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Current research seminars

2016/17 research seminar programme

Semester 1

Wednesday 21 September 2016
Cultural Identity Studies Institute (CISI) research seminar
Professor Kath Woodward (The Open University)
"Identity studies – The state of the question"
Identity is about the routes we have travelled and this talk is about some of the journeys the conceptualisation of cultural identity has taken in the twenty-first century. My story, which links the personal to the social, and inner worlds to outer worlds, also traces my engagement with theories of identity since the publication of Understanding Identity in 2002, at a time during which identity moved in and out of (and back into) academic visibility. The development of Deleuzian critiques inspired by Foucault’s de-centering of the subject, and criticisms of the concept as too restrictive and embedded in an outdated humanism, have been met by powerful arguments that demonstrate that identity resolutely still matters. It remains vital to an understanding of who we are and incorporates connections between self and society and the psychic and the social – areas that I have developed in my recent work and will explore in my paper.
Kath Woodward is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the Open University and the author of numerous works on identity in interdisciplinary studies involving gender, migration and sport. Her Understanding Identity (2002) is a widely-used textbook in the field. Her latest book is The Politics of In/visibility: Being There (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)
4 pm, Quad room 31, St Salvator's Quadrangle

Thursday 22 September 2016
German Research Seminar
Professor Michael Perraudin
The Empathetic Georg Büchner. Tracing the Logic of his Writings.
5.15pm, Buchanan room 216

Wednesday 28 September 2016
Centre for Russian, Soviet, Central and Eastern European Studies (CRSCEES)
'A Lesson of Belarusian', a documentary by Mirosław Dembiński about the presidential campaign in 2006.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with the main narrator of the film, Franak Viacorka.
The trailer of the film can be found here:
5pm, The Byre Theatre

Wednesday 5 October 2016
Byre World Film Series
Talk to Her (2002), by Pedro Almodóvar
This Spanish classic is a beautiful meditation on loss and loneliness. It tells the gripping story of two men – a nurse (Javier Camara) and a writer (Dario Grandinetti) – whose lives become intertwined after the loves of their lives end up in a long and deep coma. Introduced by Dr Catherine O'Leary (Spanish).
7pm, The Byre Theatre

Tuesday 11 October 2016
Centre for Russian, Soviet, Central and Eastern European Studies (CRSCEES) research seminar
Prof Steve Smith (University of Oxford)
‘Writing the History of the Russian Revolution a Hundred Years On’
5pm, St Salvator's Quad, School 1

Wednesday 12 October 2016
Byre World Conversation Series
Gavin Bowd (Department of French, Modern Languages)
Mémoires d’Outre-France is the autobiographical account of a peasant boy from the Scottish Borders who, at the beginning of the 1980s, fatefully falls in love with communism and almost all things French. A Caledonian Candide – or is it a Bolshevik Chateaubriand? – witnesses the defeat of his dreams and the emergence of another France, where the prospect of ‘civil war’ against Islam looms large. His Quixotic quest takes him through the suburbs of Paris, the ruins of ‘really existing socialism’, and even Manchester’s legendary night club The Haçienda, in the company of pop stars, politicians, prostitutes and the enfant terrible of French letters, Michel Houellebecq. A tragi-comic tale of political, professional and personal failure? Peut-être. Mais il faut rire dans les ruines!
Gavin Bowd has lectured in French at St Andrews since 1997, and has published widely on French, Romanian and Scottish culture and politics. Founding Director of StAnza, he is a poet and fiction-writer. His translations of Michel Houellebecq have been short-listed for the Franco-American and IMPAC book prizes.
6pm, The Byre Theatre

Wednesday 19 October 2016
Byre World Literary Café Series
Details to be confirmed
8pm, The Byre Theatre

Tuesday 25 October
Ihor Poshyvailo (Director of the Maidan Museum)
'Stronger than Arms: Artistic expressions of the Maidan Revolution’
5.15pm, St Salvator's Quadrangle, School VI

Wednesday 26 October 2016
Cultural Identity Studies Institute (CISI) research seminar
Professor Gerardine Meaney (UCD Humanities Institute)
'Identity Through the Macroscope: the Nation, Genre and Gender project'
What happens when we bring cultural analytics to bear on questions of identity and belonging in literature? Originating in feminist recovery projects and work on the relationship between gender and national identity in literature, the Nation, Genre and Gender project maps and analyses social networks in Irish and English fiction, 1800-1922, combining literary scholarship with data analytics. The ultimate  objective of the project is to use social network analysis to map the social imaginary of the novels in the project corpus and compare gender, genre and the nationality of the author (or setting) in shaping social networks in fiction. The colocation and contiguity of characters and other named entities in novels can yield illuminating  maps of textual social networks and imagined community.  This offers new perspectives on well known texts, but also a realistic and judicious form of intense textual engagement with a radically extended canon of fiction, with its diversity of voices, genres and perspectives. This paper will focus on the issues involved in combining quantitative, computational approaches with critical and interpretative tools and the possibilities this opens up for new approaches to questions of cultural identity.
Gerardine Meaney is Professor of Cultural Theory in the School of English, Drama and Film at UCD and chair of the Irish Humanities Alliance. She is the author of Gender, Ireland and Cultural Change (New York: Routledge, 2010) and with Mary O’Dowd and Bernadette Whelan of Reading the Irish Woman: Studies in Cultural Encounters and Exchange, 1714-1960 (Liverpool University Press, 2013) and numerous essays on gender and culture. Previous digital projects include an iPad App of James Joyce’s short story, ‘The Dead’.
4pm, St Salvator's Quadrangle, room 31

Thursday 27 October 2016
Stephen Boyd (University College Cork)
‘Cervantes, Don Quixote and the Cultivation of Judgement’
In his famous essay, ‘On Educating Children’ (Essays I, 26), Michel de Montaigne contended that the true end of learning is not the accumulation of knowledge, but the formation of good judgement, especially about ourselves. He believed that exposure to the ‘great world’ in all its variety, affords the most efficient means of attaining that end: ‘So many humours, so many sects, so many judgments, opinions, laws, and customs, teach us to judge aright of our own, and inform our understanding to discover its imperfection and natural infirmity, which is no trivial speculation’. Focussing on selected episodes from both Parts I and II of Don Quixote, a novel that embraces more of the variety of the world than any previous work of fiction, this paper seeks to examine some of the ways in which, through its range of characters, play of styles, linguistic registers, literary genres and moral and ideological perspectives, Cervantes forces readers to exercise and reflect on their judgement.
5.15pm, Buchanan Building, room 216

Wednesday 2 November 2016
Byre World Film Series
The Color of the Pomegranates (1969), by Sergei Parajanov
7pm, The Byre Theatre

Wednesday 9 November 2016
Byre World Conversation Series
Shaul Bassi (Venice)
6pm, The Byre Theatre

Wednesday 16 November 2016
Byre World Literary Café Series
Sarah Dunant
8pm, The Byre Theatre

Thursday 17 November 2016
French Department research seminar
Prof Ann Jefferson (University of Oxford)
“A Gaggle of Geese or a Fresh Blast: Why the Novel in 1940s France needs a new Literary History.”
5pm, Buchanan Building, room 216

Wednesday 7 December 2016
Byre World Film Series
Film to be confirmed
7pm, The Byre Theatre

Wednesday 14 December 2016
Byre World Conversation Series
Speaker to be confirmed
6pm, The Byre Theatre

Thursday 17 November 2016
Arabic and Persian Research Seminar
Dr Andreas Ellwardt
"Christian-Arabic Language Consciousness on the Eve of the Nahda”
Dr Andreas Ellwardt is Research Fellow in the ERC Project "Language, Philology, Culture: Arab Cultural Semantics in Transition”, Buchanan room 312