Delphi May



College: College of Humanities
Discipline: Modern Languages
Department: Hispanic Studies


I am currently undertaking a co-supervised PhD funded by the AHRC SWW DTP, under the guidance of Professor Sally Faulkner (University of Exeter) and Dr Simone Knox (University of Reading). My thesis title is "Testing the Hybrid: representations of Chineseness and Chinese immigration in Spanish visual media." The doctorate is interdisciplinary in nature, drawing on both scholarship published from a modern languages background and from the field of film and television studies. The project's premise is to delve into the complex history of hybridity studies, transposing theories of hybridity and hybridisation from socio-anthrolpological enquiry onto both media in an effort to analyse on-screen 'performances' of hybridity. It argues that more attention needs to be paid, and more care to be exercised, when applying socio-anthropological theory to analyses of film and television, particularly in the case of hybridity given the causticity of its original meaning. As such, it carries out an extensive survey of this loaded term, in a bid to construct a more careful and nuanced analysis of its usage in this context. Such notions covered are 'corporeal hybridity'; hybridity as Ien Ang's 'togetherness in difference'; 'moments' of hybridity, and the not unproblematic concept of 'corporeal malediction.' It measures these concepts against representations of the Chinese collective on-screen in Spain, testing a specific interpretation of hybridity alongside such manifestations. It aspires to prove that analysing the Europe-wide (on-screen) dispersion of one of the most ancient diasporic collectives in light of hybridity studies is a refreshing way of considering visual representations of an 'Other.'

I carried out my undergraduate degree in English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese at the University of Exeter, with a year abroad as an English Language Assistant at La Escuela Oficial de Idiomas (Salamanca). At the end of my degree I was awarded a Commendation for contribution to the life of the Hispanic Studies Department. From Exeter, I went on to study an MA in Chinese Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, which encompassed participation in a wide range of modules, including intensive Chinese language classes, cinema studies, and the anthropology of China, where I gained a distinction. 

It is my hope that this current project will contribute not only to the vibrant creative lives of the universities across the SWW AHRC consortium, but also capture the interest of the wider public. So far I have presented my research at conferences both across the UK and abroad, and have contributed to the Centre for Translating Cultures programme at the University of Exeter.