Dr Rhian Atkin joins SOCLAS from the University of Manchester, and she will be leading the Portuguese Studies programme in semester 1 along with Ana Simoes de Almeida. Rhian holds a PhD in Portuguese literature, and an MA (both from the University of Leeds). She has taught Portuguese language and cultural studies at Leeds and Manchester. This is her second time teaching at Liverpool (she taught here part-time in 2008/09) and Rhian is really excited to be back at SOCLAS this year.

Rhian’s research expertise is in Portuguese literature, with a particular focus on interdisciplinary, gendered and sociological readings. Her PhD was on ‘masculinities and social change in literary Lisbons’, and it explored the types of information that we can glean from literature about the development of the city and the trajectory of social change. The research centred on 3 books: Livro do Desassossego, by Bernardo Soares (one of Fernando Pessoa‘s many selves); Um Homem não Chora, by Luís de Sttau Monteiro, and História do Cerco de Lisboa, by José Saramago. It was fascinating to identify some of the reasons for shifts in the way that men see themselves, and the types of events and social changes that they respond to in creating themselves as men, but at the same time differentiating themselves from other men.

Rhian has published various articles on her ‘three boys’ (Saramago, Pessoa and Sttau Monteiro). Her book, Saramago’s Labyrinths: A Journey through Form and Content in Blindness and All the Names, will be published with Manchester University Press in Spring 2012. She has also recently edited a volume of essays on another favourite topic, literary digressions: Textual Wanderings: The Theory and Practice of Narrative Digression (Legenda, 2011).

An unrepentant modernist, Rhian is planning some new projects to be started in the next calendar year, which will include a diversion from literature to the visual arts, and a large-scale project on Fernando Pessoa. Before then, Rhian is working on revising her PhD for publication and she is having fun completing articles on wolfmen, madmen and drunks!

In semester 1, Rhian will be teaching Portuguese language at all undergraduate levels, and she will be delivering lectures on the HISP120 Introduction to Hispanic Studies module. She’s very keen on creating additional opportunities for students (and staff!) to learn more about the Portuguese-speaking world, and she will be organising (with Ana) a cycle of documentary films in Portuguese. Watch this space for more information about this and other events…