My research focuses on the reciprocal and combative relationships that developed between booksellers, small press activists, and scholars attempting to establish the field of Canadian literature as a research discipline in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. It positions the bookseller as a cultural agent who not only collected and distributed vital bibliographic data, but also actively intervened in establishing the symbolic and economic capital of the material objects of Canadian literature.
As a Canadianist, I was drawn to the Department of English for its rich history in the field, the scholarship produced by faculty and graduate students, the long-running annual Canadian Literature Symposium, as well as the opportunities it afforded to develop a well-rounded CV. The Department is small enough that I have been able to develop an identity and contribute to Department life, but large enough to offer wonderful opportunities to young scholars. I have co-organized two conferences, published, presented my work widely, served on numerous committees, and gained experience as not only a teaching assistant, but as an instructor.
From the time that I received my offer of admission, I was made to feel as though the Department was invested in whether or not I accepted. The financial package was substantial and Departmental support was instrumental in winning my SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS, but more than that, I was made to feel like a human being who counted. That impression proved true upon arrival. I have received support from a huge number of faculty members within my field and without. It is a collegial environment among faculty and the same is true among graduate students. I have found community here, one that challenges me in productive ways. I know that I have grown as a scholar, but I have also grown as a member of the greater academic community.
The Department has also been enormously supportive of my extra-curricular interests. Situated at UofO, I have been able to remain active in Ottawa’s fertile literary community and develop a symbiotic relationship between my theoretical and practical work. I have been able to build both an academic publishing record (including two peer-reviewed articles as well as co-editorship on a journal issue) and a creative publishing record. Ottawa’s vibrant literary scene is a boon to the Department of English, one that I am proud to help connect to the University.