Stacy Denton

Continuing Lecturer | Associate Director, Arts First

Photo of Stacy Denton.
PhD, Concordia University
MA, SUNY Albany
BA, SUNY Postdam

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In both my research and teaching, I utilize literature, media, and art as a means to more fully comprehend the multi-layered nature of society in both the past and the present. From a research perspective, this focus began during my BA in English Literature at SUNY Potsdam and my MA in English at SUNY Albany, where I became interested in the ways that US literature and film potentially reflect and challenge our contemporary context. These early experiences provided a solid ground on which to explore the unsaid aspects of society and culture, and during my PhD in Interdisciplinary Humanities at Concordia University, I built upon this by examining how representations of class, rurality, and race were (and are) used in the US to make sense of rapidly changing cultural conditions. In the process, I employed an interdisciplinary framework in order to analyze the intersection of different modes of representation — including literature, film, journalism, and the social sciences —during a particularly tumultuous time in US history (post-World War II). This framework has proven invaluable as I continue to discover the implications that such postwar representations have for the late-20th/early-21st century.

I also use this interdisciplinary practice in the classroom, as a way to engage students at all levels of their academic career, from first-year to graduate studies, struggling to honours, in English, Composition, Women’s Studies, Communication Studies, and Art History courses. For the past ten years, I have created classrooms where students across disciplines can find a voice to question the immediately obvious through an analysis of diverse literary, visual, and mass mediated texts. During this time, I have applied my teaching practice in different institutional contexts, including a small women’s college (Russell Sage), a regional college (SUNY Plattsburgh), a large university (York University), and starting July 2018, at the University of Waterloo in the Arts First initiative and the department of English Language and Literature.

Selected Publications

“Richard Russo,” entry for Twenty-First-Century American Novelists, Third Series, volume 382 in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, Gale, 2018. 

“After the Farm Crisis: The critique of Neoliberalism in What's Eating Gilbert Grape?” Film Criticism. 42(1), March 2018.

“Possibilities in a Neoliberal World: Masculine Authority and Love in AFFLICTION,” Journal of Film and Video. University of Illinois Press, Fall 2017.

“Richard Russo,” encyclopedia entry for the Critical Survey of American Literature, Salem Press, 2016.

“The Rural Past-in-Present and Postwar Sub/urban Progress,” American Studies. University of Kansas, April 2014.

“Local Hierarchies in Contemporary Rural U.S. Fiction,” 6. Summer 2011. Peer English, University of Leicester Press.

“Nostalgia, Class and Rurality in Empire Falls,” 45(03). August 2011. Journal of American Studies, Cambridge University Press.

Current Research

I am currently in the early stages of a research project focusing on how the works of the artist and writer Rosalyn Drexler, particularly her Love and Violence series of paintings, reflect upon alienation in the rapid changes of the US postwar period. Drexler’s haunting use of found image (including film stills used on promotional material) questions the boundaries of art as well as the spectator who knowingly and unknowingly participates within a society in which such mass media disseminates. However, as seen in my latest publications on film studies and on the writer Richard Russo, I have a continuing interest in the representation of class, rurality, and race, particularly as these representations still resonate in late-20th/early-21st century US society and culture. In regards to my current pedagogical investigations, I am interested in analyzing how first-year programs like Waterloo’s Arts First (within which I will also be teaching) contribute to student empowerment in the interdisciplinary classroom.

Research Areas

  • Representations of Rurality and Class
  • Postwar US Literature and Film
  • Studies in Media and Popular Culture
  • Interdisciplinary Methodologies
  • Feminist Pedagogy