Tag Archives: Hope Tohme

AAUEC 2018 at the Mount

LAAUEC 2018 Annual Atlantic Undergraduate English Conferenceast weekend, the English Department at Mount Saint Vincent University welcomed students and faculty from eleven universities across the east coast for the Annual Atlantic Undergraduate English Conference (AAUEC), which showcases the academic papers and creative works of the region’s top English students. Founded here in 1981, this was the sixth time that the Mount has hosted the conference. Co-organized by Dr. Reina Green and Dr. Diane Piccitto along with conference assistants Katie O’Brien, Hope Tohme, and Sam VanNorden, the AAUEC 2018 was a resounding success!

Mount students at AAUEC welcome reception

Mount students at the welcome reception: Hope Tohme, Katie O’Brien, Rebecca Foster, and Courtney Francis

The conference began on Friday, March 2, in Seton Academic Centre with a Welcome Reception, where attendees participated in a lively round of icebreaker bingo – facilitated by English Society co-presidents Katie O’Brien and Hope Tohme – and heard a presentation by Formac Publishing to announce “Write to Win!” – a writing competition aimed at Atlantic Canadians 18-30 years old.

The afternoon included the first panel of the conference and was followed by ArtFest, held in the MSVU Art Gallery. Emceed by Alexia Major and Sam VanNordon (co-editors, with other MSVU students, of the Speakman Press), ArtFest featured short stories and poetry of participants and the work of special guests El Jones (MSVU’s Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies and poet and activist) and Chantelle Rideout (writer and MSVU English alumna), as well as a welcome address by Dr. Elizabeth Church (MSVU’s Vice-President Academic and Provost).

Day 2 – Saturday, March 3, was held in the Margaret Norrie McCain Centre, giving visitors a chance to spend time in the only building at a Canadian university to celebrate the achievements of women, highlighted in the Women’s Wall of Honour. The second day included four panels, covering topics such as ethics, bodies, politics, and trauma, and even involved one presenter from the Mount, Michelle Russell, Skyping in from Florida where she is training with the Canadian paddling team.

The afternoon ended in the Atrium with the Bad Poetry Reading, which was first begun by Dr. Chris Ferns (Professor Emeritus) in his days as an undergraduate and then initiated at the Mount in the 1980s, having since become an institution in the English Department. Dr. Ferns selected among the very worst poems written by published authors and emceed the event, charming the audience with his entertaining commentary over the course of the hour. Readers included past and current MSVU English students,  faculty members such as Professors Emeritus Dr. Susan Drain and Dr. Peter Schwenger, who performed memorable renditions of “Curfew Must Not Ring Tonight” and “The Tay Bridge Disaster,” respectively. Afterward, participants and volunteers celebrated the two-day conference with a closing-night banquet and dance party – with DJ extraordinaire Dr. Steven Bruhm (former MSVU English student and professor) in Rosaria’s Multi-Purpose Room.

Mount students at AAUEC 2018

Some of the Mount student volunteers. Front, left to right: Katie O’Brien, Nicole Martina, Alex Rudderham, Sidney Warren.  Back, left to right: Sarah Vallis, Darcy Eisan, Sam VanNorden, Megan Bruce, Hope Tohme

The conference was marked by a wonderful energy from beginning to end, creating a stimulating inter-university intellectual community for English students and faculty. See our earlier post here for a list of Mount presenters.

We would like to thank the more than 50 presenters who shared their work at the AAUEC 2018 and the faculty who accompanied students as well as our emcees, guest speakers, and DJ. Thank you also to the President’s Office and the Dean of Arts and Science for their very necessary financial support and to MSVU staff (Catering, Conference Services, Art Gallery, IT Services, Facilities, Communications, Marketing, and Recruitment, Research Office, Book Store, Print Shop, and Security). Finally, a very special thank you to our conference assistants, all of our volunteers, Tracy McDonald (English Department Administrative Assistant), as well as the entire English Department for their instrumental involvement and support over the last several months.

AAUEC dance

AAUEC dance


AAUEC 2018 starts today

Today the Mount welcomes English students from the Atlantic region for the Annual Atlantic Undergraduate English Conference. Students will be reading their academic papers and their creative work today and tomorrow and will be able to enjoy other events, such as the Friday ArtFest (with special guests El Jones and Mount alumna Chantelle Rideout) and Saturday’s always-comical Bad Poetry Reading and closing banquet and dance. The full program is available on the AAUEC website.

The University has published a story about the conference and a couple of the student presenters and volunteers, Samantha VanNorden and Alexia Major, which you can read here.

AAUEC 2018. msvu.ca

Samantha VanNorden and Alexia Major (from msvu.ca)

MSVU students presenting at the conference:

Rebecca Foster, “Howling for Love: Romance and Eroticism in Poetry by Allen Ginsberg”

Katie O’Brien, “‘It makes a goblin of the sun’: Fallen Women and the Male Gaze in Dante Gabriel’s ‘Jenny’ and Christina Rossetti’s ‘Goblin Market’”

Michelle Russell,  “Cross-Cultural Dressing: Clothing and Trauma in Fatty Legs and A Stranger at Home

Kenya Thompson,  “capturing slipping memories”

Hope Tohme, “Sasha Jensen’s Self-Objectification: A Refusal of the Male Gaze in Jean Rhys’s Good Morning, Midnight

Sam VanNorden,  “hanging red”

In addition, a team of student volunteers, including some alumnae, will help to make this event a great weekend for all.

Meet our 2017-18 honours students

As a small undergraduate department, we have an opportunity to give our Honours students an intensive research experience in which they spend a year working as apprentice scholars in our ENGL 4499 Honours Thesis course. Under the supervision of a faculty member, each Honours student develops a research topic, presents her findings to students and faculty in an Honours colloquium, and writes up her findings in an undergraduate thesis of approximately 50 pages.

Read about this year’s Honours students and what they’re working on:

Katelyn O’Brien

Katelyn O'BrienMy thesis focuses on the characteristics of an emerging genre of literature called “Sartorial Memoir” (to borrow Emily Spivack’s term). “Sartorial Memoir” is a genre that concerns itself with people, clothing, and most importantly, people’s relationship to and with their clothing. I will be exploring how specific conventions of this genre, such as photography, ‘worn-ness’ and collective narrative all contribute to shape the genre and emphasize sentimentality/memory. The three texts I will examine are Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry by Leanne Shapton, Worn Stories by Emily Spivack, and Women in Clothes by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits and Leanne Shapton.

Hope Tohme

Hope TohmeHope Tohme’s research consists of human statues, hunger artists, and museum exhibits. Her readings of Kafka’s “A Hunger Artist”, Edward Carey’s Observatory Mansions, and Beckett’s Catastrophe emphasize the “thingness” of the human body, particularly during the absurd performances presented in these texts. Bill Brown’s Thing Theory serves as a basis for her argument that the human body can be reduced to, not only an object, but a thing – an object with an indeterminate use; an object that no longer fulfills the purpose it was meant to.

If you’re a Mount English student and think you might be interested in an Honours degree, speak to your faculty advisor or the Department Chair. You can find some information about our Honours program on our Course Guide webpage.

Our students shine at the Atlantic Undergraduate English Conference

2017 AAUEC presenters

Mount students at the AAUEC 2017

Each year, an English Department faculty committee selects among the best of our students’ work in literature and creative writing for presentation at the Annual Atlantic Undergraduate English Conference (AAUEC). This year’s conference was held at the University of PEI last weekend, March 3-5, when faculty and students from around the Atlantic region gathered to listen to and discuss various topics.

The following students were selected for the 2017 conference:

  • Katie O’Brien, “The Maternal Abject and ‘Passive Suffering’ as the Real Horror in Rosemary’s Baby
  • Kevin Smith, “A Picture Like a Poem: William Hogarth’s The Harlot’s Progress
  • Hope Tohme, “The Utter Unpredictability of Words: An Analysis of Translation and Transposition as it Pertains to Mary Stuart’s Casket Sonnets”
  • Sarah Vallis, “Polite Deference: Queen Elizabeth I’s tempering with gendered bodies and power”
  • Karlee Bustelli, “Flight”
  • Tuqqaasi Nuqingaq, “The Way the Earth Feels”

Congratulations to all of the English students who did such a great job of representing our department!


An Introduction to the English Society at MSVU

This is the first in a series of posts by Kyle Cross that will be appearing on this blog. Kyle, a fourth-year honours student, has been hired as the English Department’s media assistant for this year. Look for more of Kyle’s posts in the coming weeks on a variety of topics, such as where to find essay help, how to write a resumé, and what are some of the best café / writing spaces around town.

An Introduction to the English Society
Kyle Cross

English Society Room Seton 555Hello MSVU English students and other members of the Mount community and beyond. Welcome to my first post! Today, I’d like to introduce you to the co-presidents of the MSVU English Society, acquaint you their designated university space (Seton 555), and tell you about some upcoming events that they are hosting.

English Society co-presidents 2016-17 Hope Tohme and Katie O'BrienPictured above are the executives of your English Society, Hope Tohme (left) and Katie O’Brien (right). They share an interest in nineteenth-century literature, including the Gothic genre. Hope is a third-year English Major. Her favourite novel is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which is alternatively titled The Modern Prometheus; in Greek mythology, Prometheus is the rebellious Titan who stole fire from Mount Olympus and then gave it to humanity, actions for which he suffered and was tormented by Zeus – yet I digress. Although Hope loves the Gothic writing of Shelley, her primary areas of interest are contemporary literature and poststructuralist literary theory.

Hope’s favourite event which the English Society hosts is the always-comical Bad Poetry Reading, where students and faculty showcase their performance skills by reading some of the worst, most embarrassing poetical compositions by recognizable and lesser-known poets alike. Keep your eyes peeled for posters and other announcements about this event, which will take place next term in January.

Katie is also a third-year English Major, and she loves the Gothic; her favourite novel is The Picture of Dorian Gray – one of my favourites from the Victorian era. Like Hope, Katie employs poststructuralist theory to analyze literary texts, especially postmodern literature. The event that she’s most looking forward to is the English Society’s End-of-Term Party, which is coming up soon! She tells me that it’s a great way to unwind and commemorate all of the hard work students have done during the term. The party will take place at Vinnie’s Pub (the campus bar) on Wednesday, December 7th, from 4:30 pm until, well, until the staff members at Vinnie’s kick us out. Because Vinnie’s hosts both dry and wet functions, all students are welcome! Come and join us on the 7th of December to celebrate the completion of the fall term in true holiday fashion.

Note:  Ugly holiday sweaters are not mandatory, but they are welcomed and encouraged.

English Society bulletin board Seton 555

Speaking of great events, the Society is also hosting a bake sale on Wednesday, November 30th from 11:00 – 1:30 on the fifth floor of the Seton Academic Centre (SAC), in the English Corner, which is between rooms 510 and 511. You will not – I repeat, you will NOT – want to miss this year’s bake sale if you love festive treats, especially if you recall what was on offer for their Halloween bake sale. The Society will be selling holiday-themed baked goods, so bring your milk and your merry self, and treat yourself to some scrumptious goodies made by the jolly executives of the English Society themselves.

English Society bulletin board and room, Seton 555For those of you who don’t know, the MSVU English Society is located on the fifth floor of the SAC, in room 555 (easy to remember!). It is a cozy room filled with lots of books to read and with chairs and settees for relaxing. For information on upcoming events in both the English Department and the academic community of Halifax, check out the English Society bulletin board.

English Society Room 555If you’re in need of some relaxation while you write that end-of-term paper, which might feel overwhelming at times, come to room 555 and enjoy a comforting, warm steeped tea from David’s Tea. Hope and Katie welcome all students to stop by for a cup of tea; their door is always open.

English Society Seton 555If you need somewhere to store those leftovers you brought to school, the English Society has got you covered! And if you need to heat up said leftovers, come on in and warm up your food before class. You’re always welcome to use the fridge and microwave in the Society room.

English Society Room, Seton 555The Society room is also a relaxed and enclosed environment in which to read and write, and it’s never crowded. Check it out for yourself and get acquainted with your peers! I guarantee that if you build social solidarity with your fellow students, your time here at the Mount will be much more enjoyable and less stressful. Establishing a sense of community in any institution will make you feel like you’re part of a family, regardless of how far you are from home. Take it from me, Kyle Cross, a fourth-year English student who came to the Mount completely alone, but who now sees familiar and friendly faces everyday.

Follow the English Society on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/msvu_englishsociety/

and like them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/msvuenglishsociety/?fref=ts

If you have ANY questions at all about the MSVU English Society, if you’d like to get involved with the Society, or if you have any ideas for blog posts, whether in regards to the English Society or not, feel free to e-mail either me, Hope, or Katie.

Hope Tohme: amal.tohme@msvu.ca

Katie O’Brien: katelyn.obrien2@msvu.ca

Me, Kyle Cross: kyle.cross@msvu.ca