Welcome to the Department of English
NOVEMBER 2013 GRADUATION
Congratulations to all the English graduates who received their degrees during the graduation ceremony on 28 November. Photos
MERGING SCIENCE AND LITERATURE
Recent PhD graduate Sonnet L'Abbé's (left) research was featured on the University's home page. The article, "The Search for Intelligent Plant Life," drew attention, among other things, to the collaboration between L'Abbé and Professor Susan Murch, Canada Research Chair in Natural Products Chemistry. L'Abbé's dissertation, "Green Men, Plant Brains, and Nervetrees: Ronald Johnson's Object-oriented Poetics of Embodied Mind" was supervised by Margery Fee. Sonnet is currently working on a book project on plant life that includes historical literary perspectives. (Photo: UBC Public Affairs)
ANDREW BUSZA RECEIVES A LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Andrew Busza, Associate Professor Emeritus, and a member of the UBC English Department from 1965 until his retirement in 2004, has received a lifetime achievement award from the Association of Polish Writers Abroad, and an accompanying prize funded by the Association of Polish War Veterans of Great Britain. The award ceremony, which took place on 26 September 2013 at the Polish Embassy in London, England, included a talk by a Polish scholar on Andrew’s literary achievements, and a reading of his long poem Kohelet.
Andrew Busza is the author of a monograph on Conrad’s Polish literary background, and numerous articles and essays on other aspects of Conrad’s life and work. He is the author of six volumes of poetry, and in collaboration with the late Bogdan Czaykowski, he published numerous English translations of modern Polish poetry. In 1962 he received the Koscielski Foundation Prize (Geneva) and in 2005 the Turzanski Foundation Prize (Toronto).
Congratulations to Naben Ruthnum (Honours, 2003) on winning the 2013 Writers’ Trust of Canada/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize for his novella, Cinema Rex. The prize is awarded for the best short story published by an emerging writer in a Canadian literary magazine. Doretta Lau, who also completed undergraduate degrees in English and Creative Writing at UBC, was recognized for her story "How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun?”
See related article on UBC ArtsWire.
RARE BOOKS AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS EXHIBIT
Rare Books and Special Collections is mounting an exhibition called The Road to the OED: A History of English-Language Dictionaries," 7 November - 24 December 2013. Drawing on the University's H. Rocke Robertson collection of books related to the development of English dictionaries, this exhibition, which is free and open to the public, will showcase a wide range of books both old and new. The exhibit began with a class project by Professor Laurel Brinton's English 320 class, and includes seven student projects from that class focused on individual dictionaries from the collection.
Ian Fairclough Teaching Prize
Mandy Catron has been awarded the Fairclough Teaching Prize for 2012-13.
Mandy completed her undergraduate degree at Roanoke College in 2003, and completed her MFA at American University in 2006. She has been teaching in the Department of English since 2007 and courses on writing creative nonfiction at the UBC Writing Centre since 2008. Her essays can be found in literary journals and magazines including the Vancouver Review, Folio, and Under the Sun. She is a member of Canadian Women in the Literary Arts and a teacher for the Humanities 101 community education program. She is currently working on a book-length study of love stories--an amalgamation of memoir, family mythology, and research on everything from the neurochemistry of love to sociological theories of storytelling. More>>
NEW RESEARCH GRANTS
Alex Dick's project, Scottish Agriculture and the Fiction of Improvement 1740-1830, examines the origins of modern ideas of nature and ecology in the debates concerning the improvement of Scottish agriculture during the long eighteenth century. While this ecological consciousness is most apparent in the technical, geographical, and economic treatises on Lowland farming and Highland enclosure that were published in great numbers during the period, it also played a large role in contemporary novels by, among others, Tobias Smollett, Mary Brunton, Susan Ferriers, James Hogg, John Galt, and of course Walter Scott. The project will consider how technical and fictional works circulated together and how improvement and imagination came to be mutually informing categories.
Vin Nardizzi received funding for Shakespeare's Ligneous Bodies, a project that will survey the representation of human bodies as "trees," "wood," or "sticks" in Shakespeare's theatre, famously described as a "wooden O." It will focus on the uses of early modern trees to articulate the human form, especially in the register of performance. The project is framed to appeal to literary scholars studying embodiment (including disability studies and posthumanism), ecocriticism (including animal studies), and Renaissance theatre.
Our colleague and friend Professor Judy Brown, Associate Head and Senior Instructor, MA (University of British Columbia), died on 1 September 2013. She was a woman of outstanding achieve-ments, fierce integrity, and great modesty, and we will miss her very much.
One of UBC's finest teachers and most gifted administrators, she accumulated many recognitions over the course of her career, including a 3M Teaching Fellowship, a Killam Teaching Prize of the Faculty of Arts, the Margaret Fulton Award, and UBC's 75th Anniversary Award for Service. At the time of her death, she was being considered for promotion to Professor of Teaching. More>>
Updating the Oxford English Dictionary (OED)
Stefan Dollinger was interviewed on CTV News recently about a suggestion to have more words with non-English roots added to the OED. Stefan is an expert in the historical development of English, with a particular interest in Canadian English. Watch the clip>>
PhD Co-op Program Pilot
We are delighted to announce that in 2013-14 the UBC Department of English will pilot UBC’s first PhD Co-op program. This exciting initiative will allow PhD students to widen their range of professional skills through paid work experience in fields such as academic administration, communications, project management, and archival, government, and NGO research. Co-op PhD students will build valuable skills and experience that will extend and enrich their career options in both academic and alternative workplaces. This program is generously sponsored by the UBC Department of English, Arts Co-op, the Dean of Arts, and the Office of the Provost. More>>
THE DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH: 1915-2000
"Department of English, 1915-2000" provides an extensive overview of the history of our department from the year UBC first opened its doors to the end of the 20th century. This account of the first 85 years of the department was written by our former department head and Executive Assistant to the President, Herbert Rosengarten. Read now>>
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