Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Meet Dana Mount!

I spend my few bits of free time these days dreaming up reading lists for my future courses. A reading list is a lot like a playlist: you want it to have a theme, a mood. It should excite people, and maybe even surprise them. But you don’t want to hear my playlists, because I’m pretty hopeless when it comes to music, really. What I do know is books. More specifically (because by this point in our education and careers, we professors get pretty specific), I know postcolonial environmental literature.

I’m Dana Mount, and I’m (delighted to be!) the new professor in World and Indigenous Literatures here at CBU. I’ll tell you a bit about how I came to be where I am today. It’s a story of someone who tried to avoid studying English but kept coming back to it.

Upon leaving high school I was pretty determined to Save the Planet. I enrolled in the Bachelor of Environmental Studies program at York University where I met a bunch of wonderful people who were also pretty determined to Save the Planet. Turns out many of them had a lot more hands-on determination than me. I kept gravitating towards questions about why we were in the state of crisis that we were in, what informed our attitudes towards the environment.

My focus on cultural attitudes towards the environment led me to want to study theories of power and structure in society. I undertook a Masters of Arts in the School of Women’s Studies, also at York University. There I studied theories of race and racism, labour history, gender and sexuality, global development and politics. I met a lot of inspiring people who are working to end oppression.

Throughout these two degrees, though, what sustained me was being able to take courses on literature where I could finally see these larger ideas being expressed, argued, and illuminated in ways theory alone was unable to do. I signed on for a PhD in the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University. I met a lot of people who are passionate about reading and who believe in the power of writing. There I combined my interest in world and indigenous issues, environmentalism, and literature.

And it is that combination that I bring with me here at CBU. Next year I hope to be offering courses in postcolonial literature and theory. I’m working on the reading list right now, and yes, I take requests. Feel free to drop by (CC228) or email me, dana_mount@cbu.ca.

Monday, August 15, 2011

New French Courses

FRNC 3701: L’Acadie/Acadia: Translating Literature and Culture
Instructor: Dr. Richard Marchand
Frnc 3701 is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of Acadian culture, its history, language and literature (in the original and in translation). The course will include historical material (Naomi Griffiths – Contexts of Acadian History 1686-1784) revealing both English and French Colonial attitudes and the realities of the Acadian “nation” through the ages. The literary investigation will follow with a focus on poetry (Reves Inachevees – Unfinished Dreams: contemporary Poetry of Acadia), drama (Maillet – La Sagouine) and the novel (Maillet Pelagie la Charette), in the original texts but with English translations for support, although the classroom discussions will be primarily in French. We will also look at the difficulties of translation when what might be called “regional works” are involved.

FRNC 3703: Innovation & Variation in French/Francophone Literature
Instructor: Dr. Bernard Mulo Farenkia
The course will look at forms and functions of innovative language usages (e.g. code-switching, semantic shift, loan word, calquing) and regional variations in the works of some contemporary French / francophone writers (e.g. Ahmadou Kourouma, Yves Viollier, Mongo Beti, Camara Laye, Patrice Nganang, Ferdinand Oyono, Joseph Zobel, etc.). We will further discuss translation difficulties of “regional language usages” and comment on some translation techniques adopted in the English versions of the original texts.