Category Archives: Publications

Preview Recent Grad’s New Book


Dr. Emma Vossen successfully defended her PhD in English at UWaterloo in July; now you can preview her co-edited book, Feminism in Play, part of the Palgrave Games in Context Series. She also contributed a chapter, “The Magic Circle and Consent in Gaming Practices.” From the press:

Feminism in Play focuses on women as they are depicted in video games, as participants in games culture, and as contributors to the games industry. This volume showcases women’s resistance to the norms of games culture, as well as women’s play and creative practices both in and around the games industry. Contributors analyze the interconnections between games and the broader societal and structural issues impeding the successful inclusion of women in games and games culture. In offering this framework, this volume provides a platform to the silenced and marginalized, offering counter-narratives to the post-racial and post-gendered fantasies that so often obscure the violent context of production and consumption of games culture.

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Read all about it!

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Head on over to UWaterloo English to read our 2018 newsletter, featuring a letter from our new chair, Dr. Shelley Hulan, and updates on faculty and student achievements.

Entertaining Futility with Dr. Andrew McMurry

Congratulations to UWaterloo English’s Dr. Andrew McMurry on the publication of his new book Entertaining Futility: Despair and Hope in the Time of Climate Change. As one reviewer writes: “Andrew McMurry is the vibrant bard of our ‘sad apocalypse’ — brilliantly literate, always entertaining, a ‘corrective to [our]…blind faith in progress and human exceptionalism.’ This supremely realistic book, the best I have read in a long time, shows that there is still a way to live — to more than survive — without indulging in the illusory comforts and false hopes that keep us from seeing the sharp rocks so close ahead.”

From the press:

In playfully pessimistic and thought-provoking essays, author Andrew McMurry explores a vital but fundamentally perverse human practice: destroying our planet while imagining we are not. How are humans able to do this? Entertaining Futility: Despair and Hope in the Time of Climate Change investigates the discourses of hope, progress, and optimism in the era of climate change, concepts that, McMurry argues, are polite names for blind faith, greed, and wishful thinking. The itemized list of humanity’s arrogance can quickly lead to despair, so McMurry compensates by presenting the news in a darkly comic and irreverent style.

McMurry believes human culture relies on a full suite of rhetorical tricks to distract us from our own demise. He investigates the role language, discourse, media, and technology play in shaping perceptions and misperceptions of our complex environmental crises. Writing in a mode that freely mixes the scholarly, fictive, poetic, and personal, McMurry draws on philosophy, history, ecology, film, science fiction, and pop culture to raise questions that are difficult to face, let alone answer. In the author’s words, “our age is utterly paralyzing unless you can crack jokes about it.”

Entertaining Futility offers no easy solutions to today’s environmental calamities and, in fact, claims that perhaps the continual proposing of solutions is part of the problem. Instead, McMurry encourages readers to examine their own deeply held beliefs about the environment and the future and to look more closely at where those beliefs originate. By pulling back the curtain, he reveals the rhetorical and cultural ruses that distract us from the reality of our environmental crises.

New poetry from Dr. Lamees Al Ethari

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Congratulations to Dr. Lamees Al Ethari, whose book of poetry From the Wounded Banks of the Tigris has just been published by Baseline Press. There was abook launch last night in London, and copies start shipping soon. From Baseline:

Lamees Al Ethari is an Iraqi writer and artist who immigrated to Canada in 2008. She holds a PhD in English Language and Literature from the University of Waterloo, where she has been teaching academic and creative writing since 2015. Her research focuses on Iraqi North American women’s life narratives of trauma and migration. Her memoir on the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, Waiting for the Rain, is due for publication in 2019.

New faculty book on Eugenics, Race, and Immigration

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Congratulations to Dr. Jay Dolmage, whose new book Disabled Upon Arrival Eugenics, Immigration, and the Construction of Race and Disability has just been published by Ohio State Press. As many know, he is the Founding Editor of the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, housed at University of Waterloo.  Reviews have described the books as “Beautifully written, sometimes almost poetic, and yet strongly argumentative. This is by far the best work on the subject of eugenics and immigration” (Susan Schweik, author of The Ugly Laws: Disability in Public). A description follows:

In North America, immigration has never been about immigration. That was true in the early twentieth century when anti-immigrant rhetoric led to draconian crackdowns on the movement of bodies, and it is true today as new measures seek to construct migrants as dangerous and undesirable. This premise forms the crux of Jay Timothy Dolmage’s new book Disabled Upon Arrival: Eugenics, Immigration, and the Construction of Race and Disability, a compelling examination of the spaces, technologies, and discourses of immigration restriction during the peak period of North American immigration in the early twentieth century.

Through careful archival research and consideration of the larger ideologies of racialization and xenophobia, Disabled Upon Arrival links anti-immigration rhetoric to eugenics—the flawed “science” of controlling human population based on racist and ableist ideas about bodily values. Dolmage casts an enlightening perspective on immigration restriction, showing how eugenic ideas about the value of bodies have never really gone away and revealing how such ideas and attitudes continue to cast groups and individuals as disabled upon arrival.

New book from Dr. Young

Congratulations to Dr. Vershawn Young, on the publication of The Routledge Reader of African American Rhetoric. As anyone who has edited a volume of this kind will tell you, it is intensive work that takes a significant investment of time and resources. But such a volume is also incredibly valuable for scholars at all ranks. Read on to find out more.

The Routledge Reader of African American Rhetoric is a comprehensive compendium of primary texts that is designed for use by students, teachers, and scholars of rhetoric and for the general public interested in the history of African American communication. The volume and its companion website include dialogues, creative works, essays, folklore, music, interviews, news stories, raps, videos, and speeches that are performed or written by African Americans. Both the book as a whole and the various selections in it speak directly to the artistic, cultural, economic, gendered, social, and political condition of African Americans from the enslavement period in America to the present, as well as to the Black Diaspora.

Fresh off the press: TNQ 147

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Fresh off the press: The New Quarterly, a literary journal house on campus, announces issue 147, featuring poetry from English department faculty Dr. Lamees Al Ethari. Keep an eye out for her poetry collection, From the Wounded Banks of the Tigris, forthcoming from Baseline Press in autumn 2018. Dr. Al Ethari is also currently featured on The New Quarterly blog, in their series on Writing Spaces.