Interdisciplinary Humanities PhD Program

Faculty of Humanities

Interdisciplinary Humanities PhD Program

Current Students

Natalie Azzi

Dissertation: "Sexual Violence and the Lived Experience: Narratives and Perceptions of Women in Lebanon"

"My experiences visiting Lebanon have revealed to me a fundamental lack of social justice for women in this country. With military conflict having touched the country most recently, my personal and academic history has posed questions concerning the relationships between women and power structures within the context of the warzone."

Supervisor: Dr. Ifeanyi Ezeonu


Mark Bishop

Keywords: music; perception; phenomenology; space; time

Work conducted on temporal processes and the perception of music has tended to focus on the perception of what could be considered as a single flow of musical-time in which a unified stream of conceptions and relationships is experienced. My research engages the questions of both the possibility of concurrent temporalities in music, and their simultaneous perception. The spatialization of given musical gestures allows for the simultaneous awareness of multiple temporal modes within a work, leaving open the possibility for the perception of an apparent temporal contradiction within a single synthesized sound scape.

Supervisor: Dr. Matthew Royal


Dan Clemens

Dissertation: "Critical Psychiatry and Cultural Appropriateness"

"My research confronts the Western/Eurocentric values embedded within the dominant psychiatric paradigm while seeking a more holistic and inclusive philosophy of healing, breakthrough, and liberation."


Candace Couse

Keywords: identity; illness/disabilities; visual arts

My research looks at the role that art production has on artists undergoing illness and body trauma and how art production at this precipice may contribute to reorientation after sizeable shifts in understanding. This includes research on embodied identities and the process of reclaiming disoriented bodies by examining subjects who address trauma and illness through art-making.

Supervisor: Dr. Leah Bradshaw



Sonya de Lazzer

"My research pairs the philosophical underpinnings of the Sublime with an in-depth exploration of regional histories, identities and places. My focus is on iconic sites and whether or not the visual and oral pluralities of these places erode the prospect of the Sublime encounter."

Supervisor: Dr. Keri Cronin


John Drew

Keywords: culture and social change; cultural studies; film and television studies; literature; culture and political economy; critical animal studies

My doctoral research involves mapping and analyzing the cultural construction of empathy in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. Interweaving data from film, television, and literature, and enlisting neo-Gramscian theory, gender studies, critical animal studies, and ideas of affect, this project approaches empathy as a social, individual, and multispecies concept that is both represented in these cultural media and encouraged in viewers/readers.

Supervisor: Dr. Scott Henderson


Malisa Kurtz

Dissertation: "Nomadic Transgressions: Globalization, Postcoloniality and Science Fiction"

Keywords: cultural studies; critical theory; science fiction; postcolonialism; critical globalization studies

“My research examines the intersection of postcoloniality, globalization, and technoculture in twentieth century science fiction."

Supervisor: Dr. Martin Danahay



Jennifer Lackey

Keywords: adaptations; reboots; intertextuality; intermediality; cultural economy; comic books; film studies; television studies

What accounts for the recent explosion of instances of the form of adaptation known as the "reboot"? How do practical issues of profitability intersect with audience response, the media convergences of the 21st century, and the specific pleasures of this kind of adaptation to account for this phenomenon? This research aims to offer a broad understanding of why the reboot is so prominent and how it operates in the postmodern climate via a multidisciplinary approach, making use adaptation studies, cultural economy and cultural history to shed light on key, intersecting facets of the reboot phenomenon. For its case study, this research will use the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), a franchise based in Marvel comic books.

Supervisor: Dr. Michael Berman



Callie Long

Dissertation: HIV-related stigma and its trauma

Keywords: HIV; AIDS; stigma; trauma; witnessing; testimonial literature

Sweeping global efforts to eradicate the disease – from policy to praxis – have mobilised a diverse group of stakeholders whose re/actions have in many ways shaped the discourses of contemporary society. Yet, after some 30 years of responses, stigma associated with HIV continues to be pervasive and persistent, and a recognised main barrier to managing the disease. My research approaches the HIV pandemic by focusing on the traumatic effects of stigma. I draw on the literature of trauma studies, witnessing and testimony to examine textual representations of AIDS as a socio-cultural, political and economic crisis, rather than simply a biomedical one, and focus on testimonial literature to interpret, through a trauma lens, literature’s attention to silences and differences, and why sympathy is withheld or granted. Stigma is an act of violence that denies people not only access to prevention, treatment and care, but to living fully within society. In this way, stigma can kill. This research works towards mustering all our resources to break through this pernicious barrier as we work towards an end of AIDS.

Supervisor: Dr. Susan Spearey



Malcolm Matthews

Dissertation: " The Autistic Techno-Savant in Portrayal: a Prototype for the Postmodern Masculine"

Keywords: autism; savant; technology; disability studies; masculinity; posthuman

"I am investigating representations of masculinity in the portrayal of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Savantism in popular culture. With sample characters such as Spock, Abed Nadir, and Sheldon Cooper, I engage with Simon Baron-Cohen's assertion of “autism as the idea of the extreme male brain” and Stuart Murray’s contention that “autism as a form of the masculine has led to a metaphorization of the condition” in order to examine the autistic savant as embodied wish-fulfilment for the post-modern man in a technocentric era."

Supervisor: Dr. Martin Danahay


Terrance H. McDonald

Dissertation: "Mediated Masculinities: The Expression and Alteration of Masculinity in Hollywood Cinema, 1990-2010"

Keywords: cinema studies; masculinities studies; posthumanism; film form; Hollywood cinema

"How does an increasingly visual culture impact and mediate our understanding and perception of masculinity? Specifically, my project examines the implications that the amplified film style of turn of the new millennium American cinema (Bordwell 2006 & Buckland 2009) has on our understanding of masculinities. Therefore, my analysis of masculine crisis films, narratives centred on defeated and disempowered male protagonists (Gates 2006), will identify patterns and commonalities in the specific details of scene, shot, and stylistic elements in film form that express masculinity (Bruzzi 2013)."

Supervisor: Dr. Barry Keith Grant



Andrew McEwan

Dissertation: "Writing ‘Inkorrect thots’: The Invented Languages of Claude Gauvreau, Hannah Weiner and bill bissett as Poetic Resistance to Mental Ableism"

Keywords: Poetry; Poetics; Canadian Poetry; American Poetry; Québécois Poetry; Postmodernism; Avant-Garde; Mental Disability

"My research argues that the poetry of Claude Gauvreau, Hannah Weiner, and bill bissett creates new languages that resist the normative mental states assumed and imposed by the structures of conventional grammar and social ableism. Each of these writers has been associated through their representations of themselves in their writing, and by their critics and contemporaries, with experiences of mental disability. My project argues that their invented languages may be interpreted as resistances to ableist rhetoric both within the poetic avant-garde and within their contemporary social contexts. I investigate how such languages vocalize what bill bissett describes as “inkorrect thots,” as determined by perceived critique. I investigate how these new languages constitute ongoing performances of mental difference that subvert ableism and function as active poetic resistances to normative representations of mental experience."

Supervisor: Dr. Gregory Betts


Kevin McGuiness

"My main area of study includes literary and filmic representations of psychopathic and sociopathic personalities, with a particular emphasis on American horror films dating from the 1980s."

Supervisor: Dr. Cristina Santos


Julie Morris

Dissertation: "The Traumatized National Body: (Re)Reading Charles I and the English Nation through Civil War Literature"

"I am particularly interested in social theory, and much of my work investigates theoretical constructs of trauma, performance, the body, and identity. As a researcher in both humanities and education, my scholarly interests take me across a variety of disciplines."

Supervisor: Dr. Elizabeth Sauer



Jill Planche

Dissertation: “The Larger Stages: The Becoming ‘Minor’ of South African Theatres.”

Keywords: South Africa; theatre praxis; space and place; landscape; performance studies; apartheid; cultural hegemony; socio-political environment; globalization; Deleuze

"South Africa is layered with entangled histories that have created a fragile landscape of ambiguities where fractured memories are revealed yet remain concealed. The social architecture of apartheid still persists in a legacy of hostile urban geographies and land inequity, while global capitalism and economic disparity are seen in the dramatic contrast between the developing middle class and the poverty of millions. My research project will interrogate the way in which contemporary theatre in South Africa is implicated in the country's complex cultural, economic and social realities. What role does – and might – theatre play in addressing South Africa’s socio-economic and artistic challenges, both as a barrier and a bridge to audiences? Drawing on the work of such thinkers as Gilles Deleuze and Rosi Braidotti, can we anticipate what we might describe as a ‘minor’ theatre that will tell the stories that resonate more than twenty years after the end of apartheid?"

Supervisor: Dr. David Fancy



Julia Polyck-O'Neill

Dissertation: "Rematerializing the Immaterial: An Interdisciplinary and Comparative Study of Vancouver’s Conceptualist Movements in Visual Arts and Literature 1984-2014"

Keywordsconceptualisms; modernisms; avant-garde literatures and arts; neo-avant-gardes; archives; Canadian literatures and arts; Vancouver, British Columbia; transnational movements in arts and literatures; ; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; creative networks; neoliberalism; intermediality and remediation; institutional critique; critical posthumanism; decolonial movements; geohumanities; interdisciplinarity in avant-gardes; Marshall McLuhan; Jeff Wall; Lisa Robertson; Jeff Derksen; The Kootenay School of Writing; Douglas Coupland

"My scholarly research focuses on intersections between conceptualist movements in visual arts and literature, examining how semantic form and content between these mediums share a common critical aim. My study implicates, chiefly, the close reading and investigation of primary texts (works of visual arts and writing, as well as key events) that engender or pertain to conceptualist activity in visual arts and writing communities and networks in and relating to Vancouver."

Supervisor: Dr. Gregory Betts



Paul Williams

Dissertation: "Intersecting Differences in the European Union: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Citizenship, Identity and Group Representation"

"I am proposing to put forth the argument that European integration should be understood in the context a politics of difference because although the European Union (EU) has attempted to foster convergence of its member states, it has developed through a process of both cosmopolitanism and communitarianism."

Supervisor: Dr. Ingrid Makus



Grant Yocom

Dissertation: "Engaging Post-Industrial Urban Regeneration: Organically emergent forms of civic engagement in Windsor/Detroit"

"My research focuses on communitarian approaches to ethics.  More specifically, at Brock I am investigating the critical and proposive potential emergent culturally from needs based non-profit community organizations and artist collectives working in the context of the post industrial cities:  Windsor and Detroit.

Supervisor: Dr. Leah Bradshaw


Miroslav Zovko

Supervisor: Dr. Andrew Pendakis