Welcome from the Graduate Program Co-ordinator
I am delighted to welcome our new and returning cohort of MAs and PhDs in my role as the Department of English and Film Studies’ Graduate Program Co-ordinator.
This year, we are very happy to welcome an exceptionally driven group of students. Our new PhD students’ research interests include seventeenth century fairy tales, "subversive cinematic adaptations," science and literature as "collaborative practice" in the Victorian era, and women’s historical fiction. Our MA students represent an equally diverse range of interests and expertise. Several of our MAs are poets, bloggers, teachers and activists in their own right. They have joined our program after completing their undergraduate degrees across the province and country — University of Alberta, University of Western Ontario, University of Toronto, to name a few of their alma maters. Many of our new cohort are also Laurier alumni who have returned to our department to undertake graduate studies, and we are thrilled to have them back with us! Collectively, they bring a range of life experiences that will no doubt enliven discussion in our equally diverse range of graduate seminars. Indeed, this year, our course line-up includes Victorian Fiction and Animals; Canadian Literary Pluralities; Digital Cinema; Medicine, Saints and Romance; Gender and Race in Renaissance Drama; and Cosmetics, Aesthetics and the Beautiful.
This is also proving to be one of the most active years in the history of our doctoral program as we have numerous candidates coming up for defense or completion of various candidacy requirements. This certainly keeps me on my toes but there is nothing more fulfilling than seeing students rise to the occasion of another academic challenge with the confidence, stamina and intellectual rigour that this profession demands. The most recent defense was by Jenny Wills for her thesis "Aporetic Origins: North American Narratives of Transnational Transracial Asian Adoption" (under the supervision of Dr. Eleanor Ty). Jenny has secured a tenure-track position at University of Winnipeg’s Department of English, thus defying the doom-and-gloom scenarios and statistics about jobless English grads. We wish Jenny a fulfilling and successful career, and we wish all of our PhD candidates the best of luck for their upcoming exams!
And, finally, I am also looking forward to a stimulating year of activities and initiatives put together by our grad. students and faculty alike. This year we are ushering in the creation of a new graduate student forum and blog created and managed by PhD candidate Mike McCleary. Students are also in the planning phase of a tri-university Graduate Student Symposium for Winter 2013, for which they have invited proposals from fellow grad students of Wilfrid Laurier University, University of Guelph, and University of Waterloo in the coming months. Dr. Jennifer Esmail is also organizing and hosting a panel entitled "Beyond the Academy," which aims to provide our grad cohort with a view of the global job market from the perspective of Laurier alumni as well as English alumni from various institutions who have gone on to embark on satisfying and enriching careers outside academia.
All in all, I am looking forward to a productive, lively and stimulating year!
Dr. Mariam Pirbhai