This Year’s Presenters!
Confessional Pornochanchada: “Truth of Sex” Discourses in 1960s-80s Brazilian Popular Erotic Cinema
In The History of Sexuality (1976), Foucault tells us that, “what is peculiar to modern societies … is not that they consigned sex to a shadow existence, but that they dedicated themselves to speaking of it ad infinitum, while exploiting it as the secret” (35). Therefore, according to Foucault, in our society power over sexuality is not exercised through prohibition nor denial, but instead through the production of multiple discourses and knowledges, which aim to normalize certain practices and pathologize others. Among these countless discourses that produce the truth of sex, Foucault highlights the technique of confession as one of the many forms of power in action. The idea of Scientia Sexualis elaborated by Foucault is incredibly useful for the understanding of the popular erotic films produced in Brazil during the country’s military dictatorship (1964-1985). While marches organized by the Catholic Church and led by women from prominent, traditional families took to the streets of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro against the “communist threat” and the moral dissolution allegedly brought with it, Brazilian cinemas were dominated by films that openly exploited nudity and erotic content, attracting a large popular audience. In my presentation, I read these erotic films as confessional. The truths of sex produced by them, just as the confession, have the power to classify sexual desires and practices, implementing perversions and categorizing the individuals involved, turning them into a “personage,” a “case history” easy to identify, since their perversion is believed to permeates all layers of their existence.
I am Ana Magalhães, and I am a second-year Ph.D. student in Film and Cultural Studies at the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta. My research focuses on the popular erotic cinema produced in Brazil during the country’s military dictatorship (1964-1985). My main academic interests are sex on screen studies, censorship, body politics, gender studies, among others. I have taught Portuguese and Spanish for the last 8 years and I currently work as a research assistant on two research projects in my department, the Hunan project with Professor Odile Cisneros and the Hot Flicks in the Cold War project with Professor Victoria Ruétalo.
Black Metal Literature: Unexpected Connections with Nothing and the Endarkenment
The idea for Black Metal Literature stems from my classroom experience of teaching the novel Nothing to a group of grade 10 students. The text is dark, existential, and bleak. In its own way, it was thematically crushing, and readers reacted as though they had something removed from them, a sensation in opposition of the typically additive nature of Enlightenment education. This presentation will outline the theoretical and classroom experiences that led to the notion of Black Metal Literature, an idea that explores the unexpected connections between three seemingly unrelated fields. Black Metal Literature offers a combination of ideas from the heavy metal music subgenre of black metal, Nathan Snaza’s theorizations of the endarkenment, and the reading or viewing of stark, often brutal, existentialist text. The presentation will outline the theoretical connections, idea development, and value of experiencing Black Metal Literature as a means to dismantle the normative classroom constraints and shortcomings of viewing text as something that only enlightens and adds to our lives and teaching. There is learning to be found within these unexpected connections, within the schism of the self-created by Black Metal Literature, and within the darkness that can be offered by text.
Andrew Thomson is a PhD student at the University of Alberta in the Department of Education, Faculty of Secondary Education. His research is primarily centered around the study of extreme metal music (specifically death metal, black metal, and thrash metal) and its connections to community and complex and contradictory obsession with authenticity. His research is evolving to incorporate aspects of literature, film, and media studies, the works of Deleuze and Guattari, and new materialist connections with death. He is also a full-time high school English teacher in Edmonton, Alberta.
Untranslatability as a Political Project: Ukrainian Military Prose Evading Translation
In the environment of the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war, Ukraine’s literary production is increasingly focusing on the central theme of negotiating the Ukrainian national identity through its cultural and linguistic distancing from Russia. In this presentation, I will use the example of Sviatoslav Volkov’s (Gorky Look’s) military prose to demonstrate how deliberate untranslatability may function as a political project where innovative linguistic and stylistic decisions are employed to actively resist the idea of translation and to assert cultural difference. My approach will build on Barbara Cassin’s, Emily Apter’s, and Brian James Baer’s perspectives on untranslatability to posit its interpretation as a politically motivated refusal of intercultural communication rather than purely linguistic unintelligibility. Volkov’s collection of short war-themed sketches Так Воювать Ніззя (2019)—which illustrates an emerging genre of Ukrainian military literature (“veterans’ writing”)—consciously limits its textual intelligibility by relying on a wide range of Ukrainian dialectisms, military argot, online slang, satiric misspelling, cacography, literary allusions, and pop culture references as techniques meant to target the Ukrainian audience specifically, while making the texts inaccessible for outside readers and precluding any possibility of a Russian translation. This deliberate evasion of translation as an unwanted intercultural connection operates as a defense mechanism that simultaneously delineates, protects, and constrains the community of prospective readership. While the nature of such an “untranslatable” project inevitably limits its potential outreach, in Ukraine’s current sociopolitical context it may offer an unorthodox strategy of overcoming damaging post-colonial legacies.
Anna Antonova is a doctoral candidate specializing in Transnational and Comparative Literatures at the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada). She completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Translation Studies at Donetsk National University (Ukraine). Anna’s main research area is literary translation of Canadian women’s writing into German, Russian, and Ukrainian. Her current research interests include the implications of gender for literary translation, with specific emphasis on feminist translation theories and issues of translators’ agency.
Paratextual elements in The Complete Stories by Clarice Lispector
Antonia de Jesus Sales
Clarice Lispector is one of the most important writers of the 20th century, having written across different genres, from novels to short stories to children’s literature and her literary works have been studied from the most varied perspectives. However, there are not many studies on the translation of these publications into other languages. The Complete Stories is edited by Benjamin Moser and translated by Katrina Dodson. This literary work is innovative due to the fact that it was the first time these short stories were collected and they were published first in a foreign country and only later published in Brazil, the author’s home country. Given the significance of Clarice Lispector, and the way The Complete Stories (2015) was disseminated and acclaimed in the context of the English language, this presentation discusses the paratextual issues of its publications in the United States and England. As a theoretical framework, I will use some of the conceptual issues by Genette (2009) and Birke and Christ (2013) in order to investigate the translator’s space of construction, focusing on how the translator’s voice appears.
Antonia de Jesus Sales – Visiting Academics at University of Alberta (UofA); CAPES-Print Scholarship Recipient (This study was financed in part by the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior – Brazil – Finance Code 001); Assistant professor of English as a Foreign Language at Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Ceará (IFCE – Tauá campus) and Ph.D. student in Translation Studies at Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), supervised by Andréia Guerini (UFSC) and Odile Cisneros (UofA).
Employees or Exploitees: Depiction of the Oompa-Loompas in the book „Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl
The aim of this article is to analyse the relation between Willy Wonka, the owner of the world famous Chocolate Factory, and his workers Oompa-Loompas in the book „Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl. Due to the analysis it can be stated that the relation between Wonka and the Oompa-Loompas is far from a standard employer-employee relation as it is based on exploitation of labour. Moreover, the book cannot be perceived only as children’s literature as it can serve as a typical example of a multi-layered novel. Emphasis will be put on differences between two existing versions of the book: the original version from 1964, and the revised and well-known by the readers version from 1973. The characters of Oompa-Loompas were analysed in the light of psychological and sociological methodologies by two experts in the field of fairy tales – Bruno Bettelheim and Jack Zipes.
Dominika Tabor is a third-year PhD student in the department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, specialization Transnational and Comparative Literatures, at the University of Alberta. Her research interests include children’s literature, fairy tales, Canadian literature, and travel writing.
Yoko Tawada’s “Surface Translation” and Resisting Monolingualism in the Creative Writing Classroom
With an interplay between Japanese, German, and to a lesser extent, English, Yoko Tawada’s poetry, plays, and fiction defy monolingualism. Her Japanese-English poem “Hamlet No See” uses a staple of English literature, Shakespeare’s “To be, or not to be” soliloquy as a treatment of the 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. By foregrounding homophony, playing on the meanings of words from different languages and within the same language which sound similar, the poem can be understood on various levels with various meanings by listeners with various facilities in the languages involved, even if they understand only one. The effect differs based on whether the poem is read silently or aloud. Tawada has called this treatment “surface translation” and its intended effect is one of linguistic estrangement, highlighting the oddness of reading or writing in a single language. With the phonics-based transcription required to input Japanese characters using a QWERTY keyboard, Tawada claims that words become “changelings that make shapeshifters of the letters on the page.” When performed aloud, the poem’s words shift again, and the multilingual poem becomes a kaleidoscope of multidimensional sound, meaning, and artful, fruitful uncertainty. In encountering this uncertainty, the reader is free to find their own way through the poem. Tawada defamiliarizes both Japanese readers and English listeners by sonically superimposing their languages upon another, defying expectations, estranging us from our native tongues. This study experiments with adapting Tawada’s keyboard changeling writing method as an exercise for postsecondary creative writing classes, providing students with a deceptively simple introductory practice to multilingual writing which may strengthen their confidence in resisting monolingualism in their own writing through their own strategies.
JENNIFER QUIST is a novelist, critic and PhD candidate in Comparative and Transnational Literatures at the University of Alberta. Her fiction has been long-listed for the Dublin International Literary Award, non-fiction has been published in New Left Review, and merited her the distinction of the Alberta Lieutenant Governor’s Emerging Artist. She is currently completing a dissertation on translingual creative writing.
Opium, Romantic Imagination, Chinese Courtesan Novels, and Modernity in a Cross-cultural Context
The role of opium and its significance in the modern history of China, as well as in Romantic writings, have been received a lot of scholarly attention, especially on the function of opium in romantic reveries and historical construction. A comparative study of the complex cultural phenomenon of opium in Romantic writings and Chinese courtesan novels provides another perspective on the topic of modernity in a cross-cultural context. The interconnection between opium and China is not only built through opium trading and wars in the name of British commercial interests or honor, but also in the opium reveries by Romantic writers on the building of national identity. Modernity is constructed in the process of dividing self and the other, as well as the entrenchment for the meaning of progress and reason. In the nineteenth century, besides its paramount position in national history, opium had gradually become of a part of Chinese daily and social life as a pleasurable pastime and an important subculture. Modernity is represented as an effort of disembedding of traditional social system in late Qing courtesan novels. This paper aims to compare how opium has been written into modernity in a cross-cultural context and how modernity in Romantic era of Britain and the late Qing China are separable but mutually constituted. The essay offers analysis for that contention by focusing on Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan,” De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium Eater, and Chinese courtesan novel Haishanghua Liezhuan (海上花列传).
I am Jing Yang, a second-year Ph.D. student in Comparative Literature at the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta. My research focuses on modernity, Romantic English literature, and Chinese modern literature. My previous project is about Allen Ginsberg’s poetry and the Beats generation.
Material Connections: Shared Material Culture in the Canadian West
Beginning with the first wave of Ukrainian immigration to Western Canada in the 1890’s, there has existed a connection, or perhaps more prominently a disconnection, between the Ukrainian diaspora and the Indigenous peoples of the western provinces of colonized Canada. While there are few accounts of contact between the two groups that exist within the narrative of the prairies, whether intentionally left out of the politically crafted history of immigrants conquering the West, or absently forgotten through the grape vine of the grandmother’s gossiped tales, there exists evidence of contact between the two groups through the shared material khustka and kokum scarf. While the origins of the scarf in North America are widely speculated, many tell stories of how it was an object traded between the two communities, brought by Ukrainian settlers. There has been an increased scholarly focus on the traditions of both the Ukrainian diaspora in Canada and the various Indigenous communities of Turtle Island, their interaction with one another remains largely neglected as an area of study. This paper emphasizes the value of the shared materiality of this scarf as an object of cultural heritage through its ability to connect and reconnect the two communities over time, particularly in the context of the current Russian war on Ukraine. Through an analysis of the function of this scarf in a variety of social media channels, this paper explores the support and solidarity demonstrated for the Ukrainian community through the shared use of the kokum scarf and khustka.
Currently pursuing a PhD in Folklore from the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology from Indiana University, Katya Chomitzky’s work focuses on material culture within Ukrainian diaspora communities, specifically textile art. She is a recent graduate from the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta, having successfully defended her MA thesis “Connected by a thread: Ukrainian embroidery and macro- cultural identity on COVID-19 face masks in Ukraine and Ukrainian diaspora in Canada” in July 2021. Katya’s research interests include folklore, media studies, material culture, Slavic studies, diaspora studies, and Indigenous studies. She currently works as a graduate assistant for Traditional Arts Indiana.
From Berardi to Burroughs: The Viral Language of 1970s Italy
In the 1970s in Italy, a change in legislation allowed for a proliferation of unregulated radio stations (radio libere), such as Bologna’s Radio Alice, founded by Franco “Bifo” Berardi. Its presenters echoed the cadence of local speech, incorporated slang and profanity, and reflected a recuperation of dadaism, as demonstrated by use of nonsensical sounds and words. In addition, the music of the cantautori–politically involved singer-songwriters–frequently occupied airtime on the radio libere. Aspects of the music of the cantautori also referenced the destabilization of language, such as Claudio Lolli’s 1980 song Canzone del principe Rospo (Song of the Toad Prince), which states that words have their own “strana mania di mettersi insieme” (strange mania of putting themselves together). In this manner, language with its own volition and power resembles a virus (à la William Burroughs), as reflected in the 2004 film “Lavorare con lentezza,” or “Working Slowly (Radio Alice).” The film demonstrates the power of a radio transmission in persuading two young protagonists to join Italy’s 1977 revolutionary movement. A similar situation is echoed in Canadian horror film, Pontypool (2008), which shows the English language as a virus, spreading to all those who hear the radio transmission. These and other examples demonstrate the ability of language to solicit change and destabilize power structures, upending societal norms.
Lisa Lawrence obtained a BA in Honours Romance Languages, a B.Ed., and an MA in Italian Studies from the University of Alberta. She is currently a second-year PhD student in Transnational and Comparative Literature, focusing on events in Italy in the 1970s. She has written two books of fiction and teaches both Spanish and Italian in Edmonton.
Literary Hypertext for Teaching Illness Narratives
In The Wounded Storyteller, Arthur Frank argues that illness narratives return agency to the body through a reclaiming of one’s life story following major illness’ disruption of a linear life path. Illness narratives – or autobiographical accounts of the lived experience of pathology or disability – have been established as an effective therapeutic intervention for responding to emotional wellbeing related to illness (Couser, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2009; Frank; Hartman; Hawkins; Irvine & Charon; Kleinman; Mintz; Sontag). The scholarly field related to illness narratives is currently grappling with the medium’s expansion from the traditional book to digital-born narratives such as online health blogs (Coll-Planas & Visa, 2016). However, there is limited research analyzing illness narratives built through literary hypertext. A literary hypertext module used in a participant study to teach Twine illness narratives will be discussed. Ten participants with hyperandrogenism completed a two hour Twine module where they learned how to write their own hypertext narratives based on their illness experience. The module centres interactive pedagogy, free writing prompts, and the political framing of illness parallel to Twine’s legacy as a platform that reduces barriers to entry for marginalized narrative designers (Anthropy 90; Harvey 96).
Megan Perram (she/her) is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta. Her research centres the experiences of womxn and individuals with hyperandrogenism by exploring innovative digital tools for writing illness narratives. Megan is a 2021 SSHRC Doctoral Fellow and recipient of the President’s Doctoral Prize of Distinction. She has twice won the Alberta Graduate Excellence Scholarship, the Joan Shore Memorial Scholarship in Graduate Studies, and received the Government of Alberta’s Persons Case Scholarship in both 2017 and 2020.
Travel Writing in D. H. Lawrence’s Kangaroo
Kangaroo is an autobiographical novel by D. H. Lawrence based on his travel in Australia, recounting the travel experiences of the English poet Richard Lovat Somers and his wife Harriet from England to Australia. This travel is more than a spatial journey. It is also a spiritual and cultural one for the characters. The protagonist Somers has ambivalent and complex feelings about Great Britain, the place where he starts his travel. He is nostalgic for the glory of his motherland while attempting to resist its imperial ideology. Although Somers tries to break down the shackles of the empire through travelling, his cultural identity is further reinforced by the resistance. This reinforcement is also embodied in the imaginative construction of the destination in travel. The representation of Australia in the novel is filtered through the traveller’s colonial gaze. The changeable natural landscape is the projection of the traveller’s emotions, while the chaotic politics is a result of imagination. The sense of colonial superiority is implicit in the seemingly objective descriptions. The colonial contradiction in the contact zone is the reflection of this kind of superiority. This contradiction is embodied in the unequal status of the discourse between the colonizer and the colonized, the deep-seated hostility, and the animalization of Australian inhabitants. The travel writing in Kangaroo constructs a new picture of Australia, reflects the ambivalent feelings of the travellers towards the British Empire and reveals the irreconcilable colonial contradictions between colony and suzerain.
Qian Feng is a first year PhD student majoring in Transnational and Comparative Literature. Her research interest is travel literature. She once directed the project “A study of travel writing in D.H. Lawrence’s works” and participated two projects “Alexander von Humboldt’s travel writing in the perspective of China” and “A study of female subjectivity in Pablo Neruda’s love poems”. She also translated “The Museum Brazil: Cultural Cannibalism as an Answer to the Predicaments of a Shakespearean Culture”, which published in Journal of Foreign Languages and Culture, 4.1 (2020).
Philip Roth’s Thanatopsis
Philip Roth’s later works focus much on death writing, which can be traced back to his real life. This thesis gives a general analysis of Philip Roth’s thanatopsis based on his real life and later works, which resembles Becker’s view of death. The essay tries to delve into the origin of Roth’s thanatopsis, its presentation in later novels, and his transcendence of death. His thanatopsis is mainly influenced by two aspects, the indirect influence of cultural background and the direct influence of personal experience. As a second generation of Jewish immigrants, he has been constantly haunted by the history Jewish massacre. His body and spirit have also been gradually deteriorated after joining the army, undergoing divorce and bereavement, and witnessing constantly occurring aging, illness, and death. His thanatopsis is clearly reflected in his later novels with a preference to “death theme.” These works are shrouded in deep-rooted sense of fear brought about by the Jewish massacre and the resistance to the irresistible aging, illness, and death. Finally, he gains immortality by transferring to unremitting writing and continuous art pursuit his whole life, and transcends death with eternal art achievement.
I have contributed to a Provincial Key Project named “A Study of Philip Roth’s Literary Thoughts”, and published two papers, “Philip Roth’s Communication and Spread in the Field of Translation and Television” and “Philip Roth’s Canonization and Re-canonization in China”. I also joined in “The 9th International Symposium on Literary Ethical Criticism.”
“Fair Folk vs. Troll-men: Medieval Race-making in the Alt-Right’s ‘Orcposting’”
This presentation will extend the discussion about the “alt-right” movement’s mythologization of the past by arguing that online neo-fascist rhetoric recycles historical racial discourses through the lens of modern popular culture. It is well known that reactionary ideologies invoke a connection to a historic “golden age” of racial purity that, in reality, never existed. But alt-right appeals to history draw on literary discourses about monstrosity and0 difference that can be traced back to Medieval roots. Alt-right arguments repackage medieval racism for a modern audience. In order to exemplify this repackaging process, this presentation will analyze the connections between Medieval racism, the modern alt-right, and J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Specifically, this presentation will contextualize the trend of anti-immigrant Twitter memes under the hashtag “orcposting” within the narrative of a white civilization invaded by monstrous racialized Others. I will use Geraldine Heng’s analysis of race- making and racial hermeneutics in the Middle Ages to bridge historical contexts and the present day. Ultimately, this presentation will argue that racializing ‘invasion’ narratives from Crusaders’ speeches and Medieval Christian European cartographies influenced the medievalist fantasy of J. R. R. Tolkien and were reborn in alt-right anti-immigrant Twitter texts. By placing the contemporary anti-immigrant narrative of monstrous invasion alongside its literary and cultural history, this presentation will aim to deconstruct alt-right reconstructions of medieval race and argue against appealing to historical connections in order to enshrine and naturalize racial hierarchies.
Sofia Parrila is an MA student in Transnational and Comparative Literatures at the University of Alberta. Her thesis is an ecofeminist analysis of middle-grade fantasy literature. Her other research interests include fan culture, queer and feminist theories, and the Kalevala. Sofia graduated in 2019 from the U of A’s Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies with a BA-Honors in Comparative Literature and a minor in Creative Writing.
Thick Translation as a Strategy to Showcase Translator’s Visibility: A Case Analysis of Translator’s Notes in Anthony C. Yu’s Translation of The Journey to the West
With the aim of enriching the research on the representation of China’s images as the other, this paper explores the approach of showcasing Chinese cultural concepts through translation by focusing on Anthony Yu’s English revised translation of The Journey to the West. The analysis is divided into two steps. The first step is to examine the concept of thick translation and the translator as an agency of visibility. In this regard, scholars such as Ryle (1971), Geertz (1973), Venuti (1995), Hermans (2003), Alexiei (2011) are quoted. The second step is to present a concrete discussion on the utility of translator’s notes from examples drawn from Yu’s revised version of The Journey to the West. I intend to visualize the distribution of notes in each chapter and categorize all of them according to their different functions. A close analysis of the notes is also needed to figure out why notes’ existence as proof of thick translation are indispensable to bring out the unique otherness of cultural concepts in Chinese classic, and to create a harmonious dialogue between the original text and readers. I argue that the translator’s notes as evidence of thick translation performs functions not only in constructing China’s role as the other by reproducing cultural implications embedded in the original literary system but also in strengthening the translation’s role as a visible being. Through an investigation of these and related questions, it is hoped that the discussion will provide a new framework to look at the translator as a visible agent as well as his inclusion of notes in translation as a cultural strategy.
I am Wei Zeng, currently a second-year PhD student in the Transnational and Comparative Literatures stream of Modern Language and Cultural Studies at University of Alberta. My research interest is reception studies of Chinese literature in the world, theories of translation studies and world literature, and Chinese poetry translation by sinologists such as Burton Watson and Stephen Owen.
Armed with a soulful, velvety voice, singer/songwriter Kaeley Jade possesses the captivating ability to craft music that is both playful and poignant. The Métis artist’s music has charted in the top 10 of the Indigenous Music Countdown and has been featured on Spotify editorial playlists including New Music Friday and Fresh Finds. She was recently selected from hundreds of applicants across Canada to perform in RBCxMusic’s First Up Program, and she has performed at events such as the Big Valley Jamboree, Downtown Live, and The Tim Horton’s Brier.
Effortlessly blending lush poetry and hooky melodic lines, the Edmonton-based artist creates her own brand of folk-pop that is fresh, polished and vibrant. Recorded with the Juno-nominated team at Velveteen Music, her debut EP, Years Ago, is an evocative exploration of the challenges that arise when building relationships, reminiscent of artists like Vance Joy and Maggie Rogers. Kaeley holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Acting from the University of Alberta, and works as both an actor and visual artist alongside her career as a singer/songwriter.
Assistant Professor in the English & Film Studies Department at the University of Alberta. Holds a PhD in Cinema and Media Studies from UCLA.
His research focuses on digital culture and history, critical internet studies, film and media, postfeminist and postracial discourses. He is currently finishing a book on the history of personalization technologies and the role recommendations play within digital culture.
He teaches many of the media studies and digital culture courses in English and Film Studies, including courses on Social Media, Interactive Fiction, Video Games and Media Convergence.
MLCS Graduate Student Council’s
Annual CONNECTIONS Conference:
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
CALL FOR PAPERS
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:
● Connection through translation
● Literary connections
● Creative nonfiction
● Politicization of aesthetics
● Visual culture
● Digital worlds
● Poetry reading
● Performance art
● Visual Arts
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.
● 250-word abstract
● 150-word bio
● example of creative work (e.g. a photo or excerpt)
● 150-word bio
Please submit your proposal via the form on https://forms.gle/CktcrzdaGywhfYFc8 by November 30th, 2019. If you have any questions, feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org or https://mlcsconnections.wordpress.com/ . Notifications 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.
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
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:
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.
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.
ANNUAL CONNECTIONS CONFERENCE:
When: February 14-15, 2019
Where: University of Alberta
Extended Submission Deadline: November 30, 2018
Notification: December 15, 2018
CALL FOR PAPERS
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.”
Areas of interest include, but are not limited to:
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.
Please submit your proposal via the form on https://mlcsconnections.wordpress.com/ by the submission deadline above. If you have any questions, feel free to contact email@example.com. Notifications will be sent by the date listed above. Acceptance will be based on content quality, originality, and academic significance.
“The Supreme Black Literary Artist to Date:” Machado de Assis and the Shifting Canons
Bruno Soares dos Santos
Despite his undisputed position in the Brazilian literary canon, the international reception of Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis has been marked, until nowadays, but especially in the twentieth century, by the stigma of being an overlooked genius. In the twentieth-first century, however, there has been good news regarding Machado de Assis’s life as world literature. In 2018, a luxury collection of his short stories, translated by Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson, was published by W.W. Norton’s Liveright. Additionally, in 2020, something unprecedented in the history of Brazilian literature happened: Two English retranslations of Memória Póstumas de Brás Cubas, one by Margareth Jull Costa and another by Flora Thomson-Deveaux were simultaneously launched by Liveright and Penguin Classics. The icing on the cake came in May when Thomsom-Deavaux’s translation was sold out in both the American Amazon and Barnes and Noble, with the book becoming the number-one best seller in Amazon’s Caribbean and Latin American Literature category more than 100 years after its original Portuguese debut. It is overdetermined why Machado’s most recent English translation has achieved such a sales success. Many factors might be involved in this process, and this paper does not intend to explain the reasons for these recent publications. Yet, I’m concerned in understanding how Machado de Assis’s race has been read in the twentieth-first century, both in scholarly production and media publications. I argue that there has been special attention to his blackness in the past twenty years, with critics positioning him as a Black Literary Master, and showing a willingness to read racial-related issues in his literature. By engaging with world-literature theories by scholars such as David Damrosch, I aim to show that this racialized reading of Machado can work as a bridge between different cultures.
Bruno Soares dos Santos holds an MA in Transnational and Comparative Literatures from the University of Alberta, in Canada, and a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Journalism from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Bruno has published, conducted, or participated in research projects on the international reception of Brazilian authors, contemporary Brazilian literature, autofictional writing, and ecocriticism. He has worked as a journalist, and his interests also include Media and Latin American Studies in a broader sense.
Correspondence for (Re)Conciliation : Let’s Talk About Settler Colonialism and Racism
Over the past few decades, there has been a surge in Indigenous literatures written primarily in French. While Indigenous authors turn to various genres including poetry, novel, and short stories, one genre particularly stands out: that of books of letters. These books are often non-fictional epistolary correspondences written through collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous authors. I propose to study how such epistolary exchanges contribute to building connections in a context of reconciliation. My paper seeks to answer the question: To what extent do these books and authors reflect a desire to build bridges and to maintain connections between peoples (Indigenous and non-Indigenous), particularly, in the face of ongoing settler colonialism and systemic racism in what is now called Canada and more specifically the province of Quebec?
To explore this question, I will draw from the following texts: Aimititau, Parlons-Nous (2008, edited by Laure Morali) groups together twenty-nine First Nations and Québécois authors through epistolary letters, poems, and stories and opens a literary dialogue between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Quebec; in the 2016 edition of Kuei, je te salue: conversation sur le racisme, Deni Ellis Béchard and Natasha Kanapé Fontaine take up questions of racism and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples; written after the death of Atikamekw woman Joyce Echaquan in a hospital in Quebec in September 2020, the four new letters included in the 2021 re-edition of Kuei, je te salue continue the conversation on systemic racism in Quebec; in La bienveillance des ours (2020), François Lévesque and Virginia Pésémapéo Bordeleau explore their similarities as artists and their differences as people.
Malou Brouwer is a PhD student in Transnational and Comparative Literatures in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta. Her research project “Crossing Languages, Creating Communities: Imagining Decolonization in/through contemporary Indigenous Women’s Poetry” examines the use of languages – Indigenous, French, English, poetic, visual – to trace how community is build in/through Indigenous women’s poetry. More importantly, it explores how poetry can serve a range of decolonial practices. Her research interests include Indigenous literatures, Indigenous feminism(s), Francophone literature and la Francophonie, women and gender studies, and postcolonial/decolonial studies. Born and raised in the Netherlands, she now lives and works on Treaty 6 territory and in Region 4 Métis Nation.
Rawi Hage’s Cockroach, In-Between Metamorphosis: Disturbing the Logic of Neoliberalism
While recent scholarship has often examined Rawi Hage’s novels as narratives of exile, alienation, or revenge- or often in the framework of postcolonial studies- this essay sets out instead to explore Hage’s Cockroach as an example of world literature in the light of current debates about neoliberalism, biopolitics, and the idea of a “new form of life”. Hage’s central story is about an unreliable narrator who is expelled from political and socio-economic life. This paper shows how Hage’s novel reflects the human body resisting morphing into Homo Economicus or as human capital within neoliberal rationality. While also, and importantly, disturbing the logic of neoliberal technology of governance, Hage’s Cockroach offers critiques of the neoliberal claim of human well-being and possible resistance to the biopolitical practices of the neoliberal governance. Neoliberalism, this problematic but important term, has often been associated with economic practices, states, technologies, (and biopolitics) that reframe every aspect of human life. Drawing on theories from Michael Foucault, David Harvey, Giorgio Agamben, and Nicolas Rose, this essay argues that the interrelation between biopolitics and neoliberalism generates a new form of life that leads to an in-between position of the main character of Hage’s novel as a mode of transitory resistance to the socio-political contradiction of neoliberal policies.
Shahab Nadimi is currently a graduate PhD student in Transnational and Comparative Literature at the University of Alberta. He received his MA in English Literature from the University of Kurdistan and his major research interests are World Literature, Refugee Studies, Biopolitics, and Neoliberalism. He is currently undertaking his PhD dissertation on refugee novels within contemporary World Literature.
100 Words of Solitude: Global Voices in Lockdown 2020
Dr. Phillipa Holloway
100 Words of Solitude is a project set up in early 2020 to connect writers and readers across the globe by documenting and exploring responses to the international lockdowns due to Covid-19. The core remit was to capture and record human responses to enforced or self-imposed isolation, moments of subjective truth amid media overload that would provide readers with a microcosmic insight into a shared experience that is infinitesimally varied. The project has since published work by 125 writers from 35 countries, and has provided comfort and connection to readers in 116 countries worldwide. This paper will explore how the project developed from an idea into a global writing community that continues to connect people across the world, using literary forms to document and capture the actions, emotions and behaviours of diverse individuals and communities. It will examine the benefits of using writing to, as Joan Didion states: ‘to find out what [we’re] thinking, what [we’re] looking at, what [we] see and what it means,’ and how this can benefit mental health at a time when the impact of the ongoing pandemic is taking its toll, demonstrating how creative expression is good for you. Finally, it will analyse the trends in content and theme within the final curated collection, revealing how while each piece is unique, they each explore aspects of the experience of lockdown that many others are also feeling.
Philippa Holloway is writer, educator and academic based in the UK. Her short fiction/non-fiction/research is published in the US, Australia, Africa, Europe and the UK Europe. She has won a number of small literary prizes, has been commissioned to curate and write for the New Welsh Reader, Material Cultures of Energy research group and, most recently, the Cognitive Sensations project, is a member of Liverpool University’s Literature and Science Research Hub and also Writer in Residence at Hack Green Nuclear Bunker. She taught Creative Writing/English Literature at Edge Hill University during and beyond her Doctoral research, ran writing workshops for the Mental Health Charity MIND and at literary/arts festivals and has judged a number of writing competitions. She is the co-editor of 100 Words of Solitude (Rare Swan Press), and her debut novel, The Half-life of Snails is due out with Parthian in 2022.
Covid Caring Costs: Pandemics, Patriarchy and Who Pays
Early in 2020, the world changed. China was locking down the city of Wuhan, a whole city. Rumors swirled that something critical was going to happen. In those early days, it seemed to be under control. Flash forward to a year later, large swaths of the world’s population are still isolating and jobs have become precarious. Privileged jobs are now online. Privileged people work from home. The work of running a home, however, did not change. COVID-19 significantly increased the burden of unpaid care. Women’s paid work dropped at levels faster than men’s as they left their jobs to take on more responsibilities in the home. Patriarchal systems and capitalism left women and underpaid workers behind historically and throughout the multiple lockdowns.
The economic system of western nations that consolidates money and thus power in the hands of the few leaves the majority of people to sell the only commodity they have, their labor. And as Margaret Thatcher once put it, “there is no alternative”. Or is there? Is there an economic style that seeks to build community through abundance rather than divide through scarcity?
This paper celebrates the positive impact of the gift economy and the community it develops inside and outside of COVID times.
Treesa Friesen is a member of the Metis Nation of Alberta, a student of art history and is presently studying the impacts of technology, such as mechanical art reproduction, on museums while exploring the repercussions of the replicas on institutions and communities. Treesa is currently a Masters (course-based) student at the University of Alberta, located on Treaty Six Territory. She is studying for a Master of Arts in Media and Cultural Studies. Cultural studies has allowed her to explore community building and the deep impacts that museums have had on society.
A Fantasy Theme Analysis of the “Great Reset” Conspiracy Theory and Libertynetwork.ca
The broad-tent conspiracy theory QAnon continues to threaten North American liberal democracy. The damage to liberal democracy is most obvious in the United States, where alt-right terrorist stormed the Capitol building on January 6th, 2021, in order to disrupt the Senate’s certification of electoral votes. Many rioters shouted QAnon slogans and sported QAnon-branded flags or attire. A similar, compatible conspiracy theory is spreading across Canada. The Great Reset conspiracy theory (GRCT) claims that the Trudeau government – in league with other shadowy globalist forces – intends to grant total debt forgiveness to anyone who accepts the coronavirus vaccine (which some varieties of the theory maintain is not a vaccine, but a microchip surveillance system). According to the theory, those who refuse vaccinations will be held in internment camps until they submit, and others who accept vaccines will be forced to relinquish all personal belongings in exchange for debt forgiveness. GRCT exponents believe that Trudeau and other globalists are trying to abolish personal property and currency in order to establish a global totalitarian-communist dictatorship.
This paper offers a fantasy theme analysis (FTA) of the Great Reset Conspiracy Theory in context of the underground social network libertynetwork.ca and its recent upgraded platform librtii.com, where much of this conspiracy theory is developed and spread among users. I analyze discourse from user posts, comments and discussion, memes, and website copy to build a comprehensive map of GRCT rhetoric and how it reinforces an anti-democratic, populist-authoritarian worldview among its adherents.
Peter Morley is a 3rd year PhD candidate in Media and Cultural Studies at MLCS. His dissertation, entitled 21st Century Digital Fascism: Neoreactionism in American Political Discourse explores the spread of alt-right extremism online, from its inception as a fringe neofascist political ideology to a mainstream threat to liberal democracy. Peter holds an MSc/MA dual degree in Global Media and Communications from The London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Southern California, and a BA (philosophy/sociology) from the University of Alberta.
Migration studies and literary discourse in the Ukrainian context: bridging the gap
In this presentation, I situate literary depictions of Ukrainian women emigrants as elements of the “subaltern” and consider Ukrainian women emigrants a marginalized group, “positioned simultaneously within several different discourses” (Loomba, 2005, p. 199), at the intersection of gender, family status, nationality, age, and class. By making literary depictions of Ukrainian women emigrants and Ukrainian emigration the foci of this exploration, I intend to draw attention to literary works exploring the topic of women’s emigration, to issues of emigration of women in general, and highlight the importance of women emigrants’ voices uncovered in fiction.
Using scholarship from the fields of migration, political science, sociology, and anthropology, I review the socio-political and economic aspects of Ukrainian emigration in the early 2000s in the context of modern globalization. This literature review constructs an additional framework to analyze further and to contextualize Ukrainian fiction by discussing socio-political trends and tendencies in emigration and migration studies. Simultaneously, though imaginary and fictitious, literary explorations of migration represent the often-missing individualized woman’s voice that, if considered, could help fill scholarly lacunae in the field of migration studies. I argue that including literary publications into the broader field of migration studies allows for a more comprehensive approach when exploring migration.This approach would consider economic, social, geographic, national, political, demographic, and cultural factors.
Olena Hlazkova is a PhD candidate (ABD) at the department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta. Her current research focuses on the confluence of migration and literature in the Ukrainian context. In her dissertation, Olena examines literary depictions of Ukrainian women emigrants using Appraisal Theory. Her previous research interests include but are not limited to: gender education, gender stereotypes in educational, political, and literary discourse, creative work by W.S. Maugham, Ukrainian emigration of women, feminism in the Russian and Ukrainian contexts, language and identity in multilingual Slavic contexts.
Bridging the gap: Gender history in the European past
The evolution of history as a scholarly discipline was truly remarkable from the second half of the twentieth century until now. The introduction of gender methodology into history has been one of the most fundamental changes in the discipline. Historians started to question hegemonic narratives by working on women’s history and showing that history could look different if women and other marginalized groups are taken into consideration. The paper focuses on new developments in research on the late medieval and early modern European history and how new approaches, such women’s and gender history, history of sexualities as well as history of marginalized groups have changed our understanding of the European past. The paper examines how historical research complicates the category of “woman” or “man” as intertwined in complex nets of oppression and dominance and how study of femininity and masculinities can help understand societies past and modern. The paper also discusses methodological difficulties associated with using modern notions of gender and sexuality in historical research and if such categories as “femininity”, “masculinity”, “heterosexuality”, “homosexuality” are appropriate in our discussions about the past.
I am a third-year PhD student at the University of Alberta working on the history of early modern European masculinities. I have a bachelor’s degree in history (Tomsk, Russia), and master’s degree in Gender Studies from Central European University (Budapest, Hungary). My research interests include: Gender history, history of masculinities, masculinity studies, Early Modern European History, History of the Holy Roman Empire.
Held Together by a Thread: Craftivism Combatting Crisis in Women’s Communities
While the creation of textiles has long been considered a domestic chore assigned to women, there has been a proliferation of craftivism groups working to create community and change the narrative surrounding the roles of women and craft in the community. As a form of material folklore, craft has often been overlooked as an aesthetic object due to its functionality, with museums, galleries, and communities maintaining an idea of what can be considered fine art. This conference paper explores the creation of crafting communities as a way to form connections while facing a number of divisive crises, such as colonialism, gender equality, and hostile displacement. By analyzing various craft-based groups and their activist work, this conference presentation highlights the importance of sociality during times of duress and the utility of craft as a form of resistance.
This research presentation will focus specifically on the push back against gender roles in embroidery and cross-stitching. Examining the shift towards popularizing subversive patterns in needlecraft, I highlight the interculturality of craft and the social trends which influence, and have been influenced by, both the in-person and digital crafting communities. Rooted in scholars such as Amy D. Wells (2015), Elizabeth Emery (2019), and Johanna Amos (2020), I emphasize the role of the craft in creating a community that contributes to both the micro- and macro- culture and a variety of activist movements, highlighting the effective nature of using needlework to craft both personal and group identities.
Katya Chomitzky is a 2nd year MA student in Modern Languages and Cultural Studies with a specialization in Media and Cultural Studies. Having had the opportunity to work with archival collections and cultural communities in her RA position at the Kule Folklore Centre and through many different work experiences, Katya’s experiences have influenced her research to focus on the ways in which communities create, preserve, and revitalize a variety of forms of material culture. With an emphasis on textile art, Katya is currently studying the role of material culture in decolonization and post-Soviet derussification. Her research interests include decolonization theories, material culture studies, folklore, women and gender studies, and post-Soviet spaces.
From The Bell Jar to La campana de Cristal: Importing and Translating Sylvia Plath’s novel in Spain (1960-1980)
Sofía Monzón Rodriquez
The study of the effects of censorship on literature and translation gives us an insight into particular historical periods and, by extension, into their culture and ideology. Literary products and their consequent rewritings (i.e. translations or adaptations) are seen as a reflection of the context and culture in which they were produced, and thus, they represent an array of information regarding the period. In Spain, throughout more than thirty years of dictatorship (1939-1975), the Francoist regime thoroughly suppressed and censored books on the grounds of immorality, political ideologies, and religion. In this article I analyze the reception of Sylvia Plath’s novel, The Bell Jar,
in Spain during the Francoist dictatorship. Considering the feminist features that the author and her oeuvre embody, I examine the image the Censorship Board drew when the Spanish publishing houses requested to publish Plath’s works in translation. The censorship and import files stored at the General Archive of the Administration in Madrid confirm that several publishers applied for permission to repeatedly publish the translations of her only novel, The Bell Jar, into Spanish and Catalan; a Spanish compilation of her poems in 1974; and to import her seminal poetry collection, Ariel, in 1968. Nevertheless, the censors’ notes and verdicts reveal that her literary depth was neither admired nor understood by the ones who authorized, censored, or rejected the different editions of her work.
Sofía Monzón is a Ph.D. candidate in Transnational and Comparative Literatures at the University of Alberta, Canada. Born in Spain, she completed her BA in Modern Languages and Translation Studies at Universidad de Alcalá, Spain. There, she also received her first MA in Community Translation and Interpreting, and, two years later, she obtained her second MA in Spanish Literatures and Linguistics from Auburn University in the United States. Her research interests include ideology, censorship, manipulation in translation, and North American literary reception in Spain and Latin America. Recently, her research has been published in academic journals such as Transletters: International Journal of Translation and Translation Matters. Sofía’s first collection of poems was published in 2019 under the title Alas by the publisher Editorial Club Universitario.
Literary Translation as Cultural Battlefield: When a Translator Responds to Crisis
The times of profound societal upheavals may be devastating but can potentially open up new transformative opportunities in cultural production. In this presentation, I will show how Ukraine’s national political crisis brought about by the events of 2013-2014 and the ongoing war in Eastern Ukraine has triggered a shift in literary translating practices, resulting in the emergence of activist translating projects that attempt to carve out a space for creative agency in the otherwise conservative and overregulated field of literary translation.
I will focus my discussion on Yevheniya Kononenko’s Ukrainian translation of Alice Munro’s collection of short stories (Too Much Happiness, published in 2017) to address the translator’s transtextualization strategy as a way to make her cultural affiliation and political position visible. In the climate of growing patriotic and anti-Russian sentiments among Ukraine’s largely bilingual population—and against the backdrop of continuing linguistic domination of Russian-language publications in the country’s publishing market—Kononenko’s subtle textual interventions and open programmatic statements in the translator-authored metatexts create a precedent of a resistant translation approach.
The fact that the translator’s resistance is oriented towards a rivalling Russian-language translation, rather than the source text itself, contextualizes the uniquely precarious position of Ukrainian literary translation as a cultural practice. However, the analysis of Kononenko’s case study reveals how empowerment of translators and the adoption of activist translating principles at the time of national crisis may become a factor of cultural and ideological transformation.
Anna Antonova is a fifth-year PhD student at the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, specializing in Transnational and Comparative Literatures. She completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Translation Studies at Donetsk National University (Ukraine). Anna’s main research area is literary translation of Canadian women’s fiction into German, Russian, and Ukrainian. Her current research interests include the implications of gender for literary translation, with specific emphasis on feminist translation theories and issues of translators’ agency.
Homotextualizing Niezi: From Sinful Sons to Crystal Boys
In 1990, Gay Sunshine Press published the English translation of a Taiwanese novel titled 孽子 Niezi [Sinful Sons]. The novel, written by the modernist author Pai Hsien-yung and translated by Howard Goldblatt as Crystal Boys, became such a sensation among anglophone American readers that the publisher put out a paperback edition soon after. Blatantly marketed as “[t]he first modern Asian gay novel” (Pai 1993, cover), the paperback edition featured on its cover a half-naked hunk in jeans against a dark chartreuse backdrop. Such marketing schticks—highlighting queer erotics and picking a cover image that looks like a 1990s Calvin Klein advertisement—attracted a large number of queer readers who were curious about cultural uniqueness and universal experience of being gay. Yet, little did they know that when the original novel first came out in 1983 under martial law, it was not even considered by the mainstream Taiwanese critics and readers as gay-themed fiction, serious or popular.
In this paper, I investigate the homotextualization and canonization of Niezi, with emphasis on the shaping force of translation on the reading and reception of Pai’s novel. By synthesizing a select few representative pieces of scholarship on Niezi and the public discourse on non-normative sexualities in 1980s Taiwan, I demonstrate the connection between early critics’ evasive interpretations of queer motifs in Niezi and Taiwan’s conservative socio-cultural milieu. Then, I present a historicized, comparative reading of Pai’s original work and its English translation Crystal Boys, with special attention to the paratexts, the reconfiguration of the untranslatables in the English translation, and the politics of anglicizing non-Euro-American, non-normative sexualities. I argue that translation added to the complex production of meanings, facilitated the interactions between the text, the critic, the reader, and the author, and contributed to the queer iconization of Niezi.
Wangtaolue Guo is a PhD candidate in Transnational and Comparative Literatures. He has spent a fair amount of time researching and teaching translation. But unfortunately, according to a student, he “is by far the worst instructor I have ever had at the UofA.” Another student wrote in the USRI that he is “not demonstrating to be proficient or representative of the MLCS department.”
When Netflix meets literature – The connection between controversy and society in the reception debate of Lupin in France and in the Netherlands
This work in progress focuses on the reception of the Netflix series Lupin, in particular in France and in The Netherlands. Lupin was released in January 2021 and is based on a series of books about Arsène Lupin, a gentleman thief who first was published in 1905 and was written by the French author Maurice Leblanc. Leblanc’s books are known and appreciated worldwide and have been the subject of several adaptations. The Netflix series used the adventures of the eponymous French literary hero to inspire the escapades of Assane Diop, played by Omar Sy. On the one hand, critics are positive, on the other hand, there are comments criticizing the black character “representing” the classical French Lupin, particularly in France.
This contribution will analyze the discourse used by Twitterers writing in French and in Dutch. We build on the Foucauldian approach to discourse, who states that discourse is a set of relationships between discursive practices. The social context of discourse is, as Van Dijk (1990) and Fairclough (1992) underline, an important part of it, there is a strong connection between the kind of controversy and the society it appears in. The notion of text includes different forms, from written texts to pictures or symbols (Grant, Keenoy, and Oswick, 1998). The used emojis on Twitter are also part of the text. Our hypothesis is that the French (feel the need to) position themselves in the debate about the skin color of the main character, whereas Dutch people won’t necessarily feel this need because this series doesn’t address “their” literary or cultural heritage.
Eline Kuenen studied Francophone Literatures at Radboud University in Nijmegen. In 2015, she finished her master’s thesis on Congolese literatures and in 2016 she graduated with a master’s in education. Since 2016 she has been working as a teacher of French in secondary school. In addition to teaching, in August 2020, she started her PhD research on the role of orality within the new cultural movement called “Afropolitanism” that has taken root in several European and American cities. By analyzing orality in contemporary novels from different angles such as the narrative perspective, the posture of the author and the paratext, it becomes clear how the spoken or sung word occupies a place within the contemporary urban space, culture and literature.
When Classic Meets Modern: Intertextuality of Internet Memes
Internet memes, commonly known as memes, are undoubtedly an integral part of the 21st century Internet culture. Their phenomenon is bound with a great versatility that makes memes not only perfect for communicating but also expressing emotions and ideas. This versatility appeared to be especially useful during the ongoing pandemic as it allowed people to realize that they are not alone with their everyday struggles. While social media became an ultimate escape from a grim reality of Covid-19, various meme pages gained new followers.
The aim of this paper is to examine a well known meme page called Classical Art Memes. The page can be found in social media such as Instagram and Facebook. Classical Art Memes, owned and created by a person nicknamed The Emerald, gained its popularity by producing and posting content that combines classical art paintings with captions referring to common everyday situations. The paper proves how the characteristics of the Classical Art Memes page render it a perfect example of intertextuality. The chosen meme page was analyzed in the light of media theories of two experts in the field of memes and socials media, Anastasia Denisova and Bradley E. Wiggins.
Dominika Tabor is a second-year PhD student in the department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, specialization Transnational and Comparative Literatures, at the University of Alberta. Her research interests include children’s literature, fairy tales, Canadian literature, and travel writing. As a result of the pandemic, she decided to turn her love for Internet memes into yet another research interest.
Click me: multilinear cyberliterature as illness narrative for womxn with hyperandrogenism
In The Wounded Storyteller Arthur Frank wrote that major illness has the potential to disrupt the planned destination of our life, and that through the practice of illness narrative the capacity for telling our story is reclaimed. During times of global uncertainty, finding methods to cope with illness digitally has become especially vital. This project evaluates how multilinear cyberliterature can be used as an avenue for womxn (inclusive to trans, nonbinary, and femme identities) with hyperandrogenism to write illness narratives that construct positive relationships between their identities and the world. Multilinear cyberliterature is a form of digital story writing that calls on the reader to participate in the narrative’s unfolding by selecting hyperlink options which branch the narrative into nonlinear directions. Hyperandrogenism is a medical condition characterized by “excessive” levels of male hormones such as testosterone which, when identified in the female body, are associated with “masculinizing” symptoms. The condition has been employed as a justification to call into question which bodily signifiers and hormonal nuances quantify biological sex. Due to experiences of perceived subjugation in the medical encounter, some womxn with hyperandrogenism are turning to online illness narratives to write their “abject” bodies into a budding corporeal politic. Through an online story-writing module and hypertext tutorial, 10 participants with hyperandrogenism are currently writing their own stories based on their illness experience. This research will lead to the concrete realization of a novel pathway to inform therapeutic approaches for emotional well-being related to gendered illness.
Megan Perram (she/her) is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta. Her research centres the experiences of women and individuals with hyperandrogenism by exploring innovative digital tools for writing illness narratives. Megan is currently Editor-in-Chief of Connections: A Journal of Language, Media and Culture.
Queering the Myth: Defamiliarization, Classical Reception & The Female Gaze in Portrait of a Lady on Fire by Céline Sciamma
Portrait of a Lady on Fire, a love story between Marianne (an artist) and Héloïse (an aristocrat who refuses to get married) set in 18th century France, has mesmerized audiences and film critics who think that the movie is an exquisite ode by Céline Sciamma to the female gaze. By female gaze, they refer to a symmetrical act that, unlike its male objectifying version, consists in looking and being looked at, not in a subjugating manner but in one that acknowledges the subjectivity of the women who participate in that act of looking. At the heart of the film and its masterful manipulation of the gaze, we find the reinterpretation of the myth of Euridice and Orpheus. This presentation explores how this classical myth is recreated in Portrait of a Lady on Fire to challenge the asymmetrical, and heterosexual nature of the male gaze, and emphasize the more liberating nature of the female gaze. I argue that Portrait of a Lady on Fire uses different defamiliarization techniques to look at the myth of Eurydice and Orpheus as a manifestation of what it means to be seen, artistically and queerly.
At the end, what this presentation seeks to uncover is how classical myth has the potential to challenge hegemonical (gender) discourses. In these times of crisis when classical myth has been used as a rhetorical weapon to justify hate speech, heteropatriarchy, and neocolonialism, reimagining the Classics in queer terms cannot be more urgent.
Laura L. Velazquez is a PhD candidate in Translational and Comparative Literatures. She holds a BA in Classics, an MA in Chinese Studies and an MA in Comparative and World Literature with a focus on Classical Reception in contemporary Chinese and Hispanic Literatures. Her PhD dissertation explores the intersections between the literary and cinematic notion of point of view and citizenship, in a corpus of Sinophone and Hispanic novels, documentaries, and films.
A Dildonic Assemblage: The Paradox of Masculinity, Desire, and Queerness on Chinese Reality Television’s Yundongba shaonian
Wangtaolue Guo and Jennifer Quist
In the summer of 2020, Hunan TV launched a sports/game show called 运动吧少年 Yundongba shaonian [Game on, Bro]. Its promos and posters, featuring athletic jocks and highlighting their chiseled torsos, blatantly promoted the show to the emerging tastes of a spornosexual trend in contemporary China (Cen 2019). Many state-owned media outlets have praised the show for its exciting challenges, reconfiguration of rugged masculinity, and positive energy (Wu 2020). Viewing Yundongba shaonian only as a sports-based game show capitalizing on an emerging spornosexual trend while privileging a particular fit, athletic, Euro-American standard of male beauty, however, is both superficial and problematic.
In this paper, we carry out textual and paratextual analyses of Yundongba shaonian, with emphasis on the representations and performatives of masculinity, desire, and queerness on the show. Recognizing the complexity of such an unstable triad, we draw inspiration from Paul B. Preciado (2018), Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari (1987, 1994), and coin the portmanteau term dildonic assemblage to theorize a sexual politics encompassing various arrangements of desire, gender, and visibility, a sexual politics in “fabrication” (Preciado 2018, 3) and “postsocialist metamorphosis” (Bao 2020, 5). The show is scrutinized not only as a semiotic discourse created by producers and contestants but also as a rhizomatic fannish event. We argue that Yundongba shaonian functions as an ambitious double-ended dildo. It aims to elicit a multiplicity of pleasures—male, female, genderqueer; sensual and sexual—through cultural elements rooted in an anti-queer regime but which ironically penetrate ultrafit “powdered” masculinity to ultimately subvert and complicate discourses that would suppress them.
Jennifer Quist is a PhD candidate in Transnational and Comparative Literatures at the University of Alberta conducting SSHRC-funded research of English-language hegemony in creative writing pedagogy. She is a novelist, critic, translator, and teacher.
Wangtaolue Guo is a PhD candidate in Transnational and Comparative Literatures. He has spent a fair amount of time researching and teaching translation. But unfortunately, according to a student, he “is by far the worst instructor I have ever had at the UofA.” Another student wrote in the USRI that he is “not demonstrating to be proficient or representative of the MLCS department.”
Planning to attend our conference? Check out the schedule!
See you in the Old Arts Building
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Senate Chamber, Old Arts Building, 3rd floor
8:00 – 8:25 Coffee
8:30 – 8:35 Opening Remarks –Dr. Carrie Smith (Chair, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
8:35 – 9:30 Panel One. Linguistics: Practices & Identities
Moderator: Sajad Soleymani Yazdi
Commentator: Dr. Yoshi Ono
Kerry Sluchinski, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta,“Referential Forms in Digital Chinese LGBTQ Discourses”
Xiaoyun Wang, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta,“On Designedly Incomplete Utterances: What Teachers Can Do With Conversational Structures for Classroom Interaction”
9:40 – 11:00 Panel Two. Translating Worlds, Nomadic Words
Moderator: Katya Chomitzky
Commentator: Dr. Anne Malena
Sofía Monzón, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta,“Tracing Textual Violence in Literary Translation: The Struggles of Translating during Franco’s Spain and Their Cultural Outcomes”
Anna Antonova, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta,“Towards a Translator Criticism: (Mis)translating Connections in Alice Munro’s ‘Too Much Happiness’”
Malou Brouwer, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta,“Surviving Translation: Rhetorical Sovereignty in Francophone Indigenous Poetry”
Shahab Nadimi, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta,“Refugee Words are on the Move”
11:10 – 12:15 Panel Three. Clashing Canons
Moderator: Saman Rezaei
Commentator: Dr. Irene Sywenky
Xavia Publius, Drama, University of Alberta, “Diffraction Patterns of Homoeroticism and Mimesis between Twelfth Night and She’s the Man”
Dominika Tabor, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta,“Let’s sing about our troubles! Americanization and Disneyfication of the Brothers Grimm’s Snow White”
Rachel Green, French Studies, University of Waterloo, ““Lock the Door and Throw Away the Key”: Imprisonment and Ostracization in Honoré de Balzac’s Le Père Goriot, La Grande Bretèche and Eugénie Grandet”
12:15 – 13:10 Lunch Break
13:15 – 14:35 Panel Four. Self-Encountering and Encountering Selves
Moderator: Megan Perram
Commentator: Dr. Clara Iwasaki
Yan Wang, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta,“Love Slave and Male Anxieties in Hong Kong Action Cinema”
Li Wenzhu, East Asian Studies, University of Alberta,“The Search for Self in Zhai Yongming’s “Premonition” and “The Finish””
Shreyashi Ganguly, Sociology, University of Victoria, “Comedy as resistance: An analysis of caste collectives’ use of comedy on social media in India as a form of political resistance”
John Musyoki, Drama, University of Alberta, “Resuturing The Kenyan National Identity Displacement and Reconciliation in Francis Imbuga’s The Return of Mgofu.-”
14:45 – 15:50 Panel Five. Bodies and Belonging
Moderator: Sofía Monzón
Commentator: Dr. Daniel Laforest
Jonathan Garfinkel, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta,“A Diabetes Diary: Notes from the Bio-Hack Revolution”
Alexandre Araujo, Secondary Education, University of Alberta, “Plebeian citizenship: alternative forms of youth expression in segregated urban spaces”
Megan Perram, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta,“Writing New Bodies: Critical Co-design for 21st Century Digital-born Bibliotherapy”
16:30 Creative Event (Student Lounge)
Friday, February 14, 2019
Senate Chamber, Old Arts Building, 3rd floor
8:30 – 9:00 Coffee
9:00 – 10:05 Panel Six. Tracing Myths and Retracing Legends
Moderator: Laura L. Velazquez
Commentator: Dr. Natalie van Deusen
Bart Romanek, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta, “On Wednesdays We Wear Pink”: Óðinn and Queer Representation in the Viking World
Banafsheh Mohammadi, Art and Design, University of Alberta, “Connecting Images and Archetypes: Olga Frobe-Kapteyn and the Making of The History of Religions”
Saman Rezaei, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta,“Arash the Archer: A Persian Epic Story”
10:15 – 11:20 Panel Seven. Struggles, Spaces, Discourses
Moderator: Dominika Tabor
Commentator: Dr. Victoria Ruétalo
Katya Chomitzky, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta,“Untangling Threads of Conflict: Ukrainian Embroidery as a Tool of Decolonization”
John Battye & Telisa Courtney, Drama and Political Science, University of Alberta,“Enacting Change: Contexts and Conditions for (Re)Connecting Divided Communities Using Theatre for Development”
11:20 – 11:35 Graduate Student Journal
Journal Editor: Megan Perram
11:35-12:30 Lunch Break
12:35 – 14:00 Keynote: (En)Forced (Mis)Connections
Mansoureh Modarres, University of Alberta and McEwan University,“Storytellers in Search of the Unpresentable”
Kara Abdomaleki, Bredin Centre, “The Apocalyptic Allure of Alex and Ali-Akbar”
Mimi Okabe, University of Alberta,“Refashioning Diversity: Reflections on Institutional Prejudice in Higher Education”
Jay Friesen, University of Alberta,“A nontrivial Commitment: Reflections on Connecting with Communities as an Emerging Academic”
14:10 – 15:30 Panel Eight. Language Borders: Connections & Misconnections
Moderator: Cristian Guerra
Commentator: Dr. Yvonne Lam
Baird, Edgson, Toal & Lefebvre, Communication Sciences and Disorder, University of Alberta, “The Role of Social Comparison on Cognitive Load and Reading Performance in Typical Readers”
HongLiang Fu, Elementary Education, University of Alberta, “Moving between cultures: Chinese and international teachers’ co-teaching experiences in a bilingual international school”
Kyle Napier, Communications and Technology, University of Alberta,“Reconnecting to the Spirit of Language”
Rahmawaty Kadir, Secondary Education, University of Alberta, “Language use and language attitudes among the Gorontalo tribe in Indonesia”
15:30 – 15:35 Closing Remarks –Dr. Micah True (Associate Chair, Graduate-Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
Information on presentations:
Alexandre Araujo: I have got a Social Sciences degree and worked as a social studies teacher from 2010 to 2017 in public and private schools in Brazil. I obtained my Master’s degree in 2015 and investigated the stances students from different social classes have about their schools. Currently, I am a 3rd year Ph.D. student in the secondary education department at the University of Alberta. My research goal is to delve deeper into marginalized students’ representations about their school and the national-state they are part of. This interest stems from the perception that there is a scarcity of conceptual resources to understand and support the path of impoverished pupils in schools, which tends to further their sense of marginalization. I have also taught the course Language, Literacy, and Society for B.Ed. students at the University of Alberta since the Fall of 2017.
Plebeian citizenship: alternative forms of youth expression in segregated urban spaces: Urban spaces in Latin America are deeply segregated and have sharp spatial contrasts in living conditions (Caldeira, 2000; Koonings & Kruijt, 2007). These contrasts affect the way people who live in segregated spaces see themselves within the broader community, especially the youth, who tend to develop alternative conceptions about themselves and their surroundings (Saraví, 2004). This proposal aims to explore one of the alternatives that emerged in metropolitan regions in Brazil called “rolezinhos” (strolls), in which adolescents from impoverished areas created events through social media to meet at shopping centres and have fun. These meetings, nonetheless, generated panic among store owners and costumers who felt that the agglomeration of these teenagers posed a threat to their security and their business. As a consequence, several shopping mall managers in Brazil obtained legal warrants to prevent these meetings from happening there, claiming there would be criminals infiltrated to steal goods and wreak havoc. Some media channels claimed the gatherings were part of insurgent forms of resistance by young people contesting the inequalities they observed in their daily lives. This paper, nonetheless, argues that the emergence of “rolezinhos” is an alternative expression created by the impoverished youth that simultaneously accepts and rejects the conceptions and ideas put forth by the mainstream media and upper classes. This paradox is part of an emerging “plebeian citizenship”, defined as “a pragmatic, issue-centred, and post-ideological conception of politics rooted in daily life and needs” (Forment, 2015, p. 124).
Alexis Baird, Meghan Edgson, Mikayla Toal, Emilie Lefebvre: Alexis, Meghan, Emilie, and Mikayla are all completing the first year of their Master’s degrees in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Alberta. While they each come from different undergraduate research backgrounds, their mutual research interests include communication disorders, social contexts, understanding and production mechanisms, social comparison, reading, cognitive load, and hidden disability. They have been working together for several months on a collaborative research project that investigates internal and external social pressures on reading performance on typical readers and readers with dyslexia.
The Role of Social Comparison on Cognitive Load and Reading Performance in Typical Readers: According to the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada, at least 1 in 10 Canadians live with a learning disability, of which a large portion includes people with dyslexia. These individuals may experience higher social anxiety when reading or writing around others. The present study examines typical readers in both individual and social comparison groups where performance was compared based on reaction time responding to different word types, as well as recall ability. In order to create a normed sample, typical readers were specifically evaluated in the scope of this study. Data was collected from 16 participants obtained through computer assessment and completion of anxiety related questionnaires. Participants were tested with four different word types and their reaction times and recall abilities were analyzed using paired sample t-tests showing performance on cognitive load. Results showed a statistically significant difference between social and independent groups for regular words. Future directions include the expansion of this study to compare typical readers with individuals with dyslexia. This is done in the hope of creating a thorough research base that will bring attention to the effects sustained by individuals attempting to mask their disabilities due to embarrassment or shame. This study is significant for education and health care systems as findings can inform adaptations for individuals living with dyslexia. Additionally, there is limited data on Canadians living with hidden disabilities such as dyslexia and this study is the first step in representing these individuals in the literature.
Anna Antonova: Anna Antonova is a fourth-year PhD student at the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta, specializing in Translation Studies. She completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Translation Studies at Donetsk National University (Ukraine) and has worked as a translator, editor, and interpreter in multiple translation projects in Ukraine and Greece. Anna’s previous academic work focused on literary translation of poetry and children’s fiction into Russian and Ukrainian. Her current research interests include the implications of gender for literary translation, with specific emphasis on feminist translation theories and cross-cultural representation of Canadian women’s fiction.
Towards a Translator Criticism: (Mis)translating Connections in Alice Munro’s “Too Much Happiness”: In Towards a Translation Criticism, Antoine Berman centers translation analysis on the translator’s personality itself, suggesting “translating position,” “translation project,” and “translating horizon” as the cornerstones of any translation critique. In this presentation, I will apply Berman’s model to show how a translation project enforcing its inherent biases on the target text may produce a textual product serving imperialist, rather than purely cultural, purposes and, eventually, misrepresenting the original.
I will focus my discussion on Alice Munro’s “Too Much Happiness” and its Russian translation “Слишком много счастья” by Andrey Stepanov. Although Munro’s short story, based on the life of the Russian mathematician Sophia Kovalevsky, does invite connections between the source and target cultures, Stepanov’s domesticating approach and deliberate parallels with Chekhovian style and motifs betray his intention to assert his country’s cultural and literary superiority through his translation project. At the same time, his use of the paratext (end notes) reveals the translator’s condescending attitude towards the source text and its author.
As a result, the Russian translation of “Too Much Happiness” plays up non-essential cultural connections and undermines the writer’s critical perspective on the Russian reality, at the same time discrediting the story’s complex main character and effectively erasing the feminist undertones of Munro’s narrative. A careful examination of this case study building on Berman’s critical model problematizes the widely-discussed concept of translator’s agency and emphasizes the importance of comprehensive translator-centered analysis combining textual and extratextual approaches.
Banafshe Mohammadi: Banafsheh Mohammadi is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art and Design and a University of Alberta graduate fellow. She specializes in history and theory of 20th-century architecture and religious studies. Her multidisciplinary doctoral research explores the petroleum-based aesthetics that emerged during 1940s and 1950s in the United States through the works of architectural historians Joseph Rykwert and Vincent Scully, and historians of religion Henry Corbin and Mircea Eliade. Banafsheh’s larger research and teaching interests include philosophy of architecture, and ecological and postcolonial critique. Her book, the Farsi translation of The Ethical Function of Architecture is published by Nashre-No in Iran and she is currently working on the Farsi translation of Disfiguring: Art, Architecture, Religion. Her latest article on the ethical necessity of social and environmental justice is published by The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design.
Connecting Images and Archetypes: Olga Frobe-Kapteyn and the Making of The History of Religions: A 16th-century Indian watercolor depiction of Noah’s ark has, surprisingly, much in common with a 20th-century abstract piece by American painter Mark Rothko. They can be interpreted as representations of a single archetype: eternity and beyond as visualized by the color “blue.” That these idiosyncratic images have come to be associated with a single archetype is the result of Dutch art historian Olga Frobe-Kapteyn’s life-long goal of collecting archetypes. Travelling throughout the world in the 1940s and 1950s, Frobe-Kapteyn collected over a thousand images that she believed represented archetypes—to be precise, Karl Gustav Jung’s archetypes. Her image archive came to be known as the visual proof that Jung’s archetypes held true universally. Moreover, through the annual conferences and exhibitions she held in her residence, her image archetype collection served as the cornerstone on which the discipline of the history of religions emerged.
Historians of religion Henry Corbin and Mircea Eliade frequented Frobe-Kapteyn’s circles. They referred to her collection of image-archetypes as representations of the essence of things which seen holistically, represented the essence of religion itself. In this paper I investigate the argument made by these historians of religion. I look for the connections made between image archetypes and essence of religions. Ultimately, I critique the making of this connection as the very foundation of the aestheticization of religion.
Bart Romanek: Bart Romanek is a Master’s student with MLCS, in the Transnational and Comparative Literature stream. He grew up in Edmonton, but is originally from Tarnów, Poland. His specialization is in medieval Norse literature and manuscript studies, and he has previous experience in Classical (predominantly Roman) literature as well. His linguistic capabilities are in Latin, Swedish, and Old Norse, though this is not an exhaustive list. With an interest in language, literature, and history, his research focus is on the construction of gender and sexuality, particularly in medieval Europe, and the reception of medieval culture in the present day. His time is filled with various volunteer positions, and he is currently Graduate Student Council president and representative for MLCS Department Council, as well as the treasurer for Sorry, Not Sorry Productions, a local theatre group. His interests lie in medievalism, film and television, and anything to do with books and manuscripts.
Óðinn, one of the most iconic symbols within Norse paganism, is perhaps a strange choice to lead the pantheon of the hypermasculine society of the pre-Christian Nordic world. Representing several mythological aspects, Óðinn’s paramount attribute is wisdom. Known as the All-father (alfǫðr), Óðinn is both literally the progenitor of many mythological characters, as well as figuratively the central deity of the pantheon. Through his hanging on the world tree Yggdrasil, which acts as a physical throughline for the mythology, Óðinn embodies the importance of sacrificial ritual to Norse paganism, and places himself at the centre of the sacred dendritic structure. Recently, scholarship has considered Óðinn through the critical lens of gender and sexuality, and argued for his interpretation as a queer deity, due in part to his fluidic nature and challenge to gender-binarism. Given Óðinn’s fundamental role in its mythology, Norse paganism is therefore not simply queer-affirming, but queer-centric. Óðinn provides a vital ingress for queer theory to examine the social-spatial (dis)connections of queerness within Norse paganism and the reality in which it developed. Moreover, as mythology seeks to codify etiological narratives, and given its enduring place within human consciousness, it is vital to examine queerness within mythology not only to understand how it is constructed, but also how mythology can inform contemporary queer resistance to heteronormativity and patriarchy. Thus, as he has done for centuries, Óðinn continues to play a crucial role in the acquisition of wisdom, and is perhaps not such a strange choice to lead after all
Dominika Tabor: Dominika Tabor is a first-year PhD student in the department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, specialization Transnational and Comparative Literatures, at the University of Alberta. Her research interests include children’s literature, fairy tales, Canadian literature, and travel writing.
Let’s sing about our troubles! Americanization and Disneyfication of the Brothers Grimm’s Snow White:The aim of the paper is to examine how Disney Americanized European fairy tales by depriving them of violence, and rendering them safe entertainment. The analysis was conducted on one of the most popular fairy tales, “Snow White”, written by the Brothers Grimm, as it was the first tale that was adapted by Walt Disney into a full-length feature film. By showing differences between the original story of Grimm’s “Snow White” and Disney’s movie “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” I highlight the impact of Disney and its film technology on fairy tales, and the way fairy tales are perceived by contemporary readers and viewers. Moreover, the paper touches upon the way Walt Disney used the story of Snow White in order to create a modern American society, with the character of Snow White being the personification of its new American spirit. Both the fairy tale and the film were analysed in the light of psychological and sociological methodologies of two experts in the field of fairy tales and children’s literature, Bruno Bettelheim and Jack Zipes. The paper proves how much Disney affected and reengineered European fairy tales.
Black is Beautiful: The Impacts of Western Notions of Beauty on Appearance Practices of Black Women: The social and political dimensions of contemporary appearance practices are evident in all social settings and gatherings. Cultural influences, such as Western fashion, music, film, and beauty industries play a significant role in shaping ideals and perceptions of beauty. In a concerted effort to conform to societal norms, significant pressure is placed on us daily in terms of how we dress and alter our appearance, even though we may remain oblivious to this fact. In this essay, I will argue that the socialization of Eurocentric beauty standards in North America consciously and subconsciously pervades beauty choices made by racialized North American women, as well as women in other geographical and cultural contexts that value these standards. I will focus on the experiences of Black women using ethnographic details from two semi-formal interviews I conducted for this study. This analysis contextualized the intersections of beauty, race, and appearance practices as it relates to Black women in Western society. The main topics of focus included: the lack of diversity in the cosmetic and beauty industry, shadeism and colourism, social mobility and privileges related to skin tone, body image and the biopolitics of fatness, the medicalization of beauty, colonial impacts on beauty standards, and media influences on appearance. Emic terms and phrases from the interviews, as well as other anthropological scholarly sources will be used as evidence to support my claims. Overall, the hardships faced by racialized women participating in beauty practices are driven by Eurocentric beauty standards.
HongLiang Fu: Hongliang Fu is a doctoral candidate in department of Elementary Education at University of Alberta. Her research interests focus on the early childhood education, bilingual education and teacher education.
Moving between cultures: Chinese and international teachers’ co-teaching experiences in a bilingual international school: This study aims to investigate Chines teachers and international teachers’ of co-teaching experiences in a Chinese-English international school in. Co-teaching means two fully qualified co-teachers, one international and one Chinese, work as teaching partners and share responsibilities for the care and education of students in their class. Limited research has investigated co-teaching from the perspectives of both local, Chinese teachers and international teachers. This study aimed to understand the influence of difference cultures on teachers’ pedagogical practices and beliefs in an international kindergarten.
The research questions guiding the study are: How do culturally different teachers experience and perceive co-teaching in the international school context? How does co-teaching influence teaching practices? This qualitative case study drew on social constructivist and ecological theory to investigate co-teaching in an international school context. Methods included classroom observations, field notes, and interviews with teachers and school administrators. Six teachers and two administrators at the international kindergarten in China participated in the interviews regarding their co-teaching experiences and their perceptions of the influence of co-teaching on their teaching. The study found there were cultural and educational differences among different co-teaching teams. The cultural differences between co-teachers had influence on the way of teachers’ teaching and learning. Working in the cross-cultural environment, both Chinese and international teachers have adjusted their traditional ways of teaching by respecting different pedagogies, beliefs and cultures. Recommendations for practical co-teaching practices and further research were discussed.
John Musyoki: John Mukonzi Musyoki is a writer, dramaturge and a theatre academic. He is undertaking PhD candidate in Performance Studies in the Department of Drama at the University of Alberta. Mukonzi graduated from Kenyatta University in Kenya on July 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in English, Linguistics and Literature. He later went on to do his Masters in the University of Alberta specializing in Kenyan Theatre. Musyoki has been in Canada for three years and has worked as a playwright, director, dramaturge and a researcher for Workshop West Playwrights’ Theatre, Fringe Theatre, Timms Centre Studio Theatre, MAA and PAA Theatre, The Citadel Theatre and the University of Alberta Drama Department
RESUTURING THE KENYAN NATIONAL IDENTITY Displacement and Reconciliation in Francis Imbuga’s The Return of Mgofu: This paper examines reconciliation and displacement as a critical thematic undertone in The Return of Mgofu (2011), a play by Kenyan Francis Imbuga. The play dramatizes the lifespan of a great traditional seer, Mgofu, tracing his painful journey from banishment, to death, rebirth and eventual return home following ethnic violence that erupts in his homeland. The play employs an African indigenous perspective founded on the sanctity of life, birth and rebirth, to challenge the political nature of the Kenyan ethnic identity. The notions of home, safety, belonging play a crucial part in formulating poignant questions on what it means to be Kenyan in the post-conflict era. In December 2007, Kenya experienced a detrimental civil war that reshaped the political landscape of the country. The performance space conjured by the play allows the audience to reflect on how ethnic identities are politicized, thus working towards a cohesive national identity.
Imbuga debunks notions of ethnic enclaves and land entitlement, which are constructs of colonial territories. The play is presented to us by two spirits sent back to the world of the living by ancestors. The presence of the spirits of the dead on stage frames many layers of displacement, which include displacement from one’s homeland, dreams, aspirations, safety and life. Another of the performance’s themes, ‘returning,’ investigates possibilities for reconciliation beyond borderlines, time and pain. This paper discusses how the play performs the acts of displacement and return, thus emphasizing the possibility of stitching back the Kenyan society
John Battye & Telisa Courtney: John Battye is a PhD Candidate in Performance Studies. He combines his research in media and the body with a practical focus on theatre for development. Telisa Courtney is a PhD Candidate in Political Science, with a research focus on attitude change and reconciliation of former child soldiers and their communities.
Enacting Change: Contexts and Conditions for (Re)Connecting Divided Communities Using Theatre for Development: “Enacting Change” was a collaborative art-research project that took place in Gulu, Uganda in 2018. An international Development Studies graduate student working with a grassroots NGO and two theatre practitioners, one local and one Canadian, devised and implemented an original community workshop programme. Using theatrical processes, we investigated the utility of theatre for development in community reconciliation. By facilitating a workshop that used play, improvisation and other techniques with a community of former child soldiers and never-recruited community members, we enabled participants to use theatrical means to explore important issues brought up by the community with an aim to bring them closer together. Ultimately, participation and engagement emerged as key factors in determining how markers of success were met. With a focus on looking at how theatre can be used to reconnect a divided community, we will discuss the themes explored in the workshop (gender [in]equality, child protection, access to resources, self-advocacy, intra-community communication, reconciliation), and the challenges and conditions that came out of this project as necessary for theatre for development work in this context to thrive.
Jonathan Garfinkel: In 2007, at age 34, Jonathan Garfinkel was selected by the Toronto Star as “one to watch”. Since then he has gone on to publish an internationally celebrated memoir, Ambivalence: Crossing the Israel/Palestine Divide, as well as the Governor General’s shortlisted play House of Many Tongues. His award-winning poetry, non-fiction and plays have been anthologized and translated into twelve languages, and his first novel, The Altruist, is forthcoming with House of Anansi Press (2020). Currently he is doing his PhD in cultural studies, with a focus on medical and health humanities in the MLCS department at University of Alberta.
A Diabetes Diary: Notes from the Bio-Hack Revolution: Arthur Frank writes, “Just as political and economic colonialism took over geographic areas, modernist medicine claimed the body of its patient as its territory” (1999). For the past year I have been writing “A Diabetes Diary”, a literary memoir project that will be the core of my PhD dissertation at University of Alberta. The diary is a reflection on living with a revolutionary technology called “Loop”. Thanks to this Do-It-Yourself bio-hack, created with open source software and instructions downloaded from Facebook, type one diabetics such as myself have built an app on their iPhones that let their Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGM) and insulin pump work together in real time with a sophisticated algorithm created by one of its FB community members. This DIY movement has singlehandedly built the “holy grail” of diabetes treatment, as close to an artificial pancreas as anyone has come. There is nothing else like this available on the free market.
In this paper I would like to reflect upon specific discoveries of A Diabetes Diary by drawing on several excerpts that reflect a post-colonial response to the paternalistic and prescriptive discourses of Western medicine. If, as Frank writes, “Post-colonialism in its most generalized form is the demand to speak rather than be spoken for,” then the experience of illness for the patient in the post-modern (and post-colonial) era is an act of reclaiming the patient’s voice. A Diabetes Diary speaks to these forces by reclaiming the patient narrative through an act of literary and technological imagining.
Katya Chomitzky: Katya Chomitzky is currently a Master of Arts candidate in Modern Languages and Cultural studies and a Research Assistant at the Kule Folklore Centre at the University of Alberta. Having completed her undergraduate degree with a major in Political Science and a minor in the History of Art, Design and Visual Culture, Katya’s research aims to connect the two worlds of traditional art and its political function. Specializing in Media and Cultural Studies, with a focus on postsoviet decolonization, her current research interests are in cultural preservation, cultural revival and material culture.
Untangling Threads of Conflict: Ukrainian Embroidery as a Tool of Decolonization: From hieroglyphs to emoticons, symbols are used to communicate a variety of messages, requiring contextual and cultural understanding to be decoded. In traditional Ukrainian cultures, embroidery acts as this symbol. When considering folk art and the manipulation, appropriation and suppression of its symbolism throughout colonization, the question of value arises. To determine how these traditions can be utilized within decolonization, we must consider the cultural value as well as the colonial value of each. By this, I mean the value of either destroying the culture or appropriating it in order to dichotomize it, both of which are common practices found in colonization.
With the collapse of an allegedly centralized economy and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the modern Ukrainian nation struggles to establish a unified cultural identity. For the purpose of derussification, establishing a clearly defined national identity distinct from Russia’s, and for national unification, traditional methods of Ukrainian embroidery are being revived and popularized in modern society. My research creates parallels between the modern creation and uses Ukrainian folk embroidery and Canadian Indigenous weavings as political tools of decolonization, emphasizing the cultural and political value of reclaiming identity through folk art and traditions. By demonstrating the ways in which a variety of embroidery techniques from various geographical regions relate to one another, my research looks at the continued importance of traditional symbolism of motifs, patterns and colours in their modern adaptations and mediums
Kerry Sluchinski: Pursuing a PhD in Applied Linguistics, Kerry Sluchinski is a government accredited Chinese-English translator who has a passion for language learning and teaching. Kerry is a discourse analyst whose main research interests lie in the functional aspects of written language use and discourse, including positioning, indexicality, co-constructed meanings, and identities.
Referential Forms in Digital Chinese LGBTQ Discourses: As all identities, ‘sexual identities’ are co-constructed in interactions. However, they are very much based on outsiders’ stereotypical perceptions, not how one communicates those identities themselves. Thus, other-defined identities are often at odds with self-defined identities, leading to social conflicts. By examining the language use of online Chinese “Anti” and “Pro” LGBT communities, this study investigates the role that third person pronouns play in the construction of sexual identities.
Kyle Napier: Kyle is a dene/nêhiyaw métis from Northwest Territory Métis Nation who has dedicated himself to Indigenous language reclaimation. He worked with his nation for four years, and is now a graduate student through the University of Alberta.
Dr. Lana Whiskeyjack: Lana is a treaty iskwew from Saddle Lake Cree Nation and is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Extension at the University of Alberta (since 2017). In 2017, Lana completed her iyiniw pimâtisiwin kiskeyihtamowin doctoral program at University nuhelot’įne thaiyots’į nistameyimâkanak Blue Quill, a former Indian Residential School attended by two generations of her own family. Lana leads this research.
Reconnecting to the Spirit of Language: The goal of our community work is to find the patterns of actions which critically impact the vitality of Indigenous languages. This community work then offers solutions to language revitalization and acquisition as proposed by nêhiyawêwin learners. This work looks specifically to nȇhiyawȇwin (Cree language) loss as coinciding with the disconnection to the land through colonization, Catholicism and capitalism, while then identifying solutions to Indigenous language revitalization and acquisition as proposed by nêhiyawêwin learners.
We invited diverse nêhiyawêwin learners and speakers from urban environments to First Nation reserves within the boundaries of Treaty 6 to contribute their voice in sharing circles. Those nêhiyawêwin learners in the sharing circles identified problems of previous research around Indigenous communities and languages. They acknowledged the historical and ongoing consequences of colonization, capitalism, and residential schooling as affecting nêhiyaw relationships with the language, land, and ancestral governance and kinship systems. Further, the group discussed hesitations around institutional involvement, and concerns around intellectual property.
These community conversations also addressed the holistic worldview of Indigenous languages as being from and of the land, and recognized the land as having its own spirit. Further, Elders and community members shared the importance of honouring the living language through land-based Indigenous pedagogies through reciprocal-relational methods, such as ceremony, environmental stewardship and mentorship.
The researchers, Dr. Lana Whiskeyjack and Kyle Napier, are both of nêhiyawak descent and are each dedicated to restoring their connection to the land, the languages of their lineage, traditional governance and kinship systems
Malou Brower: Malou Brouwer holds a Bachelor’s degree in French Language and Culture, and two Master’s degrees; in Francophone Literature and Literary Studies. She is a first-year PhD student in Transnational and Comparative Literatures at the University of Alberta. Her current research examines the possibilities and pitfalls of Indigenous comparative literature and of a trans-Indigenous approach towards Francophone and Anglophone Indigenous literatures. Dealing with these questions, her most recent article, “Comparative Indigenous Literature: bridging the gap between Francophone and Anglophone Indigenous literatures”, was published in Post-Scriptum (December 2019). Her research interests include Indigenous literatures, Native feminism, Francophonie, women’s writing and more generally postcolonial studies.
Surviving Translation: Rhetorical Sovereignty in Francophone Indigenous poetry: In his article “Rhetorical Sovereignty: What Do American Indians Want from Writing”, Scott Richard Lyons presents rhetorical sovereignty as an inherent right of peoples to determine their communicative needs and their modes of public discourse (Lyons, 2000). In presenting rhetorical sovereignty as a right, Lyons implies that rhetorical sovereignty is something that one has. At the same time, Lyons considers rhetorical sovereignty as a praxis, a mode of action. In this respect, rhetoric does do something, whether it is influencing, persuading, moving, etc. Lyons argues that writing is one way to carry out this praxis. Yet, he also claims that writing is a compromised method of rhetorical sovereignty because it is carried out in a colonized, violent scene of writing.
Whereas Lyons limits his discussion of rhetorical sovereignty to legal and educational documents, I propose to study the use of Indigenous languages as a method of rhetorical sovereignty in Indigenous poetry. I aim to show how the use of Indigenous languages in Francophone Indigenous poetry resists the dominant languages from within what Lyons calls the colonized scene of writing. I will pay specific attention to translation examining how Indigenous languages survive the translation process (from French to English) and the domination of these two languages, and how this can be considered a rhetorical sovereignty strategy. My paper will focus on Natasha Kanapé Fontaine’s N’entre pas dans mon ame avec tes chaussures (Do Not Enter My Soul In Your Shoes), Manifeste Assi (Assi Manifesto), Bleuets et abricots (Blueberries and Apricots), and the bilingual collection of poetry Langues de notre terre/Languages of our Land.
Megan Perram: Megan Perram (she/her) is a PhD student in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta. Her research centers digital hyperlink technology and illness narratives of women with hyperandrogenism. Megan’s professional experience includes interning in the office of the Provincial Minister of the Status of Women, working as a Gender and Sexuality Historical Researcher for Fort Edmonton Park, and the role of Editorial Assistant for Transplantation Journal. Her latest publication, an illness narrative entitled “Conversations with Buer”, can be found in the Journal of Families, Systems and Health.
Writing New Bodies: Critical Co-design for 21st Century Digital-born Bibliotherapy: Body image concerns affect the well-being of a generation who are coming of age immersed in digital culture. This is particularly true for young women and gender nonconforming people of diverse intersectional backgrounds who regularly confront appearance-related pressures. The “Writing New Bodies” project (“WNB”; SSHRC IG 435-2018-1036; Ensslin et al., 2019) addresses these issues by developing a digital fiction for body image bibliotherapy. The literary story game encourages emotional and verbal engagement with various challenges facing young women and gender nonconforming people today, including cis- and heteronormative gender relations, racism, anti-fat attitudes, ableism, and familial influences on women’s appearances. The WNB project uses interactive digital storytelling that deconstructs normative conceptions of power to help reader/players build resilience to external and internal body-related pressures. In four workshops held in April-May 2019, the WNB team worked with 21 diverse participants who are acting as co-designers for the digital fiction. During the workshops we used methods of free writing, small group discussions, and multilinear game design. Workshop intervention called on participants to hyper-textualize body-related experiences and explore diverse options for an ontological reimagining of appearance-driven neoliberalist pressures. Early technological platforms being considered include a resource-based web portal with a downloadable mobile application. Ultimately a work of digital fiction will be developed in community-tested iterations by leading feminist e-lit artist and WNB research-creationist, Christine Wilks. A thematic design brief informed by the participants of the workshop will be discussed in context of tracing spaces of violence to solidarity.
Peter Morley: Peter Morley is a second-year PhD student in the Media and Cultural Studies stream of MLCS. He holds a dual Master’s degree (MSc/MA) in Global Media and Communications from the London School of Economics and the University of Southern California, and received his BA (philosophy) from the U of A in 2011.
Wexit: A Fantasy Theme Analysis of Albertan Separatism in 2019: Alberta separatist movements have existed in some form or other since the 1930s. Specific motivations for Albertan separatism are usually traced to resentment of perceived disproportionate equalization payments. The “Wexit” movement, the most recent articulation of separatist sentiment, extends beyond economic concerns and represents a deep cultural and ideological divide between Albertan pro-industry conservative activists and the broader Canadian understanding of confederacy.
This paper presents a fantasy theme analysis of online Wexit discourse on Facebook, and finds deep similarities between Wexit and other nationalist-populist movements such as the Alt-Right in the United States and the Brexit movement in the United Kingdom. I argue that the Wexit rhetorical vision is more compatible with burgeoning anti-democratic populist movements outside of Canada’s borders than with the liberal-democratic project of Canadian confederacy. Still, the Brexit process has been fraught with failed proposals, leadership setbacks and heated public controversy, while the US President – favoured by the Alt-Right – is facing impeachment. What makes Wexit appealing to its proponents, when other conservative populist movements have not gone according to plan?
Rahmawaty Kadir: I am a PhD student in the secondary education department. My research interests include, but not limited to the following areas; EFL pedagogy, sociolinguistics, and language preservation and maintenance.
Language use and language attitudes among the Gorontalo tribe in Indonesia: As a multilingual nation, the majority of Indonesians are fluent speakers of their mother tongue as well as the national language, which also serves as the medium of instruction at school. Gorontalo language (Bahasa Hulondalo) is an indigenous language spoken by the Gorontalo tribe in the northern part of Celebes (Sulawesi) island, Indonesia. In a complex linguistic context in which hundreds of languages are spoken across the island it has been difficult for Gorontalo language to maintain its position and vitality. With a nation- and island-wide need to have a common language for communication and economic benefits, the Gorontalo language must compete with Bahasa Indonesia, the official language, and English, the foreign language of the school curriculum. Moreover, the use of Malay colloquial languages such as Manado Malay and Gorontalo Malay as a popular dialect among Gorontalo people has been seen as a threat to Gorontalo’s vitality. Maintaining the language vitality greatly depends on the attitude portrayed towards it.
This article reports on an online survey administered to investigate language use and language attitudes among the Gorontalese inhabitants (n=331). The participants represent different age groups, gender, educational backgrounds, and domiciles. The primary instrument used in this study is a sociolinguistic questionnaire that comprises three distinct sections: demographic background, language use of English, Bahasa Indonesia, and Gorontalo language in different domains and language attitudes to each. Results show that Bahasa Indonesia is used predominantly in different domains by 85.5% of Gorontalese, though only 39.5 % of the participants can produce some words and simple sentences in Gorontalo. The study also reveals that most Gorontalese have positive attitudes toward the language. More than half of the participants agree to the importance of knowing and using their local language, maintain and teach the language to their children, acknowledge the language as a part of their identity and are interested in keeping their language alive.
Rachel Green: A recent graduate with a Master of Arts in French literature, having previously graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education, Rachal Green is currently undertaking independent scholarly research prior to commencing doctoral studies. Her research centers on the intricate and symbolic relationship between domestic architectural configuration and French nineteenth-century literature.
“Lock the Door and Throw Away the Key”: Imprisonment and Ostracization in Honoré de Balzac’s Le Père Goriot, La Grande Bretèche and Eugénie Grandet: Jostled like a “marble in a maze” (Richer, 2012, p. 215) on a mosaic comprised of differential spaces, characters – positioned on distinct actantial poles in a “complex network of ever movable and interchangeable positions” (Mucignat, 2012, p. 22) – are defined in relation to doors in residential milieus. Banished from a home for exposing a shameful family secret, imprisoned in a bedroom as a punitive measure, or walled in to stifle a scandalous relationship, characters are locked in (up) or locked out by antagonistic personages to impose socio-spatial control. Doors conceived as spatial barriers that enforce social dissociation are crucial to crystallizing abstract concepts of asymmetrical power relations, exclusion and the struggle for acceptance. If Mikhaïl Bakhtin (1978) argues that the act of crossing a threshold is socially transformative and symbolizes a “crisis”, we might consider the inability to cross a threshold as a crisis of stasis that silences and stifles those who are either shut-in or shut out. Pivoting around the idea that the person who wields the key, wields the power to (en)force separation, we aim to analyze and contrast the narratological role of isolation and ousting (antonymous protective measures that both render the door a rigid wall) in three of French nineteenth-century writer Honoré de Balzac’s novels (1799-1850) as an attempt to circumscribe subversive individuals’ access to certain spaces and impede them from disrupting the fragile status quo.
Saman Rezeai: Saman Rezeai is currently studying towards a PhD in transnational and comparative literature at the University of Alberta.
Arash the Archer: A Persian Epic Story. From Bordering the Fatherland to National Identity: The present paper seeks to demonstrate how the story of Arash the Archer is to be conceived in terms of fatherland, border and identity. In order to illustrate how this epic story contributes to the idea of a unified nation and national identity this paper draws upon theories of David Miller, Volkan and Kristeva to historicize these concepts and also to apply them in the contemporary context. It also identifies the constitutive elements of the concept of fatherland which bear an important share in construction of the notion of nationality and national identity manifested in Arash the Archer. The epic story of Arash the Archer has been recounted in three sources: Avesta, Shahnameh (during national identity crisis for Iranians) and in the contemporary poem of Siavash kasraee, Arash-e Kamangir (Arash the Archer, as an example of re-emergence of this story in a modern context), which serve to open up a fresh ground to analyze the proposed concepts. After the war between Iran and Turan during the kingdom of Manoochehr, Arash climbs the mount Damavand and from there shoots an arrow to determine the border of Iran. Arash puts his life into the arrow and after releasing it, he dies. Through this paper I am going to emphasize how this story embraces the elements of modern definition of nationality and national identity theorized in 19th and 20th centuries.
Key Words: Persian Epic, Border, Fatherland, Nationality, National Identity
Shahab Nadimi: Shahab Nadimi is currently a graduate PhD student at the university of Alberta. He received his MA in English Literature from the University of Kurdistan and his major research interests are Literary and Critical Theory, and World literature with a special focus on born-translated refugee novels.
Refugee Words are on the Move: The present paper seeks to explore how world literature opens up a fresh ground to study “born-translated refugee novels”. There are dozens of literary corpuses that do not completely fit into the category of national literature and even transmit national language borders to seek literary asylums in the cosmopolitan literary centers. The refugee words cross borders and pass through wars and violence so as to be heard, voiced and to prove that words are the most powerful weapon against violence and war through another mode of representation. This article aims to offer that the interaction between world literature and refugee literature provides an opportunity for some refugee novels to be born-translated and to be established as a new literary genre. It also argues that refugee novels are born to be translated while they are “on the move” and “in transit” and addresses those artworks which have no country or any connection with nation-states. A close look at this interaction lead us to see how world literature and aesthetics of born-translated novels provides further discussion about a forgetting literature that is homeless and calls for the dramatic shift in the literary history in the contemporary world. In attempting to capture a clear perspective of the relation between world literature and refugee novels, this article draws upon the theories of David Damrosch, Pascal Casanova, Rebeca Walkowitz, as well as Alexander Beecroft with special reference to the issue of the citizenship of the born translated refugee novel in a critically acclaimed novel No Friend But The Mountains by Behrouz Boochani.
Shreyashi Ganguly: I am currently a first year MA student in the Department of Sociology at University of Victoria. I did my undergraduate in Sociology from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata. I finished my first MA from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, also in Sociology after which I worked as an editor at an English daily for two years. Some of my research interests include humour, its potential for discrimination against specific caste groups in the Indian context, identity politics, politics of recognition, collective micropolitical resistance, everyday forms of resistance and various aspects of the social media. I have presented papers at two conferences on stand-up comedy in India and I am also greatly interested in other forms of humorous communication, especially those offered for consumption via social media outlets.
Comedy as resistance: An analysis of caste collectives’ use of comedy on social media in India as a form political resistance: The category of caste in India has been analysed from various angles but comedy, incidentally, has not been one of them. Scholarly works in the Indian context have similarly failed to take into account the potential comedy has for consolidation of a collective identity of caste that enables the group to resist the dominant ideology. In this paper, I take stand-up comedy in the country as an entry point into understanding the different ways in which comedy collectives on social media, which have come together on a shared notion of caste identity, defy the mainstream conceptualization of caste.
In the first part of my analysis, I conduct a qualitative content analysis of mainstream comedy videos available across social media platforms. I look at how the question of caste — in the form of discrimination, hierarchy, caste-based violence — is being evoked in these gigs which are becoming increasingly political in content. Through this, I unpack how the dominant discourse treats the lived experiences of minority caste groups. The second part of my analysis deals exclusively with the comedy produced by different caste groups on social media. I again conduct a qualitative analysis of the content produced by these groups in order to look at what is being joked about and who/what it is directed at. I look at how the social media becomes an avenue for political mobilization for these comedy groups. The language employed to evoke laughter, in both instances, is important to my analysis. Studying the use of expletives and abusive expressions will help gauge how the connections between the two comedy discourses is essentially founded on violence.
Sofía Monzón: Sofía Monzón is a PhD student in Comparative and Transnational Literatures at University of Alberta. Born in Spain, she completed her BA in Modern Languages and Translation Studies at Universidad de Alcalá, Spain in 2015. She received her first MA in Community Translation and Interpreting from Universidad de Alcalá, Spain in 2016, and her second MA in Spanish Literatures and Linguistics from Auburn University, United States in 2018. Her research interests include ideology, censorship, and manipulation in literary translation; North American literary reception in Spain and Latin America; self-translation and creative writing; as well as Spanish and Latin American Literatures. Sofía’s first collection of poems was published in April 2019, under the title ‘Alas’ by the publisher Editorial Club Universitario.
“Tracing Textual Violence in Literary Translation: The Struggles of Translating during Franco’s Spain and Their Cultural Outcomes”:A look at recent dictatorial regimes demonstrates that institutional censorship, due to its coercive nature, tends to enhance self-censorship techniques that rewriters carry out according to their ideology and contexts. Therefore, the impact that (self-)censorship has on literary translation can be easily analyzed in novels with highly controversial content, e.g. sexual language, religious or political references. According to Jordi Cornellà-Detrell, some censored literary works translated during the infamous Francoist censorship system (1939-1975) are still circulating and being reissued in Spain without a complete translation that does not include the censors cuts and/or the translators’ self-censorship upon it. Thus, I examine the effects that the regime’s implicit threat of violence had on translators and editors through the establishment of a censorship board that triggered the use of self-censorship techniques. I use the idea of ‘textual violence’ in self-censored literary translations carried out during the Francoism, and how the translators’ struggles to dodge institutional censorship trace outcomes that, in some cases, are still present in the Spanish cultural and literary system. To prove my point, I will delve into the re-translations of Henry Miller’s Black Spring performed during the last two decades of the regime, in comparison with a rewriting published after Franco’s downfall. With this I illustrate how pervasive and long-lasting the influence of Francoist ‘textual violence’ through censorship has been for the Spanish literary and cultural system, despite the shift in the dominant ideology in the 80s.
Wenzhu Li: Wenzhu Li is an MA student in the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Alberta, whose research interest is in modern and contemporary Chinese poetry, transnational feminism, and documentary film studies.
The Search for Self in Zhai Yongming’s “Premonition” and “The Finish”: Countering the binary logic at work in the scholarship on Zhai Yongming’s poem cycle “Woman,” this talk examines the first and the last poems of the sequence and argues that both poems represent not so much a critique of the male-dominant culture as the female speaker’s spiritual search for an independent self. The poem “Premonition” fosters an illusion of the speaker’s discovery of the self. This illusion is shattered by the repetitive rhetoric question and the parallel structure in the last poem “The Finish.” The two poems record the speaker’s journey for the sense of self and the illusion of the female consciousness. The first poem reveals that while the speaker finds herself a woman, she fails to seek recognition in that name. Setting out to separate herself from men and other women, the speaker seems to find her sense of self in the end. However, the repetition in the last poem reinforces the hopelessness of a change of the speaker’s situation even though she has already been aware of her female consciousness in the first poem. Reading two poems alongside, this talk shows that the two poems do not focus on revealing the patriarchal hierarchy between male and female. Instead, the poems register the struggle of the speaker for the female identity and the illusion of the sense of self.
Xavia A. Publius: Xavia A. Publius is a PhD student in Performance Studies at the University of Alberta. She received her B.A. in Music with a minor in LGBTQ Studies from Colgate University, and her M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Northern Iowa. A trans woman originally from the United States, her research interests include queer representation in US film and television, trans history, trans participation in the performing arts, cyborg feminism, lavender linguistics, media archaeology, and fan studies. She is a spoken word artist, drag performer, and fanfiction author, whose work often addresses mental health and trans desire.
Diffraction Patterns of Homoeroticism and Mimesis between Twelfth Night and She’s the Man: Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (1602) is well-known for its homeroticism, whereas in regards to She’s the Man (dir. Andy Fickman), a 2006 film based on Twelfth Night, the critical consensus concerning its approach to the play’s homoerotics seems to be that its strategies and meanings are dampened in the translation to film. This paper argues that while specific elements are indeed dampened, the homoerotic is still firmly present in the movie, and the perceived curtailing of much of the play’s subversive energy does not explain the film’s queer legacy. Because of the different codes surrounding homoeroticism for Elizabethan drama and Hollywood cinema, the different contours of homosocial space within the two societies, and the invention of the homosexual in the time between the two eras, the queer potential of She’s the Man resides in different moments of the story, and is filtered through capitalist strategies of queerbaiting. Therefore, I aim to show the diffraction patterns of queer and trans desire between the two works. Specifically, the different approaches to mimesis shape this intra-action, including the woman question in mimetics; the spectres of realism and psychoanalysis; shifting notions of gender, sexuality, and body; and changes in audience tastes regarding spectacle in cross-dressing stories.
Xiaoyun Wang: Xiaoyun is a PhD student in applied linguistics. Her research focuses on interactional linguistics.
On Designedly Incomplete Utterances: What Teachers Can Do with Conversational Structures for Classroom Interaction: This study investigates how teachers purposefully use incomplete utterances, known as designedly incomplete utterances (DIUs), to manage classroom interaction. DIUs have been documented as a strategy to elicit students’ self-correction (Koshik, 2002), improve students’ participation (Lerner, 1995), and solicit knowledge display (Margutti, 2010). However, how the multimodal resources (prosody, gestures, gaze, etc.) are utilized when DIUs perform various functions is undocumented.
By using the methodology of interactional linguistics, this study examines 3 hours of recordings of Mandarin as second-language classrooms, which were collected in China. The dataset consists of 12 classes, including 150 international adult students.
An examination of the data shows that the vast majority of the syntactic structures that are used in DIUs give a strong projection on the syntactic roles of the missing elements. For example, teachers design classifiers as the last syntactic component of DIUs to enable students to anticipate the missing elements are noun phrases. To signal students that the ends of DIUs are the places they should initiate their responses, teachers routinely stress the last syllable of DIUs. Bodily-visual resources that co-occurred with DIUs show various interactional functions: visual scan gaze can encourage students to do self-selection and hand gestures may give students hints. Various resources can combine together to meet the local pedagogical needs: to accomplish an actively participated new content learning activity; to facilitate achieving pedagogical goals; and to scaffold students to produce adequate answers. This study extends our understanding on how conversational structures can be a resource of teachers.
Yan Wang: Yan (Belinda) Wang is a fifth-year PhD student of Comparative Literature program in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies. She has an education background of translation studies and she is particularly interested in translating contemporary Chinese martial arts fiction. Her research focuses on the genre of Chinese martial arts and knight-errantry narratives spanning from pre-modern to contemporary China, as well as kung fu movies since the 1960s. She is interested in exploring this massive corpus of literary tradition from the perspectives of gender and queer studies, and her current project concerns the representation of sexually transgressive knights-errant in Chinese martial arts fiction and film.
Love Slave and Male Anxieties in Hong Kong Action Cinema: This paper discusses the gender representations in the Hong Kong movie Ainu (1972) against the backdrop of the feminist movement of the 1960s. Despite the centrality of female knights-errant in Chinese martial arts cinema, Ainu (literary “love slave”) is intriguing as the first Hong Kong movie to show explicit female same-sex intimacy between the female protagonists Ainu and Madam Chun. In recent years, there is growing interest in the complex gender representations in the film. Many film critics and scholars pointed out that Ainu’s gender identity reflects the anxieties provoked by the rise of female power in a patriarchal society. However, the ending of the film has inspired different readings—Ainu, after avenging herself, is poisoned by the lethal pills hidden between Madam Chun’s lips during their final kiss. Kwai-cheung Lo believes that it was the patriarchal unconsciousness which imagines women as weak and inferior that made Ainu a victim of her own “feminine” emotions (2005). Man-Fung Yip raises the possibility that Ainu and Madam Chun are one person at a discursive level, indicating that the death of one invites the death of the other (2017). In this paper, I argue that the ultimate deaths of both women result from the director’s inability to imagine a female same-sex relationship based on mutual admiration, trust and honesty, characteristics that usually foreground male same-sex relationships of the same genre. It is the framing of such intimacy as toxic in nature that male anxieties over the growing female visibility and influence in modern Hong Kong are projected.
MLCS Re-Connecting 2019
7:00 ⇒ Welcome Words
MC BRUNO SOARES DOS SANTOS
7:05 – 7:20
ELENA SIEMENS: “Athens Swigging From The Chandelier”
7:25 – 7:40
SOFIA MONZON: “Free Writing”
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”
8:25 – 8:40 Intermission
8:45 – 9:00
ANTON IORGA: “Call to Arms”
9:05 – 9:20
SAJAD SOLEYMANI YAZDI & BANAFSHEH MOHAMMADI: ‘The Weeping Circle”
9:25 – 9:40
LAURA VELAZQUEZ: “Clues”
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, http://www.Revolt-Motion.com, 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 & BANAFSHEH MOHAMMADI: “The Weeping Circle”
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 VELAZQUEZ: “Clues”
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.