Category Archives: Uncategorized

Games: Make, Explore, Interact

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The Games Institute, founded and headed by English’s Dr. Neil Randall, is hosting a Global Game Jam, an opportunity to MAKE games, explore new game ideas, and interact with fellow game-lovers in an exciting and relaxed environment. Learn something, teach something, make something, and play something!

You can build your own games from scratch along with helpful advice and guidance from our GI mentors. You can create your own game mechanic, gameful art, game characters and narrative, or try your hand at coding for your very own game prototype.

This Winter 2019 term, the GI is proud to be a Global Game Jam Site:

The upcoming Jam will be Friday, January 25th at 4:30pm – Sunday January 27th at 6:00pm, at Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum Nano Centre (QNC) Room 1502, University of Waterloo.

To learn more about the event, you can visit here:

This event requires registration. Register here:… and pay for your ticket here:…/game-jam-reg….

LEARN Event: January 24th, @Games Institute (EC1), 5pm – 9pm, FREE EVENT.

MAKE Event: January 25th at 4:30pm through January 27th at 6:00pm – $15/ticket – QNC 1502 & 2502:

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Tickets are $15 can be purchased online via Shopify. Please note that both the online payment form AND the Eventbrite guest registration are necessary to attend this event. The cost of your ticket gives you access to the event, lunch on both days, and use of our equipment throughout the weekend.


Jason Lajoie’s PhD Research: video + award

Congratulations to English PhD Candidate Jason Lajoie, who received second place in UWaterloo’s GRADFlix competition. GRADflix competitors are judged on a video, moving slide show, or animation of no longer than one minute in length that describes their research.  Jason’s submission, Making gay identities: Queer media practices queering media technologies, explains his dissertation work. To learn more about GRADFlix, visit their site.

New book from new faculty member

You may remember we welcomed Dr. Jennifer Clary-Lemon to our department in 2018. Well, we have more exciting news to share: her book, Planting the Anthropocene Rhetorics of Natureculture, is now available for purchase. To find out more, read this fascinating–treeplanters!–description from the press:

Planting the Anthropocene is a rhetorical look into the world of industrial tree planting in Canada that engages the themes of nature, culture, and environmental change. Bringing together the work of material ecocriticism and critical affect studies in service of a new materialist environmental rhetoric, Planting the Anthropocene forwards a frame that can be used to work through complex scenes of anthropogenic labor.

Using the results of interviews with seasonal Canadian tree planters, Jennifer Clary-Lemon interrogates the complex and messy imbrication of nature-culture through the inadequate terminology used to describe the actual circumstances of the planters’ work and lives—and offers alternative ways to conceptualize them. Although silvicultural workers do engage with the limiting rhetoric of efficiency and humanism, they also make rhetorical choices that break down the nature-culture divide and orient them on a continuum that blurs the boundaries between the given and the constructed, the human and nonhuman. Tree-planting work is approached as a site of a deep-seated materiality—a continued re-creation of the land’s “disturbance”—rather than a simplistic form of doing good that further separates humans from landscapes.

Jennifer Clary-Lemon’s view of nature and the Anthropocene through the lens of material rhetorical studies is thoroughly original and will be of great interest to students and scholars of rhetoric and composition, especially those focused on the environment.

UWaterloo English: Best book, part 2

Were you waiting for part 2? A looong time? So long that you’d forgotten a part 1? Well, in case you need a good book for the holiday break, here’s a round-up of some of the best books our UWaterloo people have been reading in the past year.

Renée Belliveau (MA graduate)
I recently picked up The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan, a Yale English graduate who sadly passed away five days after graduation, and I instantly saw myself reflected back. Her prose is fresh and puts forth a mixture of ambition and anxiety that I think a lot of us graduate students feel, or can at least remember feeling. I’ll tag on Anne Fadiman’s Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader to this post, for anyone looking to be reacquainted with their love for literature and the English language.

Andrew Deman (Lecturer)
ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria for the End Times by Andrew MacLean. Apart from featuring a badass gender positive female protagonist, ApocalyptiGirl is just a really rare SF beast: a whimsical dystopia that doesn’t undermine its own politics. The moving, central relationship of the story is the all-encompassing love between a girl and her cat, rendered without a hint of irony. I don’t know that I’ve ever read a text as free of cynicism or pretense. It’s a joyous read.

Jennifer Harris (Associate Professor)
It has to be Dread Nation, by Justina Ireland, the most original neo-slave narrative I have read in a very long time (apologies to Colson Whitehead).  I’m generally not one to pick up a Young Adult novel with zombies, except this pulled me in: “Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead.” As an allegory about slavery and post-slavery it is stunning.

Bibi Ashyana Harricharran (MA graduate)
The Grass Dancer by Susan Power. This is a powerful novel. Power manipulates with the Gothic to her own liking to demonstrate violence, power, and subjugation. The story is told through the first person where each character gets a chapter to tell his/her own story. One of the things that stood out to me the most is when Power integrates the play, Macbeth, to project catharsis. The characters in Power’s text go through a sense of catharsis because they experience the same betrayal as Duncan. It is a difficult narrative for an author to pull off: you either fail miserably or you succeed. Power succeeds because she remains faithful to her subtle perspective.

Linda Warley (Associate Professor and Associate Dean)
The best book I have read recently is Tanya Talaga’s Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City. It won the RBC Taylor Prize. The book tells the stories of seven Indigenous teenagers who had to leave their home communities in order to attend high school in Thunder Bay, Ontario. They all died. Their deaths and the handling of the cases by policing and justice services reveals much about the systemic racism in Canada that affects the lives of Indigenous people today. It is a heartbreaking book, but necessary reading.

Comfort reading from our PhD students

In the second year in the UWaterloo PhD programs, candidates write the first of what are known as Comprehensive Exams. These are extremely rigorous and thorough exams written over the course of an entire day. Students are examined on fields of literature they have selected, relevant to their dissertation research. Historically, these exams have been incredibly stressful–when I wrote  my exams years ago, we all knew the story of a student who had a breakdown after a computer crash wiped out everything they had written, at the eleventh hour. Fortunately, technology has advanced, and–in consultation with the students–we have streamlined the process, making it more humane. Nonetheless, if you interacted with the second years over the last few months, the stress was palatable. On that note, I reached out to some of them and asked what they would be reading to decompress after the exams ended. Here’s what they shared with me.

Chris Giannakopoulos is looking forward to returning to Life, A User’s Manual, which he first read as an undergraduate, and is not at all what it sounds like. According to Chris: “Though my current research focusses on transnational English poetry, my continued interest in Perec’s work comes from his puzzling approach to language.”

On the other hand, Diana Moreno Ojeda is reading Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories, which is apparently exactly what it sounds like. She writes: “Short stories are a great way to disconnect from the world for a couple of hours, and there is something fascinating about the type of fantasy that manages to be both unsettling and intricately human. And that is what I am looking for in this book; ingenious stories threaded with poignant narrative.”

Sally Beresford won the heart of this nineteenth-century scholar when she wrote: “Holidays are a time to spend with loved ones and friends and I find that books are no exception! I therefore pull out old favourites: Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol of course, usually a Jane Austen, and always lots of fun murder mysteries as those by Agatha Christie or E.C. Bentley’s Trent’s Last Case. Lucy Maud Montgomery also had a lovely collection of Christmas Tales – Christmas with Anne – that are fun to dive back into this time of year.”

Sally won my heart, but Christin Wright-Taylor won my stomach: “I am looking forward to reading, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking over the break. My partner and I watched the Netflix version of the cookbook when I needed brain space from studying my exams and the cooking made me SO Hungry. I love eating delicious food and Samin is a natural educator. I trust her to guide me through the kitchen.”

Finally, Hannah Watts, who is working with Critical Disability theory, Affect theory, postmodern poetry, and readership, has hit upon how I managed to keep my head clear when immersed in densely theoretical reading during the PhD–by reading classic children’s literature: “Over the break I will be reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for fun.”  I’m pretty sure she’s not the only one.

Book signing with Alumna Carolyn Huizinga Mills

UWaterloo Alumna Carolyn Huizinga Mills has published her first book, The Little Boy Who Lived Down The Drain and will be signing copies at Words Worth Books, in Uptown Waterloo, Sunday Nov. 25 from 12-2pm. The Little Boy Who Lived Down the Drain was nominated for the 2018 Ontario Library Association’s Forest of Reading Blue Spruce Award as well as being selected by the OneWorld Schoolhouse Foundation to be part of their Rainforest of Reading program.

Earlier this year Carolyn reflected on her English courses at UWaterloo: “One memory that still stands out to me from my university days so many years ago is sitting in a class taught by professor Eric McCormack, thinking: Hes written a book! I remember being impressed (perhaps even awed) by the fact that he was an author, a genuine, bonafide author, and he was teaching me about writing. So it seems surreal, now, to be able to call myself an author, too.” (“A Dream“)

Visit Carolyn’s author website at:

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.