Oliver Baker (HUM MA 2018)
Thesis: "Herodotus: Historian, Proto-Feminist, and Proto-Biographer"
Oliver R. Baker’s first degree was in civil engineering. He has over forty years of consulting engineering experience in Canada and South-East Asia working on the design and construction of a variety of resource development projects. Commencing in 1999 he has also pursued an interest in the intersection of Literature and History at the University of Victoria completing a BA in 2005 and an MA in 2007. For the latter his research involved development of a reconstruction and a re-interpretation of the card game in Alexander Pope’s The Rape of the Lock. Taking advantage of access to academic databases and other library services through continued registration at Simon Fraser University much of this work has now been published. Using a historicist approach, he has published two full-length essays and a number of shorter expository articles in peer-reviewed journals covering a number of seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century authors including Shakespeare, Rochester, and Pope.
Kavita Reddy (HUM MA 2016)
Thesis: "The Negativity of Place: Capital Accumulation and Ecological Limitations"
I began in the Humanities Department as an undergraduate student working towards a Post-Baccalaureate diploma. I initially intended to attend law school after graduation, but I quickly became drawn in by the larger questions posed from within the Humanities tradition, especially questions about the socio-historical relationship between humanity and nature. This led me to apply to the Master’s program in the Humanities Department, which I completed in 2016 under the supervision of Dr. Samir Gandesha. My MA thesis focused on the metabolic rift between humanity and nature, and examined how place can constitute an important site of resistance to the abstract and nihilistic logic of unlimited capital accumulation. I focused on the theoretical justifications for petroleum pipeline development in British Columbia, and I contrasted these justifications with the resistance of place-based rationality in Indigenous communities within Canada. Drawing on the theoretical framework of the Frankfurt School of Critical theory and Hannah Arendt’s politics of space, I examined the instrumental domination of place to reveal that another way of understanding the built environment is struggling to emerge.
Since graduation I have continued to develop the questions raised while researching and writing my MA thesis. I am now working on my PhD in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. My research aims to examine Canada’s global role in the extractive sector and that role’s perpetuation of social inequality alongside the material consequences for natural ecosystems. I propose a study that attempts to better understand the processes and the perception of the processes that comprise the understanding of the dynamics of the circulation of capital. I intend to study capital’s relationship to the development of what I call wasted places within the context of global extractivism. My experience with the Department of Humanities and the Institute for Humanities at SFU has been foundational to my work and tremendously important for my personal development.
Lorenzo Simon Tomescu (HUM MA 2014)
Thesis: “The Labours of Heracles as Labours of Love”
Lorenzo's thesis, “The Labours of Heracles as Labours of Love” interprets the fifth century tragedy Herakles by Euripides. The text analyses the significance of the play, within its mythological tradition from the perspective of psychoanalysis, Girardian and Nietzschean philosophy. In addition to academic research and writing, Lorenzo draws inspiration from visual art. In 2016, he participated in the annual Modern Languages and Cultural Studies Creative Connections conference held at the University of Alberta. Lorenzo presented a research paper complemented by artworks he produced during the course of his studies. He believes that his artwork reflects his learning of literary theory and adds to the expression of his understanding of social philosophy. In terms of Lorenzo’s career, he maintains positions working as a Community, Youth and Vocational support worker. His future career aspiration is that of an educator in the area of Special Education and the establishment of his own art studio.
Huyen Pham (HUM MA 2014)
Thesis: "Breaking the Gaze: Ressentiment, Bad Faith, and the Struggle for Individual Freedom"
Huyen Pham completed both her BA and MA in the Department of Humanities. Her research interests are classical, renaissance, and modern European thought and culture, and her MA thesis on Friedrich Nietzsche and Jean-Paul Sartre was successfully defended in January 2014 under the supervision of Dr. Samir Gandesha and Dr. Ian Angus. Since graduation, she has been working as the Program Assistant for the Institute for the Humanities at SFU and Co-managing Editor for the Institute's online journal, Contours.
Yang Tang (HUM MA 2014)
Thesis: "Between Fantasy and Reality: Time-Travel Romance and Media Fandom in Chinese Cyberspace"
Yang Tang successfully defended her thesis in 2014. She now works in a private educational institute as an Assistant Manager, administrating campus operation and providing academic advice to domestic and international students in pursuit of higher education. Yang also pursues her passion in teaching Mandarin as a foreign language, by working as a part-time Mandarin teacher. She is planning to obtain her Teaching Certificate and work within secondary schools in BC in the near future.
Meg Penner (HUM MA 2014)
Thesis: "Herodotus; the Greek Struggle for Freedom"
Meg's successfully defended her thesis in 2014. Since then she has been translating Aristotle's "Politics" and Cicero's "de Inventione," and investigating Aristotle's perspective on political freedom and its reception in select Renaissance cities. Meg holds two B.A. degrees, one in Liberal Arts and one in English Literature, and three M.A. degrees: Medieval History (McMaster), English Literature U. of Toronto), and the most recent one here at SFU. in Humanities. Meg taught in high schools in Ontario and B.C. for twenty years. Travelling and volunteer work has rounded out her years. She loves cats and dogs!
Cameron Duncan (HUM MA 2013)
Thesis: “Modernity or Capitalism?: Technology in Heidegger and Marx”
I discovered the Department of Humanities in my 3rd year of undergraduate studies. At the beginning of my BA I took whatever courses that caught my interest, but never felt like I had found a field of study that I could embrace and would, in turn, embrace me. On the first day of my first humanities course my professor posed a question that changed my life and thinking forever. He asked “what type of thinking might allow us to respond to our planetary condition?” I have pursued this question ever since, and it became the focus of my M.A. thesis, completed in the Department of Humanities in 2013. My thesis attempted to read Martin Heidegger’s phenomenological notion of world and late work on technology alongside Karl Marx’s analysis of capitalism. When read in proximity, I argued, the two thinkers allowed a greater understanding of the key forces that shape human action and thought in the globalized era. By undertaking this work in the Humanities MA program, I was able to write a thesis that was not oriented towards providing definitive answers, but instead one that called me to respond and think for myself.
Since graduating, I have continued to work through the questions raised in my MA thesis in the context of university education. I am now working on my PhD in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at the University of British Columbia. Graduate studies in the Humanities Department was a life-changing experience that shaped my path as both a human being and a student. It prepared me for a future academic career, but more importantly, a life devoted to “lov[ing] the questions”.