Ways of Knowing

Rebecca Stroud Stasel

More than this: A journey into finding one’s research voice

My Master’s thesis, entitled Beyond the Borders: A teacher’s introspection on transformative pedagogy using critical theory and drama was the most difficult writing feat I have ever faced, and it was simultaneously the most edifying writing I have ever engaged with. Because the landscape of my research was both reflective and in the field of dramatic arts, it made sense to write it as a play.

However, marrying the academic protocols for the review of literature into the world of theatre became paradoxically highly creative and also highly obstructed. In a play, every voice is that of a character. Thus, all of the academics that I invited into my literature review became characters in the play. These characters unveil their personality, both in-text and through interpretation by directors and actors. In a thesis play that is intended to be read but not performed, the artistic interpretation by directors and actors cannot be relied upon. Further, academic protocols restrict wildly creative character sketches of the authors of the literature. Or do they? This paper explores the process of writing a literature review as a theatrical text, and the implications this has for this requisite portion of a thesis.

Rebecca Stroud Stasel is a PhD student at Queen’s University, Faculty of Education. Prior to beginning her doctoral work, she worked for 20 years as a high school teacher in rural, suburban, and urban Ontario, as well as in China, Malaysia, and the USA. While working on her M.Ed., she received a travel fellowship to India, where she worked with theatre people, educators, and social workers on theatre for social awareness projects. She then co-created a theatre project in the USA with one of the theatre people from India, which resulted in a traveling theatre troupe that created and performed plays as social activism. Her thesis work, which was informed by her work in cultural studies and steeped in critical theory, is an academic reflection of this journey. Her work was awarded the Annual Thesis in Education Prize in 2010.

Nelly Matorina

Possible Worlds: Reimagining Scientific Participation

For the past few years, I’ve been thinking deeply about the relationship between participating in an art installation and participating in a scientific research study. The former, designed to create an experience for the visitor, the latter, designed to study the human condition by collecting data. Art offers you something now, and science asks for your support while offering to the public later in time, in the form of research papers, presentations or public talks. In many ways, aspects of participation overlap: you enter a completely constructed space, designed by researcher or artist. Can we combine these two experiences? Are we able to build an installation that can collect scientifically viable data? Can art and science connect in a way that leads to meaningful contribution to both fields? In this presentation, I will explore these questions and offer some preliminary ideas on what I think could be possible in sleep and memory research.

Nelly Matorina is a video artist and psychology researcher living in Kingston. Their artistic work uses listening and intuition to create site-specific performance works. Their scientific work explores memory changes during sleep. Previous works include Spaces to Act or Not which was played on Radia, Feedback Loop screened as part of Corridor Culture’s Public Domain Series, and screenings of (), ocean/noise, and It is True We Must Break The Sky For Ourselves at the Artel.

Ariane Legault

Gertrude Stein: The Vichy Paradox

In her translation of the Pétain speeches, commissioned during the Second World War, Gertrude Stein employed translation as a medium of resistance against the Vichy government she was working for. Stein was a fervent advocator of agency, especially in relation to literature. On the one hand, her compositional style, with its interest in transforming and subverting language, resulted in linguistic uncertainties that encouraged interpretive agency. On the other hand, as she expressed through her notion of genius, creation required a dialogue between self and other. Consequently, a translation that simply reiterated, murdered authorial genius. This crucial difference between translation as transportation and translation as transformation, will benefit from being analysed through the lens of media theory. By drawing from the importance Stein placed on actively creating meaning rather passively relating it, I will validate how the translations are not, as has been often stipulated, in opposition to the rhetorical style and ideological framework that directs her previous work, but rather a continuity of it. In other words, as texts such as Melanctha and Tender Buttons demonstrate, Stein capitalized on gaps –both interpretive and semantic –in order to challenge the notion that systems of language can be deciphered to arrive at an incontestable truth. This is also applicable to her Pétain translations, whose syntax is disorganised by literal, word-for-word equivalences. Rather than condemning Stein for collaborating with the anti-Semitic Vichy government, I propose that the syntax of her translations need to be analysed in relation to the compositional style that permeates the texts of her literary career –most notably, her usage of linguistic ambiguities to heighten the value of indeterminacy. Stein’s Vichy translations mark one of those instances where the “medium is the message” (McLuhan 7) insofar as the form is more telling than the content.

Ariane Legault is a Master’s student at Concordia University. She is currently working on the way literary activism is affected by celebrity culture, focusing predominantly on the careers of writers Arundhati Roy and Naomi Klein. President of the Student Association of Graduates in English (SAGE) at Concordia University, she has been involved in many student-based initiatives, such as moderator for Concordia Write Nights and editor for the journal Headlight. Her work features in the latest Concordia Colloquium conference and publication.