2021-2022 Graduate Calendar

Interdisciplinary Humanities  
PhD in Interdisciplinary Humanities Fields of Specialization Critique and Social Transformation Culture and Aesthetics Technology & Digital Humanities Ways of Knowing Dean, Faculty of Humanities Carol U. Merriam Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies Suzanne Curtin Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, Faculty of Humanities J. Keri Cronin Core Faculty Lynn Arner, English Language and Literature (larner@brocku.ca">larner@brocku.ca) Gregory Betts, English Language and Literature (gbetts@brocku.ca">gbetts@brocku.ca) Irene Blayer, Modern Languages, Literature, and Cultures (iblayer@brocku.ca">iblayer@brocku.ca) Alexander Christie, Centre for Digital Humanities (achristie@brocku.ca">achristie@brocku.ca) Jane Koustas, Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (jkoustas@brocku.ca">jkoustas@brocku.ca) Christine Daigle, Philosophy (cdaigle@brocku.ca">cdaigle@brocku.ca) Stefan Dolgert, Political Science (sdolgert@brocku.ca">sdolgert@brocku.ca) David Fancy, Dramatic Arts (dfancy@brocku.ca) Margot Francis, Sociology / Women’s and Gender Studies (mfrancis@brocku.ca">mfrancis@brocku.ca) Jason Hawreliak, Centre for Digital Humanities (jhawreliak@brocku.ca">jhawreliak@brocku.ca) Mathew Martin, English Language and Literature (mmartin@brocku.ca">mmartin@brocku.ca) Elizabeth Neswald, History (eneswald@brocku.ca">eneswald@brocku.ca) Trevor Norris, Education (tnorris@brocku.ca">tnorris@brocku.ca) Andrew Pendakis, English Language and Literature (apendakis@brocku.ca">apendakis@brocku.ca) Matthew Royal, Music (mroyal@brocku.ca">mroyal@brocku.ca) Danny Samson, History (dsamson@brocku.ca">dsamson@brocku.ca) Christina Santos, Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures / Communication, Popular Culture, and Film (csantos@brocku.ca">csantos@brocku.ca) Elizabeth Sauer, English Language and Literature (esauer@brocku.ca">esauer@brocku.ca) Sue Spearey, English Language and Literature (sspearey@brocku.ca">sspearey@brocku.ca) Mark Spencer, History (mspencer@brocku.ca">mspencer@brocku.ca) Graduate Program Director Mathew Martin mmartin@brocku.ca Administrative Assistant Brittany Nagy huma@brocku.ca  
Program Description Go to top of document
Brock University's Interdisciplinary Humanities doctoral program provides students with a focussed context in which to engage with topics integral to the contested notions of knowledge, values, and creativity, as reflected in the specific fields of Critique and Social Transformation, Culture and Aesthetics, Technology and Digital Humanities, and Ways of Knowing. The program is committed to providing a rigorous interdisciplinary teaching and research environment that nurtures scholarly and creative activity. Such endeavours aim to investigate the past as well as influence the ways in which reflection and creation contribute to the further unfolding of society and culture. Students pursuing Brock University's Interdisciplinary Doctoral Humanities Program will have the opportunity to collaborate across disciplines.  
Admission Requirements Go to top of document
Successful completion of a Master's degree in a humanities or cognate discipline, normally with a minimum average grade of 80%. Agreement from a faculty member to supervise the student is also required for admission to the program. An interview may be required. The Graduate Admission Committee will review all applications and recommend admission of a limited number of suitable candidates.  
Degree Requirements Go to top of document
Program Structure Students are required to successfully complete 6 half-credit courses, including the two compulsory core courses (HUMA 7P01 and HUMA 7P02); a language exam that demonstrates reading competency in a language beyond English; a compulsory non-credit research and professionalization seminar in the first and second year, HUMA 7N07; written and oral comprehensive exams; a thesis proposal; a thesis and a thesis defense.

Year One:

- one of HUMA 7P01, HUMA 7P02
- two or three half-credits from program course offerings or approved electives
- HUMA 7N07
- comprehensive examination reading lists submitted to GPD by June 30
- thesis Supervisory Committee finalized by August 31

Year Two:

- one of HUMA 7P01, 7P02
- HUMA 7N07
- one or two half-credits from program course offerings or approved electives
- comprehensive examinations completed by August 31

Year Three:

- thesis research
- final thesis proposal including a bibliography submitted to the supervisory committee by April 1, to be approved by the supervisory committee and the GPD by April 30

Year Four:

- completion of language requirement before defense
- completion of thesis and defense
Detailed Description of Program

Course work

All students must obtain approval of their proposed program of study from the GPD prior to registration each term. Students must take 4 courses in addition to the two core seminars (HUMA 7P01 and HUMA 7P02) and in addition to the Research and Professionalization seminar (HUMA 7N07). Except with the approval of the GPD, students may take a maximum of one half-credit course elective. Courses are to reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the program. These may be drawn from the Faculty of Graduate Studies course bank (at the MA or PhD level) or may be the Directed Reading course (HUMA 7P90). Students may only take the Directed Reading (HUMA 7P90) course once. Course work is intended to provide students with breadth while the thesis research provides them with depth. As part of the student’s coursework a directed reading course is intended to broaden rather than narrow the student’s intellectual horizons and therefore should not significantly overlap with the student’s dissertation research or be directly transferable into that research. HUMA 7P05 will not count toward the degree but will be transcripted. A course outline delineating the topic, reading list and list of requirements must be submitted to the GPD one week prior to the start of the course.

Interdisciplinary Research Core Seminar I (HUMA 7P01)

Interdisciplinary Research and Writing in the Humanities All students participate in this seminar, which introduces them to theoretical and methodological approaches to interdisciplinary studies. The course strives to provide students with an opportunity to engage in active discussion and to begin to constellate their specific interests and articulate their field of inquiry in preparation for writing their thesis proposals.

Interdisciplinary Research Core Seminar II (HUMA 7P02)

Fields of Interdisciplinary Study All students participate in the seminar based on the exploration of the program’s four fields: 1) Ways of Knowing; 2) Critique and Social Transformation; 3) Culture and Aesthetics; 4) Technology and Digital Humanities. This course acts as preparation for both the comprehensive exams and the thesis proposal.

Professionalization and Research Seminar (HUMA 7N07)

This non-credit seminar is designed to provide students with an opportunity to discuss their program of study with other students in the context of specific topics of discussion to be determined by the instructor and to be drawn from the students’ interests. It also functions as a professionalization seminar. Students must continue with this seminar and participate in the research sessions of the seminar in Year II. Students are encouraged to continue with this seminar in Years III and IV. The seminar may include guest speakers and a conference or colloquium and aims to provide students with a forum to explore and articulate their research ideas. The seminar strives to prepare students to actively engage in academic inquiry outside of Brock University. Presentations in this seminar are normally open to all students and faculty in the program.

Teaching Apprenticeship (HUMA 7P05)

This course will be evaluated as credit/no-credit and will not count toward the six half-credit required courses for the completion of the degree. Students must have completed all course work (including HUMA 7N07), thesis proposal and language exam before being eligible to sign up for the course. This course allows students to take part in the design, development and delivery of an undergraduate course and allows them to develop a teaching portfolio.

Language Requirement

Students will be required to demonstrate reading competency in one language other than English by means of a written examination. Students will translate a short passage of approximately 750 words into English. Use of a dictionary is permitted. The exam is pass/fail and may be taken as many times as is necessary for the student to pass the exam. The student is responsible for informing the GPD that she or he is prepared to write the exam, and the student must pass the exam before defending her or his thesis. The GPD will select texts in the language chosen by the student and their supervisor. The GPD will administer the exam. The exams will be anonymized and assessed by one examiner. Students will have 2 hours to write their exam. The language chosen is to be related to the program of study and must be approved by the supervisor. In cases where no other language than English is relevant to the program of study, reading competence in French will be required. Evidence of passing a similar language exam in an MA degree may take the place of the PhD language exam at the discretion of the GPD and the Program Committee.

Comprehensive Examinations

The comprehensive examinations must be completed by August 31 of Year II of the program. The comprehensive exams consist of two written examinations (general and specific) and one oral examination. Students must complete all of their course requirements before they take the comprehensive examinations. All exams are graded pass/fail. Each exam has a separate examination committee whose members grade the exam (see below). Both examination committees, along with the GPD, will constitute the oral examination committee. By June 30 of Year I, students and their supervisors will create and submit to the GPD reading lists of 35 texts for each written exam. For the specific exam, the student, in consultation with his or her supervisory committee, will devise a reading list that covers the broad field related to his or her research. While some of these texts might duplicate those that are on the thesis bibliography, this exam is to cover a wider area than the narrow thesis topic. The program’s four standard reading lists in place for the general exams will serve as a starting point for the general exam reading list, with at least 14 texts chosen from each of the standard lists for the student’s two chosen fields, with the option of substituting five alternative texts. Normally, the student will begin writing her or his comprehensive examinations no later than April 30 of Year II in the program. Two months before commencing to write, the student will notify the GPD of her or his intention to write the exams. At that point, The GPD will provide an opportunity to the student to exclude potential examiners. The written exam portions completed by no later than July 15, and the comprehensive examinations must be defended by August 31. By April 30 of Year II, the student will be given the exam questions for both the general and the specific comprehensive exams. In response to each question, the student will write an essay of roughly 10,000 words, not including notes and bibliography. The essays must be original work. The student may not show the supervisory committee or exam committees drafts of the exams. The student must submit both exams to the GPD by July 15. Exams submitted after this deadline will receive a failing grade, and the student will be withdrawn from the program. Requests for extensions must be approved by the program committee and will be granted only on documented medical and compassionate grounds. The GPD will then circulate the exams to the examination committees (see below), who will return a grade of pass or fail within a week of receipt of the exams. The exams will be evaluated for the comprehensive and thorough knowledge they display of the exam reading lists, the depth of the intellectual engagement with these texts and the development of the student’s thinking in her or his research area, and the quality of the writing. The student must pass both written exams in order to proceed to the oral examination, which will take place no later than August 31. The student must pass all three exams in order to advance to ABD status. If the student fails a written exam, the examination committee will provide the student with written commentary upon the specific areas in which the exam falls short. The student will then be given an opportunity to revise the exam in light of the commentary. The student must submit the revised exam for regrading no later than two weeks after receiving the examination committee’s written commentary. If the student fails the oral exam, she or he may retake the exam within three months of the initial oral exam. Any student who fails any one of the three exams more than once will be withdrawn from the program.
Exam #1: Specific Field The examination committee will consist of the student’s supervisory committee. At least one month prior to the commencement of writing, the student will propose three exam questions in consultation with the supervisor. The supervisor (who may, of course, consult with the rest of the thesis committee) will choose one of these questions for the exam and submit it to the GPD. The question will not be shared with the student before the commencement of the exam. Unanimity among the examiners is not required for a passing grade. If all members, except for one, agree that the examination is satisfactory, the student passes. If more than one member of the committee deems the examination unsatisfactory, the student fails.
Exam #2: General Fields The examination committee will consist of the student’s supervisor and two other members from the list of HUMA core faculty members. At least one month before the commencement of the exam, the examination committee will choose two questions from the program’s bank of questions posted on the program’s web site and submit them to the GPD. The student will be provided these two questions at the commencement of the exam and will answer one of the two questions. All members of the committee will grade the examination. Unanimity among the examiners is not required for a passing grade. If all members, except for one, agree that the examination is satisfactory, the student passes. If more than one member of the committee deems the examination unsatisfactory, the student fails.
Exam #3: Oral Exam Once the student has passed the two written exams, he or she will take the oral exam. The GPD or designate will chair the oral exam. The student's supervisor may not chair the oral exam. The examiners will consist of the examination committee from both Exam #1 (Specific Field) and Exam #2 (General Fields). The length of this exam is three hours. The oral exam will consist of questions and answers related to the two written exams. It may begin with a statement by the student that clarifies some points he or she made in the written exams, or the student’s supervisor might choose to begin with a question. The purpose of this exam is to ask questions about the written exams and to draw out some of the relationships between the two general interdisciplinary fields and the field of the student’s thesis research. All members of the committee will grade the examination. Unanimity among the examiners is not required for a passing grade. If all members, except for one, agree that the examination is satisfactory, the student passes. If more than one member of the committee deems the examination unsatisfactory, the student fails. The Chair does not have a vote. Oral examinations will be recorded. The recording will be kept confidentially in electronic format in the student's file by the GPD. The audio file will be destroyed once the student graduates or leaves the program.

Thesis Proposal

By April 1 of Year III, students will submit their final, revised, thesis proposal and bibliography to the Supervisory Committee and the GPD for approval. The proposal will be 20-25 pages. The thesis topic is to reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the program. The proposal is to reflect on-going work with the supervisor and must be approved by the Supervisory Committee and the GPD no later than April 30, Year III. If a student’s thesis proposal is not approved by the Supervisory Committee and the GPD/Program Committee, the student will be withdrawn from the program. In cases where the Supervisory Committee approves a thesis proposal but the GPD has concerns about the quality of the proposal, the GPD will discuss those concerns with the student supervisor. If disagreement persists or if the GPD is concerned that there is no plan in place to address the shortcomings of the proposal, the GPD will consult with the Program Committee and assess whether to approve the proposal or not. The Program Committee may opt to

Approve the thesis proposal as submitted

- Approve the thesis proposal as submitted and offer recommendations on how to address the concerns and successfully complete the thesis
- Request revisions prior to approval
- Not approve the proposal
The Program Committee will notify the student and the supervisory committee of its decision in writing. The letter will delineate the reasons for the decision, provide suggestions for revisions if appropriate, and will set a reasonable deadline for the proposal’s resubmission for approval if appropriate. The revised proposal will be submitted to the Supervisory Committee and GPD who shall assess the proposal anew and in light of the requests for revisions. The process of approval/non-approval is the same as for the first submission of the thesis proposal.


The thesis will be completed in Year IV, and should reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the degree. The length and format of the final submission will be determined by the student in consultation with his or her supervisor and approved by the Program Committee. Normally a thesis will be 250-300 pages.

Course Descriptions Go to top of document
#HUMA 5P71 Humanities Computing (also offered as HIST 5V71) Use of the computer for research, teaching, and expression in the Humanities to support teaching and research, including topics such as text analysis, high performance computing, Geographic Information Systems, quantitative methods, photo-editing and animation, simulations, and serious games. #HUMA 5P83 Graduate Seminar in Political Theory (Political Theory for Posthumans) (also offered as POLI 5P83) A comparison of important and opposing contemporary approaches to the interpretation of major texts or issues in political theory. HUMA 7F90 PhD Thesis Preparation, public defence, and examination of a thesis that is interdisciplinary in approach and that demonstrates the candidate's capacity for independent thought and study. HUMA 7N07 Professionalization and Research Seminar Non-credit compulsory research seminar for first and second-year students. Forum to develop thesis research topics and academic skills. HUMA 7P01 Interdisciplinary Research and Writing in the Humanities The nature and academic requirements of interdisciplinary studies, including research methodologies and resources. Focus on reading, discussion, writing, and the ongoing construction of an interdisciplinary thesis in the Humanities. HUMA 7P02 Fields of Interdisciplinary Study Introduction to the four fields of the Interdisciplinary PhD in Humanities: 1) Epistemologies; 2) Critique and Social Transformation; 3) Culture and Aesthetics; 4) Technology and Digital Humanities. HUMA 7P05 Teaching Apprenticeship Participation in the development and delivery of an undergraduate course under the mentorship of a Brock faculty member. Development of a teaching portfolio. Prerequisite(s): HUMA 7P01, 7P02 and four additional half-courses. Completed thesis proposal. Note: This course will be evaluated as Credit/No-Credit and cannot be used as an elective to fulfill the PhD in Interdisciplinary degree requirements. HUMA 7P21 Buddhism and Psychoanalysis Interdisciplinary study of the relationship between Buddhism and psychoanalysis as it has developed from Freud to the present. Theorists such as Freud, Hui-neng, D.T. Suzuki, Lacan, Mari Ruti and Z︣iz︣ek. HUMA 7P32 Text, Context, Intertext in Narrative: Constituting and Locating the Self in Culture Interdisciplinary, intercultural and comparative approach to the study of narrative as it contributes to the construction of the self and cultures. Analysis of orality, storytelling, performance, narrative, memory, and cultural identity. Authors may include Benjamin, Ong, Ricoeur, Lejeune, White, Taylor. HUMA 7P33 Trauma, Subjectivity, and Culture Trauma studies as a field of interdisciplinary study. The relationships among trauma, subjectivity, art, and culture studied through selected theorists, such as Caruth, LaCapra, and Scarry, and selected works of art. HUMA 7P34 Immanence, Aesthetics, Politics An investigation into the implications of systems of immanent thought for questions of aesthetics and politics. Thinkers include Bergson, Bradotti, Colebrook, Deleuze, Guattari, Manning, Massumi, Negri, Spinoza, and Whitehead. HUMA 7P37 Genre and Cultural Production: Form and Meaning Genre theory and criticism of cultural productions such as film, television, literature, print, and music. HUMA 7P51 Hermeneutics of Personal, Social, and Artistic Transformation(s) Theories of interpretation structure subjective and intersubjective experience. Theorists may include M. Heidegger, H. G. Gadamer, P. Ricoeur, H. Marcuse, R. Ingarten, M. Foucault, and J. Habermas. HUMA 7P52 Feminist Theory and Knowledge Production Investigates the production of knowledge in relation to gender, sexuality, race, and class. Key sites of inquiry include futurity, inequity in academe, neo-colonialist fantasies about Muslim women, and struggles among different groups of academic feminists (such as neo-liberal humanists versus antifa feminists). Authors may include Wiegman, Sedgwick, Ahmed, Loomba, Messer-Davidow, and Love. HUMA 7P53 Colonial/Post-colonial Histories Examination of colonial and post-colonial history, fiction, and art in colonial and settler-colonial societies. HUMA 7P54 Subjectivity Beyond Postmodern Global Capitalism An examination of the possibilities of reconstituting subjectivity outside the logic of capitalist identity, through theory and literature. Writers include Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Thomas Pynchon, RD Laing, Felix Guattari, Giorgio Agamben, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and others. HUMA 7P55 Fanaticism: Political and Aesthetic Dimensions Analysis of texts and art related to political, religious, and aesthetic extremism, excess, passion – and their value-counterparts: moderation, balance, and reason. Discussions and debates will focus on how these conceptual dichotomies have shaped thought, dissent, and creative activity from the ancient world until the present. HUMA 7P56 Consumerism as Worldview Explores the origins, nature and implications of consumerism as a worldview from historical, philosophical, political, cultural and ecological perspectives. Themes to be examined include: commodification; branding; ‘McDonaldization’; citizen/consumer and modern/postmodern divide; historical progress; and technology and ideology. Authors may include Marx, Arendt, Heidegger, Baudrillard. HUMA 7P57 Current Questions about Education, Democracy and the Public Good Examination of current and historical perspectives on the relationship between democracy and education, and threats to the public good. Humanities approach to education that explores populism, radicalism, political apathy, individualization, academic freedom, and indoctrination. HUMA 7P58 Thinking and Representing the Anthropocene and Extinction An interdisciplinary examination of the philosophical and cultural meanings of the Anthropocene and extinction. HUMA 7P71 Theory and Praxis of Digital Humanities Introduction to computationally-supported methods and applications for analysis, expression, and teaching in the digital humanities. Course will provide readings on topics ranging from agent-based simulations to text analysis, and practical instruction in 3D modeling and Geographic Information Systems. Note: No programming skills required. HUMA 7P72 Deep Maps in the Digital Humanities Course provides a theoretical and practical overview of evolving expressive forms in the digital humanities, with a specific focus on the deep map. Students will review extant literature on the deep map, and participate in the conception, creation and design assessment of a proposed innovation for the Deep Map, expressed in Augmented Reality. HUMA 7P73 Principles of Interactive Media: Theory and Design Key theoretical concepts and debates related to interactivity, games, participatory media, and design. Analysis of interactive texts including videogames, augmented reality platforms, and social networking sites. HUMA 7P74 Prototyping humanities scholarship in unreal times Interdisciplinary study of realist and non-realist techniques in literature and the digital humanities. Humanities approaches to prototyping visualizations, maps, and virtual reality artifacts, with a focus on critical analysis and open access publication. No previous technical expertise whatsoever assumed. HUMA 7P90 Directed Reading Research course with directed study and regular meetings with a faculty member, covering topics not offered in a designated course, and with permission of the Graduate Program Director.  
Last updated: October 29, 2021 @ 10:40AM