In 2015, University of Exeter student Anna Varadi’s essay, ““The acquirement of knowledge”: Prometheus as a Catalyst for Identity Formation in German “Sturm und Drang” and English Romantic Literature” was Highly Commended in the Literature category.
Since the Undergraduate Awards in 2015, Anna moved to Reading where she is in the second year of her PhD in Television Studies. She also teaches undergraduate seminars on television at the University of Reading. She is very fortunate because her research is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership: this scholarship has allowed her to pursue her passion for television full-time.
Anna credits her experience at the Undergraduate Awards as a much needed and incredibly motivating push which really anchored my interest in academia and my desire to pursue a PhD. She describes the UA Global Summit as one of the best experiences of her life and states that she still keeps in touch with several amazing people who she met in Dublin.
Her PhD focuses on contemporary American television drama set in the 1980s (such as, ‘The Americans’, ‘Stranger Things’, ‘GLOW’): as such, she examines how the cultural heritage of 1980s America is represented for a contemporary audience and she focuses on possible reasons why the 1980s might enjoy so much popular cultural interest in America right now – are there, perhaps, cultural parallels? How has the 1980s shaped today’s America and what are these television shows saying about it?
With this in mind, her project has often moved towards an interrogation of contemporary American socio-politics, as well, which has certainly given her a lot of current affairs material to work with. Her work is also concerned with the close analysis of television aesthetics and style because she cares very deeply about taking a critical look at every fibre of every television frame. This has not exactly made her Netflix binges too easy, but it’s part of the job!
Outside of the academic bubble in which she studies and works, Anna is an avid social media user (@varadiwatchesTV), she writes poetry, and spends as much time traveling as she can afford.
In 2016 she had the opportunity to go to the USA to present a paper at a conference held at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she also received a Graduate Scholar Awards. Anna is spending the summer of 2018 presenting papers at various international conferences on nostalgia, feminist media culture, and the future of Television Studies. She is also a vocal Star Wars fan and has published a think piece on the late, great Carrie Fisher’s star image as presented on the cover of her incredible memoir ‘Wishful Drinking’.
It is a lot of fun to watch television as part of my job. But I hope that my job is about more than that: we teach our students to think about television as a platform for important sociocultural debates, and I hope that my own research can comment on the way our past (and history) shapes personal as well as national self-understanding.
We at The Undergraduate Awards wish Anna the best in her work, and look forward to seeing what she will achieve in the future.