FCCS Research Series
The Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies Research Series is a chance to hear from faculty and graduate students in the Departments of Creative Studies, Languages and World Literatures, and English and Cultural Studies. This lunch-time series offers two brief research talks followed by a discussion period.
Winter 2023 Series Presentation Dates
All research events will be held on Fridays from 12:00 to 1:30 pm in ART 281 at UBC Okanagan. All are welcome to attend! Please see the list of dates below, and stay tuned for information on the speakers.
January 27, 2023
- Andreas Rutkauskas, Lecturer, Creative Studies
Awful Splendour, a tribute to the work of wildfire scientist Stephen J. Pyne, is an immersive slideshow that allows participants to experience the aftermath and regeneration following wildfire in the Okanagan through stereoscopic visualization. Working with a high-resolution camera outfitted with six lenses, I have captured scenes from a range of fires that took place between 2003 and 2020. Passive 3D glasses permit visitors to experience dynamic imagery on Canada’s highest-resolution, 3D, VR-ready video wall at the Visualization and Emerging Media Studio (VEMS). Awful Splendour reminds residents and visitors alike that the Okanagan is a fire-adapted ecosystem, where fire has a longstanding and complex history of shaping the land. A brief presentation in ART 281 on the tools used in the creation of this work will precede a visit to the VEMS in COM 107.
February 3, 2023
- Brianne Christensen, Masters Student, MA in English
“Voice” as Representation in Post-Brexit UK Migration Narratives: Hosted by the University of Exeter and supported by a generous Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement, I was fortunate to undertake site research in London, England from October 1st to December 20th of 2022. I studied post-Brexit UK migration narratives in multiple forms, including museum exhibitions, art installations, and hybrid literary genres combining prose, poetry, and creative non-fiction. The research contributes to an important contextualizing chapter in my Master’s thesis, which explores hospitality and migration ethics in Ali Smith’s recently completed Seasonal Quartet and locates the four novels in the corpus of New Sincerity literature. In this presentation, I discuss “voice” as representation in post-Brexit migration narratives that both offer and promote hospitality, and which also bring to the fore the non-neutrality of the public in debates over national reception of immigrants and asylum seekers. To do so, I draw on the content of a scholarly article I produced during my time abroad that addresses hospitality as a wider narrative movement in post-Brexit UK.
- Therese Keogh, Melbourne University, Visiting Writer/Artist and PhD student with The FEELed Lab. The Spoil Grounds: This research project looks to an offshore dumping ground of dredged material from the Port of Newcastle, on Awabakal and Worimi Country, analysing the wasted matter of capital, conquest, and global trade created by the legislative and geographical fictions that underpin Australia’s settler colonial material economy of extraction. Law and geography write together the spatialised systems of conquest that maintain settler colonial states and global material economies, where descriptions of land and water create imaginaries of scalability and equivalence that are acted out in real time and space through extractive economies. Co-productions of geography and law developed in symbiotic relations and Enlightened desires of territorial expansion, legislating the theft of sovereign lands while also underwriting such theft with the fictions upon which it relies: fictions of discovery, terra nullius, representation, property, surface, matter, and categorical distinctions. Often unaccounted for though, are the grounds of pollution and toxicity that continue to unfold in excess of the legislative and geographic descriptions of settler states, and the imaginaries that such excesses produce. To facilitate the movement of coal ships in and out of the port, the mouth of the Hunter River has been continuously dredged since 1859. Material from coalmining and steel smelting, along with discarded ship ballast and tidal sediment, built up over the past two centuries, is scraped from the riverbed and deposited in the growing epipelagic-sea mound. This geography of spoils is facilitated by a network of legislative documentation and hydrographic surveying that administrate the creation of new material grounds, while also maintaining their own non-existence through deferrals of accountability, strategic ambiguity, and nothing-to-see-here environmental reporting. Within this project, The Spoil Grounds offers a turning towards/into the problematics of legislative and geographical texts that maintain extractive industries and settler colonial relations with land, through the discards, toxicities, and discharges that they enact, in order to posit methods for rethinking and reimagining an environmental politics of excess.
February 17, 2023
- Ronan Fraser, MFA in Creative Writing
A Development of Making: From devised theatre to fiction writing, this is a look at how collaboration and communication feature in various modes of storytelling. The presentation will focus on different ways of building stories, how the audience, reader, or watcher is a part of the process, and how the artist and story shape one another. The last part of the talk will focus on current research being explored for a new fiction novel; placement, identity, naming and being known, and history as a consciously shaped thing.
- Jaime Boyzo, Sessional Lecturer, Languages and World Literatures
Time & Space in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave: This presentation focuses on the analysis of time and space in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and aims to show how the characters (i.e. people) inside the cave mostly performed repetitive, routine circular movements which contradict the uniform and linear movement of time proposed by the Special Theory of Relativity. The result of repetitive routine circular movements is the creation of physical spaces that become prisons of the characters. In conjunction with Plato’s allegory of the cave, this analysis also utilizes of theories of scientist Albert Einstein; philosophers Henri Bergson, Friedrich Nietzsche; and psychologists Max Wertheimer and Wolfgang Koehler.
March 3, 2023
- Jodey Castricano, Professor, English and Cultural Studies
Learning by Heart: Breaking the Law of Genre in J.M. Coetzee’s The Lives of Animals
- Nikhita Obeegadoo, Assistant Professor, Languages and World Literatures
- Sakiru Adebayo, Assistant Professor, English and Cultural Studies
March 10, 2023
- Sepideh Saffari, PhD candidate, IGS Digital Arts and Humanities
Using Digital Media to Interrogate UNESCO’s Approach to Iranian Architectural Heritage and the Cultural Identity: The digital turn in art history and visual culture offers a great chance to interpret cultural heritage distinctively. The ubiquity and connectivity of digital platforms contribute to uncovering the interconnected history and layered stories behind cultural heritage. Considering this opportunity, I am adopting visual-centric research methods and multimodal argumentation to examine UNESCO’s representation of Iranian heritage in light of the challenges posed by transnational conceptions of heritage. Accordingly, I propose alternative modalities and consider their implications for heritage interpretation. To be more precise, my research will focus on the intersection of the following themes: first and foremost, UNESCO and Iran’s transnational built heritage, and second, multimodal argumentation in a scholastic environment.
- Erin Scott, IGS PhD Student in Digital Arts and Humanities
Digital Poetics and the Pluriverse: This research/creation talk will consider and present a praxis of making video poems, digital poetics, and examples of how using editing tools to overlay images, sounds, and movement creates visual and auditory maps of the pluriverse.
- Chhavi Mathur, Masters student, IGS Sustainability
Beautiful British Columbia magazine was established by the BC provincial government in 1959 as the province’s first full-color travel quarterly and was funded by the province until 1983, after which it was sold to a private company and has changed hands several times. My research discusses the magazine’s role in shaping the images and narratives of the Okanagan region between 1959-1983. This presentation focuses on the magazine’s centering of road and highway networks in its framing of tourist destinations in British Columbia, particularly its interior regions.
March 17, 2023
- David Doody, Lecturer, Creative Studies
- Jorden Doody, Sessional Lecturer, Creative Studies
March 24, 2023
- Tom Leveen, MFA Student, Creative Writing
Being Sixteen Again: Tom Leveen’s MFA thesis is a novel set in the early 1990s, a time–for some people–of great peace and luxury. That era has long since ended, and this novel is a study and celebration of what made it great–if indeed it was.
- Dravida Huda, Masters Student, MA in English
What’s (not) in a Name?: Transgenerational Memory, Affect, and Diasporic Identity in Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake: My MA thesis project looks at the representation of the accumulative effect of generational memory and the affect associated with it on the second generation South Asian diaspora’s identity in South Asian Anglophone literature. My thesis specifically considers two novels titled The Namesake and The Lowland written by the critically acclaimed Indo-American author, Jhumpa Lahiri. In each of the novels, Lahiri showcases how the lived memories of the first generation diaspora associated with their migration from home to abroad are translated into symbols of affective remembrance, and how these symbols consign the second generation diaspora with a troubled sense of identity. At the FCCS Research Series presentation, I will talk about the first chapter of my thesis, where I explore how ‘the act of naming’ the second generation diasporic children as well as ‘the name itself’ modify the affective liminality between two immediate diasporic generations by signifying the first generation’s absent-present memories, and how eventually the name impacts the second generation diaspora’s sense of identity by affectively reconciling them to their predecessors’ lived memories of migration.
March 31, 2023
- Dr. Rebecca Macklin, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Edinburgh and FEELed Lab Visiting Scholar
Remapping Relations in the Tar Sands: Settler colonialism, in its drive to obtain land, operates by disrupting and severing existing forms of relation in a given environment. Extraction is integral to this process. Yet, in addition to its destructive capacities, extraction also generates emergent forms of relation, connecting sites, bodies and materials in new ways. Focusing on the specific context of the Athabasca tar sands, this paper explores how recent cultural texts by Indigenous artists Elizabeth LePensée (Anishinaabe) and Corwin Clairmont (Salish-Kootenai) remap local and transnational networks of oil extraction. In producing works that are grounded in an ethic of relationality, I suggest that both artists disrupt extractive logics by remapping relations across cultural and national borders, as well as species.
Fall 2022 Series Presentation Dates
September 23, 2022
- Allison Hargraves, Associate Professor, English and Cultural Studies
Thinking With Place: Experiments in Land Acknowledgment: This talk engages the critical insights of Indigenous writers in order to explore place-based, relational, and decolonial approaches to the concept and practice of land acknowledgement.
- Dominic Grace, Sessional Lecturer, Languages and World Literatures
Nina Bunjevac’s Heartless World: Cartoonist Nina Bunjevac was born in Canada but spent years in Yugoslavia as a child, as her mother fled from her husband, a fanatical Serbian nationalist engaged in terrorist plotting. He was killed by a bomb he was building, whether by accident or as an act of suicide unknown. Bunjevac’s life was therefore shaped by complex familial and political dynamics, which is reflected in her work. In this talk, I will explore some of the stories in her first book, the anthology Heartless, exploring how her own transcultural background is reflected in her construction of comics narratives out of diverse influences, appropriating and transgressively reframing familiar comics devices in her exploration of the immigrant experience and of the permeablility of the line between family and social constructs.
Content warning: the presentation will include graphic and disturbing images
October 7, 2022
- Madeline Donald, PhD student, IGS Digital Arts and Humanities
A question of habitat: Brandt’s Creek, Kelowna: Human-centered urban development in the Okanagan watershed—unceded (to Canada) and occupied syilx territory—has contributed to the alteration, channelization and confinement of waterways. These attempts to control water degrade, disconnect, and destroy biodiverse community-sustaining riparian and wetland habitats. The city of Kelowna in general and Brandt’s Creek in particular are prime examples of these dynamics. As part of a larger project we are calling “Kelownafornia,” I am asking: What does Brandt’s Creek’s need in order to be(come) its most bountiful and vibrant self given the past histories, current policy ecology, and future needs of the multi-being riparian communities with which it is co-constituted? For this Brown Bag presentation I will introduce Brandt’s Creek and share some of the thoughts and questions that have arisen in the formulation of this research.
- Miriam Cummings, MFA IS student
Actor Safety Research Lab: Highlights from a project which applied trauma-informed practices to actor training with the goals of prioritizing psychological safety and creating space for abundance vs. competition in creative processes. In partnership with Drama Therapist Anne Eitzen, Miriam guided 6 multidisciplinary artists through a devising process that drew on Moment Work (Tectonic Theater Project, NYC), Laban Movement Analysis, and Linklater Voice.
October 14, 2022
- Megan Smith, Associate professor, Creative Studies
All the Stars We Cannot See (2020 – Ongoing) by Dr. Megan Smith & Gao Yujie is an immersive installation that situates participants within a virtual sky activated by 25,500+ satellites orbiting Earth. Smith & Gao are working to render visible the global impact of satellite density. This artwork was made to build opportunities for discussion on the impact of colonizing space, and to bring awareness to growing surveillance and the political and economic driving forces that are currently occupying space. This project won an Honorary Mention at Ars Electronica 2022, in the Digital Communities Category, and is part of Dr. Megan Smith’s Killam Fellowship program.
- David Meola, Visiting Associate Professor, Languages and World Literatures
Jewish Germans and the Rise of German Liberalism: During the German Vormaerz (1830 to 1848), the liberal and democratic movements started gaining traction–especially among the middle class. Ideas about freedom freely circulated, influenced by their western neighbors (most notably, France and Great Britain). The movement for a more liberal society that valued differences of opinion, freedom of the press, freedom of conscience, modernity, and a German national spirit gained much ground in the areas closest to France–the Rhineland and the Grand Duchy of Baden. Within Baden–seen as the “Musterlaendle” (model small state) for German liberalism–the rise of this ideology was tied intrinsically to the recently-acquired Electoral Palatinate and the cities of Mannheim and Heidelberg. Not only was the intellectual climate of the university conducive to producing liberal sentiment, but so were the societal and cultural climates. It was in this area that I have found a link between its liberality and the relationships produced among German Christians and German Jews, and it is this area that binds together a new generation of Jewish Germans who all participated in important and unrecognized ways in the shaping of liberal ideology and the movement itself.
- Yujie Gao, PhD student, IGS Digital Arts and Humanities
When Time Becomes Art – Inhabiting Time in Computational Performative Art: ‘Flowing to Unsettle’ (2020-Ongoing) is a long-term artistic project that explores the materiality of duration and the elasticity of space and time in rule-based interactive environments. Gao’s research examines different aspects of experiential time through incorporating humans’ and/or machines’ improvisational involvement in a live, interactive artwork, in order to expose the different perceptions of time passing, and unsettle the experiences of daily time. This generative participatory performance work explores how performative computational art can be used for inhabiting a multiplicity of times and what can we learn about differences via the exploration of temporal dimensions, including the imperceptible change (too small, often overlooked) and the unperceivable change (too large or far away, hard not be felt) through the microscope yet telescope of Time to understand changes and the present.
October 21, 2022
- Melissa Jacques, Associate professor, English and Cultural Studies
‘Metastases’ is a personal essay/autotheory about the experience of losing a sister to cancer in the midst of the COVID pandemic. A composite of theory, citation, and narrative, its disparate pieces are gathered around the loss or trauma at its centre. Rather than representing grief as something coherent, it is an attempt to capture the complex and often contradictory effects of grief without recourse to redemption or catharsis. It is a meditation on love and memory that gestures towards what cannot be said by attending to the minutiae of ordinary lives in crisis.
- Mandy Wallace, MFA Student, Creative Writing
Popular Fiction: A reading from a series of new poems that reckon with the female experience. Take a peek into one speaker’s attempt to make sense of her life through her letters to fictional female movie characters.
October 28, 2022
- Annie Wan, Associate Professor, Creative Studies
Innovating Socially Motivated Design through Adopting Extended Realities and Intelligence Technologies for Social Good and Well-being: Annie will introduce a Knowledge Exchange project ACE IT, which was funded by European Union’s European Regional Development Fund 2020-22 and it supported London-based start-ups and SMEs to solve business challenges using immersive technology. Participants were offered a fully-funded programme of expert support to develop their ideas while discovering the potential of merging physical and digital worlds through virtual (VR), augmented (AR) and extended reality (XR) more broadly. While more than 50% of the SMEs are founded/ led by ethnics minorities and/ or women. On the top, as a media arts scholar who spans the crossroads of the arts, social sciences and technology, my other researches explore new ways of creating academic knowledge through collective processes in the still broadly defined field of the Digital Humanities. I’m going to introduce some of my previous projects that explores immersive media as a tool to consolidate and reinterpret interdisciplinary knowledge such as psychology and heritage preservation.
- Ethan Guagliardo, Sessional Instructor, English and Cultural Studies
The Judas of the Hours: Intelligible Horror in Thomas Middleton’s ‘The Revengers Tragedy’: What was early modern horror? For this Halloween, I offer a partial answer by way of Thomas Middleton’s The Revengers Tragedy. Whereas we usually think of horror as a quintessentially post-Enlightenment genre—a revolt against rationalism, uncovering what escapes or exceeds the eye of reason—The Revengers Tragedy suggests something of the opposite: horror in this play is a horror of intelligibility, of being absolutely known. Likewise whereas the primary dimension of modern horror is the body—especially the body in abjection, according to Julia Kristeva—the privileged dimension of horror in Middleton’s play is time, and particularly the present now or instant of kairos in which ordinary time crosses paths with eternity, and our eyes meet the “eternal eye” of God “that sees through flesh and all.” I trace this horror of intelligibility over a number of contexts, including the genre of revenge as well as the theology and philosophy of the instant from Aristotle, Paul, and Calvin to modern thinkers of kairos such as Kierkegaard, Benjamin, and Agamben. In the end, I suggest that this peculiarly early modern brand of horror is also ultra-modern, speaking to our current moment of normalized crisis and apocalyptic fantasy.
November 4, 2022
- Robert Eggleston, Associate Professor, English and Cultural Studies
“‘Now, off with your head’: decapitating Sir Gawain in David Lowery’s The Green Knight.”: This work grows out of my surprise/excitement/dismay upon first viewing David Lowery’s 2021 film, The Green Knight, an adaptation of the late 14th-century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Having hoped that the film might prove a useful tool for engaging with the poem in the classroom, I was initially disappointed to discover that Lowery had been far from faithful to the original poem when he created his film. Time and sober second thought, however, have afforded me further insight into what the film does accomplish, and these accomplishments and their possible uses are the subject matter of this presentation.
November 18, 2022
- Sean Lawrence, Associate Professor, English and Cultural Studies
Gods and Generals: Coriolanus and the Truth of Combat: The views of Coriolanus, title-character and protagonist of Shakespeare’s last tragedy, find a perhaps unexpected parallel in the ideas of certain early-twentieth century survivors of the first world war, whereby combat assumes existential importance. In his and their minds, this establishes a solid basis for political power and, more generally, truth itself, but one which events undermine. The play therefore meditates on basic political, ethical and existential questions. Ultimately, it shows that even in a world of war, peace still interrupts power.
- George Grinnell, Associate Professor, English and Cultural Studies
Punk is Dead: On Punk Considered as One of the Fine Arts: Almost since its inception, punk has been declared dead. While there are many ways to think about the recurring desire to proclaim the death of punk, in this talk I explore how the death of punk circulates as a matter of consideration for scholarship in punk studies. What does it mean to research punk culture from within a university and can such work represent anything more than yet another killing blow for a subculture that has rarely fared well under the light of day? More, what value is there in undertaking publicly-funded research on something perhaps as trivial and inconsequential as punk rock.
November 25, 2022
- Angela Andersen, Sessional Lecturer, Creative Studies
Architecture as a Social Marker: A Quick Look at How Buildings Help Us See Communities: Economic status, religious authority, and systems of leadership are often revealed in the spaces and buildings that societies control and construct. Architecture can also highlight how communities resist or navigate conditions of poverty, displacement, conflict, and lack of access to education, healthcare, housing, and other rights. Using examples from my fieldwork, this talk will touch on how architecture documents some forms of marginalization, and how people continue to create spaces for themselves under challenging circumstances.
- Ali Mirzabayati – Masters Student, MA in English
This article aims to associate Tolkien’s concept of power with Nietzsche’s Übermensch. Despite his catholic beliefs, Tolkien refuses to create religiously motivated characters, opening room for existentialist decisions. Who is an Übermensch? What Tolkienian character resembles this concept the most? To tend these questions, the article studies the case of Adolf Hitler and Elisabeth Nietzsche, manipulating Nietzschean philosophy. An investigation of the Nazis’ misuse of philosophy, art, and myth for political advantage introduces a Nazi version of Übermensch, best reflected in Sauron and Saruman. Unlike the Nazi version, Nietzschean Übermensch is proven to emphasize internal power and seek harmony within one’s desires. Tolkien’s best candidates for Übermensch, Aragorn and Bilbo are examined through Nietzsche’s three metamorphoses of becoming a higher spirit. What is more, I will study Aragorn’s heroic journey through the lens of Carol S. Pearson’s six archetypes in her psychology book, The Hero Within. Although Nietzsche’s admiration for cheer and eating, the main characteristics of the hobbits, strengthens his bond with Tolkien, the answer to “How farther their fellowship can get?” requires further research.
- Miguel Las Heras Calvo, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Languages and World Literatures
Uses of stylometry applied to the historiographical prose of Alfonso X el Sabio. General estoria and Estoria de España: This work is part of the project The Confluence of Religious Cultures in Medieval Historiography. A Digital Humanities Project. In this project, we are analyzing and editing the General Estoria of Alfonso X the Wise, which was written in the thirteenth century in Spain and is still considered the most important work of medieval Europe nowadays. The last edition of this book, which was made more than ten years ago, is 6,000 pages long, so it was a huge project at that time. During the Middle Ages, 6000 pages could not be written by a single person, so Alfonso X had to employ a very large team of workers who were in charge of collecting Christian, Jewish and Arabic sources, putting them together and copying them to make a universal history. Some of the project’s objectives are the research of the writing process, how the different teams were grouped and, going further, to observe which parts belong to each copyist. The most innovative aspect of the project is that it can be done thanks to stylometry and the R language. The purpose of this talk is, therefore, to explain in detail the application of this working method to the works of Alfonso X el Sabio, and, more specifically, to General e grand estotoria and Estoria de España, which have just been partially studied and analyzed.
The FCCS Brown Bag Research Series, supported by the Associate Dean of Research, was a chance to hear from our faculty and graduate students to learn what’s happening in each department. While the emphasis was on new faculty in the first instance, we had presentations on research, scholarship and creative output from any and all of our colleagues throughout the series.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 21, 2022
Kaytlyn Barkved, MA student in the Digital Arts and Humanities theme, IGS
Preparing for the Oral Defense: Neuroqueer Imaging
In this graduate research symposium, Kaytlyn will present an abridged version of the defense of her thesis “Neuroqueer Imaging: An Autistic Autoethnography.” Having just successfully defended in December 2021, she will speak about her own defense experiences, offer tips and advice, and field questions for those who are preparing for their own oral defense.
Zachary Dewitt, MA in English student
Ghosts and Haunting Metaphors: a critical approach to humanities research
Metaphors of ghosts and haunting appear frequently in humanities research to describe the interrelation of the past, present and future. What exactly do these metaphors imply, what theoretical approach do they draw from? In this short presentation, I hope to explore some of the theories that these haunted metaphors draw on, while also briefly drawing on the history of ghostly language in Western philosophy. Ultimately, I will look to literature — as many theorists do — to understand the implications of such theories, and to briefly communicate the critical value of these theories.
This event will be held in a virtual environment via zoom. Registration is required.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 28, 2022
Dr. Greg Garrard, Professor
Raise a Glass to the Burrowing Owl: Endangered Species and Cultural Nationalism in the South Okanagan, BC, Canada
The proposal to found a National Park in the South Okanagan region of British Columbia dates back to 1970 and the government of Pierre Trudeau, Justin’s father. It still hasn’t been fulfilled, despite the fact that a high proportion of the species at risk in Canada are found there. The paper traces the history of the proposal, and opposition to it, in terms of the entanglement of biology and nation, nature and culture, and the curious invisibility of the US/Canada border that bisects the region.
Dr. Astrida Neimanis, Associate Professor
What (and why) is feminist environmental humanities?
I will take this opportunity to describe a research field whose title I (along with various collaborators) mostly just made up. Why did we feel the need to specify this moniker, and what does it accomplish? What does this name try to gather up, and what remains unarticulated? From here I will segue into an introduction to three FEH field-building projects I have initiated– COMPOSTING feminism and the environmental humanities (started in Sydney in 2015 with Jennifer Mae Hamilton), Hacking the Anthropocene (2016-2019) and the fledgling FEELed Lab, right here at UBCO. This means I will also have to talk about collaboration as a feminist, anticolonial, queer and crip research method, and why it is so necessary, so joyful, and so hard.
This event will be held in a virtual environment via zoom. Registration is required.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2022
Sepideh Saffari, PhD student in the Digital Arts and Humanities theme, IGS
Using Digital Media to Interrogate UNESCO’s Approach to Iranian Architectural Heritage and the Cultural Identity
I am investigating the role of UNESCO in the construction of Iranian national identity through the representation of architectural heritage. While UNESCO believes that peace is based on dialogue and mutual understanding among nations, it does not sufficiently promote the cross-cultural influences that nations have on each other, particularly in its representations of visual culture. Hence, I argue how UNESCO’s approach obscures the transnational nature of Iranian architectural heritage.
Shimshon Obadia, MFA Interdisciplinary Studies Student
Trans Joy vs. the Trauma Plot
In this presentation, Shimshon Obadia (pronouns: they/them) will be briefly discussing the use of positive narrative representations of trans people–specifically, ones that highlight the intersectional complexities of their identities–in their research project, Queer Sounds in the Substructure. This cursory talk will focus on questioning how to balance authentic representations of people like Obadia who are queer, neurodiverse and people of colour, and often subject to painful personal histories of discrimination; without leaning into the territory of so called “trauma plots.” This term, which New Yorker critic Parul Sehgal recently created a lot of buzz around in the January 3rd & 10th, 2022 issue of the magazine, had Obadia wonder about the role they believe trauma can sometimes play in portraying joyful representations of marginalized people, in stories such as those their research creation is generating. Presenting their exploration and introspection on this ongoing topical debate, Obadia endeavours to ask themselves and their audience what trans joy looks like to them.
We will provide free lunch to all those who wish to attend in person in CCS 142 (vegetarian sandwiches and coffee/tea).
Reserve your spot whether to attend virtual or in-person, and have your lunch order confirmed, please register at the link provided below. Please note, the deadline to register if you want lunch included is Tuesday, February 1, 12:00 noon.
FRIDAY FEBRUARY 11, 2022
Francisco Peña, Associate Professor, World Literatures
The Confluence of Religious Cultures in Medieval Historiography: Critical Edition and development of the first English translation of the General e Grand Estoria
In today’s pervasive climate of cultural and religious intolerance, this study and translation of Volume I of the General e grand historia offers timely insight into a work of storytelling that encouraged collaboration by writers and translators from diverse cultures, ethnicities, and religions, at a time and place when such intermingling was prohibited by law.
Anderson Araujo, Associate Professor, Languages and World Literatures
Fascist Modernism in Spain and Italy in the Years Between the World Wars
Of the three most prominent manifestations of European fascism in the early decades of the twentieth century, Francisco Franco’s in Spain remains the most galling. For one thing, it triumphed even as Mussolini was hunted down and killed near the Swiss border and Hitler shot himself in his Berlin bunker. Indeed, Franco did much more than just survive. His version of fascism held sway for nearly four decades. While Franco’s iron-fisted state apparatus relied heavily on surveillance, censorship, and the ruthless suppression of dissent, it also enlisted a sizable apparatchik of propagandists, intellectuals, artists, and writers. Among these was one of Spain’s foremost avant-gardists, Ernesto Giménez Caballero. His fascination with Franco predates the American poet Ezra Pound’s conversion to Italian Fascism and mussolinismo—the cult of Mussolini—in the early 1930s. Yet the shared intensity of their devotion to the strongmen and obsession with the aesthetics of power makes for one of the most intriguing and little-known parallels in the history of literary modernism.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18
Xiaoxuan/Sherry Huang, MFA Creative Writing
I am Yours, Votive Communication in All the Time
“Every letter is a loveletter,” writes Chris Kraus in I Love Dick, & it is true – from the actual epistle right down to the initial with which I sign.
One aspect of my thesis, All the Time: Poems / Letters / Effulgences, is concerned with explicitly votive acts of communication in both form & content. (Votive, a word lit up, means “expressing a desire.”) Following Derrida’s notion of différance, writing is a simultaneous act of discernment & deferral. So why write, then, if language never reaches its destination? Through thinking-feeling, All the Time wagers that the expression of desire is expression’s limit. I will share how & why I use poetry & autotheory to co-write this creative work, & speak to lyric strategies that help the text evade singular or linear constructions of narrative. I will also read select excerpts from the thesis.
Stephenie Hendricks, PhD student in the Sustainability theme, IGS
Unintended Consequences:” An Open Education Resources Module series on Environmental Health and Environmental Justice
How can we empower students to become “global citizens”? How do we mobilize knowledge about our environment and its implications for health and justice? The answers to these questions can be found through compelling narratives from those working on the front lines of the intersections of environment, health, and justice. These stories are from people who are stepping forward into the battle for healthy and just environments; they come from many different disciplines, cultures, genders, educational experiences and geographic areas. The body of work I aim to do for my doctoral research provides an Open Education Resources (OER) curriculum that shares stories from environmental health and environmental justice stewards for post-secondary curriculum. This presentation includes a short demo podcast.
FRIDAY, MARCH 4, 2022
Michael Treschow, Associate Professor, English and Cultural Studies
The Exeter Book’s Fish in the River Riddle as a Metaphor for the Spiritual Life
The Exeter Book’s Riddle 84 derives from a simple and well-known Latin riddle with a ready-to-hand solution: a fish in a river. The Old English version, however, adds some complexity and moves this riddle’s focus from the physical world to the spiritual. Most strikingly, the riddle is told in the voice of the fish, who brings into play several lively details that do not feature in the older versions, along with a concluding note on the weighty theme of death. This reference to death functions initially on a literal level. The fish’s awareness of its mortality resonates with the recurrent theme of death running through the Exeter Book and invites reflection on creaturely vulnerability and transience. But this imagery’s import moves beyond the literal to function metaphorically. It evokes a comment attributed to St. Anthony in his Vita, where he refers to monks as fish, who die if they linger on the dry land of worldly conversation. On that understanding, the details that the fish relates about its life in the river come to elaborate on St. Anthony’s metaphor. The riddle serves as a reminder to all those who engage in the spiritual life of contemplation and prayer. It does so not in isolation but in interaction with other texts in the Exeter Book’s collection, with its meditative flow.
Ana Rewakowicz, Sessional Instructor, Visual Art
Foggy Pursuit of Ethical Response-Ability: Art and Science of Collecting Water from Fog
The presented Mist Collector art and science project, conducted collaboratively with scientists at École Polytechnique in Paris, has addressed water scarcity by investigating an alternative means of collecting water from fog. Through art and science collaboration, this art-based research proposed a non-standard method of harvesting fog water with a net of parallel vertical fibres that contributed to scientific innovation, while at the same time invited science to partake in artistic creation. The produced artworks have brought forward a phenomenological engagement with water by inviting the public to experience water at the scale of a single droplet and imaginatively speaking, aboard Spaceship Earth traveling through fog. Using imagination and poetics, this project calls for the necessity to begin creating a collective narrative of an ever deteriorating ecosophic Future/Present/Past that may still be envisioned and conceived together.
FRIDAY, MARCH 11, 2022
Natasha Harvey, MFA Visual Arts student
Layered Landscapes: Landscape Art, Politics and Love
This presentation will share my artistic research-creation practice, which seeks to communicate the effects of human interference on the environment while evoking the participatory spirit of love and beauty in the non-human world. I spend time deepening my connection with the land in the Syilx peoples’ unceded territories, walking and connecting through place-based research, collage landscape painting, and linocut prints. Over time, during these walks, I have found the expansion of dwellings, homes pushing up the mountainsides around and over wetlands, impacting wildlife habitat and ecology. Construction cuts into the land. Culture and economy reshape the horizon, thus rendering ‘space’ as politically complex. Therefore, achieving the colonial sublime is not a simple image of beauty without erasure. I question whether my depictions of the landscape can illustrate this complexity and thus encourage a conversation about our expanding contribution to the detriment of the land.
Madeline Donald, PhD student in the Sustainability theme, IGS
Corrugating attentiveness: A presearch methodology
The education of attention and perception takes time and repetition. Corrugation, as defined here, is a dance between attention, memory, and the passage of time: experience folds into ideas folding into experience. I will speak to my experience of corrugating relations in some of the riparian habitats of the Okanagan and Similkameen watershed, where for one year I intentionally cultivated an attentional practice. It is my belief that in order to conduct research in a given habitat/community/context a researcher has the obligation to come into relation with and in the bounds of that research space. This presentation is a representation of how I tried to do that.
FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 2022
Anita Chaudhuri, Assistant Professor of Teaching, English and Cultural Studies
Supporting Respectful Understanding of Cultures
Culturally sustaining pedagogy offers a critical lens and a theoretical framework to understand the educational experiences we bring to our classrooms. In this presentation, I share some questions on access and equity that face our students and what researchers offer as ways to support “culture, language and learning potential.” (Paris & Alim, 2017, p. 3) Finally, from an educational leadership point of view, I offer the example of a student-led project that intends to create pathways for dialogue, argument and response.
Shawn Serfas, Associate Professor, Visual Arts
This Kind of Wilderness
The rhetorical battle between order and chaos, post-apocalyptic landscapes of refuse and discard will be discussed in light of recent artists’ projects and exhibitions on the theme of environmental aesthetics and the cultural role that painting plays in defining our perceptions of nature.
Meilan Ehlert, Sessional Lecturer, Languages and World literatures
Making better transition ‘Multi’ as a strategic tool: The case of ethnic Korean plurilingual youths from Northeast China
Plurilingualism can be understood as the study of individual repertoire and agency in several languages in different contexts, in which an individual is the locus of, and actor in, the context. The current study is based on the conceptual framework of plurilingualism and plurilingual competence. A focus is on to identify how a strategic pedagogical implementation of the multi (i.e., use of multilingual, multicultural and multimodal resources) can better support and empower plurilingual speakers and learners in today’s diverse classrooms. This presentation will begin with a brief review of how the increased mobility in China today has been motivating and challenging educators at an ethnic Korean minority school (K-MNS) in Northeast China, in order to support new generations of (Japanese or English as) foreign language learners. Then, move on to mainly looking at some key examples of how a group of senior level plurilingual learners at the K-MNS engage in imaginative uses of their linguistic resources, constantly exploring and developing various strategies of managing the multi in their dynamic repertoires, as they were making transition from high school to university.
FRIDAY, MARCH 25, 2022
Scott Moore, MFA Visual Arts
‘I’m not sure how this got here, but boy are they tasty oranges’: A subtle being concentrated approach to this place.
With social and environmental challenges facing the earth, can there be an approach to show how to re-calibrate our relationships to things and places? In my artistic research, I have been constructing methods of making to cultivate small spaces and unfamiliar gaps through digital sculpture that could allow for re-introductions to our existing realities. Oranges, squash, apples, computer cables, hard drives, books, vases, flowers, etc. highlight the aggregate elements that compose our families. Taking notice of a kabocha squash resting on a cluttered dining room table becomes subscendent sites of connection. Working in ways to reveal the existing unseen/seen objects leads to potential moments of intimacy and relationships.
Michaela Bridgemohan, MFA Visual Arts
Oleaginous duppy: alternate paths of connection through immaterial to material making
The common threads woven throughout my artistic practice originate from my deep interest in building familiarity through relational connections. Thinking about lasting impressions, from brief encounter(s) to reappearing figure(s), raises questions: Do these relational bonds foster resilience to cultural identity within art-making? Through an auto-ethnographic focus, my artistic research shares an intimate relationship with Jamaican folk figure, duppy—whose bodily essence mimics the very fabric of Afro-Caribbean diasporic experience. Not as a source of capital possession, abuse, or the forbidden, but as a multi-dimensional and deeply complex geographic figure of ontological importance, knowledge, memory, and feeling through transformation. I will share relational practices such as cooking, grooming, and storytelling as methods of self-sustenance and creative power. I would say that I understand the order of the world when I observe my father prep curry goat by washing the meat. vinegar–soak–drain. Dignity and dedicated time in front of the pot is analogous to the perseverance of Black survival.
Ahlam Bavi, PhD student in the Digital Arts and Humanities theme, IGS
Beyond Sight (Improving the Museum Experience for Low-vision Visitors)
Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums (GLAM) institutions have come a long way in accommodating differently-abled guests and facilitating their experience of art. A common rule when visiting a gallery or museum, ‘no touching’, is supposed to teach us to respect and appreciate art from a distance. While it prevents any damage or breakages, this rule teaches us to enjoy art with our eyes, not our hands. The question, then, is how blind and partially sighted could benefit from (GLAM) institutions? how might we make objects accessible in (GLAM) institutions for blind and partially sighted visitors? Increasingly, digitalization offers visitors new, barrier-free opportunities for interaction with cultural heritage in GLAM. Today, 3D technologies worldwide are actively exploring strategies for the blind and partially sighted to experience art. My study examines 3D models as tactile, and gamified remediations and develops strategies and inclusive design principles for use of blind and partially sighted where artworks and artifacts cannot be touched.
FRIDAY, APRIL 1, 2022
Sakiru Adebayo, Assistant Professor, English and Cultural Studies
Complex Implication: Privilege, Positionality and Racialized Immigration in Canada
This paper examines what it means for Black African immigrant subjects to be discriminated against — yet implicated — in Canada’s settler-colonial project. It investigates the intricacies of what Mahmood Mamdani (2020) describes as being “neither native nor settler”. It studies the ‘complex implication’ (Rothberg, 2019) of racialized immigrant subjects in Canada’s original sin. It asks: what does it mean to be a privileged stranger? When does the immigrant dream of a ‘better life’ become entangled in the crime of Indigenous dispossession? And when does the implicated immigrant subject become an object of exploitation in the perpetuation of the settler colonial ambition? What does it mean to be an empowered yet disposable postcolonial subject? This paper employs an autoethnographic method of writing and analysis; it uses personal diary, observations, meditations and conversations with others to theorize questions of allegiance and alliance. It employs an ethnography of the everyday (JL Caughey, 1982) to explore the thin line between witnessing and spectatorship in the ongoing settler-colonial violence in Canada. It is also an attempt at auto-theorizing privilege, its fluidity, and what Blackness has got to do with it. It addresses the question of the global African elite and its accompliceship with the capitalist exploitation of people of African descent. Above all, this paper seeks to reinforce the necessity –while being cognizant of the precarity – of solidarity in the experience of racialization and classed immigration in Canada. It seeks to establish the need for– while recognizing the incalculability of – responsibility in the collective quest for justice and repair in Canada. It concludes that the work of implication is a work of uncomfortable self-reflexivity; it involves having a demanding relationship with history.
Marie Loughlin, Associate Professor, English and Cultural Studies
Who Do You Think You Are? Genealogy’s Early Modern and Contemporary Connections
While family genealogy continues to have the reputation of being solely the tool of cultural elites and the clearest testimony to a debilitating human investment in social inequality, in early modern England familial genealogy was not just about rank and social status. It was, in fact, a productively flexible discourse; its signs, after all, were increasingly available not just for the use of traditional elites, but also for the use of marginalized individuals and communities, from women and tradesmen to merchants and Roman Catholics. From the mid-sixteenth century, there were, moreover, enormous changes in what people imagined genealogy meant for them as individuals and as members of families and communities; individuals became increasingly interested in the lives and deeds of specific ancestors as models for self-fashioning and touchstones for self-knowing. At the beginning of the 21st century, family genealogical research and publication exists in a similar moment of tension, personally and numinously significant for millions of people, but subject to increasing and popular excoriation as anti-scientific, anti-democratic, and anti-Enlightenment.
FRIDAY, APRIL 8, 2022
Yasaman Lotfizadeh, MA student in the Digital Arts and Humanities theme, IGS
Representing Nature in an Illustrated Khamseh of Nezami Manuscript
Using a selected Persian Safavid Khamseh of Nezami manuscript from the mid-sixteenth century, British Library Or. 2265, this study examines how painters portrayed the natural world by comparing the poet’s verbal imagery in the text with the visual choices of the painters. Using digital humanities tools and methods and close-looking, I investigate the typology and range of nature representations in text and image to better understand Safavid artists’ perceptions of the natural world.
Brianne Christensen, MA in English student
Hospitable Narratives: The Synergies of Hospitality Studies, Migration Ethics, and New Sincerity Literature
Socio-political tensions resulting from concurrent increases in globalization and hyper-nationalism, and the assurance that climate change will expedite the migration of people over the coming decades, identify our present moment of history as the unstable precipice of multiple crises. My Master’s thesis is a critical effort to understand the implications of hospitality in a time of multiple crises related to border crossings, security, and migration ethics. I suggest that British writer Ali Smith’s recent four-volume Seasonal Quartet marks a turn to an ethical, socially accountable fiction that responds to this reality through her use of sincere, hospitable narrative techniques. I am most interested in the quartet’s numerous representations of the figure of the stranger. When completed, my work will locate Smith’s quartet in the growing corpus of New Sincerity literature. My arguments and close readings are currently under construction; therefore, this presentation will navigate the synergies between hospitality studies, migration ethics, and New Sincerity literature. I will demonstrate their collective potential to promote an affective recognition of the stranger.