Brock professor receives prestigious Canadian research fellowship

The Campaign for a Bold New Brock

Brock professor receives prestigious Canadian research fellowship

Mar. 24, 2009

A Brock University researcher studying a legendary poet’s impact on national identity has captured a prestigious Killam Research Fellowship, one of only nine such distinguished scholars across Canada.

Elizabeth Sauer, a professor in the Department of English, is Brock’s first-ever recipient of the award, which comes with two years of funding for a total of $140,000.

“I feel deeply honoured by the award, which I view as validation of my research and as testimony of the importance accorded at the national level to scholarship at Brock, particularly in the humanities,” Sauer said.

Her works focus on the writings of John Milton, the famous early modern writer and polemicist, who composed one of the most celebrated works in the English literary canon, Paradise Lost. Sauer’s research aims to demonstrate the value of literary and cultural evidence for investigations into issues of toleration and nationalism, as seen in Milton’s works and in writings produced in an era when liberty became a distinguishing factor of national identity.

“I could not undertake this work without the support of my institution and that of Dean Rosemary Hale, as well as that of my colleagues in the English and History departments, whose work as writers, teachers, and researchers is regularly profiled locally and nationally.”

Sauer’s case studies of Milton’s works will include explorations of historical representations of the Irish, the Spanish, Amerindians, Jews, European Catholics, and dissenters in England and the New World, while highlighting such themes as exceptionalism (national election); exclusionism (foreign relations; anti-Catholicism); disestablishment (divorce of temporal and spiritual authority); the Only Parallel (Old Israel/England/New England); and mixed marriages (cultural and racial difference; coexistence).

“We are enormously proud to see Dr. Sauer receive Brock’s first Killam Research award,” said Rosemary Hale, dean, Faculty of Humanities. “She epitomizes everything the Killam Research Award is about – world-class scholarship and a generosity of spirit.”

“The fellowship to Dr. Sauer demonstrates the excellent world-class research activities conducted at Brock University which is not only recognized in Canada, but the world,” noted Liette Vasseur, vice-president Research. “Her work reflects the need for deeper thoughts on various cultural issues that are currently being debated in the world.”

Killam Research Fellowships are awarded by the Canada Council for the Arts, and enable Canada’s best scientists and scholars to devote two years to full-time research. The fellowships are awarded to the individual recipients, but the funds are paid to and administered by universities or research institutes. The recipients are chosen by the Killam Selection Committee, which comprises 15 eminent scientists and scholars representing a broad range of disciplines.

The fellowships are made possible by a bequest of Mrs. Dorothy J. Killam and a gift she made before her death in 1965. The awards support scholars engaged in research projects of outstanding merit in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences, engineering and interdisciplinary studies within these fields.

For more information on the program, visit