Literature, Visual Culture and Film Studies at Tallinn University
Our Literature, Visual Culture and Film Studies MA student Monireh Sadat Razavi Ganji talks about her studies at Tallinn University and why she decided to apply to this programme.
Please tell more about your background and your life in Iran before you moved to Tallinn.
Iranian culture is deeply associated with literature. From an early age, we learn to read Hafiz’s sonnets, Sa’di’s ethical-didactic masterpieces, and Rumi’s mystical poetry, which are dramatically reflected in all walks of our life. Not being an exception, I decided to obtain wider academic perspectives on literature. In fact, since my passion for Finding Differences games in my childhood shed a sort of comparative light on my entire academic life, I, unwillingly, compared themes, literary devices, and techniques contained in Persian literature with those belonging to World Literature throughout my entire academic years. I studied the possible influences of Nikolai Gogol on Gholam-Housayn Sa’edi for my Bachelor’s degree training project.
Moreover, the inextricable association of modern literature with other subject fields like Psychology, Sociology, and History attracted me to further my studies in this area. Thus, I attended a Master’s programme to widen my theoretical, literary perspective and shape my analytical, critical reasoning. Being largely under the influence of Linda Hutcheon’s A Theory of Adaptation, I aimed to apply her theories to Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman, which is the 2016 filmic adaptation of Death of a Salesman through a comparative lens for my M.A. dissertation.
Why did you decide to study Literature, Visual Culture and Film Studies at Tallinn University?
My reading tastes and research interests attracted me to the Literature, Visual Culture and Film Studies programme at Tallinn University. I found it fruitful to get engaged with an interdisciplinary programme, which offers courses about diverse subject matters such as Film Adaptation, Postmodern Architecture, Narratology, as well as Word and Image. In fact, this programme stands among a short list of three programmes in the world with the same title.
Have you already chosen a research focus and could you tell more about it?
Not exactly, but based on my personal academic orientations, interests, and backgrounds, I wish to focus on different aspects of Estonian Art and Persian Art in a comparative study.
Which courses and lecturers have inspired you the most so far?
I found Key Concepts in Critical Theory and Cultural Analysis the most inspiring one since it was very broad in perspective. Not only did I enjoy the presence of three different lecturers from three various departments—who addressed a wide range of disciplines throughout the term, but also took pleasure from class discussions as well as group works about deep philosophical and cultural concepts with colleagues from China, India, Africa, Asia, etc. I believe this course was indeed intercultural and interdisciplinary in practice.
What has pleasantly surprised you while studying at Tallinn University?
As an innovative joint programme between Tallinn University and the Estonian Academy of Arts, “Literature Visual Culture and Film Studies”enables its students to gain comparative knowledge, interdisciplinary skills, and intercultural experience with a distinctive approach. On one hand, having the chance to spend hours in EKA’s Cultural Heritage Faculty which is located in the heart of the Old Town of Tallinn allows me to transport to a different time and, imaginatively, live what I read about the History of Art. On the other hand, taking great delights from the presence of multiple instructors at Tallinn University—whose buildings have a modern architectural essence—I can feel secure about the consideration, examination, and discussion of modern concerns and topics of the course during the programme. Similar to Andres Kurg, one of our lecturers who paraphrased Michel Foucault’s quote in the programme’s Web blog and called this programme a pure “practice”, so far, I found the programme very practical, appealing, and promising.
How do you like Tallinn? Why would you suggest someone to move here?
Estonia as a peaceful country which extraordinarily respects immigrants supplies economic support for international students and provides a safe life for its inhabitants. Within a semester, I found a job as an English teacher at the University and I am receiving different scholarships. To make the long story of living in Estonia short, here, no one will be a stranger; I am at home.
Finally, I feel so honoured to have joined this newly established programme as one of its pioneering students.
Questions by Doris-Marii Kondrat