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School Seminar Series

UCD School of English, Drama and Film

Research Seminars Autumn 2023Swans on UCD lake

Wednesdays, 4pm J218

18 October

PhD Research Roundtable

Mathieu Bokestael, "Immunity, biomedical epistemologies, and literary and cultural studies: challenges and opportunities (a PhD journey)!"

Ariane Murphy, "Comparative literature, there is more to it than X and Y?"

Teddy Power, "The Possibilities of Transmedia Fantasy

Chair: Dr Chloe Green, Postdoctoral Fellow. Organised by Emilie Pine and Kate Fama

25 October

Dr. Adam Kelly and Dr. Iryna Kovalchuk, "Curriculum Change in a Time of War: Russian Literature and Ukranian Education"

On 13 June 2022, in response to the February invasion by Russia and the ongoing war, the Ministry for Education and Science of Ukraine declared that literary works by Russian authors would be withdrawn from the Foreign Literature syllabus for secondary school students across Ukraine. In this paper, Adam Kelly and Iryna Kovalchuk will contextualise this decision by offering a history of Ukrainian literary education since the late Soviet period. They will argue that the transition from teaching majority Russian-language literary texts to majority Ukrainian-language literary texts in schools was an important aspect in the development of national identity in independent Ukraine. This educational change was an uneven process, however, and the paper will trace its fluctuations in response to institutional and political developments across the three decades since 1991.

Speaker bio: Adam Kelly is an associate professor of English at UCD, and PI on the IRC Laureate project "Imaginative Literature and Social Trust, 1990-2025" (TRUST).

Iryna Kovalchuk is an assistant professor of English Philology and Intercultural Communication at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. Her work at UCD on the TRUST project is funded through the IRC Ukrainian Researchers Scheme.

15 November (Zoom)

Dr. Chenshu Zhou, "Open-air Cinema as Cinema Off Screen"

In this talk, I will introduce main arguments from my recent book Cinema Off Screen: Moviegoing in Socialist China (UC Press, 2021). Building on archival research and interviews with moviegoers, Cinema Off Screen is the first English monograph that examines film exhibition in China from the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949 to the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s. Through an analysis of both institutional operations and audiences’ lived experiences, I argue for the need to consider the mediation of non-filmic exhibition interfaces – elements of film exhibition that are not the film being shown such as the screening space, technological artefacts, and the human body. One screening paradigm that is particularly revealing of the “cinema off screen” was rural open-air cinema. This talk will zoom in on two exhibition interfaces – the rural projectionist’s labor and the open-air atmosphere – which demonstrate the limitations of any approach to cinematic experiences that centers on the film as the sole object of attention.  

Speaker bio: Chenshu Zhou is an Assistant Professor of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford University. Her research centers on media experiences in modern and contemporary China. She is the author of Cinema Off Screen: Moviegoing in Socialist China (University of California Press, 2021), which received the 2022 Best First Book Award from the Society of Cinema and Media Studies. Her current book project investigates the relationship between media consumption and temporality against China’s transition from socialism to neoliberal authoritarianism.

22 November (Zoom)

Dr. Laliv Melamed, "Sovereign Intimacy: Private Media and the Traces of Colonial Violence"

In the early 1990s, Israeli television began dedicating Memorial Day airtime to videos produced by the grieving families of soldiers killed in the line of duty. When these videos first appeared during a period of growing Israeli discontent with the occupation of southern Lebanon, they were widely perceived as a challenge to the state, reclaiming the dead from Israel’s militaristic memory culture by resituating them in intimate domestic contexts via mediated commemorations.

By tracing an emerging private media system of freelance filmmaking, privatized television, state institutes of care, and grassroots campaigns, I reveal how these videos nevertheless evade a fundamental critique of Israeli militarism, which is instead invited into the familiar space of the home. These intimate connections of memory and media exploit bonds of kinship and reshape larger relationships between the state and its citizens, enabling a collective disavowal of colonial violence. Private memories and their media are then weaponized at the service of the neoliberal settler state.

Speaker bio: Laliv Melamed is an assistant professor of film studies at the University of Groningen. She writes on sentimental politics, governance, and media and specializes in nonfiction media and documentary. Melamed is the author of Sovereign Intimacy: Private Media and the Traces of Colonial Violence (University of California Press, 2023). Her other writings appeared in the Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, Discourse, American Anthropologist Review, New Cinemas, Millennium Film Journal, and many short-form essays. Currently, she is working on a book on military optics and aspects of state secrecy, titled Optics of Opacity: The Cultural Imaginaries of Operative Images. In addition to her academic career, Melamed is a film programmer. She works for the Docaviv Film Festival and has curated programs for The Left Wing film club and Oberhausen Film Festival.