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    Symposium on Close reading, codes and interpretation

    Event information

    START DATE 13 June 2017
    START TIME 09:00
    END DATE 13 June 2017
    END TIME 00:00

    Middlesex University's Language & Communication research cluster warmly invites you to this one-day symposium on ‘Close reading, codes and interpretation’, on Tuesday 13 June.

    In some reckonings, ‘close reading’ is now around 90 years old, having been inaugurated in I. A. Richards’ Principles of Literary Criticism (1926) and Practical Criticism (1929). The close reading of texts has become arguably the central activity of the humanities and close reading is carried out across different levels of education and through a number of disciplines. As its practitioners recognize, procedures of close reading can become ossified into routine practices of code identification rather than active interpretation.

    This day symposium seeks to ask what ‘close reading’ is like now, how it is exercised in education in different contexts and how it might differ from or resemble ‘codes’ of reading. It features papers by teachers in Higher Education, Further Education and Secondary Education, including:

    • BARBARA BLEIMAN (English and Media Centre): ‘Close reading in Secondary English – practices, problems and solutions’. BILLY CLARK (Middlesex University): ‘Pragmatic inference and reading processes’.
    • PAUL COBLEY (Middlesex University): ‘The magic of codes: semiotics and close reading’.
    • LOUISA ENSTONE (Darrickwood School): ‘Is it time to stop pee-ing? A grassroots study into teaching reading and essay writing at Secondary’
    • MARCELLO GIOVANELLI (Aston University) and JESS MASON (Sheffield Hallam University): ‘Whose close reading?: emphasis, attention and cognition in the literature classroom’.
    • ANDREA MACRAE (Oxford Brookes University): ‘Close reading as process and product’.
    • JON ORMAN (University of Hong Kong): ‘Thick description and/as close reading: some language-philosophical reflections’.
    • ADRIAN PABLÉ (University of Hong Kong): ‘Interpretation, radical indeterminacy and close reading’
    • STEFAN PETO (Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys): ‘Close reading at the chalk-face: strategies and observations in Key Stage 3’
    • JOHAN SIEBERS (Middlesex University): ‘Only the furthest distance would be closeness – semantic anarchism, close reading and academic practice’

    Cost: £10 flat fee (includes lunch and refreshments). Registration is now open: For further details in the meantime, please email Billy Clark ( or Paul Cobley (

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