Category Archives: Events


Screenshot 2018-06-25 09.25.35Convocation happens twice a year at UWaterloo. June convocation is the larger of the two. Faculty dust off their academic robes, enviously eying colleagues who graduated from institutions with much nicer robes in more flattering colours or with more interesting designs. (UWaterloo’s are red and green, pictured above.) Inevitably someone cracks a joke about Harry Potter, and who resembles which Hogwarts professor. And then the ceremony begins: we get to watch students receive their degrees as parents and friends cheer, mortifying some, buoying others. Afterwards, there is a reception in the student centre, where everyone poses for photos and faculty mingle with students and their parents. Congratulations to all our new English graduates! Here is our 2018 graduating class, with photos interspersed:


Kasandra Arthur, “We are Having All Kinds of Fun: Fluidity in Shoebox Project” (Supervisor Dr. Neil Randall)

Ryan Clement, “Playing the Story: The Emergence of Narrative through the Interaction between Players, Game Mechanics, and Participatory Fan Communities.” (Co-supervisors Karen Collins, Dr. Neil Randall)



Megan Dawe
Justine Fifield
Tasnuma Mou
Amber O’Brien


Julie Funk, “Sleep Mode and Material Melancholies: Speaking Roland Barthes, Love, Longing and Loss in Smartphone Discourse” (pictured above right) (Supervisor: Dr. Marcel O’Gorman)

Miraya Groot, “Waterloo Region Cyborgs:  Practice and Theory” (Supervisor: Dr. Marcel O’Gorman)

Megan Honsberger, “Technically Buddhist” (Supervisor: Dr. Marcel O’Gorman)

Caitlin Woodcock, “Resistance isn’t Futile: Exploring Mindful Non-Use of Digital Technologies from Female Perspectives” (pictured above left) (Supervisor: Dr. Marcel O’Gorman)


Emran Arif
Aaron David Atienza
Carmen Barsomian-Dietrich
Martin Bertrand
Dale Brennan
Gabriela Carmen Bzorek
Brian Nicolas Carney
Diana Hill Yin Cheung
Erica Antoinette Diane Lucille Coutts
Alyssa Briana Dauria
Benjamin Davis
Sandun Dissanayake
Benjamin Michael Elliott
Annabelle Camilla Maria Eshuis
Christine Barbara Frim
Alicia Jean Fuller
Emily Galvao
Nivan Hamed
Taylor Hatkoski
Meghan Holmes
Ishmal Hussain
Jasmin Jackson
Sumer Jafri
Lisa Manni Juniper
Tasha Karsan
Naz Delair Kittani (pictured above right)
Melissa Karina Koehler
Heather Nicole Lambert
Chelsea Leite (pictured above left)
Hayley Joy Levine
Troy MacArthur
Laura Macdonald
Katharine Macpherson
Victoria Yvonne Malfait
Kayley Maree Marner
Ernest Joseph McCullough
Kristin Elizabeth Rose McKnight
Scott Aaron Metzger
Shehzeen Misbah
Emily Taylore Misurec
William George Mitchell
Tatiana Morand
Zibusiso Ncube
Vanessa Ngan
Ryan Harrison Nisker
Oluwabukunola Oluwafisayo Orunesajo
Emily B Paul
Robyn Peers
Brandon Petryna
Nathika Pratheep-Ananth
Sanum Mumtaz Qazi
Summer Sarah Rashed
Michael Joseph Reitmeier
Alexander Joseph Rollinson
Erica Rosa
Tanja Maria Saric
Pamela Maria Schmidt
Nemanja Simic
Madeline Victoria Smith
Megan Elizabeth Smith
Ashley Marie Snyder
Elizabeth Spanjer
Katherine Elaine Steckly
Jonathan Tang
Naomi Corinna Turner
Sarah Elizabeth Turner
Meghan Elisabeth Voll
Margaret Anna Walker
Mackenzie Jane Verba Weaver
Samantha Miharu Yasui


Voting day round-up

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

digital rituals
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.”

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.

Defy the snow: come to the XDM exhibition!

Screenshot 2018-04-06 10.52.21

It’s snowing and it’s April, and it’s AWFUL, I know. I just helped a 93 year-old with a walker who couldn’t make it across campus in the snow. But he still came out to an event on campus today.

Let him be your inspiration. Defy the snow and come out tonight to the English department’s MA program in Experimental Digital Media (XDM) annual XDM Exhibition. This year’s exhibition is Codes of Conduct and will feature works from students and community members that provides critical commentary on theoretical areas such as code and algorithm, our digital habits and behaviours, and other sociotechnical intersections. This event will be held in conjunction with the Digital Playground exhibition of Computer Science and Fine Arts students’ projects in the Computational Art course.

The event will be catered and licensed.

Date: Friday, April 6 Time: 6-9 pm
Place: Critical Media Lab
44 Gaukel St. Kitchener

Native Speaker Colloquium

Screenshot 2018-03-28 15.30.27
On Thursday, April 5, 2018, join graduate students from English and German for a colloquium on “The Native Speaker.” The colloquium emerged from Dr. Barbara Schmenk’s cross-listed graduate course “The native speaker in language education” (English 790). The location is EV3 3412.
8:45: Welcome and early morning colloquium stretching
9:00–9:20: “Mistakes and Deficiency: Redefining Language Learning as a
Meaning Making Process,” Viktoria Pekarskaya
9:20–9:40: “The Multilingual Turn. Overcoming the Native Speaker Ideal through
Fostering Symbolic Competence,” Jasmin Lissitsin
9:40–10:00: “NativeSpeaker101: A College Course Evaluation,” Marta Wilkinson
10:00–10:20: “Decentralizing the Myth of the Native Speaker in English 109,” Christin Taylor
10:20–10:40: “Do Students Really Prefer “Native-Speaker” Teachers?” Sara Marsh
10:40–11:00: “But je suis multilingual? Constructing language teacher identity,” Taylor Valnion
11:00–11:20: Coffee break
11:20–11:40: “Multilingualism in Mainland China,” Katherine Tu
11:40–12:00: “‘Maybe I will become a banana’: the Story of Ning, from China to
France,” Tessa Smits
12:00–12:20: “Conscious and ‘Dysconscious’ Native Speakerism in ELT Versus
Translanguaging as a Necessity and Reality in Nepali Context,” Chitra Kumar Karki
12:20–12:40: “‘Be a Better Citizen of the 21st century’: Hidden Ideologies of the
‘Native Speaker’ in ELT Advertisement,” Laura Kronauer
 12:40–1:00: “Why Should We Care about the Death of Snakish? Exposing Monolingual Folk Language Ideology,” Jacob Michael Sigmund Stephan
1:00–2:00: Lunch break
2:00–2:20: “Changing the Fundamental Principles of Native Speakerism through
Power Sharing in The Grass Dancer,” Bibi Ashyana Harricharran
2:20–2:40: “Nationhood, Narrative, and Nerve: Unleashing The White Tiger,” Zahra Kara
2:40–3:00: “English as the Official, Unifying National Language of Nigerian
Literature,” Richard Barnett
3:00–3:20: “Multilingual Code Switching-Creating a Cultural Immune System,” Chris Martin
3 20–3:40: “Why Learn Latin? An Analysis of the Discourse of Compulsory Latin for Language Education Students in Germany,” Lea Schmidt
3:40–4:00: Coffee break
4:00–4:20: “Arbitrary but Useful Ideals: Institutional Native-Speakerism and the
MLA Job Listings,” Rebekka Corneil
4: 20–4:40:  “Vivid and authentic”: The native-speaking language assistant and
Pädagogischer Austauschdienst,” Alexander Sullivan
4:40–5:00: “Fack ju Göhte 4: Native Speakerism within the Goethe-
Institut,” Miriam Meurer
5:00–5:20: “‘Die Sprache der Bundesrepublik Deutschland ist Deutsch’: Language
governmentality in the Verein Deutsche Sprache,” Jana Köpcke
5:20–5:40: “As easy as ABC: Lessons of governmentality within
Ontario’s Elementary Language Curriculum,” Elizabeth Milne
From 5:45: Seeking closure@ the Graduate House