Dr Martin Crowley, BA, DPhil (Oxon), MA (Nottingham). Anthony L. Lyster Fellow and Director of Studies in Modern & Medieval Languages. (Parts IA and II)
As Director of Studies, I organise teaching for all MML undergraduates. I also teach the core French first-year paper to Queens’ undergraduates, plus modern and contemporary French, Francophone and comparative culture to part IB and part II students. In addition, I provide fortnightly Critical Theory seminars to all Queens’ MML undergraduates throughout their three years in residence. Through our two MML fellows Queens' has very good coverage of the MML degree course, and we work closely together to give our students the best support we can. Our teaching aims are both pastoral and intellectual: we see our job as helping each student to achieve everything they can, and this is only possible if students are reasonably happy and well looked after. We work hard to maintain a good and productive working relationship with all our students, and to remain attentive to their general well-being as well as their intellectual progress: this allows us to help people go further and achieve more than they ever thought they could.
As a supervisor, my own teaching style combines a commitment to intellectual seriousness with a relaxed atmosphere, in which students feel happy to take part and to ask questions. I provide extensive feedback to each student on every essay, with detailed comments throughout and a summary at the end. These comments cover questions of knowledge relevant to the topic as well as questions of essay technique, especially argumentative structure, and are particularly detailed in first year. The first part of each supervision is dedicated to at least 5-10 minutes discussion of this feedback for each student, with the possibility of a subsequent meeting if needed.
If you’re thinking of applying for MML at Cambridge, be sure to have a good look at the information and advice provided on the Faculty website: https://www.mml.cam.ac.uk/prospective-students. In addition to this, the best way to prepare is to read, listen to and watch as much material as possible in your chosen languages and from their language areas, especially material which responds to your existing intellectual and cultural interests while also challenging you to explore and to think in new ways.
My interest in languages began early at secondary school, when I discovered that by inhabiting a different language you can experience a different way of seeing the world. This has been at the heart of my thinking ever since. The kind of work we do in Modern Languages covers an extraordinary spectrum – researching minority and endangered languages, say, West African science fiction cinema, or medieval tales of torture and martyrdom – but through it all there runs a passion for difference, for other places and times with other ways of thinking. Today my research is focused on modern and contemporary French and Francophone culture, with a particular emphasis on contemporary thought. I have published books in English and in French on subjects including novelist and film-maker Marguerite Duras, concentration camp survivor Robert Antelme, recent French fiction and film, and French philosophy and politics. I am currently working on two books: one on concepts of political agency, and one on strategies of opacity in contemporary French culture. I also serve as General Editor of the journal French Studies (https://academic.oup.com/fs).
Within the MML Faculty, I lecture the core French IA paper and part IB and part II papers on modern and contemporary French, Francophone and comparative culture. I also supervise year-abroad and final-year dissertations, provide lectures, seminars and supervision for MPhil students, and supervise numerous PhD students.