Annual English Undergrad Conference

The 2019 English Undergraduate Conference will be held on Tuesday 5 February, all day in the Council Chambers (AA160). This year's theme is "Space, Place, and the Environment," and will feature a keynote address by Anne Milne: "Breathings and Bodies: An Ecocritical Primer”.

Draft program:

9:45 Opening Remarks & Welcome

10:00-11:00 Creative Writing Panel I
• Ryanne Kap, “Florida”
• Chloe Troicuk, “1983”
• Victoria Mbabazi, “Evelyn & The Five Stages of Grief”
• Sarah Hilton, "Campus Sceleratus: The Body" and "Reflecting Pool”
• Zahra Tootonsab, ”cowboys in a spaceship”

11:15-12:00 Essay Panel: The Ecocritical Early Modern
• Grayson Chong, “What’s the Hyphen Got to Do with It?: An Exploration of the Relationship Between Cordelia and Nature in William Shakespeare’s King Lear”
• Nicholas Marcelli, “Tree Huggers: Exploitative Human/Nature Kinship Bonds in Behn’s ‘On A Juniper Tree, Cut Down to Make Busks’ and Silverstein’s The Giving Tree”

12:00-1:15 Lunch & Keynote Address by Anne Milne
“Breathings & Bodies: An Ecocritical Primer”

1:15-2:15 Creative Writing Panel II
• Bijal Prajapati, “Pour Traverser les Ponts”
• Eva Wissting, “On My Body”
• Grayson Chong, ”Language Lessons" and “Hunger”

2:15-3:15 Essay Panel: Canadian Places & Faces
• Zahra Tootonsab, “The Right to the City Through the Lens of “Dark Sousveillance” in Dionne Brand’s thirsty”
• Sumbul Mirza, “The Limits of Multiculturalism in David Chariandy’s Brother"
• Aishah Cader, “Always the Nice Guy: Unpacking Why American Literature Trivializes Canada”

3:15-4:30 Essay Panel: Film & Performance
• Ryanne Kap, “‘They Cannot Represent Themselves’: The Ramifications of Hollywood Representation in Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer"
• Eva Wissting, “Waiting for Hope in Sarajevo: The Meaning of Susan Sontag’s staging of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot”
• Tasnim Sumaiya & Malaika Hamadi, “The Hollywood Muslim: The Silver Screen’s Islamophobic Pandemic & Regressive Representation”

4:30 Closing Remarks & Awards Presentation

Feel free to drop in for any or all of the panels that interest you, and contact Prof. Yulia Ryzhik or Dr. Sonja Nikkila if you have questions or concerns.



2018 Conference: “Subversion”

Critical Essay Presenters

Sabrina Khela, “Early Modern Gendered Soundscapes: Silence, Speech, and Acoustic Agency in King Lear

Grayson Chong, “Ravenous Rome: Confusion Between Romans and Barbarians in William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus

Iffah Elnaz, “British Romantics and Bias: A Post-colonial Perspective on Race-Based Narratives”

Elanna Clayton, “Saving Souls or Damaging Them: Coping Mechanisms Caused by Harmful Institutions”

Chelsea Matson, “Imagined Representations of Migration in Michael Ondaatje’s In the Skin of a Lion

Abbiramee Asokan, “Running Through the Street & Paddling In the Sky: The Subversion & Transgression of Racial Boundaries in Magical Realist Canadian Literature”

Daniel Hutchings, “Imagining Community and Isolation in African Prison Poetry”

Alisha Sharma, “The Handmaid’s Tale: Blessed Be Those Who Heed the Warnings of the Meek”


Creative Writing Presenters 

Grayson Chong “Of Men and Monsters”

Jill Kennedy “Smart Phone”

Victoria Mbabazi “2017”

Sana Mufti “Hang them all and let them burn”

Téa Mutonji “Serendipity”

Zahra Tootonsab “Bodies & Human Bodies”

Chloe Troicuk “Vindication for What I Was Taught”

Vanessa Vigneswaramoorthy, “A Sonnet to Daughter”

Rubab Ali “Data”

Sarah Hilton “Cardinal”

Aleah Howard “Right Side Up”

Ryanne Kap “China Dolls”

Bijal Prajapati “Patient 13”

Eva Wissting “Her Friend, I Am”

Emma Witkowski, “Bottom of Éireann Quay” 


2017 Conference: “Diversity & Discomfort”

Critical Essay Presenters 

Julianna Valente, “Understanding the Self Through the Spiritual”

Zahraa Saab, “Diminishing Discomfort: The Rejection of Sameness and Otherness in Mohja Kahf’s Muslim-American Novel, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf”

Sabrina Khela, “‘Post-postcolonial’ Translatability in Cultural Translation: Negotiating Transactions of Culture in Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘Unaccustomed Earth’ and ‘Hell-Heaven’”

Nana Frimpong, “Narrative Storytelling, Identity, and Silence in African-American Prose”

Chelsea La Vecchia, “Give Me Bread and Salt: Transformation and Transgression from Food in Fantasy Literature”

Alisha Sharma, “The Subversion and Attainment of the Desirable in Fantasy Literature”

Samir Parmar, “Pandemic Diseases in America: Media Influence on Our Fear of the Other”

Vivian Zhou, “The Puissance of Variation: Othering the Miscegenated Subject in Stephen Norrington’s Blade”

James Dale, “Is It Me?: An Analysis of Age as Other in The Strain”


Creative Writing Presenters

Emma Witkowski, “A Sunrise”

Nikki Carter, “To Do:”

Grayson Chong, “My Body, The Victim”

James Dale, “Kaloi Threnoi”

Abygaile Cruz, “excuse me aramark, do you know how much for a life?”

RZY Liu, “The Iceberg”

Hartley Hutchinson, “Mood Stone”

Sara Farhat, “Refugee”

Alena Loboda, “Not Ashamed”

Leru Xu, “friday”

Sana Mufti, “Hometown Refugee”

Halima Farah, “A Mile”

Aysha Sidiq, “A Hot Mess”

Téa Mutonji Gombe, “Après Viol” and “Some other kind of love”

Naziha Nasrin, “Closed Borders”

Sarah Hilton, “Visiting Hours”

Lucas McDonell, “Pepperpots and Rifle Scopes”

Chelsea La Vecchia, “The Womb on Pointe”

Trevon Smith, “Invisible Beasts”


2016 Conference: “A Showcase of Our Best”


Critical Essay Presenters

Christine Tran, “Improbable Bodies and Embodied Texts in Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and Addison’s ‘The Adventures of a Shilling’”

Andilib Sajid, “Evocative: The Erotic in The Song of Solomon”

Katie Konstantopoulos, “Lopsided, Puckered and Whole: The Text as Body in Audre Lorde’s The Cancer Journals”

Hadia Khan, “Limited Vision: Control and Power in Woolf’s ‘The Mark on the Wall’”

Kieran McGarry, “Bringing the Wraiths to Life: The Traumatic Upheaval of Masculine Identity in The Virgin Suicides”

Ayesha Khan, “Piecing the Past Together: The Influence of Trauma on Narrative Style”

Sarah Kharbut, “The ‘Liberty’ of Montreal”

Katie Burke, “Reversal and Reflection: Consent in The Rape of Lucrece and A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

Gabriella Bablanian, “Fun, Fun Never Changes: Apocalypse as Entertainment”

Katherine Lee, “Breaking the Boundaries of the White Knight Trope in Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake”

Aishah Cader, “The Effects of Displacement in Rawi Hage’s Cockroach”

Laurentiu Medlicott, “The Deconstruction of the American Suburb: An Analysis of the Critiquing of the American Suburban Identity and Ideology in The Virgin Suicides”

Ted Zhang, “Postmemorial Criminal: Transgenerational Guilt and Victimhood in East of Berlin”

Sopika Sathiyaseelan, “‘Phantoms of Bliss’: Conceptualizing the ‘Neural Sublime’ in Wollstonecraft’s Letters Written in Sweden, Norway and Denmark”

Victoria Loder, “The Books of Anne Boleyn: Translation, Biblical Heresy, and Reform”


Creative Writing Presenters

Erin Maitland, “Blank” and “Writing”

Cesue Ma, “Snowdrops”

Jaymie Flis, “Shangri-La”

Noor Gatith, “Insomnia”

Shavindri  Rambukwelle, “Harmony”

Grayson Chong, “Three O’Clock” & “A Letter to Poison”

Trevor Cameron, “Video Games & Flow”

Victoria Loder, “A Flush in Spades”

Natasha Ramoutar, “From the Dust”

Ted Zhang, “Two Flights”

2015 Conference: “Crossing Boundaries”


Critical Essay Presenters

Jack Zapotochny, “Epic Vanity and Trivial Satire: Examining the Insignificant in The Rape of the Lock and Paradise Lost”

Chelsea La Vecchia, “No Man's Land: Nemo as Victorian Identity in Charles Dickens’s Bleak House”

Nishat Hoque, “The Political Sphere of Mrs. Dalloway”

Jamaal Azeez, “The Echo Chamber: Orwell, the Public Sphere and Social Media”

Allan Park, “Solidarity Through Cultural Fetishization: A Critical Analysis of Pharrell Williams’s ‘It Girl’”

Katie Konstantopoulos, “A Nation of Two Spirits: The Invisibilization of Indigenous People and Queer Sexuality”

Katherine Lee, “XX and XY = Girl and Guy: An Analysis of the Social Construction of Gender and its Association with Biological Sex”

Gabriella Bablanian, “BFFs: Female Friendships in Victorian Society”

Kalyani Sabanayagam, “‘From the frying pan into the fire’: The causes behind women’s feelings of oppression in 1920s Canada after entering the workforce”

Christine Tran, “Re-Mapping the Public Anatomy: Amending and Re-Inscribing the Gendered Precarity of the Public Sphere in Mary Astell’s A Serious Proposal for the Ladies & Anne Finch’s ‘The Spleen’”

Leanne Simpson, “‘Playing With Edged Tools’: Rewriting Gender in a Patriarchal Genre”

André Comiran Tonon, “Speaking of Boundaries: A Critical/Creative Reflection on Mental Illness and the Dramatic Monologue”

Aakriti Kapoor, “Critically Aware to Critically Alive: Building Evidenced Based Pedagogical Technologies”


Creative Writing Presenters

Chelsea La Vecchia, “Uncertain Certainties and the Quest for Real Life”

Natasha Ramoutar, “Inbetween”

Fiza Arshad, “Misconstrued Dopamine Self” and “Dowry”

Joshua Francis, “Baiting Nemo”

John Dias, “Open Heart”

Jack Zapotochny, “Apotheosis”

Kathleen Doyle, “20 Seconds of Breathless Anxiety”

John Rowntree, “Warrior”

Brandon Minia, “Immortal Hydrangea”

Victoria Loder, “Songbird”

Leanne Simpson, “The Zone”

Trevor Cameron, “A Modest Adventure”