When: Thursdays at 6.30pm
Where: Seminar Room A, Ground Floor, Warmington Tower
Spring Term 2016
Organisers: Megha Agarwal, Dominic Jaeckle, Jackie Rattray
|14 Jan||Screening of Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s film, Innocence (2004)|
|21 Jan||Discussion, led by Prof Josh Cohen and PhD candidate Beth Guilding, on Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s film, Innocence.|
|28 Jan||Josh McLoughlin, 'Flat Affect and/as Deconstruction: Berlant, Derrida & the Cinematic Life of the Body’|
|4 Feb||Dr Rod Rosenquist (University of Northampton), 'Mapping Cultural Value: Modernist Memoir, Place and the Public’|
Annie Fatet, 'All clay has memory, notes towards a catalogue';
Shrine Shah, 'Queer spaces, transgressive identities: Gothic Queerness in Jekyll and Hyde and Buffalo Bill’
|18 Feb||No seminar|
Jaya Madhvani (SOAS), 'The Inherent Complexities in Reading Multiculturalism in the Work of Hanif Kureishi: Context, Reception and Post-Ethnicity';
Lucia Llano Puertas, 'No comparison? The Holocaust and African slavery in the Caribbean'
|3 Mar||Dr. Benjamin Pickford (University of Nottingham), 'Ralph Waldo Emerson's Political Economy of Plagiarism'|
|10 Mar||Lizzie Thynne (Reader in Film, University of Sussex), 'Portrait of the Artists: Filming the Life of Claude Cahun and her partner, Marcel Moore’|
|17 Mar||Sean Seeger, ‘The Cultural Logic of Postcapitalism: A Few Preliminary Observations’|
Autumn Term 2015
Organisers: Angela Carlton, Megha Agarwal, Isobel Hurst
|8 Oct||Welcome party, featuring readings by creative writers from Goldsmiths: Amanda Can Liling, Jeremy Worman, Maria Farell, Janice Warman and Maria Thomas.|
|15 Oct||No seminar – you are invited to attend the launch of the Centre for Caribbean and Diaspora Studies and Professor Joan Anim-Addo’s inaugural lecture, ‘Groundings: Visionaries, Books, Bridges and Feeling the Rain’ (Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre, 6.30pm).|
|22 Oct||GLITS seminar on undergraduate dissertations.|
||Two twenty-minute papers by Sophie Corser and Megha Agarwal, PhD students in the English and Comparative Literature Department at Goldsmiths, pertaining to the theme of 'Rewriting(s)'. Sophie's paper is entitled 'Ovid's English Voice: Rewriting "Narcissus and Echo"', and Megha's is called 'Dissent and Descent: Literary Guidance and Transgression in Dante's Inferno and Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness'.|
|5 Nov||No Seminar|
|12 Nov||Launch party for Dr Sarah Barnsley's poetry pamphlet, The Fire Station.|
|19 Nov||Two twenty-minute papers on different aspects of translation:
Nadia Georgiou, PhD student at the Centre for Translation Studies, the University of Surrey, whose paper is entitled 'Translators and Poet/Translators: The people (re)writing the poetry'
Laura Tenschert, PhD student in the ECL department at Goldsmiths, whose research focuses on translation, Walter Benjamin, and the paradoxical difficulty in translating 'The Task of the Translator'.
|26 Nov||Beth Guilding, PhD student in the ECL department at Goldsmiths, 'In View of a Truth: Silence, Secrecy and the Child in Blanchot's Primal Scene'.|
|3 Dec||Carmen Wright, MA, Goldsmiths, 'Transgressing the "Subject": The Reflexive Concept of Transgression and the Interrogation of Subjection in Jean Genet and Kathy Acker'.|
|10 Dec||Guest speaker: Dr Richard Godden (University of California, Irvine), a renowned scholar of twentieth-century American Literature. His specialisations include the relation between economic and literary form.|
Escaping the male gaze: Self-exposure as Revolutionary Act in Maggie Nelson and Chris Krauss
Laura Mulvey’s canonical 1975 essay ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ explicates the way in which cinema contributes to the devaluation of women through its inherent pleasure in voyeurism on the part of its cast and audience. This voyeurism necessitates the split of representation of men as active instigators of narrative and women as passive recipients of the male gaze. The language of cinema, Mulvey argues, is thusly coded to ensure the valuation of the female exclusively in terms of her, to use Mulvey’s term, ‘to-be-looked-at-ness’. This representation of men as autonomous participants in the public sphere and women as passive observers extends beyond the realm of film. The increasing inclusion of autobiography in contemporary female literature – from the novels of Eileen Myles and Chris Kraus to the personal writing of Melissa Broder and Maggie Nelson and the internet poetry of Mira Gonzalez and Megan Boyle - represents an attempt to realise the ‘personal as political’ as well as the personal as literary. My paper will address the ways in which Maggie Nelson and Chris Kraus in particular transcend generic convention and incorporate elements of autobiography alongside those of criticism, non-fiction and – in the case of Kraus – fiction. I will argue that where in the past women’s inclusion of their personal lives in their art has been confined to a confessional narrative, Kraus and Nelson turn Mulvey’s ‘act of looking’ inside out as they channel their subjectivity through experimental forms and thusly look to more accurately represent the experience of being a woman in the world. This generic subversion represents an attempt to kick back against a culture in which as Jane Tompkins posits, ‘public language – the language of objectivity/authority/academia is privileged over private language of journals/emotion/arts.’ Despite emerging from a rich history of feminist thought and theory, these authors have thus far been neglected by mainstream academic discourse, an oversight that my paper intends to correct through an explication and celebration of their vital role in the ongoing project of female empowerment through art.
Olivia Griffiths is a recent MA graduate from Goldsmiths, University of London where she studied English and Modern Literature, completing my final dissertation on contemporary female confession in the work of Jenny Offill, Maggie Nelson and Chris Kraus titled ‘The Dumb Cunt’s Tale’.
Leo Robson - Revising the Visual: Mulvey's Evolving Spectator
In "Repetition and Return," her essay on Sirk criticism in the twenty-first century, presented at the Style and Meaning Conference at Reading in 2000 and later collected in the Gibbs and Pye volume, Style and Meaning: Studies in the Detailed Analysis of Film (Manchester, 2005), Laura Mulvey recalls that when she replaced V F Perkins as a lecturer in film and drama at Bulmershe College in the late 1970s, she had use of a 35mm Prevost and 16mm Steenbeck. Prior to this, she had been watching films under ordinary viewing conditions–a period that included the writing of "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema". In this paper I will trace the development of Mulvey's theory of film spectatorship from the original "Visual Pleasure" essay via the 1989 introduction to Visual and Other Pleasures to the thinking on display in the Sirk paper and culminating in Death 24 x a Second and the 2009 return to Visual and Other Pleasures. I shall do so with reference to viewing conditions (cinema projection, editing bed, digital technology) and by brief analogy with V F Perkins's own developing portrait of the passivity or otherwise of the film spectator. I aim to situate theories that exist on the borders of politics and psychology against the backdrop of British film studies and within the broader context of post-auteurist debate on Hollywood cinema.
Leo Robson is a freelance critic writing regularly on literature, film, and art. He is a contributor to the New Statesman, and has served as lead fiction critic since 2009; a film critic for the TLS; and his work has appeared in the New Yorker, along with other publications. Robson was a runner up in the 2015 National Book Critics' Circle Awards' Nona Balakian prize for excellence in reviewing.
Azmina Abdulla - No Woman’s Land: Jane B. par Agnès V. (1988)
In her seminal text ‘Visual Pleasure in Narrative Cinema’ (1975), Laura Mulvey argues that film language is dictated by a male-controlled system and only serves to perpetuate a type of patriarchal language that facilitates male visual pleasure. As a result, female spectators have no access to it other than through the male gaze that consistently objectifies the female spectator's onscreen counterpart. Mulvey further argues that women will be able to find true pleasure from films only by inventing a new type of film language that is not driven by narrative structures. In Jane B. par Agnès V. (1988), Agnès Varda presents an imaginary bio-pic of famed actress, singer and fashion icon Jane Birkin. As mentioned in the film, Birkin’s identity has been largely constructed by the male figures in her life and each of their appropriations of her identity. As a response, Varda abandons the traditional bio-pic format in favour of a freewheeling mix of seductive and unexpected fantasy sequences instead. Set against present-day Birkin, the film taps from Renaissance paintings, 1920s comedy classics, the nineteenth century icons, and ancient Greece to photographs from Birkin’s starlet days in the 1960s, a part of her personal past. As a result, Birkin plays an intriguingly double role, in that these photographs are almost as universally recognisable as the aforementioned ‘mythical’ figures she plays as well. Through those juxtapositions, Jane B. par Agnès V. subverts the traditional narrative film model and stands out as being much closer to the essay format, a hybrid set of vignettes, spread on a known face, ultimately challenging the traditional understanding and representation of the subject which in this case is Birkin. Through a careful analysis of the film’s language and drawing on Laura Mulvey’s theory, this paper will test the extent to which Jane B. par Agnès V. has been successful in reframing Birkin’s collective identity and reclaiming her personal identity from a pre-established male construction.
Azmina Abdulla is currently studying the MA Film Programming and Curating at Birkbeck University. In 2015, she obtained her BA in History of Art with Material Studies from UCL, as well as a Certificate in Film Preservation from the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation, George Eastman Museum, in Rochester, NY.