This page lists the current graduate students. For a list of previous years, see Our PhD Graduates.
Becky Anderson, BA (English; French Studies, Waterloo), MA (Literary Studies, Waterloo) is a third-year PhD Candidate at UWaterloo, where she’s also pursuing a concurrent Graduate Diploma in Cognitive Science. Her research interests include new media art, fandom studies, community formation, transmedial adaptation theory, and fantasy literature. Funded by an Ontario Graduate Scholarship, her dissertation examines how virtual communities are created in massively multi-player online role-playing games and explores what kinds of self-construction emerge in these digital locales and how such self-construction reciprocally affects the living culture of the game. She’s a researcher and Graphic Artist at The Games Institute, an Associate Editor at First Person Scholar, and takes pride in being a professional procrastibaker.
Office: PAS 2212
Kasandra Arthur, HBA (Lakehead University) and MA (Lakehead University), both with a specialization in Women's Studies. Kasandra studies young adult literature, particularly the processes in which these texts are adapted to film. She is also interested in fandom studies and the ways in which audiences engage in various media telling the "same" story. Her doctoral research focuses on the relationship between author, audience, and interpretation in the Harry Potter universe. Other interests include gender studies, fantasy literature and literary theory.
Office: PAS 1232
Shereena R. Aruldason- H.BA (University of Toronto) and MA (York University) is a PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo whose research examines the potency of early modern women’s domestic manuscript writings as a social networking tool in England from 1590-1660. Focusing on recipe books, herbal and medical texts, religious writings and mother’s advice books, Shereena’s doctoral project will examine the importance manuscript culture played in the cannon of early modern women’s writing. Influenced by the theories of pragmatic language use, spatial production and practice developed by Pierre Bourdieu, Henri Lefebvre and Michel de Certeau, she is interested in such questions as; what are the circumstances under which women are producing these documents? How are manuscripts read and interpreted within the period? What impact do they have on a contemporary understanding of early modern women’s writing? Her dissertation will explore ways in which early modern women writers were able to create literary positions for themselves within social domains previously dominated by men, complicating the understanding of writing within the public and private domain.
Office: PAS 1238
Lacey Beer, Honours BA (WLU, 2010) and MA (uWaterloo, 2011) has previously held both Master’s and doctoral Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS). She is currently specializing in Composition Theory and Pedagogy. Her dissertation explores the intersections between translingualism and technology. More specifically, her work looks at how composing platforms surveil and constrain the languages and discourses available to student writers. Her critique of existing composing platforms and their impact on translingual teaching and learning emerges out of an ethnographic study on the composing processes of students in ENGL 109: Introduction to Academic Writing.
Office: SCH 227
Clare Bermingham, Honours BA (Waterloo), is a doctoral candidate whose research focuses on American queer literature and print culture. Her dissertation examines the affective and discursive construction of lesbian identity and community through literary and political discourse in the pre-Stonewall magazine, The Ladder, a project that was generously funded through a Doctoral Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS). Clare’s primary research interests are in affect, gender, and queer theory, as well as discourses of marginalization and resistance.
In addition to her doctoral study, Clare is the Director of the Writing and Communication Centre at the University of Waterloo, where she engages in projects related to Writing Centre programming, and writerly identity and self-efficacy.
Betsy Brey (BA and MA, University of Minnesota Duluth) is a PhD candidate specializing in game studies. Her research focuses on the narratological impacts of game mechanics. In particular, she researches mechanics and storytelling in metagames, virtual reality, and role-playing games. She works with the IMMERSe research network and The Games Institute, where her research has been funded with a Mitacs partnership. She is also the Editor-in-Chief for FirstPersonScholar.
Office: PAS 1066
Lauren Burr is a PhD candidate, studying locative media, augmented/alternate/hybrid realities, and pervasive games. Lauren’s recent projects include Bonfire of the Humanities, an alternate reality game designed for Congress 2012; Cytopath, an augmented reality necromedia game set in downtown Kitchener; and House of Lexia, a locative hypertext remediation of Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves. She is also a contributor to the online publication, First Person Scholar. Lauren conducts her research with both the Critical Media Lab and The Games Institute at uWaterloo, and continues to collaborate as an adjunct researcher with the Carleton University Hypertext and Hypermedia Lab after completing an MA at Carleton in 2011. Lauren’s work is generously funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Justin Carpenter, BA (Calgary), MA (Leeds), is a PhD candidate in English Language and Literature at the University of Waterloo, focusing on aesthetics, philosophy of technology, and new media art. His dissertation, supported by an Ontario Graduate Scholarship, contributes to the field of critical game studies as well, in particular discussing procedurally generated virtual worlds and how such play experiences challenge our notion of what it means when a text has "meaning" and how players can enact an "embodied" game criticism, which involves selecting theoretical positions, interpreting them, and playing them out through your in-game avatar as a form of "meta-gaming". Justin is the Book Reviews and Interviews Section Head for First Person Scholar, a member of the Generative Gaming Group at the Games Institute, and an award-winning poet. Justin is the winner of both the David Nimmo English Graduate Scholarship (2016/17) and the Graduate Poetry Award (2015/16) at University of Waterloo.
Ryan Clement, BA (Brandon University, English and History) and MA (York and Ryerson Universities, Communication and Culture), is interested, scholarly or otherwise, in games (both board and video), comics, globalization, international development, interactive art projects, travel writing, and creative writing. Working with the Games Institute and the CIHR, he is currently developing an allergy awareness-themed board game to be used in health education. For his dissertation, he is studying the relationship between games and narrative.
Office: PAS 2216
Keely Cronin, MA (Queen's University), BA (Concordia University College of Alberta), has research interests in contemporary Canadian literature and popular reading practices in Canada. Her research explores depictions of mental illness in contemporary Canadian novels, and the popularity of these texts in book clubs, CBC Canada Reads, and online reading communities.
Office: PAS 1065
Morteza Dehghani wrote comprehensive exams in New Media and Literary Theory and is now working on his dissertation, which explores the aesthetics of elegiac cinema, bringing together film and poetry. He won the department's creative writing award between 2012 and 2015 and his debut collection of poems Send My Roots Rain was published in January 2014 by North Waterloo Press. His second collection The Whale Who Breaks the Surface of Morning was published in Persian in October 2016. He is an avid reader of fiction and is also interested in continental philosophy and classical languages.
Jennifer Doyle, BA (Mount Allison University), BFA (Mount Allison University), BEd (Memorial University), MA (Wilfrid Laurier University), has research interests that include ecocriticism, American Literature, psychoanalysis, and concepts of place and being. She has just begun work on her dissertation.
Judy Ehrentraut , B.A. (University of Toronto), M.A. (Carleton University) is a PhD candidate specializing in digital humanities, new media and games studies. Her research interests include agency and identity in role-playing games, immersion and interactivity, spatial theory, cybercultures, and utopian/dystopian themes in games and literature. She is particularly interested in avatars and player representation in simulated realities, and how those realities are modeled to challenge current social and political issues globally. As a member of the Games Institute, one of her current projects is the development of a generative narratology application for in-game communication and storytelling.member of the Games Institute, one of her current projects is the development of a generative narratology application for in-game communication and storytelling.
William Fast is a PhD candidate who studies modern videogame-based iterations of Victorian England. He is particularly interested in better understanding historical games' abilities to productively revise and recreate elements of the past. His current research investigates the representation of women in neo-Victorian games and their basis in the fiction of the nineteenth century. He is a member of the University of Waterloo's Games Institute as well as an editor at First Person Scholar.
Office: HH 261
Sara Gallagher (B.A. Hons, Trent; M.A. Public Texts, Trent) is a third-year PhD Candidate. Her dissertation examines the roots of the African American West in specific regions and cultures (for example, nineteenth-century San Francisco) in order to gather a more nuanced picture of how this space has evolved into contemporary conceptualizations in literature, cinema, and other media cultures. Her research has been generously-funded by Ontario Graduate Scholarships.
England. His specific interests lie in figurative language of
representation such as metaphor and allegory and how these aspects of language change and develop throughout the period. He also writes on religious and devotional literature of the period.
Office: HH 261
Kyle Gerber, BA (Laurier) MA (Waterloo) BEd (Laurier), is a PhD candidate in the department of English Language and Literature. He is in the process of concluding his first year of the program, and is gearing up to begin reading for his area exams. Kyle is a recipient of the W. K. Thomas Graduate Scholarship and an Ontario Graduate Scholarship, and has been nominated for the TA Award for Excellence in Teaching. He is interested in Rhetoric (especially Burkean) and understandings of forgiveness, as well as Canadian Literature (especially “Mennonite” writing): the question at the nexus of these interests is “what action do we symbolize when we say ‘I forgive’?” When not taking up space on campus, Kyle enjoys working with his wife Tracy on their 175-year-old stone house, and playing mandolin in a bluegrass band that is putting the finishing touches on their third studio album.
Office: PAS 2218
Ian Gibson, BAH (Queen's), MA (Trent), is a second-year PhD candidate in the department of English Language and Literature. He has research interests in literary theory, in 19th and 20th century American literature and theology, and in just about any form of dialogue between literature and philosophy. His dissertation is an attempt to develop a claim about the nature of experience in the American poet Christian Wiman’s My Bright Abyss.
Some other interests include: the Frankfurt School (specifically Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno), philosophy of language, theology, existentialism, rhetoric, imagination, and cognitive science. And less literary/philosophical: climbing, running, camping, horror movies, video games, cartoons, and playing the drums.
Amna Haider is a third-year PhD student with two MPhil degrees in English Literature from University of Bristol, UK and Government College University, Pakistan. Her University of Bristol MPhil thesis, titled "Memory Remains: Dialectics of Gothic and Trauma, Hauntology and Narratology in Pat Barker's Historical War Novels" focused on the role and the purpose of the Gothic in the writing of war trauma in Pat Barker's historical novels. It evaluated the Gothic's particular effect in disturbing and destabilizing narrative constructions and historical representations to provide alternate discourses of understanding and perceiving trauma. It located and examined the lacunae present in the narrativization of history and analyzed how Barker's manipulation of the Gothic tropes deconstructs public history by privileging personal histories of traumatic estrangement and liminality. In her PhD dissertation she hopes to further her research into trauma theory and narrativization of history by focusing on African-American theater. She has publications on War trauma in Gothic Studies and War, Literature and the Arts journals.
Office: PAS 2224
George Henry, BA (University of Illinois at Chicago), MA (San Diego State University), is a fourth-year PhD candidate currently working feverishly to get his dissertation done before his funding runs out. Despite the acute anxiety generated by discussing himself in the third person, as well as mentioning funding, and dissertations, and work, he would like to declare research interests in humor theory; satire, parody, wit, and humor in American literature and performance; as well as the history and theory of rhetoric. George reads, watches, and listens to all types of humor with genuine fascination and gratitude as he attempts to keep a balanced perspective on life and not take himself (or much of anything else) too seriously. His dissertation is a rhetorical analysis of contemporary stand-up comedy.
Office: HH 261
Nicholas Hobin, BA (King's University College at WU) and MA (University of Waterloo), is a first-year PhD student curious about video games, narratology, Lovecraftian horror, and Shakespeare. He is currently pursuing questions about the figurative and narrative roles of space in virtual worlds, while considering broader questions of how video games manifest processes of conceptualization.
Office: PAS 2217
Christine Horton, BA (English and Political Science, University of Western Ontario) and MA (Wilfrid Laurier University), has research interests in the History and Theory of Rhetoric, Discourse Analysis, Literary Theory.
Office: PAS 1284
Mohsen Hosseini, BA and MA in English Literature (Shiraz University, Iran), is a third-year PhD candidate. For his master's degree, he worked on Gothic sublimity and the role of supernatural and superstition in ballads and romances of Coleridge and Keats. He has shifted to American Gothic since he chose American Literature as his primary area of study for the doctoral program. He is interested in Freud’s concept of “the uncanny” and its relationship to horror fiction.
Ashley Irwin, B.A. and M.A. (University of Guelph) is a Ph.D. student specializing in contemporary Black Canadian Literature. Her research interests include gender and sexuality, critical race theory, Black Canadian history, and literary theory. For her dissertation, she intends to explore the representation of racial discrimination in the works of Austin Clarke, George Elliot Clarke, Dionne Brand, and Dany Laferrière. She will pay particular attention to the way Canada grants second-tier citizenship to people of colour while paradoxically regarding itself as a racially and culturally inclusive nation. Ashley published an essay in Borders Undergraduate Arts Research Journal entitled “Grieving the Ungrievable: Negation and Recognition in Execution Poems” in 2012 and was nominated for the Associate VP Academic Teaching Assistant Award of Excellence in 2014.
Zahra Jafari, B.A and M.A (University of Isfahan), M.A (UWaterloo), is a PhD Candidate in the English Language and Literature Department at the University of Waterloo. Her areas of interest include Shakespeare, Cognitive Linguistics, Victorian Literature, Metaphor Studies, Film Studies and Audiovisual Translation.
Office: HH 261
Monique Kampherm, BA Administrative and Commercial Studies – Public Administration, Public Policy, and Political Science (Western University), MA Political Science (Western University), MA Multimedia Journalism – Television, Radio, and Online (Bournemouth University, England, UK), MA English – Rhetoric and Communication Design (University of Waterloo), is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Waterloo.
In combination with her diverse educational background, Monique’s past professional experiences as a policy advisor for the infrastructure and realty arm of the Government of Ontario, journalistic experience with Sky News Business and BBC Watchdog in England, and educational experience as a course director in the Writing Department at York University, partial-load professor in English at Seneca College, and partial-load professor in English at Sheridan, have helped shape her research interests.
Monique’s doctoral research focuses on rhetoric, digital media, and democratic engagement. She is examining the rhetorical influence of social networking in persuading democratic participation during elections.
Somayeh (Sam) Kiani
Office: PAS 2215
Sam Kiani completed her BA and MA in English Literature in Iran. She is currently working on her PhD dissertation under the supervision of Dr. Heather Smyth. Her research focuses on the dynamics of gender, sexuality, race, and diaspora in Anglophone Caribbean literature. Her interests include postcolonialism, Caribbean Literature, Diaspora studies, and women's writing.
Office: PAS 2213
Farzad Kolahjooei, BA & MA (English, Iran), is a fourth year PhD candidate, interested in literary theory, discourse analysis, film, and postmodern/contemporary fiction.
Farzad will soon defend his dissertation, “Christopher Nolan and the Art of Anamorphosis.” His dissertation combines painting, film, and literature to show how the ideology of capitalism affects subjectivity.
Jason Lajoie (@LudicScribbler) is a PhD candidate in English Language and Literature at the University of Waterloo. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with an Honours BA in English Literature and Theatre, and an MA in English Literature from the University of Ottawa. He has been the recipient of a Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Master's Scholarship, and an Ontario Graduate Scholarship. His work explores how gay identities are constructed and negotiated through media and technology, particularly in domains like online gaming and social media.
During my undergraduate studies at Carleton I double majored in English Literature and Linguistics, and played a lot of video games. During my Masters in English Literature at Carleton I specialized in science fiction and dystopia, and played a lot of video games. At some point I realized that I ought to combine these interests.
Video games are everywhere now: in books, in film, on your TV, on your phone, in the classroom, in the workplace. I want to make sense of their impact on our lives. People today spend as much time playing games as they might have spent reading books fifty years ago. How does that restructure our cognition? McKenzie Wark summarizes that “Games are no longer a pastime, outside or alongside of life. They are now the very form of life, and death, and time itself." So "play" isn't just about play anymore. Play has become work.
I believe that it's essential to understand how we are using what we learn in games to approach challenges in our real lives. To plead ignorance is to allow external forces to co-opt those influences and manipulate them in their favour. Nick Dyer-Witheford and Grieg de Peuter warn that "video games are a paradigmatic media of empire." To this I ask: what is our alternative? How can we take this cognitive capital back from the gamified office and leverage it positively? Big questions. I can't answer them on my own. That's why I'm here at the University of Waterloo.
Office: PAS 2218
Mike Lesiuk, BA (Queen's University) and MA (University of Toronto), is interested in the nineteenth-century novel, especially in relation to questions about literary aesthetics, the role of narrative, and the peculiarities of serialized fiction.
Mike's personal website is the Refined robot.
Kyle Malashewski, BA (English, Western U) and MA (English, McMaster U), The metaphorical association between the body and body politic has a long, rich history that continues well into the eighteenth century. In this period, the healthy body politic is typically characterized by social order, economic growth, and political stability, and the threat of social ?disease? accordingly shapes many of the debates about how best to guarantee this virtuous state. In the literature of the eighteenth century, the ?undeserving? or ?idle? poor, who do not work, who drain the public coffers, and who lack appreciation for social hierarchies, are charged with promoting immorality, vice, and general disorder, and are consistently identified as the primary threat to achieving this goal. My dissertation interrogates the relationship between both medical and metaphorical conceptions of disease and the labouring poor. I demonstrate the importance of the evolving understanding of disease to both policy-based responses towards and public opinion on ?the poor,? a term which did not signify a precise, well-defined segment of the population so much as a broad array of emerging, interconnected social, economic, and political problems. I argue that representations of the labouring poor offer a latent critique of the mounting problems associated with economic growth and urban expansion under capitalism, including chronic underemployment and the inadequate regulation of the urban environment. These representations make increasingly legible the poverty of moral explanations concerning the roots of social disorder, and draw our attention to the importance of the role of poverty in fashioning the limits of eighteenth-century subjectivity. To this end, I focus on the overlap between eighteenth-century medical theory, urban reform, and poor law administration to inform readings of literary characters who reside on the margins of society: the deserving and undeserving poor men of Daniel Defoe?s A Journal of the Plague Year (1722); the fallen women of the anonymously written The Histories of the Some of the Penitents in the Magdalen House (1760); the eponymous orphan of Tobias Smollett?s The Expedition of Humphry Clinker (1771); and the poor protagonist of William Godwin?s Caleb Williams (1794).
Office: PAS 1059
Tommy Mayberry is a PhD candidate in the Department of English Language and Literature. He holds a Joint Honours BA in English Literature and Fine Arts: Studio Specialization (with Dean’s Honours) from the University of Waterloo and an MA in English and Cultural Studies from McMaster University. He has been the recipient of two Ontario Graduate Scholarships and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRCC) Doctoral Fellowship, and he also was one of the recipients of the 2015 Amit & Meena Chakma Award for Exceptional Teaching by a Student. His research-creation dissertation, “Gods and Monsters: William Blake’s Drag/Trans- Bodies,” focuses on Romantic Period and contemporary transgender visual culture as he “drags up” his academic writing to embody his research.
Houman Mehrabian, BA and MA in English, is a PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo. His dissertation explores the complex relationship between emotions and the construction of character - between pathos and ethos - in Aristotle's rhetorical, ethical, and poetical theories; William Shakespeare's plays; and Friedrich Nietzsche's oeuvre.
Office: PAS 1061
Philip Miletic is a PhD Candidate whose research fields include twentieth-century American literature, media studies, and digital life writing. His Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral Scholarship funded dissertation, "Only Connect: The Virtual Communities of Gertrude Stein and David Foster Wallace," is a comparative study that examines Stein's engagement with radio and Wallace's engagement with the Internet, and the autobiographical practices this engagement elicits from readers.
He has published and presented papers on Octavia Butler, online reading groups or events (such as Canada Reads, #occupygaddis, and Infinite Summer), Wallace, and Stein. With Stephen Trothen, he created a radio installation that presents several readers reading from Gertrude Stein's *Everybody's Autobiography* (you can see a video and read about it here.
Recently, he has worked for the middle-state game studies publication, First Person Scholar, as the Associate Editor of the Commentaries section and as Section Editor of Book Reviews. He is also the author of three poetry chapbooks: "marginal prints" (above/ground press), "mother2earth" (wordsonpages press), and with Craig Dodman "World 1-1" (poetry will be made by all!).
Devon Moriarty completed her BA (Psychology) and MA (English, Rhetoric and Communication Design) at the University of Waterloo. She is now a third-year PhD student (English, Rhetoric) pursuing a concurrent Graduate Diploma in Cognitive Science, and is the recipient of a UW Provost Graduate Scholarship (2015-2016), a Jack Grey Fellowship Award (2016-2017), and an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2017-2018). Devon is investigating the political implications of the rhetoric of popular culture, and specifically how viral artifacts curated by social voting communities such as Reddit, can influence Canadian ideologies, and promote rhetorical citizenship via public deliberation and civic engagement. She is working to find ways to leverage virality in these established, democratically-oriented online communities to the benefit of a more inclusive democracy in Canada where citizens can participate meaningfully in political life by capitalizing on the affordances of virtual platforms.
R. Travis Morton is a game studies scholar pursuing his PhD at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, studying collective identity-building online through ostention and legend-tripping. He is also an online journalist, writing articles for Lost Hemisphere and other online periodicals.
Dhruba Neupane I am a PhD candidate writing my dissertation that explores translingual-transliterate practices of a South Asian immigrant population in Southern Ontario. Drawing primarily on immigrants’ own literacy practices and on new literacy and composition studies, postcolonial theories, transnational and diaspora studies, with a special attention to non-western rhetorical traditions and communicative practices, this study will expose various strategies, often unnoticed or elided in academia, that immigrant writers adopt as they participate in and challenge the standard literacy.
I have my MA from University of Louisville, where I took courses in Rhetoric and Composition that I developed into my current study and research. I have presented in Conference on College Composition and Communication, Watson Conference, and a few others. In addition to writing dissertation, I am teaching undergraduate courses at uWaterloo’s English, and writing papers. One such paper titled “The Net Work of Diaspora Network as a Learning Community” looks at how labor and victim diasporic subjects teach themselves, making unique choices and challenging established codes, primarily from their exposure to social media. My upcoming presentation at 4Cs titled “The Importance of not Meaning: Linguistic Others and a Critique of Intention” reevaluates existing understandings of agency in writing studies to include a complex site of agency—from the other of linguistic others.
Interests: Trasnation, Translation, Translanguage; Diaspora, Immigration; Literacy, Rhetoric and Writing Studies; Postcolonial Studies; Body, Affect and Lifewriting; Ethics and Politics of Representation; Practice and Agency
If you have questions about my experiences at uWaterloo’s English (as an international student), and if you are interested in collaborating on book projects, online journals, and sharing ideas, feel free to email me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Office: PAS 1238
Graeme Northcote, homo sapien sapien (occasionally living up to the name), BA Honours (English and Philosophy, University of Guelph), MA (North American Literature, the University of Guelph), is a second-year PhD student here at the University of Waterloo, with a dual specialty in rhetoric and media studies. When he isn’t referring to himself in the third person, he is working to apply ecocritical and semiotic systems of analysis to discussions of modern technostructures. His research aims to explore the mythological rhetoric of communication and transportation infrastructures.
Specifically, he seeks to critically engage with how these technologies operate as highly concentrated symbolic matrices that encode powerful and pervasive cultural narratives of what it means to be human and our place in relation to non-human animals and the rest of the living world.
Office: HH 261
Patricia Ofili, MA, Rhetoric and Communication Design, (Waterloo, Canada), MA, English Language, (Unilag, Lagos, Nigeria), Masters in Public Admin, (LASU, Lagos, Nigeria), and BA, (English, Ekpoma, Nigeria). Recipient 2011 CIGI (Center for International governance Innovation) Graduate Research Grant, with a publication on the rhetorical/language dimensions of conflict on CIGI website. Her research interests include rhetoric of conflict/conflict resolution, and the examination of rhetoric as a tool for interrogating ideologies surrounding politics, gender, race and culture in literature, films, folktales and socio-political interactions. Her doctoral project will study Mandela’s subtle rhetoric as a peculiar cross between Augustinian and Quintilian rhetorical models, the framing and reframing of his identity over the decades, and his strategic employment of legal logic to unsettle apartheid ideologies.
Office: HH 261
Alexandra Orlando, (BA and MA, English and Film, Wilfrid Laurier University), is a PhD student at the University of Waterloo specializing in game studies. Her research interests includes the intersection between film theory and game cinematics, e-sports, and East Asian game studies. She is also the associate commentaries editor for FirstPersonScholar.com and a researcher at The Games Institute. For more information on her current projects, visit www.alorlando.com.Joannis Ouzas.
Jack is a third-year Ph.D candidate specializing in 20th-century
American literature and whose interests also include rhetoric, ethical
criticism, and literary theory. His dissertation will explore the
work of maverick American writer William T. Vollmann (pictured) from a rhetorical perspective influenced by the work of Kenneth Burke, Wayne Booth, and Bakhtin.
Office: PAS 1064
Meredith Powell, BA (Wilfrid Laurier University) and MA (Wilfrid Laurier University), has research interests in gender studies, digital media theory and design, and post-colonial theory and literature. Her Ph.D. dissertation research embraces all three areas in a study of children and digital technologies.
Jay Rawding, BA (University of New Brunswick, Saint John) and MA (University of Toronto), has interests in Canadian literature and ecocriticism. His research analyzes existing literary works that have originated from, and are about, northern Alberta. By studying how the land, history, and culture have previously been represented in texts, he establishes connections with contemporary narratives that characterize this highly contested region. Other interests include romanticism, postcolonial literature, and American literature.
Office: HH 261
Meghan K. Riley (BA and MA, University of Michigan-Flint) is a doctoral candidate studying the efficacy ofspeculative fiction as an intersectional feminist, postcolonial literatureand the ways in which writers of colour in speculative fiction examine thetensions between essentialism and hybridity. Her primary area of study ispostcolonial literature and theory, with a specialization in gender andsexuality. She also has experience in discourse analysis, with aconcentration in textual and visual representations of gender and race.Currently her other research interests include the relevance of fMRIs onpostpartum depressed women and men to provide a model for feministscience, and transnational feminist pedagogy. Meghan's research has beengenerously funded by the Ontario Trillium Scholarship.
Both Meghan's research interests and career trajectories have beeninfluenced by her secondary school and adult education teaching history.At the University of Waterloo, Meghan has continued to engage withstudent-centred learning and student services through employment at theStudent Success Office and Centre for Teaching Excellence.
Office: HH 261
Samuel Rowland (BA, MA Trent University), is a PhD candidate who researches the spatial experience of synaesthesia and the senses in postwar American literature and culture. His other interests include synaesthesia in Young Adult fiction and Cold War narratives in games.
Saeed Sabzian, BA and MA (Iran), is interested in the long-lasting dichotomy of logos/pathos, particularly a "rhetoric of emotions" that he is formulating through cognitive theory, rhetorical theory, literary theory, sound studies, and film theory. Saeed is working toward completion of his dissertation in film and novel under the supervision of Dr. Randy Harris.
Office: PAS 1238
Douglas Sikkema, BA (Redeemer University College), MA (University of Ottawa), BEd (University of Toronto), is currently doing work in 20th century American literature and ecocriticism. His work explores the idea of "disenchantment" and how this has affected the way we think about (and use) language, how we understand the human mind and consciousness, and how we live on the earth. Doug is using the poetry of Christian Wiman and the prose of Wendell Berry and Marilynne Robinson to explore just how the "disenchantment" narrative is breaking down and new avenues are being opened up. Doug has written book chapters on Wendell Berry and Wallace Stegner and on ecocriticism and enchantment.
In addition to his research, Doug has a passion for editing and public policy research. He has published research on health care and education in Ontario and Canada and continues to explore arguments that bolster the institutions that mediate the individual from the State and the Economy.
Christin Taylor, MFA (Antioch University of Los Angeles), BA (Indiana Wesleyan University), has research interests in life writing and self-authorship theory. Her research explores the ways in which life writing in its various forms may catalyze the self-authorship process for young adults.
David Thiessen, BA and MA (Waterloo), is interested in the intersections between neuroaesethetics, the interpretive role of the body in cognition, and late medieval artifacts and Middle English Literature. His research focuses on the medical, theological, and psychological models of subjectivity employed by late medieval authors and readers to better understand the process of linguistic interpretation in the period. He is currently preparing for his final comprehensive exam.
Masa Torbica completed her BA (Criminal Justice and Public Policy;English) and MA (English and Theatre Studies) at the University of Guelph. She is currently in her third year of the PhD program, specializing in Canadian literature and the history of rhetoric.
Strongly influenced by her interdisciplinary academic training, her dissertation examines affordances for decolonizing communication within contemporary Canadian society (specifically focusing on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and the Idle No More movement). Her research is generously supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Jessica Van De Kemp
Office: PAS 2216
Jessica Van de Kemp, BA (Waterloo), BEd (Western Ontario), MA (Waterloo), is a third-year PhD Candidate specializing in martial rhetoric. Funded by an Ontario Graduate Scholarship, her dissertation engages with declassified government documents in order to explore how televised adaptations of information warfare position communication as an act of war. A member of the Ontario College of Teachers, Jessica is the winner of two TA Awards for Excellence in Teaching. She is also the author of the poetry chapbooks Spirit Light (The Steel Chisel, 2015) and Daughters in the Dead Land (Aldrich Press, 2017). Her poem, “Slant of the Girl,” was shortlisted for the 2015 Montreal International Poetry Prize. Twitter: @jess_vdk
Office: PAS 1238 and Games Institute
Elise Vist, BA and MA (English, Carleton University), is in her third year of her PhD, where she engages in fan studies. She focuses on small groups of fans who love television shows like Supernatural, Sherlock, or Hannibal. Her dissertation shows that intimate publics naturally develop in online fandoms, and the boundaries of those intimate publics are renegotiated or ruptured in contested spaces. Other interests include queer games and online activism.
Office: PAS 1238
Emma Vossen, BA and MA (Carleton University) is a second year PhD student at the University of Waterloo specializing in depictions of gender and sexuality in a variety of media and genres. She is especially interested in the ways that sexual interaction is depicted using constructed/fabricated (i.e. illustrated, written and/or digitally rendered) bodies in sexually explicit or pornographic comics and video games. She is a contributor to FirstPersonScholar.com and is a founder of the Games Institute Janes (GI Janes) an organization looking to bring those who identify as women together to play, make, write, and talk about games in safe and supportive environments. She has recently been published in the anthology Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories and has two upcoming publications examining both The Walking Dead comic and the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon. She occasionally writes about her research at www.getsomeactioncomics.com.
Office: PAS 1087
Steve Wilcox, BA (University of Guelph), MA (University of Waterloo), is a PhD candidate. His research focuses on the intersection between disability studies and media studies. In particular Steve is interested in how various forms of media alter our perception of the world. He’s driven to answer the question: how can we better design technology to reflect innate and emergent changes in embodied perception from childhood through old age? In that respect Steve sees immense potential in videogames as a medium that can represent various forms of interaction. He’s the co-founder and editor-in-chief of First Person Scholar, a graduate student periodical that publishes weekly essays on games studies. Steve was also one of the five winners in the nation-wide SSHRC’s Storytellers: Research for a Better Life competition in 2013.
Office: PAS 1285
Benjamin Woodford, BA Dalhousie University, MA Queen’s University, PhD (History) University of Cambridge, UK, is a PhD student at the University of Waterloo. He is interested in seventeenth-century British literature, especially the prose and poetry of John Milton. He plans to explore Milton’s understanding of citizenship in terms of politics, religion, and nationality. His first monograph, Perceptions of a Monarchy without a King, was published with McGill-Queen’s University Press in 2013. He has also published three journal articles on seventeenth century print culture in historical and literary journals.