Chelsea Larsson successfully defended her PhD thesis, "Violence, Legal Culture and Social Control: The Records of Scotland’s Justiciary Court, 1493–1558," on 15 October 2021. The study uses an original relational database to quantify and cross-reference data contained in the manuscript records of the justiciary records, often overlooked in favour of the more approachable edited versions. In doing so, the dissertation demonstrates the extent to which sixteenth-century court records can be analysed quantitatively and qualitatively to answer important social, legal and political questions. The arguments put forth in the dissertation demonstrate the extent to which this superior criminal jurisdiction served as a site at which plaintiffs, defendants and representatives of the crown interacted to define and redefine the line between violence and violation. In particular, the dissertation highlights how intersections of law, custom, gender and status intersected to inform social and cultural understandings of legitimate and illegitimate violence.
Just before completing her program, Chelsea took on the role of full-time Writing Specialist at the University of Guelph with the McLaughlin Library’s Writing Services team. She continues to pursue her passion for supporting students by exploring the ways that teaching writing and academic English in transgressive ways can facilitate student empowerment and combat institutional and structural oppression within academia. In addition to her work with Writing Services, she is currently preparing two book chapters—based on her PhD research—for publication.
Chelsea credits, in part, the Tri-U’s program focus on producing well-rounded graduates through professional development opportunities with leading her to a career in student support:
The teaching practicum and regular teaching assistantships really helped me to see that my passion for teaching is as strong, or stronger, than my passion for research. I have found my niche in coaching and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students through my work at Writing Services, which allows me to take the lessons learned over seven years of graduate school and help other students to achieve their goals. I am so grateful to have been one of the last graduate students that Dr Elizabeth Ewan supervised before her well-earned retirement: her expertise, compassion and dedication have inspired me to be a better scholar and mentor in my own life and work.