WL Director’s Welcome 2012-2013
The SFU Program in World Literature, one of seven such stand-alone B.A. degree programs in the world and the only one in Canada, is making good on its promise to provide students a humanities education attuned to the needs of the contemporary world. The innovative curriculum aimed at providing students a cross-cultural education in literature and culture has proven attractive to employers and postgraduate admission committees. Our first two cohorts of graduating students have gone on to pursue successful careers in law school, business (in marketing and in entrepreneurship), teaching, graduate school and creative writing. See also our ' World Literature Careers' page for the wide range of career opportunities open to graduates of World Literature.
For the 2012-13 academic year, we will implement joint majors with History and International Studies, offering students opportunities for cross-cultural study from these perspectives in addition to that of World Literature. We will also examine the possibility of streamlining the articulation process for high school admissions and transfer students into World Literature. A slightly longer-term project is to brainstorm on the possibility of developing a Master’s degree program in conjunction with another SFU unit.
In the previous Welcome message, I focused on some of the community service activities sponsored by the Program in World Literature. For 2012-13 we shall continue and even expand these activities and initiatives, but I’d like to devote this message to highlighting our teaching and research activities.
We’ve made a high priority of hiring compelling faculty members who excel in teaching and research. This year, we’re delighted to welcome Dr Erin Schlumpf to a two-year post in World Literature. Dr Schlumpf recently completed her PhD in Comparative Literature at Harvard University where she received a prestigious award for her teaching. We look forward to Dr Schlumpf’s contribution in the areas of modern and contemporary French and Chinese literature and film, popular culture, world literature, and gender studies.
We also welcome renowned novelist, playwright and screenwriter, Anosh Irani, as instructor of our first course in creative writing. Born and raised in Bombay, Mr Irani is the author of the novels The Cripple and His Talismans and The Song of Kahunsha, which was a finalist for CBC Radio's Canada Reads and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and was a bestseller in Canada, China, and Italy. His non-fiction has appeared in the Globe and Mail and the New York Times, and he is currently working on a screenplay, Diwali, for director Irena Salina (Flow) and producer Leslie Holleran (Chocolat, The Cider House Rules).
We are also proud to announce that our popular sessional instructor, María Ignacia Barraza, will be teaching with us again this fall. Dr Barraza recently received her PhD with high honors in Spanish literature from the University of Salamanca. Her work on Spanish Peninsular literature, 19th and 20th century Latin American poetry and prose, film and the visual arts complements the specializations of our continuing full-time faculty members. Her current work centers on the aesthetics of Gaston Bachelard and her latest article, “Concepción del paisaje e influencia pictórica en La romería de Manuel Ciges Aparicio,” was published in the Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature.
Among our continuing full-time faculty members, we are very happy to announce that Dr Melek Ortabasi has been promoted to Associate Professor. We are also proud to say that her book manuscript, “The Undiscovered Country: Text, Translation and Modernity in the Work of Yanagita Kunio,” has been accepted for publication with Harvard University Press. “Dr O” is also excited about expanding her expertise in Japanese literature and film to world children’s literature, which she will develop in her World Literature 301 W (“Advanced Composition”) course this fall.
Dr Azadeh Yamini-Hamedani’s research on representation and terrorism has been accepted for publication in the prestigious journal, Semiotica. She is also enthusiastic to be teaching two new courses this fall: WL 104W (“Modern World Literature”) on the theme of revolutions and dealing with key literary forces in the occupy Wall Street movement, the hacktivism of anonymous, and the Arab spring, alongside literature of the Iranian Revolution, the Communist Manifesto, and the French Revolution. Her other course, WL 304 (“Exiles and Emigres”) will include asking students to tell the story of an immigrant in their community.
Dr Sasha Colby, who is currently on study leave, is developing a professional profile in performance studies and exploring its potential to energize the classroom and research in the humanities. We miss her expertise in French, Italian and Russian literatures this year and look forward to her return to World Literature in Fall 2013.
As for myself, in addition to bringing my background in English and Arabic literatures back to the classroom in WL 204 (“Human Rights Literature”), I am eager to teach WL 100 (“Introduction to World Literature”) for the first time. I am also looking forward to integrating my research into my courses. My work on the Arab Revolutions of 2011 will find its way into the “Human Rights Literature” course and research for a “Companion to World Literature” will inform the “Introduction to World Literature” course.
As this brief description suggests, World Literature attracts the kind of faculty members whose interests exceed national boundaries and disciplinary categories. It is an approach to literature and culture adapted to current trends toward globalization and transnational interests without being a mere symptom of them. Prospective students who have literary aptitude, an interest in other cultures, or a flair for writing are invited to drop by our offices in Galleria Five of the Surrey Campus for a chat about how World Literature engages the world today.
World Literature Program