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?”
Looking for new–and perhaps unconventional–reading? Volume 4 of the Year’s Best Weird Fiction (Undertow Publications) will soon be available in bookstores, and includes a story from Dr. Sarah Tolmie of UWaterloo English.
The UWaterloo Bookstore has a shelf dedicated to faculty authors: eight of the twenty-four books currently on display are by English faculty. If they want to give us a full third of the display (!), they might order in Dr. Gordon E. Slethaug‘s Music and The Road: Essays on the Interplay of Music and Popular Culture of the American Road (Bloomsbury, 2017). Dr. Slethaug is both editor and contributor. Other UWaterloo English contributors include Dr. Chad Wriglesworth and PhD students Virginia Shay and Evelyn DeShane.
You may recall an earlier post, announcing Dr. Jay Dolmage’s new book, Academic Ableism: Disability and Higher Education. It is coming out in a few short weeks, and if the wait is just t0o much, you might want to read this interview with Dr. Dolmage on the press’s website. A preview:
I am always searching for visual and spatial metaphors to try and explain things to myself and to others. The contrast between ramps and steps on college campuses is one of those metaphors…When you walk around campuses, the steps really are steep and they are wide, and they are everywhere—and they aren’t really about mobility, they are architectural statements on the most important buildings. So they send a message…[of] schooling as a place to sort society, to decide who gets to go up to which step and who does not. Is this really how we want to think of education—as a place that solidifies and reinforces unequal privilege and unequal access?
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.
UWaterloo English creative writing instructor Carrie Snyder has just published her second book for children. Jammie Day! follows a little boy who convinces his distracted parents that today is pajama day at school–and tomorrow, and the day after that, etc. A month later he’s still in pajamas, and his friends have all taken up the cause. I will readily admit: this is a cause I can get behind. Quill and Quire gave it a gold star.
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.