2018 Presenter Abstracts and Bios for Monday, May 28th


Monday, May 28th, Session One: 8:30 am – 10:00 am

MO Origins of Women’s Autofiction                         LC 202

Ella Ophir (University of Saskatchewan), “‘Write the life as fiction’: Intuitions of Autofiction in the Works of Virginia Woolf”

Abstract: Virginia Woolf was keenly aware of the need for, and the potentially explosive power of, women’s self-documentation: she sought out historical accounts and called for contemporary ones. Her vast diary was a record for long-envisioned “memoirs,” and she drew on deeply personal material for her fiction. So powerful was the pull toward writing her life, and yet so averse was she to self-exposure, that her biographer Hermione Lee calls her “an autobiographer who never published an autobiography.” However, Woolf’s extensive reflections on the writing of real and fictional lives illuminate other women writers’ use of autofictional modes, as strategic defense and as expressive necessity.

Bio: Ella Ophir has published essays on modernist fiction, poetry, documentary, and life writing, most recently in Biography and Woolf Studies Annual. She is the editor of a digital critical edition of The Note Books of a Woman Alone, the diary of a London employment employment agency clerk from the years 1914-34.

Sarah Brown (Brown), “The Family Well: Biomythography and the Depths of Depression”

Abstract: In the late twentieth century, women writers of autofiction retreated from diagnosability even as a pathologized approach to feminine feeling took over mainstream culture. The diagnostic category of depression was for, better and worse, the narrative lens through which the emotional distress of women could be recognized and remedied. Literary works such as Audre Lorde’s Zami: A New Spelling of My Name and Maxine Hong Kingston’s Woman Warrior simultaneously represent and obfuscate the most intimate details of a women’s lives and feeling, denying readers the opportunity to pathologize and offering alternative, intersubjective narratives of emotional management.

Bio: Sarah Brown is a Doctoral Candidate in American Studies at Brown University. Her dissertation, Reading in the Emotional Mind: Giving Form to Feeling in Late Twentieth Century America explores the ways in which literary genres interrupt popular psychological theories of emotional management between 1968 and 1995.

Lauren Fournier (York University), “From Philosopher’s Wife to Feminist Auto-Theorist: Phallic Mimesis in Chris Kraus’s I Love Dick

Abstract: Western feminism has long acknowledged the interdependency of the autobiographical, philosophical, political, and social—at least in theory. While the history of feminist thought is, in a sense, a history of auto-theory, Chris Kraus’s experimental writing marks a new way of framing feminist theory and practice. Reading I Love Dick (1997) through Luce Irigaray’s mimetic function, I unpack the performative movement from philosopher’s wife to feminist auto-theorist that Kraus enacts in her text. Using her own art world and academic connections through her husband Lotringer, Kraus straddles the line between complicity and critique as she invokes a new post-feminist way of writing.

Bio: Lauren Fournier is a writer, curator, and PhD candidate at York University in Toronto, where she is completing her dissertation “Auto-Theory as Contemporary Feminist Practice Across Media”. Her writing has been published in Canadian Art, Journal of Comparative Media Arts, Canadian Journal of Woman Studies, West Coast Line, Fermenting Feminism, and Desire Change: Contemporary Feminist Art in Canada. www.laurenfournier.net

Monday, May 28th, Session One: 8:30 am – 10:00 am

JO VSAO-ACCUTE Victorian Spaces: Real and Imagined I                                                LC 208

Lindsay Wells (University of Wisconsin-Madison), “‘In the Midst of Flowers’: Picturing the Glasshouse in Victorian Art”

Abstract: From private conservatories to large botanic gardens, improvements in horticultural technology allowed the Victorians to encounter plants in a variety of new contexts. How did artists of the period respond to both the physical spaces and ideological implications generated by glasshouse architecture? This paper analyzes the glass-enclosed gardens featured in paintings by the Victorian artists John Everett Millais, James Tissot, and John Atkinson Grimshaw. I argue that these individuals explore three distinct affordances of glasshouse spaces in their work: 1) The glasshouse as a mechanism of power; 2) As an alternate reality; and 3) As a refuge from urban pollution.

Bio: Lindsay Wells is an art history Ph.D. candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her dissertation investigates the correlation between Victorian
indoor gardening and the art of the British Aesthetic Movement. Lindsay has received research grants from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and Lancaster University’s Ruskin Library.

Amanda Paxton (Trent University), “‘Surveyed from Within’: Relativity, Non-Euclidean Space, and Walter Pater’s Aesthetic Theory”

Abstract: This paper argues that nineteenth-century controversies concerning the study and measurement of space act as a cipher for Victorian aesthetic theory, allowing deep insight into competing views of art and art criticism. For John Ruskin, the value of Euclidean geometry in general education lay in its ability to inform our relationship to practical, material spaces by reflecting unwavering truths underlying experience. By contrast, the aesthetic art criticism of Walter Pater invokes the language of non-Euclidean spaces in reflecting on the relativity inherent to aesthetic judgment.

Bio: Amanda Paxton is Assistant Professor of English at Trent University, Durham. She is the author of Willful Submission: Sado-Erotics and Victorian Religious Poetry (University of Virginia, 2018).

Alicia Alves (Queen’s University), “The Blood of the Bat: Queering the Animal in Late-Victorian Vampire Fiction”

Abstract: The growing interest in linking queer theory and animal studies allows us to interrogate how queerness and the animal intersect in late-Victorian vampire fiction. Through tracking the animal-vampire hybrid from Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla (1872) to Florence Marryat’s The Blood of the Vampire (1897), and finally to Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), this paper argues that these queer vampires are increasingly denied entry into the heteronormative domestic space as their association with the animal grows more visible. These texts ultimately examine the threat of violence to the queer animal-vampire hybrid as well as the vampire’s exclusion from the domestic space.

Bio: Alicia Alves is in her second year of doctoral studies at Queen’s University. She received her Master’s degree from Lakehead University. Her dissertation works on queering the animal body in late-Victorian and Edwardian children’s literature. Her research interests include gender and sexuality and representations of queer and animal bodies in Victorian literature.

Monday, May 28th, Session One: 8:30 am – 10:00 am

GP Moonlight, Limelight, and Spotlight                      LI 120

Huw Osborne (Royal Military College of Canada), “Ivor Novello’s Queer Celebrity”

Abstract: This paper examines the literary and publicity production of Ivor Novello’s persona in terms of Welshness, queer international celebrity, and performative masculinity. As the dialogue writer for the 1932 film Tarzan the Ape Man starring the Olympic swimmer, Johnny Weissmuller, Novello was the screenwriter responsible the famous “I Jane, you Tarzan” dialogue that specularized the male body in the moment of gender identification within the American fantasy of African colonial adventure. This paper examines how this catalytic authorial/specular/filmic moment relates to a public sexual, national, and racial ambivalence in Novello’s drag-kinging of romantic masculinity for a presumptively heterosexual mass audience.

Bio: Huw Osborne is Associate Professor and Head in the Department of English at The Royal Military College of Canada. He is the Author of a literary biography of Rhys Davies (University of Wales Press, 2009), and editor of a collection of essays on the bookshop as a twentieth and twenty-first century literary institution (Routledge 2015) and another on queer Welsh culture (University of Wales Press, 2016).

Mathieu Aubin (The University of British Columbia), “At the Cutting Edge of Lesbian Activism: Lesbianism and Bilingual, Transnational, and Intersectional Activism in Tessera during the 1980s”

Abstract: This paper examines the relationship between poetics, sexuality, and intersectional activism in Tessera during the 1980s. I consider how the aesthetics of Tessera’s lesbian poets challenged the sexual oppression of lesbians and contributed to the formation of an intersectional social justice site. I contend that lesbians within the journal’s collective queered the physical and literary space’s ongoing research and dialogue. By challenging women’s marginalization as a whole and contesting micro forms of oppression experienced by non-heterosexual and racialized women, lesbians within Tessera’s collective produced an intersectional site for social justice not widely available at the time.

Bio: Mathieu Aubin is a SSHRC Doctoral Fellow at The University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus. His work focuses on the intersection between Vancouver’s small presses, namely blewointment press and Press Gang Publishers, and lesbian and gay liberation movements.

Monday, May 28th, Session One: 8:30 am – 10:00 am

GP Decolonizing World Literature                         LI 119

Vanessa Evans (York University), “Working Within: Considering the Comparative in Indigenous World Literature”

Abstract: Responding to decolonization movements on Aboriginal rights around the world, Indigenous scholarship has begun considering previously separated literatures within a comparative frame. This paper places comparative approaches from world theory and Indigenous theory in conversation with a view toward the implications of an Indigenous world literature. How can the fusion of theory and story be strengthened by the comparative gathering of diversities?

Bio: Vanessa Evans is a settler scholar living on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation where she is a third year PhD student in the English Department at York University. Vanessa’s dissertation will contribute to the emerging field of global Indigenous literary study by comparatively engaging contemporary Indigenous literature from Canada and New Zealand.

Rasoul Aliakbari (University of Alberta), “Towards Re-Designating World Literature: A Critical Ethnomethodological Approach”

Abstract: I present a new approach to theorization and academic pedagogies of world literature (WorldLit). Utilizing print culture and Critical Ethnomethodology, I examine the Arabian Nights in antebellum America. I scrutinize digital and archival repositories, examine publications of the Arabian Nights, and situate the re-workings of the story collection in the antebellum press in order to reconstruct the historical experiences of American readers of this fiction anthology pertaining to the formation of a modern American ethos. My work demonstrates WorldLit as inserted in a network of publishers/printers, distributors, periodicalists and, most importantly, readers, and thus transcends conventional elitist designations of WorldLit.

Bio: Rasoul Aliakbari completed Comparative Literature PhD at the University of Alberta. His doctoral project was on the book history of the Arabian Nights in Anglo-American and Middle-Eastern contexts. A contract instructor at the University of Alberta and MacEwan University, Rasoul is currently developing an edited volume on non-European print cultures.

L. Camille van der Marel (University of Alberta), “Diasporic Citizens, Treaty Citizenship: Decolonizing the Individual in Transnational Literary Critique”

Abstract: While diasporic and Indigenous scholarship in Canada share many anti-colonial projects, there is a significant difference in how each approach land’s role in community formation. Diasporic literary criticism increasingly focuses on the metaphorical decolonization of individuals, those who must be free(d) from identities imposed from without; Indigenous scholarship, alternatively, contends decolonization is a communal, land-based project, one that binds otherwise disparate subjects and communities to one another. These divergent understandings of community subtly inflect how literary scholars approach, interpret, and teach relationality in a settler-colonial-cum-transnational Canada, and suggest that diasporic and Indigenous scholarship understand decolonization in discordant ways.

Bio: L. Camille van der Marel is PhD candidate in the department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. Her doctoral research examines discourses of debt in Caribbean-Canadian literature and demonstrates that conflations of ethical and material obligations link colonial history to the globalized present.

Monday, May 28th, Session One: 8:30 am – 10:00 am

MO Surveying Canlit: A presentation-interview panel on course syllabi                        LC 215

Lily Cho (York University), “Textbook Coverage and CanLit Divides”

Abstract: This presentation examines the relationship between Canlit authors and critics and seeks to understand the particular role of “surveying Canlit” in this relationship.

Bio: Lily Cho is an Associate Professor of English at York University.

Laura Moss (UBC), “Infinitely Surveying CanLit”

Abstract: My contribution to the Surveying Canlit panel would be to discuss the fact that over the course of twenty years of teaching, I have never taught the same CanLit class twice. Every year I change the texts we will be reading, the questions we will ask, the genres under consideration, and the approaches we will take. I am fascinated by the number of different ways that the class can be organized. I will be guided in this discussion by the CFP question, what does it mean to “survey” Canadian literature?

Bio: Laura Moss teaches Canadian and African Literatures at UBC and is the editor of the journal Canadian Literature.

Jennifer Andrews (UNB), “Surveying CanLit: Making Sense of a Crumbling Edifice”

Abstract: Having taught Canadian literature survey courses for close to twenty years, this paper interrogates the current state of my Canlit syllabi, focusing on a course that I teach regularly, which examines English-Canadian literature from 1970 to the present.  Given the crumbling edifice of Canlit, can or should we continue to offer English-Canadian literature survey courses? What alternatives do we have or can we imagine?

Bio: Jennifer Andrews has been teaching and writing about English-Canadian literature for two decades at the University of New Brunswick

Michelle Coupal (Laurentian University), “Irreconcilable Spaces: The Canlit Survey Course in the Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre Round Room”


Bio: Michelle Coupal (Bonnechere Algonquin First Nation) is Associate Professor of English at Laurentian University, and President-Elect of the Indigenous Literary Studies Association (ILSA). Michelle has been awarded a Canada Research Chair in Truth and Reconciliation Education beginning July 1st at the University of Regina. Michelle’s book-in-progress, Teaching Trauma and Indian Residential School Literatures in Canada, was awarded a SSHRC Insight Development Grant (2016-2018), and will be published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press. Michelle is co-editor (with Deanna Reder [Cree/Metis] and Joanne Arnott[Metis]) of a collection of the works of Secwepemc/Ktunaxa writer Vera Manuel, which is in press with the University of Manitoba’s First Voices First Texts series edited by Warren Cariou (Metis). Michelle has published and submitted articles on teaching trauma and Indian residential school literature, pedagogies of reconciliation, the cultural work of teaching truth and reconciliation through narrative, and Indigenous positioning protocols in the classroom.

Stephanie Oliver (University of Alberta – Augustana), “Confronting CanLit’s ‘Dumpster Fire’ Through Backwards Course Design”

Abstract: In this presentation, I will discuss my process for designing a new course in contemporary Canadian literature amidst recent debates about CanLit’s “dumpster fire.” I will explain how my institutional context, changing employment status, and positionality informed my approach to the course. I will focus primarily on how I used backwards course design (Wiggins and McTighe 1998) to develop my syllabus and address key questions raised by the “dumpster fire” debates. As an example, I will discuss a presentation project in which student groups contextualize, summarize, and evaluate contemporary “CanLit” debates by reading them in relation to literary works from the course.

Bio: Stephanie Oliver is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Alberta’s Augustana campus, where she teaches courses in Canadian literature.

Monday, May 28th, Session One: 8:30 am – 10:00 am

MO Pedagogies of the Archive I                                 LI 118

Karis Shearer (UBC Okanagan), “Teaching ‘The 1963 Vancouver Poetry Conference’ Through the Digital Archive”

Abstract: This paper analyzes and compares each The Slought Foundation and PennSound websites’ current user interface through which the experience of the “1963 Vancouver Poetry Conference” recordings is filtered, taking into consideration both professor and undergraduate-student users. It also positions the recordings in the context of each archive as a whole.

Bio: Karis Shearer is an Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia (Okanagan campus) where she is also the director of the Humanities Data Lab.

Hannah Celinski (Simon Fraser University), “Virtual Reality: The Immersive Archive”

Abstract: Virtual Reality (VR) is a new technology that offers users an immersive experience featuring a 360° view. Applications for VR as an academic archival tool are explored by considering VR as an appropriate archive for dance and movement. This paper considers the technology, its benefits and deficiencies, and applications to both the dance and academic archive.

Bio: Hannah Celinski holds a Master’s of English from Simon Fraser University and is currently employed at the Beedie School of Business at SFU. Current research interests include experiential learning, movement as communication, and Shakespearian drama.

Monday, May 28th, Session Two: 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

MO New Directions in Women’s Autofiction              LC 202

SJ Stout (Rice), “On Hipsters, Sheep, and Shepherds: Reading the feminist pastoral in Sheila Heti’s How Should a Person Be?

Abstract: Heti secures her place in the pastoral tradition, specifically a woman’s pastoral, as her contribution connects to other works by Gertrude Stein, Lyn Heijinian, Lisa Robertson, and renaissance writers like Aphra Behn and Mary Wroth. This lineage is not always chronological, and not sealed from masculine influence— as many of these writers seem at times to resist patriarchal cultures, while at other times reinforcing them. With readings from How Should a Person Be, I will highlight the pervasive, lingering power of the pastoral, and Heti’s utilization of recorded transcriptions—feminist e’criture— to reinvigorate the mode. Can this historically male-valorizing genre ever be successfully radicalized and re-invented? Or does it remain, through repetition, a confirmation and acceptance of what came before?

Bio:  SJ Stout is a first year PhD student at Rice University interested in poetry, performance, experimental forms of writing, ecomaterialisms, and early modern texts.

Joanne Leow (University of Saskatchewan), “‘Take off your shoes. Choose me’: Spatialized Desire in Tania de Rozario’s And the Walls Come Crumbling Down

Abstract: Tania de Rozario’s autofiction, part-poetic memoir, part-political commentary And the Walls Come Crumbling Down depicts a queer life that challenge the dominant modes of state capitalist power, globalization, and citizenship in Singapore. The text’s attempts to spatialize queer desire gives us a lens through which to view material, symbolic, and textual spaces that are not profit-driven or planned for. Subverting Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space, a text that takes the house as an explicatory concept of spatial poetics, de Rozario challenges the heteronormative underpinnings of house, home, property ownership and its links to reproduction and biopolitics in contemporary Singapore.

Bio: Joanne Leow is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University of Saskatchewan. She has published research on Southeast Asian literature and film, and diasporic North American literature. Her book manuscript looks at the intersections of spatial theory, colonial and postcolonial urban planning, and literary praxis.

Jess Nicol (University of Calgary), “The Story of a New Name: The Desperate Search for Autofiction in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels”

Abstract: My presentation will suggest that the many attempts to unveil Elena Ferrante’s “true” identity result from a) a conviction that women are incapable of deeply imaginative writing and b) the judgment that autofiction is an easier and “lesser” genre than fiction. In order for the sensationally popular Neapolitan Novels to make sense, Ferrante, a woman writing a woman-centred narrative, had to be writing autobiographically to fit into these two misogynistic beliefs about genre and women’s writing.

Bio: Jess Nicol is a PhD Candidate at the University of Calgary, and the 2016/17 Frances Spratt Graduate Fellow at the Calgary Institute for the Humanities. She studies and works in archives (in particular the Bob Gibson Collection of Speculative Fiction), material and digital cultures, creative writing, and fictocriticism.

Suzannah Showler (Ohio State), “‘It’s Like a Real Life Thing’: The Bachelor as Women’s Autofiction”

Abstract: This multimodal presentation will look at examples of self-description and self-parody by recent Bachelor contestants, both on the show and on social media, considering whether we can (or would want to) reimagine The Bachelor as an unlikely source text for a contemporary form of self-authored female subjectivity.

Bio: Suzannah Showler is the author of Most Dramatic Ever (ECW 2018), a book of cultural criticism about The Bachelor, and the poetry collections Thing Is (M&S 2017 an Failure to Thrive (ECW 2014). A 2017-2018 Presidential Fellow at The Ohio State University, she currently lives in Regina.

Monday, May 28th, Session Two: 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

JO VSAO-ACCUTE Victorian Spaces: Real and Imagined II                                                LC 208

Nahmi Lee (Western University), “‘hustled, and jostled, and moved on’: Bleak House, Circulating Waste, and the Strangest Thing of All”

Abstract: This paper considers the extent to which the excessive waste produced in the mid-nineteenth century forced Victorians to reimagine their major cityscapes. Specifically, I suggest that Dickens’s Bleak House reimagines Victorian London, in an experiment in the aesthetics of waste, as well as depicts the fluidity of waste as one that threatens to break down the division between subject and object. By considering the epistemological dilemma that waste poses to Victorian conceptions of selfhood, we encounter the limits of ontological classification and aesthetic taxonomy, as well as the anxieties accompanying what it means to produce and to live alongside waste.

Bio: Nahmi Lee is a PhD candidate at the University of Western Ontario. Her dissertation centers on Victorian systems of waste and sanitation culture, as well as on theories of new materialism.

Emma McTavish (Queen’s University), “Gazing Upon Gendered Violent Spaces in W. Somerset Maugham’s Liza of Lambeth

Abstract: My paper investigates the tenuous relationship of the public and private sphere in W. Somerset Maugham’s Liza of Lambeth through the theoretical lens of Janet Wolff’s article “Gender and the Haunting of Cities”. I discuss the hierarchy of gender inherent in the predatory relationship of Jim and Liza and juxtapose this against the spatial conceptions of slum public and private spheres in order to elucidate the connections between: violence, sexual assault, extramarital mate selection, male gaze vs. female gaze vs. self-gaze, and predatory and patriarchal dominance. The streets of Lambeth taunt Liza, the flaneuse, with spatial exploration, yet they ultimately entrap her, as seen through her death as a fallen woman.

Bio: Emma McTavish is a current PhD Candidate in English Literature at Queen’s University. She completed her MA in Public Texts (English Literature) at Trent University, and completed her BA Honours in English Literature at Bishop’s University with a Minor in Fine Arts. She is interested in exploring the constructed idealization of bodily representation and its function in mate and sexual selection.

Monday, May 28th, Session Two: 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

GP Ship to Shore                                                 LI 119

Julia M. Wright (Dalhousie University), “From Shore to Ship: Thomas Moore and Thomas D’Arcy McGee on the Atlantic”

Abstract: While transatlantic studies has tended to stress the fluidity of borders and identities on the Atlantic, the Middle Passage presented for many a fixed moral line. In a series of ship-poems on the slave trade and slavery published across two decades, Irish-Romantic poet Thomas Moore sets aside his usual anti-imperial nationalism to oppose slavery on terms that sometimes favour the British Empire over the US slave state. For Moore, European travel on the Atlantic is implicated in the coercions of the transatlantic slave trade on terms later picked up by a Canadian poet he influenced, Thomas D’Arcy McGee.

Bio: Julia M. Wright, recently elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, is University Research Professor at Dalhousie University. She has edited or co-edited ten volumes and is the author of four monographs, and has also published widely on university matters. She is currently serving her second term on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Jenny Sullivan (Queen’s University), “Anne as Admiral: Naval Heroism and Gendered Role Reversals in Jane Austen’s Persuasion

Abstract: Jane Austen’s novel, Persuasion, is often discussed for its historical underpinning, with the elevation of naval officers recently returned from the war. Literary criticism has forged links between the male protagonist, Captain Wentworth, and prominent naval figures of the time, such as Nelson. However, close analysis of Wentworth and principal character, Anne Elliot, suggests that Anne is the only true naval hero of the novel. Anne’s heroism, evident through gendered role reversals and her navigation of various spheres, demonstrates her ability to improve upon contemporary heroic models by infusing virtue into the courageous qualities purportedly possessed by naval captains.

Bio: Jenny Sullivan is currently completing a course-based Master’s of English Literature at Queen’s University, and her research focus is on the Romantic period. Previously, she completed her Bachelor of Arts Honours degree at Trent University. In addition to this, she is a novelist and poet.

Thomas Stuart (Western University), “A Shadowy Tableau: Masquerade and Melville’s Gothic Minstrelsy” (read by Courtney Church)

Abstract: In the traveling gothic space of Melville’s Benito Cereno, performance and masquerade corrode identity, while power, stripped of traditional hierarchies, floats free of its moorings. Critics generally agree that the novella is gothic and that it draws on techniques used in American minstrelsy, yet these arguments have not been united. Indeed, minstrelsy has been generally overlooked by gothic criticism, despite providing rich material for other American critical projects. Taking up Melville’s depiction of maritime slave revolt, this paper theorizes the gothic aesthetic inherent in minstrelsy’s staging of a degraded other within a space of travel and cultural exchange.

Bio: Thomas Stuart is a PhD candidate at the University of Western Ontario. His current work examines gothic affects in 19th century investigative fiction.

Monday, May 28th, Session Two: 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

BSP Working at the Intersections of Research and Teaching: A Canlit Guides Roundtable     LC 215

Brenna Clarke Gray (Douglas); Nathalie Cooke (McGill) and Shelley Boyd (Kwantlen); Kathryn Grafton (UBC); Nadine Fladd (Waterloo); Ceilidh Hart (UFV); Lucia Lorenzi (McMaster); Farah Moosa (VIU); Laura Moss (UBC); Gillian Roberts (Nottingham); Shannon Smyrl (TRU); Carl Watts (Royal Military College)

Monday, May 28th, Session Two: 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

MO Pedagogies of the Archive II                         LI 118

Emily Christina Murphy (University of Victoria), “Archival Recovery, Digital Humanities, and the Pedagogical Imperative”

Abstract:  I report on the construction of a pedagogical platform that I am developing with the Linked Modernisms project and the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin (HRC). Several research questions drive the pedagogical initiative: How can fair use and selective digitization of archival holdings work in concert with the metadata-driven character of major projects in modernist literary studies? How can students benefit from leraning about modernist literature through the twin lenses of data and document? And how do major projects manage the preservation of pedagogical materials to allow and encoruage their re-use?

Bio: Emily Christina Murphy is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow with the Linked Modernisms project at the University of Victoria. Her current work concentrates on
modernist women’s writing, literary community, cultural heritage, and digital pedagogy. Her published work appears in English Studies in Canada and Digital Humanities Quarterly.

Jason Wiens (University of Calgary), “Teaching Canadian Literature Through the Archive: Three Case Studies”

Abstract: My paper discusses various archival projects I have assigned my undergraduate students in Canadian literature classes at the University of Calgary over the past couple of years. I address students’ work with both existing archives, and their work in constructing digital archives. Using projects on Rudy Wiebe, Alice Munro, and Tomson Highway as case studies, I discuss both the broad pedagogical potential of archival projects in the undergraduate classroom, and attend to the particular possibilities in the Canadian Literature classroom of archival work as a strategy of reconciliation.

Bio: Jason Wiens is a Senior Instructor and Associate Head, Undergraduate Studies, in the Department of English at the University of Calgary. His current research considers the pedagogical implications of archival work in the undergraduate classroom.

Claire Battershill (Simon Fraser University), “Modernist Archives in the Classroom”

Abstract: Modernist digital archives offer exciting opportunities to engage with digitized historical documents and with material culture outside privileged institutional sites such as special collections and brick-and-mortar archives. In this paper I argue that digital archives should actually put students first. They should consider pedagogical uses at every stage from development to digitization to design and discuss practical strategies for engaging students in meaningful and genuinely collaborative ways in the development of digital archives. I discuss the ethical implications of student involvement in digital projects and offer concrete examples of student assignments, RA experiences, and undergraduate research initiatives that prioritize student experiences with modernist digital archives.

Bio: Claire Battershill is a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at Simon Fraser University. She is the author of Circus (McClelland & Stewart 2014) and Modernist Lives: Biography and Autobiography at the Hogarth Press (Bloomsbury 2018), and the co-author of Scholarly Adventures in Digital Humanities: Making the Modernist Archives Publishing Project (Palgrave 2017) and Using Digital Humanities in the Classroom (Bloomsbury 2017).

Monday, May 28th, Session Three: 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

GP Ethics & Resistance in Auto/Biography                                          LC 202

Myra Bloom (University of Toronto), “Fictional Euthanographies: All My Puny Sorrows and the Ethics of Writing Suicide”

Abstract: This paper considers the ethics of representation in Miriam Toews’s novel All My Puny Sorrows (2014), focusing specifically on Toews’s decision to fictionalize the events surrounding the suicide of her sister, Marjorie. Reading All My Puny Sorrows as a (quasi-)fictional “euthanography” (following Thomas G. Couser’s nomenclature), I argue that Toews is motivated by a twofold political goal. First, she aims to expose the failures of the Canadian healthcare system to adequately address issues surrounding mental health. Second, her novel advocates for the legalization of assisted suicide—which remained criminalized at the time of its composition—as well as its extension to sufferers of mental illness, who remain ineligible under the current federal regulations. My ultimate claim is that the trenchancy of Toews’s critique legitimates her decision to fictionalize her sister’s depression and suicide.

Bio: Myra Bloom teaches writing at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on the ethics and aesthetics of (self-)fictionalization in the work of Canadian and Québécois writers. She is currently working on a critical edition of Elizabeth Smart’s 1945 novel ‘By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’.

Jeffrey Weingarten (Fanshawe College), “Creative Invasions and Ethical Dilemmas in Carol Shields’s Small Ceremonies and Startle and Illuminate

Abstract: Drawing on theories of ethics from Robert Doran, Richard Rorty, and Hayden White, my paper explores Carol Shields’s fiction and essays in order to articulate foundational questions about what I call “the unethical imagination”: the writer’s necessary invasion of other people’s lives, even when that invasion constitutes an act of harming and/or wronging. My paper questions whether or not the act of creative invasion is a necessary component of the arts, as opposed to the sciences.

Bio: Jeffrey Weingarten is a Professor of Language and Liberal Studies at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario. As the author of dozens of reviews and articles published in literary magazines and journals across Canada, he is also the co-founder of The Bull Calf: Reviews of Fiction, Poetry, and Literary Criticism.

Celiese Lypka (University of Calgary), “Resisting Feminine Norms: Womanhood in Jean Rhys’ Early Novels”

Abstract: Jean Rhys’ early novels are drenched in feminine anxiety towards the physical body, social positions, as well as feelings of failure and haplessness. These novels focus on poor female protagonists who, through their indifference to leading a normative life, recast an image of womanhood that possesses—despite their depression, alcoholism, prostitution, and crippling destitution—a queered power and autonomy via their divergent lifestyle choices. Focusing on Good Morning, Midnight, this paper traces the trajectory of the protagonist Sasha in order to illustrate Rhys’s construction of the feminine as something radically and politically resistant without giving way to normative understandings of happiness and fulfilment.

Bio: Celiese Lypka is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English at the University of Calgary, specializing in modernist literature, feminist theory, and the theory of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. Her chapter, “Affective Alliances: A Feminist Schizoanalysis of Dis/orientation, Aliens, & Feminine Anxiety,” in Deleuze and the Schizoanalysis of Feminism is forthcoming from Bloomsbury Press.

Monday, May 28th, Session Three: 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

JO NAVSA-ACCUTE Victorian Print Culture: New Mediations                                                 LC 208

Jo Devereux (Western University), “‘Una and the Lion’ or ‘Purity’ at the Great Exhibition: Gender, Print Culture, and the International British Brand”

Abstract: John Bell’s Una and the Lion was one of many nude female sculptures shown at the Great Exhibition in 1851 and reproduced by engravings in periodicals such as The Illustrated London News and The Illustrated Exhibitor. Bell’s Una is based on Spenser’s Faerie Queen, thus gesturing towards past British glories. This paper explores ways in which the celebration of Victorian design, manufacture, and imperial might that was one primary motive for the Exhibition was both personified and complicated by Una and the numerous other nude female sculptures and their pervasively reproduced images in the print culture of the mid-nineteenth century.

Bio: Jo Devereux is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Writing Studies at Western University, where she teaches the nineteenth-century novel, modern drama, and Shakespeare. She is the author of The Making of Women Artists in Victorian England and is book reviews editor for English Studies in Canada.

Denae Dyck (University of Victoria), “Sight, Sound, Touch: Synaesthetic Media in the Illustrated Romola”

Abstract: In response to Collette Colligan and Margaret Linley’s recent call for studies of Victorian media to “overcome scholarship’s prevailing ocular-centric bias” by putting images “into conversation with sound and touch,” my paper analyzes the multi-modal functions of Frederic Leighton’s illustrations for George Eliot’s Romola (serialized in The Cornhill Magazine from July 1862 to August 1863). Taking my cue from Eliot’s synaesthetic language, I examine Leighton’s drawings for their combinations of visual, acoustic, and tactile elements. I argue that this joining of senses grounds Romola’s experiences in ways that both evoke and intensify nineteenth-century concepts of sensation, emotion, and sympathy.

Bio: Denae Dyck is a SSHRC-funded PhD candidate in the Department of English at the University of Victoria. Her research interests include George Eliot, Victorian literature and religion, and form. Her work has appeared in Christianity and Literature, BRANCH: Britain, Representation, and Nineteenth-Century History, and ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature.

Allie Fenson (University of Regina), “Rowlandson’s The Contrast, British National Identity, and the French Revolution”

Abstract: Thomas Rowlandson’s The Contrast (1792), which juxtaposes British and French “Liberty” in two medallions and was widely distributed by the Crown and Anchor Society, illustrates the conservative view of the French Revolution that began largely with Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France and became embedded in Victorian narratives of the Revolution. Over half a century later, and despite the suggestion that this violence could be repeated, Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities remains trapped in this oppositional thinking. Conservative thinkers defined British national identity in contrast with France and entrenched this image in the Victorian imagination.

Bio: Allie Fenson is an English Master’s student at the University of Regina. She has previously presented at the Literary Eclectic and Trash Talkin’ conferences at the U of R, at DePaul University’s Pop Culture Conference in Chicago, and at the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association Conference in Albuquerque.

Monday, May 28th, Session Three: 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

BSP CAF and CPC: Quit Lit & Precarity                                    LI 120

Ian Butcher, “A New Lucky Jim? Quit Lit and the Question of Faculty Power”

Abstract: Like many kinds of academic fiction, Quit Lit serves as a kind of “wishful thinking” rooted in nostalgic fantasies of the labour conditions of the post-WWII “Golden Age” of higher education. At the same time, though, Quit Lit makes clear the real consequences of the collapse of the academic job market on faculty power and shared governance and invites readers to consider how the latent faculty power of disenfranchised graduate students might be brought to bear on the corporate university to remake its functions to better suit faculty and students.

Bio: Ian Butcher received his PhD in English from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA in December, 2017. His work on student evaluations and neoliberalism has appeared in Works and Days and he is currently working on revising his dissertation, “Reading the Culture Wars in the New Academic Novel, 1984-Present,” for publication.

Heidi Tiedemann Darroch (Camosun College), “‘Resignation is a Feminist Issue’: Sara Ahmed, Critical University Studies, and Institutional Abuse”

Abstract: My contribution to this panel argues that Quit Lit participates in the broader project of re-envisioning the managerial and neo-liberal university. While much of the “quit lit” genre has focussed on the departures of precariously-employed scholars, a complementary strand has been produced by prominent and tenured scholars.

My paper focuses on British scholar Sara N. Ahmed’s “Resignation Is a Feminist Issue” as an exemplar of this approach. I argue that bringing to bear both a critical university studies perspective and an intersectional feminist lens allows Ahmed, who is writing a monograph on complaints, to highlight how departures from an institution function as a form of protest and feminist solidarity. As Ahmed writes, while contemplating an unpaid leave, “I felt a snap: I call it feminist snap. My relationship with the institution was too broken. I needed a real break: I had reached the end of the line.”

Bio: I currently teach as a substitute sessional instructor at Camosun College, having left a permanent position at another institution after filing a harassment complaint.

Sabrina Reed (Mount Royal University), “‘Precarity predicts promotion’: the link between contract work and promotion in female academics”

Abstract: This paper establishes a link between the preponderance of females in the contract faculty ranks and the relative lack of female full professors. It suggests that an overreliance on contract faculty creates a higher demand for service among tenured and tenure-track faculty. Since women do more service, and service is not as valuable as research when it comes to promotion, women are disadvantaged by the high numbers of contract faculty, not only initially but throughout their careers.

Bio: Sabrina Reed is Professor of English at Mount Royal University. Her research interests include portrayals of disability and illness in Canadian Literature.

Monday, May 28th, Session Three: 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

GP The Book as Object                                                  LI 119

Jessica McDonald (University of Saskatchewan), “The Curious Case of the Chain Store in Canadian Literature”

Abstract: Despite their omnipresence in the Canadian landscape, chain stores have been curiously absent in scholarship on the literatures of Canada. This talk aims to forward a discussion about the representation of chain stores in recent Canadian literature by focussing on two patterns: in the first, chain stores are primarily figured in terms of loss, damage, and the mourning for former geographies; and in the second, chain stores become potential sites of resistance or environments in which just futures can be orchestrated on an individual level. Douglas Coupland’s novel The Gum Thief (2007) will be used as a focalizing text.

Bio: Jessica McDonald is a Ph.D. candidate in the English department at the University of Saskatchewan. She researches in the areas of Canadian literature, literary cartography, and postcolonial studies. Her dissertation studies the spatial politics of Douglas Coupland’s written work.

Alicia Fahey (University of British Columbia), “Towards a Poetics of Exhibition Catalogues”

Abstract: In this paper I argue that exhibition catalogues are literary texts that deserve to be examined as vehicles of critical analysis in their own right. As textual documents that take disparate objects and bring them together under a unifying narrative of the exhibition, catalogues are apposite examples of the Congress 2018 theme “gathering diversities.” In this paper I propose a poetics of the catalogue that describes incommensurability between looking and telling as an integral aspect of cataloguing practices. This inherent struggle of representation leads me to conclude that memory is a central, yet neglected, component of a poetics of catalogues.

Bio: Alicia is a PhD Candidate at the University of British Columbia. Her dissertation, “Remediating the First World War: Literary and Visual Constructions of Canadian Cultural Memory” is an interdisciplinary study of contemporary revisionist war narratives. Alicia is also completing a critical edition of Sheila Watson’s The Double Hook.

Ian Rae (King’s University College at Western University), “Library Founders: Barnett and the Folgers”

Abstract: This presentation will examine the development of John Davis Barnett’s private collection of 40,000 volumes, which became the foundation of the Arts library at Western University in 1918. Barnett possessed “the greatest private library in the Dominion,” but his collection is not as well known as those of his wealthier American contemporaries who established private research institutions that still bear their names. This presentation will therefore compare Barnett’s collecting strategies and public objectives with those of the American contemporaries who most closely share his interests: Henry and Emily Folger of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

Bio: Ian Rae is an Associate Professor in the Department of English, French, and Writing at King’s University College at Western University. He is the author of From Cohen to Carson: The Poet’s Novel in Canada (2008) and editor of George Bowering: Bridges to Elsewhere (2010). His ACCUTE presentation is based on research from the SSHRC-funded Mapping Stratford Culture project.

Nicholas L. Beauchesne (University of Alberta), “Initiation and Instruction in the (Non)Fiction of Aleister Crowley’s Equinox

Abstract: This paper responds to Mark Morrisson’s 2017 essay, “Apocalypse 1917,” by demonstrating that Aleister Crowley had been publishing what Morrisson calls “esoteric fiction” as early as 1909 in his self-published periodical, The Equinox. I argue that the distinction between fiction and non-fiction held by Morrisson is problematic in the context of esoteric literature, using “The Dream Circean,” a short story published in The Equinox, as an example. To Crowley, such a distinction is meaningless. “The Dream Circean” is presented as fiction but was inspired by the psychic reality of one of Crowley’s own dreams; when read in a “recombinant flux” alongside other instructions appearing in the Equinox, this short story can be read as an example of Crowley’s method of “experimental science” and as a means of instruction as well as an aesthetic object. Its literary pedagogy is as valuable to aspiring adepts as the pedantic articles published elsewhere in this journal.

Bio: Nicholas Beauchesne is a PhD candidate and SSHRC doctoral fellow in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. His research interests lie in mysticism and its intersection with the other political and aesthetic radicalisms of modernism. As a longtime vocalist and stage performer, Nick has always been fascinated by the aesthetics of magical practice, especially in music and literature.

Monday, May 28th, Session Three: 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

MO Canlit Publics: Investigating the Field of Canadian Literary-Public Culture                             LC 215

Richard Douglass-Chin (University of Windsor), “Who’s Afraid of NourbeSe Philip?: Canada’s Cultural Controversies in the 1980s-1990s and 2017”

Abstract: Amidst Canada’s literary and public cultural appropriation controversies of 2017 we may ask: why has NourbeSe Philip and her innovative and prophetic work, so important to Canadian culture since the cultural controversies of the 1980s, fallen into such obscurity relative to other Canadian writers prominent in the public eye over decades? Why has her most recent collection of essays, Bla*k (2017), received so little notice? What are some of the forgotten histories of CanLit and Canada’s public culture? Do the cultural controversies of 2017 signal a change in the way we imagine CanLit’s goals, or has very little changed?

Bio: Richard Douglass-Chin is an associate professor at the University of Windsor. He has published a critical monograph, Preacher Woman Sings the Blues, and articles and short stories in MELUS, FUSE, and African American Review. His essay “Madness and Translation of the Bones in NourbeSe Philip’s Zong!” is forthcoming in Madness in Black Women’s Diasporic Fictions: Aesthetics of Resistance.

Erin Soros (Jackman Humanities Institute), “Who Could Have Lived: Devastation and Liberation in Dionne Brand”

Abstract: This paper weaves critical and creative, intimate and public, poetry and testimony:  it begins with a close analysis of Dionne Brand’s writing and then turns to a consideration of the police shooting of Andrew Loku and the corresponding inquiry.  Using Brand’s theorizing and linguistic attention as a framework, the essay asks what it means to be a neighbor:  what it would take for each of us to witness the suffering or disorientation of the stranger or near stranger and to respond with words and deeds of care.

Bio: Erin Soros is a Mellon Postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto’s Jackman Humanities Institute.  Her fiction has been published in international journals and produced for the CBC and BBC.  Articles have appeared in the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law and in differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies.

Jeremy Haynes (McMaster University), “Canada Reads and Canadian Literary Publics” (representing a research team including Paul Barrett, Sarah Roger, and Christna Stubbs)

Abstract: This presentation describes the development and preliminary findings of an on-going SSHRC Insight project that examines the impact of CBC’s Canada Reads program on the public reading habits of Canadians. On the behalf of the research team – which includes Paul Barrett, Sarah Roger, and Christna Stubbs – I explain how we have been using digital humanities techniques to track and evaluate the reading habits of Canadians by collecting and analyzing online blogs, book sales, book clubs, reviews, and other big data sources.

Bio: Jeremy is a PhD candidate in the department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University, currently completing his thesis on CBC’s Canada Readsprogram. His most recent publication, Beyond “Understanding Canada”: Transnational Perspectives on Canadian Literature published by University of Alberta Press,is a collection of essays that he co-edited with Melissa Tanti, Daniel Coleman, and Lorraine York.

Julie Rak (University of Alberta), “UBCAccountable and Margaret Atwood: Ten Key Tweets”

Abstract: One of the most important aspects of social struggles in the current moment is the role of social media as a way to inform, educate and sometimes shut down debate. A case in point is the role of Margaret Atwood’s social media twitter posts in the UBCAccountable controversy.

In 2015, professor Steven Galloway was fired by the University of British Columbia’s Creative Writing program in response to allegations of misconduct. In 2016, as Galloway began an appeal process, a website called UBCAccountable appeared with an open letter to UBC written by Joseph Boyden and signed by more than 80 Canadian writers and publishing industry figures. The letter supported Galloway, and had nothing to say about the complainants in the case, many of whom were UBC students. The most prominent writer to promote what became the #UBCAccountable campaign on Twitter was Margaret Atwood, a long-time Twitter user with more than 1.8 million followers.

I examine ten key tweets by Atwood to track how problems of hierarchy, silencing and power relations in the Canadian literature industry have developed since 2016, exposing deep fissures connected to many forms of injustice within Canadian literature as an institution.

Bio: Julie Rak is a Professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. She is the author of books and essays about life writing, Canadian literature and popular culture. Julie is the co-editor, with Hannah McGregor and Erin Wunker, of the forthcoming collection Refuse: CanLit in Ruins.

Monday, May 28th, Session Three: 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

GP Practical Pedagogy                                                 LI 118

Willow White (McGill University), “Teaching Aphra Behn’s The Rover: Addressing Sexual Violence and Toxic Masculinity in the Classroom”

Abstract: In my presentation at the ACCUTE 2018 conference, I will explain how a feminist approach to teaching Aphra Behn’s The Rover, specifically in an introductory survey class, can fully and ethically address both the historical context of the Restoration theatre and sexual violence. My approach is firmly rooted in the text of The Rover itself as I make the argument (as many feminist critics have before me) that Behn was acutely aware of the sexual power dynamics at play in her time period.

Bio: Willow White is a Ph.D. student in the Department of English at McGill University and a holder of the SSHRC CGS Doctoral Scholarship. Her dissertation examines the work of comic women playwrights in eighteenth-century England.

Shakti Brazier-Tompkins (University of Saskatchewan), “Donning Top Hat: Experiences of Teaching in a Connected Classroom”

Abstract: This presentation combines extant pedagogical research on the use of technology in teaching with an exploration of the impacts of the Top Hat platform on: design of and reliance on PowerPoints; use of in-class evaluation and assessment tools; instructor workload; and student engagement. It offers a case study of the role and efficacy of Top Hat in three classes, addressing the role of anonymity and semi-anonymity in in-class responses, potential benefits and drawbacks of the electronic classroom that Top Hat provides, and the effects of this electronic system on class dynamics and real-world discussion.

Bio: Shakti Brazier-Tompkins is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English at the University of Saskatchewan. Her specialization is in representations of animals in Canadian literature. She has recently published “Subject: Animal: Representing the Seeing Animal in Yann Martel’s Beatrice and Virgil in Studies in Canadian Literature.

Niyosha Keyzad (University of Toronto), “Teaching ‘Scarborough’: The Pedagogy of Local Literature”

Abstract: This presentation will explore pedagogical and instructional design that helps students develop their analytical skills by bringing texts into dialogue with the ‘real world,’ thus leading them towards a critical understanding of the tropes of (post)colonialism, (trans)nationalism, indigeneity, and diaspora as analytical frameworks for the study of literature. This presentation also invites reflection on the problematic gesture of historicizing, theorizing, and categorizing “minority/immigrant/ethnic/diasporic/(post)colonial/global Anglophone” literatures inside and outside the official English canon, which itself marks a contested boundary.

Bio: Niyosha Keyzad is a PhD candidate at the Department of English and the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on memoirs of the North American Iranian diaspora, literatures of exile and displacement, theories of space and identity, and post-revolutionary Iranian cinema.