CALL FOR PAPERS! Grad Student Conference 2020

MLCS Graduate Student Council’s 

Annual CONNECTIONS Conference:

(En)Forced (Mis)Connections: 

Tracing spaces of violence, struggle & solidarity

When: February 13th and 14th, 2020

Where: University of Alberta

Submission Deadline: November 30th, 2019

Notification: December 15th, 2019


The Graduate Student Council of the Modern Languages and Cultural Studies department at the University of Alberta invites submissions for its annual Connections conference: (En)Forced (Mis)Connections 2020. We will be accepting academic and creative contributions that approach from a new perspective the (sometimes forced) connections (or disconnections) between communities, disciplines, cultures, languages, artistic works, and concepts; by questioning, challenging, and interpreting their significance. Academic panels will be grouped based on themes and are open to all disciplines across the Social Sciences and Humanities, including but not limited to fields such as Applied Linguistics, Translation, Literature, and Cultural Studies. The Graduate Student Council welcomes everyone working in those fields or related fields, and strongly encourages new graduate students to participate.

“Force can take the following form: The making unbearable of the consequences of not willing what someone wills you to will (emphasis in the original)” — Sara Ahmed

Areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

Academic Contributions:

● Communication

● Connection through translation

● Literary connections

● Creative nonfiction

● Politicization of aesthetics

● Visual culture

● Digital worlds

Artistic Contributions:

● Poetry reading

● Performance art

● Comics

● Storytelling

● Visual Arts

● Multimedia

● Singer/Songwriting


Academic presentations will be 15 minutes in length, followed by a 5-minute discussion period. Panels and roundtables will run for 60 minutes. Artistic contributions can be submitted individually or in addition to academic papers, and will be showcased during our Creative Night on campus.



Academic Contributions:

● 250-word abstract

● 150-word bio

Artistic Contributions:

● example of creative work (e.g. a photo or excerpt)

● 150-word bio


Please submit your proposal via the form on by November 30th, 2019. If you have any questions, feel free to contact or will be sent by December 15th, 2019. Acceptance will be based on content quality, originality, and academic significance.


The Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta aims to foster a community in which diversity is integral and people from all different backgrounds are acknowledged and respected. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment that welcomes diversity in as many aspects as possible, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, socio-economic status, class, and religion. We also acknowledge that the land on which we gather is Treaty 6 territory and a traditional meeting ground and home for many Indigenous Peoples, including Cree, Saulteaux, Blackfoot, Métis, and Nakota Sioux. 

We strive to ensure that current students, faculty members and staff from different backgrounds and with diverse perspectives are well-served in the department. We encourage, in our community, the free exchange of ideas that contribute to understanding diversity and raising multicultural awareness. We also welcome prospective students and staff members, other institutions and organizations to join us in our mission. Together, we are working to advance the course of equity and freedom, as well as multilingual and multicultural education within our department. 

MLCS Graduate Student Council's Annual CONNECTIONS Conference_ (1)

Program – MLCS Graduate Student Conference 2019: Re-Connections


Planning to attend our conference? Check out the schedule!

See you in the Old Arts Building

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Senate Chamber, Old Arts Building, 3rd floor

8:00 – 8:25 Coffee

8:30 – 8:35 Opening Remarks – Carrie Smith, Chair, Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies


8:35 – 9:35 Panel One: Linguistics and Self in Mandarin
Moderator: Kenzie Gordon, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies / Digital Humanities
Commentator: Yvonne Lam, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies

Xiaoyun Wang, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta
“She’s Chinese too”: The Interactional Function of Claiming Citizenship in Mandarin Conversation

Kerry Sluchinski, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta
“Genderless Narratives: The Pragmatics of ta in Chinese Social Media”


9:45 – 10:45 Panel Two: Transnational Subjectivities
Moderator: Sofia Monzón, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies
Commentator: Odile Cisneros, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies

Nella Bonyeme, School of Linguistics, Languages, Literatures and Cultures, University of Calgary
“Adapting Adaptations: Interconnectedness in Cinematic Reworkings of Les Liaisons Dangereuses”

Bruno Soares dos Santos, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta
“’Com armas sonolentas’ by Carola Saavedra: Hispanicism, Germany and Brazil in a novel between countries”


10:55 – 12:00 Community Keynote

Hunter Cardinal, Director of Story, Naheyawin
When the people forget


12:00 – 12:55 Lunch Break


13:00 – 14:05 Panel Three: Silenced Voices in Art
Moderator: Lenny Cauich Maldonado, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies
Commentator: Allen Ball, Fine Arts

Lebogang Disele, Drama, and Mpoe Mogale, Political Science, University of Alberta
“Black Girl Magic YEG: A Performative Inquiry into Black Girlhood in Edmonton”

Brandi Goddard, Art and Design, University of Alberta
“Re-contextualizing Irish Folk Art Using an Indigenous Environmental Perspective”

Heloise Torck, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta
“Kent Monkman and Miss Chief: The Trickster in Art”


14:15 – 15:40 Panel Four: Queer Queries
Moderator: Glenna Schowalter, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies
Commentator: Andreas Stuhlmann, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies

Jennifer Quist, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta
“‘Didn’t Come Here to Breed’: The Celibate Superman of Red Son”

Xavia Publius, Drama, University of Alberta
“We Other Fairies”

Uchechukwu Umezurike, English and Film Studies, University of Alberta
“Troubling the Norm in Chinelo Okparanta’s ‘Under the Udala Trees’”

Bart Romanek, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta
“The Next Best Thing: Sacrifice as Queer Romance in Nítíða saga and Historical Fantasy Television”

Friday, February 15, 2019

Senate Chamber, Old Arts Building, 3rd floor

9:00 – 9:25 Coffee

9:30 – 10:50 Panel Five: Challenging Transitions and Translations
Moderator: Bruno Soares dos Santos, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies
Commentator:  Anne Malena, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies

Josh Clendenin, Independent artist and researcher
“Babel en Bhablóin”

Anna Antonova, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta
“Retracing Connections, Reconfiguring Source Texts: Translation of Susan Glaspell’s ‘A Jury of Her Peers’”

Wangtaolue Guo, Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta
“Rhizomizing the Translation Zone: Xiaolu Guo and ‘A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers’”

Irina Tuzlukova, Drama, University of Alberta
“Technology and stage manager-theatre professionals’ reconnections”


11:00 – 12:20 Panel Six: Subverting Bodies
Moderator: Bart Romanek, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies
Commentator: Victoria Ruetalo, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies

Sofia Monzón, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta
“Reconnecting with the Latin American Revel Modernist: Horacio Quiroga’s Ecocritical Uniqueness”

Laura Velazquez, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta
“Posthuman encounters and the stranger migrant in ‘Sleep Dealer’, a film by Alex Rivera”

Karina Hincapié, School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures, University of Calgary
“El techo de la Ballena y el Chigüire Bipolar: forms of political resistance in Venezuelan art”

Amber Peters, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta
“The Crooked-Hatted Dandy: Kajkulahi as a Subverted Dandyism in the work of Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Bilal Tanweer”


12:30 – 13:30 Lunch Break


13:30 – 14:40 Academic Keynote
Dr. Rebecca Dolgoy, School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies, Carleton University


14:50 – 16:00 Panel Seven: Reconnecting Pedagogy
Moderator: Anton Iorga, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies
Commentator: Alla Nedashkivska, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies

Xiong Wang, Secondary Education, University of Alberta
“Understanding Mathematics Teacher Professional Learning through Professional Learning Networks”

Alfred Mulinda, School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures, University of Calgary
“From the Competency-Based Approach to the Competency-Based Approach: the paradox of language curriculum reforms in Tanzania.”


16:00 – 16:05 Closing Remarks – Micah True, Graduate Associate Chair, Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies


19:00 – 22:00 Creative Night
Student’s Lounge, Old Arts Building, 1st floor

Saturday, February 16, 2019

10:00 – 12:30 Workshop

Information on presentations: 

Academic Keynote
Dr. Rebecca Dolgoy

As a theoretician and practitioner of Cultural Memory, Rebecca Clare Dolgoy’s work engages with the contemporary resonance of cultural heritage. Her research aims to articulate the philosophical and literary content of built environments (museums, cities) by finding the conceptual language that situates these narratives in high-level critical discourse. Her curatorial and creative work experiments with translating philosophical and critical concepts into collaborative installations and interventions. All of her projects explore the legacies of the past and invite readers and visitors to contemplate what heritage means to them.

After completing her doctoral project in Oxford on the topography of Berlin’s contemporary cultural memory landscape, with special emphasis on the Neues Museum in 2015, Rebecca spent several months as a visiting fellow at London’s Institute of Modern Languages Research, where she wrote a paper on the recently rethought, renovated, and re-opened Imperial War Museum. While in Oxford, co-ordinated public engagement projects with two of Oxford’s Museums: The Ashmolean (Object Affinity) and The Story Museum (Fabulous Mr Fox). She then returned to Canada, where she held a two-year postdoctoral fellowship, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, at the University of Ottawa and moved her cultural memory research and practice to the Canadian Context.

She is currently the Executive Director of the Centre for Transnational Cultural Analysis and a Contract Instructor at the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies at Carleton University, as well as a Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry in Berlin. She is currently working on two major research projects: Bullet Hole Constellations: Forty Years of Museums and Memory in Berlin(1989-2029) and Architectures of Reconciliation.

Community Keynote
Hunter Cardinal

As Director of Story at Naheyawin, Hunter works with organizations to build capacity for abundance, kindness, and reinvigorate the spirit of Treaty by implementing Indigenous principles into everyday processes and business practices. Holding a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from the University of Alberta, class of 2015, Hunter has also performed across Canada as well as New York. Hunter was recently awarded Edmonton’s Best Actor by Vue Weekly. In addition to performance, he also is the Associate Director of Fringe Theatre in Edmonton.
As a Science Facilitator with MFNERC was given the mandate to “put a First Nation perspective in the sciences”. The easiest way to go about doing this, he was told, was to look up. Researching Ininew star stories Wilfred found a host of information which had to be interpreted and analyzed to identify if the stories were referring to the stars. The journey began…

“The greatest teaching that was ever given to me, other than my wife and children, is the ability to see the humor in the world”…Wilfred Buck

When the people forget“: Hunter Cardinal is an actor, improviser, and Director of Story at Naheyawin. Through using Indigenous principles, Hunter helps organizations take steps towards respectful diversity and inclusion. In his presentation, he’ll be exploring how Indigenous worldviews within his Indigenous language has helped him understand and take steps towards being and becoming a better Treaty person.


Alfred Mulinda: I am a Ph.D. student in French at the School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures, University of Calgary. I hold a Master’s degree in French Language Teaching from the University of Geneva (Switzerland), a Bachelor degree in Arts with Education from the University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and an Ordinary Diploma in Education from Dar es Salaam Teachers College (Tanzania). Before my admission into the doctoral program at the University of Calgary, I was an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Foreign Languages and Linguistics, University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania). Apart from the tertiary level, I have also taught French and English at Secondary and Primary school levels. My research interests emanate from my long experience in teaching languages, and these are Second Language Didactics, Language Policies and Language-in-Education. My PhD research is on Education policies in Tanzania through the lens of the Communicative Language Teaching Approach.

“From the Competency-Based Approach to the Competency-Based Approach: the paradox of language curriculum reforms in Tanzania”: In 2005, the Tanzanian Ministry of Education made curriculum reforms that led to the introduction of the Competency-Based Language Teaching approach (CBLT) in Secondary education to replace the traditional content-based approach. To align with the requirements of the new curriculum, new syllabuses and textbooks were designed. This work is an analysis of two textbooks used for French teaching in Tanzania, namely, Transafrique 1, used before the changes, and On y va ! 1, introduced thereafter. Our analysis of the two textbooks aimed at comparing the two textbooks, and in particular, discovering if the new textbook, On y va! 1, reflects the principles of CBLT. The analysis would allow us to know whether or not the proposed curriculum reforms are also reflected in the choice of language textbooks. After a careful examination of the textbooks in question, using the textbook analysis grid developed by Cuq & Gruca (2005) , we discovered that both textbooks actually subscribe to CBLT. From this observation, we consider that the curricular changes were, perhaps, not necessary because the textbook then in use (Transafrique 1) already reflected CBLT principles. Our observation calls on the bodies in charge of the curriculum in Tanzania to ensure that the necessary considerations are envisaged in advance before undertaking curriculum reforms. This will make the results of the reforms predictable for the sake of fostering the teaching of languages in the country.

Amber Peters: Amber Elisabeth Peters is a first-year graduate student in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta, in the Cultural Studies stream. She graduated from the University of Toronto, majoring in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations with minors in Diaspora Studies and Environmental Biology. Her research centers on Central Asian and South Asian Islamic literature and material culture. For her thesis, she will be analyzing images of the Buraq, Muhammad’s flying steed in his ascension to Jerusalem and the heavens in his night journey of Isra and Miraj, as depicted in the art and material culture of pre-nineteenth century Central and South Asia. She is a lover of art, literature, and history and is particularly fascinated by the Mughal period. In her spare time, she dabbles all manners of arts and crafts from knitting and embroidery to shoemaking and stained glass.

“The Crooked-Hatted Dandy: Kajkulahi as a Subverted Dandyism in the work of Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Bilal Tanweer”: The 19th century French poet, Charles Baudelaire defines the Dandy as a “man of the world,’ but only shows its application in the 19th century, leisure-class, Western European man. Kajkulahi, crooked-hattedness, from Perso-Indian tradition is a similar concept. Someone who is on the “straight and narrow,” would wear their headwear upright; the choice to wear it crooked denotes a rejection of the accepted values and conventions of normative society. This is exemplified in “Whilst we Breathe,” a poem of the celebrated Faiz Ahmed Faiz (d. 1984). Kajkulahi is not just about fashion, but a way of being. Faiz’s context was half a world apart from Baudelaire, but he also creates a new way of being. Faiz was a Marxist freethinker, imprisoned for his views from 1951-1955; wearing his hat too crooked brought on negative attention from the authorities. Sixty years later, his fight has not finished. Bilal Tanweer, a young Karachi author resurfaces the partition-era Marxist poet in modern-day Karachi with his crazy old man character with a red ballcap, Comrade Sukhansaz. Marxism seems to be antithetical to the elitist concept of Dandyism; however, this was central to the kajkulahi of Faiz. Baudelaire’s Dandyism celebrates an energy in excess, and Faiz’s excess comprised an extreme love for the people. Even today, the choice to wear dreadlocks can be seen as subversive, and has been targeted by racist dress codes and discrimination. Kajkulahi is beyond Baudelaire, Faiz, and Tanweer: Dandyism and kajkulahi both denote subversive fashions that challende the status quo.

Anna Antonova: Anna Antonova is a third-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.

‘Retracing Connections, Reconfiguring Source Texts: Translation of Susan Glaspell’s “A Jury of Her Peers”’: Conventional understanding of translation proceeds from a persistent, although misleading, idea of a solid and unchangeable source text as the measure of a translator’s success and faithfulness. In this presentation, I will build on Karen Emmerich’s theory of textual instability to argue for a possibility of multiple fluid source texts informing a single translation project. Taking Susan Glaspell’s short story “A Jury of Her Peers” as an example of a textually unstable literary work, I will address its creation and publication history as a critical factor shaping the process of my own translation into Ukrainian. The story, being a rewritten version of Glaspell’s renowned play Trifles, exploits its theatrical background in its understated style, relying on the visual imagery of the stage production. As this connection is lost on the target-language readers not previously familiar with the original script or theatrical performance, the translator has to re-connect both source texts in the translation, infusing the story’s succinct narrative with the play’s visual images to elucidate the setting and the significance of the described events for the target readership. This strategy, while bringing together essential aspects of the two source texts operating in different genres and through different media, in fact, constructs a qualitatively new original that emerges as a result of the translation project itself. The resulting re-orientation of the translation process toward its exploratory and creative dimensions reveals the constraining nature and irrelevance of the formulaic demand for fidelity.

Bart Romanek: Bart Romanek is a second year MA student with MLCS, in the Transnational and Comparative Literature stream. Previously graduating with a combined honours major in both Classical and Nordic languages and literature and a Certificate of European Studies, his focus has been on Latin, Swedish, and Old Norse. He grew up in Edmonton, but is originally from Tarnów, Poland. He has filled the role of President of the University of Alberta Scandinavian Club for the past five years, and for the last four has been the Treasurer for Sorry, Not Sorry Productions. Throughout his time at the University of Alberta he has held various positions on MLCS committees, most recently serving as the departmental representative for graduate students. His interests lie in medievalism, film and television, and anything to do with books and manuscripts.

“The Next Best Thing: Sacrifice as Queer Romance in Nítíða saga and Historical Fantasy Television”: Within the corpus of medieval Icelandic romances, Nítíða saga stands out as a unique example from the subgenre of maiden-king sagas, in which the titular maiden-king, in contrast to the norm, ultimately consents to her marriage at the end of the saga. However, before accepting her impending nuptials, Nítíða partakes in a number of misadventures with a female companion, the sister of her eventual husband, demonstrating significant agency at a time when women’s freedom of movement was greatly restricted. Though not explicitly stated, the relationship between the two women reads as romantic, as Nítíða deliberately chooses the young woman to be her companion. Nítíða’s eventual marriage to the male sibling of her chosen companion exemplifies a common treatment for queer characters found within the modern genre of fantasy, arguably a direct descendant of chivalric romances. Queer characters in fantasy literature are often compelled to accept such marriage arrangements as a means to establish familial bonds with their romantic partners in a socially acceptable context, which can be seen in popular television adaptations such as Game of Thrones and Outlander. To this end, Nítíða saga demonstrates continuity across time and cultures in its treatment of queer romance, and further sets itself apart from other maiden-king sagas. Representation of queer relationships in medieval European literature is deficient at best, and it is vital for modern scholarship to explore, catalogue, and preserve queer narratives that were undoubtedly woven into the social fabric of the medieval world, as they are in the present day.

Brandi Goddard: Brandi Goddard is a PhD student based at the University of Alberta. Her dissertation research focuses on folklore, art, and traditional beliefs and knowledge of the 19th century rural Irish population. Her MA thesis explored five allegorical self-portraits by Seán Keating, an Irish artist who used painting to subversively express his evolving opinions on the ideologies, governance and nationalism of the Irish state, both during the wars of independence and following the establishment of the Free State. Brandi has presented at several conferences in Canada and Ireland, and recently taught Irish Art History and Visual Culture here at the U of A. She is the founder and chair of the ARTiculations Art and Design Graduate Student Forum, and the Co-Publisher of the Alberta Academic Review.

“Re-contextualizing Irish Folk Art Using an Indigenous Environmental Perspective”: In 2017, Irish parliamentarian Danny Healy-Rae stood before city council and claimed that a local roadway was constantly in rough shape because it had been built through an area inhabited by fairies. He asserted, “[t]here are numerous fairy forts [there]…if someone told me to go out and knock a fairy fort or touch it, I would starve first.” Fairy forts, or raths, are the remains of megalithic fortifications that dot the Irish landscape. According to folklore, these long-abandoned structures have become the dwellings of fairies, and to disturb them would be foolish and dangerous. Positively, these traditional beliefs have contributed to the preservation of historical ruins that may otherwise have been razed to accommodate agriculture, industry and urbanization. I believe that these traditional beliefs and rituals are a direct reflection of a traumatic history which includes centuries of colonization, several devastating famines and mass emigration. Much of the historiography of Irish art centres on landscape and genre paintings produced by artists of the Protestant Ascendancy — the socio-economic settler class formed through centuries of English colonization. Less attention has been paid to the folk art and material culture produced by the native Irish population, particularly in rural western counties. Drawing concepts from North American Indigenous scholarship and post-humanist theory, my paper posits that Irish folk artefacts, when properly contextualized, represent a discursive manifestation of an embodied anti-anthropocentric relationship with the ecological environment that was neglected and denigrated when Ireland, as a colonial holding of England, was incorporated into the system of European capitalism.

Bruno Soares dos Santos: Bruno is an MA Student in Transnational and Comparative Literatures at the University of Alberta and Bachelor in Communications Studies (Journalism) from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). He has worked as a journalist and Communications specialist in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, writing about technology, education, and culture. Brazilian and Latin American studies are among his main interests.

“Com armas sonolentas by Carola Saavedra: Hispanicism, Germany and Brazil in a novel between countries”: Com armas sonolentas is the latest novel by Carola Saavedra, a laureated author who was born in Chile, grew up in Brazil, was educated in Germany and writes in Brazilian Portuguese. The story focuses on three female characters – Maike, a German student who feels a strange connection with Brazil and the Portuguese language; Anna, a Brazilian actress who goes to Europe to try her chance in her career; and a third nameless woman who is forced to leave her family in the country-side of Brazil to serve as a maid at the city of Rio de Janeiro. All of them have a genealogical connection that is eventually revealed to the reader. Although the novel is placed in the context of Brazil and Germany, Hispanicism is a big presence in it: from its title, that is based on a poem by Mexican writer Sor Joana Inez de la Cruz, to fantastic passages where characters suddenly understand Spanish Language or claim to be aware that they are living inside of a story whose author is a descendant of Cervantes. As Saavedra identifies herself as a Brazilian writer, this article aims to highlight traces of her displacement as an author highlighting the presence of her Hispanic background in Com armas sonolentas and on how the characters manifest estrangement before both Brazilian and German cultures. With this, I aim to open a discussion on how an author like her could challenge the idea that a Literary work has a nationality attached to it.

Heloise Torck: Heloise is a second year MA student in Applied Linguistics at the MLCS department of the University of Alberta. Ever curious, she decided to use the versatility of course-based Master’s to explore different subjects in her papers, working on self-taught Second Language learners, Russian weakened vowels, representation of non-verbal authority, revitalization of Cree in Canada and the Trickster in Arts. This last subject started with the Norse god Loki and the evolution of his representation before she was introduced to the work of Kent Monkman and the mysterious Miss Chief.

“The Trickster in Arts: Kent Monkman and Miss Chief”: Kent Monkman is a Two-Spirit artist of Cree and Irish ancestry who uses his art to bring into the light the First Nation perspective of Canadian history. His work introduces Indigenous people, stories and voices in European paintings of the 19th century, reappropriating the images colonisers created of the American continent and its inhabitants. The most represented figure is his Two-Spirit alter-ego, Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, who appears in paintings, performances and videos. She is a Trickster, aiming to change the norms of acceptability that colons established and disrupting them by her indigeneity, sensuality and gender identity. Miss Chief challenges the audience to question themselves, the society in which they live and the knowledge that they think they have. However, another question is raised by her presence. As a new embodiment of a mythological archetype, as well as the alter-ego of an actual person, what does Miss Chief tell us about the Trickster in Art? Could we consider Kent Monkman an example of Trickster artist? Or can this title be claimed by his Two-Spirit self only? In this presentation, I will question, through the example of Monkman and Miss Chief, whether artists can be considered Tricksters or if they are limited to the use of tricks in their art. Since Tricksters are agents of change, I believe this discussion will bring a new perspective on the capacity of art to incite changement.

Irina Tuzlukova: Irina Tuzlukova holds her BFA in Technical Theatre Stage Management from the University of Alberta, and she is currently in the second year of a MA in Drama program. She has worked on many shows and theatrical performances in Alberta as stage manager and assistant stage manager. Irina’s research interests include stage management, theatre history and technology in theatre. She presented “Technological innovations in stage management profession in the context of modern Canadian theatre” at the Thirteenth International Conference on The Arts in Society in 2018.

“Technology and stage manager-theatre professionals’ reconnections”: Recent research has provided documented evidence of a strong relationship between technology and contemporary theatrical art. It emphasizes the implicit connection of the theatre to technology, while drawing attention to almost continual interplay of the modern theatre industry with the creative usages of new technology and encouraging using it for enhancing the creative potential of the theatrical art (Boyce, 2017; Dixon, 2017). However, in spite of the accumulated evidence and knowledge, as new technologies are being integrated into theatre, there is still insufficient concentration on such division of technical theatre, as stage management, and its reliance on technology in the theatre world. Considering the indispensable role of stage management in successful delivery of theatre performances, including its organizational, paperwork and communicative aspects (Morrison, 2015), this paper explores the effects of the contemporary continuous progress in technology and its adoption in theatre on the successful liaisons and relationships between stage managers and other theatre professionals. In more detail, it questions whether technology has contributed to aiding stage managers in communicative aspects of their jobs and, consequently, re-establishing communication bonds maintained by the previous generations of stage managers. It also harnesses enthusiasm and passion for stage management profession and theatre as collective creation.

Jennifer Quist: Jennifer Quist is a PhD student at the University of Alberta specializing in comparative and transnational literatures. She is also the author of three novels.

“’Didn’t Come Here to Breed’: The Celibate Superman of Red Son”: In the mid-twentieth century, Frederic Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent, a moral panic, and senate hearings in the United States all questioned the content of comic books from without. In the industry itself, The Comic Code Authority self-regulated the content of comics from within. Superheroes were chaste, more than chaste; they were celibate, largely abandoning even contemporary heteronormatively sanctioned sexual behaviours between legal spouses. Through an analysis of the family and sexual values depicted in Mark Miller’s 2003 Superman: Red Son, a story which begins in 1953 and proceeds through a fictitious Cold War-type era, it is argued that the celibacy of superheroes from this era is not solely the result of cultural suppression and censorship. It also finds deeper roots in earlier Christian notions of a celibate clergy being most worthy of being entrusted with the responsibility and power to care for humankind, and the awful irony that they so often fail in their sexual ideals. Alan Moore’s The Watchmen brought the question “Who watches the watchmen?” to the superhero canon. Originally, the question was asked in Juvenal’s Satires to address the trustworthiness of guards in harems, men who in many societies were eunuchs—strong and masculine yet sexually impotent, not unlike the Superman of Red Son who, early in his story announces, somewhat reassuringly, “I didn’t come here to breed,” leaving unanswered the question of what he came for instead.

Josh Clendenin: Josh is an American performer and actor based in Edmonton whose artistic practice explores multilingual embodiment and language learning by performing in multiple languages, primarily French, English, and Irish. He completed an MFA in Theatre Practice at the University of Alberta, and has acted in productions and performed multilingual pieces locally and internationally. His most recent piece, Folamh, was performed at the 2017 Visualeyez Festival, a performance art festival in Edmonton hosted by Latitude 53. Josh also holds a BA in Theatre Arts and French and taught French and theatre in Utah, USA, for six years.

“Babel en Bhablóin”: In this paper, I will present an overview of my master’s thesis in theatre practice, Babel en Bhablóin. As a performative work, my thesis comprised six performers, including me, who explored the connection between the suppression of language and linguistic identity through somatic movement and multilingual theatre. Speak White, a 1968 bilingual (French/English) poem by Québécois writer Michèle Lalonde, served as the framework to examine this connection through improvisational movement, sound, and interaction. The poem critiques the suppression of the French language in Canada via the dominance of English language and culture. The performers translated the poem into their respective languages and adapted it to their own experiences and contexts of language suppression. Through a series of rehearsals, the performers responded to each others’ translations through improvisational movement, sound, and speech in Traditional Mandarin, Filipino, French, Irish, Italian, Lebanese Arabic, English, and Japanese. The rehearsals culminated in a public performance at the University of Alberta. Overall, the multilingual interactions enabled the performers to re(discover) the overt and subtle ways in which language can be suppressed and the impact of this suppression on their linguistic identities and how they embody language. A video of the performance will be shown during the paper.

Karina Hincapié: Karina was born in Caracas and obtained her bachelor’s degree at Universidad Central de Venezuela, focusing on the studies of Latin American literature as well as being trained on creative writing. After, she did her master in Europe, specializing in the relationship between political issues and art. Currently, she goes to the University of Calgary, where she is a PhD student in Spanish and a teacher assistant.

“El techo de la Ballena y el Chigüire Bipolar”: forms of political resistance in Venezuelan art “: The problematic relationships between art and power are particularly evident in times of social conflicts. In Latin America, in response to its postcolonial condition, art plays a fundamental role in the narratives regarding the thought of political emancipation, in order to conform a “legitimate” historical, social and cultural body. The political history of the continent, with all its conflicts, seeks to reclaim a place for subalternity. However, within the discursive struggles, between regime and regime, that same subject that is supposed to be defended gets undermined. Power is exerted in the body but at the same time, only itself is able to repel or question it. The abject body, already as politics, becomes the battlefield susceptible to both violence and resistance. It is these frictions of forces that are observed within the poetry of El Techo de la Ballena, a venezuelan avant garde group born at the transitional times between dictatorship and democracy (late 1958 – early 1959). Similarly, the Chiguire Bipolar (2008-present) works this problem of political transitions. These discursive struggles will be studied through an analysis of the images of the body and its tensions within a selected textual corpus.

Kerry Sluchinski: Kerry is a Chinese language instructor and has been a government accredited Chinese to English translator since 2016 as an Associate Member of the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta (ATIA). In addition to English and Chinese, she is also proficient in Japanese and Korean. Kerry began her work on what she terms the ta phenomenon during the first year of her Master’s thesis in 2015 and convocated in 2017. Kerry commenced her PhD studies in September of 2018 to continue her original research.

“Genderless Narratives: The Pragmatics of ta in Chinese Social Media”: Mandarin Chinese originally used the single character 他 (ta ) to refer to the third person ‘he’, ‘she’, and ‘it’. Due to historical trends of social and cultural change, the Chinese third person pronoun has extensively transformed to reflect gender distinction, resulting in the three currently accepted written forms 他 (ta ‘he’), 她 (ta ‘she’), and 它 (ta ‘it’) which all have identical pronunciations (ta). A fourth, non-standard, third-person pronoun has recently emerged in Chinese Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) and is written using the Roman alphabet script ta. The non-standard form ta obscures the gender of the intended referent by transferring its oral properties to written discourse. The study of ta is of particular importance with regards to its implications in Chinese CMC as its specific function and referent is defined through writers’ usage and readers’ unique interpretations. This research is part of the first systematic study which examines the textual and pragmatic usage of ta in Chinese CMC. Specifically, the research presented here adopts qualitative and quantitative methods in analyzing ta in context from celebrity accounts on Chinese CMC platform Sina Weibo. Preliminary observations reveal that celebrity account users insert the gender unspecified ta into narratives with the function of soliciting empathy or alignment from readers. In order to achieve this function ta is embedded in the following three prominent discourse types: 1) personal-narratives, 2) you-narratives, and 3) ta-narratives. Personal-narratives and ta-narratives are designed to seek empathy via character identification while you-narratives are designed to create situational empathy.

Laura Velazquez: Laura L Velázquez is currently a PhD student in Transnational and Comparative Literature at the University of Alberta. Her research interests include Greek drama, Neolatin literature, critical theory, Sinophone and Latin American literatures and films of migration.

“Posthuman encounters and the stranger migrant in Sleep Dealer, a film by Alex Rivera”: The objective of this essay is to offer an interpretation of Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealer (2008) as a political commentary. I argue that the movie problematizes the condition of migrants as a collection of disposable bodies that threaten the discursive underpinnings of a new form of interconnected imperialism. Drawing upon the notion of the stranger and the posthuman encounter, I analyse three different modes of material encounters: between the stranger and other corporalities, between the stranger and the collective, and between the stranger and the places and memories attached to them. Through the exploration of these encounters, I will show how Sleep Dealer can function as a kind of visual and narrative resistance tool against the official and legal dehumanizing discursive practices of the representatives of imperialism. I will also be discussing how these bodies can liberate themselves from the oppression exercised by these representatives, through the production of new epistemologies and the creation of an authentically inclusive and diverse community that gives rise to the posthuman subject.

Lebogang Disele: Lebogang Disele is a Lecturer at the University of Botswana. She holds a BA Degree in Film and Media Production [Radio] and a BA Honours Degree [Drama] from the University of Cape Town as well as a Master’s of Arts in Dramatic Arts (MADA) from Wits University. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Performance Studies at the University of Alberta, with the proposed title, “Decolonizing the Female Body: towards a new women’s movement (s)?” Lebo is interested in work that explores issues of marginalization, discrimination, prejudice, and oppression, especially in relation to gender. Her other major research interest is documenting Botswana theatre and performance.

“Black Girl Magic YEG: A Performative Inquiry into Black Girlhood in Edmonton”: The Edmonton collective, Black Girl Magic (BGM), started in 2017 as a woman-centered performance for the Black Arts Matter Festival (BAM). It quickly became clear that BGM needed to go further than the festival, both in terms of performance and in terms of building a Sisterhood in Edmonton. Whereas BAM set out to entrench the work of Black performers within the mainstream of the Edmonton performing arts industry, BGM focused specifically on voicing the experiences of Black women in Edmonton. This chapter takes a look at the BGM performance, “Unwoven”, created for BAM and SkirtsAfire herArts Festival in 2018. We posit “Unwoven” as a performance-as-research project using autoethnographic poetic inquiry in which the performers become researchers, interrogating black womanhood and girlhood in Edmonton. We focus specifically on BGM and not BAM, because we believe that BGM’s focus on Black womanhood and girlhood serves to unmark (Phelan) Black female bodies by normalizing their visibility. We contend that Black women are rendered highly visible due to their double marginalization as women and as Black people. As a result, Black women have to occupy multiple roles in order to take up space. We argue that BGM takes up space through performance and by acting as a collective. In Edmonton, acting as a collective is necessary as artists often find themselves isolated in their craft, bearing the weight of being the only Black person in that art-form and having to represent the entire Black community. Challenging this isolation works to highlight diversity within Blackness and Black girlhood, normalizing Black visibility.

Mingxue Nan: Mingxue Nan is currently an M.A. student at the Department of East Asian Studies of the University of Alberta. Her research interests include modern Chinese literature, Sinophone literature, and modern Japanese literature. Her current project explores the poetics and politics of the translingual cultural productions in China and Japan by Taiwanese writers Liu Na’ou and Jiang Wenye in early 20th century.

“FANTASY, FRUSTRATION, AND THE EMERGENCE OF TAIWANESE CONSCIOUSNESS IN ORPHAN OF ASIA”: In Wu Zhuoliu’s groundbreaking autobiographical novel Orphan of Asia, the protagonist Hu Taiming’s relationships with two women, Japanese dance teacher Hisako and Chinese Suzhou beauty Shuchun, can be read allegorically as the occurrence of fantasies and frustrations while the Taiwanese “self” encountering the Japanese and Chinese “others.” This paper explores Taiming’s colonial experience through his relationships with Hisako and Shuchun, as Hisako is the projection of Taiming’s desire to disavow colonial difference and claim Japanese-ness, and Shuchun is the projection of his desire to rejoin an imagined Chinese community. The unfulfilled courtship of Hisako and failed marriage with Shuchun serve as two major revelation points of the differences between the Taiwanese “self” and its Japanese and Chinese “others.” The shift of power from fantasy to frustration alludes to the shift of power from an interpellated triple-splitting colonial identity to a self-conscious postcolonial Taiwanese ego, re-orienting Taiwan as the orphan of Asia from the attempts of colonial and cultural mimicry to the recognition of a self-conscious ego under the disappointment and disillusion of both metropolitan Japan and mainland China.

Nella Bonyeme: Nella D. Bonyeme is a PhD student in Transcultural Studies at the University of Calgary. She is interested in the investigation of innovative approaches to intertextuality and adaptation studies across media, especially through a transnational perspective.

“Adapting Adaptations: Interconnectedness in Cinematic Reworkings of Les Liaisons Dangereuses”: Do adaptations only adapt the source text they are based on? In the last few years, adaptation studies have moved away from a fidelity discourse model, in which the “copy” is compared to the “original” to see what’s been lost, towards an intertextual dialogism model, which essentially does the same thing without assuming that the original is better. Thus, the discipline continues to envision, at the core of adaptation, a dyadic relationship between the “original” and the “copy”. Yet some texts have been adapted multiple times, and their adaptations often adopt and adjust the translational choices of their predecessors. To fully understand how adaptations work, we need to comprehend the meaning and implications of this overlap between various translations of a same text; we need to compare adaptations not only for how they independently approach their source text, but also for how, and why, their approaches converge. This study analyzes the plot changes, generic elements and mise-en-scène in four film adaptations of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses: American Dangerous Liaisons (Frears, 1988), French-American Valmont (Forman, 1989), South Korean Untold Scandal (Lee, 2003) and Chinese Dangerous Liaisons (Heo, 2012). It particularly explores how the three last films reflect the clash between liberal and conservative ways of life portrayed in the French novel, and investigates whether, in spite of similar approaches, the films’ different cultural contexts lead to diverging interpretations of this theme; from a transnational perspective on the modern world, which seeks to blur national borders/experiences, to a national perspective, which seeks to reaffirm them. Thus, this study considers the possibility that adaptations do not only dialogue with the “original”, but also, with each other.

Sofia Monzón: Sofia Monzón is a PhD student in Comparative and Transnational Literatures at University of Alberta. She received her first MA in Community Translation and Interpreting from Universidad de Alcalá (Spain), and her second MA in Spanish Literatures and Linguistics from Auburn University (United States). Her research interests include censorship in literary translation, North American literary reception in Spain and Latin America, self-translation, and creative writing.

“Reconnecting with the Latin American Revel Modernist: Horacio Quiroga’s Ecocritical Uniqueness”: In the midst of a so-called “age of anger”: A period full of a strong cataclysm of violence, reproachable events and even natural disasters all over the globe, the most humanist branch of human sciences ought to look down to the roots, reconnect and ripen the fruits of common sense with the evident aim of discussing a number of controversial matters brought by the new millennium. For these reasons, I propose a kinder reading of Horacio Quiroga’s selected short stories, “El hombre muerto” (1920) and “El hijo” (1935), with which I attempt to shed some light on various reconciliatory ideas through the appreciation of the ‘Other’, the emerging struggles, and the ultimate understanding between human beings and their natural environments. In this way, a timely ecocritical approach to the Modernist Uruguayan’s works, many times labeled as marginal, destructive, and suicidal by different scholars, will allow us to shape new bridges —and to not tear them down— as we concede the indispensable evidence for which a man needs to undergo a process of dehumanization to be reborn, this time in a more harmonious manner within his/her surroundings.

Uchechukwu Umezurike: Uchechukwu Peter Umezurike is a PhD student and a Vanier Scholar at the English and Film Studies department at the University of Alberta. His articles have appeared in Postcolonial Text, Tydskrif vir letterkunde, etc. Currently, his research is focused on representations of masculinities in contemporary Nigerian fiction.

“Troubling the Norm in Chinelo Okparanta’s “Under the Udala Trees”: Many Nigerian authors write within a template of tradition which positions the male character as the point of reference for understanding society. Narratives within this tradition tend to reinforce ideas of gender conformity, thus effacing other identities and subjectivities. Chinelo Okparanta is one of the few authors whose writing charts a new direction in contemporary Nigerian literature. By centring non-(hetero) normative female characters that resist binaries, her novel Under the Udala Trees (2015) marks a radical departure from the tradition. I read her novel as staging a critical intervention in Nigerian literary scholarship in two ways: first, her narrative challenges the norm, that is, the dominant heteronormative genre that defines much of literary fiction produced in Nigeria; and, secondly, her narrative enacts “gender trouble” in significant ways that undermine normative masculinity as well as urge a rethink of the cultural definitions of femininity. Drawing on Judith Butler’s theory of performativity and Obioma Nnaemeka’s concept of nego-feminism, I argue that Chinelo Okparanta deploys her novel not only as a critique of norms but also to advocate for social change attentive to the consequences of gender ideology.

Wangtaolue Guo: Wangtaolue Guo is a second-year MA student of Transnational and Comparative Literatures in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta. Before joining the U of A, he received his BA in Translation from Jinan University and MA in Translation from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research interests include gender and queer studies, postcolonial studies, translation, and multi-ethnic literature. He is currently working on a chapter in The Routledge Handbook of Translation, Feminism and Gender.

“Rhizomizing the Translation Zone: Xiaolu Guo and A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers”: In a world marked by increasing linguistic and cultural mobility, translation has gone way beyond the idea of mechanical/cultural transmission of meaning and saturated our everyday life. Translation zone, as one of the many spatial metaphors for translation, is proposed by Emily Apter and meant to debunk the myth of monolingual complacency as a norm and to highlight translation as a significant medium of subject re-formation. Although her transcoding model is path-breaking, Apter seems to insist on the intersubjective limits that resist translation and the issues of border trouble. In this paper, I argue that the translation zone should be reconceptualized as a rhizomatic zone, where both translation and mis-/non-translation constitute an adventitious mode of transformation that highlights processuality. In order to add this Deleuzian layer to the translation zone, I examine how translational literature, which “straddle[s] two languages, at once foregrounding, performing, and problematizing the act of translation” (Hassan 754), reflects a perpetual state of in-translation and encompasses the process of flight and movement. Specific examples are drawn from Xiaolu Guo’s novel, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers, which features a narrative characterized by malapropism, mis-hearings, mis-interpretations, and interlanguage. Incorporating translation as a constitutive element into her story, Guo highlights the interplay between linguistic creativity and (un-)translatability, complicates the process of cultural transfer, and underlines the centrality of migration and porosity which Apter fails to attribute to her framework. The novel, therefore, mimics a rhizomatic translation zone, where migration, transformation, and linguistic heterogeneity are enmeshed.

Xavia Publius: Xavia A. Publius is a second-year 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, fan studies, autoethnography, and performativity. She is a spoken word artist, drag performer, and fanfiction author, whose work often addresses mental health and trans desire.

“We Other Fairies”: The ontology of characters onstage has long been a concern of performance theory, but the stakes of this hauntological question for the characters themselves are rarely addressed. How and why do queer beings both corporeal and ethereal inhabit the stage, and how do they communicate with us (and each other)? Writing in the course of completing a general exam for the PhD in Performance Studies, I explore my journey through this question and the ways ritual, performativity, and the carnivalesque function to bring forth these spirits onto our plane. I play off of Michel Foucault’s musings on “other Victorians” to demonstrate how plays such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Zanna, Don’t!; Shakespeare’s R&J; Three Mysterious Women; and Lenin’s Embalmers illustrate the queer politics of memory, performance, and affect. The theatrical memory machine restages queer genealogy in ways that traditional methods of ancestral memorialization in Western culture do not. Furthermore, the thin veil between realities during these performances allows queer utopic visions that entice performers, audiences, and characters alike.

Xiaoyun Wang: Xiaoyun is the first year PHD student of the department of mlcs. Her research focuses on conversation analysis and interactional linguistics.

“’She’s Chinese too’”: The Interactional Function of Claiming Citizenship in Mandarin Conversation: In talk-in-interaction, participants routinely deploy a variety of membership categorization devices (MCDs) to exhibit their social groups. By using MCDs, claiming citizenship has been considered as a practice to display the speaker’s identity (Sacks, 1992). This study explores interactional functions of claiming citizenship in Mandarin conversation. Citizenship has been investigated in both psychology and sociology (Trilling, 1974; Hindess, 1993). However, these studies examine citizenship as a mental states or social identity, rather than an actual action (e.g. membership categorization activity). Thus, the interactional functions of to claim citizenship in naturalistic conversation are largely unexplored. Adopting the methodology of conversation analysis, multimodal analysis, and membership categorization analysis, this study examines the interactional work performed by claiming citizenship in Mandarin conversation. The data for this study are naturalistic face-to-face Mandarin conversation no less than 12 hours. A preliminary examination of the data shows that claiming citizenship is also used to provide background information and pursue affiliation response. Specifically, claiming citizenship can be presented in the form of “someone is Chinese” as the background information of a telling. When performs this function, the claiming citizenship sequence is a side-sequence that is inserted in a storytelling sequence (Jefferson, 1972). Moreover, claiming citizenship can be also used to pursue affiliation response from a recipient. When performs this function, the claiming citizenship may occur in assertion with extreme case formulations.

Xiong Wang: Xiong Wang, PhD candidate at the University of Alberta. She has taught mathematics and mathematics education in Shanghai Normal University, China for six years and worked in two projects in Nanyang Technology University, Singapore for two years. Currently, she is interested in mathematics teachers’ professional development.

“From the Competency-Based Approach to the Competency-Based Approach: the paradox of language curriculum reforms in Tanzania.”: A growing number of mathematics teachers have extended their professional learning by participating in Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) since conventional teacher professional learning could not satisfy teachers’ needs for their teaching practices. However, few studies have been conducted on what the online conversations among participants look like and what could emerge from the conversations. This study is intended to address the gap by investigating mathematics teachers’ participation in a PLN with interpretive inquiry as methodology and complexity theory as theoretical framework. One selected PLN was used to collect three types of triangulated data: archived documents such as logs, posts, comments, or responses; participants’ reflections through their blogging; and my own reflections. Several data analysis techniques were adopted to understand mathematics teachers’ participation in the PLN such as Mathematics-for-Teaching, Entangled Dynamics, Necessary Conditions for Complexity Systems, and thematic analysis. The results presented diverse conversation patterns and the emerged knowledge from the diverse conversations including mathematics-for-teaching as well as such types of knowledge as social interactions for building up social relationships, blog sharing for benefiting others, and experience sharing for reflecting themselves. This study could facilitate us to understand what mathematics teachers possibly need in their professional learning, offer a valuable reference for improving the design of and the evaluation on both online and even conventional professional development for teachers, and contribute to the rapidly increasing literature on teachers’ professional learning.

CALL FOR PAPERS! Grad Student Conference 2019



When: February 14-15, 2019
Where: University of Alberta
Extended Submission Deadline: November 30, 2018
Notification: December 15, 2018


The Graduate Student Council of the Modern Languages and Cultural Studies department at the University of Alberta invites submissions for its annual Connections conference: Re-Connecting 2019. We will be accepting academic and creative contributions that that approach from a new perspective the connections between communities, cultures, languages, artistic works, and concepts; by questioning, exploring, and interpreting their significance. Academic panels will be grouped based on themes and are open to all disciplines across the Social Sciences and Humanities, including but not limited to fields such as Applied Linguistics, Translation, Literature, and Cultural Studies. The Graduate Student Council welcomes everyone working in those fields or related fields, and strongly encourages new graduate students to participate.

“I believe that life is chaotic, a jumble of accidents, ambitions, misconceptions, bold intentions, lazy happenstances, and unintended consequences,
yet I also believe that there are connections that illuminate our world, revealing its endless mystery and wonder.” 

~David Maraniss

Areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

Academic Contributions:

  • Communication
  • Connection through translation
  • Literary connections
  • Creative nonfiction
  • Politicization of aesthetics
  • Visual culture
  • Digital worlds

Artistic Contributions:

  • Poetry reading
  • Performance art
  • Comics
  • Storytelling
  • Visual Arts
  • Multimedia
  • Singer/Songwriting

Academic presentations will be 15 minutes in length, followed by a 5-minute discussion period. Panel discussions and round tables will run for 60 minutes. Artistic contributions can be submitted in addition to academic papers, and will be showcased during our Creative Night on campus.


Academic Contributions:

  • 250-word abstract
  • 150-word bio

Artistic Contributions:

  • example of creative work (e.g. a photograph or excerpt)
  • 150-word bio

Please submit your proposal via the form on by the submission deadline above. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Notifications will be sent by the date listed above. Acceptance will be based on content quality, originality, and academic significance.

Connections 2019

Creative Night Schedule

MLCS Re-Connecting 2019

Creative Night

7:00 ⇒ Welcome Words


7:05 – 7:20 

ELENA SIEMENS: “Athens Swigging From The Chandelier”
-Talk +Visual

7:25 – 7:40

SOFIA MONZON: “Free Writing”
– Poem

7:45 – 8:00

GLENNA SCHOWALTER“Glenna the Lit Major”
– Comedic performance

8:05 – 8:20

WANGTAOLUE GUO: Translation of Ge Liang’s “The Years”
– Reading

8:25 – 8:40 Intermission

8:45 – 9:00

ANTON IORGA: “Call to Arms”
– Poem

9:05 – 9:20

– Performance

9:25 – 9:40

– Poem

9:45   Closing Remarks


ELENA SIEMENS: “Athens Swigging From The Chandelier”

Elena Siemens is Associate Professor in MLCS, University of Alberta. Her recent publications include Street Fashion Moscow (2017), Theatre in Passing 2: Searching for New Amsterdam (2015), and edited collections ubjective Fashion (2017), and Stirred Memories and Dreams (2016). Her most recent curated exhibits (IRS Studio, U of A) include Hotel Metropole (2018), Café Counterculture (2018), and Revolution 100 (2017).

SOFIA MONZON: “Free Writing”

Sofía Monzón is a PhD student in Comparative and Transnational Literatures at University of Alberta. She received her first MA in Community Translation and Interpreting from Universidad de Alcalá (Spain), and her second MA in Spanish Literatures and Linguistics from Auburn University (United States). Her research interests include censorship in literary translation, North American literary reception in Spain and Latin America, self-translation, and creative writing.

GLENNA SCHOWALTER“Glenna the Lit Major”

Glenna is in the first year of her MA in MLCS with a specialisation in Media and Cultural Studies. She spends extracurricular time as part of two comedy troupes: the improv company Sorry, Not Sorry Productions and the Debutantes Sketch Collective. “Glenna the Lit Major” first debuted at the bi-weekly Debutantes-hosted sketch showcase Odd Wednesday.

WANGTAOLUE GUO: Translatio of Ge Liang’s “The Years” 

Wangtaolue Guo is a second-year MA student of Transnational and Comparative Literatures in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta. Before joining the U of A, he received his BA in Translation from Jinan University and MA in Translation from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research interests include gender and queer studies, postcolonial studies, translation, and multi-ethnic literature. He is currently working on a chapter in The Routledge Handbook of Translation, Feminism and Gender.

ANTON IORGA: “Call to Arms”

Anton Côté Iorga is a 36 year old two-spirit multiethnic PhD candidate & decolonial teacher at the University of Alberta. He is also a professional translator/editor who has co-translated two Canadian bestsellers and is currently working on three more, including his own anarchist opus, “The Psycho-Social, Biochemical & Electromagnetic Manipulation of Consciousness”. As well, Anton has been an activist and spokesperson for numerous organizations over the years such as Amnesty International, Animal Liberation Front, the John Humphrey Centre for Peace & Human Rights, the Centre for Global Education, the Youth Against Poverty project and many more, & he has been a non-profit hip-hop/spoken word artist for 25 years, with 77 albums published and a few dozen more in the works. Finally, he co-founded and manages a non-profit music label/anticolonial & intersectional resource website,, as well as a worldwide collective of artistic safespaces for marginalized and gifted youth, Mutant Akademy, which consists of holistic, artistic/educational facilities for all the disenfranchized beings of this planet.


Sajad Soleymani Yazdi: I am a PhD candidate of Comparative Literature at the University of Alberta’s Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies. My research brings together Iranian literature and transnational philosophy of the 20th-century. Currently I am working on Shariati’s concept of civil mysticism and its links to freedom.

I graduated from the University of Tehran with a bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature in 2005. For my Master’s studies, I attended Kharazmi University of Tehran, Iran where I defended a thesis on the personifications of death in poems of 12th-century Iranian poet, Khaqani, and 17th-century British poet John Donne. I began my PhD in the United States where I studied Comparative Literature at Stony Brook University. In 2017, I joined University of Alberta to complete that degree.

Banafsheh Mohammadi: My academic background is strictly architectural. I received my Bachelor of Architectural Engineering degree from The Islamic Azad University in 2011; my thesis was about sustainable mobile architecture. I received my Master of Architectural Design degree from University of Tehran in 2015; my thesis discussed the possibility of re-thinking the discourse of solitude in the design of total establishments. I joined Pennsylvania State University in 2016 to study Master of Science in Architecture; during my studies at Penn State, my research interests shifted towards criticism and history of architecture, therefore, I joined University of Alberta’s History of Art, Design and Visual Culture.

Currently I’m working on the history of 20th-century architecture and religious studies. My tentative PhD dissertation is “Architecture, Oil, Religion: The Petro-Industry as a Site of Architectural Phenomenology and Phenomenology of Religion in the United States, 1946-67.”


Laura L Velázquez is currently a PhD student in Transnational and Comparative Literature at the University of Alberta. Her research interests include Greek drama, Neolatin literature, critical theory, Sinophone and Latin American literatures and films of migration.


Performers’ Schedule

CreativeNight2018 poster

MLCS Transcending Connections 2018

Creative Night

7:30 ⇒ Welcome Words


7:35 – 7:50 

– Reading

7:55 – 8:10

– Poetry

8:15 – 8:30

– Poetry

8:35 – 8:50

– Poetry

8:55 – 8:10

– Talk + Visual

8:15 – 8:30 ⇒ Intermission

8:35 – 8:50

– Prose

8:55 – 9:10

-Talk +Visual

9:15 – 9:30


9:35 – 9:50

– Music

9:55 – 10:10

– Music

10:15  Closing Remarks

Wangtaolue Guo: Translation of Ge Liang’s “Vol de nuit

Wangtaolue Guo is an MA student of transnational and comparative literatures at the University of Alberta. Before joining the U of A, he received his BA in translation from Jinan University and MA in translation from Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research interests include gender and queer studies, postcolonial studies, translation, and multi-ethnic literature.

Keah Hansen: 4 Poems in Different Languages

Keah Hansen is pursuing a Masters of Arts English Literature program at the University of Alberta, and is also currently a research assistant for the Canadian Writers’ Research Collaboratory. Her research interests include ecocriticism, affect and critical theory, and Canadian and Indigenous cultural production. She graduated from McGill University with an Honours bachelor’s degree in English Literature, with her thesis focusing on a feminist psychoanalytic reading of Margaret Atwood’s Wilderness Tips. Her auxiliary passions include heritage conservation, poetry and the digital humanities. She is also bilingual. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, rock climbing and trying new forms of movement. Her paper submitted for the MLCS Annual CONNECTIONS Conference is titled “Unsettling Metaphor in Canadian Nature Writings”.

Doris Zhang: The Safe Place

Ying Shan (Doris) Zhang is a first year PhD student in the social and cultural psychology program at the University of Alberta. Doris has obtained her MA in counselling psychology from the University of Denver. She is a current member of the American Psychological Association Division 17 – International Section. Within the Division, she serves as a contributor on the International Student Mentoring and Orientation Committee. Her research interests include studying multiculturalism, as well as investigating the impact of cultural and social factors on immigrants’ and international students’ mental health, well-being and development.

Comfort Olajumoke Verissimo: Poems of Her Creation

Jumoke Verissimo is a first-year Ph.D. Student in the department of English and Film Studies. She is the author of two books of poetry, I am memory (Dada Books, 2008) and The Birth of Illusion (Fullpoint 2015). Her imaginative works explore the human condition, traumatic constructions and the intersection of gender relations as it relates to love, loss, and hope.

Darren Andrychuk: Electtric Bed: Allan McFarlane

I started out as a painter at the young age of 13. Taking night school classes in oil painting which I pursed for many years. Then I lived through the beginning of the AIDS crisis in which I lost my entire cohort of friends. I decided late in life to return to university to obtain my MFA to record the trauma, which has been largely forgotten, of those early years. My current body of work encapsulates public misconceptions and prejudice of those years and the loss of the vibrant gay culture, which was largely oral, by the new generation. I moved from painting to a solely sculptural/intermedia platform to better express my ideas.

Bahar Orang: Matters of Love

My name is Bahar Orang and I’m currently a medical student from McMaster medical school. I hold a B.A.Sc. (with honours in English literature) from McMaster and an MA in Comparative Literature from the University of Toronto (where the better part of my research looked at the possibility of developing a feminist medical humanities course, with Frida Kahlo’s work as main course content). I’ve written essays and poems for various publications (such as GUTS Canadian Feminist Magazine, Ars Medica, Truthout, The Feminist Wire, Hamilton Arts and Letters and elsewhere). I’m currently reading Dodie Bellamy’s When The Sick Rule the World.

Elena Siemens & Lauren Mackowitz: Blue Honolulu

Elena Siemens is Associate Professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta. Her research and teaching address Visual Culture, Urban Spaces, Performance, Fashion Media, and Critical Theory. Recent publications include Theatre in Passing 2: Searching for New Amsterdam (2015), Street Fashion Moscow (2017), and edited collections Stirred Memories and Dreams (2016), and Subjective Fashion (forthcoming). Recent curated exhibits include Fashion Lounge (2016), Bad Weather (2016), Revolution 100 (2017).

Lauren Mackowitz: Born in a time and place of immense social security and relative peace I have often felt obliged to dedicate my energy to the cultural advancement of humanity, a term that despite its ambiguity is central to both my thinking and my determination. From the time on when I was first startled by the wonders and atrocities brought into this world by various members of mankind, I have been striving for a deeper understanding of the mechanisms and driving forces that structure human cultures.
My current research is focused on secular interpretations of the Exodus. This biblical tale of the Israelites’ liberation from slavery in Egypt remains the most influential narrative of emancipation. While Sigmund Freud, Thomas Mann, Arnold Schoenberg, Michael Walzer and most recently Paolo Virno, Antonio Negri and Isabell Lorey have criticized nationalist and messianic re-narrations of the myth, they have also recognized its pertinence in putting emancipatory efforts on a cognitive map, thereby shaping a secular narrative of cosmopolitan endeavors for liberation. This not only denies the alleged end of grand narratives but is also relevant for both describing and prescribing human efforts of emancipation from oppression or voluntary servitude.

Xavia Publius: How to Fuck a Trans Woman in Six Different Languages!

Xavia A. Publius is a first-year 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, fan studies, autoethnography, and embodied performance. She is a spoken word artist, drag performer, and fanfiction author, whose work often addresses mental health and trans desire.

Michael Gillingham: Songs “I Had to Learn”

Michael Gillingham is a doctoral student in Religious Studies at the University of Alberta. Michael’s chief research interest is the relationship between religion and literature. His current project is focused on the depictions of Jews and Judaism in Irish literature. Returning to university as a mature student, Michael completed an MA in English in 2012. His 2012 MA project focused on the relationship between James Joyce and the Irish Roman Catholic Church as depicted in Joyce’s fiction. Michael completed an MA in Religious Studies in 2016. His 2016 MA thesis focused on depictions of religious violence in the poetry of Irish poet Seamus Heaney. Michael employed René Girard’s theory of sacred violence as he analyzed Heaney’s poetry. Michael is a published songwriter in Canada, the United States, and Australia and has released four independent musical projects. Michael is a member of the Edmonton chapter of Nashville Songwriters Association International.

Olga Zaitseva-Herz: Intermedial Connections in Ukrainian Canadian Music

My classical training in violin and piano started at the age of seven. Later I added one more subject: vocals. These subjects determined the course of my life. At the same time the interest in the Ukrainian folk music has always been with me. The phenomenon of Ukrainian folk singing particularly inspired me. The music education I got later in Ukraine and Germany (Music Conservatory in Dnipropetrovsk, University in Kyiv, Music University in Frankfurt am Main) further enhanced my knowledge and understanding of the qualities of Ukrainian folklore. I always felt very deeply moved in this field and have been practicing it my whole life. I am a professional singer and violinist and a voice instructtor at the Johannes-Gutenberg Universität in Mainz (Germany). Since September 2017 I am a PhD Student in Ethnomusicology at the University of Alberta and am working on Ukrainian Canadian Music.

Transcending Connections 2018: a Gold-Certified Green Event


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  For the second year running, the Annual Connections MLCS Graduate Student Conference will be a Gold-Certified Green Event from the University of Alberta’s Office of Sustainability. We ask that all participants familiarize themselves with the “Green Features” of the conference – both environmental and social – and do your part in helping us keep Transcending Connections 2018 sustainable.


What we do

> Going paperless

  • In lieu of fold programs, this year our interactive programs are available here
  • All communications documents are distributed electronically
  • Decorations and signage will be reused from previous years
  • All new posters and signage will be printed on post-consumer material

> Reusing, recycling, and responsible waste management

  • We will be providing separate labeled receptacles for compost, paper/cardboard, plastics, and returnable.
  • We will be using exclusively reusable dishes for lunches
  • Cutlery is compostable
  • All leftover food will be donated to hungry graduate students

What you can do

> Going paperless

  • Use electronics to view our program and take notes

> Reusing, recycling, and responsible waste management

  • Dispose of waste in appropriate receptacles
  • Bring your own cup for coffee, tea, or water
  • Bring your own reused name tag holder/lanyard
  • Reduce food waste by carefully portioning your servings


What we do

  • The event takes place in a Gold-Certified Green Building, Old Arts and Convocation Hall   (BOMA Best certification)
  • Turn off lights and equipment when not in use
  • Collecting funds for a carbon offset purchase
  • Serve locally-produced food with a lower carbon footprint

What you can do

  • Use sustainable transportation to and from the event, such as public transit, carpooling, ride-sharing, cycling, or walking


What we do

  • We respectfully acknowledge that we are on Treaty Six Territory, a traditional gathering place for diverse Indigenous peoples including the Cree, Blackfoot, Métis, Nakota Sioux, Iroquois, Dene, Ojibway/Salteaux/Anishnaabe, Inuit, and many others whose histories, languages, and cultures continue to influence and enrich our vibrant community.
  • We offer interpretation services through Student Accessibility Services upon request – please make your request two weeks before the conference date with your specific needs
  • Old Arts and Convocation Hall is accessible to those experiencing limited mobility – elevator can be found at the rear entrance of the building
  • All-gender washrooms will be available during the conference.
  • Nametags will display preferred pronouns
  • Inclusive food options will be offered, such as vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free
  • Fair-trade beverages will be served

What you can do

  • Take the time to reflect upon the peoples whose territory we are on and their generations of land stewardship, what your role is on this traditional territory of the Papaschase Cree, and how you can respond actively and responsibly to the Calls To Action put forth by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
  • Use each individual’s preferred pronouns
  • Be respectful, make space, and contribute to fomenting inclusivity with the diversity of identities welcomed at our event


What we do

  • We will be collecting donations for the purchase of carbon offsets
  • All nametags will be printed on seedable paper

What you can do

  • Make a donation to our carbon offset fund, and engage in reflecting on “what does sustainability mean to you?” on the displays provided at reception
  • After the end of the conference, plant your nametag to grow edible plants at your home or office – see planting instructions here


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Programs 2018


MLCS Graduate Student Conference 2018

Transcending Connections

February 15-16, 2018, Senate Chamber, Arts and Convocation Hall, University of Alberta

Thursday, February 15, 2018

 8:00 – 8:25Coffee

 8:30 – 8:35Opening Remarks 

  • Dr. Micah True, Graduate Associate Chair, Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies

 8:35 – 9:55Panel One: Transcending Time and Place

Moderator: Héloïse Torck, Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies
Commentator: Dr. Andreas Stuhlmann, Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies

 10:05 – 11:25Panel Two: In Conversation with Linguistics

Moderator: Richard Feddersen, Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies
Commentator: Dr. Yoshi Ono, Department of East Asian Studies

 11:35 – 12:30Lunch Break

 12:35 – 13:40Panel Three: Sexualities and Identities

Moderator: Yan (Belinda) Wang, Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies
Commentator: Dr. Victoria Ruetalo, Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies

 13:50 – 15:10Panel Four: Migration, Language, and (Trans-)cultural Identities

Moderator: Houssem Ben Lazreg, Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies
Commentator: Dr. Elena Siemens, Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies

 15:20 – 16:30Panel Five: Literature and Beyond in East Asia

Moderator: Wangtaolue Guo, Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies
Commentator: Tsugumi (Mimi) Okabe, Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies

 19:00 – 23:00Creative Night at Dewey’s

 Friday, February 16, 2018

 8:30 – 8:55Coffee

 9:00 – 10:10Keynote

  • Dr. Salah Basalamah, School of Translation and Interpretation, University of Ottawa
    “The Transformations of the Translation Concept From the Postcolonial to the Decolonial”

 10:15 – 11:20Panel Six: Lost in Translation

Moderator: Bashair Alibrahim, Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies
Commentator: Dr. Sathya Rao, Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies

 11:30 – 12:25Lunch Break

 12:30 – 13:35Panel Seven: Beyond Humanity

Moderator: Jay Friesen, Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies
Commentator: Dr. Donald Randall, Department of English and Film Studies

 13:45 – 14:50Panel Eight: Connecting Nature

Moderator: Lisa Fisnot, Université François Rabelais
Commentator: Dr. Odile Cisneros, Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies

 15:00 – 16:00Roundtable: Offside: Hypermasculinity in Hockey

Moderator: Laura Velazquez, Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies
Commentator: Dr. Carrie Smith-Prei, Chair, Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies


  • Richard Feddersen, Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies
  • Jay Friesen, Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies
  • Amelia Hall, Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies

 16:00 – 16:10Closing Remarks

Dr. Carrie Smith-Prei, Chair, Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies
MLCS Graduate Student Conference 2018

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Facebook: MLCS Connections Graduate Students Conference

Instagram: @MLCSConnectionsConference

Twitter: @MLCSConnections

Use the hashtag: #TranscendingConnections2018

This Event is a Gold-Certified Green Event from the Office of Sustainability. 

*Pictures are taken at the conference for media promotions.

Transcending Connections: Participants

Keynote: Dr Salah Basalamah is now Associate Professor at the School of Translation and Interpretation, University of Ottawa. His fields of research include the Philosophy of Translation, Translation Rights, Social and Political Philosophy, Postcolonial, Cultural and Religious Studies, as well as Western Islam and Muslims. He’s the author of Le droit de traduire. Une politique culturelle pour la mondialisation [The Right to Translate. A Cultural Policy for Globalization] (2009) at the University of Ottawa Press, and he translated from English into French Fred A. Reed’s Shattered Images (2002) [Images brisées at VLB (2010)] on the ancient and contemporary history of Syria. Since 2014, he teaches a multidisciplinary PhD seminar on the diversity of Canadian Muslims at the Institute of Canadian and Aboriginal Studies (ICAS) at the University of Ottawa.

John Mukonzi Musyoki is a graduate from Kenyatta University in Kenya who graduated on July 2016 with a B.A in English, Linguistics and Literature. Before immigrating into Canada, Mukonzi worked as an Assistant English Creatives Editor for Longhorn Publishers Kenya Limited. He is currently an M.A student in the drama department in the University of Alberta. Mukonzi has been conducting his research on Post-colonial theatre besides undertaking his graduate studies. John has been in Canada for a year and has worked as a developmental dramaturge for Colleen Murphy for the new play Bright Burning. He recently worked as a production dramaturge for Workshop West Playwright Theatre in the staging of the play John Ware Reimagined this November. As a playwright, researcher and a dramaturge, John has been receiving mentorship from Vern Thiessen a widely produced playwright in Canada known for the plays Einstein’s Gift (2015), Lenin Embalmers (2010) and Apple (2002) among many other plays. Mukonzi has also dramaturged Medea by Euripides and The Skriker by Caryl Churchill. Additionally his new play Beyond the Darkness: The Golden Handshake received its first stage reading in New Works Festival this fall. He is passionate on mediating ways in which storytelling can be used to bring the society close to its realities by making it forum for discussion and (re)consideration. John loves writing stories that challenge narrative conventions and conservative viewpoints.

“Time and Place as Definitive Aspects of Postcolonialism in Francis Imbuga’s The Green Cross of Kafira”
This paper focuses on how time and place conceptually frame the postcolonial discourse in Francis Imbuga’s The Green Cross of Kafira (2013). Published posthumously, this theatrical masterpiece concludes the body of the three plays set in Kafira that have come to be known as the Kafiran trilogy. This inquiry will entail a postcolonial inquiry of how contemporary playwrights in an oppressive polity fictionalise postcolonial theatre with a strong reliance on place and time to address prevalent postcolonial themes like land grabbing and nepotism. Imbuga maintains an active discussion with 21 st century Kenya by dramatizing the end of a dictatorship throughout a body of work that spans over thirty years. This analysis will portray the various ways in which space and time dramaturgically enable the playwright to perform the postcolonial perspective.
Ngugi wa Thiongó (1998) asserts that performance spaces are “tied to time, that is history, and that therefore they are sites of physical, social, and psychic forces in a postcolonial society”. Theatre is able to assert itself as an object of inquiry for the postcolonial audience by the use art’s performance power to propose ways that the audience can (re)evaluate the here-and- now of the post-colony. Therefore, as time progresses so does theatre. Societies change and so do socio-cultural perspectives in the course of time thus early 20 th century post-colonial plays will vary from 21 st century post-colonial plays. Theatre utilises different spaces such as domestic spaces to address different concerns like activism. In theatre, we identify with bodies in a certain way depending on the territory – real, imagined, or psychic – they occupy or claim. The time period a play is meant to be phrased enriches the structural and thematic aspects that inform the reception and inscription in a theatrical engagement.
The way the audience of a given production is identified is marked by the ‘when’ and ‘where’ facets. When we talk about the 21 st century post-colonial Kenyan audience we overly point to the fact that the theatrical engagement is underpinned by specifics of time and place that render it relevant. Homi K Bhabha in Location of Culture (1994) insists that postcolonial perspectives require a more nuanced approach that responds to a particular socio-cultural background. Therefore, in this postcolonial performance, I contend that, time and space are dramaturgically nuanced facets that Imbuga uses to converse with the specific postcolonial experiences that relate to 21 st century Kenyan audience.

Banafsheh Mohammadi: My academic background is strictly architectural. I received my Bachelor of Architectural Engineering degree from The Islamic Azad University in 2011; my thesis was about sustainable mobile architecture. I received my Master of Architectural Design degree from the University of Tehran in 2015; my thesis discussed the possibility of re-thinking the discourse of solitude in the design of total establishments such as prisons. I joined Pennsylvania State University in 2016 to study Master of Science in Architecture; during my studies at Penn State, my research interests shifted towards criticism and history of architecture, therefore I joined University of Alberta’s History of Art, Design and Visual Culture, where I study towards completion of my PhD.
My interest lies in the borders of architecture with history and philosophy. I particularly work on architecture’s history of phenomenology, and how some of its figures have appropriated works of Heidegger, particularly those he wrote after the 1940’s onward.

“A Tragic Anecdote in Five Acts: Louis Sullivan and the Getty Tomb”
In 1980, the Chicago-based American architect, Louis Sullivan (1897-1961), designed a tomb for Carrie Eliza Getty. Critics call the Getty tomb one of the best architectural designs of Sullivan’s that gives us a clear expression of his design philosophy. The tomb has a rectilinear plan that resembles Achaemenid tombs as well as Greek Temples. In general, tombs follow the archetype of temple design. The ornamental patterns used in the Getty Tomb, though, resemble Gothic ornaments. Louis Sullivan was clearly drawing on many traditions of different periods in time.
In his “Essay on Inspiration” (1886), written in a somewhat esoteric style—which was Sullivan’s prose choice when discussing the philosophy of architecture—he discusses who an architect/poet is and how s/he becomes inspired to create a work of art. He speaks of the architect as a melancholic who, emerging temporarily from this state, creates a work of art.
Recent scholarship has traced the roots of Sullivan’s design philosophy in Transcendentalism. This places Sullivan at the critical point of a turn from Romanticism to Modernism in the United States, when capitalism was taking its hold on major architectural commissions.
In this essay, I explore the ways in which looking at the Getty Tomb vis-a-vis “Essay on Inspiration” can reveal to us the challenging underpinnings of Sullivan’s thought. I believe the dichotomies that troubled Sullivan during his life, above all a dichotomy between Capitalism and Romanticism, translated into many specific design choices that he made; the same concerns still trouble architects who attempt to espouse the two.

Elise LaCroix is in her second year of the MA program in Drama at the University of Alberta. Her research focuses on the dynamics in new play dramaturgy relationships when working across difference, including differences around culture, socio-economic class, sexual orientation, and artistic discipline to name a few. She presented her first paper, which focused on the dramaturge’s role in bringing the aquatic onstage, at the Canadian Association of Theatre Research conference in May 2017 in Toronto. Elise is also active in the theatre community, and has recently worked as production dramaturge on Lady From the Sea directed by Michael Bradley, and Antigone directed by Alex Donovan, as well as being the new play dramaturge for the New Works Festival In Development Unit this past fall.

“Working Across Culture in Canadian New Play Development”
My paper will explore intercultural new play dramaturgy relationships in Canada. A dramaturge is to a play what an editor is to a novel. They provide critical and stimulating feedback to a playwright throughout their process, and both emerging and established playwrights work with dramaturges across Canada and internationally. A long held belief about the role of the dramaturge is that they are complete outsiders to the creation process. They can assist the process without affecting it directly. What happens when the dramaturge is cultural outsider to the playwright or content of work being developed? Which is becoming more and more common as our country continues to diversify. Questioning conventional tenets of interculturalism, Jaqueline Lo and Helen Gilbert emphasize that both parties in an intercultural relationship “undergo a series of transformations and challenges in the process of exchange” (Lo 44). If this is in fact the case, what can and should dramaturges be doing in intercultural creative relationships? How can they adapt and translate their own processes to adjust to the diverse needs of the texts and artists they work with? All the while negotiating the inevitability of the influence of their own cultural filters on the text being developed simply through their participation in the process?
Through the examination of six interviews I conducted with professional Canadian dramaturges this past summer about working and communicating across culture, my paper will investigate the negotiation of intercultural dynamics in new play development processes. What do these intercultural creation processes mean for the plays that are currently making their way onto our Canadian stages?

Lo, Jacqueline and Gilbert, Helen. “Toward a Topography of Cross-Cultural Theatre Praxis.” The Drama Review, vol. 46, no. 3, 2002, pp. 31-53.

Xiaoyun Wang: I am a second-year Master’s student in the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Alberta. I am currently conducting research in the field of Chinese linguistics under the supervision of Prof. Xiaoting Li. My M.A. thesis research is on the interactional functions of the causal conjunction suoyi ‘so’ in Mandarin conversation.
I began my Chinese teaching career as an online Chinese language course instructor at Michigan State University in 2009. I conducted my M.Ed. in Teaching English as a Second Language at the University of San Diego from 2011 to 2013. My research paper, “Using Teacher Feedback to Improve the Students’ Writing” won the Outstanding Scholar Recognition award from the School of Education. I independently taught two undergraduate level Chinese language courses at the University of Alberta in the school year of 2016-2017.

“Suoyi ‘so’ as a part of account in Mandarin conversation”
In talk-in-interaction, unexpected or unlooked social actions usually make giving an account becomes relevant (Heritage, 1988). A variety of morphosyntactic devises can be used to give an account have been documented in different languages (Ford and Mori, 1994; Song and Tao, 2008). This study explores the interactional function of the conjunction suoyi ‘so’ used as a part of account in Mandarin conversation.
Suoyi ‘so’ is a conjunction indicating results after yinwei ‘because’ clause in Mandarin grammar. Previous research has sketched its function as a discourse marker based on the data of TV shows in foregrounding information, topic organization, and turn-taking (Fang, 2000; Yao, 2009). Its interactional functions in naturally occurring Mandarin conversation are largely unexplored.
This study adopts the methodology of conversation analysis and interactional linguistics. The data for this study are 12 hours of naturally occurring Mandarin face-to-face conversation. An examination of the data shows that in addition to indicating results and conclusions, suoyi is also used as a part of account to explain a pervious utterance. Specifically, participants tend to use suoyi, as a part of account, to explain an extreme case formulation, strong evaluation, disagreement, and contrast. When the account is initiated by yinwei ‘because,’ a prosodic break always occurs between suoyi-leading turn construction unit (TCU) and the prior TCU. When yinwei is not used to give an account, the whole account belongs to one intonation unit. This study contributes to our understanding of the interactional uses of causal conjunctions from a cross-linguistic perspective.

Saori Daiju came from Japan where she first received an MA in English Linguistics in 2016 at Keio University. She is currently a 2nd year graduate student in the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Alberta. She is enrolled in the Japanese Linguistics program where she specializes in taking discourse-functional approach to grammar.

“Grammar in Japanese question-response sequence:  A study of NANI ‘what’ in specifying and telling questions”
Recent studies (e.g., Raymond 2003) have highlighted the intimate connection between linguistic structure and its use. I focus on the two types of question word (QW) interrogatives, specifying and telling (Thompson et al. 2015) in Japanese conversation.
Generally, the two types are clearly divided according to the specific types of QWs. Questions with QWs such as dare ‘who’ and itsu ‘when’ seek specific information, which results in specifying questions, whereas QWs such as doo ‘how’ and nande/dooshite ‘why’ ask about the manner and reason, requiring an explanation in the answer, resulting in telling questions.
However, I have found that nani ‘what’ is used in both; specifying nani appears with grammatical markers such as the direct object marker o and/or high semantic content verbs which often result in short response, as in:
A: kanojo no nani o shirabeta tte? ‘(They) investigated her what?’
B: koodoo ‘(Her) behavior’.
They link the question to the prior utterances or speech context so that nani is framed to focus on the missing information.
By contrast, the telling nani is used singly as nani ‘What?’ or with low semantic content verbs as in nani shiten no ‘What are you doing?’ These nani do not make a specific connection with the prior utterances nor speech context and thus require responses that do more than simply specify the missing information. This study highlights the connection between linguistic structure and its use by revealing that Japanese QWs are structured in specific ways to serve the two types of questions in the question-response sequence.

Stefana Vukadinovich: I am a first year graduate student at the Department of East Asian Studies. I have received my bachelor degree in Chinese Language and Literature at Kazan Federal University. I also studied Mandarin Chinese at Hunan Normal University as an exchange student and in South China Normal University as a scholarship student. During my undergraduate studies, I was very interested in the use of Chinese language, especially in everyday speech. Now I am working under Prof. Xiaoting Li’s supervision, who is an outstanding linguist in the field of Chinese Interactional Linguistics. The research about imperative sentences I want to present at the Graduate Student Conference is my MA project.

“Imperative sentences in Mandarin conversation”
My research interest focuses on the use of imperative sentences in Mandarin everyday conversation. Traditionally, Chinese imperatives are considered as sentences expressing a command (Li & Thompson, 1981). The way Chinese speakers try to soften a command, the use of a sentence-final particles and the occurrence of negative imperatives (Sun, 1952) have been studied based only on grammar books, where all provided examples consisted of invented sentences. This research is the first study about the use of imperatives in naturally occurring Mandarin conversation.
I plan to collect 9 hours of video data in Beijing. All the participants will be native speakers of Mandarin Chinese. Each dialogue is planned to last from 60 to 90 minutes. Participants will be free to choose any topic for the discussion. After the data collection, the conversations will be transcribed and analysed. The methodology that has been chosen for this study includes Conversation Analysis and Interactional Linguistics (Couper-Kuhlen and Selting 2001). All the imperative sentences will be coded, divided into different types, due to the action they perform, and analysed in terms of multimodal analysis, which includes syntactic, prosodic and bodily-visual practices. This study will fill the gap of our understanding of the imperatives, and uncover the real use of such type of sentences in naturally occurring Mandarin conversation.

Olena Sivachenko: I am a PhD candidate in Slavic Linguistics. My research interests are in the field of SLA. My research focus is on the development of pragmatic competence of learners of Ukrainian, as well as on Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL).

“A Typology of Internal Syntactic Modifiers for the Speech Act of Requesting: The Case of Native Ukrainian Speakers”
While communicating with native speakers, second language (L2) learners may make speech errors that can interfere with the message clarity (linguistic errors) and/ or lead to inaccurate perception of L2 learners by native speakers (pragmatic errors).
One of the most problematic aspects of pragmatics for L2 learners is requests. Particularly, English-speaking learners of Ukrainian may encounter difficulties in making requests since request pragmatics in Anglo-American Slavic cultures are different. One way of teaching L2 learners how to request is by means of classroom-based instruction. However, the Ukrainian textbooks used in Canadian post-secondary institutions are very often based on authors’ language intuition rather than examples of how the given speech acts actually function in the target language. Therefore, there is an acute need for a Ukrainian language corpus, reflecting the usage of Ukrainian pragmatics. Hence, the objective of this study is to propose a typology of internal syntactic modifiers that serve either to soften or to intensify the impositive nature of requests, Ukrainian in particular. The study is an online survey and involves 111 native speakers of Ukrainian. The survey contains eleven Discourse Completion Tasks (DCTs), which are organized around communicative contexts differing in interlocutors’ power, distance and degree of imposition on the speaker.
This study contributes to the growth of empirical research on Ukrainian language pragmatics. Also, the obtained corpus of syntactic modifiers can serve as a source of data for the development of teaching and learning materials that will enable learners of Ukrainian to successfully communicate with native speakers.

Samantha Wesch: I am an MA student in the department of Women’s and Gender Studies, and hold a BA (Hons) in Philosophy from the University of Alberta and an MA in Philosophy from the University of Toronto. My research interests are in both Kant and Foucault scholarship and applying the work of Kant and Foucault to contemporary moral and political conflicts. I have published academic articles on the ethics of representation, Kantian ethics, and Foucault’s moral perfectionism. I am currently working on a project with Michelle Meagher and Chloe Taylor which critically engages with the work and public persona of the rapper Eminem, examining the ways in which Mathers’ engages with both hegemonic and white working class identities, and their relationship to family violence, substance abuse, and the current alt-right political movement in the United States and Canada.

“Whatever You Say I Am: Eminem, Masculinity, Heterotopia”
Marshall Mathers, better know by his stage name, Eminem, has drawn media and critical attention recently with the release of his song “Campaign Speech” (2016) and the Untitled Freestyle (2017) for the BET Hip Hop Music Awards, both which are critical of Trump, and question the alt-right movement in the United States and working-class white masculinities and identities. Though this is the first time Mathers’ has gained widespread approval and interest for his political position, it is certainly not his first engagement with race, whiteness, masculinity, and identity. This presentation will discuss Eminem’s use of a tripartite identity to critically engages with identity politics and moral and political conflicts to which white working classes in the United States are subjected to. Throughout his career, Eminem has spoken through three distinct identities; Marshall (the father, friend, Christian), Slim Shady (violent, hyper-sexual, and demonic), and Eminem (intellectual, moral, political). I argue, together these constitute what Michel Foucault called a “heterotopia,” a place of non-hegemony and non-being, where understandings of identity being essential, static, and inherent are refuted, and being is destabilized. It is in the artistic heterotopia in which I argue Mathers’ refutes essentialism towards race and gender (particularly assumptions about white working-class masculinity and its relationship to violence) and acts as a political resistance towards current notions of “whiteness” in relation to the racist and xenophobia of the alt-right movement.

Wangtaolue Guo is an MA student of transnational and comparative literatures at the University of Alberta. Before joining the U of A, he received his BA in translation from Jinan University and MA in translation from Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research interests include gender and queer studies, postcolonial studies, translation, and multi-ethnic literature.

“Kindred Soul, Cool Kid, and Bizarre Fetus: Constructing Queer Identity Through Translation in Taiwan”
In “Globally Queer? Taiwanese Homosexualities in Translation,” Andrea Bachner emphasizes that “to address the question of queerness in Chinese-speaking contexts automatically ushers in the issue of translation” (90). However, among the existing discourses, which either focus on the cultural specificity of homoeroticism in feudal or early republican China or examine contemporary Chinese queer politics, no research seems to fully elaborate upon or critique how the term queer was introduced into the Sinophone world through translation and how the translation(s) helped/failed in constructing a new queer identity in Chinese societies.
This paper aims to address the dynamics of translation and queer identity formation in Taiwan by looking into tongzhi (kindred soul), ku’er (cool kid), and guaitai (bizarre fetus), three Mandarin Chinese translations of the term queer. I start with a historical overview of terms in Chinese societies referring to homosexuality/being homosexual up until the 1990s. Then I describe the occasion when local intelligentsia started to use tongzhi, ku’er, and guaitai for self-affirmation when the concept of queer was introduced to Taiwan. A new analytical framework – lexical contact nebula – is adopted to examine the origins of those words and their correlation with their Japanese/Russian counterparts. I argue that translation of queer as tongzhi, ku’er, or guaitai aspires to differentiate from earlier discursive terms. However, in coining neologisms, translators have in the meantime resurrected the attributes that they tried to dissociate from. By delineating the translation and refraction of queer identity in Taiwan, I welcome continual negotiation of translation and queer studies.

Larisa Sembaliuk Cheladyn is a PhD student at the UAlberta, and also serves as the Community Liaison for the Kule Folklore Centre. She completed her BFA in Art & Design in 1981 and has become a well-known Ukrainian Canadian artist and illustrator. In 2016 she completed her MA in Ukrainian Folklore. Larisa’s research interests are related to media and cultural studies, specifically cultural identity through textiles and fashion, family and community photographic documentation, as well as comics and graphic novels. Larisa has co-curated exhibits including “Images of Faith, Hope and Beauty”, “Journey to Canada”, and “Making a New Home” for the Kule Folklore Centre, “Lest We Forget” for the Ukrainian Canadian Archives and Museum of Alberta, and “Five Waves of Inspiration” for the Alberta Council for the Ukrainian Arts. Larisa is currently creating a new installation entitled “The 1000 Pillow Project” which is based on her MA thesis.

“Creating a Sense of Place One Stitch at a Time:  The role of embroidered pillows in the Ukrainian Canadian Community”
Since the first arrival of Ukrainians to Canada in 1891, the folk art of pillow embroidery has endured six generations and five waves of immigration. Over that period of time, Ukrainian Canadian embroidered pillows (podushky) have been a form of decoration, and their creation a leisure activity. To some they are a means of artistic expression and outstanding craftsmanship; others regard them as keepsakes out of respect for their ancestral connections. My research has also identified podushky as expressions of group affiliation and cultural identity; helping [re]define social, spatial, cultural, and temporal connections in Ukrainian Canadian homes.
To gain a deeper insight into the nature of these artifacts, the artisans who created them, and how they are interconnected, I have negotiated between past and present; gathering information from 57 interviews, and analysis of 496 Canadian-made, hand-embroidered podushky created between 1920 and 2015. Like many personal possessions, embroidered podushky have a life trajectory of their own. Some were created spontaneously, others evolved through detailed planning. Their meaning and significance is often held within many generational layers. This paper presents a brief history of the Ukrainian Canadian embroidered pillow (podushka) and further reflects on the narrative associated with the production and consumption of these unique artifacts, describing how they became an index of such a large diaspora community.

Martina Podboj is a PhD student of Linguistics at the University of Zagreb, Croatia. She had been teaching English for Specific Purposes at high school and college-level, and Croatian as Second and Foreign Language at university-level across Croatia. She is currently employed at the Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies at the University of Alberta. Her main fields of interest are (critical) discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, second language acquisition, and the interconnectedness of language and identity in the context of migration and language learning. In her PhD research Martina focuses on the discursive construction of identity in narratives of personal experience told by females who emigrated from Croatia in the 2010s. She aims to analyse how these migrants structure their personal narratives and which linguistic devices they employ in order to position themselves and other social actors within the spatial, temporal, and social settings of the migrant experience.

“Narrating the migrant experience”
Migration is a complex experience during which individuals, for various reasons, must replace familiar social, cultural, and linguistic contexts with new, unfamiliar ones. This process affects all aspects of the self, which makes migrant identities such a compelling object of inquiry. But despite the profound effect it has on the individual, in public discourse migration is usually constructed as a collective, negative, and unwanted phenomenon. Simultaneously, migrants are constructed as non-agentive, depersonalized, as a threat, and as the ‘Other’ (Van Leeuwen, 2008; Krzyżanowski and Wodak, 2008; Wodak 2013). However, recent years have seen a proliferation of research on personal narratives told by migrants and more authors are employing analysis of narrative discourse in order to illuminate the complexities of individual aspects of the migrant experience (De Fina, 2003; Baynham and De Fina, 2005, 2017; De Fina and King, 2011; Relaño Pastor, 2014; De Fina and Tseng, 2017). This is due to the nature of narrative, which is recognized as a ubiquitous discourse genre that fulfills many different functions, such as understanding and sharing life experiences and negotiating identities. Furthermore, as above mentioned authors claim, narratives reflect and shape social realities and relationships, thus migrant narratives can give insight into wider social practices and ideologies present in transnational communities. The aim of this presentation is to question dominant racist and nationalist discourses on migration and present narrative analysis as a fruitful method for gaining a better understanding of migration through empowering migrant voices and challenging over-generalizations and stereotypes.

Silvia Sgaramella is a doctoral candidate specializing in Russian language and literature in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta. Her background is in Slavic Linguistics and Philology combined with SLA (Second Language Acquisition); she has been teaching languages since 2006, in particular ESL (English as a Second Language), Russian, and Italian. Over the last four years, along with her project on cultural influences in Maximus the Greek’s thought and writings, her research has been focusing on Writing Centre Theory and Practice and Writing Studies, with particular attention to ESL students.

“Interdisciplinary Connections Through Writing Group Pedagogy in Non-Credit Courses for ESL Graduate Students”
Although institutions try to offer writing support and/or writing courses, some ESL graduate students may find that there is still a wide gap between their needs and the resources available on campus. As a result, the lack of adequate instruction impedes the development of these students’ research literacies and scholarly identities, which are essential to join the discourse of their writing communities (Badenhorst & Guerin, 2015). While this is an issue that is common among graduate students who are native speakers of English, it becomes more problematic when it comes to ESL graduate students who are facing cultural shock and adjustment to a new academic context. However, “academese” (research/academic writing) “can be actively taught” (Badenhorst & Guerin, 2015, p. 16). This presentation outlines a teaching model, implemented at the University of Alberta, based on writing group pedagogy applied to non-credit courses; due to its flexibility, this model has the potential to facilitate the learning of academic writing conventions among ESL graduate students while taking their diversity into account through in-class discussions and negotiation of the syllabus. At the same time, through the application of writing group pedagogical tools, such as peer review activities, the proposed model promotes an interdisciplinary conversation among the participants.
References: Badenhorst, C., & Guerin, C. (2015). Post/Graduate Research Literacies and Writing Pedagogies. In C. Badenhorst & C. Guerin (Eds.), Research literacies and writing pedagogies for masters and doctoral writers (pp. 3-28). Leiden, Netherlands: Brill.

Shan Ren is an MA student of East Asian Studies at the University of Alberta. She received her B.A. in Japanese Language and Literature from Fudan University. Her research primarily focuses on pre-modern Japanese literature and its relationship with Chinese literature, with a particular interest in yomihon, a unique type of Japanese novel during the Edo period (1603-1868). She is currently examining how yomihon was created, constructed and developed in Edo Japan by exploring the literary tradition, political and social change, and ideological development. Furthermore, she also tries to explore yomihon from a trans-regional perspective, by analyzing the interaction between nativist studies and Chinese studies.

“Literary Contact Nebulae in East Asia- Adaptation Novels during the 16th to 19th Centuries”
In this paper, I try to construct a literary contact nebulae, a concept coined by Karen Thornber in “Rethinking the World in World Literature-East Asia and Literary Contact Nebulae”, in pre-modern East Asia (16th century-19th century), by focusing mainly on the hazy edges among Chinese, Japanese and Korean literary worlds. There was a boom of Chinese vernacular novels, for example, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, among pre-modern East Asian countries, which led many Japanese, Korean, and even some Chinese writers to translate, borrow, adapt or even rewrite many of these stories either in order to attract more readers or just to satisfy their own interest. Imjin War (1592–1598) plays an important role in this literary contact nebulae. On the one hand, this war changed the regional power balance, which led to the appearance of various new literary genres, on the other hand, it also accelerated the circulation and dissemination of books among these 3 countries. Another important factor is the Neo-Confucianism, which was worshiped as the official study in all of the 3 countries during that period. Writers from different regions understood and applied this ideology in their writing in different ways. By analyzing several representative vernacular novels, it can be concluded that when a literary work travels from one place to another, it will experience reception, adaptation, as well as rejection due to the political, social, cultural, and ideological difference.

Xuanying Wang is a 3rd-year MA student from the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Alberta. Her research focuses on classical Chinese critical theory.

“Cure of Language: Analogies in Zhuangzi
Zhuangzi, one of the fundamental texts in Chinese Daoist school of thoughts, occupies an important place in the discussion of language philosophy in ancient Chinese thinking. Contrary to Confucius’ belief that language is a structure that could unify and regulate the objective world, Zhuangzi maintains that names (ming), words (ci) and language (yan), which all refer to concepts in Chinese language system, can hardly grasp and express the unified form of being. It thus questions the unreliable nature of names (ming), words (ci) and language (yan) in expressing properly the concept of Dao (the Way).
In this presentation, I would argue that even though language itself is unreliable, Zhuangzi still believes that Dao could be achieved as he actively experiments with different writing strategies within the language system. I will examine the use of analogies in Zhuangzi, so as to demonstrate that analogies in Zhuangzi not only function as a form of poetic expression, but also a unique rhetorical strategy. They are not only used to replace the fixed definitions of concepts, thus breaking down the unified system of signifiers and signified, but also provide a way for Zhuangzi to construct his unique discourse, thus avoiding the world to lapse into ossification caused by language.

Yan (Belinda) Wang is a third-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.

“Violence in Chinese Martial Arts Cinema: Representation, Expression and Substitution”
Do Chinese martial arts films promote violence among the public, or do they provide an emotional outlet for people’s frustration with the social reality? Many scholars and film critics condemn excessive violence on screen, arguing that it distorts the conception of social reality, and that the viewers would be encouraged to become insubordinate and violent. However, some other scholars argue that violence is a fundamental part of humanity (Nietzsche), and though it cannot be eliminated, it can be diverted (Girard). Therefore, violence in film would function as a substitution of and the channeling device for various forms of systematic violence concealed in our social and political construct.
In this presentation, I would examine the representation of violence in Chinese marital arts film, and argue that violence in the martial arts genre expresses not only inequality, injustice and oppression of our social life, but our psychological desire for blood and pleasure as well. As a form of expression, the close relationship between Chinese martial arts and religions determines the ritualized performative nature of martial arts action scenes. Thus, the violence in Chinese martial arts movies are always endowed with a religious and philosophical undertone. Finally, the transgressive nature of Chinese knight-errantry enables violence to question and invert the power dynamics of social life.

Laura L. Velazquez is a PhD student in the program of Comparative and Transnational Literatures at the University of Alberta. Her academic background is in the fields of Classics, Chinese language and literature and Comparative Literature. Her research interests include folklore and mythology, Greek epic tradition, attic tragedy, medieval literature in Latin, Neolatin literature, Chinese folk literature, classical reception in Hispanic and Chinese contemporary literatures, literary theory and popular culture.

“Quid lamia? or What is a witch(lamia)?  The stories behind an untranslatable”
De lamiis liber or “The book on lamias (witches)” is one of the most famous and influential witchcraft treatises produced during the witch craze in the Early Modern period in Europe. Written by the father of modern psychiatry and precursor of Sigmund Freud, Johannes Weyer, a couple of purposes have been attributed to the composition of this work: denounce the barbarities of the persecution of witches and expose the evil deeds of Catholic priests. This ambiguity has initiated a debate about the unintelligible way of argumentation of Weyer and has overshadowed the philological and philosophical nuances of his work. Inheritor of the classical tradition, De lamiis liber, as might be expected, is rich in terminology to describe the witches. Incantatrix, saga, venefica, strix, malefica, lamia, all of these designations tend to be translated under the generic English designation of “witch.” The term lamia is of particular interest, because of the obscure etymological origin of the word. Based on Emily Apter’s notion of the “untranslatable,” this essay aims to look deeper into the mythological, philosophical, religious and philological reasons behind the usage of the appellation lamia to name the witch and its relationship to other terminology such as malefica. Being aware of the stories behind the word lamia can certainly help us to understand not only the complexity of the historical and semantic background of the word, but also the fierce intellectual and religious dispute that at the time confronted Catholics and Protestants, nuances that are irremediably lost under the English translation “witch.”

Bashair Alibrahim is a 4th year PhD candidate at the Translation Studies Department at the University of Alberta. She has her MA in translation studies from the University of Alberta, and her BA in Modern Languages and Translation from King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. She is a free lance translator and an Arabic and French language instructor. Her research interests are around the field of self-translation, bilingualism, bi-culturality, and cultural nomadism.

“(The Original)?: between translation and self translation”
Spivaks’s “most intimate act of reading” (i.e. translation) is a diverse, multi faceted practice that accepts a wide variety of suffixes and prefixes that designate specific types of translation. This paper explores the effect of the prefix (self) in the practice of “self-translation” and contrasts it against the practice of translation per se. Starting with a theoretical reflection on the practice of translation, the paper highlights the nuances between literary translation in its classic sense and translation of the self as a form of literary production. Using examples of authors/ self-translators across the literary map, from the Canadian Nancy Huston to the Brazilian João Ubaldo Ribeiro, and from the Turkish Talât Sait Halman to the Indian Rabindranath Tagore as well as many others, this presentation compares the translation strategies of these authors-translators with those of classic translators who are foreign agents to the text of the original. The paper adopts multiple points of view in the general contrast between the practice of translation and that of self-translation, namely textual, personal, as well as literary aspects. Through different examples from authors, translators, readerships and literary worlds, the  resentation brings out the uniqueness of the practice of (self)translation, as well as its challenges as a doubled (squared) act of expression. In that sense, the paper highlights the ways in which the prefix “self-“ in the practice of “self-translation” offers a transcending connection between classic creative writing and conventional translation.

Ludmila Lambeinová: I graduated from Palacký University Olomouc in the Czech Republic and earned my Master’s Degree in Polish Philology and History. Currently, I am working on a Ph.D. thesis entitled The Character of Polish-Czech Translation of Academic Papers Based on the Texts about the 20th Century History of Poland.
My research is focused on the 20th century history of Poland in translation. In my doctoral research I focus on describing the language of history, general questions connected with academic texts in translation, translation of culture-bound items and specific translation problems connected with Polish-Czech translation. I have also experience in teaching Czech for Foreigners.

“History in translation: A case study”
As my research is focused on history in translation, I would like to present case study of a translation of book about Polish history (Kosman 2007), published in Czech translation in 2011 (Kosman 2011) .
The case is seen of special interest for several reasons. Firstly, the source text should be regarded as popular history written for non-specialists. On the contrary, the target text was published by prestigious academic publishing house. Thus, it could be assumed that the targeted reader group are university students and specialists. From the point of view of so called Skopos theory this is a change of the purpose. According this theory, translator’s decisions are governed by the purpose of the translation. From this reason, this case study seems relevant for a fruitful comparison. What this translation is like compared to its original? Why publishers decided to translate this source text as academic handbook? Why publisher did choose this particular source text? Moreover, both texts contain some controversial issues regarding Czech-Polish relations in the past. The topic could be approached from different point of views – on the one hand, from socio-cultural point of view, we can observe how author of source text creates images of Polish nation. On the other hand, these fragments are good occasions to discuss interventionist approach vs. non-interventionist approach of translator.
Finally, I consider the role of paratext (namely front cover and preface) and its relationship with the main text. It seems that mentioned paratextual elements reinforce traditional stereotypes about Poland, neighboring country of the Czech Republic.

Hong Nguyen-Sears is an M.A. student in English at the University of Calgary. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Alberta and studied for two years through the University of British Columbia’s optional-residency M.F.A. program. Her research interests include the Canadian memory of the First World War and narrative interactivity in novels and video games. Her creative work has appeared in Room Magazine and the Scars anthology Negative Space, as well as online at The Story Shack and Plenitude Magazine.

“Empathy vs. Projection in BioWare’s Mass Effect and Dragon Age: Inquisition: A Comparative Reading of Virmire and ‘Here Lies the Abyss’”
The Virmire mission in Mass Effect is an example of the emotional hostage-taking that BioWare is known for: in a dire situation Shepard, the player character, is forced to pick which of two squadmates will survive the mission. Over the course of many hours of immersive investment, the player must make a difficult decision on behalf of their avatar, and the consequences are felt throughout the rest of the trilogy. Seven years later, BioWare’s Dragon Age: Inquisition all but repeats the essence of the Virmire mission to questionable success. “Here Lies the Abyss” is difficult not because of the player-character’s investment in the choice, but in the player’s investment in the choice, potentially between two beloved characters of the series.
This paper will consider the narrative difference between the Virmire mission and Here Lies the Abyss through an exploration of the player and player-character relationship: to what extent does Mass Effect’s Virmire decision encourage empathy for the player-character? And, does “Here Lies the Abyss”’s questionable success prioritize projection of the player on the player-character; that is, prioritize the emotional weight of the decision on the player themselves rather than on the character actually living the narrative? Inevitably, this paper will also question the notion of consequence in interactive storytelling using both missions: at what point in a long-running game series does the player’s experience of the overarching narrative begin to overshadow the experience of the immediate narrative?

Alex Bunten-Walberg: I am a first-year PhD student in the department of English and Film Studies. I hold a BA from MacEwan University and an MA from the University of Victoria, where my Master’s project focused on Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. My primary areas of research include science fiction, posthumanist theory, animal studies, and ethics. In my dissertation, I plan to explore the relationship between posthumanism, historicity, and politics through an examination of science fiction.

“From Posthumanist Ontology to Social Collectivity in Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower
I will explore the issue of how collectivity takes shape in the face of difference and catastrophe through an examination of Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower alongside vital materialist and affect theory. Collectivity is a central problem of trying to think beyond the destructive cycle of capital accumulation and fossil fuel reliance that threatens to foreclose the possibility of a long-term human future on our planet. For instance, a vital materialist standpoint that acknowledges the agency of the nonhuman world might hope to “generate a more subtle awareness of the complicated web of dissonant connections between bodies, and […] enable wiser interventions into that ecology” (Bennett 4), but it is unclear how ontological reconceptualizations (especially those that decenter the human subject and thus seem abstracted from the immediate realm of the political) might produce social mobilization. In Octavia Butler’s novel, America is in a state of ongoing social collapse as a result of environmental crisis. After her community is decimated, the protagonist, Lauren, carves out a survival based on collectivity – relationships of mutual trust she literally collects along her journey. The collectivity Lauren engages in is not based primarily on shared belief, but rather shared vulnerability and trust in the face of mutual unknowability. I argue that Butler’s imagination of a collectivity that relies on continually negotiated relationships ‘collected’ over time might help us think through possibilities of traversing the gap between ontological frameworks that decenter the human subject and the social organization necessary for confronting looming catastrophe.

Alyssa Bartlett is an multidisciplinary actor, dancer, playwright and academic. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Theatre Practice at the University of Alberta, focussing on the relationship between text (spoken and written word and sound) and movement in creation methodologies and performance. She is particularly interested in the body as a site of knowledge holding and creation, as well as digital and virtual technologies in the creation of repertoire. Her thesis adapts Margaret Atwood’s poem “Marrying the Hangman” for the stage, using devised theatre practices and choreography. She recently collaborated with neuroscientist Natasha Kovacevic in creating ‘My Virtual Dream’, an experimental project that fuses dance and neurotechnology. Her devised play “Invisible City” is available through the Playwright’s Guild of Canada.
She regularly works as an actor, dancer, movement coach and theatre educator.

“Spatiality and the Body in Site Specific Theatre, New Media and Performance Art”
This paper examines the ways in which movements such as site specific theatre and Body Art from the postmodern era have challenged the ways in which we think about space and view the body. It also touches on the necessary discussion of how the digital era of new media and the post-human have altered our concept of body and spatiality in the context of robot performers and pixel space on digital screens. Through the example of Victoria Hunter’s site specific dance creation process, we delve into a method that does not automatically privilege the vision of a singular, creative artist, and instead focusses on communicating bodily and phenomenologically with place and space as a character in its own right. In Blast Theory’s Nights in This City, we see the company’s confrontation with the inability of language to ‘speak to’ the multiplicity of their chosen sites, and the understanding that the choice of place is a type of language in itself. In Huang Yi and KUKA, the duet between human and robot challenges the idea of what can be considered a body, taking into account empathetic response to non-human bodies and entertainment value. In their 2014 article, Raz Schwatz and Germaine Halegoua consider consider of how social media users construct bodily presence through location sharing apps. Finally, in Marina Abramovic’s Lips of Thomas, and ORLAN’s plastic surgeries, the understanding of the body is enlarged to consider the material body as a speaking, thinking body with agency.

Mel Mikhail is an MA student in Gender Studies and Feminist Research at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON. Mel’s research interests include: queer and trans diaspora; debates in queer, feminist and trans theory; Middle Eastern feminisms; Marxist feminisms.

“Thinking Trans-sexuality: Towards A Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality in Iran”
This paper reads the work of gender historian and scholar, Afsaneh Najmabadi, alongside the works of popular queer theorists Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and Gayle Rubin. I suggest that through this reading, a radical theory of sexual politics specific to the Iranian cultural context emerges. This cultural specificity consists in how some transferable aspects of sexual economy are uniquely organized for nation-forming ends in Iran other than the way similar aspects are instrumentalized in the American context.
My investigation is specific to the contemporary practice of ‘filtering’ that Najmabadi describes as the process whereby “‘true transsexuals’” are legally distinguished “from misguided or opportunist homosexuals…seeking to avoid anti-homosexual censure.” The practice of filtering creates a “social space” where the conditions of possibility for a fluidity between homosexuality and transsexuality/transgenderism are given. Reading Najmabadi and Sedgwick, I identify similarities and differences between the Western and Iranian contexts in terms of conceptual understandings of sex and gender. Reading Najmabadi and Rubin, I identify similarities and differences between the two cultural contexts in terms of the medical, religious, and legal regulations of sex and gender.
My paper intends to contribute to a broader project of transnational feminist scholarship that aims, among other things, to consider the “mutually constitutive” relationship between “gender, sexuality, state, and nation,” and to “undo naturalized geopolitical boundaries.”

Cameron Paul is a PhD student at the University of Alberta and holds both a B.A. (Hon.) and M.A. in English from the University of British Columbia. His work has appeared in Canadian Literature and current research focuses on the intersection politics of resource extraction, labour, and mobility in North America.

“‘So You Met The Americans’: Cross-Border Water Politics in Brian K. Vaughan’s We Stand on Guard
My presentation examines themes of cross-border water extraction and resource security in Brian K. Vaughan’s graphic novel We Stand on Guard [2015]. Set in the year 2124, twelve years after Canada has been overrun by a technologically advanced United States military, We Stand on Guard posits a dystopic vision of future U.S.-Canada relations. Towering, weaponized machines lumber across a now-occupied Northern Canada in search of rebellious opposition members, a diverse group who form the text’s main protagonists. Throughout these wartime encounters there is, however, a recurrent motif: the connective interplay between American perceptions of a subversive ecoterrorism operating in Canada and, alternatively, Canadian oppositions to the industrialized expropriation of water resources by occupying Americans. Such a war over water resources may appear easy for readers to relegate to an imaginative or unlikely future; however, the contemporary cultural anxieties surrounding the commodification of water from which such dystopic speculation emerge offer an important precedent worth examining more closely. By performing a brief political-ecological analysis of the cross-border relations between the United States and Canada, my presentation ultimately argues We Stand on Guard’s own narrative anxieties surrounding water export and national sovereignty in many ways mirror and inform those of our own contemporary moment.

Titash Choudhury: I recently completed my masters in Anthropology from the department of Anthropology. I did my first masters in Ecology, Environment and Sustainable development and worked as a wildlife conservationists for WWF-India for around two half years. My research interest is on stakeholder interaction, resource politics and human-animal relations, political ecology

“Birds don’t give a dam: The politics of wildlife conservation and nature in the Himalayas”
Over the last decade, Arunachal Pradesh, or the larger region known as Northeast Himalayas, has not only become a potential energy frontier to meet India’s surging energy demands, but an opportunity for those in the state seeking political and financial independence. Dams are celebrated and endorsed as a ‘clean” and “renewable” energy sources that ensure sustainable
development, and politicians and major corporations are making promises of great economic benefits and job opportunities arising from these projects. However, rapid development, lack of appropriate consultation, and the deficiencies of environmental and social impact assessment have provoked political and social debates in the region. Simultaneously, since the region is
known to be biodiversity rich and geographically fragile, the impacts of the developmental activities has raised concerns among wildlife biologists, ecologists and experts regarding the potential negative impacts on ecology, economy, and society. In this discourse of energy development, deteriorating ecosystem integrity, and heightened vulnerability, Arunachal Pradesh is increasingly being represented as a place of economic opportunities for both region and nation, but also of risks and vulnerabilities. In this setting, there is also resistance and negotiation, and interactions between various forces that are shaping a new social-environmental relationship. Focusing on one community, the Monpas, who are the largest ethnic group in the region, and the case study of Nyamjang Chhu hydropower project, I discuss how different stakeholders such as developers, conservationists, and religious institutions deploy narratives of change, articulate their respective claims over resources, developmental plans and conservation ideas; the political power relations within and between these different stakeholders, and explore how the Monpas respond to and negotiate with these dominant perspectives.

Richard, Jay, and Amelia are each graduate students in MLCS with diverse research topics, connected by a shared love of hockey. Each of them brings a unique set of perspectives and experiences to their readings of hockey.
Richard is a PhD student in Applied Linguistics, with special focus on identity construction. Being from Germany with its soccer culture that also struggles with hypermasculinity and homophobia, he started to enjoy hockey – to his own amazement! – when he came to Canada, and became interested in questions of queer identity and masculinity in regards to hockey culture and fandom.
Jay began playing hockey when wood hockey sticks were still a thing and is presently trying to maintain his position as “Bench Warmer” on his Rec league team. After his boyhood dream of playing in the NHL failed to materialize, he shifted his focus to researching comedy, social commentary, and community build, which together backdrop his contributions to today’s discussion.
Amelia comes from a hockey family, and has played the game since she could walk. Her experience in boys’ hockey has allowed her to develop strategies for navigating, or even queering this traditionally male-dominated, at times toxic arena. In essence, hockey taught her how to be a man – which in part informs her critique of the culture.
Furthermore, Richard, Jay, and Amelia are respectively the assistant captain, coach, and captain of the MLCS hockey team, the Fluffy Roasters.

Roundtable: Hypermasculinity in Hockey 
Like any popular spectator sport, professional hockey has deep ties to the identity of its players, fans, and the broader community. While the sport’s connection to Canadian national identity is a familiar one to any resident of the country, this roundtable will explore one of the less-discussed identities developed in the national imaginary through hockey: that of masculinity.
This roundtable brings together the hockey culture experiences of three speakers to examine how hockey is presently in a state of flux after generations of functioning as a pervasive stage for the performance and reproduction of hegemonic masculinity. We will discuss how hockey culture constructs, reproduces, and subverts discourses of gender, focusing particularly on issues such as aggression, hyper-masculinity, sexuality, and exclusive subcultures.
While there are various ways to discuss the above themes, the panelists draw extensively from hockey-focused cultural productions to guide the discussion. For instance, the panel considers online fan fiction, hockey comedy, and National Hockey League broadcast commentaries to offer various angles from which to observe and unpack the dynamics of the game and its players, both on and off of the ice. In doing so, the panel will demonstrate how hockey’s discourses can both promote or hinder the engagement of communities who have traditionally been excluded from representation and participation in the sport. Further, the panel will explore how hockey’s continued growth into non-traditional types of media perhaps opens new opportunities to consider hockey and, consequently, participate in the game, either as a fan or a player.