Online lecture tasters
As the pandemic has prevented us from holding many of our usual Offer-holder Days, we hope the videos will give you a “feel” for some of our staff, to compensate for the absence of taster classes.
Each video is accompanied by questions for independent study.
In the videos below, academic staff in the School of Modern Languages at Bristol explore how languages, texts, monuments and objects can reveal real insights into communities and nations which would otherwise remain hidden.
Studying Modern Languages at university means studying societies through the languages they speak and the cultural artefacts they create and hold dear. Languages are not neutral. They shape the way we think and feel. By learning the language a community speaks and the way it transmits its values through its culture, we gain access to its subjective worldview and can participate in its internal debates. This not only broadens our horizons, but also gives us a greater awareness of who we are. And as we do so, we also develop a range of transferable skills such as intercultural understanding, analytical and critical thinking, clarity and self-confidence in communication, an aptitude for collaborative work, adaptability, and creativity.
We hope you enjoy the mini lectures and look forward to working with you if you decide to join the University of Bristol.
‘Belly dancing to the Marseillaise’ with Dr. Siobhán Shilton
In this video, you will watch a performance developed by the French contemporary artist Zoulikha Bouabdellah. Siobhán will then talk about how video art can explore questions related to Franco-Arabic cultural identity. Watch the full video 'Dansons' by Zoulikha Bouabdellah here.
We live in an intensely visual world and are surrounded by images every day. Despite this, it is not always easy to grasp them and understand their messages. What are the ideas behind them? What kind of impact do they trigger? How and why do images and video art challenge cultural stereotypes?
‘The Berlin Holocaust Memorial’ with Dr. Debbie Pinfold
In this video, Debbie speaks about the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, also known as the Holocaust Memorial. Unveiled in May 2005, it was the first central memorial to Jewish victims of the Holocaust in a still recently reunited Germany.
‘The Bronze Horseman’ with Dr. Connor Doak
In this video, Connor speaks about The Bronze Horseman, a statue of Peter the Great in St. Petersburg. Peter the Great is one of the most divisive figures in Russian history. Some consider him a great reformer who dragged a backward Russia into modernity, whereas others consider him an enemy whose merciless quest for modernisation destroyed the uniqueness of Russian civilisation.
After watching the video, think of another divisive leader in history, perhaps someone from your own culture or a country you have studied. Consider their importance and why have they sparked so much debate. When did they rule? What were their most important actions? Why is the leader lauded by some and condemned by others?
‘Dante’s Inferno’ with Dr. Tristan Kay
In this video, Tristan speaks about ‘Inferno’ (Italian for Hell), which is the first part of Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy. This is the most famous literary work of the Christian Middle Ages. It tells the story of a man, Dante, who has found himself lost in his journey through life. He embarks upon a journey, willed by God, through the three realms of the Christian afterlife: Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise.
'They shall not pass!’ with Dr. Sally-Ann Kitts
In this video, Sally-Ann will talk about the origins of the slogan “¡No pasarán!” (“They shall not pass!”) and its use by Dolores Ibárruri during the Spanish Civil War. Today it has become a universal slogan of resistance against oppression of all types.