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Current research seminars

2016/17 research seminar programme

Semester 1

For the information on past seminars, please visit our Seminar Archive.

Tuesday 14 February 2017
School of Modern Languages Research Seminar Series
Nelson Mlambo (lecturer in English at the University of Namibia and researcher on the TML Global challenges project)
Masculinities in female-authored texts: the case of Neshani Andreas 'The Purple Violet of Oshaantu’
5pm, Buchanan room 216

Tuesday 14 February 2017
Reading in German
Christian Kössler (Innsbruck, Austria)
“Unheimliches Tirol”
Tyrolean author Christian Kössler will read from his book “Unheimliches Tirol” (2011), for which he adapted 17 old and eerie Tyrolean tales for a modern audience. His story “Grenzgänger” has recently been made into a short film. There will be a screening and a Q&A session. The event will be in German.
7.30pm, Sandy’s Bar, Students' Union Building

Thursday 16 February 2017
School of Modern Languages Research Seminar Series
Dr Annja Neumann (University of Cambridge)
The Bernhardi Case
Epistemic genre and literary pathography in Arthur Schnitzler’s
Professor Bernhardi
Four of the five acts of Arthur Schnitzler’s medical play Professor Bernhardi (1912) begin with scenes of writing or acts of filing paperwork. Patients and dead bodies are administered to solely as textual bodies in different institutionalised contexts, primarily in the institution of the hospital. The meeting of medicine and literature, or more precisely anatomical pathology and dramatic text, explores the theatricality of institutions in an exemplary way. The dramatic structure of Schnitzler’s hard-edged comedy puts emphasis on spatial relations and instances when bodily actions become text and discourse. This movement of ‘vertexten’ is initiated through the play’s key scene when Bernhardi prevents a Catholic priest entering the ward of a young woman who is unaware that she is dying. Moments of physicality, such as Bernhardi’s gesture of refusal, gently touching the priest, are countered by institutionalised texting, creating an omnipresent textuality, where almost all communications are institutionalised. This paper explores Bernhardi’s final written intervention, his writing a book about his case in a prison cell, in relation to Schnitzler’s own writing process of the drama and his account of the history of its development. It offers a poetological reading of Act V of Schnitzler’s Professor Bernhardi which presents a case of Schnitzler working on Schnitzler or rather auto-anatomy as much as a dramatic text which enacts its own pathogenesis drawing on epistemic genre, such as a patient’s dissection report and medical history.
5pm, Buchanan room 216

Wednesday 1 March 2017
Byre World Film Series
The Tin Drum/Die Blechtrommel (1979) - Volker Schlöndorff
Against the backdrop of Nazi Germany, three-year old Oskar looks with skepticism on the adult world he sees around him. In response, he withdraws from time and from history by refusing to grow up. Based on Günter Grass’s novel of the same name, this Academy Award winner offers a seminal representation of German and European identities in the second half of the twentieth century. 
Introduced by Professor Seán Allan (School of Modern Languages, Department of German)
7pm, The Byre Theatre

6 March 2017
Dr Anna Kemp (QMUL)
“Georges Perec's oulipian life writing.”
This paper will present a part of my current work-in-progress, Oulipography: Life as creative constraint. This study of oulipian life writing will argue that for 'oulipographers' oulipian games are not just cunning techniques for unclogging writers' imaginations, but a means of self-examination, self-invention, and relating to the world and to others - a mode d’emploi for life. In this paper I will sketch the broad brushstrokes of this project, before homing in on the role of games and play in what is perhaps the best known autobiography by an oulipian writer: George Perec's W ou le souvenir d'enfance.
5.15, room to be confirmed

Tuesday 7 March 2017
Centre for Russian, Soviet, Central and Eastern European Studies (CRSCEES)
Victoria Donovan (University of St Andrews) and Susan Edwards (Glamorgan Archives)
‘Revolutionary rumblings in the letters of Welsh migrants to the Donbass: The Hughesovka story’
5pm, Buchanan Building room 216



Wednesday 8 March 2017
Byre World Conversation Series
Ruth Ellen Gruber
6pm, The Byre Theatre

Tuesday 4 April 2017
Centre for Russian, Soviet, Central and Eastern European Studies (CRSCEES)
Shaun Walker (The Guardian Moscow Correspondent)
‘The Long Hangover: memory and revolution in Ukraine and Russia’
Shaun Walker is Moscow Correspondent for The Guardian. He has worked as a journalist in Moscow for more than a decade. His book, The Long Hangover, will be published by OUP in autumn 2017. Shaun Walker spent most of 2014 in Ukraine, witnessing the Maidan Revolution in Kiev, the annexation of Crimea and the uprising in East Ukraine. This talk, and his upcoming book, will explore the role of history and memory in these events.
5pm, Buchanan Building room 216

Wednesday 5 April 2017
Byre World Film Series
The Official Story (1985) - Luis Puenzo
7pm, The Byre Theatre

Wednesday 12 April 2017
Byre World Conversation Series
Contemporary Russian Poetry in conversation with Stanislav Lvovsky
6pm, The Byre Theatre

Wednesday 19 April 2017
Byre World Literary Café Series
Véronqiue Tadjo
8pm, The Byre Theatre

20 April 2017
Prof. Bill Burgwinkle (Cambridge)
“Thirteenth-century troubadour poetry and the rise of post-evental thinking”
The importance that is claimed for troubadour poetry often involves its status as the 'first': first vernacular lyric poetry preserved in Europe; earliest vernacular poetry composed by a woman; earliest preserved melodies for a 'secular' composition; first explicitly non-religious verse, and plenty of it (some 2500 songs from a period of roughly a century); first to deal almost exclusively with love and the erotic without offering apologies.  That this material has survived, was copied in luxury manuscripts, was imitated widely, and still resonates is amazing and I do not question that; but that is not what most interests me most about this production or this phenomenon.  Instead, I want to look at fin'amors as a sample of discourse or a discursive formation (à la Foucault), and read it as emerging from an 'event' (à la Badiou).  It is when that discourse founders, when the rituals which uphold these beliefs begin to weaken and cracks appear in the notion that there can be just one account of that event---that is when things get most interesting.  For that we should look to the borders of Occitania, in what is now northern Italy and Catalonia.  It is in those regions and in some of the poets who hailed from the Piedmont, Genoa, and South of the Pyrenees that we find some of the most intriguing material and it is on those spaces and poets that I will focus in this paper.
5.15pm, room to be confirmed

Wednesday 3 May 2017
Byre World Film Series
The Wonders (2014) - Alice Rohrwacher
7pm, The Byre Theatre