Maybe you’ve managed to remain unaware of the scandals plaguing Canadian Literature over the last year. We should be grateful that, in the midst of all the chaos, there are people who have made sense of it for the uninitiated, mounting sharp and insightful critiques. This includes Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, author of the Globe and Mail essay “The cultural appropriation debate is over. It’s time for action.” Akiwenzie-Damm is an Anishinaabe writer, poet, editor, and the founder and managing editor of Kegedonce Press, an Indigenous publisher based in the territory of her people, the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation, Saugeen Ojibway Nation in southwestern Ontario. And she will be speaking at UWaterloo on Thursday, January 18th, 4pm-5:30 in the Modern Languages Theatre of the Arts, as part of the Indigenous Speakers Series.
Akiwenzie-Damm’s recent book, The Stone Collection, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was a finalist for a Sarton Literary Award. As the publisher writes: “Through unforgettable characters, these stories—about love and lust, suicide and survival, illness and wholeness—illuminate the strange workings of the human heart.” Eden Robinson concurs: “Generous, funny and dark, The Stone Collection doesn’t pull its emotional punches but it leavens its grim truths with bright humour and earthy lust. Akiwenzie-Damm’s writing shape-shifts and mesmerizes in short stories that tell us no matter how hard the journey, love can heal us all.”
The Indigenous Speakers Series is co-sponsored by the Waterloo Aboriginal Education Centre and the Faculty of Arts. The series highlights the voices of Indigenous artists, writers, activists, and leaders from across Turtle Island, offering UWaterloo students, faculty and staff opportunities to learn from, understand, and engage with Indigenous issues.
Image: from a CBC interview with author–well worth reading here.
Colloquium or reading? Colloquium or reading? Colloquium or reading? Or… both?! CBC has strong feelings about how you should spend today at Waterloo!
Late morning, you could attend with the second CTE Teaching Colloquium featuring English and Philosophy grad students, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in HH 373. You are welcome to bring your lunch, in case you get hungry listening to:
- Maša Torbica, “The Classroom as Territory: (Re)Negotiating a Decolonizing Pedagogical Praxis”
- Teresa Branch-Smith, “Creating Inclusive Classrooms amidst Discriminatory Content”
- Meghan Riley, “Women’s and Gender Studies Across the Curriculum”
Abstracts for the presentations can be found on Colloquium’s events page.
Later in the day, there’s a reading by Mariam Pirbhai on Friday 12 January at 4:30pm in SJ1 3027 (St Jerome’s at the University of Waterloo). Mariam Pirbhai is the author of a debut short story collection titled Outside People and Other Stories (Inanna 2017), praised by award-winning novelist Shani Mootoo for its “clear-eyed compassion, generosity and literary brilliance.” And it was just ranked #6 in CBC’s Top 95 Must Read recommended books of 2017!
Did you know UWaterloo English’s Critical Media Lab has been playing an important part in the Grand Philharmonic Choir’s performance of Handel’s “Messiah” this year? For months, the CML has been assisting in producing digital images of a hand-crafted and illuminated copy of the St. John’s Bible. The images will then be projected on the screen. According to Dr. Marcel O’Gorman, “For us, this project is about translating a complex literary text into a moving picture. It’s a dance between old and new media, big books and big data projectors.”
Handel’s Messiah Sat. Dec. 9, 7:30 pm
(Pre-concert talk at 6:30 pm)
Centre in the Square, Kitchener
Tickets: $30 to $82, with discounts for children, students and under-30s.
519-578-1570 or www.centreinthesquare.com
If you have taken a course in Mennonite writing at UWaterloo, it might have been taught by Hildi Froese Tiessen, now Professor Emerita, and editor of the forthcoming 11 Encounters with Mennonite Fiction (Mennonite Literary Society, 2017). You are invited to attend a launch for the book on Thursday, December 7th, at Conrad Grebel at UWaterloo in the Schlegel Community Education Room. Also being launched is Silentium: And Other Reflections on Memory, Sorrow, Place, and the Sacred, by Connie T. Braun.
UWaterloo English’s Critical Media Lab is hosting an Open House on Friday, December 1, from 4pm – 7pm. There will be demonstrations of new CFI-funded equipment such as a laser cutter, 3D printer, brain wave interface controller, and MYO armband developed by local startup Thalmic Labs. Come and join us in imagining how to critically deploy these instruments in a manner suitable to the arts and humanities. CML Lab Technician Matt Frazer will facilitate the demonstrations.
Three students from the English Department’s XDM MA program — Julie Funk, Miraya Groot, and Caitlin Woodcock — will have their final projects on display in the lab, and they will be present to take questions and give demonstrations.
Students from ENGL 760: Things in Philosophy and Literature, co-taught by Dr. Kevin McGuirk and Dr. Marcel O’Gorman, will also be showcasing their “things.”
Finally, Professor Matt Borland, a CML collaborator from Systems Design Engineering, will invite us to play some of his experimental digital music instruments.
Refreshments will be served.
Hope to see you at the lab. 44 Gaukel Street, Kitchener, ON, adjacent to the Charles Street Bus Terminal.
Image: BasketCase by Caitlin Woodcock
Did you know that Dr. Vershawn Young, cross-appointed to English at UWaterloo, is the newly elected Assistant Chair for the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), an international organization dedicated to research and teaching in the fields of writing and communication theory? I can’t emphasize enough how significant this–as those in the field know, this is both a notable honour and a tremendous opportunity, and comes with significant responsibility.
“I’ve been given an opportunity to bring my signature to the next four years,” explains Prof. Young, of his CCCC election. “There have been articles written that ask what happened to the 4th C, communication. I want to see communication and composition come back together and help to re-articulate what that relationship looks like.”
For more, see the article on UWaterloo Arts.
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.