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Research seminars: April 2015

Wednesday 1 April 2015

Presents the film
L’Homme du Train (The Man on the Train), 2001

The film will be introduced by Dr Elodie Laügt (University of St Andrews) and shown with English subtitles. 


A mysterious stranger, Milan, steps off a train in a place he has never been to before.  Looking for a pharmacy to buy some aspirin for a raging headache, he comes across a retired school teacher, Manesquier.  The two men are complete opposites.  Or at least they seem to be.  But each man realises that what he really always wanted is the life of the other man. 

Patrice Leconte’s film, starring Johnny Hallyday and Jean Rochefort has been described as a ‘comedy-drama of wit, delight and humanity’ by the Financial Times, which offers a ‘funny, moving, poetic and unsentimental look at failure, with two terrific central performances’ (Sunday Times Culture).

2.30pm, LL Studio – Byre Theatre

Wednesday 1 April

Middle Eastern Film Screenings

Sara (1993)
By Dariush Mehrjui
Iran – 102 min, In Persian with English subtitles

3pm, School B305

Thursday 2 April 2015

Professor Lionel Ruffel, University Paris 8

Leverhulme Lecture 4: ‘The Locations of the Contemporary’

School 1, 5.15pm

3–4 April, 2015

Patricio Guzmán Visiting The University of St Andrews
Latin American Speakers Series

The Department of Film Studies at The University of St Andrews is pleased to announce that celebrated Chilean filmmaker Patricio Guzmán and his producer, Renate Sachse, will be visiting campus 3–4 April for a public lecture and two screenings at which they will be present for Q&A sessions. This event is part of The University of St Andrews' Latin American Speakers Series.

Schedule of Events:

3 April, 17.00: A lecture by Patricio Guzmán, Parliament Hall, St Andrews
3 April, 19.00: A screening of The Battle of Chile, Part One, followed by a Q&A with the director, School III, the Quadrangle, St Andrews
4 April, 18.00: A screening of Nostalgia for the Light, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee

Please direct all enquiries to Dr Dennis Hanlon at

This event is being co-sponsored by School of Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies; Department of Film Studies; School of Modern Languages; School of International Relations; School of English; Dundee Contemporary Arts; Institute for Global Cinema and Creative Cultures; Centre for Film Studies

Monday 6 April 2015

Professor Lionel Ruffel, University Paris 8

Leverhulme Seminar 3: ‘Vacuoles and Apparatuses. Literature in the Economy of Attention’

Buchanan 216, 5.15pm

Wednesday 8 April

Middle Eastern Film Screenings

The Women’s Prison (2002)
By Manijeh Hekmat
Iran – 92 min, In Persian with English subtitles 

3pm, School B305

Wednesday 8 April 2015

Italian Research Seminar

Professor Clorinda Donato (California State University, Long Beach)
Translating the Italian Queer in Eighteenth-Century England:  John Cleland’s The True History and Adventures of Catharine Vizzani 

In 1751 John Cleland published anonymously the translation The True History and Adventures of Catharine Vizzani. This short text of some thirty pages recounts the medical, sexual, and social history of its female working class protagonist, Catharine Vizzani. Over the past twenty years, it has become one of the primary texts used by scholars of Sapphic literature and same-sex female love to analyze and document queer female relationships in eighteenth century Britain. However, Cleland’s translation is so British in fact, that its purported Italian provenance had all but been forgotten.  The source text by Italian anatomist Giovanni Bianchi, Breve storia di Caterina Vizzani has only recently begun to receive scholarly attention in Italy and is hardly known outside of Italian circles. Indeed, it has been easy to surmise that claims of the text’s Italian origins had been merely fabricated by Cleland as a means of distancing himself from the potential scandal that the contents of the text might cause in light of the notoriety he had acquired as a result of authoring Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (Fanny Hill). I am currently writing a monograph that focuses on restoring the Italian source text to Italian eighteenth-century studies by interpreting it within its original cultural context, as well as providing an intercultural reading of Cleland’s translation. What emerges upon comparison of the two versions, original and translated, is a thoroughly divergent presentation of gender as a function of the different audiences that author, Giovanni Bianchi, and translator, John Cleland, were addressing.  Indeed, Cleland, the translator of Bianchi’s medically and sociologically motivated narrative of same-sex female relationships prompted a condemnatory rewriting of the text in the hands of Cleland, the translator.  This paper will explore the issues at stake in the discussion of female sexuality for Cleland, author of Fanny Hill, and Cleland, translator of female desire in The True History and Adventures of Catharine Vizzani in comparison with the intent of Italian author, Giovanni Bianchi.

5.15pm, Buchanan Building 215

Thursday 9 April 2015

Collaborative Research Initiative

Khamriyya as a World Poetic Genre: Comparative Perspectives on Wine Poetry in Near and Middle Eastern Literatures

Prof Sooyong Kim
Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey

Khamriyya lecture (Arabic seminar): Wine Poetry in the Ottoman Context

5pm-6:30pm, Quad 31

Wednesday 15 April

Middle Eastern Film Screenings

Snowman (1995)
By Davood Mirbagheri
Iran – 97 min, In Persian with English subtitles 

3pm, School B305

Wednesday 15 April

St Andrews Early Modern Society Symposium


Dr Emma Herdman (Department of French): ‘“Nous pleurons souvant la perte des bestes que nous aymons, ainsi font elles la nostre”: Anthropomorphic Birds in Renaissance France.’

Ms Julianne Mentzer (School of English): ‘“Fellowships in Vice: Persuasive Speech in the Drama of early modern London”’

Dr James Harris (Department of Philosophy): ‘David Hume (1711-1776): the philosopher as man of letters’ 

5-7pm Buchanan Building 305

Wednesday 15th April

PG Seminar 

Lottie Pearce-Slade (Department of French)
‘Love as a battle-field: Marguerite de Navarre's vertu vs. virtus’

Tiran Manucharyan (Department of Arabic)
Theatre as a means of reaffirmation of national identity: Tawf?q al-?ak?m and Y?suf Idr?s searching for an Egyptian theatre

Coffee and Tea available

5pm Buchanan Building 216

Monday 20 April 2015

Russian Seminar

Andrea Gullotta, University of Glasgow
‘Writing the Camps: A Survey of Soviet Gulag Literature’

5–6pm, Buchanan Building 305

Wednesday 22nd April 2015

Persian Seminar

Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak
University of Maryland

From Epic to Gnostic: Observations on Dynamics of Change in Persian Poetry


As we know it today, Persian literature emerges in the tenth century CE with a dominant discourse that tends to explore the world and man’s surroundings, to look, question and explore the phenomena of external nature, of human life, and of relations among humans and other inhabitants of the earth.  In time, primarily through the 12th century, this dynamic changes gradually and begins to gel into a more complex expressive system in which explorations are directed more toward understanding the “interior” and hidden aspects of objects and relations, animals and humans.  This is the process that leads from direct, objective observations to contemplations of the “nafs” in the mystic tradition, and is exemplified most visibly by the type of struggle that personages such as `Attar’s Shaykh San`an face, when compared to the divs, dragons and demons that a hero like Rostam confronts; or one that leads from the kind of figuration we see in Shahnameh’s Simorgh to that in the Conference of the Birds.  I have called this change “interiorization”, and in my talk I will present examples of this change and share my thoughts on its causes and consequences, as well as its ultimate significance and implications for conceptualizing a new historiography of Persian literature.  

5pm-7.00pm, Arts 7

Wednesday 22 April 2015 

Leverhulme Visiting Professor
Professor Lionel Ruffel, University Paris 8

Leverhulme Workshop 2: How to be a Contemporaneist 2

This workshop will introduce a few approaches to the contemporary in experimental and institutional schools or movements (such as the Bauhaus or the Black Mountain poets). We will also discuss what has been described as a pedagogical turn in contemporary art. How can we, as academics, reuse these experiments?

1-3pm, Arts Building Seminar Room 4

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Middle Eastern Film Screenings

La Graine Et Le Mulet – Couscous (2007)
By Abdellatif Kechiche

France – 151 min, In French and Arabic with English subtitles

3pm, School B305

Thursday 23 April 2015

St Andrews Centre for French History Lunchtime Salon
Julia Prest: "Social Politics and the Theatres of Saint-Domingue"

1pm-2pm Room 0.01 St Katharine’s Lodge