Ertegun Staff and Scholar Profiles

Chiara Giovanni

Chiara Giovanni

Current course: 
MSt in Modern Languages (Spanish)

I have been at Magdalen College, Oxford since 2012, where I achieved a Congratulatory First Class BA in German and Spanish, winning the Ramón Silva Memorial Prize for spoken Spanish. I am delighted to be continuing on to graduate study in order to explore my research interests in more depth.

My academic interests are broad-ranging, including issues in both early modern Spanish writing and modernist and post-modernist German texts. Throughout my undergraduate degree, I sought to explore the links – unusual though they were – between my two languages, and am hoping to do so in my MSt dissertation: specifically, I would like to explore the reception of Cervantes’ great novel, Don Quijote, in modern German writing. Intertextuality is the backbone of what I do - as a result, I am fascinated by critical questions within the field of comparative literature, such as adaptation, translation and interference. I am also drawn to exploring the boundaries of identity, whether national, linguistic, or cultural, through the lens of world literature, and hope to come closer to defining what makes a national literature, why certain texts have more global influence than others, and what the very act of writing means for one’s identity.

This interdisciplinary, international approach meant I was naturally drawn to the ethos and purpose of the Ertegun House, and am thrilled to be spending the year in such an academically stimulating environment. I am humbled to take my place among a group of inspirational scholars who will undoubtedly have much to teach me!

Outside my course, I am working on a paper about representations of race and alterity in Austrian novelist Elfriede Jelinek’s work, and have completed a translation of a thought-provoking text about race and borders by the celebrated German writer Ulrike Draesner. In my free time, I run a lifestyle blog which I combine with other social media platforms to encourage students from non-traditional backgrounds to apply to Oxford, as I believe it is a truly outstanding environment for anyone who loves learning. I also enjoy cooking, trying as many restaurants in Oxford as I can, reading aloud, and keeping a bullet journal.

I am hoping to continue on to doctoral study in the field of Comparative Literature, and would like to pursue an academic career thereafter. I strongly believe that there is immense value in the teaching, research, and study of the Humanities, and am so grateful that the Mica and Ahmet Ertegun Graduate Scholarship Programme recognises this.