Award for PhD student Monique Kampherm

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Congratulations to UWaterloo English PhD candidate Monique Kampherm. She was one of many UWaterloo English scholars participating in this year’s Canadian Society for the Study of Rhetoric conference at Congress. Monique’s paper was titled “Democratic Prosopopoeia: The Rhetorical Influence of Embodying a Political Statement Online” and resulted in her being named the RhetCanada 2018 Graduate Student Prize Winner. As the judges write:

Monique’s paper drew from a wide variety of rhetorical critics and adroitly integrated figurative analysis, digital technology studies, and political studies to examine the rhetorical effects of image filter use on social media during the 2015 Canadian election. While her paper drew on a specific case, it also spoke more generally to the rhetorical implications of how text and image are integrated on social media.

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Voting day round-up

votesforwomen
It’s an election day in Ontario. Have you reviewed the parties’ statements on higher education? Note that one party has only a single statement relating to universities: ensure free speech on campus. We’ve heard a lot about it in Waterloo recently, as people have argued that speech that claims the inferiority of some and suggests they should be accorded less respect and have lesser rights should be protected.

In response to our voting day, here are some links I would point you to, starting with a breakdown of the various parties’ platforms on education from Ontario’s non-partisan College Students Alliance. Here’s what OCUFA (Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations) has to say. Make your own decisions, pack your ID (and maybe additional ID and something with your mailing address), and head to the polls informed.

More generally–maybe to keep you from nail biting while waiting for results–here’s a recent essay by our own Dr. Frankie Condon, on “the possibility of imagining Canadian writing centres as sites wherein the Canadian commitment to multiculturalism and human rights may be more fully enacted.”

Finally, a provocative essay from The Guardian on how the literary canon reinforces the logic of the incel.

A funeral for your flip phone

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Is it time to say your final goodbye to that old and broken iPhone SE? BlackBerry Curve?? Flip phone??? The University of Waterloo English’s Critical Media Lab presents “Digital Rituals.” Bring your old cell phones and smartphones to 44 Gaukel and give them the funeral service they deserve. “Digital Rituals” runs every Tuesday, June 5, 12, 19, 26 from 5-7 PM and Saturdays, June 9 and 30 from 1-4 PM.

All phone e-waste will be responsibly recycled by Ontario Electronic Stewardship.

Lock up your demons–or just your phone

resistor case

Finding it hard to put down your phone? Drop by the University of Waterloo English’s Critical Media Lab, 44 Gaukel, on Wednesday, May 30 from 6-8pm for a FREE PUBLIC “Resistor Case” workshop. Make a case for your smartphone, and we’ll make a case for putting your phone in it.

As CBC reports, in an interview with English’s Dr. Marcel O’Gorman:

The Resistor Case is essentially a pouch you make for your phone. It comes as a kit — you get fabric, rivets, nails and Velcro — and you hammer it all together to make a small fabric holder.

The idea is that when you want to focus, you put your phone in the Resistor Case. Your device stays on you, but it’s out of sight. Access is hampered only by the very loud Velcro.

As O’Gorman says, you can check your phone, but everyone will know what you’re up to. “It prompts [the user] to self-regulate,” he said. “You can do it, but there are consequences.”

By creating a buffer between the person and their device, the Resister Case can be “a call to conscience,” without triggering the anxiety a number of people have when they are separated from their phones.

“The ‘take the phones away’ approach isn’t going to work,” he said. “That’s why the case is a semi-permeable membrane. You can still access it, but it’s not easy to access.”

Empty halls? Congress time!

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It’s once again that time of year when the UWaterloo English halls are empty, as faculty and graduate students travel to Congress to present their research. From Jin Sol Kim‘s ” Trans Counterpublics On Tumblr: How Tumblr Affords a Digital Safe Space for Transsexual Youth” to Lindsay Meaning’s “Adaptations of Empire: The Colony in Kim, Novel and Game” to Monique Kampherm’s “Democratic prosopopoeia: The rhetorical influence of embodying a political statement online” and Sara Gallagher’s “Mediating Race in Black and White: Oscar Micheaux and the Early Race Film,” UWaterloo English graduate students are presenting varied research.

English’s Dr. Norm Klassen will be giving a plenary, “The Inner Word from Dante to David Adams Richards: Why Christians Who are Neither Fundamentalists nor Mathematicians Believe in a Connection between Word and Thing.” Dr. Bruce Dadey, presenter of “Beyond Shovelware: The Developing Rhetoric of Multimodal Digital Journalism,” has created a list of presenters.

As for me? I spent my research budget on rare books. Someone has to hold down the fort.

How to play critically?

 

On Wednesday, May 9th, join UWaterloo English’s Dr. Aimée Morrison, UWaterloo English PhD alumnus Dr. Steve Wilcox, and Dr. Leah Zhang-Kennedy at The Museum in Kitchener, for “INTERACTION Dialogue: Learning Through Play.” The event is presented in partnership with UWaterloo Games Institute, founded and headed by English’s Dr. Neil Randall. According to the event page:

“Experts in digital media and game studies as the discussion covers the cultural, educational, social and political role of games and gameplay in our lives. Topics include digital literacy skills, creating and playing games critically, and learning through play.”

More information, including how to pre-register, is here. The event will be moderated by current UWaterloo English PhD student Betsy Brey.

Awards for faculty and grad students

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Congratulations to PhD students Rebecca Anderson and Devon Moriarty, who have both received awards from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to fund their dissertation research.  The awards are on the national level. Rebecca and Devon are also very active in the graduate student society (SAGE) serving as President and Vice-President, respectively. SSHRC.

In faculty news, Drs. Dorothy Hadfield, Linda Warley, and Aimée Morrison have won outstanding performance awards from the University of Waterloo. Congratulations to all!