Meet our current postgraduate students in the School of Languages and Cultures, and find out the focus of their research projects.
On this page:
- Current PhD projects
- Current MA projects
- Recently completed PhD projects
- Recently completed MA projects
Fahim Afarinasadi (Literary Translation Studies)
Advancing Multi-Modal Cross-Cultural Translation: A Case Study in Localizing Football Club Websites
Fahim’s PhD will investigate the cross-cultural competency and translation quality of leading football clubs’ websites, adding to the existing literature on website localization, inter-cultural communication, multimodality, and translation quality assessment. The investigation will highlight the linguistic and cultural complexity that underscores website content that has been localized, as well as the set of intellectual and technical skills involved in this form of translation.
Based on the data emerging from different analytical phases of the research, he will generate a set of theoretical principles and practical guidelines that can help translation scholars and website localizers acquire a deeper understanding of the relevance of translation quality and cross-cultural competence. He will then apply these localization guidelines to a case study of his own, the translation of a local football teams’ website into Persian.
Supervisors: Marco Sonzogni
Luc Arnault (French)
Translating Contemporary New Zealand Poetry into French
Luc’s doctoral work will explore the translation process of a large corpus of texts – the works of two contemporary New Zealand/Aotearoa poets, Anna Jackson and Robert Sullivan. Luc has an MA (Victoria) in Literary Translation Studies on the translation of New Zealand poet James K. Baxter (2015). He has translated various academic articles – Dinda Gorlée, “De la traduction à la sémiotraduction”, in Signata. Annales des Sémiotiques (2016); Sandra Boehringer, “What is named by the name ‘Philaenis’? Gender, function and authority of an antonomastic figure”, Sex in Antiquity. Exploring Gender and Sexuality in the Ancient World (Routledge, 2015). His article “Traduire la poésie néo-zélandaise contemporaine en français. Vers une traduction polyphonique?” on the translation of James K. Baxter’s poetry is soon to be published in France (Classiques Garnier).
“My project will draw on creative material – my ‘experimental’ translations of poetry – to examine practical and theoretical aspects in translation studies. In my view, poetry translation questions the use of textual equivalence and faithfulness as ‘yardsticks’ to assess what is a good – or bad – translation. In my process, I resort instead to skopos theory and in particular Christiane Nord’s ethical concept of loyalty (Nord 1997) focusing on people rather than text. I also promote a heuristic approach based on creativity and balance, to transcend the classic distinction between “foreignizing” and “domesticating” methods (Venuti 2000)." - Luc Arnault
Eleonora Bello (Italian)
The Unconscious of the Asylum. Mental Illness and Psychiatric Institutions in Italian Literary Writings (1950-2000)
Eleonora’s project analyses the representation of the mental institution in a variety of contemporary literary works, illustrating how a combination of real, historical and metaphysical perception of mental hospitals has taken on the public debate on mental illness. She relies on two main theoretical frameworks, whose intersection is the focus of her thesis. The first consists of the extensive psychiatric, sociological and philosophical studies, which led to the spreading of the anti-psychiatric movement in the XX Century; the second draws from theories of literary genres, starting from the broadest distinction between narrative, poetry and theatre.
Francesca Benocci (Literary Translation Studies)
An Annotated Anthology of New Zealand Women Poets in Italian Translation
Francesca Benocci’s PhD is centred on producing an annotated anthology of contemporary Aotearoa/New Zealand women poets in Italian translation. Two parts frame a significant body of translated poetry.
In the first (introduction), she explores the history and literature of Aotearoa/New Zealand) in order to provide a comprehensive cultural background to the poets selected to represent the country’s multi-ethnic and multilingual society: Māori, Pākehā, Pasifika and Asian.
In the second (commentary), she examines contemporary theories of literary translation in order to identify which strategies and techniques are more suitable to safeguard the ethics and aesthetic specificities of these poets.
Johannes Contag (Literary Translation Studies)
An annotated retranslation of the stories of Heinrich von Kleis
Xueying Deng (Chinese)
Cultural Memory of Shanghai: Novels by Wagn Anyi and Cheng Naishan
Dana Guisasola (Spanish and Latin American Studies)
Juan Marsé: Broadening the Definition of the Catalan Nation
Dana‘s research project analyses the representation of the Catalan nation in three novels by the Catalan writer Juan Marsé. She suggests that the writer shows a three-stage evolution of a new concept of nationhood, which can be approached from a postmodern perspective. She approaches her analysis by delving into three different strategies, which she refers to as discursive, narrative and linguistic.
Discursive strategies relate to syntactical and grammatical aspects of the text, whereas the linguistic strategy can broadly be defined as the choice of Spanish—as opposed to Catalan—as his literary language. Narrative strategies are those related to the works’ themes, linked to the analysis of the plot structure and the novels’ settings and characters.The central issue addressed here is the inclusion of the figure of the charnego in the novels selected for study. This derogatory term was coined in Catalonia to refer to people who migrated there from the south of Spain during the 1960s. This wave of Spanish-speaking immigration increased the population of Catalonia by almost 1.5 million, and was overwhelmingly seen as negative by locals at the time. The portrayal of this character in the three novels is the guiding thread of the three-stage evolution of a new concept of the Catalan nation, where boundaries between the Catalan and the foreign are blurred.
Lehyla Heward (Chinese)
After graduating with her Master's in Chinese Literature from Northeast Normal University in Changchun, China, where she had been living for four years, Lehyla (李海兰) moved to New Zealand to begin her PhD research at Victoria. She is investigating the links between Chinese and Korean intellectual writings from the Manchukuo period in Northeast China. She believes the two years she spent as an undergraduate exchange student in China, South Korea, and Singapore, learning Chinese and experiencing the variety of cultures in Asia, has played an integral part in preparing her for her current work.
Lehyla's research interests also include literary translation, in particular the economics of such an exchange, which she wrote about in her Master's thesis on Mo Yan and his reception among American readers. She was chosen to attend the British Centre's Workshop for Literary Translation at Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) in 2014 where she worked with a group to translate work by the writer, Li Jun. During her time in Changchun, she was the recipient of the Chinese Government Scholarship and a member of the university's team that competed at the national level of the Experiencing China Competition in 2013.
Roya Jabarouti (Literary Translation Studies)
Sounding. Soundings: An Intersemiotic Reading of Heaney's Wintering Out
Supervisors: Marco Sonzogni and Sydney Shep
Mengying Jiang (Literary Translation Studies)
Translation as Representation: An Interdisciplinary Study of Contemporary Chinese Women Writers in English Translation
Mohsen Kafi (Literary Translation Studies)
A multi-layer investigation into the socio-cultural background, literary likings and expectancy norms of the translated fiction readership in New Zealand
Mohsen moved to New Zealand in April 2018 to start his PhD in Literary Translation at Victoria University of Wellington. Already an author of several peer-reviewed research papers, Mohsen’s PhD dissertation would focus on the readers of translated fiction in New Zealand. More specifically, he aims to look at the status of translated fiction in New Zealand and the attitudes of readers towards novels translated from other languages into English. This PhD project falls within the broader category of reception studies. Mohsen would adopt a mixed methods research approach, employing questionnaire and semi-structured interview protocols to collect the required data for addressing his research questions.
Supervisors: Richard Millington and Lydia Wevers
Yujing Liang (Chinese)
Deconstructing Minjian: Poetics and Positions
Wenwen Liu (Chinese)
Political Ambivalence of Ink Artists in the 1980s China: Case Studies of Wu Guanzhong (1919-2010) and Li Huasheng (b.1944)
Wenwen’s current study is about guohua (Chinese ink-brush painting) in the 1980s. Her research focuses on how guohua represented a combination of the literati’s taste with those of the plebeians in contemporary China. Wenwen’s project is primarily research into contemporary Chinese art history, investigating the changes on motifs and expressions of guohua. The purpose is to investigate the so-called ‘Chinese tradition’ in ink-brush painting, and examine how Chinese tradition has been continuously reinterpreted in terms of nationalism.
Supervisors: Hui Luo and Keren Chiaroni
Lita Lyu (Chinese)
A Feminist Perspective of Zhang Yimou's Adaptation of Literary Works
Jess Marinaccio (Pacific Studies)
Narratives of Image and Identity: Performative Cultural Diplomacy between Tuvalu and Taiwan.
After receiving a BA in History and Chinese Language from Williams College in the United States, Jess moved to Taiwan in 2006 and has lived there through to the present. Jess received a Master's in Chinese literature from National Taiwan University and, later, worked at the Tuvalu Embassy in Taiwan for two years. She is currently in the middle of a Pacific Studies PhD Program at Victoria, where she focuses on contingency and agency in performative cultural diplomacy between Tuvalu and Taiwan. This is an interdisciplinary project combining international relations, dance/performance studies, and cultural studies.
Jess completed her six months of interviews and fieldwork for this project in Taiwan and is currently engaged in five months of interviews and fieldwork in Tuvalu. In her research, Jess addresses Taiwan’s cultural diplomacy projects in Tuvalu/the Pacific and Tuvalu’s projects in Taiwan, but she is specifically interested in how dance/performance serves as a diplomatic tool in both countries and the complexities dance/performance can reveal in diplomatic relationships.
Rory McKenzie (Literary Translation Studies)
:Translating Humour in an Audio-Visual Context: Fantozzi (1975)
Rory’s project looks into the field of translating humour in an audio-visual context, using Fantozzi, a classic Italian comedic figure, as a case study. He will be looking specifically at two films in the series, the first one titled Fantozzi which was released in 1975, and also the final film in the series Fantozzi: La Clonazione which was released in 1999, this will also allow for a cultural analysis of the character, and how Italy changed (and therefore he changed) across the quarter of a century in which he inhabited Italian television screens.
His work focuses on both subtitling and dubbing, and how each discipline that exist within audio-visual translation (AVT) comes with their own unique challenges. These difficulties make translating humour all the more difficult, however through analysing the existing literature on translating humour in AVT, as well as the creation of new techniques, Rory hopes to retain the cultural and comedic nature of Fantozzi in both subtitled and dubbed versions of the films.
Emma Powell (Pacific Studies)
Emma’s project focuses on how Cook Islands people perceive and traverse the physical and conceptual landscapes of the home islands and New Zealand. It uses a conceptual framework of cartography to map the territories within which Cook Islands people have forged routes and set deep roots in new places. It will analyse physical sites of settlement and contact as a way to understand the genealogy of articulated Cook Islands identities and how Cook Islands people view, move through, stand in and understand their worlds. Emma’s project will contribute to a thin corpus of Cook Islands scholarship by Cook Islands people, and will be a new addition to contemporary Cook Islands history.
Sarah Ramazan Mahalli (Spanish and Latin American Studies)
Literary Andinismo in the Works of José María Arguedas
Nate Rigler (Pacific Studies)
Nate's ethnographic project examines uses and understandings of coconut oil in different cultural and national contexts. Through interviews with diasporic Pacific Islanders and non Pacific Islanders living in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Wellington region, this study aims to learn what each of these groups seek from coconut oil consumption. Preliminary research leads Nate to expect that diasporic Pacific Islanders may use coconut oil as a form of identity maintenance and source the product via transnational indigenous exchange networks. Conversely, it is possible that non Pacific Islander consumers use coconut oil in order to embody mythic interpretations of indigeneity in response to a sense of moral pollution from industrialization. This project explores the relationship between consumption patterns and cultural values.
Setor Novieto (Spanish and Latin American Studies)
Context Change and Continuity: Pointers Form Guillen and Armah
Sian Robyns (Literary Translation Studies)
A Translation of Linda Le's Le Complexe de Caliban
Sian's project has two components. The first is an annotated translation of Le Complexe de Caliban by the novelist and essayist Linda Lê, while the second, the research component, is an investigation into the possibilities offered by annotation and commentary to engage readers in a dialogue about the process of translation, thereby contributing to the development of what translation theorist Lawrence Venuti has called a 'translation culture'.
Charlotte Simmonds (German)
G. E. Sukhareva’s Place in the History of Autism Research: Context, Reception, Translation
Charlotte Simmonds is writing about Dr Grunya Efimovna Sukhareva (G. E. Ssucharewa), a Russian psychiatrist and neurologist who identified the same features present in Asperger’s Syndrome roughly ten years before Hans Asperger. Although working in Moscow, she published in German, the language of psychiatry at that time. Her 1925 paper on the syndrome as it presents in boys was translated into English in 1996. The 1925 paper was followed up in 1927 with another work on the syndrome’s presentation in girls and its various sex differences. This paper was not translated. It has taken autism research roughly 80 years to re-observe what Sukhareva recorded and identified in the 1920s. In addition to increasing the accessibility of key works in the history of what is currently referred to as autism, it is hoped that making more of Sukhareva’s work and biographical information about her available in English will contribute to greater recognition of women scientists in history.
Marta Simonetti (Italian)
Images in (Con)Text
Marta Simonetti’s study explores trends in contemporary Italian literature featuring the visual arts in response to the increasing number of textual typologies including images. The provisional title Images in (Con)Text refers to the age-old debate about the relationship between word and image. The main concern of her research is to shed light on how these different sign systems can intersect in order to redefine highbrow and lowbrow art forms: namely, contemporary ekphrastic literature and the graphic novel. Her analysis will employ different methodological approaches, ranging from visual studies to literary theory (including tropes of vision and iconicity in language).
Roger Smith (German)
The German War in German Poetry: Julius Bab’s Anthology of First World War German Poetry
Roger is studying Berlin writer and editor Julius Bab’s German war poetry anthology 1914Der deutsche Krieg im deutschen Gedicht. Published in twelve issues throughout the First World War, this anthology is the most wide-ranging collection of German war poetry produced during the conflict itself. The episodic, and to a degree thematic, nature of the twelve instalments holds a mirror to the changing complexion of the war from a German perspective, forming a rich narrative which accompanies real events almost as they are happening.
In the century since the First World War, Bab’s anthology has provided the source material for numerous retrospective collections of German war poetry, and his own commentary on the poetry of the period (published in 1920) Die deutsche Kriegslyrik, 1914-1918: eine kritische Bibliographie has been used to frame much of the subsequent discourse on the topic. But there has been no substantial analysis of the anthology itself in that time, no attempt to place this collection of poetry in the period in which it was produced.
Roger’s research examines Bab’s selection of poems and poets in the twelve volumes of the anthology, the arrangement and polyphony of the voices heard, the ebb and flow of the narrative woven through the collection as it is built up over time, and the reception and legacy of the anthology throughout the century since its publication.
Florenica Bell (Literary Translation Studies)
A genre on the rise - YA literature: challenges and strategies in translating Elizabeth Knox’s imaginary world in the Southland saga
Supervisor: Carolina Miranda
Kyongran Chong (Chinese)
The Joseon Governance Code and consititutionalism in 14th Century in Korea
Alessandra Giorgioni (Literary Translation Studies)
Literary Translation as Creative Writing: An Italian Case Study
Supervisors: Marco Sonzogni
Jenny Taotua (Pacific Studies)
Riding the K-Pop Wave in the Pacific: The influence of Korean Popular Music on Pacific Youth in Aotearoa, New Zealand
"My Masters in Pacific Studies is dedicated to the late Associate Professor Teresia Teaiwa whom I was very fortunate to meet in the year 2000 when she attended the inaugural PASI101 lecture for the Pacific Studies Qualification/Degree. I will continue to carry her in my heart and on this journey of completing my MA" - Jenny Taotua
Why is Korean Popular music (K-Pop) so popular among Pacific youth in Wellington? Jenny first encountered K-pop during a visit to South Korea in 2003, during a period of time when living abroad in Japan, and quickly developed a passion for it. Upon her return to Wellington and having started working as a staff member supporting Pasifika students at Victoria University in 2012, Jenny noticed an increasing number of Pacific youth with a similar passion for K-Pop. Due to her curiosity about how and why Pacific youth felt drawn to this musical genre, in 2013 Jenny undertook a comparative research project as part of her Honours degree in Pacific Studies. The comparative research project explored Afrodiasporic influences on Pacific popular music in Aotearoa and Korean Popular music in Korea, from the 1980s to the present. This MA research extends that initial work to ask how Pacific youth living in Wellington engage with K-Pop.
Jay Waters (Asian Studies)
Korean New Zealanders in Sport: Golf and the 1.5 Generation
Jay is examining the role of sport in the lives of 1.5 generation Korean New Zealanders, that is, those born in Korea who migrated to New Zealand during their schooling years. His research uses a qualitative a case-study approach to explore participation in sports, and in particular golf, in order to discover what cultural and ethnic identity factors may influence participation and success, while also investigating the role of golf and sport in the acculturation of Korean migrants to New Zealand.
Supervisor: Stephen Epstein
Federica Balducci (Italian)
Fade to Pink: Italian 'chick lit', popular romance literature and contemporary Italian women's life and culture
Janette Briggs (Chinese)
Modern nation-building, tradition, and 'uneasy' experimentalism in Lao She's wartime 'experiment' in writing his epic poem 'Jian bei pian'
Francesca Calamita (Italian)
Eating Disorders in Italian Women's Writings from Unification to the Economic Boom (1860s-1960s)
Mukta Dausoa (French)
La représentation du local, de l'universel et de la réalité dans 'Rue la Poudrière', 'Le Voile de Draupadi' et 'Le Sari vert' d'Ananda Devi, en ce qui concerne leur dimension spatiale, temporelle et sociale
Supervisors: Jean Anderson and Myreille Pawliez
Richard Donovan (Literary Translation Studies)
Dancing with Girls: Issues in the Stylistics of Japanese-to-English Literary Translation
Supervisors: Stephen Epstein and Yushi Ito
Nobuko Kato (Japanese)
Authentic Discourse and Model Exemplars in Japanese Language Textbooks: A Case Study of Apologies and Requests
Supervisors: Edwina Palmer and Stephen Epstein
Loveday Kempthorne (Literary Translation Studies)
Relations between Modern Mathematics and Poetry: Czesław Miłosz; Zbigniew Herbert; Ion Barbu/Dan Barbilian
Johnson Kukatlapalli (Asian Studies)
A Study of the Adjustment Experiences of Indian International Students in New Zealand Universities
Joe Lawson (Chinese)
Chinese Settlement in Xikang/Chuanbian, 1904-1949
Supervisor: James Belich
Jessica Macauley (German)
Der Zauberberg in philosophical, psychological and sociological contexts: an intertextual reading of Thomas Mann
Supervisors: Monica Tempian and Margaret Sutherland
Alessandro Macilenti (Italian)
Characterising the Anthropocene: Ecological Degradation in Italian Twenty-First Century Literary Writing
Davide Manenti (Literary Translation Studies)
Rewriting Mansfield: Writing, Editing and Translation
Barbara Pezzotti (Italian)
Geography and 'Giallo': Realism and regional identities in contemporary Italian detective stories
Jon Preston (Spanish and Latin American Studies)
Remembering a Different Future: Dissident Memories and Identities in Contemporary Chilean Culture
Mitsue Sandom (Japanese)
Investigation into the efficacy of text modification: What type of text can give learners of Japanese an authentic reading experience?
Supervisors: Edwina Palmer and John Macalister
Julia Maria Seemann (Italian and German)
Translating Traditions: 'The Whale Rider' from Novel to Film
Supervisors: Margaret Sutherland and Sally Hill
Alistair Shaw (Asian Studies)
Telling the Truth About People's China
Supervisor: Brian Moloughney
Anne Siebeck (German)
Translated Children's Fiction in New Zealand
Supervisors: Richard Millington and Hans-Henio Ewers
Julia van Luijk (Spanish)
Writing in Franco's Spain: Censorship, Gender and Social Criticism in the Postwar Novel
Supervisors: Sarah Leggot and Ross Woods
Luc Arnault (French)
Translating James K. Baxter’s poetry into French
Niall Duncan (Italian)
An Annotated Collection of Short Stories by Dino Buzzati
Dave Evans (Spanish and Latin American Studies)
Hegemony and meditations in film melodrama of the Mexican Golden Age of Cinema
Desiree Gezentsvey (Literary Translation Studies)
Spanish Wings for Kiwi Theatre: Cross-cultural Challenges in the translation of Dave Armstrong and Oscar Kightley's play 'Niu Sila'
Kassy Hayden (Literary Translation Studies)
Honore de Balzac's Treatise on Modern Stimulants
For her Masters in Literary Translation Studies, Kassy Hayden is undertaking an annotated translation of Honoré de Balzac’s Traité des excitants modernes. First appearing as an appendix to an 1839 edition of Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin’s Physiologie du goût, this essay offers a window into nineteenth-century Paris, where five “modern” stimulants – coffee, sugar, tea, alcohol and tobacco – had become firmly embedded in the lives of its inhabitants. As part of her thesis, in addition to looking at issues relating to the translation of historical texts, Kassy will analyse the key themes of the treatise, and elucidate the ample references to 19th-century physiology.
Supervisors: Jean Anderson and Keren Chiaroni
Yoshihiko Holmes (Japanese)
Chronological evolution of the Urashima Taro story and its interpretation
Supervisor: Edwina Palmer
Louise Kotze (Literary Translation Studies)
Unlocking New Worlds: An English translation of Cornelia Funke's 'Herr der Diebe'
Supervisors: Margaret Sutherland and Jean Anderson
Cathrine Lloyd (French)
The Representation Of Lace and Embroidery in 17th and 18th Century French Portraits
Supervisor: Keren Chiaroni
Mauricio Lopez (Literary Translation Studies)
The ethical role of literary translators in a globalised world: foreignisation and dialogue theories in the promotion of unique New Zealand voices
Supervisor: Carolina Miranda
Fiona McNamara (German)
A study of contemporary multilingual performance in Germany
Supervisor: Monica Tempian
Kerry Nitz (German)
Iris Hanika's "Treffen sich zwel": Analysis, Interpreation and Reception
Supervisor: Richard Millington
Mia Ni (Chinese)
Ri Kōran/Li Xianglan – Visual Reality and Historical Truth
Supervisors: Hui Luo and Emerald King
Fezz Petersen (Japanese)
Washoku Down Under: The Localisation of Japanese food in New Zealand
Supervisor: Emerald King
Lily Phillips (French)
Là où dialoguent les musées: The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa at the Musée du Quai Branly
Supervisor: Jean Anderson and Keren Chiaroni
Patricia Ramsay (Spanish and Latin American Studies)
A Mirror of Society: Feminist Advocacy in Emilia Pardo Bazan's Short Stories
Supervisors: Nicola Gilmour
Sian Robyns (Literary Translation Studies)
Translating the fiction of Linda Le
Supervisors: Jean Anderson and Keren Chiaroni
Charlotte Simmonds (Literary Translation Studies)
The translation of Maxim Biller’s book Moralische Geschichten from German into English
Roger Smith (German)
Lyrische Mobilmachung: Patriotism and Protest in German Lyric Poetry of the First Word War
Supervisor: Richard Millington
Tim Smith (Italian)
Dethroning Dante: Skopostheorie in Action
Supervisor: Marco Sonzogni
Chloe Spedding (Italian)
Issues of dance notation: Domenico de Piacenza's dance writing in XV century Italy
Supervisor: Claudia Bernardi
Luke Tysoe (Chinese)
The missionary as a cultural mediator: Alexander Don and the Chinese and European communities in New Zealand
Supervisor: Limin Bai
David Weaver (Asian Studies)
Parsis in New Zealand