Our next seminar will be on 23 May given by Anum Dada on the topic of ‘The Shifting Identities of Saracen Women in Medieval Romance’.
Below we chatted with Anum about Glasgow, cultural exchange and fine art.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from?
I’m from Karachi, Pakistan. I moved to Glasgow for my BA and then decided to come to Durham for my MA and stayed on for a PhD.
What brought you to Durham?
I decided to come to Durham primarily to work with my current supervisor. I was already familiar with her research, having looked at it for my BA thesis, and thought that her research interests would suit my research very well.
What is your favourite thing about the medieval/ early modern period?
This may be too general but I love how absurd medieval texts can be! From the most absurd creatures in bestiaries to giant green men, medieval texts always keep you entertained.
What does your research focus on?
My research deals with the representation of Saracen women in Middle English romances written during or immediately after the crusades and what this reveals about cultural and literary interaction and exchange between the Christians and Muslims. As I am looking at interaction between both groups, my research deals with a lot of medieval eastern texts as well as western ones.
What do you plan to focus on in your seminar?
In my paper for this seminar I will be shifting the focus a little bit from my main research. Instead of discussing interaction, I will be looking at the representation of Saracen women in Sir Ferumbras and Sir Beues of Hamtoun and how their representation positions them as anchor between the Christian and Muslim worlds.
If you were not in academia, what would you be doing?
I might be pursuing a career in fine art. I always enjoyed painting though I hardly have any time for it anymore.
Do you have a favourite medieval/early modern text?
That’s a difficult question to answer but I guess I would have to go with the Shahnameh, roughly translated as the book of kings. I’ve been obsessed with the Shahnameh as far back as I can remember!