"Saba Pakdel is a brilliant and passionate researcher, unlocking new understandings of the modernist trope of the author-exile -- redeployed for what it can (and cannot) tell us about contemporary figurations of the migrant, exile and refugee. Saba is asking whether the nation can still be figured as a necessarily absent object of desire when it comes to reading a contemporary literature of displacement that is still haunted by modernity's tropes of mobility, return, lost homelands, and imagined communities."

Dr. Collis

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Student Profile: Saba Pakdel

English master's student in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

September 10, 2021
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I was born into a family of artists in Tehran, Iran. Growing up in a home of theatre, literature, and cinema, I breathed in the quality air of arts from an early age. I completed my BA and MA in English; attended and coordinated literary workshops and poetry readings; published poems, translations, and essays in Persian journals before leaving my home country to Canada in 2017.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

The English department at Simon Fraser University is world-renowned for great instructors and mentors. I am grateful to have worked with some of them during my two-year Master's degree, including Dr. Stephen Collis, Dr. Christine Kim, Dr. James D. Fleming, and Dr. David Chariandy. 

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?

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.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

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. To complete my project on migration literature, I had a chance to work under the supervision of Dr. Stephen Collis who specializes in this filed.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND A LITTLE ABOUT HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.

I was fortunate to receive the Temple Maynard Graduate Scholarship in English and Aphra Behn Grad Scholarship ENGL. The financial support provided by the award has been very helpful in allowing me to focus on my studies.

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