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School of English, The University of Hong Kong
School of English, The University of Hong Kong
School of English Postgraduate Seminar Session
Elsinore’s Absent Jesters: Hamlet’s Neurodiverse Resonance
Emily Nicholls, PhD Candidate, School of English, The University of Hong Kong

‘The Neurodiversity Paradigm’ challenges the dominant pathology model of mental disorder. This paradigm shift can alleviate the external and internal oppression suffered by subjects produced as deviants to ‘normate’ styles of embodiment, cognition, sensory perception, and emotional response. I explore the implications of this critical paradigm shift for approaches to reading Hamlet  - a play which, in content and form, disturbs ideals of rational subjects. Seeking modes of neurodiverse reading which avoid inadvertently paralleling the pathology paradigm, I experiment with an approach that draws out potential lines of resonance with today’s social and subjective conditions, particularly those of exclusion and alienation. Sociologists working with neurodivergent individuals note ‘a kind of battle with the ethereal, with unconscious attitudes that hem them in’ (Ida, 2020).  Hamlet is hemmed in by the oppressive infrastructure of Denmark’s ‘prison.’  He is also plagued by a number of spectres - ‘moulds of form’ into which he cannot fit.


Maternal Ambivalence in Selina Hossain’s Kathkoilar Chobi
Firoz Ahsan, PhD candidate, School of English, The University of Hong Kong

My paper sets out to explore the double bind of maternal ambivalence as mirrored in Kathkoilar Chobi (Charcoal Portrait) by Bangladeshi author Selina Hossain. Published in 2001, the novel recounts the homecoming of a war baby—born of the Bangladesh War in 1971—in search of his birth mother. Thanks to the maternal ambivalence expressed by the wartime rape victim, the birth mother of the war baby, his character goes through a dramatic shift. I shall present my argument as to how the desirous body of the rape victim by way of maternal ambivalence may leave space for both the mother and the child. While the author succeeds in forging a new identity for her heroine and thereby makes room for the child, she spaces out whenever she shifts her focus from the female protagonist to the war baby.


Theatricality and Modes of Perception in the Colonial Parsi Theatre (Cancelled)
Azhar Khadija, MPhill Candidate, School of English, The University of Hong Kong

In late-1885, the Parsi Victoria Theatrical Company travelled from India to England to perform a series of plays in conjunction with the Colonial and Indian Exhibition of 1886. In this historiographical project, I show how these performances helped assert an indigenised mode of theatrical perception through their reliance on spectacular entertainment which disrupted the conventions of the English stage. In addition, the performances helped contest orientalist refractions of the Indian subject produced at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition by emphasizing the heterogeneity of Indian culture.


Zoom Details

Zoom Link: https://hku.zoom.us/j/96916832177?pwd=T0JrMXRndlBIa29jRllWZVgybTdVZz09

Meeting ID: 969 1683 2177
Password: 021538