Planning to attend our conference? Check out the schedule!
See you in the Old Arts Building
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Senate Chamber, Old Arts Building, 3rd floor
8:00 – 8:25 Coffee
8:30 – 8:35 Opening Remarks –Dr. Carrie Smith (Chair, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
8:35 – 9:30 Panel One. Linguistics: Practices & Identities
Moderator: Sajad Soleymani Yazdi
Commentator: Dr. Yoshi Ono
Kerry Sluchinski, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta,“Referential Forms in Digital Chinese LGBTQ Discourses”
Xiaoyun Wang, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta,“On Designedly Incomplete Utterances: What Teachers Can Do With Conversational Structures for Classroom Interaction”
9:40 – 11:00 Panel Two. Translating Worlds, Nomadic Words
Moderator: Katya Chomitzky
Commentator: Dr. Anne Malena
Sofía Monzón, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta,“Tracing Textual Violence in Literary Translation: The Struggles of Translating during Franco’s Spain and Their Cultural Outcomes”
Anna Antonova, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta,“Towards a Translator Criticism: (Mis)translating Connections in Alice Munro’s ‘Too Much Happiness’”
Malou Brouwer, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta,“Surviving Translation: Rhetorical Sovereignty in Francophone Indigenous Poetry”
Shahab Nadimi, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta,“Refugee Words are on the Move”
11:10 – 12:15 Panel Three. Clashing Canons
Moderator: Saman Rezaei
Commentator: Dr. Irene Sywenky
Xavia Publius, Drama, University of Alberta, “Diffraction Patterns of Homoeroticism and Mimesis between Twelfth Night and She’s the Man”
Dominika Tabor, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta,“Let’s sing about our troubles! Americanization and Disneyfication of the Brothers Grimm’s Snow White”
Rachel Green, French Studies, University of Waterloo, ““Lock the Door and Throw Away the Key”: Imprisonment and Ostracization in Honoré de Balzac’s Le Père Goriot, La Grande Bretèche and Eugénie Grandet”
12:15 – 13:10 Lunch Break
13:15 – 14:35 Panel Four. Self-Encountering and Encountering Selves
Moderator: Megan Perram
Commentator: Dr. Clara Iwasaki
Yan Wang, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta,“Love Slave and Male Anxieties in Hong Kong Action Cinema”
Li Wenzhu, East Asian Studies, University of Alberta,“The Search for Self in Zhai Yongming’s “Premonition” and “The Finish””
Shreyashi Ganguly, Sociology, University of Victoria, “Comedy as resistance: An analysis of caste collectives’ use of comedy on social media in India as a form of political resistance”
John Musyoki, Drama, University of Alberta, “Resuturing The Kenyan National Identity Displacement and Reconciliation in Francis Imbuga’s The Return of Mgofu.-”
14:45 – 15:50 Panel Five. Bodies and Belonging
Moderator: Sofía Monzón
Commentator: Dr. Daniel Laforest
Jonathan Garfinkel, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta,“A Diabetes Diary: Notes from the Bio-Hack Revolution”
Alexandre Araujo, Secondary Education, University of Alberta, “Plebeian citizenship: alternative forms of youth expression in segregated urban spaces”
Megan Perram, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta,“Writing New Bodies: Critical Co-design for 21st Century Digital-born Bibliotherapy”
16:30 Creative Event (Student Lounge)
Friday, February 14, 2019
Senate Chamber, Old Arts Building, 3rd floor
8:30 – 9:00 Coffee
9:00 – 10:05 Panel Six. Tracing Myths and Retracing Legends
Moderator: Laura L. Velazquez
Commentator: Dr. Natalie van Deusen
Bart Romanek, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta, “On Wednesdays We Wear Pink”: Óðinn and Queer Representation in the Viking World
Banafsheh Mohammadi, Art and Design, University of Alberta, “Connecting Images and Archetypes: Olga Frobe-Kapteyn and the Making of The History of Religions”
Saman Rezaei, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta,“Arash the Archer: A Persian Epic Story”
10:15 – 11:20 Panel Seven. Struggles, Spaces, Discourses
Moderator: Dominika Tabor
Commentator: Dr. Victoria Ruétalo
Katya Chomitzky, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta,“Untangling Threads of Conflict: Ukrainian Embroidery as a Tool of Decolonization”
John Battye & Telisa Courtney, Drama and Political Science, University of Alberta,“Enacting Change: Contexts and Conditions for (Re)Connecting Divided Communities Using Theatre for Development”
11:20 – 11:35 Graduate Student Journal
Journal Editor: Megan Perram
11:35-12:30 Lunch Break
12:35 – 14:00 Keynote: (En)Forced (Mis)Connections
Mansoureh Modarres, University of Alberta and McEwan University,“Storytellers in Search of the Unpresentable”
Kara Abdomaleki, Bredin Centre, “The Apocalyptic Allure of Alex and Ali-Akbar”
Mimi Okabe, University of Alberta,“Refashioning Diversity: Reflections on Institutional Prejudice in Higher Education”
Jay Friesen, University of Alberta,“A nontrivial Commitment: Reflections on Connecting with Communities as an Emerging Academic”
14:10 – 15:30 Panel Eight. Language Borders: Connections & Misconnections
Moderator: Cristian Guerra
Commentator: Dr. Yvonne Lam
Baird, Edgson, Toal & Lefebvre, Communication Sciences and Disorder, University of Alberta, “The Role of Social Comparison on Cognitive Load and Reading Performance in Typical Readers”
HongLiang Fu, Elementary Education, University of Alberta, “Moving between cultures: Chinese and international teachers’ co-teaching experiences in a bilingual international school”
Kyle Napier, Communications and Technology, University of Alberta,“Reconnecting to the Spirit of Language”
Rahmawaty Kadir, Secondary Education, University of Alberta, “Language use and language attitudes among the Gorontalo tribe in Indonesia”
15:30 – 15:35 Closing Remarks –Dr. Micah True (Associate Chair, Graduate-Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
Information on presentations:
Alexandre Araujo: I have got a Social Sciences degree and worked as a social studies teacher from 2010 to 2017 in public and private schools in Brazil. I obtained my Master’s degree in 2015 and investigated the stances students from different social classes have about their schools. Currently, I am a 3rd year Ph.D. student in the secondary education department at the University of Alberta. My research goal is to delve deeper into marginalized students’ representations about their school and the national-state they are part of. This interest stems from the perception that there is a scarcity of conceptual resources to understand and support the path of impoverished pupils in schools, which tends to further their sense of marginalization. I have also taught the course Language, Literacy, and Society for B.Ed. students at the University of Alberta since the Fall of 2017.
Plebeian citizenship: alternative forms of youth expression in segregated urban spaces: Urban spaces in Latin America are deeply segregated and have sharp spatial contrasts in living conditions (Caldeira, 2000; Koonings & Kruijt, 2007). These contrasts affect the way people who live in segregated spaces see themselves within the broader community, especially the youth, who tend to develop alternative conceptions about themselves and their surroundings (Saraví, 2004). This proposal aims to explore one of the alternatives that emerged in metropolitan regions in Brazil called “rolezinhos” (strolls), in which adolescents from impoverished areas created events through social media to meet at shopping centres and have fun. These meetings, nonetheless, generated panic among store owners and costumers who felt that the agglomeration of these teenagers posed a threat to their security and their business. As a consequence, several shopping mall managers in Brazil obtained legal warrants to prevent these meetings from happening there, claiming there would be criminals infiltrated to steal goods and wreak havoc. Some media channels claimed the gatherings were part of insurgent forms of resistance by young people contesting the inequalities they observed in their daily lives. This paper, nonetheless, argues that the emergence of “rolezinhos” is an alternative expression created by the impoverished youth that simultaneously accepts and rejects the conceptions and ideas put forth by the mainstream media and upper classes. This paradox is part of an emerging “plebeian citizenship”, defined as “a pragmatic, issue-centred, and post-ideological conception of politics rooted in daily life and needs” (Forment, 2015, p. 124).
Alexis Baird, Meghan Edgson, Mikayla Toal, Emilie Lefebvre: Alexis, Meghan, Emilie, and Mikayla are all completing the first year of their Master’s degrees in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Alberta. While they each come from different undergraduate research backgrounds, their mutual research interests include communication disorders, social contexts, understanding and production mechanisms, social comparison, reading, cognitive load, and hidden disability. They have been working together for several months on a collaborative research project that investigates internal and external social pressures on reading performance on typical readers and readers with dyslexia.
The Role of Social Comparison on Cognitive Load and Reading Performance in Typical Readers: According to the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada, at least 1 in 10 Canadians live with a learning disability, of which a large portion includes people with dyslexia. These individuals may experience higher social anxiety when reading or writing around others. The present study examines typical readers in both individual and social comparison groups where performance was compared based on reaction time responding to different word types, as well as recall ability. In order to create a normed sample, typical readers were specifically evaluated in the scope of this study. Data was collected from 16 participants obtained through computer assessment and completion of anxiety related questionnaires. Participants were tested with four different word types and their reaction times and recall abilities were analyzed using paired sample t-tests showing performance on cognitive load. Results showed a statistically significant difference between social and independent groups for regular words. Future directions include the expansion of this study to compare typical readers with individuals with dyslexia. This is done in the hope of creating a thorough research base that will bring attention to the effects sustained by individuals attempting to mask their disabilities due to embarrassment or shame. This study is significant for education and health care systems as findings can inform adaptations for individuals living with dyslexia. Additionally, there is limited data on Canadians living with hidden disabilities such as dyslexia and this study is the first step in representing these individuals in the literature.
Anna Antonova: Anna Antonova is a fourth-year PhD student at the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta, specializing in Translation Studies. She completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Translation Studies at Donetsk National University (Ukraine) and has worked as a translator, editor, and interpreter in multiple translation projects in Ukraine and Greece. Anna’s previous academic work focused on literary translation of poetry and children’s fiction into Russian and Ukrainian. Her current research interests include the implications of gender for literary translation, with specific emphasis on feminist translation theories and cross-cultural representation of Canadian women’s fiction.
Towards a Translator Criticism: (Mis)translating Connections in Alice Munro’s “Too Much Happiness”: In Towards a Translation Criticism, Antoine Berman centers translation analysis on the translator’s personality itself, suggesting “translating position,” “translation project,” and “translating horizon” as the cornerstones of any translation critique. In this presentation, I will apply Berman’s model to show how a translation project enforcing its inherent biases on the target text may produce a textual product serving imperialist, rather than purely cultural, purposes and, eventually, misrepresenting the original.
I will focus my discussion on Alice Munro’s “Too Much Happiness” and its Russian translation “Слишком много счастья” by Andrey Stepanov. Although Munro’s short story, based on the life of the Russian mathematician Sophia Kovalevsky, does invite connections between the source and target cultures, Stepanov’s domesticating approach and deliberate parallels with Chekhovian style and motifs betray his intention to assert his country’s cultural and literary superiority through his translation project. At the same time, his use of the paratext (end notes) reveals the translator’s condescending attitude towards the source text and its author.
As a result, the Russian translation of “Too Much Happiness” plays up non-essential cultural connections and undermines the writer’s critical perspective on the Russian reality, at the same time discrediting the story’s complex main character and effectively erasing the feminist undertones of Munro’s narrative. A careful examination of this case study building on Berman’s critical model problematizes the widely-discussed concept of translator’s agency and emphasizes the importance of comprehensive translator-centered analysis combining textual and extratextual approaches.
Banafshe Mohammadi: Banafsheh Mohammadi is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art and Design and a University of Alberta graduate fellow. She specializes in history and theory of 20th-century architecture and religious studies. Her multidisciplinary doctoral research explores the petroleum-based aesthetics that emerged during 1940s and 1950s in the United States through the works of architectural historians Joseph Rykwert and Vincent Scully, and historians of religion Henry Corbin and Mircea Eliade. Banafsheh’s larger research and teaching interests include philosophy of architecture, and ecological and postcolonial critique. Her book, the Farsi translation of The Ethical Function of Architecture is published by Nashre-No in Iran and she is currently working on the Farsi translation of Disfiguring: Art, Architecture, Religion. Her latest article on the ethical necessity of social and environmental justice is published by The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design.
Connecting Images and Archetypes: Olga Frobe-Kapteyn and the Making of The History of Religions: A 16th-century Indian watercolor depiction of Noah’s ark has, surprisingly, much in common with a 20th-century abstract piece by American painter Mark Rothko. They can be interpreted as representations of a single archetype: eternity and beyond as visualized by the color “blue.” That these idiosyncratic images have come to be associated with a single archetype is the result of Dutch art historian Olga Frobe-Kapteyn’s life-long goal of collecting archetypes. Travelling throughout the world in the 1940s and 1950s, Frobe-Kapteyn collected over a thousand images that she believed represented archetypes—to be precise, Karl Gustav Jung’s archetypes. Her image archive came to be known as the visual proof that Jung’s archetypes held true universally. Moreover, through the annual conferences and exhibitions she held in her residence, her image archetype collection served as the cornerstone on which the discipline of the history of religions emerged.
Historians of religion Henry Corbin and Mircea Eliade frequented Frobe-Kapteyn’s circles. They referred to her collection of image-archetypes as representations of the essence of things which seen holistically, represented the essence of religion itself. In this paper I investigate the argument made by these historians of religion. I look for the connections made between image archetypes and essence of religions. Ultimately, I critique the making of this connection as the very foundation of the aestheticization of religion.
Bart Romanek: Bart Romanek is a Master’s student with MLCS, in the Transnational and Comparative Literature stream. He grew up in Edmonton, but is originally from Tarnów, Poland. His specialization is in medieval Norse literature and manuscript studies, and he has previous experience in Classical (predominantly Roman) literature as well. His linguistic capabilities are in Latin, Swedish, and Old Norse, though this is not an exhaustive list. With an interest in language, literature, and history, his research focus is on the construction of gender and sexuality, particularly in medieval Europe, and the reception of medieval culture in the present day. His time is filled with various volunteer positions, and he is currently Graduate Student Council president and representative for MLCS Department Council, as well as the treasurer for Sorry, Not Sorry Productions, a local theatre group. His interests lie in medievalism, film and television, and anything to do with books and manuscripts.
Óðinn, one of the most iconic symbols within Norse paganism, is perhaps a strange choice to lead the pantheon of the hypermasculine society of the pre-Christian Nordic world. Representing several mythological aspects, Óðinn’s paramount attribute is wisdom. Known as the All-father (alfǫðr), Óðinn is both literally the progenitor of many mythological characters, as well as figuratively the central deity of the pantheon. Through his hanging on the world tree Yggdrasil, which acts as a physical throughline for the mythology, Óðinn embodies the importance of sacrificial ritual to Norse paganism, and places himself at the centre of the sacred dendritic structure. Recently, scholarship has considered Óðinn through the critical lens of gender and sexuality, and argued for his interpretation as a queer deity, due in part to his fluidic nature and challenge to gender-binarism. Given Óðinn’s fundamental role in its mythology, Norse paganism is therefore not simply queer-affirming, but queer-centric. Óðinn provides a vital ingress for queer theory to examine the social-spatial (dis)connections of queerness within Norse paganism and the reality in which it developed. Moreover, as mythology seeks to codify etiological narratives, and given its enduring place within human consciousness, it is vital to examine queerness within mythology not only to understand how it is constructed, but also how mythology can inform contemporary queer resistance to heteronormativity and patriarchy. Thus, as he has done for centuries, Óðinn continues to play a crucial role in the acquisition of wisdom, and is perhaps not such a strange choice to lead after all
Dominika Tabor: Dominika Tabor is a first-year PhD student in the department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, specialization Transnational and Comparative Literatures, at the University of Alberta. Her research interests include children’s literature, fairy tales, Canadian literature, and travel writing.
Let’s sing about our troubles! Americanization and Disneyfication of the Brothers Grimm’s Snow White:The aim of the paper is to examine how Disney Americanized European fairy tales by depriving them of violence, and rendering them safe entertainment. The analysis was conducted on one of the most popular fairy tales, “Snow White”, written by the Brothers Grimm, as it was the first tale that was adapted by Walt Disney into a full-length feature film. By showing differences between the original story of Grimm’s “Snow White” and Disney’s movie “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” I highlight the impact of Disney and its film technology on fairy tales, and the way fairy tales are perceived by contemporary readers and viewers. Moreover, the paper touches upon the way Walt Disney used the story of Snow White in order to create a modern American society, with the character of Snow White being the personification of its new American spirit. Both the fairy tale and the film were analysed in the light of psychological and sociological methodologies of two experts in the field of fairy tales and children’s literature, Bruno Bettelheim and Jack Zipes. The paper proves how much Disney affected and reengineered European fairy tales.
Black is Beautiful: The Impacts of Western Notions of Beauty on Appearance Practices of Black Women: The social and political dimensions of contemporary appearance practices are evident in all social settings and gatherings. Cultural influences, such as Western fashion, music, film, and beauty industries play a significant role in shaping ideals and perceptions of beauty. In a concerted effort to conform to societal norms, significant pressure is placed on us daily in terms of how we dress and alter our appearance, even though we may remain oblivious to this fact. In this essay, I will argue that the socialization of Eurocentric beauty standards in North America consciously and subconsciously pervades beauty choices made by racialized North American women, as well as women in other geographical and cultural contexts that value these standards. I will focus on the experiences of Black women using ethnographic details from two semi-formal interviews I conducted for this study. This analysis contextualized the intersections of beauty, race, and appearance practices as it relates to Black women in Western society. The main topics of focus included: the lack of diversity in the cosmetic and beauty industry, shadeism and colourism, social mobility and privileges related to skin tone, body image and the biopolitics of fatness, the medicalization of beauty, colonial impacts on beauty standards, and media influences on appearance. Emic terms and phrases from the interviews, as well as other anthropological scholarly sources will be used as evidence to support my claims. Overall, the hardships faced by racialized women participating in beauty practices are driven by Eurocentric beauty standards.
HongLiang Fu: Hongliang Fu is a doctoral candidate in department of Elementary Education at University of Alberta. Her research interests focus on the early childhood education, bilingual education and teacher education.
Moving between cultures: Chinese and international teachers’ co-teaching experiences in a bilingual international school: This study aims to investigate Chines teachers and international teachers’ of co-teaching experiences in a Chinese-English international school in. Co-teaching means two fully qualified co-teachers, one international and one Chinese, work as teaching partners and share responsibilities for the care and education of students in their class. Limited research has investigated co-teaching from the perspectives of both local, Chinese teachers and international teachers. This study aimed to understand the influence of difference cultures on teachers’ pedagogical practices and beliefs in an international kindergarten.
The research questions guiding the study are: How do culturally different teachers experience and perceive co-teaching in the international school context? How does co-teaching influence teaching practices? This qualitative case study drew on social constructivist and ecological theory to investigate co-teaching in an international school context. Methods included classroom observations, field notes, and interviews with teachers and school administrators. Six teachers and two administrators at the international kindergarten in China participated in the interviews regarding their co-teaching experiences and their perceptions of the influence of co-teaching on their teaching. The study found there were cultural and educational differences among different co-teaching teams. The cultural differences between co-teachers had influence on the way of teachers’ teaching and learning. Working in the cross-cultural environment, both Chinese and international teachers have adjusted their traditional ways of teaching by respecting different pedagogies, beliefs and cultures. Recommendations for practical co-teaching practices and further research were discussed.
John Musyoki: John Mukonzi Musyoki is a writer, dramaturge and a theatre academic. He is undertaking PhD candidate in Performance Studies in the Department of Drama at the University of Alberta. Mukonzi graduated from Kenyatta University in Kenya on July 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in English, Linguistics and Literature. He later went on to do his Masters in the University of Alberta specializing in Kenyan Theatre. Musyoki has been in Canada for three years and has worked as a playwright, director, dramaturge and a researcher for Workshop West Playwrights’ Theatre, Fringe Theatre, Timms Centre Studio Theatre, MAA and PAA Theatre, The Citadel Theatre and the University of Alberta Drama Department
RESUTURING THE KENYAN NATIONAL IDENTITY Displacement and Reconciliation in Francis Imbuga’s The Return of Mgofu: This paper examines reconciliation and displacement as a critical thematic undertone in The Return of Mgofu (2011), a play by Kenyan Francis Imbuga. The play dramatizes the lifespan of a great traditional seer, Mgofu, tracing his painful journey from banishment, to death, rebirth and eventual return home following ethnic violence that erupts in his homeland. The play employs an African indigenous perspective founded on the sanctity of life, birth and rebirth, to challenge the political nature of the Kenyan ethnic identity. The notions of home, safety, belonging play a crucial part in formulating poignant questions on what it means to be Kenyan in the post-conflict era. In December 2007, Kenya experienced a detrimental civil war that reshaped the political landscape of the country. The performance space conjured by the play allows the audience to reflect on how ethnic identities are politicized, thus working towards a cohesive national identity.
Imbuga debunks notions of ethnic enclaves and land entitlement, which are constructs of colonial territories. The play is presented to us by two spirits sent back to the world of the living by ancestors. The presence of the spirits of the dead on stage frames many layers of displacement, which include displacement from one’s homeland, dreams, aspirations, safety and life. Another of the performance’s themes, ‘returning,’ investigates possibilities for reconciliation beyond borderlines, time and pain. This paper discusses how the play performs the acts of displacement and return, thus emphasizing the possibility of stitching back the Kenyan society
John Battye & Telisa Courtney: John Battye is a PhD Candidate in Performance Studies. He combines his research in media and the body with a practical focus on theatre for development. Telisa Courtney is a PhD Candidate in Political Science, with a research focus on attitude change and reconciliation of former child soldiers and their communities.
Enacting Change: Contexts and Conditions for (Re)Connecting Divided Communities Using Theatre for Development: “Enacting Change” was a collaborative art-research project that took place in Gulu, Uganda in 2018. An international Development Studies graduate student working with a grassroots NGO and two theatre practitioners, one local and one Canadian, devised and implemented an original community workshop programme. Using theatrical processes, we investigated the utility of theatre for development in community reconciliation. By facilitating a workshop that used play, improvisation and other techniques with a community of former child soldiers and never-recruited community members, we enabled participants to use theatrical means to explore important issues brought up by the community with an aim to bring them closer together. Ultimately, participation and engagement emerged as key factors in determining how markers of success were met. With a focus on looking at how theatre can be used to reconnect a divided community, we will discuss the themes explored in the workshop (gender [in]equality, child protection, access to resources, self-advocacy, intra-community communication, reconciliation), and the challenges and conditions that came out of this project as necessary for theatre for development work in this context to thrive.
Jonathan Garfinkel: In 2007, at age 34, Jonathan Garfinkel was selected by the Toronto Star as “one to watch”. Since then he has gone on to publish an internationally celebrated memoir, Ambivalence: Crossing the Israel/Palestine Divide, as well as the Governor General’s shortlisted play House of Many Tongues. His award-winning poetry, non-fiction and plays have been anthologized and translated into twelve languages, and his first novel, The Altruist, is forthcoming with House of Anansi Press (2020). Currently he is doing his PhD in cultural studies, with a focus on medical and health humanities in the MLCS department at University of Alberta.
A Diabetes Diary: Notes from the Bio-Hack Revolution: Arthur Frank writes, “Just as political and economic colonialism took over geographic areas, modernist medicine claimed the body of its patient as its territory” (1999). For the past year I have been writing “A Diabetes Diary”, a literary memoir project that will be the core of my PhD dissertation at University of Alberta. The diary is a reflection on living with a revolutionary technology called “Loop”. Thanks to this Do-It-Yourself bio-hack, created with open source software and instructions downloaded from Facebook, type one diabetics such as myself have built an app on their iPhones that let their Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGM) and insulin pump work together in real time with a sophisticated algorithm created by one of its FB community members. This DIY movement has singlehandedly built the “holy grail” of diabetes treatment, as close to an artificial pancreas as anyone has come. There is nothing else like this available on the free market.
In this paper I would like to reflect upon specific discoveries of A Diabetes Diary by drawing on several excerpts that reflect a post-colonial response to the paternalistic and prescriptive discourses of Western medicine. If, as Frank writes, “Post-colonialism in its most generalized form is the demand to speak rather than be spoken for,” then the experience of illness for the patient in the post-modern (and post-colonial) era is an act of reclaiming the patient’s voice. A Diabetes Diary speaks to these forces by reclaiming the patient narrative through an act of literary and technological imagining.
Katya Chomitzky: Katya Chomitzky is currently a Master of Arts candidate in Modern Languages and Cultural studies and a Research Assistant at the Kule Folklore Centre at the University of Alberta. Having completed her undergraduate degree with a major in Political Science and a minor in the History of Art, Design and Visual Culture, Katya’s research aims to connect the two worlds of traditional art and its political function. Specializing in Media and Cultural Studies, with a focus on postsoviet decolonization, her current research interests are in cultural preservation, cultural revival and material culture.
Untangling Threads of Conflict: Ukrainian Embroidery as a Tool of Decolonization: From hieroglyphs to emoticons, symbols are used to communicate a variety of messages, requiring contextual and cultural understanding to be decoded. In traditional Ukrainian cultures, embroidery acts as this symbol. When considering folk art and the manipulation, appropriation and suppression of its symbolism throughout colonization, the question of value arises. To determine how these traditions can be utilized within decolonization, we must consider the cultural value as well as the colonial value of each. By this, I mean the value of either destroying the culture or appropriating it in order to dichotomize it, both of which are common practices found in colonization.
With the collapse of an allegedly centralized economy and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the modern Ukrainian nation struggles to establish a unified cultural identity. For the purpose of derussification, establishing a clearly defined national identity distinct from Russia’s, and for national unification, traditional methods of Ukrainian embroidery are being revived and popularized in modern society. My research creates parallels between the modern creation and uses Ukrainian folk embroidery and Canadian Indigenous weavings as political tools of decolonization, emphasizing the cultural and political value of reclaiming identity through folk art and traditions. By demonstrating the ways in which a variety of embroidery techniques from various geographical regions relate to one another, my research looks at the continued importance of traditional symbolism of motifs, patterns and colours in their modern adaptations and mediums
Kerry Sluchinski: Pursuing a PhD in Applied Linguistics, Kerry Sluchinski is a government accredited Chinese-English translator who has a passion for language learning and teaching. Kerry is a discourse analyst whose main research interests lie in the functional aspects of written language use and discourse, including positioning, indexicality, co-constructed meanings, and identities.
Referential Forms in Digital Chinese LGBTQ Discourses: As all identities, ‘sexual identities’ are co-constructed in interactions. However, they are very much based on outsiders’ stereotypical perceptions, not how one communicates those identities themselves. Thus, other-defined identities are often at odds with self-defined identities, leading to social conflicts. By examining the language use of online Chinese “Anti” and “Pro” LGBT communities, this study investigates the role that third person pronouns play in the construction of sexual identities.
Kyle Napier: Kyle is a dene/nêhiyaw métis from Northwest Territory Métis Nation who has dedicated himself to Indigenous language reclaimation. He worked with his nation for four years, and is now a graduate student through the University of Alberta.
Dr. Lana Whiskeyjack: Lana is a treaty iskwew from Saddle Lake Cree Nation and is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Extension at the University of Alberta (since 2017). In 2017, Lana completed her iyiniw pimâtisiwin kiskeyihtamowin doctoral program at University nuhelot’įne thaiyots’į nistameyimâkanak Blue Quill, a former Indian Residential School attended by two generations of her own family. Lana leads this research.
Reconnecting to the Spirit of Language: The goal of our community work is to find the patterns of actions which critically impact the vitality of Indigenous languages. This community work then offers solutions to language revitalization and acquisition as proposed by nêhiyawêwin learners. This work looks specifically to nȇhiyawȇwin (Cree language) loss as coinciding with the disconnection to the land through colonization, Catholicism and capitalism, while then identifying solutions to Indigenous language revitalization and acquisition as proposed by nêhiyawêwin learners.
We invited diverse nêhiyawêwin learners and speakers from urban environments to First Nation reserves within the boundaries of Treaty 6 to contribute their voice in sharing circles. Those nêhiyawêwin learners in the sharing circles identified problems of previous research around Indigenous communities and languages. They acknowledged the historical and ongoing consequences of colonization, capitalism, and residential schooling as affecting nêhiyaw relationships with the language, land, and ancestral governance and kinship systems. Further, the group discussed hesitations around institutional involvement, and concerns around intellectual property.
These community conversations also addressed the holistic worldview of Indigenous languages as being from and of the land, and recognized the land as having its own spirit. Further, Elders and community members shared the importance of honouring the living language through land-based Indigenous pedagogies through reciprocal-relational methods, such as ceremony, environmental stewardship and mentorship.
The researchers, Dr. Lana Whiskeyjack and Kyle Napier, are both of nêhiyawak descent and are each dedicated to restoring their connection to the land, the languages of their lineage, traditional governance and kinship systems
Malou Brower: Malou Brouwer holds a Bachelor’s degree in French Language and Culture, and two Master’s degrees; in Francophone Literature and Literary Studies. She is a first-year PhD student in Transnational and Comparative Literatures at the University of Alberta. Her current research examines the possibilities and pitfalls of Indigenous comparative literature and of a trans-Indigenous approach towards Francophone and Anglophone Indigenous literatures. Dealing with these questions, her most recent article, “Comparative Indigenous Literature: bridging the gap between Francophone and Anglophone Indigenous literatures”, was published in Post-Scriptum (December 2019). Her research interests include Indigenous literatures, Native feminism, Francophonie, women’s writing and more generally postcolonial studies.
Surviving Translation: Rhetorical Sovereignty in Francophone Indigenous poetry: In his article “Rhetorical Sovereignty: What Do American Indians Want from Writing”, Scott Richard Lyons presents rhetorical sovereignty as an inherent right of peoples to determine their communicative needs and their modes of public discourse (Lyons, 2000). In presenting rhetorical sovereignty as a right, Lyons implies that rhetorical sovereignty is something that one has. At the same time, Lyons considers rhetorical sovereignty as a praxis, a mode of action. In this respect, rhetoric does do something, whether it is influencing, persuading, moving, etc. Lyons argues that writing is one way to carry out this praxis. Yet, he also claims that writing is a compromised method of rhetorical sovereignty because it is carried out in a colonized, violent scene of writing.
Whereas Lyons limits his discussion of rhetorical sovereignty to legal and educational documents, I propose to study the use of Indigenous languages as a method of rhetorical sovereignty in Indigenous poetry. I aim to show how the use of Indigenous languages in Francophone Indigenous poetry resists the dominant languages from within what Lyons calls the colonized scene of writing. I will pay specific attention to translation examining how Indigenous languages survive the translation process (from French to English) and the domination of these two languages, and how this can be considered a rhetorical sovereignty strategy. My paper will focus on Natasha Kanapé Fontaine’s N’entre pas dans mon ame avec tes chaussures (Do Not Enter My Soul In Your Shoes), Manifeste Assi (Assi Manifesto), Bleuets et abricots (Blueberries and Apricots), and the bilingual collection of poetry Langues de notre terre/Languages of our Land.
Megan Perram: Megan Perram (she/her) is a PhD student in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta. Her research centers digital hyperlink technology and illness narratives of women with hyperandrogenism. Megan’s professional experience includes interning in the office of the Provincial Minister of the Status of Women, working as a Gender and Sexuality Historical Researcher for Fort Edmonton Park, and the role of Editorial Assistant for Transplantation Journal. Her latest publication, an illness narrative entitled “Conversations with Buer”, can be found in the Journal of Families, Systems and Health.
Writing New Bodies: Critical Co-design for 21st Century Digital-born Bibliotherapy: Body image concerns affect the well-being of a generation who are coming of age immersed in digital culture. This is particularly true for young women and gender nonconforming people of diverse intersectional backgrounds who regularly confront appearance-related pressures. The “Writing New Bodies” project (“WNB”; SSHRC IG 435-2018-1036; Ensslin et al., 2019) addresses these issues by developing a digital fiction for body image bibliotherapy. The literary story game encourages emotional and verbal engagement with various challenges facing young women and gender nonconforming people today, including cis- and heteronormative gender relations, racism, anti-fat attitudes, ableism, and familial influences on women’s appearances. The WNB project uses interactive digital storytelling that deconstructs normative conceptions of power to help reader/players build resilience to external and internal body-related pressures. In four workshops held in April-May 2019, the WNB team worked with 21 diverse participants who are acting as co-designers for the digital fiction. During the workshops we used methods of free writing, small group discussions, and multilinear game design. Workshop intervention called on participants to hyper-textualize body-related experiences and explore diverse options for an ontological reimagining of appearance-driven neoliberalist pressures. Early technological platforms being considered include a resource-based web portal with a downloadable mobile application. Ultimately a work of digital fiction will be developed in community-tested iterations by leading feminist e-lit artist and WNB research-creationist, Christine Wilks. A thematic design brief informed by the participants of the workshop will be discussed in context of tracing spaces of violence to solidarity.
Peter Morley: Peter Morley is a second-year PhD student in the Media and Cultural Studies stream of MLCS. He holds a dual Master’s degree (MSc/MA) in Global Media and Communications from the London School of Economics and the University of Southern California, and received his BA (philosophy) from the U of A in 2011.
Wexit: A Fantasy Theme Analysis of Albertan Separatism in 2019: Alberta separatist movements have existed in some form or other since the 1930s. Specific motivations for Albertan separatism are usually traced to resentment of perceived disproportionate equalization payments. The “Wexit” movement, the most recent articulation of separatist sentiment, extends beyond economic concerns and represents a deep cultural and ideological divide between Albertan pro-industry conservative activists and the broader Canadian understanding of confederacy.
This paper presents a fantasy theme analysis of online Wexit discourse on Facebook, and finds deep similarities between Wexit and other nationalist-populist movements such as the Alt-Right in the United States and the Brexit movement in the United Kingdom. I argue that the Wexit rhetorical vision is more compatible with burgeoning anti-democratic populist movements outside of Canada’s borders than with the liberal-democratic project of Canadian confederacy. Still, the Brexit process has been fraught with failed proposals, leadership setbacks and heated public controversy, while the US President – favoured by the Alt-Right – is facing impeachment. What makes Wexit appealing to its proponents, when other conservative populist movements have not gone according to plan?
Rahmawaty Kadir: I am a PhD student in the secondary education department. My research interests include, but not limited to the following areas; EFL pedagogy, sociolinguistics, and language preservation and maintenance.
Language use and language attitudes among the Gorontalo tribe in Indonesia: As a multilingual nation, the majority of Indonesians are fluent speakers of their mother tongue as well as the national language, which also serves as the medium of instruction at school. Gorontalo language (Bahasa Hulondalo) is an indigenous language spoken by the Gorontalo tribe in the northern part of Celebes (Sulawesi) island, Indonesia. In a complex linguistic context in which hundreds of languages are spoken across the island it has been difficult for Gorontalo language to maintain its position and vitality. With a nation- and island-wide need to have a common language for communication and economic benefits, the Gorontalo language must compete with Bahasa Indonesia, the official language, and English, the foreign language of the school curriculum. Moreover, the use of Malay colloquial languages such as Manado Malay and Gorontalo Malay as a popular dialect among Gorontalo people has been seen as a threat to Gorontalo’s vitality. Maintaining the language vitality greatly depends on the attitude portrayed towards it.
This article reports on an online survey administered to investigate language use and language attitudes among the Gorontalese inhabitants (n=331). The participants represent different age groups, gender, educational backgrounds, and domiciles. The primary instrument used in this study is a sociolinguistic questionnaire that comprises three distinct sections: demographic background, language use of English, Bahasa Indonesia, and Gorontalo language in different domains and language attitudes to each. Results show that Bahasa Indonesia is used predominantly in different domains by 85.5% of Gorontalese, though only 39.5 % of the participants can produce some words and simple sentences in Gorontalo. The study also reveals that most Gorontalese have positive attitudes toward the language. More than half of the participants agree to the importance of knowing and using their local language, maintain and teach the language to their children, acknowledge the language as a part of their identity and are interested in keeping their language alive.
Rachel Green: A recent graduate with a Master of Arts in French literature, having previously graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education, Rachal Green is currently undertaking independent scholarly research prior to commencing doctoral studies. Her research centers on the intricate and symbolic relationship between domestic architectural configuration and French nineteenth-century literature.
“Lock the Door and Throw Away the Key”: Imprisonment and Ostracization in Honoré de Balzac’s Le Père Goriot, La Grande Bretèche and Eugénie Grandet: Jostled like a “marble in a maze” (Richer, 2012, p. 215) on a mosaic comprised of differential spaces, characters – positioned on distinct actantial poles in a “complex network of ever movable and interchangeable positions” (Mucignat, 2012, p. 22) – are defined in relation to doors in residential milieus. Banished from a home for exposing a shameful family secret, imprisoned in a bedroom as a punitive measure, or walled in to stifle a scandalous relationship, characters are locked in (up) or locked out by antagonistic personages to impose socio-spatial control. Doors conceived as spatial barriers that enforce social dissociation are crucial to crystallizing abstract concepts of asymmetrical power relations, exclusion and the struggle for acceptance. If Mikhaïl Bakhtin (1978) argues that the act of crossing a threshold is socially transformative and symbolizes a “crisis”, we might consider the inability to cross a threshold as a crisis of stasis that silences and stifles those who are either shut-in or shut out. Pivoting around the idea that the person who wields the key, wields the power to (en)force separation, we aim to analyze and contrast the narratological role of isolation and ousting (antonymous protective measures that both render the door a rigid wall) in three of French nineteenth-century writer Honoré de Balzac’s novels (1799-1850) as an attempt to circumscribe subversive individuals’ access to certain spaces and impede them from disrupting the fragile status quo.
Saman Rezeai: Saman Rezeai is currently studying towards a PhD in transnational and comparative literature at the University of Alberta.
Arash the Archer: A Persian Epic Story. From Bordering the Fatherland to National Identity: The present paper seeks to demonstrate how the story of Arash the Archer is to be conceived in terms of fatherland, border and identity. In order to illustrate how this epic story contributes to the idea of a unified nation and national identity this paper draws upon theories of David Miller, Volkan and Kristeva to historicize these concepts and also to apply them in the contemporary context. It also identifies the constitutive elements of the concept of fatherland which bear an important share in construction of the notion of nationality and national identity manifested in Arash the Archer. The epic story of Arash the Archer has been recounted in three sources: Avesta, Shahnameh (during national identity crisis for Iranians) and in the contemporary poem of Siavash kasraee, Arash-e Kamangir (Arash the Archer, as an example of re-emergence of this story in a modern context), which serve to open up a fresh ground to analyze the proposed concepts. After the war between Iran and Turan during the kingdom of Manoochehr, Arash climbs the mount Damavand and from there shoots an arrow to determine the border of Iran. Arash puts his life into the arrow and after releasing it, he dies. Through this paper I am going to emphasize how this story embraces the elements of modern definition of nationality and national identity theorized in 19th and 20th centuries.
Key Words: Persian Epic, Border, Fatherland, Nationality, National Identity
Shahab Nadimi: Shahab Nadimi is currently a graduate PhD student at the university of Alberta. He received his MA in English Literature from the University of Kurdistan and his major research interests are Literary and Critical Theory, and World literature with a special focus on born-translated refugee novels.
Refugee Words are on the Move: The present paper seeks to explore how world literature opens up a fresh ground to study “born-translated refugee novels”. There are dozens of literary corpuses that do not completely fit into the category of national literature and even transmit national language borders to seek literary asylums in the cosmopolitan literary centers. The refugee words cross borders and pass through wars and violence so as to be heard, voiced and to prove that words are the most powerful weapon against violence and war through another mode of representation. This article aims to offer that the interaction between world literature and refugee literature provides an opportunity for some refugee novels to be born-translated and to be established as a new literary genre. It also argues that refugee novels are born to be translated while they are “on the move” and “in transit” and addresses those artworks which have no country or any connection with nation-states. A close look at this interaction lead us to see how world literature and aesthetics of born-translated novels provides further discussion about a forgetting literature that is homeless and calls for the dramatic shift in the literary history in the contemporary world. In attempting to capture a clear perspective of the relation between world literature and refugee novels, this article draws upon the theories of David Damrosch, Pascal Casanova, Rebeca Walkowitz, as well as Alexander Beecroft with special reference to the issue of the citizenship of the born translated refugee novel in a critically acclaimed novel No Friend But The Mountains by Behrouz Boochani.
Shreyashi Ganguly: I am currently a first year MA student in the Department of Sociology at University of Victoria. I did my undergraduate in Sociology from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata. I finished my first MA from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, also in Sociology after which I worked as an editor at an English daily for two years. Some of my research interests include humour, its potential for discrimination against specific caste groups in the Indian context, identity politics, politics of recognition, collective micropolitical resistance, everyday forms of resistance and various aspects of the social media. I have presented papers at two conferences on stand-up comedy in India and I am also greatly interested in other forms of humorous communication, especially those offered for consumption via social media outlets.
Comedy as resistance: An analysis of caste collectives’ use of comedy on social media in India as a form political resistance: The category of caste in India has been analysed from various angles but comedy, incidentally, has not been one of them. Scholarly works in the Indian context have similarly failed to take into account the potential comedy has for consolidation of a collective identity of caste that enables the group to resist the dominant ideology. In this paper, I take stand-up comedy in the country as an entry point into understanding the different ways in which comedy collectives on social media, which have come together on a shared notion of caste identity, defy the mainstream conceptualization of caste.
In the first part of my analysis, I conduct a qualitative content analysis of mainstream comedy videos available across social media platforms. I look at how the question of caste — in the form of discrimination, hierarchy, caste-based violence — is being evoked in these gigs which are becoming increasingly political in content. Through this, I unpack how the dominant discourse treats the lived experiences of minority caste groups. The second part of my analysis deals exclusively with the comedy produced by different caste groups on social media. I again conduct a qualitative analysis of the content produced by these groups in order to look at what is being joked about and who/what it is directed at. I look at how the social media becomes an avenue for political mobilization for these comedy groups. The language employed to evoke laughter, in both instances, is important to my analysis. Studying the use of expletives and abusive expressions will help gauge how the connections between the two comedy discourses is essentially founded on violence.
Sofía Monzón: Sofía Monzón is a PhD student in Comparative and Transnational Literatures at University of Alberta. Born in Spain, she completed her BA in Modern Languages and Translation Studies at Universidad de Alcalá, Spain in 2015. She received her first MA in Community Translation and Interpreting from Universidad de Alcalá, Spain in 2016, and her second MA in Spanish Literatures and Linguistics from Auburn University, United States in 2018. Her research interests include ideology, censorship, and manipulation in literary translation; North American literary reception in Spain and Latin America; self-translation and creative writing; as well as Spanish and Latin American Literatures. Sofía’s first collection of poems was published in April 2019, under the title ‘Alas’ by the publisher Editorial Club Universitario.
“Tracing Textual Violence in Literary Translation: The Struggles of Translating during Franco’s Spain and Their Cultural Outcomes”:A look at recent dictatorial regimes demonstrates that institutional censorship, due to its coercive nature, tends to enhance self-censorship techniques that rewriters carry out according to their ideology and contexts. Therefore, the impact that (self-)censorship has on literary translation can be easily analyzed in novels with highly controversial content, e.g. sexual language, religious or political references. According to Jordi Cornellà-Detrell, some censored literary works translated during the infamous Francoist censorship system (1939-1975) are still circulating and being reissued in Spain without a complete translation that does not include the censors cuts and/or the translators’ self-censorship upon it. Thus, I examine the effects that the regime’s implicit threat of violence had on translators and editors through the establishment of a censorship board that triggered the use of self-censorship techniques. I use the idea of ‘textual violence’ in self-censored literary translations carried out during the Francoism, and how the translators’ struggles to dodge institutional censorship trace outcomes that, in some cases, are still present in the Spanish cultural and literary system. To prove my point, I will delve into the re-translations of Henry Miller’s Black Spring performed during the last two decades of the regime, in comparison with a rewriting published after Franco’s downfall. With this I illustrate how pervasive and long-lasting the influence of Francoist ‘textual violence’ through censorship has been for the Spanish literary and cultural system, despite the shift in the dominant ideology in the 80s.
Wenzhu Li: Wenzhu Li is an MA student in the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Alberta, whose research interest is in modern and contemporary Chinese poetry, transnational feminism, and documentary film studies.
The Search for Self in Zhai Yongming’s “Premonition” and “The Finish”: Countering the binary logic at work in the scholarship on Zhai Yongming’s poem cycle “Woman,” this talk examines the first and the last poems of the sequence and argues that both poems represent not so much a critique of the male-dominant culture as the female speaker’s spiritual search for an independent self. The poem “Premonition” fosters an illusion of the speaker’s discovery of the self. This illusion is shattered by the repetitive rhetoric question and the parallel structure in the last poem “The Finish.” The two poems record the speaker’s journey for the sense of self and the illusion of the female consciousness. The first poem reveals that while the speaker finds herself a woman, she fails to seek recognition in that name. Setting out to separate herself from men and other women, the speaker seems to find her sense of self in the end. However, the repetition in the last poem reinforces the hopelessness of a change of the speaker’s situation even though she has already been aware of her female consciousness in the first poem. Reading two poems alongside, this talk shows that the two poems do not focus on revealing the patriarchal hierarchy between male and female. Instead, the poems register the struggle of the speaker for the female identity and the illusion of the sense of self.
Xavia A. Publius: Xavia A. Publius is a PhD student in Performance Studies at the University of Alberta. She received her B.A. in Music with a minor in LGBTQ Studies from Colgate University, and her M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Northern Iowa. A trans woman originally from the United States, her research interests include queer representation in US film and television, trans history, trans participation in the performing arts, cyborg feminism, lavender linguistics, media archaeology, and fan studies. She is a spoken word artist, drag performer, and fanfiction author, whose work often addresses mental health and trans desire.
Diffraction Patterns of Homoeroticism and Mimesis between Twelfth Night and She’s the Man: Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (1602) is well-known for its homeroticism, whereas in regards to She’s the Man (dir. Andy Fickman), a 2006 film based on Twelfth Night, the critical consensus concerning its approach to the play’s homoerotics seems to be that its strategies and meanings are dampened in the translation to film. This paper argues that while specific elements are indeed dampened, the homoerotic is still firmly present in the movie, and the perceived curtailing of much of the play’s subversive energy does not explain the film’s queer legacy. Because of the different codes surrounding homoeroticism for Elizabethan drama and Hollywood cinema, the different contours of homosocial space within the two societies, and the invention of the homosexual in the time between the two eras, the queer potential of She’s the Man resides in different moments of the story, and is filtered through capitalist strategies of queerbaiting. Therefore, I aim to show the diffraction patterns of queer and trans desire between the two works. Specifically, the different approaches to mimesis shape this intra-action, including the woman question in mimetics; the spectres of realism and psychoanalysis; shifting notions of gender, sexuality, and body; and changes in audience tastes regarding spectacle in cross-dressing stories.
Xiaoyun Wang: Xiaoyun is a PhD student in applied linguistics. Her research focuses on interactional linguistics.
On Designedly Incomplete Utterances: What Teachers Can Do with Conversational Structures for Classroom Interaction: This study investigates how teachers purposefully use incomplete utterances, known as designedly incomplete utterances (DIUs), to manage classroom interaction. DIUs have been documented as a strategy to elicit students’ self-correction (Koshik, 2002), improve students’ participation (Lerner, 1995), and solicit knowledge display (Margutti, 2010). However, how the multimodal resources (prosody, gestures, gaze, etc.) are utilized when DIUs perform various functions is undocumented.
By using the methodology of interactional linguistics, this study examines 3 hours of recordings of Mandarin as second-language classrooms, which were collected in China. The dataset consists of 12 classes, including 150 international adult students.
An examination of the data shows that the vast majority of the syntactic structures that are used in DIUs give a strong projection on the syntactic roles of the missing elements. For example, teachers design classifiers as the last syntactic component of DIUs to enable students to anticipate the missing elements are noun phrases. To signal students that the ends of DIUs are the places they should initiate their responses, teachers routinely stress the last syllable of DIUs. Bodily-visual resources that co-occurred with DIUs show various interactional functions: visual scan gaze can encourage students to do self-selection and hand gestures may give students hints. Various resources can combine together to meet the local pedagogical needs: to accomplish an actively participated new content learning activity; to facilitate achieving pedagogical goals; and to scaffold students to produce adequate answers. This study extends our understanding on how conversational structures can be a resource of teachers.
Yan Wang: Yan (Belinda) Wang is a fifth-year PhD student of Comparative Literature program in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies. She has an education background of translation studies and she is particularly interested in translating contemporary Chinese martial arts fiction. Her research focuses on the genre of Chinese martial arts and knight-errantry narratives spanning from pre-modern to contemporary China, as well as kung fu movies since the 1960s. She is interested in exploring this massive corpus of literary tradition from the perspectives of gender and queer studies, and her current project concerns the representation of sexually transgressive knights-errant in Chinese martial arts fiction and film.
Love Slave and Male Anxieties in Hong Kong Action Cinema: This paper discusses the gender representations in the Hong Kong movie Ainu (1972) against the backdrop of the feminist movement of the 1960s. Despite the centrality of female knights-errant in Chinese martial arts cinema, Ainu (literary “love slave”) is intriguing as the first Hong Kong movie to show explicit female same-sex intimacy between the female protagonists Ainu and Madam Chun. In recent years, there is growing interest in the complex gender representations in the film. Many film critics and scholars pointed out that Ainu’s gender identity reflects the anxieties provoked by the rise of female power in a patriarchal society. However, the ending of the film has inspired different readings—Ainu, after avenging herself, is poisoned by the lethal pills hidden between Madam Chun’s lips during their final kiss. Kwai-cheung Lo believes that it was the patriarchal unconsciousness which imagines women as weak and inferior that made Ainu a victim of her own “feminine” emotions (2005). Man-Fung Yip raises the possibility that Ainu and Madam Chun are one person at a discursive level, indicating that the death of one invites the death of the other (2017). In this paper, I argue that the ultimate deaths of both women result from the director’s inability to imagine a female same-sex relationship based on mutual admiration, trust and honesty, characteristics that usually foreground male same-sex relationships of the same genre. It is the framing of such intimacy as toxic in nature that male anxieties over the growing female visibility and influence in modern Hong Kong are projected.