2018 Presenter Abstracts and Bios for Tuesday, May 29th


Tuesday, May 29th, Session One: 8:30 am-10:00 am

GP Aging Ungracefully                                      LC 207

Sabrina Reed (Mount Royal University), “‘Torching the Dusties’: Margaret Atwood’s Parable of Debt and the Aging Population”

Abstract: Margaret Atwood’s short story, “Torching the Dusties,” is a parable on aging and ageism which critiques how neoliberal discourse, with its emphasis on scarcity and blame, scapegoats the elderly. When read along with Atwood’s non-fiction work, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth” (2008), however, the short story also advises us to curb excess if we want to avoid a future in which the younger generation takes extreme action to erase the financial and environmental debt created by its privileged elders.

Bio: Sabrina Reed is Professor of English at Mount Royal University. Her research focuses on depictions of illness and disability in Canadian Literature.

Olivia Pellegrino (University of Toronto), “Hunter, Singer, Mourner: Aging and Animality in Katherine Govier’s Creation

Abstract: Katherine Govier’s Creation (2002) is a historical novel that charts the destruction of several avian species in Canada. In my paper, I read the novel to investigate “the animal question” in the context of extinction. More specifically, I read the ecological extinction narrative in Govier’s novel as directly correlated to her depiction of human artistry, aging, and lifespan. In doing so, I examine how the problem of extinction unsettles animal-human binaries and, further, how animal-human interactions and relationships have shaped conceptions of aging and mortality. Ultimately, my paper argues that the imaginative constructions of animals and animality in Govier’s Creation enable meaningful insights into the way human aging is understood and experienced.

Bio: Olivia Pellegrino is a PhD student in the Department of English at the University of Toronto. Her multidisciplinary research brings together Environmental Humanities and Health Humanities in its exploration of the connection between literary representations of and cultural responses to narratives of ecological, species, and bodily aging.

Nevena Martinovic (Queen’s University), “Competing Against Herself: William Hazlitt’s ‘Mrs. Siddon’s Lady Macbeth’ and the Cultural Memory of the Aging Body in 18th Century Theatre”

Abstract: My paper builds on Marvin Carlson’s theory of “ghosting” to examine the ways in which theatre critics and reviewers in the long eighteenth-century frequently summoned the “ghosts” of an aging actress’ younger body. I analyze this rhetorical tactic using Leigh Hunt’s 1816 essay, “Mrs. Siddons’ Farewell Performance,” as a case study. Hunt, like many of his contemporaries, manipulates personal and cultural memories in his textual recreations of past performances. I argue that this demonstrates how aging female players were constantly engaged in competitive performances with the memory of their younger, more physically “agreeable” past selves.

Bio: Nevena Martinovic is a fourth year doctoral candidate at Queen’s University. Her research examines the intersections between acting and aging in the long Eighteenth Century. She is the president-elect of the ACCUTE Graduate Student Caucus.

Tuesday, May 29th, Session One: 8:30 am-10:00 am

GP 19th Century Poetics                                     LC 202

Denae Dyck (University of Victoria), “‘Shall I fail?’: Limitation, Aspiration, and Unfinished Poetics in Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh

Abstract: Although Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s account of her verse novel Aurora Leigh (1856) as her “most mature” work suggests excellence and completion, her artist protagonist describes her ambitions in ways that foreground incompletion and failure. Through countenancing failure, Aurora also questions its antithesis success, particularly as manifest in the aesthetic ideals of perfection, unity, and closure. Aurora Leigh thereby advances an unfinished poetics, one wherein aspiration remains grounded in limitation and forms exist as entities in process. My paper analyzes the conceptual and formal significance of this poetics by situating it in relation to the respective theories of Balachandra Rajan, John Ruskin, and Caroline Levine.

Bio: Denae Dyck is a SSHRC-funded PhD candidate in the Department of English at the University of Victoria. Her research interests include Victorian literature and religion, wisdom literature, 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.

Rebekah Lamb (The University of Toronto), “‘[L]ovely, lovely misery’: The Rhetoric of Boredom in William Morris’s The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems

Abstract: This paper explores how, in William Morris’s first volume of poetry, The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems (1858), we see the initial development of a “rhetoric of boredom,” a heightened aesthetic mode of reflecting upon the self in relation to the mundane. In so doing, it considers how Morris understands the alienations caused by industrialization as generative of a profound yet burdensome heightening of self-awareness—to the point where the self is, as Michael Gardiner puts it, “recognized in and through its inability to see past itself,” thus becoming attuned to questions of identity through the condition of boredom and being bored.

Bio: Rebekah Lamb is a Gilson Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto. She is currently completing a book on the Pre-Raphaelites, Christina Rossetti, and the Problem of Boredom with McGill-Queen’s University Press. She is occasionally a visiting lecturer at the Centre for Faith and Culture in Oxford.

Marc Mazur (Western University), “John Clare in the Third Person”

Abstract: After John Clare’s limited success in London’s literary scene in the 1820s, Clare’s move from Helpston to Northborough witnessed a transformation in style and subject-matter that can only be called impersonal. As opposed to metaphor, which, as Ortega y Gasset writes, “substitutes one thing for another—from an urge not so much to get at the first as to get rid of the second” (31), Clare’s use of parataxis and metonymy re-envisions nature as a variety of contiguous parts—such as birds, rodents, ploughmen, churches, poets—that are each a condition of possibility for another within what this paper calls an “impersonal element.”

Bio: Marc Mazur is a Doctoral Candidate at Western University and the Newsletter Editor for the North American Society for Studies in Romanticism. Marc’s essays and reviews have been published in Critical Inquiry, Romantic Circles Praxis, and Analectica Hermeneutica. His dissertation is on the unpublished texts of British Romanticism.

Tuesday, May 29th, Session One: 8:30 am-10:00 am

GP National Traumas in Fiction and Film                  LC 211

Mike Fontaine (Dalhousie University), “‘Strange, but not all that strange’: Social Resignation, National Trauma, and the Legacies of Clerical Abuse in Roddy Doyle’s Smile

Abstract: In this paper, I argue that, in Smile (2017), Roddy Doyle points to the ways in which contemporary Irish society’s spirit of inadequacy and resignation exists as a sort of cultural trauma resulting, in part, from decades of widespread physical and sexual abuse perpetrated by priests and other clerics. I contend that the novel offers a scathing critique of the culture of inaction and permissiveness that exacerbated the systemic problem of clerical abuse in Ireland, and suggest that Doyle links Irish society’s impotence and docility to its history of victimization at the hands of the Catholic Church.

Bio: Mike Fontaine is a PhD candidate at Dalhousie University. His research generally centers on the intersections of literature and history in 20th- and 21st-century Ireland and Northern Ireland. His dissertation focuses on the ways in which contemporary Irish and Northern Irish novelists have turned to the figure of the “loser” to explore and assess major socio-cultural transformations, crises, and failures in Ireland and Northern Ireland in recent years.

Mitchell Crouse (Queen’s University), “‘A patchwork of negro bones’: Specificity and Relationality in Marlon James’s The Book of Night Women

Abstract: My paper explores the interplay between distinct cultural memories in Marlon James’s 2009 The Book of Night Women. James preserves the uniqueness of the suffering of his novel’s West Indian slaves, but also draws attention to sites of overlap between cultural memories of transatlantic slavery and the Jewish diaspora. The distinction between these cultural memories is carefully maintained, but textual references and a proliferation of figures and places from Jewish mythology place them in conversation. I focus on two such facets of James’s text: the name of the protagonist, Lilith, and the title of the novel’s final section, Gehenna.

Bio: Mitchell Crouse is a PhD candidate at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. His dissertation focuses on contemporary Caribbean and African American literature. After completing his undergraduate and teaching degrees he spent several years teaching at international schools in Tanzania, China, and Honduras.

Janet MacArthur (UBC Okanagan), “‘That marionette had to pull its own strings’: Unsettling Claude Lanzmann”

Abstract: Claude Lanzmann’s The Last of the Unjust (2013) can be seen as having initiated a process of what Dominick LaCapra terms “empathic unsettlement” for the filmmaker as secondary witness, but this process has not resulted in a completed mourning process. Instead, Lanzmann’s work and commentary on the Holocaust to date, including this film, reconfirm the impasse, repetition, and absence of Shoah (1985).

Bio: Janet MacArthur teaches and researches autobiographical writing at UBC Okanagan. She has written about Holocaust autobiographical discourse. Her recent papers apply theories of settler colonialism to the life writing of BC settler women about their relations with Indigenous women, and she is co-author of an anthology of settler and Indigenous women’s writing of the early settlement period in the BC interior.

Brenda Beckman-Long (Briercrest College), “Creating a Community of Witnesses: Acts of Reading in Anne Michaels’s Fugitive Pieces

Abstract: Critics of Anne Michaels’s Fugitive Pieces focus largely on the narrator Jakob, not the reader. This paper considers the reading-effects of her novel’s mise-en-abyme to create among readers a community of witnesses. The multi-voicedness, in a series of narrators and narratees, models complex identifications of the author, narrators, and reader. Through the figure of the reader presented by the narratees Bella, Michaela, and Naomi, as well as the narrators, Michaels engages us in acts of reading and intepreting the ongoing effects of the Holocaust. She offers a prime example of not the eyewitness but bearing witness in recent Canadian fiction.

Bio: Brenda Beckman-Long is assistant professor of English at Briercrest College which is affiliated with the University of Saskatchewan. She has a doctorate from the University of Alberta and postdoctorate from McMaster University where she has explored how 21st-century Canadian writers engage readers in historical trauma and crises through testimonial narratives.

Tuesday, May 29th, Session One: 8:30 am-10:00 am

CLSG-ACCUTE Christianity & Reconciliation                  LI 119

Hediye Özkan (Indiana University of Pennsylvania), “‘I was neither a wee girl nor a tall one; neither a wild Indian nor a tame one’: Religious Education and Identity Construction in Zitkala-sa’s Autobiographical Stories”

Abstract: This project explains how Zitkala-sa, a nineteenth-century Native American writer, uses English as a “talk back” against mainstream literary, religious, and political ideologies in her autobiographical stories. It discusses how she gains a voice in order to educate white middle-class American readers about allotment, assimilation, and “civilization.” Discussing the function of boarding schools and missionaries depicted as “palefaces” in the stories, this project examines the transformation of Zitkala-sa’s identity through religious and language-centered education as well as the transformation of indigenous land and tribes into “government pauper[s]” as she states in “An Indian Teacher among Indians.”

Bio: Hediye Özkan is a Ph.D. candidate in Literature & Criticism in Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Her areas of interests are Nineteenth-Century American Literature, Multi-Ethnic American Literature, autobiography, and women writers.

Melanie East (University of Toronto), “From Salvation to Salvage: Restorying Reconciliation through Cli-fi in Thomas King’s The Back of the Turtle

Abstract: Reading Thomas King’s dystopian cli-fi novel, The Back of the Turtle, this paper considers the tensions between language and paradigms of reconciliation in Christian and Indigenous discourses. As a word loaded with religious connotations of atonement and resolution, reconciliation is a contested term. I will argue that King’s novel explores new metaphors for reconciliation that resist the language used in oppressive missionizing efforts, and the endings such language presupposes. In particular, the novel’s modification of salvation to salvage provides a model for imagining the future of Indigenous and non-Indigenous
relationships, as well as collective acts vital to the future of our shared land.

Bio: Melanie is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto specializing in the Victorian and Edwardian novel. Her dissertation focuses on experimental romance under the late-Victorians and early Modernists. Her other areas of interest include Thomas Hardy, WWI literature, neo-Victorian novels, and intersections between Christianity and Literature.

Respondents: Johannah Bird (McMaster University) and Matthew Zantingh (Briercrest College)

Johannah Bird, an Anishinaabe scholar of mixed ancestry currently living in Hamilton, Ontario, has worked with the Lack La Ronge Indian Band on its history of Anglican missions, and will present an Indigenous perspective. Matthew Zantingh, a settler scholar of Dutch ancestry living and working in Treaty 4 territory, will present a settler-invader perspective.

Tuesday, May 29th, Session One: 8:30 am-10:00 am

GP Modernism: Politics, Poetry, & Religion                   CM 105

Graham Jensen (Dalhousie University), “Make it (re)new: Modernist and Religious Discourses of the New in the Poetry of Margaret Avison”

Abstract: This paper employs discourse analysis to examine multiple accounts of Avison’s famous conversion to Christianity. Engaging modernist as well as evangelical Christian discourses of the new, it interrogates existing narratives which have consistently characterized Avison’s conversion as an unanticipated, punctiliar religious experience, and it argues that treating this moment as a neat temporal marker between two seemingly distinct halves of Avison’s life and poetry obfuscates alternative narratives of her spiritual development and later poetic achievement. Ultimately, it also gestures beyond Avison, illustrating how the kind of rhetoric surrounding her religious conversion is intimately linked to modernist attempts at self-definition.

Bio: Graham Jensen is a doctoral candidate in English at Dalhousie University. His areas of interest include twentieth-century poetry and poetics, modernist studies, religion, little magazines, and digital humanities. His dissertation explores unorthodox forms of religious expression in mid-twentieth century Canadian poetry.

Mervyn Nicholson (Thompson Rivers University), “The Politics of C. S. Lewis”

Abstract: C. S. Lewis has become a conservative icon. His popularity is greater now than when he was on the cover of _Time_ in 1947, largely because the religious right has claimed him. But Lewis was actually pretty liberal—he was definitely not a fundamentalist; he accepted evolution; he did not admire capitalism (a Christian society, he said, would be “Leftist”); he denounced imperialism and was liberal about personal matters (divorce, homosexuality, birth control). Yes, Lewis was conservative, but he was not right wing—he was basically a “Red Tory” and his “liberal” side needs recognition.

Bio: Mervyn Nicholson is author of _Male Envy: The Logic of Malice_ and _13 Ways of Looking at Images: Studies in the Logic of Visualization_, as well as oodles of articles in journals such as Monthly Review, Journal of the History of Ideas, PMLA, brightlightsfilm, Literature/Film Quarterly, Nineteenth-Century Contexts, Children’s Literature Quarterly.

Andrew Bingham (Queen’s University), “TS Eliot Against the Grain: On Religion and Culture in Modernity”

Abstract: With reference to TS Eliot’s writing on religion, I address the following question: since no literary image or narrative is neutral, for each work contains and manifests certain valuations and is the product of a person with a worldview and set of commitments—each critical reader must be conscious of the work’s own particular blending of textured, value-laden content (‘what we are’) and depictive form (‘what we may or ought to be’). For as the matter of a work of literature expresses existential reality, the form in which the writer depicts it subtly indicates its boundaries and thus what may surpass it in a hopeful way.

Bio: I am in the process of completing my PhD in English literature at Queen’s University, Kingston. The dissertation is titled Aspects of Intimacy: Authority and Integrity in the Modernist Novel. I am also the co-editor of the online journal Modern Horizons.

Tuesday, May 29th, Session Two: 10:30 am-12:00 pm

GP Medievalisms Past and Present                          LC 207

Andrew LiVecchi (Western University), “‘And So Was England Born’: Medieval History and Translatio Imperii in Kipling’s Puck of Pook’s Hill

Abstract: In Puck of Pook’s Hill, Kipling problematizes English supremacy by imagining England’s past as a series of invasions and conquests, a continuous cycle of colonization which leads to the formation of modern English identity. By chronicling the rise and fall of great powers in history, he reveals his fears about the stability and perpetuity of the British Empire. My paper explores Kipling’s approach to what he sees as the problems of the Empire and to the lessons provided by Britain’s ancient and medieval heritage and will examine his recommendation that recovering lost heroic virtues is the remedy for these ills.

Bio: Andrew LiVecchi is a PhD candidate in the English Department at the University of Western Ontario. His research focuses on the intersections of imperialism, medievalism, and masculinity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and he writes specifically on such authors as Rudyard Kipling, David Jones, and T. H. White.

Brenna Duperron (Dalhousie University), “‘Hym that moost desireth me’: Reconsidering the Roles of Emelye and Alison in ‘Fragment 1’”

Abstract: Lovesickness was thus understood as a mental and physiological delusion that rendered the male patient at the mercy of his excessive desires, and ultimately would lead to the subversion of normative male sexual aggression. In this regard, Alison, the character who has usually been read as the most subversive female character of “Fragment 1” of The Canterbury Tales, can be read instead as a character who eventually supports an overarching patriarchal agenda, an ideological stance that becomes clear in her encouragement of Nicholas’ and Absolon’s masculine sexual aggression. Emelye can also be reconsidered, as her failure to cure Arcite and Palamoun’s lovesickness maintains their mental delusion and thus disallows the reassertion of normative masculinity. Reading Emelye in such terms enables us to see her apparent submission at the conclusion of The Knight’s Tale not as a capitulation to the demands of male desire but a sustained subversion of male sexual dominance.

Bio: Brenna Duperron is a PhD Student at Dalhousie University. She completed her MA at Simon Fraser University with an interest on issues of gender and form. She has presented at the IMC Leeds 2017 on the political criticism of Mary of Guelders in Henryson’s Testament of Cresseid

Carley Meredith (University of British Columbia), “Medieval Fantasies in E.M. Forster’s ‘The Machine Stops’”

Abstract: In “The Machine Stops” (1909), E.M. Forster problematically posits King Alfred’s Wessex as a nostalgic point of return from a hyper-technological future. Drawing on theories of the posthuman and studies of Anglo-Saxonism, I argue that Forster misrepresents Wessex as a technology free space in which man can return to an Edenic existence. Forster anachronistically projects humanism backwards onto early medieval England, and frames the modern underground world as a hellscape precisely because of its frightening potential for alternative definitions of the human. Ironically, these posthuman possibilities resemble conceptualizations of the human that the Anglo-Saxons themselves seem to have embraced.

Bio: Carley is currently working toward an MA in English at the University of British Columbia. Her primary research interests include medieval and early modern paratexts, and more recently ecocriticism and contemporary Canadian literature.

Robert Shane Farris (University of Saskatchewan), “Paths of Exile: The Space of the Wilderness in Medieval English Literature”

Abstract: Medieval spaces are often characterized by their relationship to Christianity and spiritual social practice; however, medieval landscapes such as the space of the medieval desert, or wilderness, also merit scholarly attention. In medieval English literature, the Anglo-Saxon poem The Wanderer and the Middle English poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight both follow either a speaker or heroic archetype who follow paths of exile from their urban, courtly spaces into the wilderness. This essay argues that the wilderness is a transitional space that allows for the exploration of cultural values and the shifting nature of cultural codes.

Bio: R. S. Farris is a PhD student in English Literature at the University of Saskatchewan. His research interests include medieval studies, narratology, semiotics, and digital humanities. He currently studies the transference and appropriation of culture as presented and re-presented in literature across time in relation to medieval texts and medievalisms.

Tuesday, May 29th, Session Two: 10:30 am-12:00 pm

JO NASSR-ACCUTE Romantic (An)aesthetics I                                 LC 202

Tilottama Rajan (Western University), “Godwin’s Irritability”

Abstract: Irritability and sensibility are terms originating in 18thc physiology. But while sensibility has migrated out of the medico-physiological sphere, irritability has not received its due. This paper develops a philosophical and literary theory of irritability as an alternative to sensibility through Godwin’s Fleetwood, or the New Man of Feeling  (1805). Followed by a twelve-year hiatus before the more urgently dark Mandeville, Fleetwood’s misanthropy and Godwin’s own irritability with the domestic novel he must produce to give the public its desired “receipt” instead of the historical novel he wants to write provides an example of irritability as stalled negativity.

Bio: Tilottama Rajan (Western Ontario) is a CRC and Distinguished University Professor. She is the author of four books, most recently Romantic Narrative (Johns Hopkins, 2010), and editor of eight books. She has just edited Godwin’s Mandeville (Broadview, 2015), and is working on organizations of knowledge from Idealism to Deconstruction.

Chris Bundock (University of Regina), “‘Nor numbed sense to steel it’: Romantic Anesthetics”

Abstract: Using Keats’s Odes as a specific place to locate feeling’s transformation into its own other, numbness or apathy, this paper will place his poetry into conversation with cultural and philosophical work on medicine and affect. For instance, in approaching in insensible, to what degree is Keats writing a
poetry of “affect”? As a medical practitioner, Keats also has an investment in the power of anesthetics for pain relief. In his time, alcohol was sometimes prescribed to mask pain more effective anesthetics were yet to be invented. How does Keats’s experience of pain also inform his interest in an aesthetics that embraces its own termination?

Bio: Chris Bundock is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Regina. His book Romantic Prophecy and the Resistance to Historicism (Toronto UP) was published in 2016. He has recently published an edited collection with Elizabeth Effinger titled William Blake’s Gothic Imagination (Manchester UP).

Elizabeth Effinger (University of New Brunswick), “William Blake and the Fall of Sleep”

Abstract: This paper explores the fall of sleep in Blake’s frequently overlooked Lyca poems (“The Little Girl Lost” and “The Little Girl Found”). Drawing on Jean-Luc Nancy’s theorization of sleep, the “fall” of sleep refers to the moment of sleep’s arrival, and its failure or slipping away. I read the Lyca poems as presenting a vision of sleep as a performance, a political act that is a form of “recessive action” in the sense outlined by Anne-Lise François. The poem’s fall of sleep — a phenomenon that first befalls Lyca, and then the lion — ultimately works to dethrone sovereign power.

Bio: Elizabeth Effinger, Assistant Professor of English at the University of New Brunswick (Canada) specializes in British Romanticism. Some of her work appears in ERR; Queer Blake; and Romantic Circles. She is the co-editor (with Chris Bundock) of William Blake’s Gothic Imagination: Bodies of Horror (Manchester University Press, 2018).

Tuesday, May 29th, Session Two: 10:30 am-12:00 pm

GP Word Games, Cyborg Writing, and the Book Machine                                               LC 208

Lindsay Presswell (York University), “Alienation, Empowerment and Authority: Understanding Erín Moure’s Pillage Laud as Cyborg Writing”

Abstract: This paper engages with “Pillage Laud,” a collection of computer-generated poems arranged by Canadian poet Erín Moure. Donna Haraway’s essay “A Cyborg Manifesto” is used to establish how “Pillage Laud” embodies what Haraway calls “cyborg writing” and to explore the implications of such a categorization. Much of the existing writing on Moure ignores “Pillage Laud,” an oversight that this paper begins to reconcile by demonstrating how the text advances important feminist critiques of traditional Western narratives in literature. That the critiques made possible by “Pillage Laud” occur within the predominantly male genre of computer-generated poetry is also considered.

Bio: Lindsay Presswell is an MA candidate in the Graduate Program in English at York University. She received her Honours BA in English from York University in 2015. Her research interests include modern and postmodern poetry by women, feminist technology studies, and media theory.

Ryan J. Cox (Keyano College), “Is this a page? Making the Invisible Machinery of the Book Visible in bpNichol’s ‘Studies in the Book Machine’”

Abstract: This paper examines the ways that bpNichol’s serial poem “Studies in the Book Machine” reveals and deconstructs the mechanisms and the materiality of the book. Nichol actively challenges the boundaries of the text as they are established by the book as a standardized object by placing poems in paratextual, and extratextual locations. This experimentation with both the book as system and material object serves to disrupt the invisibility of the book-machine, forcing the reader to confront the way assumptions as simple as what constitutes a page governs their relationship with the book as an object imbued with authority.

Bio: Dr. Ryan J. Cox teaches English and Film at Keyano College. His research explores the intersections of Poetics, Popular Culture, Identity and Nation. His writing has appeared in Canadian Literature, English Studies in Canada, The Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, Jim Henson and Philosophy, Carousel, and The Windsor Review.

Conor Sweetman (York University), “Parataxis and the Post-Capitalist Word Games of The Chinese Notebook

Abstract: In his unique work, The Chinese Notebook, Ron Silliman affirms the inherent logic of language according to the specific game it plays, as described by Wittgenstein’s theory of the language game. Silliman desires to see new forms of poetry take shape that challenges the culture of commodity and capitalism, while not becoming untethered from a communal and accessible experience. Often, Silliman attempts to identify how far the signifier can go before it breaks with the signified, and what this new paratactical form of writing can offer to a society that is tired of being sold.

Bio: Conor Sweetman is a 23-year-old student with a physical disability that has given a unique insight on human experience and the language that informs it. He is currently completing an MA English from York University and plans on completing a PhD and researching the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Tuesday, May 29th, Session Two: 10:30 am-12:00 pm

MO L.M. Montgomery and the City                          LC 211

Holly Pike (MUN, Grenfell Campus), “L. M. Montgomery’s City of Ladies”

Abstract: In her journals and in several short stories, L.M. describes experiences in boarding houses, one of the few living spaces available to single women in towns and cities.  This presentation discusses these boarding houses as cities in themselves, in which the largely young women inhabitants learn to participate in the polis and are socialized to care for other women and the plights they face.  Acts of writing and misdirected mail provide the impetus for greater knowledge and understanding within the anonymous daily life of the boarding house and the city.

Bio: Holly Pike is associate professor of English at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University.  She has published on Montgomery most recently in L.M. Montgomery and War (ed. McKenzie and Ledwell) and L.M. Montgomery’s Rainbow Valleys (ed. Bode and Clement), and regularly presents at conferences of the L.M. Montgomery Institute.

Melanie J. Fishbane (Humber College), “‘Between the river and the poplar bluffs’: L. M. Montgomery’s Nostalgic Reminiscences of Prince Albert”

Abstract: When L.M. Montgomery was fifteen years old, she went to live with her father and his family in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Returning in October 1930, Montgomery records how much the town and its people had changed. Her impressions of Prince Albert both when she came as a teenager and returned as an adult are clouded by her personal connections, making her nostalgic for what once was and what never would be. Through Montgomery’s juvenilia and life writing, this paper will explore how closely Montgomery’s impressions of and connection to Prince Albert were tied to the people she knew and loved.

Bio: Melanie J. Fishbane holds an M.F.A. from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and an M.A. from Concordia University. Her essay on L.M. Montgomery appears in L.M. Montgomery’s Rainbow Valleys: The Ontario Years 1911-1942. Melanie teaches English at Humber College. Her YA novel, Maud: A Novel was published in 2017.

Kate Scarth (University of Prince Edward Island), “L. M. Montgomery Writes Halifax”

Abstract: L.M. Montgomery enables deep understanding of the cultural history of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Montgomery’s writing has, of course, inspired enthusiasts’ and scholars’ varied perspectives on rural, agricultural Prince Edward Island. However, the relationship between the urban and Montgomery’s writing is understudied. This presentation focuses on how Montgomery’s fiction and life-writing about Halifax can engage the public and deepen understanding of the city’s history. Specifically, the presentation will preview a literary walking tour of the city that heavily features Montgomery and that will be available via a website and mobile app, inviting audiences to (re-)read Halifax geography, history, and literature.  

Bio: Kate Scarth is the Chair of L.M. Montgomery Studies and Applied Communication, Leadership, and Culture at UPEI. Her book, “Romantic Suburbs: Fashion, Sensibility, and Greater London,” is under contract with the University of Toronto Press. She also leads a digital humanities, public engagement project on literary Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Tuesday, May 29th, Session Two: 10:30 am-12:00 pm

GP A Victorian Miscellany                                CM 105

Emily Rothwell (Carleton University), “Blood Beneath the Buttercups: Victorian Childhoods, Gardens, Cemeteries, and the Grievable and Ungrievable Dead”

Abstract: This paper, interdisciplinary in its scope (drawing from art history, literary studies and architectural history), will trace the cultural histories that surrounded the change that occurred in Victorian Britain’s view of death: the invention of the landscaped cemetery and the aestheticizing of burial in that newly designed Arcadian necrolandscape. Specifically, this paper will focus on landscape design and socio-intellectual histories that surrounded the shift from the early modern churchyard to the Victorian cemetery. Yet, this paper will also ask: which bodies were sanctioned to be publicly grieved and, as Judith Butler asks, which bodies were excluded as the “ungrievable” dead?

Bio: Emily Rothwell is a second-year Ph.D. Candidate in the interdisciplinary program, Cultural Mediations, at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Her research focuses on the transnational long nineteenth century, Atlantic studies, Victorian Studies, art histories, cultural histories, literary studies, childhood studies, architecture and fairy tales. She is also interested in research-creation as a way of combining her own artistic practice with her scholarly research.

Kyle Joudry (Queen’s University), “Darwin’s Missing Link: Mary Anning, Victorian Paleontology, and the Reaffirmation of Hierarchy in The Origin of Species

Abstract: My paper investigates Charles Darwin’s neglect of Mary Anning, a pioneer in paleontology, in The Origin of Species. By the time The Origin was published, Anning had discovered three significant transitional fossils: the Ichthyosaurus, Plesiosaurus, and Pterodactylus. Darwin, in spite of his preoccupation with the fossil record, fails to discuss Anning’s contributions to paleontology. Darwin’s omission of Anning points to his tacit agreement with widespread, cultural understandings of gender hierarchy, an agreement which, quite ironically, undermines his ability to more persuasively articulate his assault on the Great Chain of Being.

Bio: I am in the second year of my PhD in English at Queen’s University. I completed my BA (English & history, joint honours) and MA (English) at the University of New Brunswick. I am primarily interested in studying modernist literature, American literature/history, and Christian theology.

Anah-Jayne Markland (York University), “Victorian Public School Space: The Convergence of the Real and Imagined Rugby”

Abstract: My paper explores how the literary representation of public school space was a pedagogical tool that transmitted the public school ethos to readers. Exploring the convergence of real and imagined public school spaces, I argue that the representation of public school space in school stories did more to established cultural expectations regarding public schools than the schools themselves. Using Thomas Hughes’s Tom Brown’s Schooldays (1857) as a template, I study the representation of school space in British public school stories, draw attention to how emotionality is injected into descriptions of space, and demonstrate how the emotional descriptions foster sentiments of nationalism, devotion, and loyalty of both characters and potential readers.

Bio: Anah-Jayne Markland is a PhD candidate at York University. Her dissertation is concerned with children’s and young adult schools stories, and examines the relation between school space and student bodies.

Tuesday, May 29th, Session Two: 10:30 am-12:00 pm

JO ILSA-ACCUTE The People and the Text: Indigenous Writing in Northern North America until 1992                        First Nations University 2002

Margery Fee (University of British Columbia), “What’s Wrong with (Conventional) Literary History?”

Abstract: In 2015 The People and the Text began a practical project: to create an online database of writing in English and French by Indigenous people in what is now Canada. We quickly hit theoretical problems. We hoped to use the collected information to ground a literary history of Indigenous writing in this place. However, we quickly realized that the categories, conventions, and infrastructure in the discipline of literary study did not work for our material. In fact, even for those working on Euro-American literary history, it is now problematic, given its origins as is a genre that originated with nationalism and imperialism to consolidate claims to the territory of peoples deemed “primitive.” Colonizing assumptions permeate our discipline, and in many ways we find ourselves having to rethink what seem like simple terms:  who is the author of a collective text? can we date an unwritten origin story? how can we discuss the multiple histories of writers from different nations?

Bio: Margery Fee is Professor Emerita of English at the University of British Columbia. Her most recent books are Literary Land Claims: The “Indian Land Question” from Pontiac’s War to Attawapiskat (Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2015) and edited with Dory Nason, Tekahionwake:  E. Pauline Johnson’s Writings on Native North America (Broadview, 2016).

Deanna Reder (Simon Fraser University), “Indigenous Protocols for Literary Scholars: Being a Good Relative”

Alix Shield (Simon Fraser University), “Capacity Building in the Digital Humanities”

Abstract: In this portion of the panel, Alix will discuss how The People and the Text project developed its website – a Drupal multisite – in collaboration with the Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory (CWRC) to store and display archival findings. Alix will discuss some of the technical aspects of the website, and provide a brief tour and overview of its functionality. Her presentation will conclude with an example of a more accessible/user-friendly digital humanities tool, Juxta Commons, used by The People and the Text project to compare and visualize multiple versions of a text.

Bio: Alix Shield is a PhD student and settler scholar in the Department of English at Simon Fraser University. Her research uses contemporary digital humanities methods to analyze collaboratively-authored Indigenous literatures in Canada, and is primarily focused on E. Pauline Johnson’s and Chief Joe & Mary Capilano’s Legends of Vancouver (1911).

Treena Chambers (Simon Fraser University), “Open Access Annotated Bibliography: What’s Wrong with Categorization Systems?”

Tuesday, May 29th, Session Three: 1:30 pm-3:00 pm

GP Novels & Nations                                                  LC 207

Kathryn Nogue, “‘A wonderful place for echoes’: The Anxious Space of the Nation in A Tale of Two Cities

Abstract: This paper reads A Tale of Two Cities in terms of what Julienne Hanson calls Dickens’ “geography of presentiment,” arguing that the anxieties bound up with England’s imperial project are reflected in, and to some extent produced through, the novel’s unsettled timespaces.

Bio: Kathryn Nogue is an alumna of the graduate program in English at the University of Regina. Her research focuses primarily on Victorian constructions of masculinity.

Katherine Ashley (Acadia University), “La France? C’est moi: R.L. Stevenson and the Nineteenth-Century French Novel”

Abstract: This paper analyzes Robert Louis Stevenson’s writings on Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Émile Gaboriau, George Sand, and Jules Verne, and demonstrates that the nineteenth-century French novelists whom Stevenson read and admired belong to a specific, genre-bending continuum in French literature, a continuum into which Stevenson himself can be slotted. Situating Stevenson within Franco-British literary history opens up new ways to approach his oeuvre, and allows us to consider him as a hybrid: an English-language author writing within a French literary tradition. It also serves as an example of the transnational nature of literature during the nineteenth century.

Bio: Dr. Katherine Ashley is an Assistant Professor of French at Acadia University, where she also teaches English. She has published books and articles on authors as diverse as the Goncourt brothers, Emile Zola, Raymond Carver, and Irvine Welsh, and is currently writing a book on The French Robert Louis Stevenson.

Natalie A. Boldt (University of Victoria), “A.M. Klein’s The Second Scroll: An ‘Arrested’ Dialectic on Utopian Zionism”

Abstract: My presentation addresses Jewish-Canadian author A.M. Klein’s only novel, ‘The Second Scroll,’ in relation to his subsequent, markedly darker, works. Situating ‘The Second Scroll’ within Klein’s oeuvre (which includes his journalistic as well as his creative output) I argue that this novel is not a further expression of Klein’s Zionist optimism as many critics have assumed, but rather the beginning of its end and that Klein’s novel reveals not the possibility of a multicultural or cosmopolitan nationalism, but its limits—limits that Klein would have recognized when he experienced Israel firsthand and became manifest in what scholars such as Dean Irvine have deemed the book’s “dialectical aesthetic.”

Bio: Natalie Boldt is a graduate student at the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia. She holds a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Humanities from Trinity Western University and is currently working on her Ph.D. in English. Her focus areas include Canadian literature as well as speculative and science fiction.

Tuesday, May 29th, Session Three: 1:30 pm-3:00 pm

JO NASSR-ACCUTE Romantic (An)aesthetics II                                                                        LC 202

Kirsty Cameron (University of Manitoba), “Suicidal Romanticism: Origins and Influences”

Abstract: An uncustomary pairing in literary studies appears in this paper, as proof of the nineteenth-century Romantic influence on an important twentieth-century American Southern-Gothic work. This paper explores the poetics of sacrifice in relation to suicide in the poignantly similar narratives of Mary Shelley’s meditative British Romantic novella, Mathilda (1820), and Tennessee Williams’s American Modernist theatrical outcry, Suddenly Last Summer (1958). Both Shelley and Williams narrate the dangers of family trauma and secret-keeping, with sensitive artist/child protagonists becoming, being, or thinking of themselves as mad, being unjustly indicted as mad, and experiencing suicidal deaths.

Bio: Kirsty Cameron is a PhD student in English at the University of Manitoba, a SSHRC CGM scholar, and a University of Manitoba Graduate Fellow. Kirsty’s dissertation work explores poetic modes of sacrifice, and relationships mediated by language and narrative in the drama of Tennessee Williams — including influential Romantic forms.

Michelle Faubert (University of Manitoba), “The Influential Concept of Suicidal Contagion: Mary Shelley’s ‘The Mourner’”

Abstract: Mary Shelley’s Mathilda and “The Mourner” are essentially the same tale. They both feature a wealthy young woman who travels to find isolation in rural life so that she may be left alone with her suicidal wishes. In both works, Shelley explores the links between travelling, isolation, and suicide in answer to the question of social utility in the Romantic-era suicide debate, but they also differ in an essential way. Shelley altered the second tale to remove the threat of suicidal contagion – the phenomenon of individuals committing suicide upon learning about the self-inflicted deaths of others.

Bio: Michelle Faubert is Associate Professor of Romantic literature at the University of Manitoba and Visiting Fellow at Northumbria University, UK. Her books include the monograph Rhyming Reason: The Poetry of Romantic-Era Psychologists. Her current research is funded generously by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2015-20).

Grace Paizen (University of Manitoba), “‘Take Care That You Do Not Lose Your Heart’: How Eighteenth-Century Suicides Inspired by The Sorrows of Young Werther Branded Fandom as Hysteric”

Abstract: Arguably, the response to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s 1774 novel The Sorrows of Young Werther was the first appearance of modern fandom. Romantic female suicides triggered by Goethe’s novel linked female hysteria to fan culture, establishing the manic, fainting, screaming young woman as the poster child of today’s fan culture. The eighteenth-century labelling of Werther’s eighteenth-century male fans as effeminate also proposes that fandom was considered a feminine concern, branding modern fandom from its infancy as a feminized psychological condition.

Bio: Grace Paizen is currently a second-year PhD student in the English, Film and Theatre Department at the University of Manitoba. She specializes in Romantic and Victorian literary and cultural representations of women. Her other academic interests include fashion, the fashion model, Queer and feminist theory, popular culture, and celebrity.

Tuesday, May 29th, Session Three: 1:30 pm-3:00 pm

JO MAS-ACCUTE “Some books just escape from the box”: The Handmaid’s Tale in Contemporary Culture                                                 LC 208

Tina Trigg (King’s U), “Vita Contemplativa: The Quiet Insistence of The Handmaid’s Tale

Abstract: One of the most compelling aspects of The Handmaid’s Tale is not its outward focus on action – even as represented in the reproductive issues so prominent in recent news “cameos”– but rather its subtle, complex presentation of the vita contemplativa in the figure of Offred. This paper will “escape from the box,” providing an expanded view of the novel through links to mindfulness, the Slow Movement, storytelling, and Hannah Arendt’s view of the vita contemplativa as a necessary corollary to the vita activa. In an age where the media is portraying democracy at risk, the silent figure of Atwood’s red-cloaked handmaiden may be seen, above all, as calling the populace back to the important work of thinking.

Bio: Tina Trigg is Associate Professor of English and in-coming Chair at King’s University in Edmonton. She has published book chapters on Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, and pedagogical approaches to Canadian literature. Beyond Atwood studies, her research interests involve literary relationships to sociopolitical change, inclusive education, and hope.

Clint Burnham (Simon Fraser U), “Algorithmic Atwood: How Hulu is Just Another Afterward”

Abstract: Not only does the Hulu series suggest we re-assess Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, but that re-assessment was already figured by the novel. The Hulu adaptation is evidently set in the neoliberal present, one of Tinder, Uber, pot-smoking and other lifestyles of the 21st century, where the election of a “groper in chief,” adds another layer of misogyny. Puritanism, in Atwood’s 1980s imaginary, is now supplemented with the Lacanian “obscene super ego”: not just Trump but the pornification of everything. This reading is formally already at work in the 1985 novel, in that the afterward suggests a real or virtual re-reading of the novel.

Bio: Clint Burnham is professor of English at SFU; his most recent book is Fredric Jameson and The Wolf of Wall Street.

Sharon Engbrecht (UBC), “‘Make Margaret Atwood Fiction Again’: The Treacherous Boundary Between Fiction and Reality in Using The Handmaid’s Tale as a Forum for Dissent”

Abstract: Atwood’s detailed imaginary landscape in The Handmaid’s Tale is complicated by the genre of Speculative Fiction itself, which demands readers enter a specific game of makebelieve that challenges its own application within economies of reality. Bringing various elements together, I will discuss the danger women face in using fiction as a platform to challenge the injustices they witness and experience through patriarchy. I will also touch on the politics of silence, writing, and activism as women co-opt The Handmaid’s Tale to speak out against a new era that seeks renewed rigour in suppressing the voices and bodies of women.

Bio: Sharon Engbrecht is a PhD student at the University of British Columbia. Her work focuses on Canadian and British post-1945 novels and the socio-political status of gendered and racialized bodies. She is also interested in the pornographic gaze and desire, contemporary theories of gift economies, and Margaret Atwood’s writing.

Tuesday, May 29th, Session Three: 1:30 pm-3:00 pm

BSP CPC:  #MeToo and English Studies: What Next?                                                            LC 211

Lucia Lorenzi (McMaster University), “Beyond Whisper Networking: Communities of Care and Radical Solidarity in the Wake of #MeToo”

Bio: Lucia Lorenzi is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University. Her research focuses on representations of sexual assault, including theories of the unspeakable and perpetrator narratives. She is trained as a Canadianist, with special interests in Canadian theatre and Black Canadian writing.

Lily Cho (York University), “‘How do you fit a soft shape in a hard framework?’: #metoo and departmental administration”

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

Heidi Tiedemann Darroch (Camosun), “Misogyny, Racism, and Social Media Threats: The Perils of Public Scholarship”

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.

Tuesday, May 29th, Session Three: 1:30 pm-3:00 pm

GP Ugly Boys & Beastly Girls in the West                                   CM 105

Elizabeth Hicks (Memorial University of Newfoundland), “Wild, Woolly, and Fluffy: The Woman-Animal Connection in Travel Narratives of the West”

Abstract: This paper is about two travel narratives, A Woman Tenderfoot (1900) by Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson and Old Indian Trails of the Canadian Rockies (1911) by Mary T.S. Schäffer, and the encounters that the female writers have with animals in the Wild West. Through theories about women and animals from feminist critics like Mary Wollstonecraft and Marilyn French, this paper examines the animal interactions in these texts as indicative of the contemporaneous conversation about female agency, a conversation that is still relevant in feminism today.

Bio: Elizabeth Hicks is a graduate student at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s. Her research interests include Canadian literature, gender studies, and critical theory.

Collin Campbell (Memorial University of Newfoundland), “Ugly Boys in the Canadian Western: Landscapes of Desire and Indigeneity in William Lacey Amy’s Blue Pete, Half-Breed

Abstract: The object of this paper is to map the connection between indigeneity, whiteness, and masculinity in generic Canadian Western fiction in the early twentieth century. This paper addresses the mythos of the “unexplored frontier” by suggesting that Canadian Westerns both gender and sexualize the land as part of the colonial discourse surrounding as-yet-unsettled spaces. In particular, it aims to study male ugliness within Western genre fiction in order to analyze the frontier landscape of the West in the colonial imaginary.

Bio: Collin Campbell is a PhD candidate at Memorial University of Newfoundland, where he studies trauma, war, and media in Canadian poetry of the West coast.

Joel Deshaye (Memorial University), “Genre, Parody, and Postmodernism in Luke Price’s Smokey Carmain Westerns”

Abstract: This presentation is on a series of pulp fiction Westerns, published in Toronto in the early 1940s, that gain relevance today because a) they are an archival find; b) they cast light on the transnational dynamics of the wartime conception and production of Westerns in Canada and the United States; and c) they raise questions about definitions of genre and parody through the sheriff Smokey Carmain. Smokey’s self-christening calls to mind Linda Hutcheon’s work on postmodernism and her emphasis on repetition and difference in parody—and, I would add, genre. Smokey is an exemplar of genre who adds “pop” to postmodernism.

Bio: Joel Deshaye is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Memorial University. He has published in national and international journals on genre, celebrity, metaphor, film, fiction, and poetry. He is the author of The Metaphor of Celebrity: Canadian Poetry and the Public, 1955-1980 (UTP, 2013).