English Language and Literature Newsletter

Photo of fall leaves with Waterloo English Fall 2016 as title.

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Photo of Kate Lawson.A Word from the Chair

Summer is ending... a bad sleep the night before school... butterflies in one's stomach... trepidation... excitement.... You may be thinking of small children with large backpacks trooping off to school for the first time, but this giddy mixture of anticipation and anxiety is very much a part of professors' experience as well.

Will the syllabus we have painstakingly designed work as we had planned? When we throw out the ball of class discussion, will students pick it up? When will first-day jitters settle into the more sustained pleasure of teaching and learning?

September is not just a time of anticipation and beginnings; it is also a good time to look back over the last year. Here are just a few of the highlights of 2015-16 in the Department of English at UW.

In September, we celebrated the PhD degree's 25th Anniversary. Founded in 1990, the UW English PhD was and remains unique in its blending of the study of Literature and Rhetoric. Fifty-six graduates of the program, who have achieved success in academic and other careers, were invited to join in an evening of celebration. 

In November, we held a dinner to thank our colleague Professor Fraser Easton for his outstanding seven years of service as Chair and for the wonderful dedication, hard work, and principle he brought to the role.

Faculty of Arts Alumni events in 2015-16 included a December panel on the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo (where I spoke about literary representations of Waterloo) and a March panel where my colleague Prof. Lamees Al-Ethari spoke very compellingly about the Refugee Crisis: Historical, Global, and Local Perspectives. 

In June, the English + Innovation Event held at Communitech in Kitchener celebrated the achievements of English students and alumni. Fraser Easton and his hard working team of committed alumni--Mandy Lam, Scott Wahl, and Ricardo Olenewa--put together this wonderful event. Visitors had a chance to see student displays and innovative creations in action, and then to listen to panelists Liz Chestney, Patrick Hofman, Gian Mancuso, Richard Lander and Sherry McMenemy, who discussed the paths that link English studies to the "innovation economy." Many thanks to all of those people involved! 

In August, our new colleague Prof. Clive Forrester joined us in the department. Clive's expertise in linguistics and writing studies will greatly enrich the courses we offer students.

Professor Kate Lawson
Chair, English Language and Literature

Photo of small robot drawing a spiral.

English + Innovation A Hit!
E+I showcased student accomplishments in English and high tech. Check out the cutting-edge student projects.

Photo of a group of refugees.

Understanding Refugees
Prof. Lamees Al Ethari participated in a public lecture about the refugee crisis and wrote a important accompanying article you can read here.

Photo of Hagey Hall atrium.

Hagey Hall's New Hub
Generous alumni support has helped build the new Hagey Hall HubCheck out the construction photos!


A SAGE Update

2015-2016 was an exciting year for the Student Association for Graduates in English (SAGE)! We hosted some great events, including four Poetry Out Loud readings, a CV workshop facilitated by Aimée Morrison, and an Area Exams info session for first-year PhD students. We also hosted the annual Tri-University Symposium in June 2016, which brings together graduate students from Waterloo, Laurier, and Guelph universities to share research. Attendees shared some fantastic papers with a large and receptive audience, and the evening social event at Settlement Co. in uptown Waterloo was well attended. 

We have also put together a SAGE wiki for English Grad students, providing information on everything from applying for grants and TAing, to where to find a cheap and yummy lunch on campus. This will come in particularly handy for the incoming group of students, and the SAGE Exec will have an important role in welcoming these new students during Orientation 2016. In addition to helping facilitate faculty-run sessions, the SAGE Exec is planning some info sessions of its own, as well as a SAGE social event on Friday, September 9th. We are hoping to get to know the incoming students, encourage them to reach out to SAGE Exec with questions, problems, and event ideas, and recruit some new Exec members to serve as M.A. and incoming Ph.D. Representatives.

Keep an eye on the SAGE Facebook page for information about SAGE news -- there will be plenty of fun and informative events planned for the Fall 2016 semester!

Keely Cronin, Ph.D. Student 
President, Student Association for Graduates in English 

Publicity to Publications

Prof. Aimée Morrison is regularly featured in the press, and here she talks about "unfriending" and social media

Did you know we have a course on the Harry Potter series? Dr. Neil Randall explains more in The Walrus

Prof. Sarah Tolmie has been busy publishing engaging fiction. Check out her five books

The Computational Rhetoric Workshop, an international and interdisciplinary workshop was held at Waterloo in August, and our Prof. Randy Allen Harris (aka "prof raha") shared some photos

Doctoral student Betsy Brey talks Pokémon Go with the CBC

Another doctoral student, Alexandra Orlando, talks eSports with 570 news

Recent alumni Christian Metaxas wrote war tapes, featured at Toronto Fringe. Did you catch it? 

Faculty are publishing prolifically, including Prof. Linda Warley's co-edited Canadian Graphic, Prof. Winfried Siemerling's award-winning Black Atlantic Reconsidered, Prof. Gordon Slethaug's Adaptation Theory and Criticism, Prof. Michael MacDonald's The Oxford Handbook of Rhetorical Studies, Prof. Marcel O'Gorman's Necromedia, and perhaps the most recent, Prof. Victoria Lamont's Westerns: A Women's History