Category Archives: Publications

TLS on Dr. Victoria Lamont’s new book

Did you know English’s own Dr. Victoria Lamont recently published a book, Westerns: A Women’s History? And that the Times Literary Supplement (TLS) reviewed it very favorably? From the press:

“At every turn in the development of what we now know as the western, women writers have been instrumental in its formation. Yet the myth that the western is male-authored persists. Westerns: A Women’s History debunks this myth once and for all by recovering the women writers of popular westerns who were active during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when the western genre as we now know it emerged.

Victoria Lamont offers detailed studies of some of the many women who helped shape the western. Their novels bear the classic hallmarks of the western—cowboys, schoolmarms, gun violence, lynchings, cattle branding—while also placing female characters at the center of their western adventures and improvising with western conventions in surprising and ingenious ways. In Emma Ghent Curtis’s The Administratrix a widow disguises herself as a cowboy and infiltrates the cowboy gang responsible for lynching her husband. Muriel Newhall’s pulp serial character, Sheriff Minnie, comes to the rescue of a steady stream of defenseless female victims. B. M. Bower, Katharine Newlin Burt, and Frances McElrath use cattle branding as a metaphor for their feminist critiques of patriarchy. In addition to recovering the work of these and other women authors of popular westerns, Lamont uses original archival analysis of the western-fiction publishing scene to overturn the long-standing myth of the western as a male-dominated genre.”

A new faculty book: Academic Ableism

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Congratulations to University of Waterloo English’s Dr. Jay Dolmage, whose new book, Academic Ableism Disability and Higher Education, is forthcoming from University of Michigan Press, fall 2017. In it, Dr. Dolmage will “explore architecture, the logics of accommodation and its defeat devices, universal design and usability, multimodality, racism, eugenics and rape culture, sick buildings, digital curbcuts, checklistification, neurorhetorics, “wellness,” and even popular films about college life — among other things.” This is then linked to what he identifies as “current (and distressing) developments in education policy.” An excerpt:

“Disability has always been constructed as the inverse or opposite of higher education. Or, let me put it differently: higher education has needed to create a series of versions of “lower education” to justify its work and to ground its exceptionalism, and the physical gates and steps that we find on campuses trace a long history of exclusion.
For most of the 20th century, people with disabilities were institutionalized in asylums, “schools” for the “feeble-minded” and other exclusionary institutions, locations that became the dark shadows of the college or university, connected with residential schools, prisons, quarantines, and immigration stations in these shadows. These locations also had steep steps and ornate gates, meant to hold the public out and to imprison people within, or to isolate disabled people as research subjects, ensuring that the excluded couldn’t mix with others within society; they were connected in a perverse way to the hope that the elite would mingle and mix with one another exclusively in colleges and universities. Further, the ethic of higher education encourages students and teachers alike to accentuate ability, valorize perfection, and stigmatize anything that hints at intellectual (or physical) weakness.”

The book will be available for free, online, accessibly, in Fall 2017.

Dr. Warley’s book shortlisted

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Last year, UWaterloo English’s Dr. Winfried Siemerling received the Gabrielle Roy Prize for studies in Canadian and Quebec literatures for his book The Black Atlantic Reconsidered: Black Canadian Writing, Cultural History, and the Presence of the Past. This year English’s Dr. Linda Warley‘s co-edited collection Canadian Graphic: Picturing Life Narratives has been shortlisted for the same prize! Better yet, it includes chapters by not one but three UWaterloo English alumni. The jury writes:

The individual essays work to articulate the significance of the visual medium for the representation of the vulnerable self in Canadian graphic autobiographies, and range in subject from Seth and Chester Brown, to Sara Leavitt’s heartbreaking narrative about her mother’s death, to Julie Doucet’s early feminist autobiography, My New York Diary. The collection as a whole tells the story of how this important and comparatively new genre evolved in Canada, introducing historically important publications and publishing houses as well as individual cartoonists. The book design is attractive and spacious, and the accompanying illustrations beautifully produced. Canadian Graphic is both a stimulating read and an important scholarly achievement.
Congratulations to Dr. Warley and her co-editor, Candida Rifkind!

Congratulations to the New Quarterly

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The New Quarterly
, a literary journal housed at St. Jerome’s at The University of Waterloo, has garnered four nominations at this year’s National Magazine Awards, two nominations in the Fiction category as well as one each for Poetry and Essay. The nominees are:

* Sharon Bala, for Miloslav [Fiction] — a three-time recipient of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Arts and Letters award, her debut novel, The Boat People, is to be published in early 2018.

* Richard Kelly Kemick, for The Unitarian Church’s Annual Young Writers’ Short Story Competition [Fiction] — an award-winning Calgary writer who has published poetry in TNQ, he has two other nominations in this year’s National Magazine Awards.

* Selina Boan, for “(Good) ‘Girls Don’t Hitchhike’ / Half/Brother / Meet Cree: A Practical Guide to the Cree Language” [Poetry] — was a finalist in last year’s CBC Poetry Prize; she is working on a collection of poems exploring her Cree and European heritage.

* Liz Windhorst Harmer, for “My Flannery” [Essay] — won a National Magazine Award in 2014 and was nominated for another; her debut novel, The Amateurs, will arrive next year.

Close to 200 Canadian print and digital magazines submitted their best, in both official languages, with TNQ receiving the most literary nominations. “We are absolutely thrilled with the number of award nominations this year,” says TNQ editor Pamela Mulloy. TNQ, a charitable not-for-profit organization, has won 10 gold, 7 silver and had 35 honourable mentions in the 18 years that it has participated in the National Magazine Awards. The National Magazine Awards winners will be announced on Friday, May 26 at a gala in Toronto.

Photo caption: Michael Helm, Madeleine Thien and Alissa York (from left) holding each other’s books at last year’s Wild Writers Literary Festival, organized by TNQ, in Kitchener-Waterloo. Thien’s novel, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, won the Scotiabank Giller Prize, Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Imre Szeman on how artists inspire cultural change

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Read about our newest UW English faculty member Dr. Imre Szeman, and his research on artists and climate change, on Waterloo Stories. As he notes, “Artists and researchers have an important role to play in helping us to understand, much more so than we do at this moment, how we are creatures of fossil fuels and to imagine what a very different future could look like.” Read more–including how to read his latest book, After Oil, for free–at Waterloo Stories.


Faculty book launch–with a harp!

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We are pleased to announce a book launch for The Fellowship of the Beatific Vision by UWaterloo English professor Norm Klassen, next Friday, March 24. There will be a short harp recital, a conversation between Dr. Klassen and yet another UWaterloo English professor, Dr. Chad Wriglesworth, and a reception. All are welcome.

Newman Centre Guelph
325 Gordon St Guelph
7:00 pm

Autobiography & Life Writing at UWaterloo

When reading our faculty areas of expertise page, it struck me how many of our faculty research in the area of Autobiography & Life Writing. Contributions range from Dr. Aimée Morrison’s work on digital lives–selfies! Facebook!–to Dr. Linda Warley’s writings on graphic narratives and life writing, to Dr. Vinh Nguyen’s publications about refugees, photography, and memory. There’s also an interesting cluster of people considering life writing in relation to war, memory, and trauma, including Dr. Carol Acton, author of several books on the subject, and Dr. Lamees Al Ethari, who has completed a monograph on Iraqui women, memory, and the diaspora. Click on the links below to find out more about their research.