The 2022 Colloquium: Meet our Presenters!

The ESA’s Colloquium 2022 is underway!

The focus of this conference is to showcase the breadth and depth of scholarship being conducted in the department and to allow students an opportunity to showcase their work. This year, four talented undergraduate students have been selected to present their own research alongside our talented faculty guest, Dr. Britton.

Our student presenters this year are Haylee Kopfensteiner, Aimee Koristka, Colby Payne, and Macy Quigg. Find more information about the panelists below!

The event will be held on Friday, March 11th from 4-6 PM in the IKB Dodson room. Please fill out this RSVP form if you are planning on attending. We have limited space, so be sure to sign up quickly! The form is for us to better gauge the number of guests.

If you are interested but are unable to attend, a zoom link (as with all other details) is provided below so you can attend virtually.

We look forward to seeing you there,



Event Details

Time: 4:00pm – 6:30 PM PST
Date: Thursday, March 11th
Location: The Dodson Room (in Irving K. Barber Learning Centre) and Zoom
Zoom Link:

UBC English Students’ Association is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: The 8th Annual ESA Colloquium
Time: Mar 11, 2022 04:00 PM Vancouver

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 870 7913 1044



Macy Quigg: “’Tis mine, and I will have it’: Interrogating Human Rationality and Authority in The Merchant of Venice”

Throughout Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, Shylock is likened to animals by the characters around him. This dehumanizing abuse reflects the dominant belief in Early Modern England that animals were fundamentally different from humans, both because only humans possessed the faculty of reason and because humans were ordained by God to have dominion over animals. Shylock’s categorization as an animal labels him as both naturally inferior and irrationally cruel, but rather than trying to argue for his humanity with reason, Shylock leans into cruelty and points out that he is no different from the Christian Venetians in doing so. I argue that by refusing to use reason when he attempts to claim Antonio’s pound of flesh in the trial scene, Shylock shows that human dominance over animals, as well as Christian dominance over Jews, is based more in an arbitrary might-makes-right system of morality than in anything rational.

Macy Quigg is a third year UBC student from Seattle, Washington and is completing her BA in Honours English with a literature emphasis. She has no previous professional writing or publishing experience. In her spare time, she enjoys knitting and creative writing, and is currently acting in a short play at the UBC Players’ Club Festival Dionysia. She regrets that she will have to miss some of the wonderful presentations at the Colloquium to make her curtain call! Her presentation, ““’Tis mine, and I will have it”: Interrogating Human Rationality and Authority in The Merchant of Venice,” was written for Dr. Katherine Sirluck’s ENGL 492E seminar and was inspired by Dr. Sirluck’s insights into the relevance of animal studies to the Early Modern stage. She is looking forward to getting to hear her peers present on topics they are passionate about at the ESA Colloquium!

Aimee Koristka: “A Matter of Fact: Adaptation as a Historical Source in William Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra

Recent research in communication studies suggests that the “perceived realism” of a narrative is critical for engaging the audience (Cho et al., 830). As such, the genre of historical adaptation must negotiate the elements of authenticity carefully for its increased capacity to be scrutinized by the audience. The demand for authenticity raises the questions of what historical sources can be considered authentic and how they can be adapted to retain their “perceived realism.” This paper analyzes historical adaptation using William Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, arguing that Shakespeare presents a post-modern understanding of history itself as adaptation. In this manner, Shakespeare mobilizes the genre of historical adaptation to further engage the audience in the themes of disinformation and propaganda prevalent during this era in Rome and Egypt. Ultimately, Antony and Cleopatra illustrates how historical adaptation is not a reduction of the truth, but an exploration of it.

Aimee Koristka, from the Treaty 7 Territory of Calgary, AB, is a third year English Honours student minoring in Archaeology. Previously, her academic writing has been featured in The Garden Statuary (11.1), and her prose writing earned her and her team the title of Alberta Poetry Youth Champions in 2019. Besides writing, Aimee can be found at the movie theatre or overanalyzing comic books. Her paper, “A Matter of Fact: Adaptation as a Historical Source in William Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra” was inspired by current discourses surrounding our own post-truth era. As with most moral dilemmas, answers can be found within the depths of Shakespeare. During her first colloquium, Aimee is looking forward to seeing her peers in-person and finding more books to add to her TBR list. She would like to thank her brother, Matthew, for being her perpetual paper editor.

Haylee Kopfensteiner: “Harsh Lines and Sweetest Hues: Female Artistry and Class Structure in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre

Haylee Kopfensteiner is a fourth-year English Honours student. Her previous experience includes volunteering as an editor for the 2021 Colloquium, and writing and editing for the non-profit Motive, Word, & Pen. Painting and drawing are her two favorite pastimes outside of university. Haylee’s presentation “Harsh Lines and Sweetest Hues: Female Artistry and Class Structure in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre” was originally written as a seminar term paper that works to combine her love of both literature and art. She is looking forward to experience presenting her work for the first time.

Jane Eyre is a highly studied text, yet comparatively little scholarship had been done in regard to representations of art and the artistic process. This essay will look at how Jane Eyre uses art to track the social class of its protagonist. Jane’s art style, as it changes from realistic studies to creative originals, and back to realism, are manipulated in order to assert her place within high society. Charlotte Brontë’s own experiences with art help contribute to these observations, especially given the gendered aspect of artistic teachings and the goals ascribed to the creation of art by young women. With the aid of scholarship from Miller, Ioannou, Wells, and Alexander, the analysis of how Jane restores herself into the upper-class becomes key to the development of the story.

Colby Payne:Empire of Wild as Indigenous Gothic”

Colby grew up in Prince George, BC and now spends her time in Kamloops and Vancouver. She is a fourth-year student in the Honours English Literature program with a minor in Russian. She is currently co-Editor-in-Chief for UBC’s English undergraduate journal The Garden Statuary, and previously presented her paper “Another Day, Another Drama: Celebrity Worship in Frank O’Hara’s Poetry” at the 2020 Colloquium. Outside of school she enjoys cooking and baking, watching movies, and spending time with her cat Finnick. Her paper is entitled “Empire of Wild as Indigenous Gothic.”  She wrote this paper for her honours seminar on folk horror, where she was inspired by Red Riding Hood narratives and the relatively unexplored terrain of Indigenous Gothic. At the Colloquium she looks forward to returning to in-person English events and seeing what others in UBC’s English community have been working on.

This paper proposes a reading of Cherie Dimaline’s 2019 novel Empire of Wild as an Indigenous Gothic text. It first establishes potential characteristics of the Indigenous Gothic, particularly in how this categorization may subvert conventions of the Canadian Gothic. The paper then analyzes how Dimaline’s text interacts with these conventions and with conventions of the Gothic more broadly, including the return of the repressed, representation of the supernatural, and gender dynamics. The paper also examines the central figure of the Rogarou and its relationship to other supernatural entities, including the werewolf and the windigo. Finally, the paper asserts that reading the text through the lens of the Indigenous Gothic contributes to the text’s centering of intergenerational trauma, as well as the hybridity and liminality of Indigenous identity.

Dennis Britton: “Shakespeare and Pity”

Dr. Dennis Britton, grew up in Rowland Heights, California. He currently specializes in Early Modern English Literature, the history of race, Protestant theology, and the history of emotion. At the moment, Dr. Britton is teaching English 241 “Cancel Shakespeare” and English 347 “Literature and Compassion in Renaissance England”. He defines himself as a foodie, and loves to eat and cook. His presentation “Shakespeare and Pity” was inspired by his interest in “how Shakespeare’s plays make us feel, and how feeling is related to questions about identity”. At the Colloquium Dr. Britton is looking forward to learning about what English students are researching, the types of questions and concerns they are passionate about pursuing.

How do Shakespeare’s plays affect how audiences feel about the “pitiful”? This presentation draws from a larger project to uncover the various early modern discourses that informed Shakespeare’s and his audience’s understandings of pity, how it works, and what it does. I will briefly examine references to “pity” in plays that span Shakespeare’s career, consider who and under what circumstances another is worthy of pity, and ponder why it is that feeling pity is so often a litmus test for the human. Shakespeare’s plays, I argue, demonstrate that pity performs an important function in defining and delimiting social obligations between different types of people.

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