FASS News, Research

FASS welcomes Dr. Linda Morra, 2022 Farley Distinguished Visiting Scholar

February 03, 2022
Photo Credit: Nadia Zheng

Simon Fraser University's Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is pleased to welcome Dr. Linda Morra as the 2022 Jack and Nancy Farley Distinguished Visiting Scholar.

A full professor of English at Bishop’s University in Quebec, Morra is an award-winning instructor and researcher who teaches in the areas of women’s archives, theories of affect, and women’s writing in Canada. Morra holds a PhD in Canadian Literature and Canadian Studies from University of Ottawa. In addition to holding a post-doctoral fellowship with the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of British Columbia, Morra has also held visiting appointments at University College, Dublin and University of California, Berkeley.

Morra’s extensive list of publications includes the book, Unarrested Archives: Case-Studies in Twentieth-Century Canadian Women’s Authorship (University of Toronto Press, 2014) and numerous edited or co-edited books. This includes the 2021 collection co-edited with SFU’s Dr. Sarah Henzi: On the Other side(s) of 150: Untold Stories and Critical Approaches to History, Literature, and Identity in Canada (Wilfred Laurier Press, 2021) which earned the Canadian Studies Network award for Best Edited Collection.

Morra currently holds a SSHRC Insight Grant, “A Life Beyond Borders: Jane Rule and the development of a West Coast Queer Community” which supports the research project that she will carry out as a Farley Visiting Scholar. 

Jane Rule (1931-2007) was a Canadian-American author and activist and Morra’s project builds on research she completed for Unarrested Archives. Upon visiting the UBC Jane Rule Archives Morra noticed they were “voluminous and virtually untouched.” Morra even interviewed Rule in 2006.

“She is such an important activist. I thought it was important to draw attention to the fact that she had done something very unusual with her life, which was to render lesbian fiction mainstream, which it was not at the time. In fact, when she published her first book, homosexuality was still considered illegal.”

"So, when I wrote that Unarrested Archives,” she goes on, “I realized that Jane Rule’s chapter was much longer than the others and that I still had a lot more to say and so that's when I realized I think it's time to write her biography to really locate what she did in this kind of history.”

While at SFU, Morra also aims to establish a social media profile for the Farley Chair, including a YouTube channel, Facebook and Instagram accounts and producing a podcast. She started the Twitter account @FarleyScholar in January 2022.

She is no stranger to bringing her research and academic expertise to social media. During her time as Craig Dobbin Chair of Canadian Studies in at University College Dublin, Ireland, she took to social media to heighten the presence of the university, Canadian studies and a conference they were hosting.

Since July 2020, she’s also produced her own podcast on Canadian Literature, Getting Lit with Linda. Online arts magazine SesayArts touts Morra’s podcast as a “winning recipe of keen observations, personal experiences and decades of scholarship” and says “listeners are liable to find themselves hooked: with swelling reading lists and minds newly “lit” to a spectrum of Canadian literary talent that continues to grow.” 

“With the Farley Chair,” she notes, “I plan to create a podcast with the students in the graduate course I’m teaching, ENGL 493W - Books, Bodies, and Borders: Women Writers’ (Trans)national Archives & Practices. We'll go into archives and develop different kinds of narratives around the archives that exist in and around Vancouver.”  

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Morra to SFU and FASS. Stay tuned to the Farley Scholar homepage and FASS’ own Facebook and Twitter accounts to stay up to date with the progress and launch of the Farley Scholar social media accounts.

We are also pleased to announce that Dr. Morra and her colleague, Dr. Betty Schellenberg, are hosting an all-day event, Archival Research: A Best Practice Workshop on February 18th at SFU's WAC Bennett Library on Burnaby campus.