19th January 2006




Kangaroos may be more commonly associated with Australia than England but according to Professor John Simons, Dean of Media and Humanities at the University of Lincoln, this hasn’t always been the case.

Professor Simons is giving his inaugural lecture on Tuesday 31st January entitled ‘The Kangaroo: England’s National Symbol’.

The talk will examine how the exploration and colonisation of Australia revolutionised science and the effect this had on society at the time, focusing on the manner in which kangaroos found their way into English culture.

“Conventional models of natural history had to be entirely revised to take account of the vast range of new species brought back to Europe by the first waves of British and French explorers,” explains Professor Simons.

Australia and its animals also posed a challenge to the imagination and this lecture will look at some of the address to this challenge in the art and literature of late Georgian and Victorian England.

“By the middle of the 19th century kangaroos had become surprisingly familiar to the English and, in the wider European context, had become closely associated with England.”

Professor Simons FRSA, ILTM joined the university as Dean of Media and Humanities from Edge Hill College in September 2005. His research interests are focused on medievalism, popular literature from the Renaissance to the 19th century and animals in culture.

His books, articles and monographs cover a wide range of subjects from Chaucer and cricket to spy fiction and the Vietnam War. His most recent book ‘The Life and Times of a Victorian Wombat’ looks at exotic animal ownership in mid-19th-century England.

The lecture will be held on Tuesday 31st January in the Jackson Lecture Theatre at 6pm. Admission is free and members of the public are welcome to attend.

For more information contact:

Kate Strawson, Press Officer

(01522) 886244 Visit our news web pages:    www.lincoln.ac.uk/news/latestnews.htm