Our honours students have been immersed in their thesis research for months now. We’ll get to hear more about their work at the departmental honours colloquium in February, but for now, here is a glimpse of our students and what they’re working on.
My thesis is on representations of diasporic and familial trauma in Hiromi Goto‘s The Kappa Child and Chorus of Mushrooms. Both novels tell multigenerational stories of Japanese-Canadian families. The Kappa Child and Chorus of Mushrooms depict personal family trauma experienced by the protagonist of each novel – childhood physical and emotional abuse, maternal illness, a grandmother’s disappearance – as well as the ancestral trauma of diasporic displacement. I’m interested in how Goto tells the experience of intergenerational diasporic trauma through modes of liminality to communicate her characters’ experiences of destabilization and displacement. Goto plays with childhood perspective, adaptations of folklore and magic realism to communicate the liminality of traumatic and diasporic experience.
P.S. The protagonist of The Kappa Child exclusively wears pyjamas. I thought I’d follow her lead for this photo!
I will be looking at the works of Nawal El Saadawi, who is an Egyptian psychiatrist. Using postcolonial and feminist theories, I will be examining the way Saadawi depicts violence and trauma in these works.
“So if she weighs the same as a duck…she’s made of wood…. And therefore…. She’s a witch!” (Monty Python and the Holy Grail)
There is something of an ongoing witch-hunt in Arthurian scholarship, largely arguing over the nuances in the labels “enchantress”, “sorceress”, and “witch” and why some characters can be considered magic users and others who never actually use magic are still described in this way. My research examines various Arthurian women, focusing on Morgan le Fay and Guinevere, in Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte Darthur and in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Using a feminist approach to study women’s agency and power in Arthurian literature, I am also researching historical perspectives on late medieval women and witchcraft.
I am looking at stream of consciousness literature spanning from the modernist period all the way up to the 2000s (how it’s been done, consistencies, differences). The specific novels I’m focusing on are To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker, and Umbrella by Will Self.
With a central focus on urban spaces, my thesis explores the intricacies of content and form featured in psychogeographic texts—narratives in which the protagonist explores and engages with the city, such as Iain Sinclair’s Lights Out for the Territory and Paul Auster’s City of Glass. Cities are inherently textual spaces capable of being read (as well as written in) and it is this metaphor of the city as text which centers my analysis. Furthermore, I postulate that this metaphor is reversible, with the texts themselves exhibiting structures—forms—that mirror the urban landscape.
I am writing about feminist poetic adaptations of Helen of Troy from the modern to contemporary period. I will be working with H.D.’s “Helen,” Anne Carson’s “Helen,” and Margaret Atwood’s “Helen of Troy Does Counter Top Dancing.”
My thesis explores the racial politics of the Harry Potter novels. I will be looking at four major categories: Rowling’s questioning/problematizing of authority and institutions (Hogwarts, the Daily Prophet, and the Ministry of Magic); the sentient creatures of the novels, such as the house-elves, the goblins, and the centaurs, and their identity; the politics of the “real-world” races and ethnicities present in the novel; and the pure-blood politics and Voldemort’s rise to power through the already-existing systems of authority.
English honours students at the Mount take a full-year credit course in which they do independent research under the supervision of a faculty member and write a substantial thesis on a topic of their choice. You can find more information about our honours program here.