Department of European Languages and Cultures

DELC Research Seminar Series: Mediating Voices

In brief

Speakers - Dr Isabel Seguí (Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies , University of Edinburgh) and Dr Katie Pleming (French, University of Edinburgh)

Title - Mediating voices

Series Theme - Decolonising Minds and Methods

Welcome: Professor Federica G. Pedriali (Director of Research, DELC, University of Edinburgh)

Respondents: Dr Nini Fang (University of Edinburgh) and Dr Jasemine Cooper (University of Cambridge)

Roundtable: Zihan Zhou, Weiyi Yan and Yi Wu (graduate students, DELC, University of Edinburgh) and Gustavo Herrera Taboada (Spanish Tutor and PhD student, Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, University of Edinburgh),

Event Moderator: Federica G. Pedriali (Italian, University of Edinburgh)

Attend the seminar on Microsoft Teams

Mediating voices

In this session, we highlight two key approaches to decolonising Film Studies. In both cases, we look at the ways in which filmmakers draw on testimonial archives and oral histories, focusing on the voice and exploiting the aural aspects of cinema, in order to tell the stories of marginalised subjectivities. 

The mediation of the voice of Indigenous populations by allied white middle-class filmmakers has been a controversial issue historically. Nowadays, despite a certain democratisation of the means of cinematic production and distribution, other types of mediation, remediation and gatekeeping, including academic, are still in place.

Isabel Seguí will look at the mediation of the voices of subalternised subjects in Latin American cinema using a range of methodologies (oral history, personal archive, textual analysis…) and approaches (feminist, decolonial, anti-auteurist….) in order to problematise interclass alliances in cinematic processes and practices and their textual results.  

In addition to critically examining the mediation of Black and Indigenous voices by white filmmakers, another priority of decolonial approaches to Film Studies is to recentre scholarly discussions around films (as well as theory and philosophy) by people of colour. 

Katie Pleming focus will be on Mati Diop’s short film Atlantiques (2009). The film reflects on the stories of young men from Senegal and their migration to Europe, and on those who are left behind to reckon with the tragedies which befall them on their journeys.

Diop uses sound to draw us into the ethical world of the film, engaging the spectator in a practice of listening which encompasses the linguistic and the sonic, as the film moves from the fraught registering of testimony to the sensual, sonic world of the film’s setting. At the same time, Diop reflects on her own dual heritage and interweaves historical contexts through her use of voiceover and archival material.

Just as voices are layered, so are different registers of film language: Diop blends documentary with experimental film form, and moves between the urgency of testimony and sequences of mute emotion.

As such, through sound, via voice, silence, and noise, Diop invites us to attend to these layers of existence, immersing us in an encounter with the lives and afterlives of these young migrant men and their communities. 

About the speakers

Dr Isabel Seguí is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies at the Department of European Languages and Cultures (University of Edinburgh).

Dr Katie Pleming is an Early Career Teaching and Research Fellow in French and Francophone Studies at the Department of European Languages and Cultures (University of Edinburgh).

Dr Jasmine Cooper is Director of Studies at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and Bye Fellow at Downing College, Cambridge, in Modern & Medieval Languages. She teaches 20th and 21st century literature and thought and specialises in Contemporary French Women’s Writing, with a particular interest in intersectional feminisms, queer theory and critical race theory.

Jasmine’s doctoral project examined narratives of non-motherhood in contemporary French women’s writing. She is interested in how non-maternal and non-traditional forms of care, community and relationality are often devalued and subordinated to motherhood, which remains the ethical model of care par excellence. 

In her new project, Jasmine explores expressions of rage by Francophone women of colour authors and filmmakers in contemporary France. She works on authors and filmmakers such as Amandine Gay, Mame-Fatou Niang, Leïla Slimani, Alice Zeniter, Fatou Diome and Faïza Guène.

Browse speaker and respondent profiles

Dr Isabel Seguí (University of Edinburgh)

Dr Katie Pleming (University of Edinburgh)

Professor Federica G. Pedriali (University of Edinburgh)

Dr Nini Fang (University of Edinburgh)

About the seminar series

The DELC Research Seminar Series (DRSS) encourages collaboration and coproduction between staff and students across European Languages and Cultures and beyond.

Each series is designed on a transversal exploration of a common theme bringing together participants as teamed guest speakers, respondents, workshop and roundtable leaders, Q&A moderators, and event organisers. 

The theme we have chosen for this year's Series is Decolonising Minds and Methods. We wanted to celebrate the colleagues who have recently joined us by inviting them to be our series leaders and help us shape the reflection on the challenges and opportunities that come with a radical rethinking of the ways we operate as educators and learners.

Entry is free and no booking is required. Everyone is welcome.

Are you interested in studying European Languages and Cultures?

Our interdisciplinary environment brings together specialists in nine European languages, and the many cultures worldwide in which they're spoken, with experts in film, literature, theatre, translation and intermediality. Working with colleagues elsewhere in LLC, and across the wider University, we are able to support research which crosses boundaries between disciplines and/or languages.

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Mar 17 2022 -

DELC Research Seminar Series: Mediating Voices

Join us on Teams for the third event in our DRSS seminar series on Decolonising Minds and Methods. This seminar's theme is 'mediating voices' and will feature two guest speakers, Dr Isabel Seguí (University of Edinburgh) and Dr Katie Pleming (University of Edinburgh), who will highlight two key approaches to decolonising Film Studies.

Online on Microsoft Teams