English Graduate Caucus

ubc english | reading room catalogue | ubc library
Student Profiles


PhD Students

Dan Adleman
I am a third-year PhD student interested in contemporary violent fiction, psychoanalysis, and biopolitics. In June, I attended Birkbeck Institute's Critical Theory School and helped curate an exhibit on topology and critical theory at London's Tate Modern Gallery. In February, 2013, Am Johal and I will inaugurate The Vancouver Institute for Social Research (VISR), a para-academic, theory-based free school. Our intent is to move beyond the borders of the traditional university and to open up a more accessible platform in the city for an engaged discussion of critical theory.



Mike Borkent
I am working on a cognitive poetic account of how multimodal literatures like visual poetry and comics meld visual and verbal cues and how the reader constructs meaning from these. I draw from research in contemporary cognitive science, in particular from cognitive linguistics, psycholinguistics, and visual psychology, to develop a theory of embodied and ecological cognition in order to examine thecomplex, networked perceptual and conceptual processes that these works require for understanding. This project seeks to develop a more cohesive and comprehensive methodology for looking at multimodal texts which will help, particularly in the case of visual poetry and comics, to tie these often marginalized texts to the broader ventures of literary scholarship. My focus is primarily on Canadian texts of the modern and contemporary eras, but only as much as they can be disintegrated from their local as well as North American and global scenes.

Monica Brown
I study the history and theory of rhetoric, and specialize in rhetoric of health and medicine. My dissertation examines the notion of health risk, and uses a rhetorical analysis of health practices adopted during a global pandemic—handwashing, vaccination campaigns, and Internet health—to theorize and critique the relationship between public health discourse and individual belonging. The purpose of the study is to understand how the awareness and avoidance of risks has become so fundamental to the achievement of good health. I have also written on metaphor and medicalization. My chapter, “Woman as Mysterious Machine,” appeared in The Tapestry of Health, Illness, and Disease (2009). Between 2009 and 2010, I contributed to the development of an interactive visualization tool for reading, writing, and teaching complex narrative as part of a SSHRC-funded digital humanities research project based out of the University of British Columbia’s Digital Literacy Centre.


Daniel Chaskes
I study American postmodern fiction, with a particular focus on the work of Donald Barthelme. I'm interested in how textual representations of affect and performance respond to political events, and to what extent such representations have changed conceptions of ethics and authenticity.

Sarah Crover
I study royal and civic water shows (pageantry, military displays, etc.) and the cultural history of the early modern Thames.  My thesis will be employing theories of cultural geography to articulate the place and function of water in the city of London, allowing me to consider both the ways in which the waterway was used to produce "the city," and the competing understandings of subjecthood and citizenship nestled within it.  Other interests include performance theory and public-making in the early modern period.

Mark Deggan
I focus on modernist poetics and postcolonial theory. I also have an interest in the language and poetics of embodiment in theatre.

Mark Diotte
My primary research interest is the literature of British Columbia. Other areas of interest include gentrification as a strategy for urban planning and development, the hermeneutics of Gadamer and Ricoeur, Marxist theory, Iser's reader response theory, ecocriticism, masculinity studies, and theories of space. I'm a somewhat closeted Romanticist, I'm having something of an affair with American literature, and I quite like long walks on the beach.

Kim Duff
"From the Public to the Private: Urban Space, National Identity, and Thatcherism": my research focuses on contemporary literary engagements with the British city during the cultural and social upheaval of the Thatcher period, particularly how such urban spaces are represented as sites of class struggle and entrepreneurial opportunity as well as counter-hegemonic resistance and social normalization/harmonization. This project encounters British novels and screenplays between 1980 and the present. I also have research interests in theories of globalization and avant-garde poetics. In fact, I have been known to dabble in the writing of poetry from time to time.

Genevieve Gagne-Hawes
I'm studying the construction of British identity in times of political crises through the nostalgic revisitation of Raj literature (narratives written by British authors living and traveling in India from roughly 1858 - 1947).  Other interests include postcolonial theory more generally, the literature of 1970s/1980s Thatcherite Great Britain, and contemporary British literature, particularly literature of the British diaspora.

Matther Hiebert
I endeavour to limit my research to Canadian literature, culture, and politics during the postwar period and the sixties; Canadian critical theory (Frye, Grant, McLuhan, Woodcock); transnational literary and philosophical currents in Western Canada(American, European, Asian exchanges); and Western Canadian poetics and critical methodologies. My dissertation is a critical study of poet, radio dramatist, anarchist philosopher, UBC lecturer in English and French literature, market gardener, travel writer, founding editor of the journal "Canadian Literature", founder of Canada India Village Aid, author of over 100 books, Western Canada's "anti-Frye" of the sixties and the touchstone for an explosive literary revolution that undermined and continues to undermine transnationally the value structures of the nation-state: George Woodcock.

Scott Inniss
My research investigates the recent comedic turn in North American avant-garde and postmodern poetry and poetics. Privileged theoretical frameworks include the point at which linguistics, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, and literary semiotics overlap. Issues of class serve as a key site of intervention, as do the politics of postmodernity and popular culture. Other interests include brutalist aesthetics (noise), the baroque, and the French Arthurian romance tradition.

Lauri Jang
My areas of interest include 18th-century British amatory fiction, female sexual psychology, Darwinian feminism, evolutionary psychology, and gene-culture co-evolution. More specifically, I explore how modern biocultural theories on female sexual psychology can be brought to bear on the ways we analyze amatory fantasies written by women. I am also associated with UBC's Centre for Human Evolution, Cognition, and Culture.

Tiffany Johnstone
My doctoral research uses cognitive linguistic metaphor theory and feminist autobiography and body theory to show how women travel writers challenged manifest destiny discourse on the level of the body. In particular, I study how Canadian and American women travel writers resisted such discourse in travel literature about the cross-border west at the turn of the twentieth century.

Sonnet L'Abbé
Ecocriticism, cognitive poetics, cultural theory. "The Plant-Like Human." I'm mapping human/plant metaphors in literary and scientific discourses to articulate a theory of acculturation and self-cultivation. I also write poetry and fiction, and teach creative writing.

Erin MacWilliam
My dissertation traces the developmen and transformation of eighteenth-century taste as both an intellectual category and a physical experience by analysing the form and function of the genre in which was primilarly embodied: cookbooks. I propose that cookbooks established an epistemology of taste located in a discerning palate. My research examines cookbooks as a genre and aesthetic category that helped define taste in the public sphere, participating in contemporary discourse on sense and taste along with Locke, Addison and Steele, Shaftesbury, and Hume.



Charity Matthews
My areas of interest include ecocriticism, natural history, transatlanticism, and mid-nineteenth-century Canadian female authourship. My intended research will analyze the ecological and anti-ecological perspectives in the Canadian writings of Catharine Parr Traill, Susanna Moodie, and Anna Jameson from within the framework of transatlantic studies, asking specifically how these women were responding to and challenging European ideas concerning nature and natural history.

Sean Conor McAlister
I examine (on bad days, force) the convergence of critical theories and cognitive science, mostly as it relates to reading 19th century American popular fiction (especially Poe). 

Martin Parlett
MA (Oxon), Rhodes Scholar. Research Areas: Political communication, strategy and rhetoric. Teaching Areas: Rhetoric, medieval literature, languages, history and culture.
Selected Publications:
- ‘Yes We Can and the Making of a (Post) Racial Super Slogan?’ in Journal of American, British and Canadian Studies, Special Issue - Post-Racial Americas: Cultural Studies in the Age of Barack Obama, (2011), 13-41
- ‘Barack Obama, Social Media and the American Political Revolution,’ in Social Media Go To War – Civil Unrest, Rebellion and Revolution in the Age of Twitter, ed. Ralph Berenger, (Marquette Press, 2012)
- ‘Richard Harvey Cain’ in Before Obama: A Reappraisal of Black Reconstruction Era Politicians, (2 vols) ed. Matthew Lynch (Forthcoming 2012)
- George Washington’s First and Second Inaugural Speeches in The George Washington Encyclopedia, Mount Vernon, Virginia, USA (2011)
- ‘Rhetoric: a Political Weapon?’ in Vancouver Sun, (Vancouver, British Columbia 2011)
- ‘Respect, Empower, Include: Barack Obama and the Limitations of Umbrella Leadership,’ Oxford Leadership Prize, (Oxford University, 2010)

Jamie Paris
Jamie Paris studies early modern drama, theories of tragedy, Reformation theology, and affect theory. Paris is working on a dissertation entitled "On the Pleasures Proper to Tragedy" that explores the relationship between affect, theatre, and the Reformation in early modern England. He is fascinated by the uses of prayer, confession, and revelation in the works of Shakespeare and Marlowe. Paris has also done work on Victorian literature, Milton, affect theory, and Children's literature.




Serina Patterson
What constitutes an “amorous game” in late medieval literature? My research focuses on medieval game poetry in Middle English and Middle French works and their relationship to courtly love literature. My other research interests include digital humanities, medievalism, and game studies. I have published articles about the impact of e-reading on digital-age youth in New Knowledge Environments and LIBER: the Journal of European Research Libraries. I am also a researcher and web developer for the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab at the University of Victoria and technical editor for the journal Digital Studies.




Garrett Peck
My research interests include Victorian realism, the history of astronomy, and the development of the science fiction genre. My work situates the emergence of science fiction against the backdrop of scientific professionalization and standardization and interrogates the role literature played in ‘domesticating’ key astronomical controversies, including the nebular hypothesis, sun spot theory, and the question of canals on Mars. More broadly speaking, I am interested in the role of natural scientific discourse in the long nineteenth century, the poetics of science, and the popularization of specialist knowledge.



Noelle Phillips
I study concepts of authorship and material culture in Middle English literature, as well as early modern and contemporary reception of medieval texts.   My particular interest is the 14th century poem Piers Plowman and the literary tradition that sprung up around it. My working dissertation title is " The Families and Fictions of Middle English: Genre, Historicity, and Why the Manuscript Matters."

Judith Scholes
My research interests include nineteenth-century American women’s poetry, feminist theory, material culture and the history of rhetoric. My dissertation, Emily Dickinson and the Ethos of Nineteenth-Century Women’s Poetry, explores the delivery and reception of American women’s poetry in the nineteenth-century, especially in US periodicals between 1840-1870. I am interested in theorizing the ways in which the material aspects of editing, publishing and circulating poetry rhetorically shape the ethos of a poem/poet, and how understanding the “material rhetoric” of nineteenth century American print culture helps us better situate Emily Dickinson’s work in relation to her peers.



June Scudeler
Tansi! My maternal Métis ancestors are from St Norbert and St Boniface in Manitoba and Batoche, Saskatchewan; my paternal ancestors are from northern Italy. My dissertation, âyahkwêw’s Lodge”: Cree and Métis Two-Spirit / Gay / Queer Narratives explores the works of Gregory Scofield (Métis), Tomson Highway (Cree) and visual artist and filmmaker Kent Monkman (Cree) to understand how Cree and Métis 2GQ people produce narratives to assert a decolonising resistance. I’m also interested in science fiction (particularly steampunk and works by people of colour) and film.




Niigonwedom J. Sinclair
Indigenous Literatures & Literary Criticism(s): Boozhoo!  Niigonwedom nindizhinikaaz, giigon dodem. I am Anishnaabe from the Ste. Peter's (Little Peguis) Indian Reserve in Manitoba. I study Indigenous literatures of Turtle Island and specialize in the writings of the over two hundred published authors of my nation, the Ojibwe. My dissertation is entitled "Anishinaabewibii'igaademagad, Our Words: An Anishnaabeg Literary History." I am also a 19th century American literature minor (shhhh!). Miigwetch!


Daniella Trimboli
I am a jointly-awarded PhD candidate between the Department of English, UBC and the School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne. My interests are in cultural theory,contemporary art practice and whiteness. My PhD thesis, 'Tell me a tale and map me a home: Digital storytelling and ethnic performativity in Australia,' uses Judith Butler’s theory of performativity to consider the ways in which digital storytelling projects engage with concepts of “diversity” & “everyday multiculturalism” to create material possibilities for the ethnic subject. The project explores how ethnic bodies are constructed, mobilised and/or limited by their arts practice in the field of “multicultural arts”/“community arts”/“diversity in arts.” It also considers how digital storytelling projects can be read as a cultural practice or social technology that re-establish new, more liberal boundaries of the human and/or reproduce long-standing restrictive ones. The thesis thus embarks on a detangling of the ethnic body as it comes to be constituted through digital storytelling arts projects, and seeks to analyse how performativity allows power to be harnessed for material (re)constitutions which destabilise “race”. 




Back to Student Profiles


| Contact Us | ©2007 English Graduate Caucus