The 1847 Reports of the Commissioners of Enquiry into the State of Education in Wales, or the “Blue Books,” declared that Wales was barbaric and backward, and sufficiently so to warrant state intervention. The core of Wales’s inferior society was nurtured by the Welsh language, which nurtured and perpetuated unhygienic behaviors, poor motherhood practices, and inveterate superstition. This despite mid-Victorian Wales witnessing high points of literacy and Nonconformist practice. Such phenomena urge us to ask: what are the effects on English readers of rhetorics that malign foreign cultures, especially when those cultures cannot address the attacks’ falsities (66% of Wales was monoglot Welsh-speaking)? How can we consider these colonial practices in conjunction with contemporary state and popular Englishlanguage depictions of nineteenth-century Irish, Indian, Chinese, and African life? And, indeed, how have such obscurations evolved into the neoliberal and Brexit eras?
Matthew C. Jones is a Postdoctoral Teaching Associate at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts (USA), where he teaches writing seminars on twenty-first studenthood and citizenship. His research interests include Welsh literary and cultural histories, religious studies, and translation studies, and these histories' influences on minority language rights and preservation today. His articles have appeared in European Romantic Review, Church History, BRANCH, Romanticism on the Net, and other venues.
Meeting ID: 982 7503 0185
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