CRYTC Director, Associate Professor
Originally from the so-called “centre” of Canada, Ontario, I have made my home on the prairies for over a decade. After completing my undergraduate degree at Carleton University in Ottawa and working as an editor for a large publishing house in Toronto for a couple of years, I ventured West to do graduate studies, first to Calgary (MA, University of Calgary) and then to Edmonton (PhD, University of Alberta). Now I live in the true geographical centre of Canada, Winnipeg, Manitoba. For the last number of years, my research has focussed on representations of Germans and Germany in Canadian and German-Canadian literature, with an emphasis on the Third Reich and Vergangenheitsbewältigung (how Germans have attempted to come to terms with their guilt over Nazism). My current work concentrates on North American autobiographies and novels about German childhoods in World War Two and their portrayal of the contentious issues of German victimization and suffering. My project, “Complicated Childhoods: Cultural and Political Representations of Young People in the North American Memoirs of German Kriegskinder,” explores the political and cultural functions of images of youth and childhood within the numerous memoirs about World War II written by German immigrants to North America and published in the past decade. I also teach and research in the area of Canadian Aboriginal children’s texts, with a focus on picture books and graphic novels about residential schools.
It has become increasingly clear to me over the course of my teaching career that the students who get the most out of my courses are the ones willing to take intellectual risks. Thus, one of my primary goals as an instructor is to create an environment in which my students feel they can take the risk of trying out new ideas and approaches to literary studies, both in class discussions and in their written assignments. Overall, I want students to enjoy my classes but always within a context which takes, as I do, learning and study seriously.
B.A. Hons. (Carleton)
- “Restorying and Unsettling Canadian Indigenous-Settler Histories: Intercultural Exchange in David Alexander Robertson’s The Life of Helen Betty Osborne and Sugar Falls.” In Canadian Graphic Life Narratives. Eds. Candida Rifkind and Linda Warley. Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2016.
- “Confronting the Legacy of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools: Cree Cultural Memory and the Warrior Spirit in David Alexander Robertson and Scott B. Henderson’s 7 Generations Graphic Novel Series.” In Canadian Literature and Cultural Memory. Eds. Cynthia Sugars and Eleanor Ty. Oxford UP, 2014. 337-53.
- “The Suffering of the Perpetrators: The Ethics of Traumatic German Historicity in Karen Bass’s Young Adult World War II Novels.” International Research in Children’s Literature 7.1 (2014): 64-77.
- “The Seductions of Good and Evil: Competing Cultural Memories in Steven Keewatin Sanderson’s Superhero Comics for Aboriginal Youth.” In Children and Cultural Memory in Texts of Childhood. Eds. Lorna Hutchison and Heather Snell. Routledge, 2013. Children’s Literature and Culture Series. 179-96. Find this book in the UW library
- “‘All My Relations’: Thomas King’s Coyote Tetralogy for Kids.” In Thomas King: Works and Impact. Ed. Eva Gruber. Camden House, 2012. 98-109. Find this book in the UW library
- “Beyond Repression: German Women’s War History and Hysteria in Mavis Gallant’s ‘O Lasting Peace’ and ‘An Alien Flower.’” Contemporary Women’s Writing 5.1 (2011): 1-17.
- “Brave or Naïve? Memory Work and Vergangenheitsbewältigung in Gertrud Mackprang Baer’s In the Shadow of Silence.” Diaspora Experiences: German-Speaking Immigrants and Their Descendants. Ed. Mathias Schulze, David G. John, Grit Liebscher, and James M. Skidmore. Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2008.
- “Dividing and Reuniting Grandmothers, Mothers, and Daughters: The Black Motherline, Vergangenheitsbewältigung Studies, and the Road Genre in Suzette Mayr’s The Widows.” Refractions of Germany in Canadian Literature and Culture. Eds. Heinz Antor, et al. Walter de Gruyter, 2003. 271-94.
Areas of Research and Teaching
German-Canadian literature; North American autobiographies of childhood; Aboriginal children’s literature; feminist and cultural materialisms; childhood studies