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OCCT Discussion Group - Hilary 2018
In Hilary Term 2018, the OCCT Discussion Group was again structured as an experiment in comparative reading out of context. It was a fantastic opportunity for graduate students and researchers working on comparative projects to get a fresh perspective on the texts they study by getting other participants to respond to selected passages without the usual background (biographical information, historical context, etc.) that covertly informs our reading.
At the beginning of each session, we exposed participants to two short excerpts from literary texts that were in some way comparable; however, no details surrounding the texts were disclosed (authors, titles, time periods, original languages, etc.). We then got some first reactions from an invited guest, a faculty member involved with OCCT, before opening the floor for discussion. Halfway through each session, the presenters revealed the identity of the authors and provided further background about the abstracts in question. For the remainder of each session, we continued the discussion by gradually moving to broader theoretical issues raised by the juxtaposition of the two texts and our reactions to them.
We met at lunchtime on Mondays of even weeks at St Anne’s College. Our presenters this term were Sarah Ekdawi, a research fellow in Modern Greek at Oxford, Lotta Schneidemesser, a PhD student in Postcolonial Literature at York, Mariachiara Leteo, a DPhil student in English at Oxford, and Nanor Kebranian, a postdoctoral researcher in Ottoman History at QMUL. Our faculty guests were Graham Riach, Lecturer in World Literature at the English Faculty, Philip Ross Bullock, Professor of Russian Literature and Music and Director of TORCH, and Adriana X. Jacobs, Associate Professor of Modern Hebrew Literature and a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies.