March 11, 2011
The M.A. in Studies in Comparative Literatures and Arts is an interdisciplinary and interfaculty program anchored in the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures and that had its inaugural year in 2006. This program not only allows students to approach world literatures comparatively but also encourages them to examine the ways in which literature enters into dialogue with the fine and performing arts. Throughout the program, students have been encouraged to develop a cross-disciplinary understanding of how works of art or cultural production evolve, are received, and are interpreted.
This Colloquium showcased not only past graduates of our program but also to dialogued on the importance of unselfish mentoring and collaboration. Our keynote speakers, Mario J. Valdés, Linda and Michael Hutcheon, truly embody the theme of this year’s Colloquium, “From Mentoring to Collaboration and Beyond”. Although more traditional introductions would focus on their numerous publications, I would like to say that these individuals are dedicated teachers and mentors who take pride and joy in the successes of their students. One could say that there exists a “pay forward” ideology at play here, that is to say, selfless mentorship begets generous mentors.
Opening Keynote Address
Dr. Mario J. Valdés
It is a great honour for me to introduce Mario Valdés here today. Along with Northrop Frye, Mario Valdés was a founding member of the graduate program in Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto and is Professor Emeritus of both Comparative Literature and Spanish from the same university. I could name the numerous publications in the fields of comparative literature, philosophical hermeneutics, literary history and film theory but would rather like to focus on his accomplishments as teacher, mentor and collaborator. For example, he supervised Linda Hutcheon’s doctoral thesis in Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto and in 2002 they collaborated on a five volume seminal work on Rethinking Literary History and at a conference in honour of Linda’s retirement he gave a keynote lecture. On a more personal note, I too had the privilege of working on my own doctoral thesis under Professor Valdés’ supervision and am truly indebted to him for his mentorship, guidance and teaching. Professor Valdés was, and continues to be, a major influence in my development not only as a researcher but, most importantly, as a teacher and mentor in every sense of these words. Without further ado it is my great pleasure to introduce Mario Valdés here today who will speak to us on “Interdisciplinary Collaboration and the Future of the Humanities.”
Jonathan A. Allan (SCLA 2007) University of Toronto
Jonathan A. Allan is a PhD Candidate at the Centre for Comparative Literature where he has written a dissertation called “The Sexual Scripture: A Study of Male Virginity in Romance” [which will be defended in the coming months]. He has published articles on aspects of literary theory, monstrosity, virginity, and romance novels. He is the book review editor of the Journal of Popular Romance Studies. His research is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Janice Zehentbauer (SCLA 2007) University of Western Ontario
Janice Zehentbauer is currently in her second year of a PhD in Comparative Literature at the University of Western Ontario. She holds an MA in English from the University of Waterloo, and an MA in Comparative Literature and the Arts from Brock University. Her thesis research involves illness, specifically migraines, and perception in European literature and art from 1860-1940.
Maja Srndic (SCLA 2010)
Maja Srndic graduated from DePaul University in Chicago with a Bachelor's in Philosophy and a minor in German. She completed her Master's in Comparative Philosophy at Brock University with the focus on Martin Heidegger's late essays on poetry and Daoist thought, succeeded by another Master's in Studies in Comparative Literatures and Arts. Her current research revolves around artworks and their influence on compositions, critique, and dissolution of nationalist histories.
Closing Keynote Address
Drs. Linda and Michael Hutcheon
Our closing keynote presenters today are a husband and wife team that truly exemplify the concept of collaborative and interdisciplinary research – linking humanist studies and medicine and their love for opera.
LINDA HUTCHEON, one half of the team, is University Professor Emeritus of the Department of English and of the Centre of Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto. Professor Hutcheon is one of the major critics of contemporary Canadian writing and culture and has achieved broad international recognitions as a literary theorist by helping to define and describe the idea and characteristics of postmodernism. Her teaching and mentorship of students has not gone unrecognized and in 1998 she won the Northrop Frye Award, the University of Toronto’s highest award for teaching.
MICHAEL HUTCHEON is professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto where he is the deputy physician in chief for education for the University Health Network. Together with Linda they have pursued their love for opera by exploring in their collaborative works certain themes and preoccupations found in opera within a revealing cultural and historical framework.
Today they will be sharing this love for the opera with us in their presentation “Creativity and the Aging Artist: Giuseppe Verdi Gets the Last Laugh”.
Studies in Comparative Literatures and Arts Colloquium 2011