“Words in the World,” an undergraduate symposium featuring the creative and critical works of students from our English courses, took place on Friday, March 6, 2020. It was organized by Tamas Dobozy, Chair of English and Film Studies, and co-hosted by the Laurier English Student Association.
This blog report presents brief notes of the panels which were all well-attended and demonstrated the variety of talent and work being produced by our undergraduate students at the Waterloo and Brantford campuses.
Opening Remarks by the Dean of Arts, Richard Nemesvari, who was happy to support the showcasing of undergraduate work, in “a real symposium…”
10:15-10:50 Panel 1: EN271 Creative Process & EN371 Creative Writing Short Story
Moderator: Dr. Mariam Pirbhai. Creative writing nugget:“Life is a draft…”
Alexander Jacobi, “The Joy and Necessity of Hacking Your Precious Lovely Work to Shreds”…. A lively and dramatic reading of a story about Cain with a stolen prize which is stuck to him.
Liam Bruyns, “Through the Echo”… flash fiction set in WWI about a teen who lied about his age to enlist as a soldier in Passchendaele, his memories of fresh baked buns at home, and the hellish experience of war.
Meghan Mazzafero, “Things I’ve Put Away” … a piece of creative non fiction, about important objects of her childhood, a stuffed cat, a blanket, and the warmth they give.
Alexa Dupuis-Bissonette, “I Am More Than _____”… the complexity of abusive relationship, “skin cells regenerate every four years”..,. Valerie feels guilt and responsibility to stay in a relationship inspite of her swollen bruised cheekbones…
10:55-11:30 Panel 2: EN 381 Gaming and Narrative Theory
Moderator: Dr. Andrea Austin: different technologies change the way we tell stories; violence and racism in video games
Greg Misener, “Violence in Videogames and the Causal Connection to Behaviour” Though the general belief is that games like Mortal combat increase violent behaviour, school shootings; Greg notes that games can be used to motivate, increase autonomy and confidence, competition; that players know the difference between play and real life.
Deyanne Sutcliffe, “How the Distancing effect is achieved” … in games such as Battle Royale, visual cues distance players; ex. Players do not sustain injuries; heighten emotional reactions. Players play because of reward systems; adrenaline release from violence
John Wrybluski, “Witchers and Witches: The Portrayal of Femininity in The Witcher III: The Wild Hunt” –the hero in the game is not perfect, but a mutant who hunts monsters; we have to emotionally connect with him, have to work to be a father; every one is portrayed in a negative light; not just women.
11:35-11:45 ESA Announcement
(from right) Sarah Caley (VP of Marketing), Blaze Welling (VP of Finance), Emma Davis (VP of evernts) , Emily Merlihan (Pres); Heather Hattle (former president)
The English Students Association offers activities, films, essay writing sessions, study sessions throughout the year. Students are encouraged to join…
11:50-12:15 Chris Heard Memorial Prize
Douglas Heard has sponsored the Chris Heard Memorial Prize in memory of his son for10 years. He came to present the award to the winner, Alexander Jacobi.
Honourable mention– Meghan Mazzafaro, for her piece on domestic trauma
Winner– Alexander Jacobi– for his story about gangsters in Boston. Alexander read from a historical story set in early 20th c. Boston about 12 year old boy who delivers meat and comes upon a luxurious house. He is given $5 from man because his father died in army and offered a mysterious job.
12:20-1:05 Lunch & Edna Staebler Writer in Residence, Carrianne Leung.
“Writing in a dangerous time”.. musings on climate justice, published in Watch your Head anthology—narrates feelings of grief and fear when looking at bees, birds and beauty. Some gems: “call attention to our humanity,” “use language” the way Toni Morrison did; Leung quotes Jesse Wente, “Dystopian novels are warnings…” BIPOC writers are writing futurism. We need to do the work of witnessing, to transform our society.
1:05-1:35 Panel 3: EN369 Creative Non fiction
Moderator: Dr. Tanis MacDonald …writing from our lives; takes the real world as its subject. Form,voice, style and structure; narrative journalism
Grace Maguire, “Little Piece of Heaven”; writing about place needs specificity. Grace wrote a moving piece about her cottage which was published in BluePrint. Amidst thick forest; rocky beach; her 6 year old self on Muskoka chair, her aunt told her stories about my parents’ divorce, demonized her mother. The cottage holds memories of dad’s drinking problem; it became a lonely place, of family fights.
Tyra Forde, “Eye See You” a personal essay featuring the use of quotes, literary, biblical references. Diagnosed with skin infection, a dis-ease; Tyra wrote about her worst skin break out; how “bacteria could use my skin as battlefield” which engendered doubts about her physical appearance.
Dylan Kavalsky, narrative journalism, “Quarter pedagogy with cheese” Inspired by an essay by Alicia Elliott, dark matters is like systemic racism: Begins with history of Restaurants 1765 in Paris; White Castle; then fast foods.. which are compared to speed courses for students, books summarized books; Laurier SOS – entire courses summarized for students – $20.
1:40-2:15 Panel 4: EN265 & EN 397 19th C. American and Victorian
Moderator: Dr. Lynn Shakinovsky– courses focus on the shock of recognition in the face of the other.
Kathryn MacCulloch, “Complicating the Other through Content and Form in Silas Marner” … Silas Marner – made use of realism and fairy tale elements- mysterious appearance of child of unknown parentage, etc. The use of folkloric elements change the perspective of country folk, and otherness is presented as matter of perception not state of being
William Kummer, “Gobbling Awful Offers from Goblin-Cobbled Coffers: The Woman’s Body in the Dangerous World of Christina Rossetti’s ‘Goblin Market.'”…Goblin Market has more than one meaning to disentangle; recurrent images such as rocks, plants, fires change meaning with the two sisters. Woman’s body is both protector and protected.
Maglyn Gasteiger, “Buy from us with a golden curl”: The Commodification of the Female Body in “A Castaway” and “Goblin Market”…women’s body’ in the Industrial period is relegated to the private, except in the inescapable marketplace, where their bodies are commodified.
2:20-2:50 Panel 5: EN237 The Fairy Tale (Brantford)
Moderator: Dr. Lisa Wood– fairy tales are oral, communal performance that change across time and across cultures.
Anton Talosi, “Puss In Boots, And Re-Imagining For The 21st Century Fairy Tale”… transformation and similarity of the Puss in Boots tale from 1697 to Shrek II.
Lianna Melchiorre, “Challenging and Rewriting the Feminine Narrative in Fairy Tale:,,,- feminine fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood written by Charles Perreault, Angela Carter, and the film Red Hot Riding Hood (1943). Rewritings reclaim female power, and desire.
Monica Van Ittersum, “Spellbound Collective: A Rumination on the After School Fairy Tale Pogram a King George Elementary School, Brantford”… Monica recounted an experiential learning part of the course where students visited after school programs in Brantford, told children the Briar Rose fairy tale, and then created group stories in subsequent visits. The students played games; imagined, created, and connected with the children.
2:55-3:30 Panel 6: EN234 Shakespeare’s Tragedies and Histories
Moderator: Dr. Eleanor Ty… the papers are from Professor Maria DiCenzo’s course
Hallie Acton, “No Two Alike”… How diff portrayals of Hal’s soliloquy in Henry IV, Part I affect the role. Hallie noted how the actor’s delivery influences the sympathy of the audience.
Zachery Nieuwesteeg, “The Emphasis of Strong Female Characters in Henry IV, Part 1″… Zachery talked about ways a production could change the roles of women, crafting them into more effective characters, giving examples of Mistress Quickly, Lady Percy. Modern production can make women appear more dominant, and challenge our notions of intimacy in the period.
Will Kummer, “To Have Two Hals: Hal’s Soliloquy in Two Productions of Henry IV, Part 1“… emphasized how new meanings can be explored even with the enormity of Shakespeare scholarship. He talked about the differences between a stage production on film, and a modern adaptation, how the actors can convey melancholy or exuberance with the same lines .
Dalton Bingleman, “Worlds Colliding: Cutting Shakespeare’s Final Tavern Scene in Henry IV, Part 1” … talked about the difficult decision of cutting a scenefor staging, what choices were made, and the significance of adding, removing lines,
3:35 Thanks & Closing Remarks. Professor Tamas Dobozy thanked the ESA and everyone for attending. It was a successful and wonderful day.
Photos and report by: Eleanor Ty