Words in the World: English Symposium 2019

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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.

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            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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Fall Convocation 2018: PhD and MA in English

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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

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Congratulations, Roxanne Hearn, awarded MA in English.
Roxanne is continuing her studies, starting her first year PhD at Laurier.

 

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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.

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Congratulations, Dawn Matthew, awarded MA in English.
Dawn works at Laurier Library in Interlibrary and User Services.

 

Story and 3 Photos by Eleanor Ty.

Welcome MA and PhD Students, 2018-2019

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The Department of English and Film Studies is delighted to welcome our new MA and PhD cohort this fall:

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PhD Student
Roxanne Hearn (WLU)

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MA Students
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)

 

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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!

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Doctoral Dissertation Exam: Sarah Rangaratnam

Sarah Rangaratnam
PhD in English and Film Studies

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.

English and Film Program Award Winners, 2017-18

Congratulations to all the students in English and Film Studies who have won departmental awards and scholarships this year! The list of award recipients is as follows:

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Sam Lawson

Campbell/Verduyn Prize for Film: Samantha Lawson  

Jim Clark Prize for Drama: Liam Mcintosh

Jenna Hazzard
Jenna Hazzard

Chris Heard Memorial Writing Prize: Jenna Hazzard

Pauline Carole Leavine Scholarships in English: Erin McHarge, Caroline Weiner, Emily Merlihan

 

Kooh Mitchell
Mitchell Kooh

Hugh MacLachlan Scholarship: Mitchell Kooh

Barbara Parker Memorial Scholarship: Breanna Perrin

Madeline McInnes (L. Sarazin)
Madeline McInnis (Photo by Luke Sarazin)

Princess Cinema Award: Madeline McInnis

 

Denise Springett
Denise Springett

Flora Roy Scholarships: Stephanie Silva, Emily Merlihan, Erin McHarge, Denise Springett, Caroline Weiner

Paul Tiessen Scholarship in Film: Amanda McKelvey

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Stephanie Silva

Weldon and Misser Prize in Poetry: Stephanie Silva

Compiled by Joanne Buchan

 

Steampunk Course DIY Projects

Leah Ramsden

Leah Ramsden

Students in Dr. Andrea Austin’s ‘EN209: Steampunk’ engaged with the DIY aesthetic of the genre by completing makeables for their end-of-term project. While objects needed to be relevant to at least one of the course novels, members of EN209 took a variety of creative approaches, including transforming vintage tea decanters and old clocks into lamps (Leah Ramsden; Alexandra Zonneveld).

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Clock lamp by Alexandra Zonneveld

Other students created original graphic-novel inspired artwork (Taylor Zarudny), and retro-fitted an old mirror for two-way surveillance (Brittany Whelan).

 

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Artwork by Taylor Zarudny

Brittany Whelan

Brittany Whelan

How about using 3D printers to create an original, Victorian-inspired musical instrument (Daniel Wright) and a steampunk-themed treasure box (Roula Karawi)?

Daniel White

Daniel White

Roula Karawi

Roula Karawi

Story submitted by: Andrea Austin

Spring Writes: A Celebration of Creative Writing

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Emily Urquhart, Tasneem Jamal, Susan Scott

Spring Writes: A Celebration of Creative Writing was held at Veritas Café on Thursday, March 15th. Hosted by 2018 Edna Staebler Writer in Residence Emily Urquhart, the evening began with an expert panel on the art and ethics of creative non-fiction with Kitchener author Tasneem Jamal, Susan Scott, editor of The New Quarterly, and Emily Urquhart, who also publishes work in this burgeoning literary form. The three panelists engaged in a lively discussion about how to define creative nonfiction – for instance, as ‘true stories told slant’ or as a ‘true novel’ – as well as how to delineate creative nonfiction from straight-up journalistic reporting. Both Jamal and Urquhart trained as journalists, so they had much to say on the latter topic. The panelists also talked about the ethics of writing about family members or other identity groups, and walking the line between telling personal stories and addressing larger social questions. Susan observed that creative nonfiction has the potential to encourage diverse voices who don’t necessarily feel they have a place in Canadian publishing, and offered the hopeful suggestion that these newer stories have the capacity to renew the English language. The panel was timely as the Dept. of English and Film Studies prepares to launch a new course in creative nonfiction next year.

Katie McGarry
Katie McGarry

Yeli Cruz
Yeli Cruz

Stephanie Silva
Stephanie Silva

After a short break and some draws for door prizes, attendees were treated to a showcase of Laurier writers curated by WIR Emily Urquhart and Blueprint Magazine. The talent on display ably illustrated the diversity of genres and voices currently represented by Creative Writing at Laurier. Readers included Jenna Hazzard, Katie McGarry, Amy Neufeld, James Lao, Yeli Cruz, and Stephanie Silva. Thank you to these readers for sharing their considerable talents, to Emily for her work as a literary mentor this term, and to all who attended!

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Photos and Story by: Jenny Kerber