Spring Term 2021 Programme

Wednesday 3 February 2021 (Week 2), 1 pm

Via Microsoft Teams
Dr Julia Hartley (University of Warwick)
‘The Persian Alexander: Hybridity and Cultural Transition in Judith Gautier’s Iskender (1886)’

Ancient Iran sat in a complicated place for 19th-century French historiography and historical fiction. On the one hand, it was the original Oriental other, the barbaric enemy of the Greeks. On the other hand, it was an admirable civilisation, discovered through the remains of Persepolis and appropriated as Europe’s ancestor through the ‘Aryan’ myth. My presentation analyses how Iran’s complex status as a different Orient was negotiated by Judith Gautier (1845-1917), one of the French nineteenth century’s most popular women writers. Gautier’s novel Iskender (1886) is a rewriting of Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh (Book of Kings), Iran’s national epic poem. The novel centres on the figure of Alexander of Macedon, who according to Persian literature was born of a Greek mother and Iranian father, making his conquest of Iran a homecoming. I will focus on the questions of hybridity and cultural transition, which manifest on both a stylistic and thematic level.

Wednesday 24 February 2021 (Week 5), 1 pm

Via Microsoft Teams
Dr Luke Gartlan (St Andrews)

‘Inventing Provinciality in the Age of Empire: St Andrews and the Global Networks of Early Photography’

Scholars have long acknowledged the role of St Andrews in the early history of photography. Yet the account of a university town in which a circle of residents practised the new art of photography has emphasized narratives of provincial isolation and local heritage seemingly divorced from wider networks of empire and globality. Central to this narrative are photographs of country living and family life that eschew the signs of empire in their construction of provincial domesticity. Taking two case studies of ‘home’ photographic commissions by the St Andrews photographer Thomas Rodger – of the Lindsay family of Balcarres and James Hope Grant– this talk argues for the intimate associations of provinciality and empire in the domestic family photograph. Underpinning this research are two premises: firstly, that St Andrews was a hotbed both of early photography and imperial involvement, and that these are embedded, interconnected histories; and secondly, that the visual codes and connections to empire in the photography of St Andrews have been overlooked in order to assert an unproblematic narrative of local history and place. This talk will argue that the idea of provincial photography, exemplified in the case of St Andrews, does not exist in opposition to the photography of overseas colonies, but rather the historical realities of empire constituted and structured the Victorian family photograph album.

Tuesday 16 March 2021 (Week 8), 1-3pm

Via Microsoft Teams
c19c Postgraduate Research Conference
organised by c19c Postgraduate Rep Alex Adame Basilio, the conference will offer 10-minute snapshots on current PGR research in the field 

Panel 1. On Cultures, Nations, and Territories
Chair: Katerina García Walsh

Bennett Collins (International Relations):

PhD project: This Land was Made for Me: Navigating the Continuum of Settler Colonial Environmental Governance

Paper: ‘Settler Colonial Fantasies of “Wilderness”: Birthing National Parks from the Doctrine of Christian Discovery’. The birth of the National Park—Yellowstone in 1872—as an example of settler colonial environmental governance and how it has proliferated around the world as a modern method of conservation.

Anushrut Ramakrishnan Agrwaal (Film Studies):

PhD project: Watch and Learn: Film and Educational Life in Britain, 1895-1908

Paper: ‘Cinema of Paper: Expertise, Disciplinary Knowledge, Censorship and the Film Catalogue’. The relationship between film catalogues and film censorship practices in Britain. Film catalogues as a route to understanding how nineteenth century educational practices continued to impact ideas of what was visually acceptable as well as ideas on learning.

Sam Kramer (Russian Studies):

PhD project: Reconstructing Nationality: The Russophone Minority’s Relation with the Estonian State, 1991-2004

Paper: ‘The Implementation of Otto Bauer’s Concept of Cultural Autonomy – stated in 1907 in Die Nationalitätenfrage und die Sozialdemokratie – in 1920s Estonia’

Panel 2. On Personal Agency, Identity and Creativity
Chair: Sam Kramer

Agata Piotrowska (Modern History):

PhD project: Travellers from the Margins or Citizens of the World? The European West of the Late 1700s and Early 1800s through the Eyes of Polish Female Travellers

Paper: ‘How did these Polish women express on paper their sense of agency, identity, and national or international belonging?’

Amy McTurk (French Studies):

PhD project: Multimedial Portraits of the Artist as a Young Woman: A Case Study of Female Agency and Creativity in the Work of George Sand (1804-1876)

Paper: ‘How can we discuss the creativity and agency of women artists without automatically imposing sexed and gendered definitions of the (Romantic) “artist” or “genius”?’

Katerina García Walsh (English):

PhD project: Spectral Trauma and Narrative Memory in Margaret Oliphant’s Gothic Fiction

Paper: ‘The methodological problem of blending a historicist approach with seemingly anachronistic critical writing’. For example, Pierre Janet’s work on narrative memory for trauma recovery uniquely facilitates a narratological analysis of Oliphant’s ghosts, but Janet’s work was published between 1909 and 1928—well after Oliphant’s death in 1897.

Wednesday 14 April 2021 (Week 10), 1pm 

Via Microsoft Teams
Special session on 19th-century Russian Melodrama with views from Japan
organised by Dr Margarita Vaysman (St Andrews)
Speakers: Dr Daisuke Adachi (Slavic Eurasian Research Centre, Hokkaido University)

Paper: ‘Melodrama and Irony in 1830s Russia’

Melodrama, both as genre and metaphor, has been traditionally perceived as naïve and simplistic, that is, foreign to irony. Such comprehension broadly ranges from the everyday usage of the word to the academic studies of melodrama. However, several film studies have indicated the moment of irony in in Hollywood films, arguing that the distinction between simple and ironic audiences of melodrama was/is historically, socially and culturally overdetermined, often linked to gender distinctions. In this talk I will outline the process of the acceptance of French melodrama in Russia, tracing the historical, social, and cultural circumstances where melodrama, both as genre and as metaphor, was represented as lacking irony. As a result, one of the essential historical and cultural stages where the melodramatic imagination was formed in Russia is to be revealed.

and Dr Kieko Kamitake (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Tokyo University of the Arts)

Paper: ‘Gluck’s “Orfeo ed Euridice” : Acceptance of Melodramatic Opera in the End of the 19th Century in Russia’

The aim of this talk is to reconsider the ‘neo-nationalistic’ character of Moscow Private Opera by examining the influence of melodramatic operas on its reforms of opera stage. Moscow Private Opera has been noticed as a ‘neo-nationalistic’ theater for its intensive performing operas mainly of Rimsky-Korsakov, who was one of the members of ‘The Mighty Handful’ in the previous research (Maes, 2003). This certainly can be true, but it is also undeniable that such assertion was inconsistent with the phenomenon, since Mamontov, who was the founder of Moscow Private Opera, shows his intense will to popularize Christoph Gluck’s ‘Orfeo ed Euridice’ in Russia. Christoph Gluck is said to be the reformer of opera seria, solving the gap of speech and music by taking the methods of melodrama. According to Kivy, Gluck replaced secco recitative, that is, tone-talk accompanied by cembalo, with accompanied recitative, which uses more complicated and sophisticated orchestra and includes the elements of a narrative. Such reform solved the discontinuity between ‘musical’ aria with an orchestral accompaniment and ‘narrative’ secco recitative, and this accomplishment was developed into leitmotiv by Richard Wagner, who significantly influenced Rimsky-Korsakov. Taking into account the background above, we can suspect that Mamontov placed more importance on performing those operas, which have the melodramatic features.

followed by a planning meeting of the steering committee for the 2021-22 session, 2.30-2.30pm

Wednesday 5 May 2021 (Week 14), 1 pm

Via Microsoft Teams
Prof. Simon James (Durham University)
Charles Dickens and Autobiographical Memory

Friday 14 May 2021 (Week 14), time tba

Via Microsoft Teams
c19c ‘Scotland Global’ Day Conference
organised by Dr Michael White (St Andrews)
Confirmed speakers: Prof. Alison Lumsden (University of Aberdeen) and Prof. Anne Schwan (Edinburgh Napier University)