V Teaching and Supervision

I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in Gender Studies at Memorial University. I also supervise graduate students in the Master of Gender Studies program.

During the 2017-2018 academic year, I’ll be teaching the following courses:

  • GNDR1000: Introduction to Gender Studies
  • GNDR2005: Critical Reading and Writing in Identities and Difference
  • GNDR6000: Feminist Theory
  • GNDR3xxx: Fat Studies (pending approval)

 

Graduate Students:
I am always interested in hearing from energetic and committed students with research interests in feminist theory, the body and/or embodiment, life writing and auto/ethnography.

If you’re interested in pursuing a degree (undergraduate or graduate)  in Gender Studies at Memorial University, have a look here: www.mun.ca/genderstudies or give me a shout. We are a small but active department, as you’ll see if you go poking about. St. John’s is also, I might add, a particularly glorious place to call home. Gracious, colourful, and wild…all at once.

I am currently co-supervising 4 graduate students (Master’s and PhD) and serve on the doctoral committees of 2 other PhD students. :

  • Sarah McQuarriea Master of Gender Studies student, is currently writing her thesis on Killjoy’s Kastle: A Lesbian Feminist Haunted House, an interactive installation work produced by Allyson Mitchell in Toronto.
  • Catherine Jalbert is a PhD student in the Archaeology department. She has research interests in the gendered politics of labour in professional and academic archaelogy. She also has interest in methodologies and theories of archaeology.
  • Mandy Rowsell is a PhD student in the Department of English. She is working on masculinities in Newfoundland fiction.
  • Lesley Butler, a Master of Gender Studies student, is interested in film as a venue for exploration the intersections of migration, memory, and identity
  • Courtney Moddle, a Master of Gender Studies student, is interested in embodied histories of knitting in nineteenth-century Toronto.
  • Daze Jefferies, a Master of Gender Studies student, is interested in the way that trans women negotiate everyday health.
  • Emily Murphy, a Master of Gender Studies student, is interested in queer online fandoms, in particular, the activist fandom that arose in relation to The 100.

I have also (co-)supervised the following students:

  • Nancy Martin (Master of Women’s Studies, MUN, 2010) wrote her MWS thesis on nineteenth-century fallen women poetry. She was awarded a Rothermere Fellowship and a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship and is currently revising her PhD thesis on First World War writing (English Literature, Oxford University, UK). In 2011, she won the Feminist and Women’s Studies Association (UK and Ireland) Student Essay Competition.
  • Kira Petersson-Martin (Master of Women’s Studies, 2013) wrote a thesis on the subject of maternal pleasure. Kira recently completed a J.D. degree at the University of Manitoba.
  • Christina Young (Master of Women’s Studies, 2013) wrote her MWS thesis on doula work in St. John’s, NL. She is currently, with the support of a SSHRC doctoral fellowship, pursuing a PhD in Social and Behavioral Health Sciences at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto.
  • Jessica Khouri (Master of Women’s Studies, 2014) wrote her MWS thesis on fat activism and fat politics in Toronto. She’s currently working for the Canadian Cancer Society and teaching a social justice course at a local college.
  • Samantha Griffin (M.Phil. in Humanities, 2014) wrote her final journal on rape culture and fashion advertising in contemporary North America.
  • Pearl Sedziafa (Master of Gender Studies, 2014) wrote her thesis on the relationships between kinship and marital violence in Ghana. She will begin doctoral studies in Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba in September 2015.
  • Gina Snooks (Master of Gender Studies, 2015) wrote her thesis on women’s tattooing practices and spirituality. She began her doctoral studies in women’s studies and feminist research at the University of Western Ontario in September 2015.
  • Gabriela Sánchez-Díaz (Master of Gender Studies, 2016) wrote her project on musical performance, Body Mapping, and femininity. Her project included both an in-depth report of her study as well as a workbook designed for Body Mapping trainees.
  • Zaren Healey White  (Master of Gender Studies, 2016), wrote her thesis about Nina Arsenault’s autobiographical play, The Silicone Diaries.
  • Margot Maddison-MacFadyen (Interdisciplinary PhD, 2017), wrote her thesis about the 1831 slave narrative, The History of Mary Prince, for which she also included a curriculum.

Way back in my University of British Columbia days, I was fortunate enough to work with these two students, both of whom have since received their doctoral degrees:

  • Suzanne Snizek (Doctor of Musical Arts, UBC, 2011), wrote her doctoral thesis on suppressed music in British internment camps during WWII. She is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Victoria.
  • Mark McGregor (Doctor of Musical Arts, UBC, 2012), whose thesis examines performer/composer relations in contemporary music, was awarded his Doctor of Musical Arts in 2012. He continues to perform actively throughout Canada and has just released his latest CD with longtime duo partner, Rachel Iwaasa as well as in numerous chamber groups, among them the Aventa Ensemble and Ensemble 1534. He also teaches at the Vancouver Academy of Music.

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My teaching style (for those thinking of taking classes with me) is dynamic and interactive. While I do sometimes follow a traditional lecture format, I am much more inclined to facilitate discussions, encourage in-class writing and engage in non-traditional learning activities (such as concept mapping, drawing, and in-class debates). I regularly bring current events into the classroom.

Below, you’ll find a very long winded and formal statement of my teaching philosophy, but it gives you a sense of where I come from, pedagogically speaking….

I bring to my teaching a varied interdisciplinary background which includes graduate education in women’s studies, liberal studies and music, several years of professional performing experience as a classical musician, and extensive teaching experience, both within and outside academia. Each of these facets of my intellectual and professional life has influenced my pedagogical approach, shaping me into a teacher who values the integration of theory with practice and who recognizes the inherent importance of embodied – or non-verbal – knowledges and understandings.

I am most grateful, however, for the generous mentoring and inspiration that I, myself, have received from others. It is, in large part, my own teachers who have taught me how to teach, and whose philosophies and approaches continue to guide and inspire. Now, when I teach, I build on that trove of memories and experiences: the wonder and spontaneity of the creative process, the challenge and fury of impassioned intellectual debate, the satisfaction gained from hard work and perseverance, and finally, the patience, grace, and humility of those teachers whose dedication, integrity and love for their students and their discipline continue to illuminate and inspire me.

One of my colleagues recently said: “You cannot begin to teach before you recognize your students as individual human beings.” This simple statement resonated strongly with me, particularly as it came from a mathematics professor accustomed to reaching out to 500 students at a time. In my classroom, I seek to develop a learning space which recognizes, acknowledges, and indeed, celebrates, the diverse talents, needs, and interests of each individual student. I foster a respectful, nurturing space of cooperative inquiry and participation founded upon the principles of consensus and collaboration. I offer a teaching environment governed by the tenets of a course compact and endeavour to get to know each student better through questionnaires and short autobiographical writings assigned at the beginning of every term.

Drawing on the approaches of inspirational academic mentors, I cultivate a classroom space which encourages deep critical inquiry and from which students will emerge with the essential skills necessary for a committed life of social and cultural citizenship. I want to develop thoughtful and engaged individuals, who are able to transfer the tools and approaches acquired during their university careers into all of the activities of their adult lives. In this sense, I see myself as a facilitator, who guides students to an awareness of their own capabilities and who encourages and inspires them to reach beyond their usual boundaries. Theoretical abstractions mingle and interact with conrete practices in my classroom, and students are just as likely to compose a letter to the editor or write a grant application as they are to deconstruct a literary or theoretical text.

I am committed to a reflective teaching practice, in which I constantly interrogate and assess the successes and failures of my teaching style. I participate regularly in professional development courses and workshops, and regularly discusss pedagogical issues with colleagues both inside and outside my disciplinary area. Each of these activities enables me to broaden and expand my own teaching philosophy and approach.

Finally, I continue to draw inspiration from one teacher in particular. On paper, his title was “flute instructor.” In practice, he was far more. Through my two years of studio lessons with him, I learned about what it meant to be truly human: to give of one’s self for the benefit of others. From him, I have come to understand that fine teaching is an exercise in humility. If I can give my students even a small hint of what he gave me, then I know that I am on the right path. For this gift, I am eternally grateful.

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