New Semester (suite et fin…)

The Autumn 2013 semester is now well underway and it’s time for the last of these blog posts about what our staff and students have been up to over the past few months.

As well as his paper on social divisions in recent Moroccan cinema at the annual ASMCF conference in Leicester, our PhD student Jamal Bahmad gave an invited talk at the Morocco Study Day organised by the University of London Institute in Paris and University Mohamed V in Rabat to celebrate their new programme of academic exchange and research partnership. The event was also used to launch the Francophères journal’s special issue on “Le Nouveau Maroc”, which includes an article by Jamal on cinema and social change. ULIP also launched its new Centre for the Study of European and North African Relations at the study day in Rabat.

It’s been a busy Summer for our PhD students. Jamal’s fellow PhD student, Martin Verbeke, who works on French and Belgian rap music, has been successful in conducting a series of interviews with rap artists which will form the basis of some of his analysis. Among those he has interviewed have been Shurik’n of the French group IAM and the female rap artist Black Barbie.

French rapper Black Barbie
French rapper Black Barbie

Language Matters: Poetry, Creative Writing and Translation
Our Language Assistant Virginie Sauzon, whose poems appeared earlier this year in Quebecer magazine Art Le Sabord, was the very happy recipient of the Bourse d’écriture André Rochedy this summer. This bursary enabled her to participate in an inspirational creative writing workshop held during the ‘Lectures sous l’arbre’, a one-week event organised by the Éditions Cheyne who specialise in contemporary poetry. Thanks to the generosity of her hosts, she had a lovely stay at the Auberge des Cévennes, André Rochedy’s childhood home in Saint-Agrève (Ardèche). Click here and here to learn more about French poet André Rochedy and read some of his poetry.

André Rochedy
André Rochedy

From Sunday 18th to Sunday 25th August, in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon (Haute-Loire), Virginie was a member of the workshop ‘Lire, rêver, écrire… le secret’ led by French poet Michel Thion. During a creative writing exercise, participants also worked with Brigitte Baumié, who is interested in developing connections between the French language and French Sign Language through poetry (see for instance this video). The workshop was also an excellent opportunity to meet a very welcoming team of creative writers!

Here’s the presentation of the workshop ‘Lire, rêver, écrire… le secret’:
‘Une plongée dans ce qui est au cœur de l’écriture: dire ou écrire son secret sans jamais le nommer. Et si Aragon l’a théorisé, en faisant du dévoilement du réel l’axe de son écriture et de son engagement, toute littérature vraie, et particulièrement toute poésie, ne peuvent éluder cette question du contournement, du « pas de côté ».
Nous réfléchirons ensemble à cette question du secret, du non-dit, de l’implicite, qui permet à l’écriture de passer du « faire savoir » au « faire ressentir ».’

And there was more! Although you can never do too much writing, the week involved many other activities: attending poetry readings, performances, getting to know more about German culture (pays invité in 2013), listening to music sous les arbres, bien sûr… Why not read the Journal des Lectures, to know more about the event? And why not attend a few of these readings if you are going to France next summer?

Printemps des poètes
Printemps des poètes

Since language matters on so many levels, Virginie Sauzon will now continue to explore translation-related issues. She’ll give a paper entitled ‘Quite another story: The Concept of Translation in Virginie Despentes and Wendy Delorme’s Works’ at the next ADEFFI (Association des Études Françaises et Francophones d’Irlande) annual conference on the theme of ‘Histoire(s)’, to be held in Maynooth in October 2013. Virginie is also organising a panel on Gender, Sexuality, Feminism and Translation at the Translation Study Days we’re arranging in Stirling at the start of November (more on them below, including a full programme for the 2 days).

And finally, Jason Hartford organized a panel on French horror cinema at the 54th annual Society for French Studies conference, at the University of Nottingham. This event marked the kickoff for a research network in French paracinema, with an upcoming screening and roundtable anticipated for this winter. Jason is also currently working on an article on a misrecognized horror movie, François Ozon’s Ricky (2009).

September also saw the publication of Saints and Cultural Trans-/Mission (Sankt Augustin: Anthropos Institut, 2013), edited by Michael Marten and Katja Neumann from Stirling’s Critical Religion grouping in the Division of Literature and Languages. Jason contributed a chapter to the volume (‘Forgotten Plurality: a Cultural analysis of Representations of St. Sebastian in the West’) which discusses both the development of a dual queer/straight traditon in representing this saint, and the temporary disruption of that tradition in 19th-century French art — only for the existing pattern to be reinforced by 20th-century French literature.

During our mid-semester break, Jason is off to Belgium on a fact-finding mission, visiting the Fonds Suzan Daniel, a Les-Bi-Gay archive attached to the Museum of Social History in Ghent, for information on the filmmaker Bavo Defurne. He’ll also interview Bavo and his line producer while he is in Belgium, all in aid of a piece to be written on new queer cinema in Europe, for Studies in European Cinema.

As you can see, then, the past few months have been a busy time for staff and students alike, and we look forward to sharing news of similar events and activities via this blog over the weeks and months ahead.