Newest department members: Drs. Frankie Condon and Jennifer Harris

Moving in

It makes sense to profile new members of the department. But it’s a bit awkward to profile myself. So I asked the other newest member, Dr. Frankie Condon, if we could interview each other; we emailed back and forth from adjoining offices.

JLH: How’s the move from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to uWaterloo been? Have you found everything yet? Or at least discovered where to get good coffee on campus?

FC: Well, I haven’t found the good coffee yet…but I have found my office and the mailroom, which I consider quite an accomplishment. I’m still taking wrong turns in Hagey Hall with alarming frequency. Mostly, I’ve been reading and writing in between finding a house to rent and filling out forms that will make us a life here in Canada.

My daughter and I have been staying in Toronto while we get ourselves situated. The city is so cosmopolitan and is very exciting and inspiring to wander about in. We’ve attended Pride week and a South Asian street festival, visited Ward Island, watched movies at TIFF (including a really interesting bio-pic about Hannah Arendt).

In Waterloo, I’ve found ice rinks for the kids’ skating, grocery stores, and a dog park for our pups when they arrive. But I still haven’t found the good coffee on campus. Suggestions welcome!

JLH: I’m missing TIFF this year. Though we have hit Multicultural Day and National Aboriginal Day here in K/W. The keg rolling at Oktoberfest was also a big hit in the fall, though somehow we missed the children’s keg tapping. I also really wanted to attend the Bogenschuetzenfest, mostly because the description is just so great.

Coffee is a thorny issue: I’m a Starbucks fan, partly because they made it possible to surf out the worst of an Ontario winter in Seattle when I was writing the PhD dissertation. But there’s some anti-Starbucks sentiment on campus, and instead we got another Williams when Env3 was built. There’s a great blog by one of the computer science profs titled Eating the Plaza that reviews all of the restaurants next door. I should probably re-visit it and see if he addresses caffeine.

But here’s what I *have* discovered: how to order my fall books. I’m lined up for American Lit to 1860 and British Literature to Austen, so it’s not like when I teach South Asian, and am finagling to get books from Bangladesh. Have you got your assignments yet? Are they similar to what you were teaching in Nebraska? And maybe I should be all interview-y, and ask what excites you about coming to Waterloo?

FC: I have gotten my assignments. I am teaching courses that build on interests I certainly held while in Nebraska, but that are really new course designs for me. I’m very interested in political rhetoric and, in particular, the rhetoric of public policy. This fall, I’ll be teaching a course entitled, “Writing for Diverse Audiences,” for students enrolled in the Masters program in Public Service. I’m very excited to meet students who are committed to the work of public service and to work on writing with them. During the winter term I’ll be teaching “The Rhetoric of Dissent,” which is right up my alley! I’ll also be teaching a graduate course for which I haven’t yet imagined a title (titles are my worst thing!). I want to design that course as an opportunity to engage critically with the resonances and dissonances between rhetorics of race and class in the radical labor and antiracist movements. We may begin with Eugene Debs and calls for transracial solidarity during the formative years of the IWW then work our way through the 20th century, touching on Black communism during the Harlem Renaissance and the shift from moral to historical materialist appeals as well as on separatist movements within both labor and antiracism in the post-civil rights era. If there is time, I would love to touch on rhetorics of race in the Occupy movement (often more notable for their absence than for any sustained acknowledgement or analysis of the interplay between race(ism) and class(ism)) and on the more robust intersectional rhetorics of race and class in the emerging Idle No More movement.

So…I’m super excited about my teaching assignments and about the research opportunities uWaterloo offers. I’m delighted to be joining a Department in which so many colleagues are working within a nexus of discourses in English Studies: literature, critical theory, rhetoric, critical media, writing and critical pedagogy. I’m eager to meet and work with a new cohort of undergraduate and graduate students. I’m eager to connect with community activist networks in Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto. And, to be honest, I’m pretty darn excited about how nice the ice rinks are around here.

Thanks for the book-order and Learn log-in info. That helped tremendously!

Postscript: please feel free to offer us suggestions about things we should absolutely know about Waterloo. My household *especially* welcomes tips for family events and food.–JLH


4 responses to “Newest department members: Drs. Frankie Condon and Jennifer Harris

  1. I’m looking forward to reading Prof. Condon’s recent book “I Hope I Join the Band” (Utah State University Press, 2012). Should be a compelling and interesting read!

  2. Welcome to Waterloo, Drs. Condon and Harris. It is interesting to note how both of our new colleagues bring intersecting interests in American studies and critical race theory, joining a strong group of colleagues working on the study of North American literatures, African North American literatures, and critical race theory.

    What is particularly telling, in terms of the Department’s identity, and this picks up on a point in Dr. Condon’s last set of comments, is that this area of research strength crosses all of our main program areas, with individuals from among our rhetoricians and digital media specialists, as well as literary scholars, all publishing on North American literatures, African North American literatures, and critical race theory.

  3. In its early years, Waterloo apparently had a bit of a reputation as a radical activist campus–perhaps you and your students mightn’t have to look too far to find some dissenting rhetoric lurking around.

    Delighted to see both of you bringing your talents and interests to the department. (and if you ever need any help with LEARN, feel free to look me up)

  4. Second Cup for the best coffee. In the Pi plaza, just east of Philips, a nice walk this time of year.

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