers, workshops as well as ongoing research. This department is the only one in the college which has had a sustained forum for research over two decades. The faculty seminar forum is a platform for the interchange of knowledge and methodologies in all areas of specialization of the department, Language, Literature, Linguistics and Translation. The forum encourages new faculty members returning with PhDs to present their work to the department as well. It is a unique opportunity to interact with members of a large department in an academic and social manner.

The Faculty Seminar Forum has hosted many scholars of international repute, including Gauri Viswanathan (Columbia University), Julianne House (presently at Hellenic American University), Sabry Hafez (Qatar University) and Cynthia Gordon (Georgetown University). In collaboration with the American and British embassies, it has also hosted the University of Iowa Writers’ workshop as well as the famous poets Glenis Redmond and Lucy Melbourne. Both the poets offered creative writing workshops for the students of the department which were very popular. Asier Altuna from the University of Deusto, Spain and Simone Bettega (Univesity of Torino) presented in the faculty forum in their time as visiting researchers in the department.

In addition to international presentations, the forum hosts members of the department who share their research in the form of papers or ongoing research. More than 20 presentations are made by faculty members each academic year, widely attended by faculty and students as well. In addition, the forum is also the venue for continuing discussion, in the form of workshops and roundtables, on the methodology of teaching which is a core component of the department. The forum has hosted intra-department workshops on writing, translation, speaking and the assessment of the literature component of the undergraduate degree. These have often been useful dialogues, leading to more sustained discussions on existing policies and curriculum changes.

The English Department Faculty Seminar Forum remains one of the most active platforms that engages with current scholarship in the areas of teaching and research, bringing together a host of different specializations and facilitating creative and academic discussions.

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Exposition: A Journal of Student Research

 
 
   

Exposition is a publication of the Department of English Language and Literature, featuring a selection of student research in the areas of literature, translation, linguistics, language and English Language Teaching.  Four issues have already been published. Students respond to a Call for Papers in the spring semester of an academic year and the selected papers are edited, published and the issue released on the day of the Annual Student Research Conference. The academic process of submission, revision and formatting introduces students to the world of academic publications, remaining a life-long transferable skill which will be indispensable in their professional careers. The third and fourth volumes of the journal have been uploaded online to facilitate ease of access and ensure wider dissemination of knowledge. The department is presently working on the fifth issue of the journal. 

 
 
         
ExpositionVol4E       ExpositionVol3E

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The annual Student Research Conference Day is an important event in the calendar of the Department of English Language and Literature present. Hosted for the last 8 years, this event brings together student researchers from Arts and Education Majors to present their work in the areas of Literature, Linguistics, Translation and Language. Following a process of a call for papers and submission of abstracts, the process of an international conference is maintained in order to introduce students to academic scholarship and rigour.

The student conference typically hosts more than 25 presentations which have been shortlisted from a list of more than 100 submissions. A workshop is offered to all selected students in which the basics of a formal, academic presentation are presented. The conference is held in the Spring semester every year, giving graduating students an opportunity to participate in an academic event before leaving the university as well as introducing them to academia. The conference is open to all students, with the event being widely publicized officially by the department as well as by students through social media.

Alumni of the department are often invited to present in the plenary session and this is used as an opportunity to make students aware of the role of research in life outside the university, whether in academics or outside. The alumni come from a range of professional backgrounds such as translation, publishing and administration.

The papers presented in the student conference speak to the enthusiasm and standards of the students in the department. They range in topics from contemporary, literary ones such as studies on Harry Potter and using hip hop to teach Shakespeare to the challenges of translating religious texts. They also deal with educational strategies such as using technology in EFL (English as a Foreign Language), using songs to teach primary school children and the role of motivation in education. Students also work on social themes such as shopping habits of young Omanis and the role of advertising in Oman, which are very well attended by the students.

Select papers from this conference are published in the student journal Exposition published by the department. Increasingly, students have also found other publishing opportunities in student journals. The opportunities to share research, present to a wide audience and experience the rigours of a public presentation are all invaluable skills learnt by students through these conferences and their popularity testify to its continued relevance to students and faculty.