CURRENT MA STUDENTS

Alyssa Bridgman

Areas of Study: 19th-Century American Literature, Manuscript Studies, Digital Representations of Manuscripts, Contemporary Poetry

I am mainly interested in 19th-century American texts, and more specifically poetry from that era. My area of focus is the late manuscript poems of Emily Dickinson and digital mediations and representations of her work. Many editions of Dickinson’s poems have been published over the last century, and Dickinson’s poetry was, for many years, published in a heavily edited form, which altered her punctuation, rhymes, and sometimes even cut off the last stanza of poems entirely. Since Johnson’s (1960) and Franklin’s (1998) seminal editions were published, scholars have been returning to the manuscripts as the authoritative version of Dickinson’s poems. Dickinson scholar Marta Werner created Radical Scatters, a database with images and transcriptions of Dickinson’s manuscripts, progressing the publication and mediation of Dickinson’s poems into the digital. My undergraduate honours thesis interrogates the platforms and mediations through which we view Dickinson’s poetry. Emphasizing the irreproducibility of the manuscripts’ materiality, I posit that readers should comparatively view mediations of Dickinson’s manuscripts in a Composite Archive of Mediations to fully understand the mechanisms and apparatus of both print and digital platforms. I am also interested in reading and writing contemporary poetry—especially on topics of migration, borders, ecology, climate, and the Anthropocene.

Publications:

Hedge (above/ground press, 2017)

http://abovegroundpress.blogspot.com/2017/12/new-from-aboveground-press-hedge-by.html

Robin Mitchell Cranfield

My main area of interest is typography, with a special interest in late-18th and 19th-century French typography and publishing practices. My other areas of interest are syllabic typographic systems and “whitespace” in page layouts. As a graphic designer specializing in book design, it is important to me to consider printed matter from practical, as well as theoretical perspectives. 

I teach typography at Emily Carr University and design books for my studio; hundreds and thousands. Currently, I am working on an illustrated book about patterns in nature. It will be my fifth book for children. My website is robinmitchellcranfield.com

Ishanthi Dissanayake

Areas of Study: Feminist Literary Theory, Postcolonial Studies, Disasporic Literature

My interests in feminist literary theory and post-colonial studies stem from growing up in a post-colonial country and experiencing firsthand the ways in which the local anti-colonial nationalism marginalizes the feminine subject by consigning women to peripheral roles in the nation-building project. My undergraduate thesis was an attempt to understand how Buddhist religious discourse seeks to construct, legitimize, and propagate gendered behaviours. My exposure to Settler Colonialism in Canada has made me rethink ways of understanding the position of women in different colonial contexts, and in my future research I hope to look at decolonization and anti-colonialism through a gendered lens.

Gurleen Grewal

Areas of Interest: Rhetoric and Writing, Cultural Studies, 18th- and 19th-century Literature, Indigenous Literatures

While completing my undergraduate studies in English at SFU, I’ve cultivated a curiosity for the mechanistic details of language, and become preoccupied with articulating these details in ways that reveal their relevance. In other words, I like to show how the moves that writers make matter, and not only for English majors. During my MA, I hope to further my understanding of how words interact within a text, and how texts interact with their readers. The breadth of studies in English complements my interests in ecology, sustainability, and ethics. To unwind, I like to run, eat, drink tea, and of course, read.

Amila Li

My interests are informed by a multitude of experiences, academic and personal. Growing up Chinese-Canadian in a landscape that professes multiculturalism, I spent the majority of my younger life willfully ignorant to racial divisions in North American culture. Not until encountering Kim Thuy's novel Ru in my second year of college did I begin to question the homogeneity of my favourite books, films, and visual media. Why did it take two decades for me to meet a protagonist with skin and hair akin to my own?

I have since developed an investment in stories about, and produced by, marginalized figures. My undergraduate honours thesis looks at how stand-up comic Ali Wong uses satire and physical humour to deconstruct archetypal representations of Asian women. During my MA, I plan to expand my research by considering the various contexts in which humour may illuminate, complicate, and conceal issues of race, gender, and class in Asian diasporic literatures and media.

Saba Pakdel

Areas of Study: James Joyce, The Trauma Theory, Migration Theory and Diasporic Literature, Psychoanalysis

The enigmatic world of James Joyce fascinates me greatly, especially his Ulysses. In line with this interest, my research mainly focuses on migrant writers' literary portrayal of characters, use of language, setting, and intertextuality.

My current project argues that Joyce's references to Ireland are not perceived through a temporal experience; there is no now-ness in his experience of Ireland at the time of writing Ulysses. Nor is it a spatial experience acting as a sensory modality; there is lack of physical experience of location and space. Thus, there is no here and now in a migrant's perception of their home, hometown, politics, native language, local culture, tradition, and current literary streams. In a word, a migrant writer might experience authorship in such a way that relies on a photographic memory of the past. 

I'm an avid theatergoer as my parents are both in this field. To stay in touch with my roots, I read quite a lot of Persian poetry and prose. Photography is also my non-verbal means of communication with the world.

Jordana Peters

My interests in English are usually subject to my mood. I usually get excited by whatever new shiny thing happens to catch my eye at a particular moment. Right now, I am interested in post-colonial studies, especially Frantz Fanon. I find that his work, despite being written 60 years ago, is still remarkably relevant. I like the way that his work interacts with a number of fields including Marxism, psychology, linguistics, and revolutionary theory. I also think that there is an element of religion in his work that is underexplored, so that is where my research is taking me right now. I think that there are ways in which colonized peoples use the religion of the colonizer as a means of liberation, effectively undercutting colonial hegemony. I enjoy studying religion, as it is often at the center of what people believe about themselves and the world, which I find exciting. It is also manifest in a number of different texts and modalities, which means that there is ample opportunity for analysis.

Connor Robinson

Research Interests: 20th-century Literature, Trauma Studies, Literary Theory, Cultural Theory, Modernism

My current research considers how trauma is represented in literature from Vancouver, with a focus on writings from East Vancouver. That is, I wish to consider what types of trauma are present in historical writings from Vancouver, and how these representations of trauma have changed in the advent of rapid gentrification, the opioid crisis, and housing crisis.

Kevin Spenst

Areas of Study: Contemporary Canadian Poetry and Poetics (ecopoetic, sound, concrete, and lyric forms), Representations of “Mental Illness”, Chapbooks, Trauma Theory 

I’m interested in Canadian poetry and how “mental illness”, especially schizophrenia, depression, and perceptions of madness, are represented through various types of repetition. While poetry is often constituted by the repetition of lines and words, I want to examine how repetition is specifically employed in poetry engaged in mental health matters and experiences. I plan to apply a range of theory from Franco Berardi’s positing of the “obsessive repetition of the stiffened refrain” to Freud’s “working through,” as lenses to understand the poetry of Sandra Ridley, Shane Neilson, Aidan Chafe, and others.

Publications:

Hearts Amok: a Memoir in Verse, Vancouver, BC: Anvil Press (forthcoming April 2020).

Ignite, Vancouver, BC: Anvil Press, 2016. 

Jabbering with Bing Bong, Vancouver, BC: Anvil Press, 2015.