Paula Soans O’Brian Scholarship
Joining us from: China
DPhil Medieval and Modern Languages (2021)
I studied Portuguese at the Beijing Foreign Studies University for my bachelor’s degree and at the University of Coimbra (Portugal) as a visiting student in my third year. For my BA thesis, I wrote about Clarice Lispector’s short story, examining the relations between body, affect and narrative. I completed an MSt in modern languages at the University of Oxford (2019-2020), where I primarily researched postcolonial literature in Portuguese-speaking Africa, with an emphasis on psychological novels and female writing. My dissertation is concerned with postcolonial trauma, representation of otherness and hybrid identity. Before I came back to Oxford for the DPhil course, I had spent one year working as an editor in Portuguese and English literature at a publishing house in Shanghai.
Building upon interests that developed during my undergraduate studies on Modernism and were honed during my MSt in Oxford, my doctoral research will be centred on Brazilian literature in 20th century. I am now exploring the nonhuman phenomena and the affective nature of modernist impersonality in Clarice Lispector’s works.
Outside research, I love playing the piano, with a particular passion for Chopin, Schubert, etc. I also enjoy creative writing, literary translation and visiting art galleries.
I am incredibly grateful to St Cross for their recognition and generous support, which motivated me to broaden my research projects and enrich my studies in humanities.
My decision to study at Oxford was partly based on my long-standing interest in English literature, and I look forward to expanding my comparative work in a rich academic environment. I chose St Cross for its graduate and diverse community, which will be fruitful for my interdisciplinary approach by facilitating collaboration with scholars from a variety of backgrounds. I am tremendously grateful for all the lunchtime conversations, discussions at various events organised by very insightful members of St Cross, as well as a piano duet in the Common room or in the bar. I really appreciate the new perspectives, ideas and friendships formed at St Cross, which constitutes an integral part of my social and intellectual life and will definitely shape me into a better person and scholar.