Annual English Undergrad Conference

The 2020 English Undergraduate Conference was held on Wednesday 29 January, from 10am to 4pm in IC318.

This year's theme is "Myths and Legends" -- topics for critical and creative submissions may include things like local folklore and world mythologies; telling, retelling, and reimagining of stories; oral tradition; authors, works, and historical or fictional figures that attain iconic/legendary/mythical status; how history becomes legend; fantasy; tall tales; fame and notoriety; viral memes in contemporary media.

Conference Program

10-10:15 Opening Remarks

10:15-11 Creative Writing (Poetry): Noah Farberman, Sana Mufti, Sarah Hilton, Victoria Mbabazi

11-12 Critical Panel I

    Amena Ahmed, "The Personal and the Political: Understanding the Divine Experience in the 'Homeric Hymn to Demeter'"
    Eva Wissting, "The Colonizer’s Dream: A Comparison of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe with David Cronenberg’s M. Butterfly"
    Kimberley Chow, "Fate and Choice in Homer's The Iliad"

12-12:30 Lunch

12:30-1:30 Keynote by Dr. Laura Jane Wey, "Cleopatra: Matter, Mystique & Mythology"

1:30-2:30 Critical Panel II

    Bryan Chen, Firaz Khan, and Faizan Malik, "Critical Approaches to Love and Emancipation: Re-appropriating Bourgeois Myths"
    Ryanne Kap, "The Harm of Hitting Back: How Let the Right One In and Stranger Things Exhibit and Exploit the Cycle of Bullying"

2:30-3:30 Creative Writing (Prose): Ryanne Kap, Jingshu Yao, Eva Wissting

3:30-4 Closing & Awards


Contact Prof. Yulia Ryzhik or Dr. Sonja Nikkila if you have questions.


Past Conferences

2019 Conference: “Space, Place, and the Environment”

Critical Essay Presenters

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”

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”

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”


Creative Writing Presenters

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”

Bijal Prajapati, “Pour Traverser les Ponts”

Eva Wissting, “On My Body”

Grayson Chong, ”Language Lessons" and “Hunger”


Keynote Address

“Breathings & Bodies: An Ecocritical Primer," by Prof. Anne Milne

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”