Thoughts on my new book – Joseph Zobel: Négritude & the Novel

I’m delighted to dip back into this blog today, as my book is published and out with Liverpool University Press! Here it is:

book cover online

 

The book is the fruit of:

  •  many years of research in archives across the world
  • several talks, conference papers and seminar presentations in Europe, the Caribbean and the USA
  • many, many hours typing away at my desk!

I met a great number of inspirational people along the way who are very passionate about Zobel and his literature. Many of them can be found across the pages of this blog! I’m also hugely grateful to the Zobel family for allowing me to use the fantastic image of Joseph on the cover.

As my book finds its way out into the wider world, I am looking forward to seeing how the fresh perspectives that I offer on this canonical author will lead to new debates and discussions about Zobel and the Négritude movement…

You can read the official write-up on the Liverpool University Press publisher’s page here.

The publication has also given me a great reason to log back in to the blog!

Right now, I’m mainly concentrating on other projects, as I explained in my previous post. But I’ll continue to update things here every now and again.

Bonne lecture!

 

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Summer-Autumn round-up

Last year, I wrote a post about What academics do over the summer ‘holidays’

Although the Undergraduate students leave around July and return in late September, everything else – research and administration – carries on as usual in their absence and is ramped up a notch!

beach towards diamant 01

This summer, alongside my usual PhD and M.Res student supervisions, my main task was to finalise my book on Joseph Zobel, which is forthcoming with Liverpool University Press.

Finishing a book is a long, painstaking process and involves many emails between the academic author, and the book series editor, proofreader, copyeditor and other members of the team who are typesetting the book.

As academics, we send off our revised book manuscript (after we’ve taken account of the anonymous reviewer feedback our publishers have organised) as a text document using a program such as Word. We then receive careful feedback from an in-house proofreader.

Once we’ve made necessary changes and returned the file, the next stage is always the most exciting: when the new file pings into the inbox as a PDF which has been ‘typeset’ – i.e. it now looks like a book rather than a very long double-spaced student essay!

At that stage, a few gremlins inevitably creep into the PDF, so it’s necessary to read through every page with care and send lists of corrections back to the editors for revisions to the typeset copy.

When that’s done, it’s time to index (which can take a week, involves an awful lot of pressing CTRL+F)!

I’m delighted that the book is now print-ready and should be out in early 2018.

The book is the outcome of several years of intense work – the project began back in 2012, when I began drafting my proposal for funding to the AHRC. The project has taken me to Martinique, Paris, Aix-en-Provence, Atlanta (Georgia) and Austin (Texas). I have also worked with partners and collaborators around Birmingham, the wider Midlands area and in London.

I’ll now be focusing on other projects, so there won’t be any more updates to the blog until my book is published…

If you’ve just found this website, thank you for dropping by, and please take a look at the extensive archives from the past three years, to see how the Zobel Project developed!

Merci!

 

 

 

 

Schools Collaboration: Teaching Zobel & Le monde francophone

In the last few months, Zobel Project has been focusing on a new phase of collaboration with local schools. It has been wonderful to work with local teachers to develop and trial  resources on “Zobel & le monde francophone”.

Here’s a write up of recent activites – you can also read this report on the University of Birmingham webpage.

Collaboration with University of Birmingham: the Zobel Project

Local French teachers are collaborating with researchers at the University of Birmingham to develop new teaching materials to inspire pupils to learn French, at school and beyond.  Modern Languages study is an exciting and strategic choice, as graduates enjoy excellent employment prospects, with 90% entering work or further study within 6 months of graduation.

The new teaching materials reposition French as an internationally significant language, offering pupils the chance to learn about French in North America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. To challenge pupils’ perceptions of French as a European language, the teaching materials develop a case study of a renowned French Caribbean author, Joseph Zobel.  1 teacher workshop Jun 17

Throughout 2017, French teachers throughout Birmingham have been providing feedback on Zobel Project teaching materials at meetings, workshops and networking events on campus. A group of local teachers have taken on leadership roles as Project Advisors: Clare Haley (University of Birmingham School, Selly Oak), Dennis Preware (George Salter Academy, West Bromwich), Amy Whetstone (King Edwards VI, Aston) and Raheem Zafar (Holte School, Lozells).

The teaching materials have been developed as part of a research project on Joseph Zobel led by Dr Louise Hardwick, Reader in Francophone Postcolonial Studies in the Department of Modern Languages. The research is UK Government funded through the Arts & Humanities Research Council, as part of the priority area ‘Translating Cultures’. To date, Zobel Project has involved communities in the Caribbean, France and UK, and activities are recorded on the project blog: www.josephzobel.wordpress.com

A CPD workshop held at the University of Birmingham campus in June 2017 (pictured) offered the Project Advisor teachers a guided demonstration of the materials from the research team. The teachers provided detailed, invaluable feedback, drawing on their own extensive experience of teaching French in Birmingham schools.2 teacher workshop Jun 17

The workshop led to lively discussions, with excellent feedback and practical suggestions about maximising the compatibility of the resources with the National Curriculum.

As part of this flagship collaboration with University of Birmingham French researchers, in the academic year 2017–2018, Zobel Project resources will be trialled in schools. The Project Advisor teachers will continue to play a leading role in trialling resources and gathering data. This important collaboration strengthens the connections between the University of Birmingham, the University of Birmingham School, and wider schools in the local community.

Find out more about the excellent employability prospects enjoyed by Modern Languages graduates in this University of Birmingham ‘Why Study Languages?’ video: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/lcahm/departments/languages/news/2016/excellent-employability.aspx

Find out more about Postgraduate study at UoB in Modern Languages

As Easter approaches, many people are considering undertaking postgraduate studies in the future, whether they are moving straight from Undergraduate studies or have had some time away from the University environment and are considering a return.

My PhD student Antonia Wimbush runs an online PG Open Day page, where she answers your questions about graduate study in the Modern Languages Department, and I wanted to make that fantastic initiative the main focus of today’s post.

Antonia’s page can be found here: http://pg.bham.ac.uk/mentor/antonia-wimbush/

She is currently in her third year, and is fully funded through the AHRC Midlands 3 Cities consortium, a doctoral training programme. Antonia is co-supervised between the University of Birmingham (where she is based for 80% of her time) and the University of Nottingham (20% of her time).

Last but not least, a photo which is a throwback to my fieldwork in Martinique over Easter 2015. Antonia accompanied me on my work with schools, libraries, local interest groups and in the archives. The image is of Sainte-Luce – however, our trip there was not in our itinerary at all…

At the end of our fieldwork, when we arrived at the airport to leave, as I checked in, I looked across to the next desk and saw Antonia was being told the flight was full and she had been bumped off it! Luckily, I was able to persuade them to take me off the flight, and to put us both on the next flight home, the following afternoon! So we had a few extra hours in the beautiful town of Sainte-Luce, which after the frenetic pace of the fieldwork offered a welcome chance to relax and appreciate Martinique’s natural beauty.

beach kids 01

 

Caribbean Cinema Guest Lecture

After months of planning and preparation, I am very excited to announce a Guest Lecture on Caribbean Cinema by Dr Jean Antoine-Dunne of the University of the West Indies on 7 March!

The lecture is called ‘Signposts to a Caribbean Film Aesthetic’.

This special guest lecture, in English, will explore Caribbean cinema across a range of languages (English, French, Spanish and Dutch). There is a close link to my current research on Joseph Zobel, as Zobel’s best-known novel was adapted into the award-winning film Sugar Cane Alley by Martinican director Euzhan Palcy.

Dr Jean Antoine-Dunne is an established international expert on Caribbean Cinema – her lecture promises to a unique opportunity, and full details are available here.

The event has been made possible through the generous support of the Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of London, with additional support from the University of Birmingham’s College of Arts and Law.