Skip navigation to content

Research seminars: April 2017

Wednesday 5 April 2017
Byre World Film Series
The Wonders (2014) - Alice Rohrwacher
7pm, The Byre Theatre

Thursday 6 April 2017
Valerie Heffernan (National University of Ireland Maynooth)
Department of German
#RegrettingMotherhood in Germany:
Between Societal Taboo and Feminist Protest
In April 2015, an article from Signs made headlines in Germany and provoked a storm of controversy in mainstream and social media that lasted several weeks. The #RegrettingMotherhood debate in Germany – so-called because of the many tweets that used the English-language hashtag #RegrettingMotherhood to highlight their contribution to the ongoing debate – illustrates the intense public interest in motherhood in contemporary Germany. This paper analyses how the debate played out and uses the controversy to raise some broader questions about the meaning of motherhood in the contemporary era.
5pm, Buchanan room 216

Monday 10 April 2017
Austrian Shorts
This is a short film series, screening 2017’s short film nominees for the Austrian Film Award (Österreichischer Filmpreis). The UK OeAD lecturers and the Austrian Cultural Forum London are proud to present a collection of short films which is screened at 10 universities all over the UK from February until May 2017.
The screenings are free of charge and with English subtitles.
7pm, St Salvator’s Quad, School II

An afternoon of Ukrainian and Russian writing at the Byre Theatre

Wednesday 12 April 2017, 4.30pm til 7.30pm

Join us for an exciting afternoon of Ukrainian and Russian literature, art, and politics featuring internationally acclaimed Russian-language writers and poets in conversation with colleagues from the Russian Department at St Andrews. There will be the opportunity to meet, chat with and purchase books from the writers at the event. If you’re interested in Russian history, politics, and art, don’t miss these fantastic talks!

Andrei Kurkov ‘In Conversation With’ Victoria Donovan, 4.30-5.30pm

The Centre for Russian, Soviet, Central and East European Studies together the Byre World series at Modern Languages, St Andrews, is delighted to welcome Andrei Kurkov, one of Ukraine’s foremost novelists, journalists and public commentators to talk about art and revolution in today’s Ukraine. Andrei has been praised by the British media as a novelist whose works ‘ingeniously explore the political, psychological and emotional travails of a diverse gallery of Ukrainians’ (The Guardian, 2011). In 2014 he published the important and timely Ukraine Diaries: Dispatches from Kiev, which was hailed as work that ‘distills both tragedy and delight into pithy humane prose’ (The Guardian, 2014). Andrei will discuss politics, identity, violence and art in Ukraine with the Russian Department’s Victoria Donovan.

Book signing with Andrei Kurkov, 5.30-6pm

Byre World Literary Café with Stanislav Lvovskii, 6-7.30pm

One of Russia’s leading contemporary poets, Stanislav Lvovskii, will join us at the Byre’s Literary Café. There will be an informal reading of contemporary Russian poetry and screening of poetic video art.

Stanislav is a Russian poet, journalist and researcher, who has published highly acclaimed collections of poems and short stories. Currently pursuing a PhD in Russian studies at the University of Oxford, he was until recently a contributing editor of a literary section of, the only Russian internet media platform focused solely on culture.  Aside from original poetry and prose, Stanislav has published a number of translations (Vytautas Pliura, Charles Bukowsky, Leonard Cohen, Diane Thiel and others). He has received numerous literary prizes, including the Moscow Free Verse Festival Award (1993), Teneta Internet Literary Contest (1998, in three nominations), award for best new poetry of the year at the 2003 Moskovskii Schyot and Evgenii Turenko Prize for his influence on the new generation of poets (2016). He was shortlisted three times for Russia’s most prestigious independent literary award, the Andrei Belyi prize (2005, 2009 and 2013). His poetry has been translated into and published in English, French, Chinese, Italian, Georgian among other languages.

Thursday 13 April 2017
Department of German
Jeffrey Ashcroft
The Painter’s Pen : Albrecht Dürer’s Words for Art in Renaissance Venice and Nuremberg
Albrecht Dürer was the first artist outside Italy to leave behind a large body of writing, including letters and a diary, documentation of his personal life, his house purchases and finances, and an unparalleled archive of notes and drafts which plot the genesis and evolution of his thinking on the theory and practice of art. He was also much written about, by his contemporaries and subsequent generations.
My new book, Albrecht Dürer : Documentary Biography, tells his life-story as he and those who knew him wrote it between his birth in 1481 and his death in 1528. It provides the entire extant written records and a comprehensive commentary on them. It is the most complete and the first chronologically structured documentation of Dürer in either English or German. As the first English translation of the whole corpus of material, with a commentary referencing many hundreds of art-historical writings, it is an unprecedented resource opening wholly new access to Dürer’s writings and artistic work.
Translation and commentary shed new and clearer light on numerous aspects of Dürer’s personality, artistic production and intellectual development. One key aspect of the book is its philological exploration in translation and commentary of Dürer’s linguistic achievement as creator of a German discourse, style and lexis of the theory and praxis of art and aesthetics. The Documentary Biography proves for the first time that Dürer understood and spoke Venetian Italian. To exemplify this linguistic dimension I look at his borrowing of Venetian vocabulary to convey essential Renaissance concepts and terms in early modern German.
5pm, Buchanan Building room 216

Friday 14 April 2017
Kurdish Research Event
16.00- 16.45pm: The Experimental Kurdish Novel: in Search of New Identities  (Kaveh Qobadi, PhD, University of Exeter)
16.45-17.30pm: Modern Kurdish Poetry: the Poetics of Nation-Building (Farangis Qaderi, PhD, University of Exeter)
17.30-18.00pm: Coffee Break
18.00-18.45pm: Sherko Bekas and the Promotion of Social Consciousness (Marouf Cabi, PhD Candidate, University of St Andrews)
Byre Theatre, Conference Room

Wednesday 19 April 2017
Byre World Literary Café Series
Rwandan Stories of Change presents
Readings and Q&A with Véronique Tadjo
Award-winning author of As the Crow Flies (2001), The Shadow of Imana, Travels in the heart of Rwanda (2002), The Blind Kingdom (2008), Queen Pokou (2009) and Far from my Father (2014)
All welcome
Free event but please reserve tickets at or phone 01334 475000
Further information email:
8pm, The Byre Theatre

Thursday 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, Buchanan room 216

Tuesday 25 April 2017
Centre for Russian, Soviet, Central and Eastern European Studies (CRSCEES)
Iryna Clark (University of St Andrews)
‘Mediating “Civil Society” in the Belarussian Press: The Colour Revolutions’
‘Civil society’ remains a topic of debate among politicians, scholars and the wider public in both established western democracies and increasingly, in countries in which non-liberal governments curtail societal freedoms. The political activism witnessed in post-Communist regions over the previous and current decades raises questions about citizens’ ability to mobilise society to protest and change the future course of their country. The presentation will provide an analytical insight into the country-specific terms used to describe civil society within the Belarusian media environment. It will also demonstrate how the articulation of ‘civil society’ shifted over time and in response to contextual conditions focusing on the Republic of Belarus. Given the role civil society was expected to play in post-Communist democratisation, the presentation will go beyond the normative rationale and provide an insight into the complexity of the social, cultural and political contexts that determine the uneven and complicated path of post-Soviet development.
5pm, Buchanan Building room 216


Thursday 27 April 2017
Arabic Public lecture and book launch
Raymond Scheindlin
Vulture in a Cage: Poems by Solomon Ibn Gabirol
Author and translator Raymond Scheindlin will present his new book, Vulture in a Cage, and the eleventh-century poet at its center, Solomon Ibn Gabirol, one of the most celebrated poets and philosophers of the medieval Judeo-Arabic Golden Age. The author of delicate and intimate devotional poetry that holds an honored place in the liturgies of many Jewish communities, Ibn Gabirol also wrote personal poetry, in which he speaks of his intellectual ambitions and his frustration at having to live among the unthinking; laments his ailments and his social isolation; praises his friends and savages his enemies. Dr. Scheindlin’s new book emphasizes this personal aspect of Ibn Gabirol’s poetry with translations that read like poetry while hewing closely to the meaning of the poet’s words. In this talk, he will illustrate various aspects of Ibn Gabirol’s poetic persona by reading and commenting on selected poems.
Raymond P. Scheindlin is professor of medieval Hebrew literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York, where he received his training in Hebrew literature. He holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University for his dissertation on an Arab poet from Muslim Spain. In addition to his research on medieval Hebrew poetry in its Arabic and Islamic background, Scheindlin has published many translations of the great poets of the Judeo-Arabic Golden Age, especially in his books Wine, Women, and Death; The Gazelle; and The Song of the Distant Dove. He has also published an annotated verse translation of the Book of Job. A former provost of the Jewish Theological Seminary, Scheindlin is a former Guggenheim fellow; a former Cullman fellow at the New York Public Library; and recipient of the cultural achievement award of the National Foundation for Jewish Culture.
6pm, The Byre Theatre, Studio