New School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures

UVic’s new School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures will launch in September 2024 and will integrate the Departments of French and Francophone Studies, Germanic and Slavic Studies, Hispanic and Italian Studies, and Linguistics. The new School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures (SLLC) will provide a home for interdisciplinary cooperation and collaboration while protecting the integrity and identity of the distinct disciplines of the original units.

Rising to new heights in Indigenous education and social justice

Phoenix Charlie is a 39-year-old Indigenous student who grew up on Vancouver Island and came to UVic to study social justice in 2018. Last year, after learning about the Indigenous Studies program at UVic, they were inspired to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Studies with a minor in Social Justice Studies.

Undergrad scholars soar in new program

At a small TEDx-style conference hosted at UVic earlier this summer, a dozen or so undergraduate students took to the podium to share with the audience the capstone research projects they had created in an upper-year Humanities course, HUMA 495: Sharing Humanities Research. Unbeknownst to the audience, this was the first-ever cohort to complete the Humanities Scholars program — a rather singular academic program launched in September 2020 that promises exceptional students unique learning opportunities, hands-on experiences and direct mentorship from award-winning faculty.

A capital idea about gender equity

As the climate crisis deepens, so too do ideas about what this emergency means, who it impacts most, and how best to address it. Today, for International Women’s Day, we invited Simi Kang—a mixed Sikh American community advocate, artist, and assistant professor in the Department of Gender Studies—to reflect on the meaning of the day and its theme, ‘embrace equity,’ for women living in regions that are negatively affected by climate change.

In conversation with Temoseng Elliott

It was an unexpected exchange. Temoseng Elliott, a Coast Salish artist and member of the W̱SÁNEĆ and lək̓ʷəŋən Nations, had accepted a commission to carve five new award plaques for the Faculty of Humanities, and I received a last-minute invitation to drop off some paperwork with a few other colleagues at his family carving shed in WJOȽEȽP (Tsartlip) territory.

New Emergency Fellowship for Ukrainian PhD Students

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues with no end in sight, Ukrainian students are increasingly impacted by the war and all the uncertainty it brings. In response, the Faculty of Humanities has created an emergency fellowship for doctoral students currently studying at a Ukrainian university, offering financial support, peer and faculty mentors, and an office space at UVic to safely complete their degree.

Learning from past wrongs

This spring, the highly acclaimed Landscapes of Injustice project — which catapulted the dispossession and displacement of Japanese Canadians in the 1940s and 1950s into the national conversation — formally wrapped up after a seven-year run that resulted in the capstone "Broken Promises" exhibit, eponymous book (McGill-Queen's), online database and complementary website. Now, the tried-and-true concept behind this project is going global thanks to a $2.5 million grant from the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) that has been matched with an additional $3.3 million in contributions from project partners, which will fund a new research network entitled Past Wrongs, Future Choices (PWFC).

Indigenizing and Decolonizing the Faculty of Humanities

As Lydia Toorenburgh sat on a bench outside the Clearihue building in May 2015, having just completed their first year of studies at UVic, they reflected on their experiences as an Otipemisiwak (Cree-Métis person) in the classroom and on campus, imagining the changes they would implement to improve the experiences of other Indigenous students if given the chance.

International Women's Day 2022

Today, on International Women’s Day we explicitly recognize the many remarkable women in our Faculty and at #UVic who work daily to #breakthebias against women across the globe and forge a path toward a more just, sustainable future. In honour of all the stories that aren’t being told, we share with you the work of five women from our faculty whose teaching and research inspires, provokes, engages and enriches those around them.

UVic hosts special screening of Framing Agnes

A special preview of the feature-length film Framing Agnes is being hosted by the University of Victoria on March 17, 2022 for community members and select guests, ahead of its UK and Canadian premieres this spring. Directed by Gender Studies professor and multiple award-winning filmmaker Chase Joynt, Framing Agnes draws from never-before-seen case files of patients from an infamous UCLA study about sex disorders in the 1950s and rallies an all-star cast of transgender actors to resurrect the untold history of a group who redefined gender in the mid-twentieth century. The film world-premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival, where it received the NEXT Innovator and Audience Award prizes and garnered wide critical acclaim. Two back-to-back screenings will be held at Cinecenta, each followed by a live Q&A with Joynt. This event is organized by the University of Victoria’s Faculty of Humanities and Office of the Vice President Research and Innovation, with support from Ceremonies & Events, External Relations, Department of Gender Studies and Cinecenta.

The Happy Return

Twelve years and three children after completing a second master’s degree, Lucie Kotesovska fulfilled her long-held dream of returning to the academy to begin a PhD in literary studies. Now a highly acclaimed researcher with a stellar record of success, one might not believe that she had ever doubted it was possible at all.

Announcing the 2021 Humanities award winners

Our Faculty’s mission is to enrich human dignity, provoke critical inquiry, engage myriad voices and inspire innovative expression — objectives that have been achieved at the university and abroad by each of this year’s award recipients, each in their own way. It is with great pleasure that we honour and celebrate waaseyaa'sin Christine Sy (Gender Studies), Charlotte Schallié (Germanic and Slavic Studies), Ruth Parrish (Indigenous Studies), Sikata Banerjee (Gender Studies), Janelle Jenstad (English), Dailyn Ramirez (English) and Michael Reed (English) for their outstanding contributions to the Faculty of the Humanities’ mission and community.

Focus on Research: Denae Dyck

Last month we shared the great news that English PhD graduate Denae Dyck had won this year’s Governor General gold medal for best doctoral thesis at the University of Victoria. Today we turn our lens more carefully onto the research behind her dissertation — asking what interests motivated her work, how she arrived at her topic and why Victorian literature still matters.

Focus on Research: Denae Dyck

Last month we shared the great news that English PhD graduate Denae Dyck had won this year’s Governor General gold medal for best doctoral thesis at the University of Victoria. Today we turn our lens more carefully onto the research behind her dissertation — asking what interests motivated her work, how she arrived at her topic and why Victorian literature still matters.

Annalee Lepp begins new term as Dean of Humanities

Dr. Annalee Lepp, a highly accomplished researcher, teacher and administrator who is known for her commitment to social justice and consensus-based community building, has been appointed Dean of the Faculty of Humanities for a term beginning July 1, 2021 and ending June 30, 2026. She is the first woman to serve as Dean in the Faculty’s history.

Mourning the 215 Indigenous children found in Kamloops

Our heartfelt thoughts go to the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, all Indigenous communities, and Indigenous faculty, staff, and students at the University, and their families, who are grieving the 215 children whose remains were found in an unmarked grave on the grounds of the former Kamloops Residential School as well as all of the victims of Canada’s colonial and genocidal residential school system. These include the Indigenous children forced into residential schools who did not return to their families and communities, those Indigenous children who are still unaccounted for, and those Indigenous residential school survivors whose lives were and continue to be deeply impacted by the many forms of violence they had to endure.

Digital Humanities Pioneer Wins Lifetime Achievement Award

For more than twenty years, Associate Professor of English Janelle Jenstad has quietly and dedicatedly laid the foundations for a revolution in digital scholarship and collaborative practices that promises to shape Humanities research for decades to come. This month her contributions were recognized by the Canadian Society of Digital Humanities / Société Canadienne des Humanités Numériques (CSDH-SCHN), which granted her the Outstanding Achievement Award for Computing in the Arts and the Humanities — the esteemed group’s equivalent of a lifetime achievement award.

The faculty mentors helping faculty members thrive online

Two Humanities instructors are being widely praised for a dynamic new mentoring program that led the Faculty through the difficult transition to online learning necessitated by the pandemic earlier this spring. With over a decade of online teaching experience between them, Assistant Professors Janni Aragon, who teaches in Gender Studies, Political Science and Technology & Society, and Sara Humphreys, who teaches in the Academic and Technical Writing Program, have worked tirelessly to support faculty who are less comfortable or experienced teaching in an online environment.

Focus on Research: Environmental Philosopher Thomas Heyd

An endlessly active and engaged researcher and author who has been with the department of Philosophy since 1993, Thomas Heyd is also a polyglot who is fluent in English, German, Spanish and French, and semi-fluent in Portuguese and Italian. His article “COVID-19 and climate change in the times of the Anthropocene”, very quickly published in the highly respected journal The Anthropocene Review (in its ‘Online first’ feature) in the fall, because of its relevance at the present moment, is also appearing in the print version soon (in January 2021). We sat down with him last week to learn more about this vital and timely work.

Announcing the Churchill Foundation Vancouver Island Barry Gough Scholarship in English

Today, on the 146th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s birthday, the Faculty of Humanities is pleased to announce the creation of the Churchill Foundation Vancouver Island Barry Gough Scholarship in English. This scholarship will support academically outstanding undergraduate English students in their upper years of study who have demonstrated leadership, innovation and determination in their academic work and through community engagement.

Christine Welsh Scholarship Supports Indigenous Student Activism and Engagement

When recent Gender Studies graduate Sage Lacerte speaks, she chooses her words with great care. “There's an ailment in our country, which is violence and oppression. And the healing medicine of that is talking about it with each other, being in relationships with each other and showing each other love,” she says. As the National Youth Ambassador for the Moose Hide Campaign, a grassroots movement started by her father and sister in 2011 to engage men and boys across Canada to stand up against violence towards women and children, Lacerte has carried this message across the country and back again, addressing audiences large and small.

Faces of the Humanities: Stacee Greig

If you recognize this friendly face, it’s probably because you’ve spent a bit of time in the Clearihue building, where for the last 8 years, Stacee Greig has worked in Custodial Services. Following in the footsteps of her father, who worked at UVic for 35 years, and her brother, who worked here for 30, Stacee has done her family name proud through her formidable work ethic and unwavering attention to detail. In her own 22 years of service at the University of Victoria, she has gained a reputation as a dedicated employee with a warm presence and cordial nature. We sat down with Stacee for a long-overdue conversation to learn a bit about her and her work at the University.

#ScholarStrike and Anti-Racism in the Humanities

In the 2020 US Open tennis tournament, Naomi Osaka, the world’s number three-ranked player on the WTA tour, wore a different face mask to each of the seven rounds she played in. Each mask bore the name of a Black American who had faced police violence: Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, Elijah McClain, Philando Castile and Tamir Rice. On the last day of the tournament, a journalist from ESPN asked her what message she had wanted to send by wearing masks with these names. Her response came in the form of a question: “What was the message you got?” In the wake of anti-racist movements across North America, including the direct action on September 9th and 10th associated with the US-led #ScholarStrike and its Canadian counterpart #ScholarStrikeCanada, we might also ask: “What was the message you got?”

Staying Connected Through the Pandemic

When it was announced in May that the vast majority of fall courses and programs would be offered online, many students, staff and faculty speculated about how exactly that might look. The simple fact is that this move online is virtually unprecedented. Courses have been taught online before, but not all of these courses and certainly not all at once. So much of university life has traditionally taken place on campus, in classrooms or at the BiblioCafé; in the McPherson library or around the Petch fountain outside its main entrance; on the field or upon a bench – that is, in person. With those opportunities suddenly limited, many wondered: how will we stay connected with one another?

Lessons Learned and Challenges Faced: Outgoing Grad Advisors Share Their Wisdom

As the calendar turned to July, three of our grad advisors ended their terms: Catherine Leger (French), Elena Pnevmonidou (Germanic and Slavic Studies) and Sara Beam (History) . Between them, they have amassed over 12 years of experience supporting graduate students and graduate programming in Humanities. This wealth of experience presents an ideal opportunity for us to gain insight into and advice on this central Faculty role, and so I asked them to share the lessons learned, the insights gained and the challenges faced.

Get to know a researcher: History's Wendy Wickwire

Historian Wendy Wickwire’s book, At the Bridge: James Teit and an Anthropology of Belonging, has received numerous accolades since it was published last year. The book most recently won this year’s Canada Prize in the Humanities and Social Sciences, from the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Canadian Historical Association’s Clio BC award. Wickwire, an emerita professor in the Department of History, spent three decades researching James Teit, a prolific ethnographer and advocate for Indigenous Peoples’ rights. She talks to Stephanie Harrington about bringing the story of this little-known historical figure to the fore.

Faces of the Humanities: Kailin Gillis finds unlikely career path through co-op

Have a burning question about Zoom or Gradebook? If you call UVic’s Technology Integrated Learning, you might hear English major Kailin Gillis’s voice on the other line. Gillis is completing her second co-op placement as an educational technology assistant, a job in which she helps UVic students, staff and faculty navigate and troubleshoot the technological tools available for learning and teaching.

Major research grant supports new open scholarship initiative

The global upheaval caused by COVID-19 has highlighted a need for academics to find ways to share their research quickly, freely and with large audiences. But open scholarship continues to pose significant hurdles for Canadian researchers. A new, interdisciplinary seven-year project seeks to overcome those challenges.

Deans' Statement on Racial Injustices and State Violence

Over the last week, our news and social media feeds have documented the very legitimate expressions of rage, frustration, and grief in response to ongoing structural racism and systemic police/state violence against members of Black communities in the United States and Canada. These latest iterations of racism and violence are not new – they are integral of the logics of centuries-long anti-Black racism in both contexts.

Faces of the Humanities: Maggie Easton Goes Greek

Last winter, undergraduate Linguistics and Greek and Roman Studies student Maggie Easton left the comfort of Ring Road to gain hands-on experience in Greece, earning academic credit while taking courses and visiting important cultural and historical sites across the country. Now back home and able to reflect on her experiences, it’s apparent that what started as an intellectual journey has become, for her, one of personal growth and exploration as well.

Get to Know a Researcher - Philosophy's Mike Raven

Philosopher Mike Raven has won this year’s Humanities Faculty Fellowship, which recognizes strong scholars who are on the cusp of finishing a major project. Raven, an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy and metaphysics specialist, will explore the question, “Is there a viable notion of social essence?” Here, Raven explains why social essence is a controversial, but worthwhile field of study.

Distinguished alumnus Lucky Budd stays true to his vision

Robert “Lucky” Budd could claim any number of titles to describe his eclectic career—musician, audio preservationist, digital archivist, oral historian, producer, author and storyteller. Regardless of the project he’s working on, a desire to tell stories has been central to his work. The philosophy, Greek and Roman Studies and history alumnus will receive this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award for the Faculty of Humanities on Feb. 4 during UVic Alumni Week.

Wendy Wickwire's book on James Teit covered in The Hill Times

Wendy Wickwire has released a book on 20th-century anthropologist James Teit. The Hill Times, a highly influential publication in Ottawa, takes a closer look at the new book and about Teit himself. Wickwire, an associate professor, emeritus, in History and Environmental Studies, was also interviewed by BBC Shetland's The Books Programme.

Celebrate what makes us human at second Humanities Literacy Week

Celebrate what makes us human at a week-long series of events that showcase exceptional research and people in the Faculty of Humanities. Our second annual Humanities Literacy Week, from January 13 to 19, explores the value and values of our faculty, offering insight into topical historical issues, literature, digital technology, and culture.

Long service recognized at UVic

When Misao Dean started her career in English three decades ago, she was among few women—and even fewer Canadians—in the department. Most professors were men from the United States or England. Dean had the opportunity to reflect on her career at the recent University of Victoria Long Service Recognition Reception, held in November. She marked 30 years at UVic along with French’s Marc Lapprand and Marie Vautier, Gender Studies’ Helen Rezanowich, History’s Timothy Haskett, and Humanities Computing and Media Centre’s Judith Nazar.

Thirtieth anniversary of Berlin Wall's fall remembered 

Erika Goetz-Lad grew up in the socialist German Democratic Republic. The Stasi persecuted her family, and as a result she wasn’t allowed to go to university despite her excellent academic standing. After the Berlin Wall fell, she was able to finally have access to a post-secondary education. Now living in Victoria, Goetz-Lad shared her story during a panel discussion at a special Germanic and Slavic Studies event that marked the 1989 fall of the wall that separated East and West Germany.

Get to Know a Researcher - English's Kim Blank

Eight years ago, Department of English Professor Kim Blank set out to write a book about the poet John Keats (pictured above). Thousands of words, images and webpages later, Blank's book had evolved into an impressive online resource that captures and critically examines the English poet's life and work. Blank talks about Mapping Keats's Progress, and what distinguishes his digital humanities project from traditional academic outputs.

Kimahli Powell shares Rainbow Railroad’s journey

Honorary degree recipient Kimahli Powell gave a public presentation, sponsored by the Faculty of Humanities, about Rainbow Railroad’s work on Nov. 14 to students, faculty and staff at UVic. He outlined the organization’s growth from its founding in 2006 to its high-profile appearance this year on CBS’s flagship news program 60 Minutes.

Humanities announces new human rights academy   

The Faculty of Humanities is proud to announce the inaugural session of UVic’s Summer Academy on Genocide Studies and Human Rights Education in the summer of 2020. Themed "Understanding Atrocity," this week-long course for 15 to 17 year olds features an in-depth introduction to the role individuals play in moments of mass atrocity.

Child’s story of Holocaust survival premieres at Jewish film festival

Holocaust survivor Julius Maslovat's effort to create a narrative of events he hardly remembers has been captured in a powerful documentary, Why Am I Here?, which will premiere on Nov. 5 at the Victoria International Jewish Film Festival. Directed by UVic Germanic and Slavic Studies alumna Chorong Kim, the documentary follows Maslovat’s journey to learn the truth about his own past and to discover the people who kept him alive.

Videos help UVic students tackle mental-health problems

The Times Colonist featured a story in its weekend edition about the UVic Bounce initiative. Rebecca Gagan, an assistant teaching professor in the English department, founded UVic Bounce, which was based on a similar project at Stanford University in California called the Resilience Project. Started in 2011, the Resilience Project began by asking faculty to discuss on videos their personal failures and how they have recovered.

Get to Know a Researcher - Chase Joynt

Assistant Professor Chase Joynt joined the Department of Gender Studies in July. His research sits at the intersection of cinema and media studies, gender and feminist studies, documentary film production, trans studies and queer theory. Joynt is also a moving image artist and writer. He talks to Stephanie Harrington about his latest award-winning film project, Framing Agnes.

Op-ed: SNC-Lavalin affair fails the scandal test - so far

The Globe and Mail has published an opinion piece by Penny Bryden in the national edition of the newspaper about the SNC-Lavalin affair. Following breaking news on the ethics commissioner's report released this week, Bryden proposes that the SNC-Lavalin affair has the makings of a political scandal of the highest order, but may not yet meet the three criteria needed for a true scandal in Canadian politics.

In the news: New course connects UVic and incarcerated students

UVic is launching a first-of-its-kind course this fall in partnership with BC Corrections. It brings together 10 UVic students with 10 incarcerated students in a class on philosophy to be held at the Vancouver Island Regional Correction Centre. Philosophy Associate Professor Audrey Yap spoke to CTV Vancouver Island, CBC Radio, CFAX Radio and Victoria News about her new course and what students can expect.

Jason Colby comments on the death of three orcas

Three orcas, well-known to local researchers, have been missing for months are now presumed dead. Jason Colby spoke to CTV News about the changes that need to be made to help the species survive. Colby also spoke about the misconceptions of orcas in the 1960s and 1970s for the special CBC series "Killers: J pod on the brink," hosted by Gloria Macarenko.

Ruby Peter receives honorary degree for language revitalization

Nearly five decades ago, sti’tum’at Ruby Peter of the Quamichan First Nation made a daily trip from Duncan, driving north to Nanaimo to collect a passenger, and then onto the University of Victoria. She was among six Hul’q’umi’num’ educators who made the journey together for several months to attend classes at UVic, the first collaboration of its kind in North America. Their mission: to develop Indigenous language teaching training and help pass on their language to younger generations. Peter received UVic’s highest accolade—an honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD)—at the Faculty of Humanities’ spring convocation on June 10, recognizing her dedication to documenting, teaching and revitalizing the Hul'q'umi'num' language.