Special Honour for 2 PhD Candidates


Congratulations to English PhD candidates Devon Moriarty and Monique Kampherm, who have been named HASTAC Scholars. HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology and Collaboratory) Scholars are a community of students working at the intersection of technology and the arts, humanities, and science. These scholars collaborate with others in the community to write blog posts, produce webinars, host twitter chats, coordinate meet-ups, interview leaders in the digital humanities, and just about anything else that engages with academia in the digital age. As part of the program, HASTAC Scholars are required to have mentors who assist students in navigating the 2-year program. Dr. Ashley Mehlenbacher is mentoring Devon, and Dr. Randy Harris is mentoring Monique.

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Faculty Teaching Recognized

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Are you aware how many of our UWaterloo English Faculty have won teaching awards over the last few years? It’s an impressive range of awards, and an impressive range of faculty!

Dr. Heather Smyth: Faculty of Arts Excellence in Teaching Award, 2018

Dr. Norm Klassen: University of Waterloo Federation of Students Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, 2018; Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance Teaching Award, 2018

Dr. Chad Wriglesworth: University of Waterloo Federation of Students Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, 2018; Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance Teaching Award, 2018

Dr. Frankie Condon: UW Federation of Students Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award (Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance), 2017

Dr. Randy Harris: University of Waterloo Award for Excellence in Graduate Supervision

And Dr. Michael MacDonald‘s ENGL 309A EL course will be used as the example of a model on-line course at the Centre for Teaching Excellence Teaching Excellence Academy this month. He is a past recipient of the Faculty of Arts Excellence in Teaching Award, as well as the University’s highest teaching honour, the Distinguished Teacher Award.

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Nomination for Dr. Lamees Al Ethari

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Congratulations to English’s own Dr. Lamees Al Ethari, who has been nominated by The New Quarterly for a National Magazine Award in the poetry category. The shortlist will be announced in early May and the winner will be announced at a gala in Toronto. She is the author of From the Wounded Banks of the Tigris (London: Baseline Press, 2018) and Waiting for the Rain: A Memoir (Toronto: Mawenzi House Publishers, 2019).

Our Grad Students Host Symposium

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The 2019 Tri-University Graduate Symposium brings together graduate students and faculty members from English departments situated in the University of Guelph, the University of Waterloo, and Wilfrid Laurier University.

This year’s conference is hosted by the Student Association for Graduates in English at the University of Waterloo and aims to explore the values inherent and provided by the pursuit of higher education in literary studies and the humanities.

The deadline for proposals is Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at midnight. See the poster above for more information, or visit the event Facebook page.

The conference will take place on Friday, April 12, 2019. Time and room location TBD.

Award for Faculty

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Congratulations to Dr. Lamees Al Ethari and Prof. Carrie Snyder of UWaterloo English, who have just received a SSHRC Connection Grant.

Local Black History and a Fishing Expedition

Screenshot 2019-02-04 09.34.30I don’t generally use the department blog to promote my own work—but in this instance, there’s good reason. Last week my essay “Peter Susand, Lost Texts, and Black Canadian Literary Culture of the 1850s” was published in Canadian Literature. I first encountered Susand in Linda Brown-Kubisch’s The Queen’s Bush Settlement: Black Pioneers 1839-1865. In 1856, twenty-five years after arriving in Canada as a fugitive from slavery, Susand published a book of poetry in Kitchener, The Prose and Poetical Works of Peter Edward Susand. To date, no copy of the volume has been found.

We do have accounts of speeches by Susand, as well as other evidence of engagement with literary culture. I have located hundreds of primary source documents related to his family: an interview with one of his children; patents filed by others; advertisements related to their businesses; accounts of their participation in horticulture competitions. But the book remains elusive—hence the fishing expedition. While the essay makes the argument that we shouldn’t wait around for the book to emerge before discussing Susand’s place in the literary landscape of the era, the truth is, for all kinds of reasons, it would be very nice if a copy were to be found. So for anyone cleaning out an attic, emptying a trunk, wriggling through a crawl space, or perusing used books at a sale: please keep this hunt in mind. And if you come across other such materials by nineteenth-century Black Canadian authors: please, don’t discard them. I’m one of many scholars who would be happy to talk to you about preservation.

Photo: In August 2017, following best practices for preservation, I cleaned the Susand family gravestones, to determine what verses were included and if they might have been original compositions by Peter Susand. Location: Mount Hope Cemetery, Kitchener, Ontario.

Congratulations to Dr. Amna Haider

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Congratulations to Dr. Amna Haider on the successful defense of her thesis A Transmogrifying Discourse of Sexual Violence: Resisting, Redressing and Re-writing Racial Scripts in Contemporary African American Women’s Theatre. Her co-supervisors were Dr. Frankie Condon and Dr. Vershawn Young, with committee members Dr. Jennifer Harris and Dr. Andrew McMurray. The internal external was Dr. Naila Keleta-Mae, Dr. E. Patrick Johnson served as the external, and Dr. Jonathan Buss of Computer Science chaired the defense. For more about Dr. Haider’s dissertation, you can read the abstract here.