The research in English linguistics at Örebro University is particularly strong in the field of sociolinguistics, with emphasis on the theme “language and power”. For example, there is ongoing research on language attitudes and linguistic stereotyping under two major projects financed by the Swedish Research Council and the Wallenberg Foundation. The theme ”language and power” is also present also in historical research, more specifically in studies of Middle Scots. The role of English as a global language of power also fits into this profile. Here the department conducts applied research in the field of language teaching and learning, focusing on the role of English vs. local languages in post-colonial educational contexts, research that is being conducted in collaboration with the University of Seychelles.
Further pedagogical research conducted within the English subject at Örebro University encompasses a variety of frameworks and research methods, ranging from quantitative measures of language proficiency to qualitative evaluations of language learning motivation with ethnographic focus on the extent to which classroom practices are successful. Much of our applied research in language pedagogy operates within an action research (AR) framework. AR in language pedagogy is a process of inquiry meant to identify and improve local teaching and learning situations through systematic evaluation of a pedagogic change or intervention. Examples include minor modifications to classroom practice, such as student groupings, activities, order of instruction, or materials, as well as larger changes such as adopting a new pedagogic approach, adjusting course content, or revising a syllabus.
Literary studies in the English subject spans from cultural studies to narrative theory, from 18th century satire to modern science fiction. There is common interest in situating literature in cultural/historical context. In the field of American literature there is research with a basis in cultural studies and feminist theory, on genres such as science fiction and autobiography, with a critical view on the literary canon and problematizing the author concept. In English literature there is research in the field of eighteenth-century studies, where similar issues in literary history are considered, but with a basis in narrative studies and focus on ironic narrative techniques. Current projects include studies of modernist autobiographies, concerning authors such as Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, the author concept of the long eighteenth century, from Jonathan Swift’s satire to Jane Austen’s novels, and a study of American families and reproductive technologies.
At Örebro University, our research in English is part of the research environments Narration, Life and Meaning; Education and Democracy; and Language and Rhetoric. Nationally and internationally our researchers are active in several local, national and international networks including RUC (Regionalt utveclingscentrum), the Swedish Association for American Studies, SWESSE (the Swedish Society for the Study of English), Teaching and Learning in Literary studies, AILA (International Association of Applied Linguistics) and the Rhetoric Society of America.