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.
Story and 3 Photos by Eleanor Ty.
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!
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.
I have been working as a 9.5-month Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Theatre at Acadia University. While this past semester has been one of the busiest in my life, it has also been one of the most rewarding. The faculty I work with are excellent and have made my transition to Wolfville seamless and comfortable. They have welcomed me into their community and been an invaluable resource in matters relating to pedagogy and research. This was particularly important over the past semester as I was teaching three new courses. As expected, each course offered its own unique challenges, thrills, and rewards.
My main purpose for coming to Acadia was to teach an upper-year postcolonial studies course on Settler Colony Literature from Australia and New Zealand. While the postcolonial component was something that directly related to my research, I found myself returning to the notes and articles from my Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination at Wilfrid Laurier University to help plan lectures related to New Zealand and Australian literature. This experience was a helpful reminder of the value of keeping detailed and organized research notes. Although the material from my exam formed the framework for my course, the texts I selected largely differed from my Ph.D. reading list. Developing a course syllabus that included a mix of poetry, film, short stories, and novels from Australia and New Zealand meant a broad spectrum of genres and perspectives could be discussed in the course. The texts that seemed to resonate most prominently with the students were Peter Carey’s True History of the Kelly Gang, Doris Pilkington’s Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence, and Taika Waititi’s film Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
The other two courses that I taught were introductory classes on academic reading and writing. Both were comprised of a diverse group of students – ranging from first to fourth year and originating from various departments at the university. The challenge teaching these courses revolved around maintaining student interest and appealing to a wide range of skill levels. Organizing these courses around a student-centred approach to education helped to keep everyone engaged with the material. Many of the course assignments involved collaboration, detailed classroom discussion, and in some cases peer review assessment. In an effort to lead by example, students in one of the courses even had an opportunity to critique an essay that I had written during my undergraduate degree. This helped to turn a session on basic essay writing strategies, which can occasionally come across as tedious, into a lively debate when students were asked to grade the paper. Helpfully, as a new instructor, this exercise allowed me to show a degree of vulnerability and illustrate to my learners that good academic writing is an ongoing learning process.
Aside from my teaching, I also managed to publish a short article titled “Acting Out of Discontent: Satire, Shakespeare, and South African Politics in Pieter-Dirk Uys’s MacBeki: A Farce to be Reckoned With and The Merry Wives of Zuma” in Shakespeare en devenir’s special edition on Shakespeare and Africa. This achievement, combined with my service as Arts Representative on the Ad Hoc Senate Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, has meant that I have had little time to explore the surrounding area over the past four months. I am looking forward to a reduced teaching load this coming semester and, with it, an opportunity to further connect with the wonderful colleagues and community around me. In particular, I am especially looking forward to meeting fellow Laurier graduate Dr. Justin Shaw, an Assistant Professor at the Université Sainte-Anne, for what he promises will be a demanding winter hike along the coastal region at the bottom of the Annapolis Valley.
Coplen Rose, ‘16
Photo by Eleanor Ty
The Department of English and Film Studies is delighted to welcome our new MA and PhD cohort this fall who have come to us from near and far:
Melissa Brennan (University of New Brunswick)
Julia Empey (McMaster University)
Brendan Pinkofsky (WLU, Dalhousie – King’s College)
Jamie Brewer (Brock [BEd], WLU)
Amanda Burrows-Peterson (Toronto [BA English], Concordia [BA History])
Tess Clark (WLU)
Alex Coleman (WLU)
Joseph Coot (Minnesota State)
Roxanne Hearn (York)
Azaan Khamis (WLU)
Mary Saleh (Tishreen Univ. [Syria])
Rachel Schryver (WLU)
Lubna Umar (Univ. Delhi)
Kevin Wallace (WLU)
The Department held a reception for new students organized by Grad Director Jing Jing Chang held at Veritas in mid-September where there was good conversation and good fun. Best of luck for 2017-2018!
Photos courtesy of Jing Jing Chang
Anders Bergstrom received his PhD at the June 12, 2017 convocation and his dissertation, entitled In Search of Lost Selves: Memory and Subjectivity in Transnational Art Cinema received the Award for Outstanding Work at the Graduate Level.
Anders’ dissertation addresses the thorny topic of the subject, that philosophical category central to conceptions of self and identity that emerged in the modern, post-classical era, but which has been placed under interrogation, if not wholly discarded, in contemporary discourses. This project offers an answer for why this term and related concepts persist and manifest in contemporary cultural forms such as the narrative film, in the representation and materialization of memory within. Through analysis and discussion of examples drawn from contemporary transnational cinema—including, among others, The Tree of Life (2011), Melancholia (2011), Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010), and Goodbye, Dragon Inn(2003)—the study addresses the role that art cinema practices play and have played in shaping our conceptions of selfhood.
Anders’ PhD was supervised by Dr. Russell J. A. Kilbourn, with Dr. Jing Jing Chang and Dr. Tamas Dobozy serving as committee members. Dr. John Caruana, from the Department of Philosophy at Ryerson University, attended as the external examiner at his defence.
Anders is in the process of revising his dissertation for publication and continuing to research and teach film studies. He recently taught a course on Hong Kong Cinema this spring at University of Toronto Mississauga, and will be returning to teach a course on East Asian Film at Laurier this fall.
Our best wishes and hearty congratulations to Anders!
Anders with wife, Rochelle in Paris.
On March 10, 2017, Victoria Kennedy successfully defended her doctoral dissertation, Narrative Pleasures and Feminist Politics: Popular Women’s Historical Fiction, 1990-2015. Diana Wallace, the eminent scholar of women’s historical fiction from the University of South Wales, Uk was the external examiner and participated via SKYPE.
Her study contributes to a developing body of work on women’s historical fiction and its significance to feminist discourse. Since historical fiction is one of the most popular genres of the contemporary period, Victoria’s dissertation brings together the discourses of feminist pop culture criticism and theories of feminist historiography to address the tensions between narrative pleasures and feminist politics in some of the most recognizable women’s historical novels of the past twenty-five years, including The Other Boleyn Girl, Outlander, A Great and Terrible Beauty, and Scarlett.
Victoria Kennedy with Diana Gabaldon
Looking back now, I can see that I was drawn to feminism from an early age, though it was not a label that was particularly encouraged or promoted in my youth. It wasn’t until I became a university student that I acquired the vocabulary and confidence to describe my interests and political sensibilities as “feminist.” In my second year as an undergraduate, I discovered women’s writing and feminist literary criticism. This discovery so energized me that I pursued my passion all the way to a Master’s degree at York University, and then back to Laurier as a doctoral student.
Victoria’s PhD was supervised by Dr. Andrea Austin, with the assistance of Dr. Eleanor Ty and Dr. Katherine Bell as committee members. Dr. Alexandra Boutros of the Cultural Studies department served as the internal-external examiner.
Victoria is currently working on expanding and revising her dissertation for publication as a monograph. At the same time, she is turning her focus to historical narratives in visual media. In May she will present a paper entitled “‘We Want the King’: The Crown and Masculinity” at the Popular Culture Association of Canada’s 7th annual conference in Niagara Falls.
Photo and contributions by Victoria Kennedy