Flash From the Past: from Chris Masterman

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I have seen the book Flash From the Past: 140 Photographs from the Waterloo Region Record at Words Worth Books in uptown Waterloo, but had no idea that the co-author, Chris Masterman, is currently enrolled in UWaterloo as an English student, until one of her professors, Dr. Chad Wriglesworth, wrote me. Masterman, a former librarian, is interviewed here about the experience of sharing the photographs with the public.

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Our newest PhD, Clare Bermingham, on “Feeling Queer Together”

I am thrilled to introduce the newest graduate from UWaterloo English’s PhD program, Dr. Clare Bermingham. Some of you may know her as the Director of the Writing and Communication Centre at UWaterloo; you should also know her as the author of the dissertation “Feeling Queer Together: Identity, Community, and the Work of Affect in the Pre-Stonewall Lesbian Magazine, the Ladder.”
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Dr. Bermingham was supervised by Dr. Victoria Lamont, with committee members Drs. Alice Kuznair and Kevin McGuirk. Her internal/external examiner was Dr. Shannon Dea, and her external examiner was Dr. Michael Cobb.

Feeling Queer Together: Identity, Community, and the Work of Affect in the Pre-Stonewall Lesbian Magazine, the Ladder

This project examines the emergence of lesbian identity and community through the work of queer feeling, specifically as it was produced in the American magazine, the Ladder (1956-1972). The Ladder was published by the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB), the first national lesbian organization, whose politics of respectability called for lesbians to conform with and adjust to normative gender and class ideals. While such strategies of assimilation responded to the traumatic discourses of disease and deviance that framed lesbian life in the 1950s and 1960s, they further marginalized women who could not easily or legitimately occupy normative categories of gender and class. As an extension of DOB, the Ladder has been treated as a largely conformist text; however, its short fiction, poetry, and readers’ letters engaged differently with the push towards normativity by challenging ideas of value, happiness, gender, family, strangeness, and love. By examining the Ladder’s literary texts and letters for the ways in which they invoke feeling and affectively produce different ways of being and doing queerness, I explore the ways that queer feeling opens up every day spaces for lesbian possibility as good feelings of happiness, pleasure, recognition, connection, and love are bound up with feelings of trauma, erasure, and loss. In reading the Ladder as a complex affective archive of this period of early lesbian identity and community, I show how a community’s texts during critical historical moments can reveal the workings and movements of, what Raymond Williams calls a “structure of feelings,” the affective currents that constitute a community’s becomings and changes before and as they coalesce into a static history.

Please do not reproduce the images in this post without contacting Dr. Bermingham for further permission information.

Dr. Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher for President!

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Dr. Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher, of UWaterloo English, has been elected President of the Association for the Rhetoric of Science, Technology, and Medicine. As many Words in Place readers know, this aligns perfectly with her research expertise: her book Science Communication Online: Engaging Experts and Publics on the Internet, is forthcoming in Spring 2019 from The Ohio State University Press.

The Association for the Rhetoric of Science, Technology, and Medicine is an independent scholarly organization that promotes rhetorical scholarship and facilitates networking across disciplines and institutions. Their primary meetings occur in collaboration with two larger conferences: the annual National Communication Association (NCA) meeting and the biennial Rhetoric Society of America (RSA) conference.

Beyond Green Gables: New Books from Dr. Benjamin Lefebvre


Congratulations to University of Waterloo English lecturer Dr. Benjamin Lefebvre on the publication of an edited collection of the writings of Lucy Maud Montgomery, A Name for Herself: Selected Writings, 1891–1917 (University of Toronto Press, 2018). Dr. Levebre is editor of The L.M. Montgomery Library, and director of L.M. Montgomery Online. His publications include Textual Transformations in Children’s Literature: Adaptations, Translations, Reconsiderations, an edition of Montgomery’s rediscovered final book, The Blythes Are Quoted, and the three-volume critical anthology The L.M. Montgomery Reader, which won the 2016 PROSE Award for Literature from the Association of American Publishers. He is the author of over twenty peer-reviewed essays and book chapters.

Instagram tears

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Tired of the overly filtered world of Instagram? You’re not the only one. Dr. Aimée Morrison, our resident expert in the rhetoric of digital lives, social media, & more, spoke to Nora Young of CBC’s Spark about the recent trend to show a less glossy version of the self–one that might even be unflattering. According to Dr. Morrison, “I think what we’re seeing now is that a much broader range of what people are describing as authentic self-representations are occurring in a number of platforms now where we did not expect to see them.” You can read or listen to the interview online. Spoiler alert: towards the end, a certain professor teases some new research she’s conducting!

Image: Instagram sensation Kirby Jenner trying to take a selfie without getting ketchup on his phone

Book signing with Alumna Carolyn Huizinga Mills

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UWaterloo Alumna Carolyn Huizinga Mills has published her first book, The Little Boy Who Lived Down The Drain and will be signing copies at Words Worth Books, in Uptown Waterloo, Sunday Nov. 25 from 12-2pm. The Little Boy Who Lived Down the Drain was nominated for the 2018 Ontario Library Association’s Forest of Reading Blue Spruce Award as well as being selected by the OneWorld Schoolhouse Foundation to be part of their Rainforest of Reading program.

Earlier this year Carolyn reflected on her English courses at UWaterloo: “One memory that still stands out to me from my university days so many years ago is sitting in a class taught by professor Eric McCormack, thinking: Hes written a book! I remember being impressed (perhaps even awed) by the fact that he was an author, a genuine, bonafide author, and he was teaching me about writing. So it seems surreal, now, to be able to call myself an author, too.” (“A Dream“)

Visit Carolyn’s author website at: http://carolynhuizingamills.ca

Preview Recent Grad’s New Book


Dr. Emma Vossen successfully defended her PhD in English at UWaterloo in July; now you can preview her co-edited book, Feminism in Play, part of the Palgrave Games in Context Series. She also contributed a chapter, “The Magic Circle and Consent in Gaming Practices.” From the press:

Feminism in Play focuses on women as they are depicted in video games, as participants in games culture, and as contributors to the games industry. This volume showcases women’s resistance to the norms of games culture, as well as women’s play and creative practices both in and around the games industry. Contributors analyze the interconnections between games and the broader societal and structural issues impeding the successful inclusion of women in games and games culture. In offering this framework, this volume provides a platform to the silenced and marginalized, offering counter-narratives to the post-racial and post-gendered fantasies that so often obscure the violent context of production and consumption of games culture.