On June 21, 2023, the Department of English and Humanities at ULAB held the Summer 2023 Graduate Student Seminar where ten students from the MA in English program had an opportunity to present their research papers that they had written as part of their coursework in the previous semester. The presenters were nominated by their course faculty from the following tracks: Literature and Cultural Studies, and Applied Linguistics and TESOL.
The program was initiated by Ms. Nadia Rahman, Assistant Professor, DEH, and Coordinator, MA in English. She invited the first presenter Rashmona Akther Rime (Batch 222) to present her paper on "Gendered Language Features in Advertisements" where she talked about common gendered language features observed in advertisements and discussed their implications on gender roles, stereotypes, and consumer perception. The next speaker was Kaniz Fatema Lamia (Batch 231), who presented her paper on “How Bengali Children Acquire Bangla: Behaviorism or Innatism?” She gave an overview of the theories of language development in children, and discussed the importance of speaking practices for language acquisition, arguing that the acquisition of Bangla can be attributed to Innatism.
The third presenter, Rownok Jahan Akhi (Batch 223), in her paper, “Cultural Construction of Madness in Bangladesh: An Analysis of the Movie Molla Barir Bou,” discussed the perception that madness can be influenced by religious beliefs, traditional practices, and that societal norms and mental health issues have historically been stigmatized, especially for women, in many societies including Bangladesh, often preventing individuals from seeking appropriate help and support. Following this, Sumaiya Nawshin (Batch 231), in her paper, “Redesigning a Syllabus for Contextual Sustainability: A Strength-Based Approach,” explored different syllabuses and how schools pressurize students to memorize grammatical rules. She additionally suggested effective learning strategies for ESL to Bangladeshi students.
The next presenter, S.M. Imrul Hasan (Batch 222) presented on “The Cultural Construction of S.M. Sultan in the 21st Century” where he called attention to how Sultan’s artworks, depicting the marginalized Bangladeshi agrarian society, can be associated with different literary theories such as Marxism and Feminism. Jannatul Ferdous (Batch 222), in her presentation, “From Theory to Practice: Material Evaluation and Design in ELT,” presented the importance of developing materials for effective ELT by interweaving language and culture.
Next, Sayma Afsana (Batch 223) presented her paper titled “From a Modern Woman to a Sex Objectification: A Journey of Tagore’s 'Binodini' through Media's Interpretation.” She discussed how Tagore’s Binodini from Chokher Bali, who was portrayed as the rebel of the then society has now been turned into a mere sex object as observed in the recent adaptations of this character by the contemporary media. Anika Binte Nazrul (Batch 231) came forward next to present, “Beyond Words: Exploring Theories of First and Second Language Acquisition to Enhance Our Understanding of Language Learning,” where she talked about how understanding the differences between first and second language acquisition can help address challenges faced by second language learners and tailor language learning approaches accordingly.
Sanjida Akter (Batch 222) then presented on “Analyzing the Cinematic Trend in Selected American Superhero Films” where she explored the cinematic trends within the genre, focusing on selected American superhero films that promote neocolonialism. Following her, Md. Sahedul Islam Hira (Batch 223), in his paper, “Practices of Translanguaging and Its Impact on English Language Teaching and Learning at the Tertiary Level,” displayed the significance of translanguaging practices for English Language teaching and learning, and the development of policies and practices that promote effective language learning at the tertiary level.
The Graduate Student Seminar articulated interdisciplinary discussion and knowledge exchange among the students. The graduate students were complimented by Ms. Arifa Ghani Rahman, Head and Associate Professor, DEH, for their excellent performances, and were also provided with advice regarding their research papers that would be beneficial to them in the future. Finally, Professor Kaiser Haq, Dean, School of Arts and Humanities, felicitated the presenters and commented on their growth and confidence.
At the end of the program, Certificates of Participation were handed over to the presenters by the Dean and the Head of Department.
Report by Fatema Tuz Zannat (221013035)