Canada 150 — Canadians celebrated their nation’s 150th birthday this past weekend. This event prompted me to think about the English Department’s associations with our neighbor to the north. Three of our colleagues immediately came to mind: Balaka Basu, Alan Rauch, and Becky Roeder.
Balaka has conducted extensive research on Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables. Montgomery is widely recognized as one of Canada’s most well-known writers. In June 2016, Balaka presented a paper titled “‘Before I’ll not be wanting visitors for a while’: The Social Consequences of Pregnancy in the Works of L.M. Montgomery” in a plenary session at the L.M. Montgomery Institute’s 12th Biennial Conference, “L.M. Montgomery and Gender.”
Alan grew up in Canada, and he has a degree in biology from McGill University in Montreal. Alan’s monograph titled Dolphin, which Reaktion Books published in 2014, can be traced back to the research he did on marine mammals under the auspices of the Montreal Zoological Society. Alan has also taught courses on “Canadian Literature and Culture” both at UNC Charlotte and at Georgia Tech.
Becky has focused much of her research in the area of socio-phonetics on the pronunciation of vowels in different regions of Canada. She is widely recognized for her original research on what is known as the “Canadian vowel shift” associated with words such as out and about. This research has led to the publication of several scholarly articles, including an article titled “The Canadian Shift in Two Ontario Cities,” which came out in World Englishes.
The distance between Charlotte and the southern border of Canada is about 750 miles, but English Department’s Canadian connections can be found by taking a short walk down the hallways of the Fretwell Building.
In an email to me about Canada’s 150th birthday, Alan sent me a link to a song from the Toronto band Moxy Fruvous. It’s called “My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors.” So, if you want to listen to a song while you toast Canada’s birthday, please click on the following link: https://youtu.be/nr5bAhEsX6M
Celebrating the 4th of July — My father was born on July 4, 1928, and he grew up in a Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. According to a family story that my father often told, when he was a little boy, his father took him for a walk through the neighborhood on his birthday. My father asked my grandfather why everyone was shooting off fireworks, to which my grandfather responded, “Because it’s your birthday.” Well, my father didn’t like loud noises when he was a young child, so he didn’t fully appreciate the fireworks. He walked up to a man who was about to light some firecrackers, and he told the man, “You don’t need to light the firecrackers for my birthday. I don’t really like them.”
For some reason, I love this family story. I like the idea that the little-boy version of my father thought that the whole city of New York was setting off fireworks to celebrate his birthday. This story reminds me that we all have our own associations with holidays. Whatever your associations with the 4th of July might be, I hope you have a great July 4th holiday.
Kudos — As you know, I like to use my Monday Missives to share news about recent accomplishments by members of our department. Here is the latest news:
Dina Schiff Massachi, a graduate of our M.A. program, recently published a chapter titled “‘You are not a live thing. You’re a dummy’: The Rights and Hierarchy of the Hero-Creations of Oz” in Toy Stories: The Toy Hero in Literature, Comics, and Film, edited by Tanya Jones.
Malin Pereira participated in a roundtable on Afropolitanism at the Collegium for African American Research conference held in Malàga, Spain, from June 13-16.
Lane Rhodes was in Austin last week for Macmillan Publishing’s Tech Ed Week. She presented to other educators and to Macmillan’s development team how she uses interactive and adaptive learning online components in the classroom.
Quirky Quiz Question — When Balaka Basu gave her presentation last summer at the L.M. Montgomery Institute’s 12th Biennial Conference, she traveled to Canada’s smallest province, which is also the setting for Anne of Green Gables. Does anybody know the name of this province? Here is an extra credit question: What does the capital of this province have in common with our city?
Last week’s answer: Wayne State University
The Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment Conference was sponsored by the largest university located in Detroit. Does anybody know the name of this university?