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Jesus College, University of Cambridge

Research and Discussion

Contribute to the analysis

Immediately before the conventional acknowledgements which close Raymond Williams’ Preface to Keywords (1976), the author commented that his ‘publishers have been good enough to include some blank pages, not only for the convenience of making notes, but as a sign that the inquiry remains open, and that the author will welcome all amendments, corrections and additions’. We wish to continue the tradition indicated in that gesture. Keywords research requires multiple perspectives and inputs, and so site-visitor comments are welcome on all matters, particularly under the four indicated headings below.

Material can be sent to the site editors by clicking here:

Contributions will be moderated before posting. See Editorial policy for user contributions for details.

Revising and supplementing posted entries

We welcome examples, counterexamples and additional points on already posted word entries. Such additional material may be posted as a supplement linked to the entry it relates to.

Develop an entry in progress

We welcome general points about use, along with particular examples, on selected words on which work is now underway (i.e. related to any word that appears in the project Keyword list.)

Material (especially examples) submitted to assist the analysis of any of our chosen Keywords will be gradually arranged into the form of an entry-in-progress. Developing entries may be posted, divided into the following sections: varied and contested contemporary meanings; etymology and early history; development of new meanings and varied use in social debates; application of the word in theoretical or technical fields; related words in a significant semantic cluster; current issues.

How to select a keyword

We also welcome comments on keyword lists and criteria of selection used in drawing up such lists. A number of lists of keywords are available on this site, including Williams' own Keywords listsAdobe Acrobat Icon; a list of possible keywords and revisionsAdobe Acrobat Icon proposed by the Keywords Project group; additions to Williams lists proposed by Tony Bennett et al in New KeywordsAdobe Acrobat Icon (Blackwell, 2005); there is also a list of words collated from participants' suggestionsAdobe Acrobat Icon at a presentation about keywords made at the Modern Language Association (MLA) conference in Los Angeles, January 2011.

Propose additional words for investigation

We welcome proposals for new words to be investigated as keywords that do not feature in any list posted on the site, along with reasons for the choice and supporting examples of ‘keyword type’ use.