Modern Literature & Culture Research Centre & Gallery

As we prepare to submit our annual reports to our funding agencies, we proudly provide snapshots of the research activities and successes of those who have been involved with us at the Modern Literature and Culture (MLC) Research Centre.

Laura Berger, MA, a long-time MLC Research Team Member, presented her research on "St. Nicholas Magazine’s Heroines of Service,” at the Northeast Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association (NEPCA) Annual Conference, Burlington, Vermont, October 25-26, 2013. The paper is based on the MLC’s ongoing exploration of a rare full print-run of St. Nicholas magazine held at the MLC archives. This project is part of the MLC focus on representations of wartime women of service in print-media. 

Read more about Laura


Dr. Esther Berry, MLC Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow (2013–2015), and member of the MLC Executive, presented her research "Hair Work: The Politics of Invisible Labour in Victorian Mourning Jewellery and in the Global Hair Trade,” at the Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, May 23, 2014. The paper focused on the hairwork industry, which gestated in North America and in Europe during the nineteenth century, culminating in today’s multibillion-dollar global business in Indian hair. Esther’s article "Parts and Labour: ‘Meaningless Biology’ and Mundane Work in Hair India” was accepted for publication in cléo: a journal of film and feminism. She is also at work completing her first monograph, and continues to be a mentor for PUBZ: MLC Writing and Publishing Zone.

Read more about Dr. Berry



Stephen Broomer, Communication and Culture PhD candidate and MLC Doctoral Fellow in Residence, received word that his manuscript, Hamilton Babylon: A History of the McMaster Film Board, has undergone successful peer-review and has been accepted for publication by the University of Toronto Press. The book charts the history of a Canadian student film society, from its origins in the mid-1960s to its collapse in the mid-1970s. The work of this embattled student club was the focus of the country’s first obscenity trial to target a Canadian film; Stephen’s is the first study to account for it in detail. The acceptance of his monograph provides the crown to Stephen’s MLC doctoral residency (2013–2014). He is grateful for the MLC support, which has enabled his exceptional productivity, both in scholarship and creative practice.

Read more about Stephen's work



Daniel Browne, PhD candidate in Communication and Culture, was awarded a SSHRC grant for his ongoing doctoral research. Daniel has helped forge strong connections between the Communication and Culture Program and the MLC via the successful Cross-Sections exhibition at the MLC Gallery (March 14–26, 2014). Daniel also produced a video about the centre’s SSHRC-funded research on Lucy Maud Montgomery that was rated among the top 25 videos at the inaugural SSHRC Storytellers Competition; Daniel says, "I had the opportunity to present [video] work at the 2013 Congress of the Humanities, and interact with many interesting scholars from other universities. What a fantastic experience!”

Read more about Daniel



Amanda Cosco, MA, who leads the Research Mobilization team at the MLC, has published an article in the Globe and Mail exploring cyborg artist Neil Harbisson. Entitled "Interview with a Cyborg: How Machines Mesh with Mankind,” the piece examines the intersections of technology, art, and body through Harbisson’s case of cybernetically induced synesthesia.

Read the article
Read more about Amanda's research interests



Dr. Emma Doran, newly minted PhD in Communication and Culture, defended her doctoral dissertation, "‘Feeling’ in Modern Dance Print Media: Isadora Duncan, Loïe Fuller, and Maud Allan,” under the supervision of Dr. Irene Gammel. The external examiner was Dr. Carol Simpson Stern (Northwestern University). The defense, which took place in May, was rigorous and Emma garnered accolades for her knowledge and theoretical approach. Emma is now at work translating her research into scholarly publications.

Read more about Dr. Doran's defense
Read Emma's research profile



MLC Research Associate Bruce Elder, Professor in Image Arts, published his new book Dada, Surrealism, and the Cinematic Effect, with Wilfrid Laurier Press (2013). The book explores the intellectual reception of cinema in the early twentieth century and has been praised by critics such as Rudolf Kuenzli (University of Iowa), who writes: "This is that rare book that casts the early twentieth-century avant-garde in a very new light.” At the MLC, Professor Elder also contributed to the Online Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism.

Read more about Professor Elder's Scholarship



MLC Research Associate Dr. Julia Fawcett, an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, has launched the Toronto Performance Studies Working Group, which has been meeting regularly to share recent work and discuss current issues and articles in the field.

More on the Performance Studies group, and information on how to join the group
Read more about Dr. Fawcett's scholarship



MLC Research Associate Dr. Laura Fisher, an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, explores sites of literary sociality and social reform at the turn of the 20th century. She published two essays in the online magazine The New Inquiry: "Sparkle, Shirley, Sparkle,” on the manufacturing of Shirley Temple’s child star persona; and "Minor Feelings,” on riot grrrl bands, female rage, and rock musician Juliana Hatfield.

Read the article
Read about Dr. Fisher's research



Dr. Irene Gammel, Director of the MLC Research Centre, was the recipient of the Dean’s Experiential Teaching Award (2014), a nomination put forward by doctoral candidate Jason Wang and supported by her students and colleagues. "The Experiential Teaching Award was a highlight of the year,” says Dr. Gammel. "I am extremely grateful to the students for the nomination and the kind support.” Dr. Gammel also had several peer-reviewed papers published or accepted, including "‘Unhinged I Swirled: Performing the Crazed Woman Artist in Weimar Berlin,” in Metropolenzauber: Sexuelle Moderne und Urbaner Wahn, edited by Gabriele Dietze and Dorothea Dornhof (Vienna: Bölau Verlag, 2014); and essays published in collaboration with others cited elsewhere in this update report.



MLC Research Associate Dr. Kellett-Betsos, a Professor in the department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, has published an article entitled, "Maud Graham et l’affaire de la mauvaise mère: Le polar féministe chez Chrystine Brouillet,” @analyses: Revue de critique et de théorie littéraire 8, no 2: 365-385, 2013.

Read more about Dr. Kellett-Betsos’ research interests



MLC Research Associate Dr. Benjamin Lefebvre, Director of L.M. Montgomery Online, launched his new book, The L.M. Montgomery Reader, Volume 2: A Critical Heritage, at Congress. The book, which was published by the University of Toronto Press, is a critical anthology of "materials that resituate Montgomery’s critical legacy throughout her lifetime and in the decades after her death.” This new book follows the publication of The L.M. Montgomery Reader, Volume 1: A Life in Print, also published with the University of Toronto Press (2013).

Read about Dr. Lefebvre



MLC Research Associate Dr. Alison Matthews David is the co-curator of Fashion Victims: The Pleasures & Perils of Dress in the 19th Century, which opens at the Bata Shoe Museum on June 18, 2014. Dr. Matthews, who is an Associate Professor in the School of Fashion, is also at work completing her monograph entitled Fashion Victims: The Dangers of Dress Past and Present . The exhibit, which is co-curated with Bata Shoe Museum Senior Curator Elizabeth Semmelhack, includes over 90 artifacts from the Bata Shoe Museum’s own collection, as well as materials on loan from private collections.

Read more about Dr. Matthews David’s scholarship



Dr. Alma Mikulinsky, MLC Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow (2013-2014), had a chapter accepted for publication, entitled "Progressing Backward and Retreading Forward: André Breton’s Surrealist Temporality,” for Time and Temporality in European Modernism and the Avant Gardes, edited by Sascha Bru (Leuven: Peeters, 2015). This chapter expands her paper, "André Breton’s Surrealist Temporality," which she presented at the Time and Temporality in European Modernism and the Avant-Gardes (1900-1950) conference at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, September 16–18, 2013.

Read about Dr. Mikulinksy



MLC Research Associate Dr. Ruth Panofsky, Professor of English, launched her new book, The Collected Poems of Miriam Waddington, at Congress. Published by the University of Ottawa Press in May 2014, it explores modernist Canadian poet Miriam Waddington (1917–2004), whose fourteen volumes of poetry represent an important wave of Canadian modernism.

Read more about Dr. Panofsky’s book launch



MLC Research Associate Dr. Liz Podnieks, an Associate Professor of English, was awarded the Outstanding Scholarship Prize (2012-13) by the Women's and Gender Studies Association (WGSRF) at Congress for her edited volume of essays, Mediating Moms: Mothers in Popular Culture (McGill-Queen’s UP, 2012). The book engages critically with the ways in which the media represent mothering, alternately idealizing and vilifying mothers, and conversely with how mothers negotiate these images and pressures. The book includes chapters by Dr. Podnieks, "‘The Bump is Back’: Celebrity Moms, Entertainment Journalism, and the ‘Media Mother Police,’” and by Dr. Gammel, "Mothering Across Generations: L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables at 100.”

Read more about Dr. Podnieks’ research interests



Dr. Barbara Postema, SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the MLC Research Centre and the Department of English presented several conference papers: "Family Life in Canada: Exploring Canadian Family,” Canadian Society for the Study of Comics Conference, Toronto (May 9–10, 2014); "Exploring the Family Comics Genre,” Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture Since 1900, Louisville, KY (February 20–22, 2014); and "Silent Comics and Reader Empathy,” the University of Toronto’s New Narrative VI conference (May 10, 2014). She also organized the hugely successful lecture by Trina Robbins in the MLC Gallery in conjunction with the Canadian Comics Association (May 8, 2014). Barbara acted as the external reader for an MA thesis at OCAD University and is preparing a graduate course for the Communication and Culture Program, CC8987: Select Topics in Technology in Practice – Comics Studies and Graphic Narrative.

Read more about Barbara



MLC Research Associate Dr. Rahul Sapra, an Associate Professor of English, has been busy as the Managing Editor of the Film section for the Online Encyclopedia of Modernism at Routledge, shepherding hundreds of entries exploring modernist film, with a focus on Indian Modernism. The Encyclopedia is a large-scale online project under the general editorship of Stephen Ross. Dr. Sapra has also contributed a chapter on modernist film to The Modernist World, a volume edited by Allana Lindgren and Stephen Ross, scheduled for publication with Routledge in 2015. Dr. Sapra is Vice-President (External) of Ryerson’s Faculty Association.

Read about Dr. Sapra



Amy Smith, MA student in Communication and Culture, was awarded a SSHRC grant for her thesis, which focuses on secondhand clothing and vintage stores in Toronto and Nova Scotia. Amy, who is a long-time MLC member, is very grateful for the MLC support; she writes, "THANK YOU. As you may have heard, my SSHRC application was successful. I am so pleased with this result and cannot thank you enough for your encouragement and support. Interestingly, all of the students who attended the peer-editing workshop at the MLC were successful as well.”

Read more about Amy



Danielle Van Wagner, MA, Research Assistant and team coordinator for our Mary Riter Hamilton and WWI project, published "(Human) Remnants of Display: Colonial Objectification of Bodies in the Pacific Cultures Gallery” in Museums, Marginality and the Mainstream, online conference proceedings (2012).

Read more about Danielle



Dr. Stephen Voyce, MLC SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow (2009-11), and Assistant Professor of English at Iowa University, published a monograph, Poetic Community: Avant-Garde Activism and Cold War Culture (University of Toronto Press, 2013), as well as an edited volume entitled, a book of variations: love–zygal–art facts (Toronto: Coach House Books, 2013). Poetic Community, which Dr. Voyce prepared for publication during his tenure at the MLC Research Centre, was awarded a Choice Outstanding Book Award.

More on Dr. Voyce’s MLC research
His research at Iowa



MLC Research Associate Dr. Kimberly Wahl, an Associate Professor in the School of Fashion, published her monograph, Dressed as in a Painting: Women and British Aestheticism in an Age of Reform, with the University of New England Press (2013). The book explores intersections of fashion, art, and Aestheticism during the second half of the Victorian era. Much of Dr. Wahl’s research was archival, completed at the British Library and the National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum. She explains: "I did examine actual garments at a variety of museums in and around London, but my focus was primarily on the ways in which artistic and Aesthetic dress was pictured or portrayed in the print culture of the late 19th century.”

Read more about Dr. Wahl’s scholarship



Jason Wang, PhD candidate in Communication and Culture, and member of the MLC Executive, had two papers accepted for presentation: "Baroness Elsa and Her Anti-chic Dada: Locating Anarchist Fashion in Modernist Aesthetics,” to be presented at Modernism Now! BAMS International Conference 2014, the Institute of English Studies, London UK, June 26–28, 2014; and "Performing Coastal Space as Ethnic History: Vancouver’s Chinatown in Wayson Choy’s Paper Shadows,” to be presented at the 130th MLA Annual Convention, Vancouver, January 8–11, 2015

Read the abstracts



Cat Waszczuk, MA student in Museum Studies (University of Toronto) and a Research Team Member at the MLC, collaborated with Dr. Irene Gammel on "‘A Rare Moment of Crisis’: Modernist Intellectual Currents in Europe,” a chapter accepted for inclusion in The Modernist World, edited by Allana Lindgren and Stephen Ross, scheduled for publication with Routledge in 2015. She has also diligently supported Dr. Gammel’s editing of over 100 entries for the Online Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism.

Read more about Cat’s research



Dr. John Wrighton, MLC Postdoctoral Fellow (2011-13), and Senior Lecturer in English Literature at University of Brighton, UK, published "Ethnopoetics and the Performativity of Place: Jerome Rothenberg and ‘That Dada Strain,’” in Ian Davidson and Zoe Skoulding (Eds.), Placing Poetry (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2013); and in collaboration with Dr. Gammel, "‘Arabesque Grotesque’: Toward a Theory of Dada Ecopoetics,” ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment. Vol. 20. No. 4. pp. 795-816. Oxford University Press, pp.257-281.

Read more about John
More on Dr. Wrighton at Brighton




Congratulations! Please continue to keep us updated on your major publications.


We are very grateful to the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Programme, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), and Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) Programme. We are also grateful to the Faculty of Arts and the Vice President, Research and Innovation Office, Ryerson University.


Recent News

Cat Chirvase joins MLC

Cat Chirvase joins MLC

At the MLC, Cat is thrilled about gaining knowledge of archives and preservation. She will be involved in our War Quilts project.

Max Huynh joins MLC

Max Huynh joins MLC

Max will assist with the Telling COVID-19 Stories initiative bringing racialized and queer perspectives.

Gaurangi Batish joins MLC

Gaurangi Batish joins MLC

Gaurangi aspires to articulate the centre’s core values and vision through her contributions to the centre’s social media platforms.

Caitlin O’Keeffe joins MLC

Caitlin O’Keeffe joins MLC

At the MLC, Caitlin is excited to explore modernist women artists, the modernism archive and collection of modernist ephemera.

The Great War in Literature and Visual Culture

MLC Themes

The Great War in Literature and Visual Culture

Amid the unprecedented social change of World War I, women renegotiated their identities by dramatically changing the way they engaged with the arts. But how did they do so? And how did everyday citizens engage with the war?

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

MLC Themes

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, considered by many to be the mother of Dada, was a daringly innovative poet and an early creator of junk sculpture. “The Baroness” was best known for her sexually charged, often controversial performances.

Modernism in the World

MLC Themes

Modernism in the World

Recent research has departed from the Euro-centric and national view of Modernism to include approaches and methods studying Modernism across national boundaries and across different art forms to include fashion, dance, performance, technology, and visual culture.

Lucy Maud Montgomery

MLC Themes

Lucy Maud Montgomery

L.M. Montgomery is perhaps Canada's most important literary export. She was prolific writer of over 500 short stories and poems, and twenty novels, including the beloved Anne of Green Gables.

Canadian Modernism

MLC Themes

Canadian Modernism

The works of numerous Canadian authors who lived during the modernist era may well constitute the most central and experimental articulation of Canadian modernism in prose, allowing authors to stage cross-cultural, controversial, and even conflicted identities.

Modernist Biography and Life Writing

MLC Themes

Modernist Biography and Life Writing

Life writing, including autobiographical accounts, diaries, letters and testimonials written or told by women and men whose political, literary or philosophical purposes are central to their lives, has become a standard tool for communication and the dissemination of information.