An invitation to Laurier Film Studies Alumni

Film Studies alumni, take note! The Vancouver Film School (VFS) and Wilfrid Laurier University (Laurier) have just announced an exciting cross-institutional partnership that will enable students from both institutions to receive a VFS Diploma and Laurier BA Honours degree by taking courses at both institutions (third-year students in the Laurier FS program can attend VFS as part of an applied media exchange year). We would like to invite Alumni of the Laurier Film Studies Program to consider enrolling at VFS and check their eligibility for a tuition reduction as a graduate of the Laurier FS program. For further information, contact VFS at 604-685-5808.vfs-picture-card_half


Congratulations, Katherine Quanz


Photo: Katie Quanz at TIFF archives

Katherine Quanz successfully defended her doctoral dissertation “The Struggle To Be Heard: Toronto’s Postproduction Sound Industry, 1968 to 2005” on July 21, 2016.

Her thesis examines how economic and technological changes shaped the sounds of Canadian cinema, from the modern industry’s founding in the late 1960s to the widespread adoption of digital editing software in the early 2000s. By focusing on the labour and craft practices that coalesced in Toronto’s postproduction companies, Quanz argues that such practices engendered a critical shift in the sonic style of Canadian film sound. Whereas fiction films initially featured a sonic style developed by the National Film Board of Canada for documentary production, filmmakers eventually adopted a style strongly identified with Hollywood cinema. Although it is tempting to explain this shift by appealing to generalized statements about the globalization of Hollywood cinema, Quanz reveals a more complex picture in which a host of historical forces, including government policies, industrial competition, and discursive practices among craftspeople, are seen to shape how new sound technologies were used and how the adoption of these technologies did, or did not, affect the aesthetic of Canadian film sound. In order to narrow the focus of this dissertation, her case studies draw on films from the genres of horror and science fiction. This dissertation ultimately demonstrates that it is not technology alone that leads to style change; rather, such changes can be accounted for by a complex intersection of historical forces at any given period of Canadian film history. Put conversely, the history of Canadian cinema can be detected in its soundtracks.

The supervisory committee consisted of Katherine Spring, Rick Altman, Philippa Gates, Peter Urquhart, and the external examiner was Charles O’Brien.

Congratulations, Susan Hroncek


Susan Hroncek successfully defended her doctoral dissertation, entitled Strange Compositions: Chemistry and its Occult History in Victorian Speculative Fiction, on August 9, 2016.
In this dissertation, Susan Hroncek examines how depictions of chemistry in Victorian literature are influenced by concerns regarding the history of chemistry and its relationship to the occult.  She argues that representations of chemistry from the period, particularly those found in popular texts, responded to societal concerns about the origins of chemistry with speculative narratives that depict a collision between chemical innovations and elements of chemistry’s occult or Eastern past. The frequency of negative depictions of chemistry during the Victorian period indicates how, despite discoveries that revolutionized industry and medicine, the British public regarded the science and its practitioners with suspicion. During a period as fascinated with origins as with progress, these texts expand upon the uncertainties of a society struggling with the tumultuous relationship between chemistry’s past, present, and future.
The supervisory committee consisted of supervisor Dr. Lynn Shakinovsky, Dr. Maria DiCenzo, and Dr. Markus Poetzsch, and the external examiner was Dr. Martin Danahay of the Department of English Language and Literature at Brock University.
Susan Hroncek is currently pursuing the publication of her research, including a forthcoming article in Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies, and remains involved in Dr. DiCenzo’s project on Women’s Print Media in Interwar Britain (1918-1939), which includes both an Edinburgh Companion and an Omeka online archive. She is planning a new project on Victorian representations of the chemical industry and the chemistry of photography with Laurier colleague Maggie Clark.

New Partnership between Laurier and Vancouver Film School

The Vancouver Film School and Wilfrid Laurier University have struck an exciting new partnership that lets students from both institutions earn a Diploma in applied film skills and a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in film studies in just four years. This innovative program will provide film students with both a knowledge of film theory and hands-on skills in film production.

Laurier President Max Blouw and VFS President James Griffin will meet Thursday, Sept. 22 at 2:30 p.m. in Room R298 of the Laurier administrative building at 202 Regina St. on the university’s Waterloo campus. Media are invited to attend. A public information session will be held at 4 p.m. in Room P1017 of the Peters Building, also on Laurier’s Waterloo campus. Media and interested students and parents are welcome. Also in attendance will be Michael Baser, head of the VFS Writing for Film and Television program; Philippa Gates, Laurier Film Studies professor and program coordinator; and Richard Nemesvari, dean of Laurier’s Faculty of Arts.

Read the  full news release.


Reception for Graduate Students


From Left to Right: Dalia Eliwad [Phd], Lena Yang [MA], Jared Robinson [MA]. Edwin Adjei [visiting scholar from Ghana], Catherine Brunskill [MA], Anthony Haslam [MA], Mary Tillich [MA], Maria Cammaert Stengos [MA].  Missing: Khadija Plummer and Daniel Rankin [MA]

It was a great pleasure to welcome our new cohort of graduate students on Friday, September 16, 2016 at a reception at Hawk’s Nest. The students are all feeling very excited about their courses, and are also very much looking forward to teaching, some of them for the first time. We are particularly pleased to welcome Edwin Adjei, a visiting scholar from Ghana, who kindly attended the party in spite of having arrived in Canada only the day before. Our Faculty members are delighted to welcome all of them; the reception was a warm and vibrant affair, enjoyed  by everyone.

Submitted by: Lynn Shakinovsky, Graduate Chair

Welcome, Ada Sharpe


We welcome Dr. Ada Sharpe this year as Assistant Professor in Writing Studies and 19th Century Literature. Professor Sharpe has just completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University working on representations of artistic labour in the fiction of women writers of the Romantic period. Her ongoing research addresses issues surrounding gender, art, and work in British women’s writing of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. She also has expertise in academic and professional writing.

This year, she will be teaching three sections of EN190: Introduction to Academic Writing, EN309r: Illness, Medicine, and Literature, as well as a graduate seminar on Women, Writing, and Work in the 19th-Century Novel. Currently, she is working on a book-length project on the professionalization of accomplishment in the moral-domestic novel, c. 1790-1820.

A Message from the Chair

I really hope the first week of term is going well. Keep posted to this blog, where the Department’s special events will be announced. I draw your attention to several courses in the Winter term that still have spaces:

EN 211 Roots, Race, Resistance

EN 218 Contemporary American Literature

EN 252 Multiculturalism and Literature

EN 267 Canada Now

EN 280 Indigenous Literatures in English

EN 299 British Literature Between the Wars

EN 396 Mid-Victorian Literature

Please also consider joining the English Students Association and/or the Film Studies Students Society, both of which offer popular events throughout the term. I am always pleased to talk to students, and I’m in my office most days. I hope you have a very successful and productive term.

Robin Waugh