Dr. Misao Dean

Dr. Misao Dean
Office: CLE C319

MA (Carleton), PhD (Queen's)

Area of expertise

Early Canadian writing on animals and the natural world; the Canadian novel; representation; contemporary critical theory; feminisms

Misao Dean grew up in Toronto, and moved to Victoria in 1989. She teaches courses on the Canadian novel, and is interested in non-fiction prose and travel writing as well. She has published extensively on early Canadian women writers, on the literature of wilderness travel, and on animals and hunting in early Canadian writing. Her most recent book, Inheriting a Canoe Paddle, is on the way the discourse of the canoe is mobilized to justify Canadian sovereignty in the context of aboriginal title.
Dr. Dean is currently working on theories of affect and literary pleasure, and on early Canadian writing about animals and the natural world.

Recent conference presentations

“Teaching Affect” at The Affect Conference: Memory, Aesthetics, and Ethics, September 19, 2015.

“Motorcycling through the Archives.” Paper presented to Association for Canadian and Quebec Literatures at the annual Congress of the Humanities, May 24th, Brock U.

“John Green Plays Fifa 14” Paper presented to the Sport and Literature Association at their annual meeting, June 24, 2014 College of the Rockies.

“Every Woman’s Battle: Nellie McClung on War.” Paper presented at UVic Humanities Conference, The First World War: Transnational, Local and Interdisciplinary Perspectives. October 3, 2014, Bay St. Armoury.

“’Friends Don’t let Friends Wear Fringe’: Motorcyclists, Cowboys, and White Male Victimhood” Paper presented at the Western Literatures Association Conference, November 6, 2014, Victoria BC

Selected articles

"I just love Ethel Wilson: A Reparative Reading of The Innocent Traveller.”  English Studies in Canada, 06/2014, Volume 40, Issue 2-3

"The Centennial Voyageur Canoe Pageant as Historical Re-enactment” Journal of Canadian Studies/Revue d'études canadiennes, 04/2007, Volume 40, Issue 3

Researching Sara Jeannette Duncan in the papers of A. P. Watt and Company
Canadian Literature, 2003
Managing diversity in the representation of BC history: Point Ellice House and "Chinatown"
BC Studies, 12/2002, Issue 136

Selected books

CanoeInheriting a Canoe Paddle: the Canoe in Discourses of English-Canadian Nationalist

University of Toronto Press, 2013
A study of recreational canoeing and "canoe mythology" in Canada, and the way that it is mobilized to produce settler innocence and justify Canadian sovereignty.

pointA Different Point of View: Sara Jeannette Duncan

McGill-Queen's UP, 1991
This book argues that Duncan's attitude to gender relations and imperial-colonial politics was shaped by the values of her Canadian upbringing. Duncan published over 20 books during her lifetime (1861-1922), which were distinguished by their detailed description of domestic life in Canada and India, and their ironic sense of humour.

femininityPractising Femininity

U Toronto P, 1998
A study of femininity in early Canadian novels, emphasizing the element of gender performance in the New World; includes chapters on Moodie, Traill, Leprohon, McClung, Ross, and others.

earlyEarly Canadian Short Stories

Tecumseh, 2000
A collection of stories from before WWI, along with some essays by the authors and a selection of contemporary criticism on the short story as genre.

imperialistThe Imperialist, by Sara Jeannette Duncan

Broadview, 2005
This edition of Duncan's most popular book includes footnotes designed for undergraduate use. The appendices illuminate Duncan's literary technique and her political views, and include recipes for pickled pears and scalloped oysters!

Courses taught

motorcycleEnglish 250: Literature and Motorcycle Cultures:

While many non-riders think of motorcycling in terms of speed, noise and gas fumes, enthusiasts defend their pastime with reference to history, literature, personal crisis, and even meditation. This course utilizes interdisciplinary methodologies from cultural studies, history, film studies, and literary studies to examine a variety of representations of motorcycling from literature, film, popular music and commercial culture. We consider topics such as motorcycling and the tourist gaze, motorcycling and gender, motorcycling and gang culture, motorcycling and modernism. Students become familiar with the methodology and terminology of the study of popular culture, and increase their proficiency in textual analysis and written self-expression. They also become familiar with a variety of popular texts and concepts of motorcycling culture.

English 450: Modern Canadian Novels:

This course looks in depth at canonical fiction from the modernist period, with the goal of investigating the dynamic relationships between nationalist aesthetics, colonialist politics, and globalized networks.  How did Canadian authors respond to the international call to “make it new” in the early twentieth century, and to the rise of anti-capitalist movements in the thirties? What was the role of fiction in promoting the aims of the Canadian state as it consolidated power over indigenous peoples in the post-war period? Did novelists develop an approach to modernist aesthetics that was “uniquely Canadian,” as they claimed, or were they just bad writers?