This afternoon marks the start of our week-long mid-semester break at Stirling and, as ever, it feels as though the first half of the semester has just raced past. It has been different, of course, from previous years but lots has still been happening and we wanted to give you a quick update on all things ‘French at Stirling’:
Firstly, we’re delighted to see a few of our students entering a French-language creative writing competition run by our colleagues at Napier University and we want to wish best of luck to the entrants!
This first half of semester has also seen a wealth of activity on the research seminar front, with French at Stirling staff giving talks at Stirling and elsewhere, and colleagues from other Universities giving papers in our (online) research seminar series. This started with Cristina Johnston giving a paper on the films of Céline Sciamma at the first Literature and Languages research seminar of the new academic year (alongside a great paper by our colleague in English Studies, Kelsey Jackson Williams). Next up was Nina Parish who gave a paper entitled ‘Remembering homeland and representing diaspora in virtual museums (or how to conduct fieldwork during lockdown)’ at Stirling University’s Centre for Environment and Heritage Policy.
Nina also spoke, this semester, at an event organised by the Centre for Poetic Innovation at the University of St Andrews, alongside her colleague Emma Wagstaff from the University of Birmingham, where they spoke about ‘Editing Bilingual Poetry Anthologies in the 21st Century’. This talk had been scheduled twice in the last academic year but both times were cancelled because of strikes and then the pandemic but, as Nina says, ‘this time we managed. What’s more, Emma was able to join us which was wonderful because we have collaborated on research to do with poetic practice in French for many years. Together, we edited a bilingual anthology of contemporary French poetry, which appeared with Enitharmon Press in 2016.
During our paper, we talked about some aspects of the decision-making process involved in compiling this anthology and gave a brief flavour of the texts it includes. We argued that an anthology of translated texts can affect how they are viewed in the original ‘source’ culture as well as introducing them to a new literary system. We discussed our plans for a further digital anthology that would enable us to anthologise some examples of the wide range of forms taken by contemporary poetic practice in French, but which also poses translation challenges of its own.’
The St Andrews connection continued, coincidentally, with a research paper given by Victoria Turner who is Lecturer in French at St Andrews and who works on medieval French and Occitan literature. The brilliant paper Victoria gave as part of our L&L seminar series was entitled ‘Everywhere and Nowhere: (T)racing Mixed-Race Relationships in Medieval French Epic.’
What else has been happening? Well, Hannah Grayson has just learned that a research project she is part of (Resilience+: Integrating Equity into Climate-Resilient Development) has been awarded GCRF and ESRC funding so congratulations there! The project will look at conceptualisations of resilience and develop a network to support inclusive and responsive programming and policy making in Rwanda. It particularly focuses on marginalised groups affected by flooding in rural Rwanda and Hannah’s contribution will be around language and inter-cultural understanding, building on her previous work in Rwanda.
We’ve also delighted to announce that our former PhD student, Jamal Bahmad, has co-authored a fantastic volume entitled Moroccan Cinema Uncut: Decentred Voices, Transnational Perspectives, with Will Higbee and Florence Martin. And that our colleague Elizabeth Ezra’s Shoe Reels: The History and Philosophy of Footwear in Film, co-edited with Catherine Wheatley, will be out in a couple of months. Both are published by Edinburgh University Press.
And, last but not least for the moment, we’re looking forward to welcoming Julie Hugonny, who will be joined us as Lecturer in French for the rest of this year after the mid-semester break, and we’d like to say thanks to Olivier Gillot who has been working as a French Teaching Assistant with us over the first half of this semester.
There is doubtless much more that could be added and more details on some of the above will come over the weeks ahead but, in the meantime, for Stirling colleagues and students reading this, we hope you have a good mid-semester break, and for anybody else reading, we hope this finds you well. À bientôt!