Category Archives: online education

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!

 

 

 

 

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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

 

New articles on Zobel

 

This project has now been running for two years.

In addition to regularly updating the blog, I’ve appeared on TV, radio and in the UK and French Caribbean press, to report on my progress and most recent findings.

I’m currently preparing my book on Zobel – scholarly books or ‘monographs’ (a scholarly book written by one author, rather than a team of authors) require several years of research, and it’s exciting to now be at the stage where the manuscript is taking shape.

In the meantime, two other shorter pieces of my research have just been published. These were commissioned by The Literary Encyclopedia, an online resource which provides up-to-date 2500-word profiles of literary authors, works and topics. Here’s how it describes iteslf online:

“The Literary Encyclopedia is a constantly evolving and updating repository of authoritative reference work about literary and cultural history. All our articles are solicited by invitation from specialist scholars in higher education institutions all over the world, refereed and approved by subject editors in our Editorial Board. The LE is thus uniquely selective, reliable and authoritative. Its online format allows for rapid publication and frequent updating of articles; its integrated digital resources (author life-chronologies, customisable timelines, thematic or course-oriented bookshelves, related article clusters, critical bibliographies) respond dynamically to teaching and learning demands.” (source: https://www.litencyc.com/litencycdescribed.php)

I hope that these two articles will be of help to students and scholars, and anyone else with a keen interest in Zobel!

2016 Louise Hardwick, ‘Joseph Zobel’, The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 4.1.2: Francophone Writing and Culture of Central America and the Caribbean. First published 06 June 2016

2016 Louise Hardwick, La Rue Cases-Nègres, The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 4.1.2: Francophone Writing and Culture of Central America and the Caribbean. First published 06 June 2016

 

Joyeux anniversaire Joseph Zobel!

Today would have been Joseph Zobel’s 101th birthday! Thanks for stopping by to learn more about his work and legacy. For a quick introduction, you might enjoy the pages on Martinique’s history and the media links page.

Hard to believe it’s one whole year since we celebrated the centenary in Martinique! Below is a photo of me with some of the fantastic team that made it all happen. Bonjour aux Saleens! Hello to Riviere-Salee!

Today I’m in sunny Cardiff to give an invited seminar paper about Zobel’s  work.

The paper was part of a panel of talks which compared black consciousness movements across Francophone and Lusophone contexts in Africa and the Americas.

I’ve been tweeting about events @zobelproject and will add more once I’m back in my office!me and centre cult

 

New page launched: media links

I’ve been spring cleaning the blog, and have now created a new page: 08 Media links.

This page draws together my media work over the past few years.

I have been invited to discuss my work for the British, French and Caribbean media, in English and French, and you will find links to video and newspaper articles here, as well as links to other media material.

If you use these materials as teaching resources, or would like to discuss how this might be possible, please do get in touch

Don’t forget the project’s Twitter account: https://twitter.com/zobelproject

Article in British press

A quick update, as I’m busy writing and redrafting some chapters on Zobel…

The launch of the Centre for Postcolonial Studies has been covered in an article in the British press, in the Times Higher Education.

You can read the article here: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/research-intelligence/post-colonial-studies-time-step-out-comfort-zone

Modern Languages research projects, all of which are giving rise to some really interesting public engagement work (with publics all over the world), were well represented on the day.

The Latin-American focused Quipu project, which had been previously covered in THE, received a helpful mention, and the overall article is an engaging account of a very thought-provoking event.

I’ll be discussing the article next week at a postgraduate Reading Group, known affectionately as the “Poco Reading Group”, and am looking forward to hearing what the postgraduates make of it… !

MLA at Austin, Texas

Happy New Year!

The Zobel project is on the move once again. I’m in Texas to present a research paper at the major research conference in my field, the Modern Language Association of America annual convention.

Thousands will attend this conference, which is held this year in Austin, Texas.

I’ll be speaking in a special panel on Caribbean Women, which will present four Francophone Caribbean case-studies. My fellow panellists and I will be exploring the role of women as novelists and cultural figures, as well as the representation of women in Francophone Caribbean literature and culture.

My own paper is entitled “Zobel’s Women” and I’ll argue that the depiction of women characters in Zobel’s literature is far more complex and interesting than has previously been acknowledged.

The MLA will be the biggest conference I have ever attended. Thousands register for it every year!

To prepare for it, I’ve been reading this Guest Blog by Natalie M. Houston, which is a great “Survival Guide” to academic conferences in general, and the MLA specifically! You might enjoy it too:

https://convention.commons.mla.org/guest-post/surviving-and-thriving-at-the-mla-convention?shareadraft=baba335_5682f9fa5936e

 

 

 

 

World War 1 and Caribbean

To mark 11th November, I blogged about the connections between French Caribbean author Joseph Zobel, from the island of Martinique, and WW1.

Today, I’ve updated my WW1 page (see pages, above, or click here) with information about a new online resource launched in the UK.

The Caribbean’s Great War is a Heritage Lottery funded project to highlight the involvement of the Caribbean and her people in the First World War. The West India Committee was the heart of the Caribbean’s war effort in Britain and in 1915 established the West Indian Contingent Committee in response to the British Government’s decision to raise a West Indian army. The records held by the Committee provide a rare insight into the Caribbean’s role in the First World War, and much of what is now available has not been seen for a century.

It is a great tool for exploring more about the Caribbean’s involvement in WW1. The focus is mainly Anglophone, so it provides an important comparative perspective.

See: http://westindiacommittee.org/caribbeansgreatwar/