Research students

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

Fahim Afarinasadi (Literary Translation Studies)

Localisation in the Global Age: Standardisation and Diversification in the Translation of Football team website

Supervisors: Marco Sonzogni

Luc Arnault (French)

Translating Contemporary New Zealand Poetry into French

Supervisors: Jean Anderson and Richard Millington

Eleonora Bello (Italian)

The Unconscious of the Asylum. Mental Illness and Psychiatric Institutions in Italian Literary Writings (1950-2000)

Eleonora Bello

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.

Supervisors: Claudia Bernardi and Sally Hill

Francesca Benocci (Literary Translation Studies)

An Annotated Anthology of New Zealand Women Poets in Italian Translation

Francesca Benocci

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.

Supervisors: Marco Sonzogni and Claudia Bernardi

Johannes Contag (Literary Translation Studies)

An annotated retranslation of the stories of Heinrich von Kleis

Supervisors: Richard Millington and Jean Anderson

Xueying Deng (Chinese)

Cultural Memory of Shanghai: Novels by Wagn Anyi and Cheng Naishan

Supervisors: Limin Bai and Megan Evans

Dana Guisasola (Spanish and Latin American Studies)

Juan Marsé: Broadening the Definition of the Catalan Nation

Supervisors: Sarah Leggott and Nicola Gilmour

Lehyla Heward (Chinese)

Representing Manchuria

Lehyla Heward

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.

Supervisors: Yiyan Wang and Stephen Epstein

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

Supervisors: Marco Sonzogni, Limin Bai and Claudia Bernardi

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

Supervisors: Richard Millington and Lydia Wevers

Yujing Liang (Chinese)

Deconstructing Minjian: Poetics and Positions

Supervisors: Yiyan Wang and Hui Luo

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

Supervisors: Yiyan Wang and James McKinnon

Rory McKenzie (Literary Translation Studies)

Preliminary Title:Translating Humour in an Audio-Visual Context: Fantozzi (1975)

Rory McKenzie Profile

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.

Supervisors: Marco Sonzogni and Claudia Bernardi

Sarah Ramazan Mahalli (Spanish and Latin American Studies)

Literary Andinismo in the Works of José María Arguedas

Supervisors: Miguel Arnedo-Gómez and Carolina Miranda

Setor Novieto (Spanish and Latin American Studies)

Setor Novieto

Context Change and Continuity: Pointers Form Guillen and Armah

Supervisors: Nicola Gilmour and Mark Williams

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'.

Supervisors: Jean Anderson and Richard Millington

Charlotte Simmonds (German)

G. E. Sukhareva’s Place in the History of Autism Research: Context, Reception, Translation

Charlotte Simoonds

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.

Supervisors: Monica Tempian and Bart Ellenbroek

Marta Simonetti (Italian)

Images in (Con)Text

Marta Simonetti

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).

Supervisors: Marco Sonzogni and Sally Hill

Roger Smith (German)

Kriegslyrikithe Selection, Dissemination and Popularising of German WWI Poetry

Supervisors: Richard Millington and Harry Ricketts

Current MA projects

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

Supervisors: Limin Bai and Catherine Churchman

Alessandra Giorgioni (Literary Translation Studies)

Literary Translation as Creative Writing: An Italian Case Study

Supervisors: Marco Sonzogni

Jay Waters (Asian Studies)

Korean New Zealanders in Sport: Golf and the 1.5 Generation

Jay Waters

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

Recently completed PhD projects

Federica Balducci (Italian)

Fade to Pink: Italian 'chick lit', popular romance literature and contemporary Italian women's life and culture

Supervisors: Sally Hill and Claudia Bernardi

Janette Briggs (Chinese)

Modern nation-building, tradition, and 'uneasy' experimentalism in Lao She's wartime 'experiment' in writing his epic poem 'Jian bei pian'

Supervisors: Limin Bai and Megan Evans

Francesca Calamita (Italian)

Eating Disorders in Italian Women's Writings from Unification to the Economic Boom (1860s-1960s)

Supervisors: Claudia Bernardi and Sally Hill

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

Supervisors: Marco Sonzogni and Peter Donelan

Johnson Kukatlapalli (Asian Studies)

A Study of the Adjustment Experiences of Indian International Students in New Zealand Universities

Supervisors: Sekhar Bandyopadhyay and Stephanie Doyle

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

Supervisors: Sally Hill and Claudia Bernardi

Davide Manenti (Literary Translation Studies)

Rewriting Mansfield: Writing, Editing and Translation

Supervisors: Marco Sonzogni and Sally Hill

Barbara Pezzotti (Italian)

Geography and 'Giallo': Realism and regional identities in contemporary Italian detective stories

Supervisors: Sally Hill and Claudia Bernardi

Jon Preston (Spanish and Latin American Studies)

Remembering a Different Future: Dissident Memories and Identities in Contemporary Chilean Culture

Supervisors: Miguel Arnedo-Gomez and Sarah Leggott

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

Recently completed MA projects

Luc Arnault (French)

Translating James K. Baxter’s poetry into French

Supervisors: Jean Anderson and Peter Whiteford

Niall Duncan (Italian)

An Annotated Collection of Short Stories by Dino Buzzati

Supervisors: Marco Sonzogni and Claudia Bernardi

Dave Evans (Spanish and Latin American Studies)

Hegemony and meditations in film melodrama of the Mexican Golden Age of Cinema

Supervisors: Miguel Arnedo-Gomez and Carolina Miranda

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'

Supervisors: Jean Anderson and Carolina Miranda

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

Supervisors: Richard MillingtonMarco Sonzogni and Harry Ricketts 

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

Supervisors: Rick Weiss and Sekhar Bandyopadhyay