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Current research seminars

2017/18 Research Seminar Programme

Semester 2

Wednesday 31 January 2018
Byre World
The Faces We Lost (dir. Piotr Cieplak, 2017)
The 1994 genocide in Rwanda claimed almost a million lives in just 100 days. The world stood by as men, women and children were being hacked to death by machetes. When the international community finally decided it was time to pay attention, it did so through memorable photographs of mutilated bodies and seas of nameless refugees.
But many Rwandans remember their loved ones through images of life, not death: a passport or I.D. card photo, an unguarded snap taken in the garden or a group portrait from a wedding or a baptism. The surviving images are precious objects, with so many destroyed and lost forever. A lot of people have only a solitary image of their loved ones. Many have none at all.
The Faces We Lost follows nine Rwandans (survivors, relatives of victims and professional memory-makers), who guide us through their stories and share their experiences, remembrance and images. It is the first documentary to explore the many functions of these priceless photographs, and one of the few films to engage with Rwandans as users of images, rather than simply their subjects.
We will be joined by the film’s director, Piotr Cieplak, for a Q&A after the screening.
7pm, Byre Theatre, Studio

Thursday 8 February 2018
School of Modern Languages Research Seminar Series
Conflict and Change
‘Classed adaptations: conflicting narratives of change and stability among middling Iranian migrants in the UK’
Dr Mastooreh Fathi, Royal Holloway
4-5.30pm, School V, St Salvator's Quadrangle

Tuesday 13 February 2018
Centre for Russian, Soviet, Central and Eastern European Studies (CRSCEES)
Professor Tomasz Kamusella (St Andrews)
The Forgotten 1989 Expulsion of Turks from Communist Bulgaria
5pm, Buchanan Building room 312

Wednesday 14 February 2018
C19c Brown paper-bag research seminar series 2017-18
“Sharing a 19th-Century Object and/or Concept”
Andy Murphy, School of English
Concepts: Literacy, education and politics
In his seminal statement of the modernist theory of nationalism (Nations and Nationalism, 1983), Ernest Gellner tied the rise of nationalism to the context of industrialisation in the nineteenth century, arguing that the systematisation required by industrialising societies demanded standardised forms of knowledge that could only be provided at the level of the state. To provide such knowledge, governments needed to set up formal educational systems. In Gellner's view, these systems served ultimately to create a homogenised culture, in the process calling into being a recognisable form of national identity. While Gellner’s model is compelling, the effects of the wider availability of education and the spread of literacy in the nineteenth century were, it might be argued, neither quite so uniform nor so predictable. Andy has taken up this issue in two separate research projects. He has looked at working-class readers’ encounters with Shakespeare in the nineteenth century and has registered the ways in which, for many of these readers, Shakespeare’s work served as a source of inspiration for programmes of radical political activism. He has also looked at the impact of the rise of literacy in Ireland in the same period. Here, an examination of the schoolbooks used in the educational system would appear to provide support for Gellner’s thesis, since they are geared towards inculcating a strongly British identity, at the expense of any distinctive Irishness. Yet this very process in itself prompted a significant counter movement in Ireland which, in 1916, culminated in a separatist uprising in Dublin. In the Irish instance, then, late nineteenth century/early twentieth century nationalism can be said to be produced in reaction against the process that Gellner identifies as the standard mechanism of nationalism. For Andy’s session, then, he would like to explore the complex implications of the expansion of education and the rise of literacy across the span of the nineteenth century.
1-2pm, Byre Conference Room

Wednesday 14 February 2018
Byre World / CRSCEES
In Conversation with Monika Szydlowska
Monika Szydlowska is an author of a popular webcomic Na Emigracji that illustrates the experiences of Polish immigrants in the UK.  The blog had been maintained since October 2013 and read by more than 10,000 fans. By using a style reminiscent of comic illustration it relates the trials and tribulations of immigrants who have decided to move to the British Isles. The minimalist watercolours are enriched with text (both in Polish and English), used to highlight or outline the nuances of common experiences and unexpected situations faced by a Pole outside Poland. They are frequently comical - either through laying bare prevailing stereotypes (on both sides) or through making wry observations of cultural differences.
Dr Emily Finer will join Monika Szydlowska for a discussion of her work that has been recently published as a book Do You Miss Your Country? (2016).
7pm, Byre Theatre, Studio

Thursday 15 February 2018
School of Modern Languages Research Seminar Series
Conflict and Change
‘Conflict and change: The case of Modern South Arabian Languages (MSAL)’
Professor Janet Watson, University of Leeds & Miranda Morris, University of St Andrews
4-5.30pm, School V, St Salvator's Quadrangle

Thursday 22 February 2018
School of Modern Languages Research Seminar Series
Conflict and Change
‘Bertha von Suttner's Peace Activism, or How Leftist Politics Should Respond to Nationalism and Sexism’
Professor Elisabeth Krimmer, University of California, Davis
4-5.30pm, School V, St Salvator's Quadrangle

Wednesday 28 February 2018
Centre for Russian, Soviet, Central and Eastern European Studies (CRSCEES)
Dr Greta Matzner-Gore (USC)
From the Corners of The Brothers Karamazov: Minor Characters in Dostoevsky’s Last Novel.
5pm, Buchanan Building, room 312

Wednesday 28 February 2018
Byre World
The Uncondemned (dir. Michele Mitchell and Nick Louvel, 2015)
The Uncondemned is a riveting documentary about an underdog group of lawyers and activists who defied the odds to do what had never been done: prosecute rape as an international war crime. In 1997, the young men and women at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda found themselves inexplicably in charge of the first case of genocide in history. Underfunded, understaffed and overwhelmed, they faced incredible hurdles as they pursued their first case against a small town mayor. Crimes of war and against humanity had not been prosecuted since 1946, and surviving witnesses feared for their lives. And then, based on a last minute revelation, the prosecuting team amended the charge to include rape. Three heroic women would overcome their fears and shame to speak for all those who could not. Secret memos, witness assassinations, setbacks and barriers –The Uncondemned captures the untold, remarkable story that changed the course of international judicial history.
7pm, Byre Theatre, Studio

Thursday 1 March 2018
School of Modern Languages Research Seminar Series
Conflict and Change
‘Closing and opening the Asylum. Franco Basaglia and the radical psychiatry movement in Italy in the 1960s and 1970s’
Professor John Foot, University of Bristol
4-5.30pm, School V, St Salvator's Quadrangle

Thursday 8 March 2018
School of Modern Languages Research Seminar Series
Conflict and Change
‘The World in an Egg: Moralising Change and Form in Medieval French Didactic Literature’
Dr Miranda Griffin, University of Cambridge
4-5.30pm, School V, St Salvator's Quadrangle

Wednesday 14 March 2018
C19c Brown paper-bag research seminar series 2017-18
“Sharing a 19th-Century Object and/or Concept”
Object: Maps
Bernhard Struck, School of History & Mary Orr, School of Modern Languages
Bernhard will discuss a concrete map, sharing his findings on cartography in the 19th century and his work on "Mapping Germanies. Cartography, Territories and National Spaces, 1770s-1880s". Mary will analyse a ‘map’ of  Bathurst (1823) in Mrs Bowdich’s scientific travel narrative Excursions to Madeira and Porto Santo, 1825 (English Ed.; 1826 French ed.), and explore the question of locating female and non-colonial map-makers.
1-2pm, Byre Conference Room

Wednesday 14 March 2018
Byre World
Nueve reinas (dir. Fabian Bielinksy, 2000)
Written and directed by Fabian Bielinksy, Nueve reinas (Nine Queens, 2000) is an Argentinian crime drama film about two con artists working together on a major scam in Buenos Aires. Starring the acclaimed Ricardo Darín and Gastón Pauls, this Argentinian classic is not only an elegant comedy but also a clever suspense.  Following its box office success in Argentina, it won an impressive array of twenty-one awards across the Americas and Europe.
This film screening is part of the Byre World events organised by the School of Modern Languages. Brigid Cruzado, PhD student in Hispanic Studies, will be introducing the film and co-ordinating a discussion after the screening.
7pm, Byre Theatre, Studio

Thursday 15 March 2018
School of Modern Languages Research Seminar Series
Conflict and Change
‘Science and the Arts in Contemporary Latin America: Towards a Life in Common’
Dr Joanna Page, University of Cambridge
4-5.30pm, School V, St Salvator's Quadrangle

Thursday 5 April 2018
School of Modern Languages Research Seminar Series
Conflict and Change
‘Slanguages: Co-Creating a Touring Multilingual Visual Arts Exhibition’
Professor Rajindar Dudrah, University of Birmingham
4-5.30pm, School V, St Salvator's Quadrangle

9 April to 7 May 2018
Byre World
Human Zoos: Putting People on Display
Exhibition
A “human zoo” is a display of a particular group of humans for the purposes of entertainment, education or propaganda. Although particularly prevelant in the later 19th and earlier 20th centuries, human zoos have a long history and were held in a wide variety of national contexts, including Scotland. This exhibition and related events invites audiences to think about the practices of putting people on display.
Byre Theatre

Wednesday 11 April 2018
Byre World
Human Zoos: The Couple in the Cage (dir. Coco Fusco and Paula Heredia, 1993)
The Couple in the Cage documents the travelling performance of Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Coco Fusco in which they exhibited themselves as caged Amerindians from an imaginary island.  The screening complements the exhibition “Human Zoos: Putting People on Display” at the Byre (9 April to 7 May).
The film will be introduced by Dr Leshu Torchin and is supported by the Centre for Film Studies, University of St Andrews.
6pm, Byre Theatre, Studio

Thursday 12 April 2018
School of Modern Languages Research Seminar Series
Conflict and Change
‘Pressurizing the Politics of The Crucible: The Possibilities of a Dialectical, Brechtian Production’
Professor David Barnett, University of York
4-5.30pm, School V, St Salvator's Quadrangle

Monday 16 April 2018
Centre for Russian, Soviet, Central and Eastern European Studies (CRSCEES)
Ira Roldugina (University of Oxford)
Speaking For Themselves: Early Soviet Queer Agenda From Below
5pm, Buchanan Building, room 312

Tuesday 17 April 2018
Organised by the School of History in conjunction with the Centre for Russian, Soviet, Central and East European Studies (CRSCEES)
Professor Motoki Nomachi (Slavic-Eurasion Research Centre, Hokkaido University, Japan)
"The Break-Up of Serbo-Croation and the Gorani of Kosovo"
5.15pm, room 1.10, School of History, The Scores, St Katharine's Lodge

Wednesday 18 April 2018
C19c Brown paper-bag research seminar series 2017-18
“Sharing a 19th-Century Object and/or Concept”
Object: Illustrations of flowers from translation anthologies
Concept: German Naturalism
Andrew Cusack and Michael White, School of Modern Languages
Andrew will explore the Translation Anthology in 19th-Century Europe and what forms did collections of the ‘flowers’ of the lyric poetry of nations (anthologia, Blumenlese) take and what functions did they fulfil. Starting with pictures of some translation anthologies from Germany and the UK the aim is to get answers to questions of form and function from across Europe. Michael will reflect, in contrast, on character and authority (and adultery) in German Naturalist Drama”
1-2pm, Byre Conference Room

Thursday 19 April 2018
School of Modern Languages Research Seminar Series
Conflict and Change
‘The Concept of the Transformational Leap in the History of Russian Culture’
Dr Andrei Zorin, University of Oxford
4-5.30pm, School V, St Salvator's Quadrangle

Wednesday 25 April 2018
Byre World
Human Zoos in Scotland
The World Fairs and International Exhibitions that recorded human achievements, scientific and industrial innovations, and introduced visitors to other cultures and peoples are most readily associated with Paris, Chicago and London. Yet Scotland hosted its own flurry of shows in the early 1900s, and even held one of the last fairs in Europe, the famous Empire Exhibition of Glasgow, in 1938. These shows were controversial, since they often saw people shipped across the world to perform stereotypically ‘indigenous’ rituals or produce craftwork for the amusement of visitors.
This illustrated talk by Dr Emma Bond (Dept of Italian, University of St Andrews) complements the “Human Zoos: Putting People on Display” exhibition at the Byre (9 April – 7 May) and will explore the stories behind the images displayed in the exhibition posters, which all relate to ethnographic displays that took place in Scottish cities just one hundred years ago, from alleged romances between Somali villagers on display in Portobello to the feats of Buffalo Bill in Glasgow.
6pm, Byre Theatre, Studio

Thursday 26 April 2018
School of Modern Languages Research Seminar Series
Conflict and Change
‘Digital transformations in Modern Languages research’
Dr Paul Spence, King’s College, London
4-5.30pm, School V, St Salvator's Quadrangle

Friday 27 April 2018
Centre for Russian, Soviet, Central and Eastern European Studies (CRSCEES)
Leonid Parfenov
Screening and Discussion: Russian Jews (2014 - 2016)
4.30 - 7.00 pm, The Byre Theatre, Studio

Wednesday 2 May 2018
Byre World
The Enthusiasm Project
In 1869, Welsh industrialist John Hughes founded the mining town of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine, initiating a wave of migration from South Wales to Eastern Europe. 1917 and the approaching Russian Revolution saw the hasty exit of the industrialists who had followed Hughes, fearful of the revolutionary ferment. 100 years later, in the present day, Ukraine and the Donbas are once again at the centre of a violent conflict that has led to the internal displacement of over a million people.
“Enthusiasm” brings to life some of the elements of this fascinating and timely story.
Project leaders Dr Victoria Donovan (Dept of Russian, University of St Andrews) and Stefhan Caddick will be joined by composer Simon Gore to present “Enthusiasm” via music, image and discussion.
7pm, Byre Theatre, Studio

Wednesday 9 May 2018
Byre World
Casanova Undressed: A Sky Arts and Balandi Production (2016)
His very name is synonymous with seduction but what was world famous adventurer and author Giacomo Casanova really like? Although considered a ruthless, insatiable libertine and one of the biggest playboys history has ever known, Casanova was a Venetian who wore many masks, including that of a secret agent, gambler, mathematician and entrepreneur. Narrated by actor and Casanova biographer Ian Kelly (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1), this documentary heads under the covers to reveal just what made Casanova one of the most complex and controversial characters of the 18th century.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the producers, writers, artists, and scholars who created or contributed to this documentary. They will talk about the challenges, surprises, and many delights of working on Casanova, all the better to “undress” him.
7pm, Byre Theatre, Studio

Wednesday 16 May 2018
C19c Brown paper-bag research seminar series 2017-18
“Sharing a 19th-Century Object and/or Concept”
Emma Sutton, School of English
Object: A photograph of Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson playing his flageolet in Hawaii.
Emma will briefly introduce some aspects of the common but under explored practice of music-making in colonial settings. Stevenson’s example illustrates some of the research questions, pleasures and difficulties in thinking about European music globally in the nineteenth century.
1-2pm, Byre Conference Room

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