Can you introduce your course in 50 words or less?
My course, in the “Global Citizens” stream is called “Literature and Memory.” We look at the ways literature conveys the past—what it remembers about private and public histories, and what it forgets. We practice reading and writing as scholars, and we have conversations about the relationship between literature and (usually contemporary) culture.
What draws you to your research area and why do you think it is relevant to students?
I’m interested in big questions like – What role does literature play in representing history? And why does literature matter in times of crisis? In my research, I look at wars and other instances of historical trauma and ask what role literature plays in the context of extreme violence and trauma. I think it’s important—and exciting—for students to ask big questions like these too, to consider the power that literature has to tell one story instead of another, or to tell a story in one way or another. I also think that asking these big questions about the function of literature helps to equip students to encounter other forms of representation—like film, tv, or social media.
What is your favourite thing/highlight about CAP?
I like that in CAP, our ASTU course is 6-credits so I can work with the same group of students all year. I love getting to know the students, watching them learn and grow – and watching their relationships with one another grow too.
You recently received TLEF funding to undertake a teaching and learning initiative called “Speaking in the Disciplines: A “Precedents” Archive for Teaching and Learning Oral Genres.” Can you tell us more about this?
I will use TLEF funding to build a website that is designed to help students develop their oral presentation skills. In ASTU and other scholarly communication courses at UBC (like WRDS 150), we focus a lot on writing skills – but oral skills are important for students too, both at university and in the workforce. The website will feature many of the wonderful presentations that students give at the CAP Conference every year. The idea is to create an archive full of successful examples of oral presentations so that incoming students have models to follow when it is their turn to give presentations. The website will also have other tools to help us teach and learn oral skills.
What advice would you give to incoming first year Arts students?
I would tell CAP students in particular to take advantage of the resources and community that CAP offers. Throughout the year, you will hear about workshops, supports for majors planning, social events, Arts Advising sessions…. We often hear our alumni say that they miss CAP—the friendships, the faculty relationships, and the resources—so take advantage of all of those things while you’re with us!
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