Melissa Jacques, PhD

Associate Professor of Teaching

English, English and Cultural Studies, Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies
Office: CCS 172
Phone: 250.807.9573

Graduate student supervisor

Research Summary

Trauma theory; queer theory; popular culture (crime fiction and graphic memoir); life writing and creative non-fiction; Holocaust Studies; the scholarship of teaching and learning; narrative medicine/medical humanities

Courses & Teaching

English; composition and rhetoric; critical theory; cultural theory; popular culture; graduate studies (ENGL and IGS)


As a first-generation university graduate who grew up in an isolated community in Northern Manitoba, Melissa Jacques understands both the value of a university education and the challenges faced by many students entering the academy. This dual perspective informs both her teaching and her research. During her PhD, she wrote a dissertation that read experimental representations of the Holocaust through the lens of trauma theory. She has taken this interest in trauma and its aftermath into her research and her teaching of popular texts, including vampire narratives and crime fiction. She is currently developing courses in Narrative Medicine, and is especially interested in the sub-field of Graphic Medicine. In addition to her academic work, she also writes and publishes creative nonfiction. She is the recipient of four teaching awards.


PhD, English, University of Alberta; MA, English, UBC Vancouver; BA, English, UBC Vancouver

Selected Publications & Presentations

Metastases.” The Contemporary Journal, no. 4, December 2022.

“Metastases: Writing Grief in the Midst of a Pandemic.” Wellcome Trust Centre for the Cultures and Environments of Heath, Exeter University, May 2022. (Supported by the Exeter-UBC Humanities Collaboration Fund)

“Call and Response.” Malahat Review, no. 170, 2010, pp. 29-34. (Winner of the Open Season Award for nonfiction; nominated by Malahat Review for a National Magazine Award.)

“Authentic Imposters: Molding the Mini-Me.” On Site, no. 23, 2010, p. 26. (Cultural Criticism)

“Making, Cruising, Dwelling: Motion as Shelter in the Work of David Wojnarowicz.”Performance Research, vol. 10, no. 4, 2005, pp. 155-169.

“Marrow: 1-9.” Tessera, nos. 33/34, 2003, pp. 71-80. (Creative Nonfiction)

“The Indignity of Speaking: The Poetics of Representation in Erin Mouré’s ‘Seebe.’” Canadian Poetry: Studies, Documents, Reviews, no. 47, 2000, pp. 70-83.

Recent Conference Presentations

“Ekphrasis, Gender, and Transformation in Lars Horn’s Voice of the Fish.” ACCUTE, Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities, York University. May 2023.

“The Wavering Line: Relational Embodiment in the Work of Margaret Kilgallen.” International Comics Conference: “Isolation, Arts, Engagement,” hosted in collaboration with PULSE: Centre for the Medical and Health Humanities of The CLUE+ Interfaculty Research Institute for Culture, Cognition, History and Heritage, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, October 2022.

“Trauma, Affect, and Rupture in Multimodal Texts: Teaching Graphic Medicine in the Arts and Humanities.” Teaching Life Writing Conference: A Virtual Conference on Nonfiction and Pedagogy, University of Alberta, December 2020.

“After the End: Interminable Grief in the Graphic Memoirs of Anders Nilsen.” Chronicity and Crisis, Montclair State University. October 2019.

“Maureen and Melancholia: Violence, Misogyny, and Power in the Garnethill Trilogy.” Captivating Criminality 4, Bath Spa University, July 2017.

“The Ballad of the Carrot and the Stick (or, the Uncanny Vicissitudes of Tenure).” Precarious Academic Labour in the Age of Neo-Liberalism. Okanagan College, Kelowna, BC, May 5-6, 2017.

“Narrative Reciprocity as Pedagogy.” CAWS Spring Colloquium, Campus Alberta Writing Studies, University of Calgary, April 28, 2017.

“Mid-Century Modern and the Aesthetics of Fascism.” Noir in the North, Centre for Studies in Memory and Literature, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, November 16-17, 2016.

“Narrative Knowledge as Practice in the Nursing Classroom,” The European Conference on Education. Brighton, UK, June 29-July 3, 2016

Graduate Supervisions

Kyla Morris, “Mirrors, Medusas, and Mad Mothers: Theorizing Heterotopic Motherhood in Angela Carter,” MA Thesis, co-supervised with Dr. George Grinnell, 2019-21.

Grace Cleveland, “Unsettling Pedagogies,” MA IRP, co-supervised with Dr. Allison Hargreaves, 2014.

Undergraduate Supervisions

Madeline Grove. “Sex and Power in Erotic Fiction: A Threesome Fairytale.” International Undergraduate Research Award, FCCS. Summer 2023.

Alexandria Hofer, “Genre, Gender, and Trauma in Marvel’s Jessica Jones,” 2017. English Honours.

Gillianne Hardy-Legault, “Creating Culture through Commodities: Identity Formation in High Fidelity and Confessions of a Shopaholic,” 2018. English Honours.

Selected Grants & Awards

2015 FCCS Award for Excellence in Teaching, UBC Okanagan

2010 The Malahat Review’s Open Season Award for Creative Nonfiction

2009 William Hardy Alexander Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, University of Alberta (one granted per year, across the university)

2009 Faculty of Arts Contract Instructor Teaching Award, University of Alberta

2003  Faculty of Arts Graduate Student Teaching Award, University of Alberta

2000-2001 Province of Alberta Graduate Fellowship, University of Alberta

1998-2000 SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship, University of Alberta

1998-2000 Honorary Izaak Killam Memorial Fellowship, University of Alberta

1998-2000 Walter H. Johns Graduate Fellowship, University of Alberta

1996-1998 Province of Alberta Graduate Fellowship, University of Alberta

1996-1998 University of Alberta PhD Scholarship

1995-1996 University of British Columbia Graduate Fellowship


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