Meet the Professors Lecture Series

On Thursday, March 15, 2007 Professors presented 5' x 3" posters of their research at the Meet the Professors Open House. This event provided an opportunity to talk in more detail with the professors and to have a look around the Campus.
The English Department's Alice den Otter, Linda Rodenburg, and Derek Irwin presented the following:
Dr. Alice den Otter, Associate Professor of English, presented a talk entitled "William Blake and Gift Exchange." (See below for the lecture slides and a report from the lecture)
 Dr. den Otter, who <div">relocated from Lakehead University's Thunder Bay campus, now coordinates the Honours Arts and Science program in Orillia.  <div">  <div">
Abstract: This presentation will consider the paradoxes of gift-giving in several texts by Romantic poet William Blake (1757-1827).  Beginning with exploring the social dynamics of gift-giving as well as Blake's biographical experiences with gifts, this paper will explore various poetic acts of giving and receiving.  Does one need to give in order to receive?  Can one give if there is no one to receive it? 
Click below to see the slides from Dr. Alice den Otter's Lecture
Part 1 Part 2
Click below to read the report from this lecture


Professor Linda Rodenburg presented a lecture entitled "Alter/Native Citizenship:  Re/placing the 'Native' in Relation to Canadian <div">'Multiculturalism'".  Professor Rodenburg specializes in postcolonial literatures with a particular interest in Indigenous cultural theory.  She currently teaches English courses in both literature and composition. <div"> (See below for a report of the lecture)

Abstract:  Canada's Native peoples have been written into (and out of) discourses of multiculturalism.  Although people around the world envision Canada as a multicultural utopia enabling equality for all, this talk argues that official Canadian multiculturalism excludes contemporary Native world views and focuses on stereotypical Native cultures as central to Canada's history. At the same time Native Canadian peoples are required to assimilate into the 'progressive' nation-state.  This talk will discuss alter/native forms of citizenship for Canadians today.
Click below to read the report from this lecture
Professor Derek Irwin,  Professor of English,  gave a talk entitled "From Primate to Primate: How Bonobos and Humans Converse". (see the report below). 
He has a particular interest in analyzing the origins of <div">language structure in unusual settings, including the grammar of non-verbal infants and Bonobo monkeys.  Mr. Irwin teaches Inquiry and English. <div">
Abstract: Bonobo chimpanzees and their caretakers engage in a kind of dialogue approximating human language.  Through a focus on Kanzi, a language-acculturated bonobo, this talk explains some of the basic methods of analyzing human conversations, before moving on to an examination of cross-species communication. This presentation raises some very important questions on language as a "uniquely human phenomenon."
Click below to read the report from this lecture










Dr. JM Richardson and Dr. J. Douglas Rabb publish book examining the major works of Joss Whedon

JM Richardson
The Existential Joss Whedon
Evil and Human Freedom in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly and Serenity
J. Michael Richardson and J. Douglas Rabb
ISBN 0-7864-2781-7

This study examines the major works of contemporary American television and film screenwriter Joss Whedon. The authors argue that these works are part of an existentialist tradition that stretches back from the French atheistic existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre, through the Danish Christian existentialist Søren Kierkegaard, to the Russian novelist and existentialist Fyodor Dostoevsky. Whedon and Dostoevsky, for example, seem preoccupied with the problem of evil and human freedom. Both argue that in each and every one of us "a demon lies hidden." Whedon personifies these demons and has them wandering about and causing havoc. Dostoevsky treats the subject only slightly more seriously. Chapters cover such topics as Russian existentialism and vampire slayage; moral choices; ethics; Faith and bad faith; constructing reality through existential choice; some limitations of science and technology; love and self-sacrifice; love, witchcraft, and vengeance; soul mates and moral responsibility; love and moral choice; forms of freedom; and Whedon as moral philosopher.

The Existential Joss Whedon is available in the Lakehead University Alumni Bookstore.

The book can also be purchased directly from the publisher, McFarland & Company, and is available on Amazon.


Margaret McLean Receives 20 Year Pin

On Monday, April 30, 2007 English Department faculty member Margaret McLean was honoured at this year's Employee Recognition Reception.Margaret McLean receiving 20 year pin from Dr. Fred Gilbert 
Margaret received her 20 year pin recognizing her years of service to Lakehead University. Congratulations Margaret!

Orillia's Rhetoric 1031 Produce Text for Future Students


Students in Professor Irwin's Rhetoric 1031 class have
produced an in-class process text designed to introduce future
students to our Orillia Campus. Entitled "A Lakehead -- Orillia
Guide to Study and Play," the short piece will be distributed to
incoming students by Student Services over the coming year
and will remain an historical document recording a studentcentered view on how to adjust to this new campus.


Lakehead Professor Presents Dickens Paper in Genoa, Italy

(June 14, 2007 --Thunder Bay, ON) Today, Philip Allingham, PhD, Associate Professor with the Faculty of Education, adjunct to the Department of English at Lakehead University, will be presenting his paper entitled "Charles 'Carlo' Dickens In and Out of Italy in 1844--The Chimes" at the Dickens, Victorian Culture, and Italy Conference in Genoa, Italy.  

Professor Allingham's paper presents the ways by which The Chimes, the second of the Christmas Books, achieves a social integration and emphasis on the working class that Dickens had not previously dealt with in his narrative fiction.  Dickens wrote The Chimes in the fall of 1844 while he resided in Genoa with his family.  "Although I have explored various avenues of his work in previous papers, this particular submission takes a New Historicist approach by providing a biographical, social, and historical context for the novella."

Allingham's work will also be published in conference proceedings sponsored by the Universities of Milan and Genoa, and the Italian Cultural Ministry.

"This conference promises to provide the utmost cultural context regarding the study of Dickens, his work, and their combined relation to Italy" says Allingham.  "I am thrilled, not only to present my own work, but also to learn what my colleagues and fellow 'Dickensians' from around the world have produced."

Allingham will go on sabbatical in January of 2008: he will work on "Thomas Hardy's Illustrated Fiction, 1870-1900," a work that, although currently in manuscript, has been proposed to and accepted by Mellen Press.  It will be completed by September of 2008.

In addition to his research, Allingham has also played an academic role in organizing events related to his educational domain.  In May, he, along with several of his colleagues, attended the 10th Annual OISE/UT-Faculties of Education-Ministry of Education Conference, an annual forum held in Toronto.  Allingham sat on the Board of Conference Organizers and served as Facilitator for English Language Arts Elementary and Secondary.  

For additional information regarding the Dickens, Victorian Culture, and Italy Conference, please visit 

James Joyce Quarterly now available online via Project Muse

The James Joyce Quarterly is now available online via Project Muse. Founded in 1963 at the University of Tulsa by Thomas F. Staley, the James Joyce Quarterly has been the flagship journal of international Joyce studies ever since. In each issue, the JJQ brings together a wide array of critical and theoretical work focusing on the life, writing, and reception of James Joyce.

Project Muse is a collection of over 300 high quality full-text humanities, arts, and social sciences journals from 60 scholarly publishers. Project Muse is accessible from the Journal Indexes/Databases page under "Quick Access Links". It is listed alphabetically in the title list and in the subject list under Anthropology, English, History, Languages, Music, Philosophy, and Visual Arts.

For further information, contact the Reference Desk at 343-8302 or