WHEN: 12-4PM, January 21st, 2017
WHERE: Dodson Room, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, UBC

The English Students’ Association is excited to present the third annual Colloquium! This conference features presentations from English undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty members. The Colloquium offers the opportunity to share your work and discuss ideas with other students and faculty members in the English Department. The Colloquium will be held on Saturday, January 21, 2017.

This event is free and will included a catered lunch!

Read on for presenter abstracts and RSVP to the Facebook event to receive all updates and reserve your spot through Eventbrite!

We can’t wait to see you there!

The 2017 Colloquium’s poster art was created by the wonderful Mary Chen.

The ESA would also like to thank CiTR 101.9 FM for generously sponsoring this event.


Presenter Abstracts and Bios

Undergraduate Presenters

Josh Gabert-Doyon  – Mechanized Confession: Convergent Media and Self-Making in Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape

Kathryn Ney  – Monsterscapes: Mankind, Mead-Halls, and the Temporal and Spatial Delineations in Beowulf

Karen Ng – Mint and Medicine: Spaces of Knowledge in Medieval Pharmacopeias and Physic Gardens

Julia Tikhonova – The Political Aesthetics of Absent Presence: Rearticulating Trauma through Character in Jacob’s Room

Alexandra Trim – Translation, Morphemes, and Naming: Linguistic Reclamation Strategies in Tracey Lindberg’s Birdie

Faculty Presenters

Dr. Barbara Dancygier – What Cognitive Linguistics Can Teach Us About Drama

Dr. Glenn Deer – Reading Culture through Food, Cooking, and Eating: The Asian Canadian Culinary Memoir

Dr. Dory Nason


Josh Gabert-Doyon is a writer and broadcaster who’s work has appeared in Dazed, Adbusters, Noisey, and The Mainlander. He is a 4th year English Honours student and an assistant producer at the podcast “Cited.”

Mechanized Confession: Convergent Media and Self-Making in Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape

Drawing on contemporary critical discussions on Samuel Beckett’s media plays, this paper takes up Krapp’s Last Tape and its anticipation of network-based digital production. Krapp’s project of recording, manipulating, and listening to recorded tapes of himself reflects a form of convergent media production, where the audience/consumer is collapsed with the author/producer. Through a dialectic of linear and nonlinear temporality, Krapp’s mediated confessions and their playback onstage dramatize the slippages and destabilization of subjectivity arising with new forms of media technology.

Beckett’s modernist concerns with consciousness and epiphany are conjugating here with questions of media-making and the integrity of the text. Krapp’s manipulations of the tape recordings – of his own voice – echo collage and remixing techniques. I argue that the significance of Krapp’s mediated interactions lie in their emergence as a documentary confessional form, with Krapp effectively participating in a self-making as he pushes at the limits of our understanding of what constitutes a text.

Questions of how we tells the story of ourselves, how we inscribe that story, and how that narrativization changes with the development of media technology are further complicated when we begin to consider intellectual property rights in relation to self-making. This paper prompts us to ask at what point Krapp’s tapes stop being a mirror of consciousness and begin being an object of intellectual property.


Kathryn Ney is working toward the completion of a double major in History and English Literature (Honours) at the University of British Columbia. Her research interests include eco-criticism, spatiality, and the relativity of time, as well as posthumanism and the sociological impacts of technology.

Monsterscapes: Mankind, Mead-Halls, and the Temporal and Spatial Delineations in Beowulf

Beowulf is a mythos without temporal or topographic consistency. As a narrative, it manipulates the linear progression of time, and as a cultural construct, Beowulf delineates identity in spatial terms, using binaries of familiar and unfamiliar, occupation and exile, to denote what is human and what is monstrous. Taking an ecocritical approach to Beowulf, this presentation will examine the ways in which space is defined and perceived in Anglo-Saxon culture; it will argue that self-identification comes at a cost, and one which necessitates the exploitation of the landscape, the expulsion of the “other,” and forceful domestication of the unknown.

Familiar spaces, places of inclusion and stability, materially reflect the impacts of Anglo-Saxon settlement on the untamed landscape; the mead-hall acts as a point of orientation in a foreign land, a pillar of both material and social stability threatened by Grendel’s incursion. In Beowulf, monsters are inscribed, and associated with, Anglo-Saxon anxieties over uncharted realms. Beowulf embodies human resistance and domestication of these threats, from the unpredictability of the sea to Grendel’s mere, the land of exile. There are also limits to the Geat’s prowess, and he must accept the limits of his power when he confronts the dragon: a monster which itself embodies a ruler’s preponderance for greed, hoarding, and stagnation. In a juxtaposition of endings and beginnings, Beowulf ends with a confrontation which reiterates the limits of man-made delineations of space, time, and place.

Using Alaric Hall’s linguistic analysis of space and identity signifiers in his work Elves in Anglo Saxon England, the Anglo-Saxon “Cotton Map,” as well as Gillian R. Overing and Marijane Osborne’s “concept map” of the Scandinavian archipelago in Landscape of Desire, this presentation demonstrates that the poetic tradition of Beowulf is itself a mapping device: a way of using myth to self-orient, justify, and consequently reflect early Anglo-Saxon conceptualizations of space.  


Karen Ng is in her fifth and final year in the English Honours and Medieval Studies programs. Her interests include book history, manuscript studies, and digital humanities. In the future, she hopes to read more Asian diaspora literature, as well as pursue Library and Archival Studies.

Mint and Medicine: Spaces of Knowledge in Medieval Pharmacopeias and Physic Gardens

The Garden of Mirth in Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun’s encyclopedic text The Romance of the Rose becomes a space where nature, culture, and education are intertwined; the Dreamer and the audience learn by listening to and reading lengthy commentaries from allegorical personas such as Reason, Evil Tongue, and Nature. Similarly, medieval physic gardens, which are herbal gardens grown for the purpose of teaching physicians and apothecaries about medicine and health, are such liminal, cultivated spaces. They are also reflected in the pages of medieval pharmacopeial manuscripts, such as in British Library, Harley Manuscripts 4986, 5284, and 1585, particularly in Pseudo-Apuleius’ De Medicaminibus Herbarum Liber, also known as the Herbarius, which has a long manuscript tradition stretching from late antiquity to the Renaissance.

As spaces of knowledge, physic gardens and pharmacopeial manuscripts work similarly, especially as mediating spaces to explain the medieval understanding of health and healing in the relationship between the body and the celestial spheres. Plants in the garden, which supposedly healed certain parts of the body according to the Doctrine of Signatures, were known by their similarity in form to that body part. As the arrangement of the garden can be likened to the arrangement of the text, pharmacopeial compilations can function as gardens for learning. The act of reading or leafing through a herbal manuscript is similar to moving through a garden and observing the plants. Focusing on a specific herb, mint, this project examines the context of physical spaces such as gardens and manuscripts. Through the spaces of medieval pharmacopeial manuscripts and physic gardens, medicinal herbs for health and healing illustrate and embody the resonances and relationships between the body and the universe, the microcosm and the macrocosm.


Julia Tikhonova is in her fourth year, pursing a double major in English literature and Sociology. Her research interests include twentieth century literature, discourse and power, as well as sociological theory.

The Political Aesthetics of Absent Presence: Rearticulating Trauma through Character in Jacob’s Room

A wealth of scholarly debate surrounds interpretations of Virginia Woolf’s Jacob’s Room as either an arresting elegy for the losses of the First World War, or a provocative satire of the patriarchal ideologies that incite the war in the first place; however, less critical dialogue considers the implications of Jacob’s unconventional characterization, which is inextricably bound with the above debates. While earlier literary critics widely focused on Jacob’s presence, contemporary scholars instead consider Jacob’s “irrecoverable absence” (Clewell 199), “erased interiority” (Oxner 211), and “permanently unknown quantity” (Zwertling, qtd. in Clewell 208). Intervening in and complicating these scholarly approaches, I will examine the shaping of Jacob’s presence and his absence synchronously; considering either in isolation renders an incomplete analysis, as both are necessary to understand Woolf’s critiques of conventional characterization and of elegy. First, I examine how elements of Jacob’s oscillating presence emerge through Woolf’s critique of the modes of characterization within the genre of war biography. Next, while not discounting Jacob’s presence altogether, I continue with a Foucauldian analysis of how the simultaneous features of his absence function to reclaim space and time for collective mourning; in shifting the focus away from a consolidated character, Woolf hones in on trauma and the larger societal interrogation of the traditional elegy. Through the above, I argue that Jacob’s ‘absent presence’ functions as an aesthetic and political strategy, by which Woolf traces connections between individual mourning and social structures, allowing Jacob’s Room to concurrently transform and reinvent conventional modes of character, elegy, and of social engagements with mourning.


Alexandra Trim is currently in her fourth year of studies at UBC and is pursuing a BA in Art History. Her research interests primarily involve postwar American art and literature, as well as with questions of ethnicity and identity. She is an avid enthusiast of Russian literature, Art House/avant-garde film and jazz.

Translation, Morphemes, and Naming: Linguistic Reclamation Strategies in Tracey Lindberg’s Birdie

The purpose of this research is to investigate the ways in which contemporary Canadian writers grapple with and contest the dominant political and literary ideologies of Canada’s cultural narrative. This research primarily concerns Tracey Lindberg’s 2016 novel Birdie, examining the narrative techniques she utilizes (at the linguistic level) as strategies of making space for Indigenous voices and identities within Canadian literature. My research addresses narrative strategies at the level of linguistics, including elements of style, such as sentence construction, translation, politically charged word usage, and self-reflexive narration. Lindberg uses such linguistic tools in Birdie as acts of “linguistic reclamation,” a term describing narrative tactics that destabilize a monolithic representation of Cree Indigenous peoples. Namely, Lindberg incorporates the Plains Cree language into her work by translating Cree words into English in footnotes, and creates morphemes (highly compounded words). In addition, Lindberg employs the use of names as well as traditional racial derogatives in the text, which she inverts and reclaims through re-appropriation. In this study, I argue that Lindberg’s “postmodern” play with words in Birdie is not merely a stylistic or aesthetic choice, but it is a conscious and political act. The strategies of linguistic reclamation aforementioned function as attempts to both reclaim Indigenous Cree identity, while simultaneously reconciling marginal narratives with dominant competing ones, in contemporary Canadian literature.


Barbara Dancygier is a cognitive linguist, interested in the applications of metaphor theory, blending, and construction grammar to a variety of phenomena, especially grammatical expression of viewpoint. She also works on the applications of cognitive linguistic theories to literary discourse. She is particularly interested in viewpoint phenomena in the narrative, and in formal correlates of literary meaning.

What Cognitive Linguistics Can Teach Us About Drama

To watch a play is to participate in a multimodal experience, where language, space, bodies, and material objects interact in complex ways. In this talk, I’ll show how recent theories of language open a refreshed perspective on theatricality, while also allowing us to see the ways in which standard use of language adjusts to the needs of the genre in which it is used. I’ll use various aspects of cognitive linguistics models of communication to discuss fragments from several Early Modern plays and show how concepts of material anchors, multimodality, viewpoint, and linguistic constructions can be used in interpretation.


Glenn Deer teaches Asian North American literature, Canadian Literature, Multi-Ethnic and Mixed Race Writing, Cultural Studies, and Theory in the English Department at the University of British Columbia.  He is the author of Postmodern Canadian Fiction and the Rhetoric of Authority (McGill-Queen’s UP), and articles on race relations in Richmond, British Columbia, on urban Vancouver space in Asian Canadian writing, on culinary desire, and on Asian Canadian photo-poetics.  In 2012 he was a recipient of a University Killam Teaching Prize.  He has worked as an Associate Editor for Canadian Literature since 1999.

Reading Culture through Food, Cooking, and Eating:  The Asian Canadian Culinary Memoir

Significant scholarly attention has recently turned to interdisciplinary studies of Canadian food culture and culinary texts (or what the social anthropologists designate as “foodways”), and recent Canadian contributions include Lily Cho’s Eating Chinese:  Culture on the Menu in Small Town Canada (2010), Nathalie Cooke’s anthology What’s to Eat?: Entrees in Canadian Food History (2009), and the e-journal founded in 2008, also edited by Nathalie Cooke, Cuizine: The Journal of Canadian Food Culture .  In Nathalie Cooke’s anthology, the guiding questions taken up by twelve scholars include “What Do and Did We Eat?” and “What do our food stories tell us about who we are or were?”  While these scholars productively investigate the national ideological contexts that influence the production and consumption of particular foods like chocolate (Catherine Macpherson), tourtière (Jean-Pierre Lamasson), red fife wheat (Sarah Musgrave), or delve into histories of  aboriginal or asian foodways in Canada (Margery Fee, Sneja Gunew), almost no analytic attention has been given to the relationships between the visual, oral, and textual elements of the emerging genre of the written culinary memoir.  I am interested here in how the culinary memoir, mainly by Asian Canadian writers, employs visual, oral, and textual elements that act in concert as a complex substitute for meals that cannot be eaten again.  The recipes contained in such culinary life writings attempt to resurrect idealized meals from the past through visual, oral, and textual means.  Janice Wong’s memoir Chow: From China to Canada: Memories of Food + Family (2005) will be the focus of this analysis.