English Students “Meet the Profs” Night

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Laurier’s English Students Association organized a “Meet the Profs” night at the Hawk’s Nest on Monday, October 2, 2017.

A literary guessing game was organized by Manreet Lachhar and co-VP of Events, Tess Campbell. The names of well-known literary texts and characters were supposed to be very familiar, but managed to stump a few professors and our Dean of Arts.

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Student Association President Chance LeJeune welcomed everyone and there were treats and special way to make s’mores.  A few brave souls dressed up for the photo booth.

It was a fun gathering and a nice way to meet students and colleagues.

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Photos courtesy of Mhairi Chandler.

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Call for Entries: English Students Association Writing Contest

Good news, poets and prose writers! The deadline for the English Students Association’s second annual writing contest has been extended until Wednesday March 8th. To enter, see details in the poster below.

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Winning Love by Daylight: Students share their love and knowledge of film at full-day WLU Film Symposium

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The Film Studies faculty members extend their hearty congratulations to all of the undergraduate students who presented academic papers and creative works at the annual WLU Film Symposium, held last Friday and organized by the WLU Film Society. Over the course of the day, the audience was treated to a series of intellectually stimulating papers, stunning music videos and movie trailer recreations, astute questions from the audience, and, in the symposium’s final moments, a spontaneous dance party set to the theme song of Sailor Moon. A list of paper presenters is posted below. Many additional students screened work produced for their courses in video editing (FS370 and FS371), with a special presentation of two short films featuring sound editing by FS major Zixuan Lou. Congratulations to all of you!

Chris Luciantonio, Not Good Enough and The Tactile Accessibility of Stop-Motion Animation

Amanda McKelvey, Stereotypes in Masculine Melodrama

Mynt Marsellus, The Walking Dead, Zombies, and Genre Hybridity

Christina Shirley, Utopianism in Les Miserables and La La Land

Samantha Hutchinson, Shakespeare’s Bawdy on the Big Screen

Madeline McInnis, Modern Day Cinema of Attractions

Daniel Gibel, Soldier of Orange to Starship Trooper: The Evolution of Paul Verhoeven as an Auteur

Jonathan Lim, Canadian Identity: Anything but Clearcut

Jacqueline Ouellette, Penny’s Value: Feminist Auteur Puts the Woman in a Refrigerator

Yeng Hang, Mo Lei Tau: Reconsidering Hong Kong’s Despised Genre

Michael Oliveri, Popular Portrayals of Peasants in Battleship Potemkin and Chapaev

Connor Hotzwik, Discussions of Art in Early Film

Amy Holman, Bazin’s Puppets

Breanna Kettles, The Knight Who Doesn’t Slay the Dragon: The Reconciliation of Sci-fi and Fantasy Components in Scrapped Princess

Aruba Khurshid: How to Sell to the West: A Look at Sailor Moon’s Success

Edwin Adjei, visiting Queen Elizabeth II scholar in English

Edwin Adjei is a second year PhD candidate in African Studies from the University of Ghana. He won a Queen Elizabeth II Scholarship to spend the Fall 2016 semester at Laurier, where he worked under the joint supervision of Dr. Tanis MacDonald and Dr. Mariam Pirbhai. During this time, Edwin attended graduate and undergraduate courses, while developing his dissertation proposal in the areas of West African Young Adult literature and gender studies.  Edwin’s time at Laurier was a mutually enriching experience for his faculty supervisors, graduate peers and fellow students. We were delighted to have the opportunity to participate in this wonderful student exchange run by the office of Laurier International and the Tshepo Institute of African Studies. Please find below Edwin’s account of his experience as a QEII scholar at Laurier. (Introductory note by Mariam Pirbhai)

My name is Edwin Adjei (BA Hons, English and Sociology; M.Phil, African Studies) and a Queen Elizabeth II Scholar at WLU for a semester. I am currently a second year PhD candidate at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana. My time at the English department of WLU gave meaning to the proverb, “knowledge is like the baobab tree; no one person’s arm can encircle it.” As a student with a background in African Studies, and no knowledge of Canadian literature, my expectations were high as well as my anxiety. My time at Laurier not only broadened my knowledge in my thesis area but also offered me the opportunity to meet and network with students and scholars from around the world, as well as providing a lot of knowledge about the Canadian academy and culture.

I took courses in Creative writing (poetry) with Dr. Tanis MacDonald, and Narratives of Empire and South-Asian Canadian Literature with Dr. Mariam Pirbhai. I could not help but look forward to each lecture as the approach to teaching was not only captivating but also highly enlightening. Sharing ideas with my coursemates and learning from professors who displayed high competence in their field made me relish each moment in class. Coming from a different background, what made me enjoy my time at the English department most was how the professors in my class made time to lay the foundation for their expectations concerning my assignments. They not only laid the foundation but aided me step by step as I gradually adapted to my classes and the requirements for the Canadian academy. This was because they recognized the effect people’s educational and cultural backgrounds have on their approach to their studies and life and therefore aided in the transition from the Ghanaian to the Canadian curricula with lots of encouragement and direction on the transition process and academic progress.

Most important was the help of my professors in shaping my thoughts in relation to my thesis which was at its beginning stages when I came to Wilfrid Laurier University. They were so instrumental in laying the background for my thesis that I was able to complete a first draft of my proposal within the first two months of my stay in Canada. In addition to this, they were very helpful with suggestions on how I can be a better student and academic. Finally, they noticed my challenges with aspects of my academic writing and took time to offer me tutorials to help me write better in order to help me publish papers easily in North America which was very important as publications are the lifeblood of a successful academic career.

Overall, my time in the English department of Wilfrid Laurier University equipped me with valuable insights and intellectual experience that has further enhanced my interest in teaching and research as I envisage becoming an astute researcher engaging with other scholars in emerging areas of multi-disciplinary research with an emphasis on literature and performance. I also believe that my multicultural experience in the English department will make me a better teacher as in an increasingly multicultural global community, multicultural experience enhances one’s ability to embrace other cultures and be able to better interact with people of other cultures and experiences and enhance interactions with people of all cultures in order to be able to better serve society and the world.

Early Modern Play Reading at the Pub

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Dr. Andrew Bretz, who teaches our Early Modern courses, has been leading students in an informal and fun performative reading group. In the fall and winter semester, Dr. Bretz shares his enthusiasm for some of the bawdiest and most brilliant works of the Jacobean Golden Age with about a dozen or so keeners who show up at Wilf’s to read aloud plays and learn more about the context in which they were written.

Photos: Francis Alexander Rock

Andrew Bretz says, ” This past fall we looked at Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay (a rollicking comedy about the (literally) devilish shenanigans undergraduates got up to in the renaissance), The Revenger’s Tragedy (which is to Hamlet what Young Frankenstein is to the original Frankenstein), and The Jew of Malta (wherein Christopher Marlowe created probably the most interesting anti-hero the English stage has EVER seen).”

These pictures are from our Revenger’s Tragedy play reading, where, like Hamlet, everyone got to hold the skull!  I invite you to come and join our Early Modern Play Reading Group at WLU and broaden your knowledge of Shakespeare and company!

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A Different Path to Teaching

By : Carolyn Hough, BA Hons  EN 2016

        For as long as I’ve known myself (a pretty long time), I’ve known two things to be true: I love to read and I want to be a teacher. Both of these facts led me to Laurier, led me to the English department, and led me to Residence Life.

When I first arrived at Laurier I moved into a single room in Willison Hall, and had absolutely no idea what I had gotten myself into. My first university class ever was an upper year French class of 20 people, and is an experience I still consider to be one of the scariest of my life. In contrast, my first English class was “Reading Fiction,” and amid the 150 people in N1001, I felt right at home. We studied an extraordinarily wide range of literature, from Pride and Prejudice, a longtime favourite, to graphic novels in the form of Maus. I loved every second of it.

Through the encouragement of my own Residence Life Don, I applied to be a part of the First Year Leadership Program in Willison, House Council, and spent the eight months of my first year being happily pulled out of my comfort zone. I fell in love with Residence and the friendships it had given me, and with my naive first year eyes, applied to be a Don. Again, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into.

Hough Willison         My three years of being a Don were nothing short of an adventure. Over the years, I had the privilege of being a Don to over 80 students, an advisor to about 40, a coach to around 60, and a presence to approximately 400. And while I originally thought that guiding and leading students was simple and clear, black and white, I quickly discovered that growth is a relative term, that everything is a teachable moment, and that learning does not stop when you step outside of a classroom.

I discovered that there was more than one way to be a teacher. I could take the traditional route, the expected route, and graduate with a degree of teachable subjects, ready to take on teacher’s college, then battle an ever growing list of qualified teachers for a classroom of my own. Or, I could take a look outside the four walls of a lecture hall, the pages of a textbook, and see the way that a fresh start, a friendship, a guiding hand, and an opportunity to be unashamedly yourself, screw ups and all, could teach someone so much more than a math equation, or iambic pentameter, or the strategies that make a business successful, ever could. I was able to witness, over eight months, hundreds of fresh faced high school graduates stumble their way through first year and come out the other side with purpose, enthusiasm, and a stronger sense of self. Sometimes those eight months were full of teachable moments, and sometimes the experience itself was enough of a teacher.

I am by no means exempt from the learning influence that Residence enacts on people. I entered donning a fresh faced first year student and over the next three years I learned more than I ever cared to know about team dynamics and work ethic. I learned how to survive on very little sleep and that when I had the opportunity to sleep, earplugs were a necessity. My time as a Don honed my multitasking and time management skills as I dealt with first years who were away from home for the first time (and all the things that brings) while reading at least a Shakespeare play a week. I learned that I work best when things are on the verge of chaos, and that every time I thought I couldn’t possibly do more, I surprised myself. I learned that the best friendships are formed at 3:00am when you’re collectively facing down the chaos that is Halloween or Homecoming or even just a Friday night. I learned that chocolate, a comfy couch, and an open door brings people together more than you could possibly imagine. I learned the advantage of giving a single warning, of remembering people’s names, of regarding even the most infuriating students with unconditional positive regard. I learned how to learn from those around me, first years, or colleagues, or supervisors. And I learned how to turn life in Residence into a teaching moment.

When it came time for me to graduate, I wasn’t quite ready to give up this more holistic and life-centered way of teaching. Before I even got my degree in June, I was offered a job with Campus Living Centres at Seneca Newnham in Toronto as a Residence Life Coordinator. Having read, absorbed, and analyzed texts as difficult as Beowulf and Ulysses, I am well-prepared for learning the complexities of a new institution. And while a lot of things about my life have changed, the same two things about me are true: I love to read, and I am a teacher.

 

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EN370: Poetry writing course ready for Fall 2016

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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 tmacdonald@wlu.ca as soon as possible.

Follow the link below to the cool video advertising the course on the department’s Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/355694141158120/