On Oct. 5, The Department ran an event in the Paul Martin Centre: Employment Opportunities for English, Film Studies, and other Arts Students. Our graduate students were clearly interested in the subject matter of this event, and indeed provided the impetus for its development.
The Dean of Arts, Richard Nemesvari, opened the proceedings with Remarks concerning myths about the underemployment of Arts graduates. Laura Bolton, from the Career Centre, and Robin Waugh then offered a dialogue called “How to Apply for Non-Academic versus Academic Positions,” which provoked many questions from students. David Cuff, from the Office of Research Services, then delivered a talk on “How to Secure High Quality Training for Research Assistants in Grants,” and this topic was continued by two faculty members from our Department, Jenny Kerber and Katherine Spring, and one Professor Emeritus, Paul Tiessen, who outlined the specific tasks that Research Assistants had performed as part of their employment under federal granting programs. Kyra Jones wrapped up the event with her talk, entitled “Taking your Teaching Experience beyond Academia.” Finally Robin Waugh read aloud Closing Remarks by Tamas Dobozy, the Acting Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
I heard very positive responses from several students, who also thanked the Department for putting together an event on this topic. Special thanks to the Dean of Arts Office for providing funding for the event, and to all speakers, who gave so generously of their time—I know the advice concerning employment was greatly appreciated. Thanks to Joanne Buchan for arranging the room and the snacks: strudel, fruit, and other sweet items. In sum a very successful event.
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.
PhD candidate Anders Bergstrom, Professor Christine Daigle (Brock Philosophy/ Interdisciplinary Studies), and Professor Russell Kilbourn presented papers in a panel, “What Comes After Affect?—The ‘Non-Human Turn’ and the New Master Narrative(s)” at the Narrative Studies Conference in Amsterdam, June 16-18, 2016.
The papers emerged in response to the general question: what comes after affect, when ‘post-affective’ culture signifies not the end of affect but its total dissemination? The degree and status of affect at the level of uncritical consumption, and for everyday life, is markedly different from its value for contemporary critical theory, showing how historically out-of-step the latter is with the ways in which real people actually experience things affectively, before the disruptive interposition of ideology, reason, consciousness, higher brain functions–those features of conscious or unconscious human experience that have heretofore defined the human in contradistinction to that which is non- or other-than-human. From the positing of a set of philosophical parameters for a new theory of post-affective, ‘posthuman’, subjectivity, the panel moved to a pair of theory-based readings of specific filmic examples.
The conference was held at the University of Amsterdam in the historic city centre, within walking distance of the major tourist sites, as well as a great many of Amsterdam’s famous ‘coffee shops’. (On at least one occasion we had the opportunity to discover that these shops do in fact sell coffee.) A comparatively large international event, the conference included no less than 109 panels involving approximately 380 presenters over three days, with three keynote speakers—Espen Aarseth, IT University of Copenhagen (“Fifty Shades of Play: Making Sense of the Game-Story Landscape”), Clare Hemmings, The London School of Economics (“Feminist Articulations: Narratives of Gender and Sexuality in a New Feminist Landscape”), and Roberta Pearson, University of Nottingham (“The Cohesion and Expansion of Fictional Worlds”)—each of whom spoke on a cutting edge topic in narrative theory. In addition, six ‘Contemporary Narrative Theory Speakers’ led roundtable discussions on specific topics.
Conference participants agreed that organizers Tara MacDonald and Daniel Hassler-Forrest did an exemplary job planning the event—especially in terms of the social dimension. In addition to the closing night dance party, pictured here, the conference kicked off with an opening reception at the new EYE film museum, a short ferry ride across the harbor from the central station. In the end we were surprised to learn that narratologists really know how to have a good time, and that Amsterdam is still one of the best cities in the world.
I know it’s summer, and I also know that summer goes fast. If you are reading this, you know that it’s never too early to starting thinking about fall courses. I know that I am, and I hope you’ve seen my posters advertising EN370: Creative Writing:poetry, now part of our new Minor in Writing for Career and Community, and of course, a course that was offered for many years by Ed Jewinski, and by me since 2015.
Students often say to me that poetry isn’t their main genre, that they think of themselves more as fiction writers. That’s excellent, and that’s a good reason to take EN370, so your fiction writing can be enhanced by your exploration of poetry. Remember that there are plenty of good writers who work in both genres and say that writing poetry contributes to their prose practice: Raymond Carver, Jeanette Winterson, Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, and Anne Carson, to name only a few.
Entrance to the course is by portfolio only. If you are a student interested in the course, or if you know a student who’d be interested, poetry portfolios (6-8 pages of poetry in Word or PDF) are due to me at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
Follow the link below to the cool video advertising the course on the department’s Facebook page.
Congratulations to Alisha Walters who is taking up a tenure-track position at Penn State University, Abington, starting in August 2016. Alisha Walters’s research focuses on race in Victorian texts. She has taught a number of courses at the graduate and undergraduate level at Laurier in the last two years, including Victorian literature, Romantic literature, Academic Writing, Reading Fiction, and the 19th Century novel. We wish Alisha Walters all the best, and will miss a wonderful teacher and colleague.
1. Benjamin Lefevre, “Young Canada: Toward a Theory of the Represented Child”
2. Amanda Spallacci, “Resistance and Healing: The Representation of Sexual Violence through Personal Testimony”
3. Tanis MacDonald, “Clear and Other Cuts: AIDS Narratives and the Deep Woods”
Panel 2: Indigenous Literature and the North, 10:40am
Chair: Jing-Jing Chang
1. Jenny Kerber, “Cat Trains and Chattering Teeth: Literary Traces of Worker Experience in the Wartime North”
2. Rebekah Ludolph, “Humour, Intersubjectivity, and Indigenous Female Identity in Anahareo’s Devil in Deerskins”
3. Shannon Maguire, “’White Noise,’ Métis Hospitality: Noise, Transmission, and Translation in Marilyn Dumont’s A Really Good Brown Girl and The Pemmican Eaters”
Featured Researcher, 11:45am
Chair: Lynn Shakinovksy
Eleanor Ty, University Research Professor, 2015-2016
“Asian fail: Failure and Unhappiness in Asian North American Narratives”
Interlude: Sanchari Sur, “not being rude” & “gulab jamuns”
Panel 3: Specialist Studies in English and Film, 1:00pm
Chair: Ken Paradis
1. Claire Meldrum, “The Mystery of the Missing Sleuth: Female Investigative Strategies in Anna Katharine Green’s The Mill Mystery”
2. Susan Hroncek, “Bringing the Fetish Stuff Up to Date:” Invisible Alchemy at the Fin de Siecle
3. Anton Bergstrom, “Sacred Calling as Estrangement in Donne’s ‘To Mr. Tilman after he had taken orders’”
4. Mike McCleary, “Ray Harryhausen and the Aesthetics of High Imperfection”
Dr. Mariam Pirbhai presented the 100 year old history of South Asian immigration to Canada and noted the importance of the Komagata Maru for this community. She has recently edited a special issue on South Asian Canadian writing for Studies in Canadian Literature.
Aboriginal playwright and author Drew Hayden Taylor discussed the challenges of being half-Caucasian and half-Ojibway and growing up in the small community of Curve Lake First Nations. He says that as a child, he escaped from the limitations of his community by reading comics and adventure books, and is now writing more genre fiction, such as his Aboriginal vampire novel, The Night Wanderer and his forthcoming book of native science fiction.
Creative Writing at Laurier
Prize sponsor Doug Heard presented Danielle LeDuc with the Chris Heard Memorial Writing Prize. The prize was established by the Heard family for Chris Heard who was a student at Laurier who loved to write.
Danielle LeDuc read her amazing story, “War: A People’s History” which was surprisingly not about the kind of war you’d imagine.
Dr. MacDonald and several other students from Dr. MacDonald’s creative writing class read the following short pieces:
Anthony Haslam, “Shaman’s Brew”
Dan Douglas, “Fact”
Jenna Galluccio, cento song: “Tired Lovemaking” and poem “Snap, Crackle, Pop”
Jenna Hazzard, “King of Pool”
Dr. MacDonald, “Very Wide Awake,” a poem about the space race and Planet of the Apes
Dr. Maria DiCenzo introduced three alumni who graduated from English or the Film Studies Program.
Andrew Baechler (BA English 2007) played football when he was at Laurier and has now combined his love of reading and his communication skills with sports at his current job. He is the Media Relations, Communications, and Sports Information Officer at the Athletics Department at Guelph University.
Ron Butler (BA Film Studies 2012) loved studying films and even made films for the Fringe when he was at Laurier. He is a cinematographer and filmmaker at Final Frame Productions.
Hanna Burnett (MA 2013, BA EN/FS 2012) says that her MA year at Laurier was the best educational year of her life. She is the Coordinator, Program Services at the Toronto International Film Festival and had entertaining anecdotes about the challenges of classifying and rating films for TIFF.
English Student Association
The English Student Association, represented by Daniella Cavallini, Beniah Lanoue, and Chris presented a PowerPoint series about the association, including aims, benefits of joining the ESA, and events planned for the Winter term, then held a short meeting with prospective members.