Alumni MA

Haida Antolick

Haida Antolick completed her master’s in 2014. Her capstone project is entitled Toward a Productively Negative Politics of Irritation: Reading Racial Trauma and Its Attendant Anger in Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy. She benefited primarily from the supervision and mentorship of Drs. Christine Kim and David Chariandy. Though eclectic, her research interests focused on contemporary diasporic North American fiction, racialization, affect theory, and the instrumentalization of narratives of trauma.

A truncated version of her master’s capstone project was presented at Silence and Documentation, the Department’s 2015 Graduate Conference, which she co-organized. Her presentation can be viewed here.

Haida also earned her undergraduate degree at SFU, completing an honours in the English department, and an additional major in Anthropology. Her honours capstone project is entitled
Unmarked Survivors / Marked Inhumanity: Loss and the (Self) Instrumentalization of What Remains in Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go and Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

During her time at SFU Haida was active in the university community, including serving on the executives of the Simon Fraser Student Society, the Graduate Student Society, and the Teaching Support Staff Union.

Shortly after graduating, Haida joined the staff of the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of BC, a provincial umbrella group of university faculty unions. Her position requires a dynamic skill set and includes research, communications, political support, member relations, event planning, and office administration. Her side hustles include contract work in communications and organizing, and child care.

Outside of staffer life, she is active politically, in both electoral and radical spheres. While she hasn’t yet given up on the dream of doing a PhD, for now a modicum of economic security and the freedom of a writing practice outside of academia are winning out. Haida blogs (very infrequently) at and tweets (sporadically) @haidaantolick.

Haida lives, works, and writes in Vancouver, on the unceded and occupied lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples.

Hannah Celinski

Area of Study: Dramatic texts, classical and contemporary literature, technique theory, and performance studies

My research currently centers around movement as communication.  By addressing the ways in which written text employs movement as a complex way of relating emotion, plot, or information, an opportunity is presented to analyze subtle ways in which humans articulate themselves and interpret the world around them. This branch of study includes dramatic texts, classical and contemporary literature, technique theory, and performance studies.


Brenna Duperron

Area of Study: Eclectic 

Publications/Conference Papers:

  • “The Wilde Trials, the Associated Press, and American Newspaper.” with Dr. Colette Colligan, Professor (SFU). Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada: Victorian Intimacies. Winnipeg, MB, Canada. April 22-23, 2016.
  • "The Picture of American Trade Courtesy: Oscar Wilde, Obscenity and Copyright Traditions." The Novel, the Periodical Press, and the Global Circulation of Texts, 1789 – 1945. University of Warwick. Coventry, UK. February 16-17, 2016.
  • "Cracks in the Silence: The Associated Press’s Dissemination of the Unprintable Word." SFU English Graduate Conference 2015: Silence and Documentation, Vancouver, BC, Canada. July 10-11, 2015.

I have a tendency to be a bit Wildean in my interests in that I follow wherever the muse leads no matter how diversely she wanders. My projects run the gamut from international news distribution to international copyright and trade courtesy to the formal structures and editing practices of medieval poetry to audience reception through shifting media. This allows me a wide-berth of research considerations to expand our understandings of how print culture worked through the various social conditions and cultural standpoints that developed across the eras.


Felicity Elsted

Area of Study: Negotiating race through transracial adoption

I grapple with some of the larger questions regarding racial identity through narratives about transracial adoption: Is it possible to identify with another race, and if so, what are the problems associated with this? Why are the concepts of anger and returning to one's origins at the forefront of transracial literature? What is the disconnect between self perception and how one is perceived?


Albany Fitzgerald

Areas of Study: Medieval Studies, Print Culture

My primary focus in Medieval Literature is on the works of the Pearl-Poet, bound together in the Cotton Nero A.x. manuscript. As this manuscript is the sole surviving witness to these works, there is little definitively known regarding their author. I am looking to find new threads tying these poems together and, using these threads, I hope to evidence an underlying critical commentary regarding the Ricardian court in the late 14th century.

Meena Kahlon

Title of Capstone: "The Thingness of the Objects in Jamaica Kincaid, Charlotte Bronte and George Eliot's Post Colonial and Colonial Narratives" 

Publications/Conference Papers: 

  • “A Placeless Performer: The Adi Granth’s Production of Presence.” Canadian Society for Eighteenth Century Studies (CSECS). Coast Plaza Hotel, Vancouver, BC. 16 Oct 2015. Conference Presentation.
  • “Colonizers or Invasive Serpents? the Poisoning British Presence in Robert Roger’s Ponteach, or the Savages of America: a Tragedy.” Simon Fraser University Graduate Society. False Creek Community Centre, Vancouver BC. 27 Jul 2015. Conference Presentation.
  • “Out of the Public, Into the Private and Through the Five Stages: Yang Ik June’s Breathless Journey.” Passages, an Asia Pacific Reader Publication 3 (2010-2011): 76-79.

As my interests lay in both the works of Victorian feminist novelists and post colonial texts, my final master’s project proposes to bring these disparate genres into dialogue with each other. Specifically, I will be using Bill Brown’s thing theory to interrogate the connections between Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy and A Small Place with Charlotte Bronte’s Villette and George Eliot’s Middlemarch. Through an examination of the “thingness” of the objects that take on larger meanings in unnervingly similar fashions, throughout all these novels, unique narratives of colonization, as experienced by the colonized as well as the colonizer, can be articulated.

Tina Kong

Area of interest/Title of your work: critical race theory, asian diaspora, multiculturalism, queer theory

Publications/Conference Papers:

  • (Forthcoming) "Reinforcing the Model Minority Myth." Rev. of China Rich Girlfriend: A Novel by Kevin Kwan for Canadian Literature
  • (In editing) "Voices from behind the "Overbearing Brown Woman" and "Docile Asian Girl": An Affective Cartography of Shame and Performativity in Academia." for Don't Air the Dirty Laundry: Reflections of Women of Color on Graduate School
  • (Working title) "A Queer Reading of Chinatown through Jen Sookfong Lee's The Better Mother" for the Asian American Studies conference 2016

I am interested in writings about race: particularly in writings that reverberate below skin-level, in dialectical battles that occur within and beyond the university walls, and in the perspectives that wars within the first person "I". I am also grateful to be living and working on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations.


Madeleine Lascelle

Title of Capstone: “Climbing Back Up the Reichenbach Falls: Sherlock Holmes and the Transition from Scientific Sleuth to Thrilling Detective”

My research examines the rhetoric used to describe Sherlock Holmes' physical involvement with deduction, detection, and the capture of criminals, through the police detective movement in Britain and the emergence of American action-adventure mysteries. The evolution of the physical Sherlock Holmes illustrates the shift from detective fiction as a function of the societal benefit of the police to the later mystery action thrillers in America. I engage with the existing debate of the role of logic theory and puzzles to the modern detective story but seek to shift the focus from inductive methodology to the physical body. 


Alex Petryszak

Area of Study: My main areas of interest include the intersections of gender, space, and class in early modern literature.

My research primarily focuses on gender and Renaissance drama, investigating similarities and divergences between portrayals of the female body and the domestic sphere as sites of transgression and enforced obedience and how these varied representations relate to class. In addition, I am interested in the application of embodied cognition and affect theories to representations of female characters during this period; specifically, I am concerned with characters that affect an emotional adherence to social conventions while interiorizing rebellious schemes as well as characters that portray mental processes that are/are not moulded by their surrounding culture and environment.

Alison Roach

Area of Study: American women writers in print culture

In the 19th and 20th century, American female writers were coming into their own. They were widely published, sold, and read by a general audience, but still not given a seat at the proverbial, and sometimes literal, table of the male-dominated publishing world. My work looks at how these women noted and criticized this lack of respect and acknowledgment through their writing. These women used sharp satire to publicly shame their male counterparts, portraying male publishers' and authors' sexism as idiocy. 


Justine Sandhu

Areas of Study: Contemporary fiction, Postcolonial Studies, Cultural Studies 

Given a growing corpus of literary work by South Asian writers in Western Canada, there is a haunting absence of a critical engagement with such work, rendering the South Indian literary voice unseen and unheard.  My work will attempt to bridge the current lack of an ‘Indo-Canadian’ literary scene with the slow erasure of brownness, namely, the Punjabi community from the Vancouver landscape. To conceptualize this relation of space and race, I will interrogate racial ruptures that mark physical city spaces and place immigrant experience into a troubling passive and historical context.

Emily Seitz

Areas of Study: Shakespeare in the Eighteenth Century

Conference papers: 

  • “Creating an Enchanted Reality: A Magical Setting Inspired by the Fraser Valley” 
    University of the Fraser Valley, Literatures of the Fraser Valley Conference March 5, 2015
  • “‘It had to be possible to belong in two different worlds at once’: The Third Space in Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians and The Heroes of Olympus” English Honours Colloquium, University of the Fraser Valley April 22, 2015
  • "A New Wave in Narration: Diverse Protagonists in Rick Riordan’s The Heroes of Olympus" Many Worlds to Walk In: Exploring Diversity in Children’s Literature, Librarianship, and Education Conference, UBC, April 30, 2016

My research focuses on eighteenth century adaptations of Shakespeare's plays, in particular, how the adaptations present nationalism in reflection of concerns of English national identity following the Restoration.  My MA capstone project, "The “Blest genius of the isle”: Garrick, Nature, Divinity, and the Bard," analyzes how David Garrick, an eighteenth century Shakespearean adapter, uses nature to present and construct Shakespeare as the divine figure of the bard. My paper examines how Garrick uses nature to present Shakespeare as having "absolute command," which echoes the English monarchial concept of the divine right to rule. Another eighteenth-century Shakespeare adaption I am interested in examining is John Dryden's "All for Love," an adaptation of Shakespeare's "Antony and Cleopatra," to compare representations of national protection against empirical expansion.

Leah Sharzer

Areas of study: poetry and poetics, translation, French literature, linguistics

I’m interested in how both poetry and translation create new landscapes of possibility. My research focuses on Emily Dickinson’s dash, a mark which favours ambiguity as a mode of reading. Specifically, I explore how the dash functions in different French translations of her work. This research builds on two past projects: my own experimental translations of Dickinson’s poem “My Life had stood - a Loaded Gun - ” and a paper presented at the panel “Love and Jouissance: Conversations with Lacan on Feminine Sexuality” on the trouble Dickinson’s dash poses for reading gendered power relations.

Leah Tench

Areas of study: contemporary Canadian literature, feminist theory, hybridity theory, postcolonial studies, women’s writing

I tend to be somewhat of a magpie in my research, but I am most passionate about contemporary Canadian writing, and I have a deep interest in the way that we tell stories. Specifically, I am interested in self-representations of marginalised people, and how those representations can be read onto the text itself. Of particular interest to me is the genre of biotext, and the ways this genre reflects the intersections of race, gender, class, language, and nationality. My research elaborates on existing scholarship to examine how intertextuality informs the construction of hybrid identities, with a specific focus on the colonized female body.

Allison Simmons

Areas of Study: The Victorian sensation novel, eclectic interests. 

Conference Papers:

  • "On Flesh and Stone in Mary Elizabeth Braddon's 'Lady Audley's Secret'." All Things Victorian: Exploring Materiality and the Material Object. University of Portsmouth. Portsmouth, UK. March 19, 2016.

My primary focus is the Victorian sensation novel and its importance as a cultural artifact, particularly through its engagement with (or exaggeration of) contemporary social discourse. In regards to authors, I find Thomas Hardy, whose sensation roots run deep, and Mary Elizabeth Braddon to be of paramount interest. During my time at SFU, I have engaged with literature from the 14th to 21st century. This is partially to achieve some sort of identifiable academic breadth, but also to satisfy my curiosity of the written word's capacity to hold meaning and invoke change.


M.J. Tomkinson

Area of Study: The Canadian Gothic tradition and Canadian print culture in the 20th century. I have particular interests in digital culture, media history, performance studies, and film. 

I am currently undertaking research on the Writers' Union of Canada and the Final Report of the Ontario Royal Commission on Book Publishing, 1972. I have recently completed research on Weimar cinematography with Paul St. Pierre (SFU) and following that project I edited Jason Lieblang's (UBC) dissertation on Weimar representations of masculinity 'in crisis.'

Maude Vachon-Roy

Area of Study: Rethinking the French Lyrics of "CH" as Early Manifestations of Chaucer's Social Critique

I intend to specialize on the intersection of French and English literary works of the fourteenth century in England. Particularly, I am interested in the relationship between the different vernaculars (French, English, and Latin) and registers (courtly, satirical, popular, etc) used in post-plague literature and their multiple implications, be they political, social, or other.  During my MA, I will be focusing on the anonymous lyrics of "CH" from the MS French 15 (Penn) and their possible affiliation with Chaucer.

Mike Wilkinson

Areas of Study: Arthur Conan Doyle and 19th century British Spiritualism, Sherlock Holmes presence and reception theory.

BA Honours Thesis:

  • “Narration, Persuasion and Consent in Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes”

My past work focused on the presence of medical rhetoric in The Sherlock Holmes stories, specifically the way in which medical bodies become the site of persuasion between the detective and his clients. Currently, my work is moving towards a consideration of Doyle’s belief in Spiritualism, which includes an investigation of rhetorical and literary strategies, concepts of Empire and Colonialism, and scientific tactics that Doyle employs to elucidate the “Unseen World” within material documents. 

Caimen Yen

Areas of Study: World Literature, Personal Survival Narratives, Graphic Novels

My research focuses on world literature, with particular emphasis on survival narratives and memoirs in the form of graphic novels. The genre of the graphic novel demonstrates the complex relationship between experiencing trauma and witnessing its effects. The choice to combine narrative with images provides audiences with an intimate recounting of the author’s history, allowing him/her to engage with not only the verbal, but also the visual aspect of trauma and survival. I explore how these texts provide audiences with a unique perspective on global events and disasters, in comparison to external sources such as mainstream media.