Ewch i’r prif gynnwys

Marriage - to change your name or not?

23 Hydref 2014

It's a question faced when you get married. Do I change my name or not? And it's not just one women should be asking, argues a Cardiff University academic.

One of ten New Generation Thinkers selected by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and BBC Radio 3 to "turn ground-breaking academic ideas into radio and television programmes," award-winning author Dr Sophie Coulombeau will give a talk sure to stimulate debate at an event to be broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

As part of the BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival, the English literature academic from Cardiff University's School of English, Communication and Philosophy, who researches the relationship between personal naming and identity, is to pose the question 'Is Marriage An Identity Crisis?' at Sage Gateshead on Saturday 1 November.

Free Thinking is BBC Radio 3's annual platform for provocative debate, new ideas, live music and performance and this year it runs from 31 October to 2 November. The New Generation Thinkers were announced earlier this year after a nationwide search to find scholars who could turn their work into radio broadcasts. 

Dr Coulombeau is a specialist in British literature of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and also an author whose debut novel, Rites, won the 2011 Arts Council England Next Great Novelist Award. Her talk will expose the unsavoury origins of the English custom whereby women take their husband's surnames on marriage – and examine women throughout history who bucked the trend.

"I hope to pose some interesting questions in the talk. I'm certainly not judging women – or men – about their choices, but I hope this tour through the little-known history of the custom will give food for thought."

The ten selected New Generation Thinkers have already had experience of their first broadcast in a five-minute radio broadcast in June on BBC Radio 3. In the final part of their year under the scheme, they get to make a short documentary film about their research, to be shown by BBC TV Arts.

Among the ten are also Dr Alun Withey, who studied for his MA in History at Cardiff University, and now teaches at the University of Exeter. Dr Withey's talk is titled "Beards, Whiskers, and the History of Pogonotomy."

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