Theses (English)

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    Contracolonial Practices in Salish Sea Namescapes
    (2023-05-18) Shortreed, Kim; Jenstad, Janelle
    This portfolio dissertation emerges from the observation that Indigenous and settler toponyms are fundamentally unequal in the Salish Sea’s diverse namescape. To explore these toponymic inequities, I ask the following question: if settlers and their toponymic systems fail to make space for or to acknowledge Indigenous toponymies in the Salish Sea, particularly in W̱SÁNEĆ territories, what do these failures say about the settler state’s approaches to attendant questions around land and, ultimately, space for Indigenous worldviews? To answer this question, I examine toponymic justice and Indigenous/settler toponymic equity through thematically linked but separate articles, a public-facing blog, and an interactive art installation. The prologue situates me as a settler scholar attempting to do anticolonial scholarship and art. The introduction frames my academic perspectives on toponyms and settler approaches to understanding Indigenous toponymic resurgence. In the first article, I discuss the PKOLS/Mount Douglas toponym(s) and renaming ceremony and explore “decolonization” through toponymic means. In the second article, I analyze toponymic power dynamics in the Salish Sea, by conceptualizing a “panoptoponymy”—a toponymic version of a panopticon—and describing its toponymic-power functions through the example of the British Columbia Geographical Names Office. In the third article—through a skateboarding lens and the voices of some Indigenous skaters, artists, and writers—I conceive of and define a “skatescape”: a geospatial awareness particular to skateboarders. The fourth article is a manifesto that details the theory and practice involved in building the first prototype of a “haptic map,” an interactive art-map installation the features audio recordings of both SENĆOŦEN (a language spoken by W̱SÁNEĆ Peoples) and English toponyms. The final article is a collection of the public-facing blog posts that discuss the construction of the first haptic map prototype, the Untitled ṮEṮÁĆES map, and provide thoughts and resources on toponyms. I contend that the Untitled ṮEṮÁĆES map, and the way in which it was conceived and constructed, can serve as a model for future academic and artistic collaborations; it is one answer to the question of how to address Indigenous/settler toponymic inequities in the Salish Sea. Built with TEMOSEṈ (Charles “Chazz” Elliott), a professional artist and carver from W̱JOȽEȽP (Tsartlip) First Nation, this unique map offers new ways to represent and combine Indigenous and settler spatial literacies and represents new methodologies for Indigenous/settler cartographic collaborations.
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    Paradoxes for the Settler Soul: The Ascetical Philosophy of Tim Lilburn
    (2023-04-28) Stuart, Tyler; Shukin, Nicole; Bradley, Nicholas
    This thesis will explore the prose of Tim Lilburn, particularly his trilogy of essay collections: Living In The World As If It Were Home, Going Home, and The Larger Conversation. These books are a record of Lilburn’s project of autochthonicity — an attempt to live undivided from the places he lives — and the challenges of such a journey as a European settler on stolen Indigenous land. Lilburn’s approach to this endeavour, which he considers a process of decolonization, resuscitates European contemplative thought to remedy the sapiential poverty of white settler culture and identity. Throughout this thesis, I examine the epistemological significance of Lilburn’s retrieval of these European traditions into North American colonial modernity — attending to what they reveal about the interior dispositions of white settler subjectivity and the cultural trappings of late capitalism. By engaging with the paradoxes coursing through Lilburn's body of work — a linguistic form famous for defying logic — I make a case for the importance of epistemic impasse, or aporia. That is, I argue that the peculiarity of Lilburn’s paradoxical thought, or the difficulty of grasping it, can, if one lets it, alert one to one’s own epistemic allegiances. And these allegiances, I will argue, have had devastating consequences not only for Indigenous peoples, but also for European settlers themselves. Ultimately, I argue that the paradoxical shape of Lilburn’s thought gestures toward the need for an ascetical, and therefore countercultural, knowledge.
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    Logic and Flesh: Richard Hooker’s Sacramental Social Body
    (2022-08-17) Simpson, Lucas; Kuchar, Gary
    This thesis argues that the scope of Richard Hooker’s critique in his Lawes of Ecclesiasticall Politie extends beyond its ostensive target of Elizabethan presbyterianism to what he saw as a more general dissolution of a framework of human self-understanding rooted in Christian metaphysics and sacramental polity. The foundation of Hooker’s revision of the conformist case, I argue, is not a critique of presbyterianism or Calvinism themselves but of their 14th-century nominalist roots. Whereas recent scholarship has focused on the extent of Hooker’s consistency with the magisterial reformers, I aim to situate Hooker within the broader intellectual developments, beyond merely doctrinal-confessional concerns, that would come to characterize modern thought. Such a broadened approach offers valuable insight into the competing tensions in the intellectual climate of nascent modernity and, more importantly, situates Hooker within the context of the epoch-level stakes that, as I argue, he himself envisioned for his project. I develop this line of interpretation with two case studies—the first on Hooker’s critique of newly developing reforms in logic, the second on his sacramentology. In both cases, Hooker adopts a position whose metaphysical-theological foundations are an explicit departure from the Calvinist-derived consensus framework of the Admonition Controversy.
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    Building digital literary geographies: modelling and prototyping as modes of inquiry
    (2021-10-14) El Khatib, Randa; Siemens, Raymond George
    The mode of carrying out literary spatial studies—or literary geography—has largely shifted to embrace digital methods and tools, culminating in the field of geospatial humanities. This shift has affected the scope of research questions that scholars can ask and answer using digital methods. Although there many continuities between non-digital and digital spatial studies, there are some fundamental points of departure in the critical processes that are involved in carrying out geospatial humanities research, including data modelling, prototyping, and multidisciplinary collaboration, that demand a revisit of the ways that knowledge production and analysis are carried out in the humanities. First there is thinking about how data models, prototypes, and digital projects embed within themselves spatial methodologies and spatial theory that form the foundation of humanities-oriented spatial inquiry. In addition, collaborating across multidisciplinary groups involves working toward shared project goals, while ideally ensuring that individual team members are drawing benefit from the collaborative research experience. Another factor has to do with creating rich and accurate data models that can capture the complexity of their subject of inquiry for meaningful humanities research. This dissertation addresses each of the aforementioned challenges through practical applications, by focusing not only on the literary contributions of geospatial humanities, but also engaging the critical processes involved in this form of digital research. By designing and co-creating three geospatial prototypes, TopoText, TopoText 2.0, and A Map of Paradise Lost, my goal is to demonstrate how digital objects can embody spatial theory and methodologies, and to portray how traditional literary studies approaches such as close reading and literary interpretation can be combined with digital methods that enable interactivity and mixed-media visualizations for an immersed literary geography analysis. The first two chapters translate a literary theory and method of analysis, geocriticism, into a digital prototype and iteratively improve on it to demonstrate the type of research made possible through a digital geocritical interpretation. In that part of the dissertation, I also address the challenges involved in translating a literary framework into a digital environment, such as designing under constraint, and discuss what is lost in translation alongside what is gained (McCarty 2008). Chapter three demonstrates how technological advances enable scholars to build community-university partnerships that can contribute to humanities scholarship while also making research findings publicly available. In particular, the chapter argues that scholars can draw on Volunteered Geographical Information to create rich cultural gazetteers that can inform spatial humanities research. The final two chapters demonstrate how a geospatial prototype that is fueled by rich data and embeds other types of media can inform literary interpretation and help make arguments. By focusing on the process of building A Map of Paradise Lost—a geospatial humanities text-to-map project that visualizes the locatable places in John Milton’s Paradise Lost—the closing chapter addresses the question “why map literature?” and demonstrates how the process of research prototyping is in itself a form of knowledge production. Since the methods and technologies that inform geospatial humanities research are rapidly evolving, this dissertation adopts a portfolio model and consists of five released and one forthcoming publications, as well as three published prototypes. Together, they form a digital dissertation, meaning that the digital component comprises a significant part of the intellectual work of the dissertation. Reflecting the collaborative nature of digital humanities research, some articles were co-authored and all three prototypes were co-developed. In all components of this dissertation, I took on the leading role in the publication and prototype development, which is detailed at the beginning of every chapter.
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    Transforming hags: old women in Canadian fiction
    (2021-10-06) Matthews, Carol; Rooke, Constance
    From pre-literate folklore and myth to the modern novel, old women in literature are powerful figures who defy stereotypes. Although they are doubly marginal, as female and elderly, they resist being classified as object, or Other. Old women provide the matrix which grounds us in the past and which links us with the future. They are the avatars of a mediating power that may bridge the gulfs between the sexes, between the generations, and between this world and the next. This study examines the image of old women in Canadian fiction, specifically as they appear in Sheila Watson's The Double Hook, Ethel Wilson's Swamp Angel, and Margaret Laurence's The Stone Angel. These novels contain three different and distinct types: Mrs. Potter in The Double Hook represents the witch figure; Mrs. Severance in Swamp Angel represents the wise woman; and Hagar Shipley in The Stone Angel is the old woman in between the positive and negative stereotypes, the old woman who insists on being recognized as the speaking subject of her life story. Angels are figures who occupy the boundaries of this world and the next, and, because of their marginality, they have a special relevance to old women. In each of the three novels there is an angel who conveys a message about the nature and significance of the old woman, and about the importance of her mediating power. Each angel leads us to see the old woman as a transforming hag, a shape-shifting figure in the tradition of the Triple Goddess. The tradition of the Triple Goddess enables old women to transcend objectification, and it reveals them as mutable yet powerful subjects.
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    Offcut zone parchment in manuscript codices from later medieval England
    (2021-09-27) Lahey, Stephanie Jane; Higgins, Iain Macleod; Kwakkel, Erik
    This dissertation engages with the production and use in late medieval England (c.1200–c.1500) of manuscript codices copied, in whole or in part, on offcuts: cheap, low-quality parchment scraps created as a byproduct of parchment manufacturing. After presenting a method for identifying offcuts, it explores the material through statistical techniques and case studies. Applying this mixed methodology to a corpus of 140 offcut-bearing production units spread across 75 handwritten books, it delineates a range of manuscript production stages, examining the sociocultural contexts of books recruiting offcuts as writing support. The dissertation pursues this study in four chapters. Opening with a terminological discussion, chapter one describes medieval parchment-making, clarifying how offcut traits arose during manufacture, distinguishing offcuts from similar types of parchment, and describing medieval uses for offcuts. Chapter two discusses quantitative codicology, justifying the mixed quantitative–qualitative approach, then delineates its dual-stage methodology: (i) establishing offcut diagnostic traits via linear regression analysis; (ii) assembling the corpus and analyzing it via a descriptive statistical lens. It finishes with an overview of the analysis’ main findings, noting that the corpus is dominated by Fachliteratur; lacking in texts often regarded as ‘popular’ (e.g., vernacular romances); and largely copied for personal consultation in professional, educational, or domestic contexts. Chapters three and four take up the primary subcorpora—one comprising common law books; another, miscellaneous, but chiefly theological and medical, provisionally sorted based on the medieval division of disciplines, quadrivium and trivium—engaging each via descriptive statistical overviews and case studies of representative books: London, British Library, Harley MS 912, Harley MS 1261, Harley MS 6644; Oxford, Bodleian Library, MSS Ashmole 1378, Digby 2, Digby 24.
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    Beside her self: a coffin text
    (2021-07-22) Michalofsky, Jessica; Sayers, Jentery
    I did not purposely set down to write this work but was compelled by a painful sense of what I should not do. What I should not write. To protect the privacy and autonomy of individuals, to avoid creating harm, and to resist, however unsuccessfully, essentializing either “mothers” or “addiction,” this work enacts a radical besideness, where one subject performs the verb of a second subject, where one subject enlist the aid of other subjects. In the aim of both producing and defying narrative structures that seem to fasten a person to their identity, this collaborative, intertextual project attempts to tell a story, both in what is re-told and in what is not-told. It invokes infelicitous performances as a way of talking back while walking forward.
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    Serious play: Alden Nowlan, Leo Ferrari, Gwendolyn MacEwen, and their Flat Earth Society
    (2021-05-31) Eso, David; Higgins, Iain Macleod
    This dissertation concerns the satirical Flat Earth Society (FES) founded at Fredericton, New Brunswick in November 1970. The essay’s successive chapters examine the lives and literary works of three understudied authors who held leadership positions in this critically unserious, fringe society: FES Symposiarch Alden Nowlan; the Society’s President Leo Ferrari; and its First Vice-President Gwendolyn MacEwen. Therefore, my project constitutes an act of recovery and reconstruction, bringing to light cultural work and literary connections that have largely faded from view. Chapters show how certain literary writings by Nowlan, Ferrari, or MacEwen directly or indirectly relate to their involvement with FES, making the Society an important part of their cultural work rather than a mere entertainment, distraction, or hoax. These authors represent the local/regional inception of FES (Nowlan), its international influences and reach (Ferrari), and its Canadian context (MacEwen). Organized according to three jointly literary and geo-political layers, and drawing on little-known archival documents, each chapter records statements from the Society’s wider membership as they relate to Atlantic Canada, the international perspective, and Canada. Despite its aberrant and oppositional spirit, FES appeared within an identifiable cultural context and participated in a countercultural tradition that continues to this day. The Society’s surface lampoon embeds potent social critique and creative meaning. In other words, FES was not merely playful, nor merely serious, but interweaved these modes in a compelling way; the Society looks by turns intelligent and unintelligible, stupid and sophisticated. Further, it invited contributions from members and applicants: seldom-seen interpretations of “Planoterrestrialism” by individuals from many walks of life and now housed in archives at the University of New Brunswick and University of Calgary. The participatory, humorous, and poetic nature of FES means that its unusual brand of Flat Earthism cannot be tied to any singular ideology, place, or literary tradition. It operates as an enigmatic, errant, itinerant, and underground non-ideology. Planoterrestrial thought is reflected in the playful poetic styles of Nowlan, Ferrari, and MacEwen: three Society members who were nonetheless serious authors and sincere in their role as cultural workers, their Flat Earth antics not excepted.
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    World unmaking in the fiction of Delany, VanderMeer, and Jemisin
    (2021-04-29) Linnitt, Carol; Sayers, Jentery
    This dissertation examines end-of-world and posthumanist themes in speculative fiction and theory through the concept of “world unmaking.” Reading for world unmaking in three popular U.S. works of speculative fiction — Samuel R. Delany’s Dhalgren (1974), Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation (2014), and N. K. Jemisin’s the Broken Earth Trilogy (2015-17) — it explores how varying representations of “the end” are deployed to destabilize normative ideals of the human and the world that undergird conventional notions of the subject under late liberal humanism. While much attention has been paid to world building and how inherent logics cohere within fictional worlds, world unmaking asks how representations of world disorder, instability, and breakdown might hold important insights for narrating and navigating disordered worlds. Contemporary posthumanist critical theorists increasingly vie for speculative practices that disrupt the inherited onto-epistemologies of liberal humanisms and settler colonialisms. In particular, new materialists and speculative realists argue urgent work must be done to expand thought beyond naturalized and neutralized discourses that subtend conventional versions of reality, especially as the pressures of multiple ecological and geopolitical crises bear down unequally upon the lives of both humans and nonhumans on a shared planet Earth. The rise in popularity of post-apocalyptic, eco-catastrophe, and survival narratives in recent decades suggests a growing appetite for speculative imaginings of the end. While some representations of the end of the world serve as an escape from the intersecting crises of the environment, the resurgence of right-wing politics and white supremacy, and the ongoing violence of settler colonialism, this dissertation illustrates the importance of attending to speculative imaginings that use the end-of-the-world conceit to destabilize dominant culture and pose more expansive questions about what it means to be human.
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    Imagining publics, negotiating powers: the parallel evolutions of romantic social structure and Jane Austen’s free indirect discourse
    (2021-01-29) Seatter, Lindsey Marie; Miles, Robert
    The Romantic era, from roughly the middle of the eighteenth century to the middle of the nineteenth century, was a period of rapid and revolutionary social change. Progressing in parallel was the form of the novel, which rose from relative disrepute to the foremost literary genre. While neither a prolific writer nor one that was very popular during her lifetime, I argue that Jane Austen and her inimitable style can be figured at the nexus of these two transitions. This dissertation presents a comprehensive study of Austen’s style across her body of work, from her early manuscripts through her published novels and ending with her unfinished draft. Using historical, digital, sociological, and narratological methods, I interrogate Austen’s style on three interrelated levels—moving from the most insular effects to the broadest applications of her narrative technique. First, I explore the progression of Austen’s style across her canon, particularly focusing on the development and maturation of her free indirect discourse. Second, I locate Austen’s style in the evolution of the novel. I begin with constructing her literary lineage, which I argue is tied to female writers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and move towards understanding how her use of free indirect discourse was necessary for the emergence of the novel’s modern form. Third, I consider Austen’s style as a means of imagining and critiquing the changing social spaces of her contemporary moment, specifically in terms of how the layered vocality of her narrative technique reflected Britain’s movement from the rigid structures of rank and honour to the fluid categories of class and dignity.
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    Imagining information: the uses of storytelling
    (2021-01-13) Higgins, Stefan; Sayers, Jentery
    This thesis investigates a cultural logic of information. In a world saturated with information, how is representation defined, and what kinds of boundaries does it consequently set up for establishing what can be known? I argue that a cultural logic of information articulates a common cultural definition for representation: information is understood as either a “true” representation of reality, or a substitute for reality itself. As a result, information comes to be conflated with knowledge. But, in contrast to calls (scholarly and otherwise) to police the boundaries of information, I argue 1) that information is exceedingly difficult to separate, in kind, from storytelling, because 2) the provision of information almost always entails scrambles for narrative representation, which 3) are always staged in the terms of genre. The function of these conclusions is the constant undermining of this cultural logic. I examine the intersection of a variety of cultural and theoretical objects, including: Fox News and “Make America Great Again”; scientific modelling of climate change; Claude Shannon’s mathematical theory of communication; Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle; YouTube “lifestyle” communities; and the documentary “The Act of Killing.” I suggest that a methodology that accounts for the imbrication of information and storytelling better accounts for the vicissitudes of, and ideological struggles over, these cultural phenomena. It does so, in particular, by engaging with the subjective experience of information, and assessing how subjects imagine their relations to information and to networks. The purpose of this argument is to intervene in conversations about the articulation of life in control societies.
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    Tactical network sonification: a listening technique for science and technology studies
    (2021-01-07) El Hajj, Tracey M; Sayers, Jentery
    Networks are an integral part of everyday life. Today, public concern with the extent to which they influence people’s routines, and how much they affect cultures and societies, has grown substantially. People are thus now engaging in conversations and movements to evaluate and address the biases and discriminatory behaviours to which networks contribute. The media play an important part in this conversation, often directing the discourse towards fears of technology. Although such concerns are very real, the stories that media circulate typically rely on the “magical” nature of networks and therefore accentuate their figurative power. But, for people to participate meaningfully in the conversation, and for them to approach technologies responsibly, they need access to the complexities and technical intricacies of networks, not just their surfaces or metaphors. This dissertation argues that, by listening to networks, people can begin to apprehend, and even comprehend, the complex, ostensibly “magical” nature of their communications. One problem is that listening semantically to networks is incredibly difficult, if not impossible. Networks are very noisy, and they do not, for instance, use alphabetic language for internal or external communication. Yet there are other ways to hear and interpret them. I argue that Michel Chion’s techniques of reduced and causal listening are two such ways, and that they afford a “sensible” and timely method for approaching networks. Of course, network communications must first be rendered audible to hear them. For this purpose, I propose “tactical network sonification” (TNS) as a methodology for Science and Technology Studies (STS). As this dissertation’s primary contribution to the field of STS, TNS focuses on making the materiality of networks sensibly accessible to the general public, especially people who are not technology experts. In so doing, TNS builds on the scholarship of not only Chion but also Beth Coleman, Matthew Kirschenbaum, Henri Lefebvre, Shannon Mattern, Shintaro Miyazaki, Pauline Oliveros, Rita Raley, and Jonathan Sterne in particular. This project finds that TNS results in crowded sound clips that represent the complexity of network infrastructure, through the many overlapping rhythms and layers of sound that each clip contains. It explains that sonifications may assist in creating multimodal network stories, making networks sensible and apprehendable. Finally, this dissertation proposes that using TNS can help understand potential discriminatory distribution of network infrastructure across communities.
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    Gothic economics: gothic literature and commercial society in Britain, 1750–1850
    (2021-01-06) Winter, Caroline; Miles, Robert
    Although the sensational world of Gothic literature may seem to have little to do with the “dismal science” of economics, readers and critics have long recognized connections between Romantic-era political economic discourse and Gothic novels, from the trope of the haunted castle on contested property to Adam Smith’s metaphor of the spectral “invisible hand.” This study, the first sustained investigation of economics and the Gothic, reads Romantic Gothic literature as an important voice in public debates about the economic ideas that shaped the emerging phenomenon of commercial society. Drawing on Charles Taylor’s notion of the modern social imaginary, it argues that the ways in which Gothic literature interrogated these ideas continues to inform our understanding of the economy and our place within it today. Each chapter focuses on an economic idea, including property, coverture, credit, debt, and consumption, in relation to a selection of representative Gothic texts, from Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (1764) to Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1848). It analyzes these texts—primarily novels, but also short fiction, nonfiction, and poetry—in the context of political economic writings by Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and others. Through this analysis, this study argues that economic ideas are foundational to the Gothic, a mode of literature deeply engaged with the political, cultural, social, and economic upheavals that characterize the Romantic Age.
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    Shakespeare and soteriology: crossing the Reformation divide
    (2020-12-07) Anonby, David; Kuchar, Gary
    My dissertation explores Shakespeare’s negotiation of Reformation controversy about theories of salvation. While twentieth century literary criticism tended to regard Shakespeare as a harbinger of secularism, the so-called “turn to religion” in early modern studies has given renewed attention to the religious elements in Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Yet in spite of the current popularity of early modern religion studies, there remains an aura of uncertainty regarding some of the doctrinal or liturgical specificities of the period. This historical gap is especially felt with respect to theories of salvation, or soteriology. Such ambiguity, however, calls for further inquiry into historical theology. As one of the “hot-button” issues of the Reformation, salvation was fiercely contested in Shakespeare’s day, making it essential for scholarship to differentiate between conformist (Church of England), godly (puritan), and recusant (Catholic) strains of soteriology in Shakespearean plays. I explore how the language and concepts of faith, grace, charity, the sacraments, election, free will, justification, sanctification, and atonement find expression in Shakespeare’s plays. In doing so, I contribute to the recovery of a greater understanding of the relationship between early modern religion and Shakespearean drama. While I share Kastan’s reluctance to attribute particular religious convictions to Shakespeare (A Will to Believe 143), in some cases such critical guardedness has diverted attention from the religious topography of Shakespeare’s plays. My first chapter explores the tension in The Merchant of Venice between Protestant notions of justification by faith and a Catholic insistence upon works of mercy. The infamous trial scene, in particular, deconstructs cherished Protestant ideology by refuting the efficacy of faith when it is divorced from ethical behaviour. The second chapter situates Hamlet in the stream of Lancelot Andrewes’s “avant-garde conformity” (to use Peter Lake’s coinage), thereby explaining why Claudius’s prayer in the definitive text of the second quarto has intimations of soteriological agency that are lacking in the first quarto. The third chapter argues that Hamlet undermines the ghost’s association of violence and religion, thus implicitly critiquing the proliferation of religious violence on both sides of the Reformation divide. The fourth chapter argues that Calvin’s theory of the vicarious atonement of Christ, expounded so eloquently by Isabella in Measure for Measure, meets substantial resistance, especially when the Duke and others attempt to apply the soteriological principle of substitution to the domains of sexuality and law. The ethical failures that result from an over-realized soteriology indicate that the play corroborates Luther’s idea that a distinction must be maintained between the sacred and secular realms. The fifth chapter examines controversies in the English church about the (il)legitimacy of exorcising demons, a practice favoured by Jesuits but generally frowned upon by Calvinists. Shakespeare cleverly negotiates satirical source material by metaphorizing exorcisms in King Lear in a way that seems to acknowledge Calvinist scepticism, yet honour Jesuit compassion. Throughout this study, my hermeneutic is to read Shakespeare through the lens of contemporary theological controversy and to read contemporary theology through the lens of Shakespeare.
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    Florists and feasts: a critical digital edition of Ralph Knevet's Rhodon and Iris
    (2020-09-08) Howard, Ashley; Kelly, Erin Evelyn; Jenstad, Janelle Auriol
    One spring afternoon in 1631, the Norwich Society of Florists held a feast to celebrate and display its exquisite flowers. The celebration included an entertainment written just for the occasion—Ralph Knevet's quirky play about a war among flowers. Early modern florists were not the sort of people who sold cut flowers in shops; rather, they were experts in floriculture who applied this knowledge to cultivate new flowers. Norwich was already renowned for its gardens, but flowers soon became even more significant. Rhodon and Iris was performed just before tulipomania, a frenzy of tulip cultivation lasting from c.1634 – 1637. During this period, florists grew elaborate multi-coloured flower bulbs that sold for extremely high prices. In other words, the florists' feast and Knevet's play emerged when flowers were important to the economy and identity of Norwich. My thesis presents an open-access, digital critical edition of Rhodon and Iris encoded in TEI-P5. This edition offers an old-spelling transcription of the 1631 playbook, a modernized text with annotations, and a critical introduction. Responding to the need for more editions of non-canonical early modern plays, my research widens the otherwise Shakespeare-centric canon and helps make more early modern drama accessible to student readers. Rhodon and Iris also merits critical attention on its own grounds: an example of Caroline occasional drama, the play experiments with convention and offers a rare glimpse into the Society of Florists. My thesis approaches the play with special interest in editorial praxis, ecotheory, and the history of floriculture. The florists' feast delighted audiences and participated in a tradition of floral celebrations—one reaching, at least, from the ancient Roman ludi Florales to the modern Netflix series The Big Flower Fight.
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    We were never Cajun: créolization and whitened identity at the margins of memory
    (2020-09-03) Fontenot, Tyler; Ross, Stephen
    In restaurants, dance halls, and travel brochures around the world, the word “Cajun” brings to mind a plethora of significations related to flavorful foods, exotic language, and geographical affiliation with South Louisiana— but what exactly is “Cajun” anyway? How has “Cajun” emerged as a community, culture, and identity? Who are the Cajuns today? This thesis rereads “Cajun history” in the larger context of Créole Louisiana, tracing issues of class, language, colonization, racialization, and modernization from Colonial Louisiana through 2020. This is accomplished with the aid of literary analyses, including authors such as Cable, Chopin, de la Houssaye, and Arceneaux, films such as Louisiana Story, and folk stereotype humor in the form of Boudreaux and Thibodeaux jokes. The thesis introduces postcolonial theoretical frameworks of mimicry, fixity, hybridity and créolization as methods for understanding the oft-forgotten historical relationality of identities, cultures, and languages in Southern Louisiana. In the 1970s Caribbean writers such as Édouard Glissant put forward the unfinished and unpredictable creativity of the historical, geographical, and anthropological space of Creole society and culture from the Antillean point of view. In a similar move, my introduction of the theory of creolization to Louisiana history seeks to wrestle back the power of Acadie or even France as the fundamental matrix of non-Anglophone culture, history, and identity in Louisiana. Instead, the complex perspective of Creolité threatens the stability of these origin myths, revitalizing our concept of history, culture, and identity in the localized touchstone of South Louisiana, while understanding that this localized perspective is always already an ongoing production at the borders of culture(s) in contact. Ultimately, I argue that Southern Louisiana since colonization has consistently been a site of créolization, destabilizing claims of Acadianness as the sole figurehead for francophone or franco-créolophone identity in the region.
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    Forming wisdom: biblical criticism, creative interpretation, and the poetics of the Victorian sage
    (2020-08-25) Dyck, Denae; Surridge, Lisa A.
    Although the Bible retained substantial cultural currency throughout the Victorian period (1837–1901), new approaches in biblical criticism challenged accepted ideas about its divine inspiration and theological unity. This dissertation shows that the pressures exerted by this biblical criticism prompted Victorian writers to undertake an imaginative recovery of wisdom literature. Adapting wisdom literature’s characteristic forms in their own works of poetry, fiction and non-fiction prose, these writers constructed dynamic frameworks of revelation and authority. My study analyzes a series of strategically chosen case studies from the 1840s to the 1880s: Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s A Drama of Exile (1844), George MacDonald’s Phantastes (1858), George Eliot’s Romola (1862–63), John Ruskin’s The Queen of the Air (1869), and Olive Schreiner’s The Story of an African Farm (1883). This selection brings together writers who self-identified as Christian but whose eclectic ideas set them apart from their contemporaries, as well as those who rejected Christianity but nonetheless engaged thoughtfully with biblical texts in their own writing. By demonstrating that these writers used wisdom literature to productively re-imagine the experiences of questioning and doubt, this dissertation contributes to the interdisciplinary project of reassessing religion and secularization in the nineteenth century. More specifically, my focus on biblical wisdom literature aims to revise and supplement the critical paradigm of the Victorian sage, which has come to define scholarly understanding of biblical allusion and literary authority in this period. Where previous studies have focused on the sage’s prophetic rhetoric, this dissertation argues that adaptations of wisdom literature generated an alternative mode of writing, one characterized by an artistic and heuristic poetics.
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    The feeling of form: experiencing histories in twentieth-century British novel series
    (2020-07-06) Tang, Yan; Ross, Stephen
    How do we understand our encounter with ambivalent or visceral aesthetic feelings—textual environments, moods, and atmospheres—if they do not solely belong to the representation of individual or collective emotions? This dissertation proposes a concept of “the feeling of form” to approach these aesthetic feelings as formal dynamics, such as restless orientations and rhythmic intensities. How can literary forms have feelings, and where—or is it necessary—to locate the textual body and the subject of these feelings? The goal of my dissertation is not to show what specific neurological procedures are involved in the emotive-cognitive entanglement between the text and the reader, but to understand “form” as a verb—forming, shaping, mediating, transmitting—whose dynamics and actions manifest the narrative form’s visceral aesthetic feelings, and to examine how such feelings bear significant cultural and political currency. Reading formal dynamics as aesthetic feelings also invites us to adjust our usual gaze at “form” away from categories coined by various formalisms, such as “genre,” “structure,” “focalization,” or “style.” In doing so, we are able to reimagine these categories as part of the dynamics of formal reorientations, rhythms, and syntactic intensities, and to open ourselves up to the impersonal agency and criticality of literary forms. Based on these convictions, my dissertation argues that reading for the feeling of form allows us to experience how literary forms transmit and regenerate volatile experiences of history in ways that complicate, supplement, or subvert the explicit representation of historical events and temporality in a literary text. In this dissertation, I focus on the relationship between the feeling of form and the experience of various histories in Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End (1924–1928), Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s A Scots Quair (1932–1934), Lawrence Durrell’s The Alexandria Quartet (1957–60), and Kazuo Ishiguro’s single-volume novel The Unconsoled (1995). Chapter One traces how nauseous form in Parade’s End allows us to experience wartime and postwar anxiety through Christopher Tietjens’s self-revolting and incoherent consciousness. Chapter Two examines how the deterioration of rhythm in A Scot’s Quair transmits a historical experience of gradual suffocation intricately linked with Scotland’s political and ecological disasters. In a brief Coda, I conclude my project by looking at how The Alexandria Quartet and The Unconsoled manifest weakened and depleted feelings of form, and how these feelings prompt us to rethink the relationship of the feeling of form to European heteronormative ideology and the ethics of community formation. The Unconsoled (1995), in particular, serves as a twofold limit case of the feeling of form: first, as a limit case of the futile feeling of form, and second, as a limit case of the distinction between the novel form and the novel series form. This twofold limit case speaks to its own historical experience of futility at the end of history, and responds to the aesthetic and ideological legacies of early twentieth-century experimental novel series.
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    Reconciling indigenous exceptionality: thinking beyond Canada's petro-state of exception
    (2019-12-23) Burgess, Olivia; Shukin, Nicole
    This thesis is concerned with the Canadian state’s rhetoric of reconciliation, the logic of exceptionality that supports it, and the ways this logic helps soften Indigenous communities for resource development. In formulating my theoretical framework, I draw from Agamben’s theories of sovereignty and states of exception, Mark Rifkin’s reworking of Agamben’s theories to accommodate a settler-colonial context, Pauline Wakeham’s application of the logic of exceptionality to rhetorics of apology and terrorism, and Glen Coulthard’s concepts of translation (as the attempt to bring Indigenous discourses and life ways into the realm of a Western/settler-colonial discourse of state sovereignty) and grounded normativity (as a way of making visible the contingency of such narratives of state sovereignty). Following the work of James Tully and John Borrows in Resurgence and Reconciliation, particularly the argument that transformative reconciliation must involve reconciliation with the living earth, my project aims to show that official reconciliation actually prevents the possibility of transformative reconciliation because of the role it plays in furthering an extractivist agenda by “exceptionalizing" Indigenous peoples and life-ways to rhetorically contain Indigenous anti-colonial or anti-industry actions, physically contain Indigenous dissenters during moments of crisis (i.e. states of exception), pre-emptively frame Indigenous dissenters as terroristic, and foreclose discussions of ongoing colonialism.
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    Gendering the nation: nationalism and gender in theatrical and para-theatrical practices by Canadian women artists, 1880-1930
    (2019-11-13) Bock, Christian; Rabillard, Sheila Mary
    This dissertation examines the intersection of nationalism and gender in theatrical and para-theatrical practices by Canadian women artists between 1880-1930, including the works of Madge Macbeth, Mazo de la Roche, Sarah Ann Curzon, Pauline Johnson and Constance Lindsay Skinner and their historical context in order to elucidate why and how these dramatic and para-theatrical works appeared as they did, where they did and when they did. Drama and para-theatrical performances such as mock parliaments, flag drills, Salvation army spectacles, and closet drama serve an important role as discursive public spaces in which a young democracy and budding nation negotiates its gendered struggles concerning cultural hegemony and political participation. Employing postcolonial and feminist critical practices, “spoken” and “unspoken” ideologies regarding gender and nation manifested in these performances are explored and feminist, nationalist and imperialist discourses informing nineteenth- and early twentieth-century theatricality are analyzed.