STPs by Year

Special Topic Presentations

The Special Topic Presentations (STPs) are part of the department’s PhD Comprehensive Examination. The STP is designed to guide candidates toward the definition of a significant dissertation topic by requiring them to identify a broad issue or set of issues with which they will engage in the course of their dissertation research and writing, and to produce a substantial reading list related to the topic. The candidate’s task is, with the guidance of two faculty advisors, to define the topic, devise the reading list, read and annotate it, and present to the Department, in the form of an oral presentation, some of the ideas and issues which the reading has permitted them to explore. Candidates are engaged in this work during the Winter Term of the second year, and make their presentation in May. On this page you can find a list of STPs given in the present year, as well as the ones from previous years.

2015 Presentations

4–5 May, Watson 517

Monday, 4 May
12:45–1:30Nikolai Rodrigues: “ ‘A Rebuke to Boundary and Enclosure’: Monsters and Monster Theory in Early Modern Fantasy Literature”
1:30–2:15Emily Leach: “Paper Theatres: Shakespeare Illustration, Playtext, and Performance”
2:30–3:15Michael Rizzo: “Shame, Passing, and the Past in Djuna Barnes’s Nightwood
3:15–4:00Jeff Dzogola: “Bearing Witness: Trauma Theory and Testimony in Falling Man and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Tuesday, 5 May
9:00–9:45Aislinn McDougall: “What Is Post-postmodern Literature, and Does It Have Anything to Do with the Digital Humanities?”
9:45–10:30Katie Hunt: “ ‘What hath night to do with sleep?’: Insomnia, Medicine and Poetry from the Eighteenth Century to Romanticism”
10:45–11:30Kevin Curreri: “ ‘Nature Intends the Abstract’: The Poetics of Being-in-the-World”
11:30–12:15Adam Cotton: “On Elegies for Poets”
12:15–1:30Celebratory Lunch and Reception

2014 Presentations

1–2 May, Watson 517

Thursday, 1 May
12:45–1:30Sarah Kastner: “Toward a Theory of the Postcolonial Literary Archive”
1:30–2:15Emily Murphy: “Literary Labour and Digital Humanities: Nancy Cunard’s Negro as a Speculative Case Study”
2:15–3:00Daniel Krahn: “Poetic Pains: Cowper’s Task of Self-Creation. A Case-Study in Late-Eighteenth-Century Interiority”
Friday, 2 May
10:00–10:45Nicole Pacas: “From Wonder Women to Dumber Women and Back: Women in Advertising and Comics during WWII”
10:45–11:30Allison Goff: “Why ‘sing of knights and ladies, of love and arms’?: Gender and Genre in Ariosto’s Orlando furioso
11:30–12:15Trevor Phillips: “Hockey’s Alchemy: The Canadian Hockey Myth and Apotheosis in Richard Wagamese’s Indian Horse
12:15–1:00Celebratory Lunch
1:00–1:45Jaspreet Tambar: “On the Genealogy of ‘Multëity-in-Unity’ in S.T. Coleridge’s On the Principles of Genial Criticism Concerning the Fine Arts and Anticipatory Essays, with Attention to the Characteristics of Picturesque Painting and Renaissance Sculpture. Or, Defining Beauty in Coleridge’s Critical Work: A Preparatory Study of Aesthetics, or ‘Philosophical Criticism,’ in the British Romantic Tradition”
1:45–2:30Jon de Tombe: “The Key to All Mythologies”
2:30–3:15Patricia Oprea: “The Victorians and their Intimacy with Machines”

2013 Presentations

1–2 May, Watson 517

Wednesday, 1 May
9:30–10:15Alana Fletcher: “Life Writing and Identity Formation: A Case Study of George Whalley’s Pre-War, Wartime, and Post-War Correspondence”
10:15–11:00Jeremy MacFarlane: “ ‘Enough to make a body riot’: Humiliating Spaces in Gilman, Steinbeck, and Himes”
11:00–11:45Drew MacDonald: “Hallucination on the Mail”
1:30–2:15David Carruthers: “Lines of Flight of the Deadly Nightshade: An Enquiry into the Magical Properties of the Sacred Datura, its Literature and History”
2:15–3:00Jessica Moore: “Dead Ends and Red Herrings: The Narrative Corpse as Decomposing Object in the Hardboiled Fiction of Hammett and Chandler”
Thursday, 2 May
9:30–10:15Nicole Slipp: “Everything is Queer: Considering Medieval Queer Theory”
10:15–11:00Anastasia-Irene Mangoutas: “ ‘Nostalgia for what could have been’: Neo-Victorian Fiction and the Nostalgic Fantastic”
11:00–11:45Shadi Ghazimoradi: “Modernity and the Iranian Woman: Work, Autobiography, and Migration”
11:45–1:30Celebratory Lunch
1:30–2:15Carl Watts: “ ‘At the Edge of the World’: Nation Theory, Euro-Canadian Nationalisms, and Laura Goodman Salverson’s The Viking Heart
2:15–3:00Brianne Colon: “ ‘As Leaky as an Unstanched Wench’: Menstrual Coding in the Early Modern Theatre”

2012 Presentations

2–3 May and 20 November, Watson 517

Wednesday, 2 May
9:15-10:00Matthew Gibson: “Reading Reps: An Application of Barker’s Library Paradigm to English Repertory Theatre Since 1660”
10:00-10:45Kris Singh: “Publishing The Prince of Kashna: A Sociological Approach to Postbellum Slave Narratives”
10:45-11:30Holly McIndoe: “ ‘Implicit in a single seahorse was the universe’: Artful Misrepresentations of Nature in Richard Flanagan’s Gould’s Book of Fish
1:30-2:15Steve Asselin: “Damned by Nature: Natural Catastrophe and Religious Rhetoric amongst the Romantics”
2:15-3Shannon Minifie: “ ‘It occurred to him that he might pray’: David Foster Wallace and the Post-Secular”
Thursday, 3 May
9:30-10:15Mikaela Withers: “Affecting Psychology: The Development of the Emotions and the Mental Sciences in the 19th Century”
10:15-11:00Amber Hastings: “Suicide, Starvation and Shame: Self-Determination in Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa
11-11:45Erin Weinberg: “ ‘Addicted to melancholy as (s)he is’: Trauma and Genre-bending in Twelfth Night
Tuesday, 20 November
3:30–3:30Melissa Li Sheung Ying: “Picturing the Prairie: An Ecocritical Look at Contemporary Canadian Children’s Picture Books”

2011 Presentations

4–5 May, Watson 517

Wednesday, 4 May
10:00–10:45Agatha Hanson: “Claiming Disability in Middle English Literature”
10:45–11:30Taryn Beukema: “Can the Suburbs Speak?: The Erotics of Shame in Rick Moody’s The Ice Storm
11:30–12:45Lunch Break
12:45–1:30Andrew Bingham: “Ethics and Person: Encountering the Everyday Ineffable”
1:30–2:15Carla Manfredi: “Lady Anna Brassey’s ‘Handiwork’: Crafting the Victorian Photo-Text”
Thursday, 5 May
9:30–10:15Julia Gingerich: “Silent Subjects: Representing the Experimental Animal in Victorian England”
10:15–11:00Ian Maness: “Annotation and Its Hypertexts: Is There Such a Thing as a ‘hypernote’?”
11:00–11:45Jennifer Hardwick: “Unsettling Experiences: Ethical Witnessing and the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission”
11:45–1:30Lunch for the presenters, their supervisory committees, and guests
October 2011
Rupayan Roy: “Girlhood and Adult Readers in Turn-of-the-Century and Early-Twentieth-Century American Children’s Fiction”

2010 Presentations

29–30 April, Watson 517

Thursday, 29 April
9:15–10:00Matt Scribner: “A Presentation on Disguise in Thirteenth-Century Romance… Or So It Seems”
10:00–10:45Brett Roscoe: “Prolegomena to the Study of Emotion in Old Icelandic Literature: Problems and Possibilities”
10:45–11:30Kimi Hamada: “ ‘Desiring Comfort, Desiring Coziness’: Recuperations and Intersections of Diaspora and Nostalgia Theory”
11:30–1:30Lunch Break
1:30–2:15Fraser Hawkins: “Reading the 2010 World Cup: Fictions of Development in and around the Cape Town Stadium”
2:15–3:00Jelena Marelj:Intueor ergo sum: Plotinus, Cognition, and Descartes’ Cogito
3:00–3:15Coffee Break
3:15–4:00Laura Kinderman: “The Symmetry of Uncertainty: Aporia in Romantic Musipoetics”
4:00–4:45Andrew McKendry: “A ‘Sober, Useful, and Industrious’ People: Trade and Nonconformity in Seventeenth-Century England”
Friday, 30 April
9:30–10:15Marc Foley: “The Hurting Chime: Addiction, Allegory, Inertia”
10:15–11:00Dale Tracy: “Breathy Dialogues, Bleeding Dyes: Compassion in Proxy Witness Poetry”
11:00–11:45Laura McGavin: “Medical Diagnostics and Literary Close Reading”
11:45–12:45Lunch Break
12:45–1:30Jess Roberts: “ ‘Save the Children’: Child Soldiers, Life Narrative, and Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone
1:30–2:15Leslie Stobbart: “Dismantling the Bomb: Trauma and Articulation in Contemporary War Fiction”
2:15–3:00MaryAnne Laurico: “Violent Biopolitikin’ and Metabolised Ecologies: The (Non)Human-As-Resource, Biotechnology’s Agency, and Aesthetic Activisms”
3:00–4:00Reception: English lounge, all welcome

2009 Presentations

30 April–1 May, Watson 517

Thursday, 30 April
10:00–10:45Cara Fabre: “Stigma and Subjectivity: Plotting Poverty in Canadian Literature”
10:45–11:30Marc Fortin: “Everything is Connected?: Mind/Body, Nature/Culture, and the Missing Link”
11:30–12:15Kate Hallemeier: “Cosmopolitanism and Sympathy”
12:15–12:45Lunch Break
12:45–1:30Jaime Denike: “Writing Narrators”
1:30–2:15Don Bourne: “ ‘To the Reader’: Paratext in Gulliver’s Travels
2:15–3:00Ben Bakhtiarynia: “Are Ethics and Aesthetics One? The Ancient Quarrel Renewed”
Friday, 1 May
10:00–10:45Aaron Mauro: “ ‘The Sphinx Must Solve Her Own Riddle’: The Metaphors of History in the Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson”
10:45–11:30Dan Pinsent: “e. e. cummings’s EIMI: Giving an Account of Is/Self”
11:30–12:15Stephen Guy: “You’re So Mean, Mary McCarthy”
12:15–12:45Lunch Break
12:45–1:30Darren Springer: “ ‘The Fleshy Matrix’: Antebellum America and the Body in Robert Montgomery Bird’s Sheppard Lee”
1:30–2:15Jon Gaboury: “The Enthusiasts: John Brown, John Wilkes Booth, and the Number One”
2:15–4:00Reception: English lounge. Everyone is welcome.
Tuesday, 15 September
2:30–3:15David Chant: “Coming to Terms: The Emergence of Literary Tourism in Scotland”
3:15–4:00Mark Streeter: “2009: The Year Comics Broke”

2008 Presentations

30 April–1 May, Watson 517

Wednesday, 30 April
10:00–10:45Emily Anglin: “ ‘For I am the Lord’s News-Writer’: Madness and Confinement in the Poems of Christopher Smart and Allen Ginsberg”
10:45–11:30Jordan Smith: “Making Time: Sham Ruins and Fragments of the 18th Century”
11:30–12:00Lunch Break
12:00–12:45Paul Saunders: “Ecocriticism and the Nature of Modernist Ecology”
12:45–1:30Payal Taneja: “Evolutionary Zoontologies: Origin of Care among the Species”
1:30–2:15Emily Bruusgaard: “Silk and Sexuality”
Thursday, 1 May
10:00–10:45Raji Singh Soni: “Comparative Ascetics: Syncretism, Secularism, and the Politics of Doing Without”
10:45–11:30Allison Smith: “ ‘A plea, a petition, a kind of prayer’: Intersections of the Sacred and the Erotic in Nick Cave’s Love Songs”
11:30–12:15Daniel Moore: “ ‘Like dull narcotics, numbing pain’: Mourning, Consolation, and Sedatives”
12:15–12:45Lunch Break
12:45–1:30Jon McKay: “ ‘Who, among you, deserves eternal life?’: Authorship, Sexuality and Michel Houellebecq’s The Possibility of an Island
1:30–2:15Tim McIntyre: “From Ethics to Phenomenology: Derrida, Levinas, and the Ethical Turn in Literary Criticism”
2:15–3:00Jeremy DeChavez: “The Unbearable Enlightenment of Becoming: Modernity, Transition, and the Southeast Asian Novel”
3:30–5:30Reception: Upstairs at the Grad Club. Everyone is welcome.
Monday, 1 December
2:00–2:45Julia Cercone: “Museums and Mausoleums: Death, Writing and the Collecting Ethos”
2:45–3:30Heather Cyr: “ Eden, Babel and a garden in Oxford: The Symbolic Geography of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy”

2007 Presentations

30 April–2 May, Watson 517

Monday, 30 April
10:00–11:00Matt Strohack: “ ‘I say to you that I am dead!’: Economies of Death in the Literature of Horror”
11:00–12:00Shalini Khan: “Imperial Science: Inoculations and Bacterial ‘Others’ in Edgar Mittelholzer’s My Bones and My Flute
12:00–1:00Lunch Break
1:00–2:00Paul Barrett: “The Problems of Being Human: Dionne Brand’s Liquid Sublimity
2:00–3:00Dheepa Sivakumaran: “Tensions, Ambiguities and Paradoxes in Contemporary North American Trauma Narratives”
Tuesday, 1 May
10:00–11:00Linda Quirk: “Too Transgressive for Can. Lit.: Sara Jeannette Duncan’s A Social Departure: How Orthodocia and I Went Round the World By Ourselves
11:00–12:00Marieke Kalkhove: “Fetishizing the Foreigner: The Colonial Uncanny in Forster’s A Passage to India and Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses
12:00–1:00Lunch Break
1:00–2:00Breanne Oryschak: “This Talk Has 30 Minutes: Canadian-ness and Satire on CBC Television”
2:00–3:00Jason Bourget: “ ‘What You Hold in Your Hands Is More than a Book’: Situating the Sexual in Harlan Ellison’ Dangerous Visions
Wednesday, 2 May
10:00–11:00Roula Salam: “Re-Inviting Guests for More than Just Coffee: The Dregs of Memory at the Borders in the Lebanese Post-War Novel”
11:00–12:00Ryan Porter: “New Hamburg and Its Grandstand: A Community’s Loss, A Community’s Strength, A Community’s Nostalgia”

2006 Presentations

1–2 May, Watson 517

Monday, 1 May
9:00–10:00Elisabeth Oliver: “ ‘Beauty unmans me’: Aesthetic Decoration in American Literary Culture, 1880–1910”
10:10–11:10Kiley Kapuscinski: “The Limits of Labour: Intersecting the Prostitute and the Female Proletariat in Progressive Era American Fiction”
11:10–11:30Coffee Break
11:30–12:30Ian Johnston: “Dangerous Pleasire: The Story of O, Lesbian S/M, and the Articulation of Submissive Desire”
1:30–2:30Heather Joyce: “Coming to Terms: Real-izing 9/11”
2:40–3:40Craig Smith: “American Catastrophe (?): Refiguring the Holocaust in America”
Tuesday, 2 May
10:00–11:00Caitlin Charman: “ ‘It’s a primitive island’: CBC’s Canada Reads and the marketing of Frank Parker Day’s Rockbound
11:15–12:15Ryan Melsom: “Generation X and the Dance of Unstable Irony”

2005 Presentations

2–5 May, Watson 517

Monday, 2 May
10:00–11:00Rosa Barker: “Magic Realism: Decolonizing the Literary Imagination”
11:15–12:15Heather Emmens: “Cham Swells and Sham Swells: Male Impersonation in Postmodern Victorian Fiction”
1:15–2:15Jennifer Esmail: “Flying Words and Fixed Bodies: Theories of American Sign Language and its Poetry”
2:30–3:30Brandon Alakas: “Abbot John’s Dream and Brother William’s Apostasy: Monastic Reading Practices and Scholastic Literary Tradition in John Whethamstede’s Registers”
Tuesday, 3 May
10:00–11:00Lindsey Banco: “Trafficking in Snobbery: Drugs and the Contemporary Anti-Tourist Novel”
11:15–12:15Dana Olwan: “Split Affinities? Arab Women between Feminist and Nationalist Discourses”
1:15–2:15Jason Boulet: “He Flung Himself upon the Divan and Wrote Perversely Off in All Directions: Going À Rebours in Nineteenth-Century Literature”
2:30–3:30Veronica Blackbourn: “Ein ungemütliches Völkchen, or The Original Good-Natured Little Race: Austrian National Identity in the Postwar Volksstück”
Thursday, 5 May
9:30–10:30Kirsten Martin: “ ‘Botanic Muse!’: Poetic Science in Erasmus Darwin’s ‘The Loves of the Plants’ ”
10:40–11:40Shannon Smith: “ ‘Having feasted my eyes with one more look’: Consumption, Masculinity and the Medical Gaze in Victorian Fiction”
12:00–1:00Cheryl Cundell: “The Disorder of Things: Empiricism and the Cartographic Enterprise, or, the Observations of Samuel Hearne and Alexander Mackenzie”