I have compiled podcasts of selected lectures and presentations. Lectures are divided by course name, chronologically. I have tried to list each item with either a short comment or
its abstract. I'll gladly take comments on works,
so click here to email me.
Gifford, James. "Rue Sainte-Ursule." Anarchist Essays, season 1, episode 3, Anarchism Research Group, Loughborough University, 30 October 2020, Spotify.
Song, Min Hyoung, andré carrington, Debra Rae Cohen, James Gifford, Vincent Haddad, Lee Konstantinou, Sheila Liming, Jason Parks, Min Hyoung Song, Leif Sorensen, and Drew Strombeck. "#DuneBookClub." ASAP/J, Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present, 15 December 2020.
Gifford, James. "Peddling Pulp: The Industrial Production of Popular Culture." Saturday Forum.
Simon Fraser University. Vancouver, BC. 19 March, 2011.
ABSTRACT: Industrially produced culture is ubiquitous; it is in our homes, on our airwaves, and around us at all times. Yet, we rarely think about what and how it means or even how we consume it. Does mass production limit what it can express? Can we think outside of its scope? Does it provide what we want or teach us how to want? Even our folk culture and local communities now echo pulp culture. This forum considers the structure and form of these materials in order to ask how we interact with pulp in daily life and whether mass production renders it interchangeable. We will draw examples from popular culture in a variety of media from the 20th century.
——. "Modernism/Mythistorema: Philhellenism in Late Modernisms." Modernism and Global Media. 10th Conference of the Modernist Studies Association. Vanderbilt University. Nashville, TN. 13–16 November, 2008.
ABSTRACT: In his essay "Cavafy and Eliot – A Comparison," George Seferis suggests a fundamental distinction between the two poets' senses of tradition, instantiating an alternative approach to artistic production in the Mediterranean. Reading Cavafy's "Those Who Fought for the Achaean League," Seferis:
appreciated that the poem was written in 1922, on the eve of the catastrophe in Asia Minor; and almost without thinking I reread these lines as:
Written in Alexandria by an Achaean,
The year that our race was destroyed.
Seferis presents Cavafy within an intensely politicized sense of ethnicity and nationalism caught in a poem of exile – the affinity between past and present occurs in the same space and under related circumstance but separated by millennia. This is a striking difference from Eliot's tradition, and Seferis uses this wedge to pry the two apart. This reading of Cavafy is fatuous, but as a late modernist misprision, it exemplifies distinctly Greek and Philhellenic literary activities from the early 1930s through World War II. This view also reflects tensions among several late modernist authors active in the Hellenic world and the territories envisioned as a Greater Greece prior to their demise in 1922. This talk examines the Cairo Poets in this context as well as their influence on Anglo-American literary activities in the 1930s and 1940s. I particularly attend to the dense interactions among Greek influences on the anarchist transformation of English Surrealism, Greek authors in the Government in Exile, American Surrealism, and the New Apocalypse poets. PODCAST: (.mp3)
——. "Plural 'Canadas' in the Works of Edward Taylor Fletcher." Still the 'Last Best West' or Just Like the Rest? Interrogating Western Canadian Identities. Thompson Rivers University. Kamloops BC. 13–16 September, 2007.
ABSTRACT: Edward Taylor Fletcher is a now forgotten nineteenth century Canadian poet, philologist, and travel writer who poetic voice was defined by his experiences in Western Canada. Moreover, his subsequent focus on distinctly Western landscapes anticipates several movements in the Arts that followed. Before Emily Carr turned to bold canvases defined by the land around her, Elizabeth Smart related sensual experiences through landscapes, or Malcolm Lowry created a mythological Eridanus out of Deep Cove, Fletcher was moving away from the neo-Classical and Romantic models of the pre-Confederation poets of his youth to a long-poem form based on richly allusive landscapes. In this manner, Fletcher demonstrated that Classical tropes can be adopted – in his case with the Nile, Atlantis, or The Mahabharata dominating a long-poem through Classical allusions – while simultaneously adopting the sustained dramatic narrative of the Romantics. Importantly, he explored this Classical and Romantic fusion in the 1880s and 1890s while also anticipating the distinctly Canadian focus on landscapes – the Fraser River provides the descriptive materials for the Nile while Vancouver Island and the Coastal Mountains become Atlantis and the Himilayas. PODCAST: > (.mp3)
——. "Surrealism's Anglo-American Afterlife: The Herbert Read and Henry Miller Network." Coordinates of Comparison: Texts, Readers, & Theories. University of Alberta. Edmonton, AB. 29–31 August, 2007.
ABSTRACT: I retrace the unrecognized counter-narrative to Surrealism and its English offspring. I begin with Henry Miller and Herbert Read's unpublished correspondence surrounding the London International Surrealist Exhibition of 1936. Their correspondence charts an anarcho-individualist opposition to the socialism and dialectical materialism of the French Surrealists. Histories of English Surrealism record it as a short-lived phenomenon rising rapidly from the Exhibition and vanishing nearly as quickly. Contrastingly, the Read-Miller letters trace the changing political aims of Anglo-American surrealists while maintaining its aesthetics and techniques, which led to a reconstruction of the English-language Surrealists in a loose network centred on the Anglo-American Villa Seurat authors in Paris. This paper derives from a scholarly edition and study of the Miller-Read letters being published this Fall, as well as archival materials held at the University of Alberta, the University of Victoria, and UCLA. PODCAST: (.mp3)
——. "Silence and Speaking – Politicized Irony in Durrell's Spirit of Place." The Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies. University of British Columbia. Vancouver, BC. 17–22 August, 2007.
ABSTRACT: At the 2004 session of the Durrell School of Corfu, Gayatri Spivak and Terry Eagleton illustrated the difficulties within Durrell's works that result in his relative exclusion from postcolonial studies of commonwealth literature: i.e. his ironic narrative voice in opposition to the kitsch exoticism of the 1950s and 60s. Drawing on the biographical complexity of his early position in Empire, I discuss the conflicts between Durrell's Orientalist exoticism, his longstanding Philhellenism, his works' ethical examination of alterity, irony in his neocolonialism, and his critiques of Imperialist power from within its privilege.
——. "'The sealed book of the future': Edward Taylor Fletcher's Poetic, Political, and Poly-lingual Canada, 1827–97." Narratives of Citizenship. University of Alberta. Edmonton, AB. 23–25 March, 2007.
ABSTRACT: This paper develops out of my current project to reprint the collected works of Edward Taylor Fletcher and to prepare a digital edition of his commonplace books. I give an overview of Fletcher, his works, and his importance, followed by a contextualization of his value to current notions of Canadian identity where multiple, overlapping, and contradictory narratives reflect an unstable subject.
PODCAST: here (.m4v video).
——. "'Not translate, but transplant' a Tower of Babel: Metaphoric (Dis)Continuities Between Cavafy, Eliot, Durrell, & Vassanji." Fourth Annual International Translation Day Conference. The Erotics of Translation. University of Alberta & the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta. Edmonton, AB. 30 September, 2006.
ABSTRACT: Using Lacoue-Labarthe's transplantation versus translation in Revue de Littérature Comparée, I discuss the tower as a continuous, yet translated, metaphor in four works by C.P. Cavafy, T.S. Eliot, Lawrence Durrell, and M.G. Vassanji. The reader is provoked to
construct an 'etymology' that moves ever-closer to the 'true word,' proceeding backward from the 'untrue' translation. Yet for all four, the
cynosure of the tower marks their attempts: it guides and attracts. Eliot's bridge for his allusions has fallen down, and we can only shore the disjointed fragments of Nerval's "Le Prince d'Aquitaine à la tour abolie" beside the "black ruins" of Durrell's and Cavafy's Alexandrian lighthouse, all precariously near to Vassanji's leitmotif of the teetering "CN Tower blinking its mysterious signal." This leads me to conclude that to "Not translate, but transplant" is "Unreal" across these four highly allusive texts. My paper clarifies the failure of unity over discontinuity in this dense series of allusions. PODCAST: (.mp3)