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Research seminars: January-February 2015

Thursday 29 January 2015

French Research Seminar

Dr Imogen Long, University of Hull: ‘A Powerful Political Platform: L’Express in a Cold War Climate’

Abstract: Founded in 1953 by Jean-Jacques Servan Schreiber and Françoise Giroud, L’Express was in its early days a hotbed of political debate, fomenting discussion and critiquing French governmental policy. Up until its rebranding in 1964 along the lines of Time magazine, the politically committed outlet predominantly led by Giroud’s strong editorial line gave voice to a range of leading writers and intellectuals through its columns and proffered in the process a powerful political platform.  This paper investigates her vision of the press, her politics and her journalistic dialogue with other significant actors in French post-war history including François Mauriac, Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre in order to understand better the growing importance of the mainstream media as a forum for intellectuals and that of the journalist as an interlocutor in intellectual debates.

5–7pm, Buchanan Room 216

Wednesday 4 February 2015

Professor Lionel Ruffel, University Paris 8

Leverhulme Lecture 1: ‘Displaying the Contemporary’

School 5, 1–2pm 

Thursday 5 February 2015 

School of Modern Languages Research Seminar
German Research Seminar 

Dr Michael Cowan, Department of Film Studies, University of St Andrews

‘Beyond Caligari: Advertising and Early German Cinema’

5.15–6.45pm, Buchanan Room 216

Monday 9 February 2015

Professor Lionel Ruffel, University Paris 8

Leverhulme Seminar 1: ‘The Public Spaces of Contemporary Literature’

Buchanan 216, 5.15pm

Wednesday 11 February 2015

Postgraduate Lunchtime Talk

Dr María Laura Spoturno, Visiting Scholar from Universidad de La Plata, Argentina
‘The Challenge and Pleasure of Literary Translation’

1-2pm in Buchanan Building 216. Sandwiches, tea and coffee provided.

Wednesday 11 February 2015

Weekly Middle Eastern Film Screenings

Downpour (1972) By Bahram Beizai
Iran – 128 min, in Persian with English subtitles 

3pm, School B305

Wednesday 18 February 2015

Leverhulme Workshop 1

Leverhulme Visiting Professor
Professor Lionel Ruffel, University Paris 8
How to be a Contemporaneist. The Two contemporaneisms 

1-3pm, Buchanan Building 216

Wednesday, 18 February 2015


presents the film
Directed by Andrey Zvyaginsev

2:30pm, LL Studio—Byre Theatre

The film will be introduced by Dr Katharine Holt (University of St Andrews) and shown with English subtitles.
Film Duration: 141 Minutes


Set in the remote Russian northwest, Leviathan is the tragic tale of one man’s struggle against a corrupt system of power, brought to breathtaking life by visionary director Andrey Zvyagintsev (The Return, The Banishment, Elena). Kolya, a part-time mechanic, lives on a rocky shore with his wife and son in a house he built himself. When a local mayor attempts to seize the property through a compulsory purchase order he calls in a lawyer friend from Moscow to help fight his case. But the wheels of justice soon prove to be slow, heavy and quite possibly deadly…

A work of epic scope and savage emotion, Leviathan has drawn comparisons with Tarkovsky and earned high praise abroad, receiving the award for Best Screenplay at Cannes 2014 and a nomination for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. At the same time, its grim and unforgiving portrait of life in Putin’s Russia has caused controversy among domestic audiences and critics.

Wednesday 18 February 2015

Weekly Middle Eastern Film Screenings

Children of Heaven (1997) By Majid Majidi
Iran – 89 min, in Persian with English subtitles

3pm, School B305

Wednesday 18 February 2015

Postgraduate Research Seminar

Kirsty Boardman (Department of French)
‘Addressing the reader: digression and intertextuality in Christine Montalbetti’s self-reflexive narratives’

Bram van Leuveren (Department of Comparative Literature)
‘Negotiating Difference: Catholics and Protestants at the Court Festival for the Marriage of Marguerite de Valois and Henri de Navarre’

5pm Buchanan Building, Room 216

Thursday 19 February 2015

Institute of European and Cultural Identity Studies

María Laura Spoturno, Universidad Nacional de La Plata | CONICET1
Translation and Cultural Identity. The Case of Minority Writers

5.15pm, Buchanan Building, Room 216


This seminar explores the unavoidable relation between translation and identity, which was suggested by Lefevere and Bassnett, among others, in 1990 when they advanced the hypothesis of the cultural turn in the field of Translation Studies. According to these authors, translation and, consequently, the translator, adopt a crucial role in the construction of identity and culture as well as in the formation of cultural identities. As argued by Gentzler (2008), translation is a discursive practice and as such it unveils the heterogeneous and polyvalent construction of culture. Translation stands out as a privileged genre in the configuration of identity, especially in the case of the literary and cultural production of peripheral and minority communities within which translation becomes a strategy to remember and (re) historicise memory. As put forward by Sidiropoulous (2006), the question of identity is crucial in the theoretical debate in the field of Translation Studies. Moreover, translation must be at the centre of any reflection about identity in contemporary societies (Cronin, 2006). During the seminar, the relation between translation and identity will be analysed in a corpus of literary texts belonging to minority writers.


Cronin, M. Translation and Identity. London and New York: Routledge, 2006.

Gentlzer, E. Translation and Identity in the Americas: New Directions in Translation Theory. London and New York: Routledge, 2008.

Lefevere, A. and Bassnett, S. A. “Introduction: Proust’s Grandmother and the Thousand and One Nights. The ‘Cultural Turn’ in Translation Studies”. In: S. Bassnett y A. Lefevere (eds.) translation, History and Culture.London: Cassell, pp. 1-13, 1990.

Sidiropoulous, M. Linguistic Identities through Translation. Amsterdam and NewYork: Rodopi, 2006.


María Laura Spoturno holds a PhD in Spanish from the Universidad Nacional de La Plata (UNLP), a Masters in Linguistics and a degree in Translation and EFL Teaching. In the past four years, she has been appointed as Advisor to the National Ministry of Education and the Department of Education in Buenos Aires Province. María Laura serves as an Assistant Professor of Literary Translation and US American Literature at the Universidad Nacional de La Plata and a full-time researcher with the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (Argentina). 

Monday 23 February 2015

Professor Lionel Ruffel, University Paris 8

Leverhulme Lecture 2: ‘The Contemporary and / in Media Time’

School 5, 5.15pm

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Weekly Middle Eastern Film Screenings

A Trip to Chazabeh (1995)
By Rasool Mollagholi Poor

Iran – 98 min, In Persian with English subtitles

3pm, School B305

Thursday 26 February 2015 

School of Modern Languages Research Seminar
Hispanic Research Seminar 

‘Ordinary Life’ and National Reconciliation: ‘Working through’ trauma in two documentary narratives of the Ciudad Juárez femicides

Professor Nuala Finnegan, Head, School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, Director, Centre for Mexican Studies, University College Cork, Ireland

5.15–6.45pm, Buchanan Room 216

Friday 27 to Saturday 28 February 2015

After Downfall: 10 years of the Nazi Past in German Culture

A workshop co-hosted by the Department of German and the Institute for Contemporary and Comparative Literature (ICCL)

Further workshop information