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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
February 1, 2015
Canadian Excellence

PhD Student Profiles

Anton Bergstrom
Anton is currently in his fourth year of the PhD program in English and specializes in early modern poetry, poetics, and religious literature. Focusing on the works of John Donne, his dissertation explores the interrelations between literary devices of estrangement, the discourses on strangeness and discovery, and post-Reformation conceptions of the human condition in relation to God.

Despite his scholarly predilection for works written hundreds of years ago, Anton strives to balance the contemplative life with the active. He follows the latest in politics, religion, and the arts, especially film.   He completed his MA at Queen’s University, and his BA at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, where he grew up. He currently resides in Toronto.

Dissertation Title: John Donne and the Poetics of Estrangement in Early Modern Religious Literature

Supervisor: Dr. Anne Russell

Andrew Falcao
Before attending Laurier, Andrew received his BSc from the University of Waterloo, specializing in Earth Sciences. He later received his Film Studies MA from the University of Western Ontario, with his thesis "Tragedy, Ecstasy, Doom: Modernist Moods in West Side Story". His research interests include the Hollywood musical, modernity and modernism, and the intermediality between cinema and fine art. In his spare time, he frequents the Princess Cinemas, paints and religiously follows Oscar blogs. (This is probably why he's a two-time winner of the Princess's Oscar contest.) He currently resides in Kitchener with his partner Dave and two guinea pigs, Marshmallow and Truffles.

Susan Hroncek
Susan Hroncek, a fifth-year PhD candidate, obtained an Honours BA in English Language and Literature and an MA in English (Text/Community/Discourse) from Brock University before coming to Laurier. In her dissertation, she examines depictions of chemistry in Victorian literature, with a special interest in the occult revival, the professionalization of science, and historiography. Her other areas of interest include popular fiction, young adult literature, creative writing, and graphic design.

Dissertation Title: Indefinite Composition: Chemistry and the Occult in Victorian Popular Fiction

Supervisor: Dr. Lynn Shakinovsky

Victoria Kennedy
Victoria completed her BA in English & Film Studies at Laurier and her MA in English at York University before returning to Laurier as a doctoral student. She specializes in women’s writing and gender theory, and is currently researching contemporary historical fiction by women for her SSHRC-funded dissertation project. Her research examines how contemporary women writers like Philippa Gregory, Sarah Waters, and Margaret George engage in feminist revisionist historiography in their popular historical novels.

Dissertation Title (tentative): Women’s Histories, Women’s Stories: Strategies of Contemporary Women Writers of Historical Fiction
Supervisor: Dr. Andrea Austin

  Shannon Maguire
Shannon Maguire is in her third year of doctoral study. Her research interests include radical poetics, North American Indigenous literatures, queer theory, new materialist feminisms, contemporary women and genderqueer writers, and science fiction studies. She holds a BA (combined Hons.) in English and Drama Studies from Glendon College, York University; an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph; and an MA in English (Text/Community/Discourse) from Brock University. Her article, “A Catalogue of Failures: Error and Processual Utopia in Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook,” appeared in Doris Lessing Studies, 31, vol. 1 & 2, Fall/Winter 2013/2014. Shannon's first full-length collection of poetry, fur(l) parachute (BookThug), was shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry and the Golden Crown Award for Lesbian Poetry. Her second collection, Myrmurs, is forthcoming from BookThug in 2015. She is also the author of three chapbooks: Fruit Machine (Ferno House) – a finalist for the bpNichol Chapbook Award; A Web Of Holes (above/ground); and Vowel Wolves & Other Knots (above/ground). Her poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals. Shannon is the co-founder and co-curator of the Toronto-based AvantGarden Reading Series.

Dissertation Title (tentative):  Frontiers of Noise: Queer and Métis Unsettlements in Contemporary Canadian Poetry

Supervisor:  Dr. Tanis MacDonald

Claire Meldrum
Claire is currently in her second year of her PhD in English at WLU.  Since 2010, she has taught film and literature courses at Sheridan College in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.  She completed her BFA in Film and Video Production at York University and her Masters in Comparative Literature and Arts from Brock University.  Her academic interests include adaptation, genre, particularly detective fiction and children’s literature, and film history.  She loves being in a classroom, and has completed her certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.

When she is not reading, thinking about reading or telling herself she really ought to be reading, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their two boys in Hamilton, ON.

Dissertation title (tentative): Professor Plum in the Library with the Candlestick: Material Culture and Victorian Domestic Ideology in the 19th Century Detective Fiction of Anna Katharine Green

Supervisor: Dr. Ken Paradis

Murrielle Michaud
Murrielle completed her BA (Hons.) in Religious Studies and Classical Studies at the University of Western Ontario.  After coming to Laurier, she earned an MA in Religion and Culture, followed by an MA in English.  Currently a doctoral candidate researching medieval hagiographies of female saints, her academic interests revolve around religious texts, women's spiritual asceticism, representations of gender in literature and film, medieval romance, medieval philosophy, and theology. Additionally, Murrielle is dedicated to teaching, tutoring, and academically empowering students through various classes, workshops, and consultations. In her personal life, she has a passion for film, wildlife rescue/rehabilitation, farming, and cake. She lives with two unruly dogs.

Dissertation Title (tentative): Subversive Acts, Subversive Words: The Three Women of Liège and the Bodleian Library MS Douce 114

Supervisor: Dr. Robin Waugh

Heather Olaveson
After completing Master's degrees in Music Composition and English at the University of Victoria and Wilfrid Laurier University, Heather Olaveson took a little time off from academia.  Now she is happy to be back at her alma mater, refreshed and ready to tackle the first year of her PhD (and apparently confirming her status as a "career student" to friends and family).  Her research interests include Canadian literature, historiography, and gender studies, and her dissertation will focus on Canadian poetry from 1970 to the present that rewrites or re-imagines the lives of historical figures.  Other interests include non-academic reading (yes, more reading), art and music, teaching, experimenting in the kitchen, and desperately trying not to kill her lovely nematanthus or "goldfish plant."  She currently lives in Kitchener and does part-time work as a piano teacher and music director.

Dissertation Title (tentative):  Rewriting Her/Histories:  Gender and Historiography in Contemporary Canadian Biographical Poetry

Supervisor:  Dr. Tanis MacDonald

    Brooke Southgate

Brooke Southgate is a transplant to Canada. She completed her BA in English Language and Literature with a double major in Religious Studies at the University of South Carolina and her MFA in Creative Writing-Fiction at the University of New Orleans where she focused on contemporary short stories. She came to Laurier to pursue studies in science fiction literature and film featuring dinosaurs. With a strong focus on popular literature and culture, she applies ecocritical theory and genre theory to texts ranging from Doyle's The Lost World to the up-coming Jurassic World film.  Her research has also included contemporary Gothic fiction, vampire fiction, monster theory, and superheroes in comics and film. From Cthulhu to Spinosaurus, if it's big and green, she's interested in it.

Advisor:  Dr. Andrea Austin