New Semester (Part I)

We’re now well into the second week of teaching here at Stirling, and this seems as good a time as any to talk about what staff and students have been up to over the summer months and what lies ahead for the months to come.

Assistants and Study Abroad
As ever at the start of September, we welcome back those 3rd year students who have just spent a year working as English Language Assistants via the British Council’s scheme. In 2012-13, around 20 of our students successfully applied for postings, spending the year in académies as diverse as Strasbourg, Montpellier, Lille and Poitiers, and we hope that as many students again will apply for assistantships for 2014-15. Our Study Abroad Officer for French, Jean-Michel DesJacques, will circulate information about this opportunity to current Semester 3 and Semester 7 over the weeks to come.

We’re also welcoming back the dozen or so students who are embarking on their final year of study after a semester as exchange students at one of our partner institutions in France or elsewhere in the Francophone world, including our first student to have spent her semester studying at our new partner, the Ecole de Gouvernance et d’Economie in Rabat (Morocco).

Our new partner University: EGE in Rabat
Our new partner University: EGE in Rabat

Rabat is the latest in a series of new additions to our range of French and Francophone partner institutions with Laval (Quebec), Limoges and Geneva also having been added in the past few years. These exchanges run alongside more long-standing agreements we have with Sciences Po (Paris), Strasbourg’s Ecole de Management and the University of Perpignan, to name but three.

This summer, two of our undergraduates – Finn Mackie and Alasdair MacDonald – were awarded prestigious Carnegie Undergraduate Vacation Scholarships which they put to good use carrying out individual research in the UK, France and Switzerland through the vacation period. More detailed accounts of their projects will follow…

Staff Research
Staff have been similarly busy over the past few months with conferences and conference papers and articles to write and revise. Aedín ní Loingsigh gave a paper on African cultural festivals at the ‘Seuils et Traverses: Borders and Crossings’ Annual International Conference at Liverpool Hope University. Her article ‘Re-Writing, Translating and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart,’ developed from a paper given last autumn in Limoges on ‘The status of rewriting in 20th–21st century art, film and literature in English: aesthetic choice or political act?’ is also due for publication towards the end of the year. David Murphy completed work on two journal articles, both of which will appear early in 2014: ‘Love, Trauma and War: the tirailleurs sénégalais and sexual-racial politics in 1920s France’ will appear in the Irish Journal of French Studies and ‘Sport, Culture and the Media at the Festival Mondial des Arts Nègres de Dakar (2010)’ was commissioned for a special issue of French Cultural Studies on the theme of sport, media and identity. Bill Marshall’s article on ‘European Comic Art and Quebec’ was published in European Comic Art and, as was mentioned in a previous post, Fiona Barclay’s edited collection France’s Colonial Legacies has just been released.
France's Colonial Legacies

New Teaching
And there has, of course, been teaching to prepare for the new semester, so, for instance, students taking FRE9A3 (War, Empire and Memory in Contemporary France) will find that the course has been revised to include study of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Albert Camus through L’Exil et le Royaume.
Honours students in the autumn have the choice between French Slave Trade (coordinated by Aedin ni Loingsigh) and Quebec Cinema (coordinated by Jason Hartford). And students in language classes can expect to be working on materials covering topics ranging from François Hollande’s response to the conflict in Syria to the decision for a stage of the 2014 Tour de France to take place in Yorkshire.

Coming Soon…
As for the semester ahead, there’s plenty going on! Max Silverman (University of Leeds) will be giving a research seminar in the regular Division of Literature and Languages series on Wednesday 13th November on ‘Palimpsestic Memory.’

Lucrecia Escudero of the University Lille III will be coming to the Division of Literature and Languages on an Erasmus staff exchange next week and, among other things, will be participating in a roundtable on Semiotics and Cultural Studies with Stirling colleagues Guillermo Olivera and Eddy Borges Rey. The roundtable forms part of a wider ‘Argentina Week’, organised by Guillermo and Lucrecia, details of which will follow in a separate blog post.

And in December, Stirling PhD student Mauro DiLullo will be organising a conference on Maurice Blanchot at which Bill Marshall (Stirling) will give a keynote paper, as will Andrew Hass (Stirling) and Leslie Hill (University of Warwick).

Virginie Sauzon, Aedin ni Loingsigh and Cristina Johnston are jointly organising two Study Days examining the notion of ‘False Friends? Translation and Alliance Formation’ which will take place on campus on 1st and 2nd November. The Study Days have received generous funding from the Scottish Funding Council and the Institut Français and will include sessions on translation and gender, minority languages, and science and translation (a more detailed blog post about them will follow shortly).

Africa in Motion Film Festival
Africa in Motion Film Festival

We will also continue our exciting partnership with the hugely successful Africa in Motion film festival, bringing Nigerian director Newton Aduaka (director of Ezra and One Man’s Show) to Stirling in November to conduct a masterclass for students and staff. Africa in Motion was founded in 2006 by one of our former PhD students, Lizelle Bisschoff (now a Lord Kelvin Adam Smith Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow), and has gone from strength to strength and French at Stirling (previously within the School of Languages, Cultures and Religions, and now in the Division of Literature and Languages) has been a keen supporter of it since its inception. We sponsor film screenings at the main Edinburgh-based run of the festival in late-October, early-November every year; undergraduate and postgraduate students often volunteer at the festival gaining valuable experience; and David Murphy, who is on the festival’s Board of Trustees, regularly introduces film screenings and conducts Q&A sessions with visiting directors. David and Lizelle are also currently co-editing a volume entitled Africa’s Lost Classics to be published by Legenda in early 2014, drawing on their work over the past 6-7 years on the history of African filmmaking.

Stirling staff will also be talking about their work and research beyond the confines of campus. In October, David Murphy will be giving a seminar on Lamine Senghor as part of the University of Edinburgh’s French research seminar series and has also been invited to speak at a Study Day at the University of Leeds on the great anti-colonial theorist, Frantz Fanon.

Frantz Fanon
Frantz Fanon

Looking further ahead, David will be talking about Senghor again in April at a conference on ‘Minorities and the First World War’ at the University of Chester. In December, Cristina Johnston will be participating in a roundtable on ‘Queer (Theory) in the (French) Academy (pedagogies, theories and the cross-national dimension)’ at a workshop organised by Oliver Davis at Warwick University on ‘Queer Theory and Academia: The Case of France in an International Frame.’

This is only a taste of what we’ve all been up to and what we have lined up for the coming few months. Updates on other colleagues will follow very soon, as will more detailed blog posts on many of the events mentioned above. If you’re interested in finding out more about any of this, please do get in touch with us.