On February 1, the Department of English and Film Studies held our second annual English Undergraduate Symposium. Following on the heels of last year’s highly-successful event, this year’s symposium, entitled “Words in the World,” organized by Maria DiCenzo and Jenny Kerber, took on the challenge of addressing the many ways in which our discipline intervenes in larger social, political and cultural issues. Our partner in this effort, the English Students’ Society, was instrumental in obtaining matching funding for the event via the Arts Undergraduate Society Grant, making for an ideal partnership between students and faculty, both of which participated in the actual panels of the symposium as well. The attendance and participation from Laurier Brantford English students and faculty further brought together the various strands of English teaching and learning across Laurier’s multiple campuses.
The panels were a mix of creative writing and scholarship, exploring (in order) careers in English, life writing and digital media, pop culture and gender and sexuality, literature and sports, creative writing, and current contentious issues.
The symposium was rounded out by this year’s Edna Staebler Writer in Residence, Gary Barwin, who spoke to us over lunch about the strands of influence and technique and collaborations involved in his creative work.
Last but not least, we had the awarding of the Chris Heard Memorial Prize in creative writing to Yelibert Cruz Roo, for her short story, “This Kingdom has No Heroes,” about barriers to immigration and their effects on families and communities.
As a whole, the symposium reflected the many intersections between the scholarly and the creative, from found poems taken from interviews with famous sports figures, to works around life writing and personal expression on social media, to the importance of research in crafting historical narratives, to the ways in which skills attained in the classroom can foster careers in areas as wide-ranging as publishing, advertising and the insurance. The symposium demonstrated the many ways in which the study of English enables flexible and adaptive approaches to real-world issues.
All of the panels were followed by lively question and answer sessions in which students and visitors discussed the many ways in which our discipline engages the “literary” in its widest possible context.
Here’s to hoping for a repeat of this successful event next year.
By: Tamas Dobozy, Chair of English and Film Studies
Congratulations to Sarah Rangaratnam, awarded Doctor of Philosophy in English and Film Studies.
Dissertation: Girls’ Voices of the Eighteenth Century: The Development of a Genre for Young Female Readers, 1740-1800.
Advisor: Eleanor Ty
Congratulations, Roxanne Hearn, awarded MA in English.
Roxanne is continuing her studies, starting her first year PhD at Laurier.
Congratulations, Rachel Schryver, awarded MA in English. Rachel received the Award for Outstanding Graduate Work at convocation.
She is currently employed at Laurier’s Communications, Public Affairs and Marketing office where she did her Practicum in the spring.
Congratulations, Dawn Matthew, awarded MA in English.
Dawn works at Laurier Library in Interlibrary and User Services.
The Department of English and Film Studies is delighted to welcome our new MA and PhD cohort this fall:
Roxanne Hearn (WLU)
Alessia Di Cesare (UOttawa)
Laura From (WLU)
Paige Kappeler (WLU)
Heather Lambert (UWaterloo)
Sarah Mathews (WLU)
Kristen Schiedel (WLU)
Denise Springett (WLU)
Leah Waldes (BrockU)
Caroline Weiner (WLU)
The Department held a reception for new and returning students organized by Grad Director Jing Jing Chang held at Wilf’s Den on September 5, 2018 where there was great conversation and good fun. Best of luck for 2018-2019!
Girls’ Voices of the Eighteenth Century: The Development of a Genre for Young Female Readers, 1749-1800
Friday September 7, 2018 10:30AM Alumni Hall Boardroom, Waterloo Campus
Chair: Kathryn Carter Advisor: Eleanor Ty Committee: Andrea Austin, Katherine Bell Internal/External: Andrea Brown External Examiner: Dr. Lissa Paul (Brock University)
Just as they do today, adolescent girls functioned as a cultural force in the eighteenth century, and it was commercially viable for authors and publishers to attract and sustain the attention of these teenaged readers. Girls’ Voices of the Eighteenth Century: The Development of a Genre for Young Female Readers, 1740-1800, examines how four female authors leveraged elements of fairy tales, romances and gothic fiction, and developed dialogue and humour in their texts, to reflect the interests and literary awareness of their target audience of adolescent girls. My study begins with an investigation of the legacy of early French fairy tales in these texts, particularly in the work of Sarah Fielding, who was inspired by the potential of the fairy tale form and its cast of female protagonists. I then study the work of Mary Ann and Dorothy Kilner, who demonstrated the adolescent’s increasing awareness of power imbalances in the larger, adult world, and gave voice to the underdog in class and gender hierarchies. Finally, I consider the voice of female characters in the texts of Ellenor Fenn, who was subversive in her use of fairy tale and gothic features, recognizing that both genres were popular in the period with adolescent readers. Fenn was especially unique for her conscious appropriation of teenage colloquial speech in an attempt to entertain and engage her youthful audiences. Fielding, Fenn, and the Kilners recognized the potential of a new genre of text – the real precursor, it could be argued, to the contemporary YA novel – in which narrative form was expressly tailored to appeal to and to address the adolescent girls themselves. As experienced pedagogues, their intimacy with the young people in their care provided insight into the experience of eighteenth-century youth. This understanding especially shines in their work for adolescent girls, in which dialogue is rich, and characters seem to speak for the first time in their own voices.