Room: MHN 307
Office: 613-562-5800 ext. 1159
Work E-mail: rdaniels@uOttawa.ca
For current course descriptions, see the graduate and undergraduate brochures in the Programs of Study section of this site
I teach a wide range of subjects, but my focus in any course is to situate the literature studied within a historical, artistic and social context that will make it accessible and meaningful for students. In first-year survey courses, this focus involves an examination of these elements as introductory material to the texts studied, together with illustrations of the art, architecture, fashions, landscapes and social conditions of the various periods. In second and third-year courses, I often divide the syllabus into thematic sections, such as slavery or the position of women, that allow students to discuss both major and minor writers, such as Swift and Equiano, within the context of some of the most compelling issues of the period in question.
My own research interests in the eighteenth century also influence the choices I make in establishing a syllabus. I am particularly concerned with the ways that those writers excluded from the elite mainstream of literary production, especially women and the labouring class, challenge and manipulate established literary conventions in order to give voice to their own experiences. More recently, my work as a teacher of myth and fantasy has led to an increased interest in the various ways that these writers employ symbolism to explore their social, political and economic surroundings.
However, while I employ these interests to encourage in students an appreciation for the dynamism and diversity of literary responses to the wider world, of equal importance is my objective that students learn to read analytically and to create comprehensible arguments of their own. These are skills that are not only important in literary studies, but in almost every aspect of the modern world. Thus, I emphasise discussions and assignments that are designed to allow students to practice critical explorations and written responses. In first year courses, for example, students undertake assignments that allow them to work on and be graded for the various elements of a completed essay. While essays are a genre of writing generally limited to academia and certain categories of journalism, I believe that the discipline and critical thinking necessary for their successful production are invaluable tools for any student. Overall, my aim as a teacher is that students should develop their knowledge of and pleasure in language and literature and learn to express themselves persuasively and clearly.
2004 – PhD English Literature, University of Ottawa
1996 – MA English Literature, Carleton University
1995 – BA Hons. English Literature, Carleton University
Fields of interest
- Eighteenth-century studies
- Women, labour and literature
- Sixteenth- and seventeenth-century studies
- Myth and symbol in literature
1998 – Part-time Professor, University of Ottawa
2005 – Contract instructor, Carleton University
Scholarly and professional activities
2004 – 2007 Representative of the part-time professors to the departmental assembly and undergraduate committee of the Department of English, University of Ottawa
1999 – 2000 and 2001 – 2002 Representative of the graduate students of the Department of English to the Graduate Students’ Association of the University of Ottawa
1997 – 2001 Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship
“Joseph Spence.” The Dictionary of Literary Biography: Eighteenth-Century Literary Scholars and Critics. Ed. Frans de Bruyn. Detroit: Gale, forthcoming.
“Isaac Reed.” The Dictionary of Literary Biography: Eighteenth-Century Literary Scholars and Critics. Ed. Frans de Bruyn. Detroit: Gale, forthcoming.
Selected conference papers and public lectures
“Women’s Work: The Domestic Muse Writes Back.” Nippissing University Speaker Series. February 2007
“‘Sing Domestic Muse’: Housework and Domesticity in Eighteenth-Century Women’s Poetry.” Women’s Writing in Britain, 1660 – 1830, Chawton House Research Library / Southampton University, July 2003.
Teaching (recent courses)
ENG3341 Eighteenth-Century Literature
ENG3319 The Rise of the Novel
ENG3362 Victorian Literature
ENG3369 Sixteenth-Century Literature
ENG2131 Fantasy, Myth and Language
ENG2110 Children’s Literature
ENG1122 Literature before 1700
ENG1123 Literature after 1700
ENG1121 Drama and Poetry