Do you know someone formally designated an “exceptional researcher”? UWaterloo English’s Dr. Vinh Nguyen (Renison) has been, with the receipt of a 2017 Polanyi Prize. One of just five to be honoured, he is the only English professor on this list, as well as the sole UWaterloo faculty member. I asked Dr. Nguyen if he might share a few sentences about this research–here’s what he wrote:
“My project investigates how and why former refugees advocate for, stand in solidarity with, and come to the aid of, those who seek asylum in Canada and the United States. The project is driven by the following set of research questions: How do moments of solidarity and support between refugees enable us to reconsider our understanding of humanitarianism? What narratives arise when we recount North American immigration history through relational and coalitional experiences across different refugee groups? What does the work of social activism by former refugees tell us about the concept of refuge?”
The UWaterloo English department Fall Newsletter is now available, featuring an update from our chair featuring exciting updates about the department, as well as information on faculty awards, publications, and events.
Congratulations to UWaterloo English PhD candidate Kyle Gerber, who is the winner of the 2017 Canadian Society for the Study of Rhetoric (aka RhetCanada) prize for best student conference paper for “‘On Earth as it is in Heaven’: Transitive Action in The Lord’s Prayer.”
At UWaterloo, Kyle studies patterns of rhetorical figures in Mennonite writing on forgiveness, attending to cognitive implications for these patterns. He has published and presented in the areas of Mennonite identity, theology, and literature, and is interested in intersections of rhetorical, cognitive, and Mennonite studies. Kyle’s research is funded by a SSHRC doctoral grant, and he is supervised by Dr. Randy Harris.
According to Kyle, “I’m grateful to be working in a department that fosters diverse modes of inquiry, surrounded by remarkable people, and connected to the broader community of RhetCanada. I’m grateful for Randy’s inspiration, guidance, and supervision, and for the collegial support of the peers in our writing group, Devon, Monique, Saeed, and George; any success I have is a product of what these individuals contribute to my life and scholarship.”
You can hear Kyle talk about his research here.
The position “University Research Chair” is a prestigious one, recognizing “exceptional achievement and pre-eminence in a particular field of knowledge.” We are excited to announce that University of Waterloo English’s Dr. Marcel O’Gorman now holds this position–one of only two who do so in the faculty of arts. In other news, Marcel has also accepted the position of Graduate Chair of English.
Congratulations to Julie Funk, who will be awarded the Department of English Award for Distinguished Academic Achievement at the upcoming June convocation. You may remember Julie from an earlier Words in Place interview, where she discussed what surprised her most about her time at UWaterloo. While Julie graduated in fall 2016, the award is only given annually. We are fortunate that she is still around, however, continuing her excellent work in our MA program.
The literary magazine The New Quarterly, housed at St. Jerome’s at the University of Waterloo, won two gold medals, for fiction and poetry, at the 40th Annual National Magazine Awards, held last Friday at a gala in Toronto—the best showing by any literary magazine in Canada.
Poetry gold was won by Selina Boan for “(Good) ‘Girls Don’t Hitchhike’” / “Half/Brother” / “Meet Cree: A Practical Guide to the Cree Language.” Boan was a finalist in last year’s CBC Poetry Prize and she’s working on a collection of poems exploring her Cree and European heritage. Fiction gold was won by Richard Kelly Kemick for “The Unitarian Church’s Annual Young Writers’ Short Story Competition.” TNQ also had two honourable mentions: Sharon Bala for “Miloslav” (Fiction), and Liz Windhorst Harmer for “My Flannery” (Essay).
If you aren’t familiar with The New Quarterly, this might be an ideal time to pick it up: the Spring 2017 issue contains the poem “Lines of Regret Written for Alexander MacLeod After a Too-Short Funeral Visitation” by UWaterloo English faculty member Dr. Marcel O’Gorman.
Another day, another award announcement, in this case University of Waterloo’s Outstanding Performance Awards. As Vice-President, Academic & Provost Ian Orchard wrote, “I am very pleased to announce the award recipients for 2016 and would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them for their outstanding contributions to the University of Waterloo.” Of the twenty-two award winners from UWaterloo Arts, four were from English: Drs. Bruce Dadey, Jay Dolmage, Jennifer Harris and Ashley Rose Kelly Mehlenbacher. You’ll have seen Jay Dolmage on our blog recently, in conjunction with his new book–written while also serving as undergraduate chair; likewise Ashley Rose Kelly Mehlenbacher was featured this week, announcing her receipt of an award enabling scholars who are relatively new to build a research team. Bruce Dadey has done stellar work in the classroom and behind the scenes–among other things he runs our Twitter account, though the labour involved in that pales to what he has accomplished on other fronts, including our department webpage. And then that last person is me. I’m happiest about my students and my work on early Black Canadian literature this past year.