Our PhD Students

Martina Codicè - PhD in Italian Studies

My PhD thesis explores the ways in which contemporary literary fiction challenges and subverts neoliberal ideology and its social effects on leisure, work and landscape.










Gareth White - PhD in Italian Studies

My research focuses on the collective imagery of Italian immigrants in America during the American Gilded Age (1870s – 1900) and Progressive Era (1890s – 1920s). It aims to analyse the construction and persistence of a complex system of collective representations surrounding the Italian immigration phenomenon by engaging with external images (how American society depicted the Italian diasporic communities) and self-representations (how the Italian immigrants saw themselves). My project aims to answer the following questions:

 - Which historical, social and cultural factors contributed to the co-existence of different Italies within the collective imago-migrationis of the Italian Great Migration?

 - Why, despite the evident differentiation made by both American authorities and civil society between Northern and Southern Italians, the collective imagery around Italian immigration mainly consolidated around the images of the Italian South?

- How have American and Italian social scientists, journalists, politicians, immigration officials and others reworked and redeployed stereotypes and discourses of Italianicity when writing about Italian immigrants?

In order to answer these questions, my PhD engages with a qualitative analysis of historical and cultural documents, such as letters written by immigrants from America to Italy, as well as newspaper articles produced both by American and by Italian journalists in America. My work adopts an interdisciplinary approach that combines insights of historical approaches to Italian Great Migration with recent cultural studies approaches regarding the representation of Italian immigrants in America (Vecoli, 2005; Serra, 2009; Luconi, 2010). 









Stefanie Kreibich - PhD in German Studies

The representation of everyday life in former East Germany in contemporary German films and museums

My research explores how memory of everyday life in the former GDR has evolved since the mid-1990s. Black-and-white narratives that fostered the dichotomy of Stasi terror and apolitical everyday life in the early post-Wende years are gradually disappearing from the discourse on how to remember East Germany. Instead, recent depictions of the Eastern quotidian in museums and films present a more normalised image of the socialist past.

By looking at a range of both state and privately run museums as well as cinema and TV productions, I argue that more balanced and diversified narratives shape cultural memory of the GDR in the present-day Berlin Republic. As it largely leaves behind the romanticised reminiscence of Ostalgie, I call this recent in visual media post-ostalgia in order to emphasise its potential to usher in a new era of remembering the GDR.


Lorena López-López - PhD in Galician studies

Women’s Writing in Galicia and the Literary Canon

My research looks at the relationship between the trajectories of four contemporary women writers (Margarita Ledo Andión, Patricia Janeiro, Cris Pavón, Teresa Moure) and processes of literary canon formation in Galicia. In particular, my thesis focuses on how questions related to literary aesthetics, genre, national discourses, gender, authorial voice and language standard engage dynamically with these authors’ patchy incorporation into the Galician literary canon, placing particular emphasis on the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion that have affected this process. In the context of the recent upsurge of interest in female narrative authors in Galicia from the year 2000 onwards, my research draws attention to the margins still generated by the increasing modes of canonical visibility granted to their work.

My approach is based on the premise that exploring how these authors’ work engages with the peripheries of the Galician literary canon (via their engagement with experimental literary aesthetics, their critique of traditional nationalist masculinities, their use of the non-official Galician written standard and their exploration of translation as a space for the development of their authorial voice) can help to illuminate the criteria that still influence processes of literary canon formation in Galicia, and how the work of certain female authors has continued to remain in its margins.

Judit Vari - PhD in Linguistics: Minority languages

Attitudes towards Low Register as an Indicator for Minority Language Vitality

I am exploring the question of how attitudes towards minority languages in general, but also specifically towards a minority language in a certain register, can help us to identify distinct milestones in the continuum of language shift. The goal is to find a more refined measurement between language vitality and language death by collecting mainly quantitative data from Germanic minority language communities.

Further implications of my research could be to identify attitudes towards low register as crucial for the field of Reverse Language Shift. Implications for cultural sciences can be found in the societal and cultural discourses that produce attitudes towards languages and in the realisation of different registers in the corpus building of a minority language through books, films and other cultural manifestations.






Jinquan Yu

Dylan Thomas in Chinese Translation: A Sociological Analysis

My PhD project focuses on exploring the Chinese translation of Dylan Thomas’s works from the sociological perspective. Methodologically, I take a macro-micro approach, combining macro-level sociological analysis with micro-level textual analysis. By drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s core concepts of field, capital and habitus, my thesis aims to map out the reception of Dylan Thomas’s works in the Chinese critical field, reveal the influence of the capital of translators, publishers and the author on the circulation and reception of Dylan Thomas’s works in China, as well as explore the implications of habitus for understanding the textual agency of translators, with the Chinese translation of Dylan Thomas’s poetry by Hai An and Wu Fusheng as two illustrative case studies.

Research Field: sociology of translation, Dylan Thomas, poetry translation, translator’s agency

Research Activities:Jinquan Yu presented a paper entitled “Dylan Thomas in Chinese: Approaching Habitus and Textual Agency in Two Translators of Dylan Thomas’s Poetry” in the “2nd Postgraduate Translation and Interpreting Conference: Power, Ideology and Beyond” on 22nd, June 2017 in Leeds University. Professor Myriam Salama-Carr from Manchester University and Professor Jeremy Munday from Leeds University were the keynote speakers, who discussed the current research and trend of the ideology in translation. The conference ended with a roundtable discussion, which provided researchers with insights into the current trends of translation studies.


Christina Les - PhD Modern Languages

Welsh settings in 20th- and 21st-century European fiction

My research is part of the AHRC-funded project European Travellers to Wales, exploring written accounts of Wales by European visitors within the period 1750-2010. Over 400 texts in various European languages have been identified, many of which were ‘hidden’ in writing about tours in England, forming a corpus of new resources for studying Wales and Wales-related travel writing.

My thesis investigates literary conceptions of Wales in Europe, focusing on Welsh settings in 20th- and 21st-century fiction. Interestingly, the chosen texts (from Germany, Hungary and the Netherlands) all engage more with Welsh space than with its language, culture and people. Using spatial theories I will explore the notion that Wales’s physical presence makes it a uniquely malleable setting for these European authors: here, on the very edge of Europe, they can create a private and otherworldly universe in which almost anything can happen.

Chunli Shen

On Reception of Yan Lianke’s Works in English Translation

My research is investigating the representation of Yan Lianke’s works in the UK. Pierre Bourdieu’s sociological theory is applied to sketch the dynamic field of representations of Chinese fiction in the UK at different periods with different translation agents. Locating within this field, the reception of Yan Lianke’s works in English translation is specifically explored. Concepts of field, capital and habitus are utalized to investigate the stratified positions of agents, the capitals at stake, the power relations between agents, the motivations of agents and the restrictive socio-political factors implicate in their selections and translations, and the mediation role of agents in representing and circulating image of Yan’s works.   

Research Field: sociology of translation, literary translation, translation and power, international translation exchange