What’s new, you ask? Here’s where you can find out more about my work and that of my students.


Catching up halfway through 2020, and the whole world has changed around me. Here in St. John’s, we started 2020 with a bang: a massive snowstorm that put us on the front pages of newspapers the world over. Snowmageddon dumped a whack of snow, but more than this, brought with it high winds. The result was a dramatically altered landscape and a city that shut down for ten days to try and recover. And then, in March, everything shut again due to the pandemic. And now, at the beginning of August, we are still learning to live new lives.

But while some things were cancelled – SPARKS literary festival here in St. John’s, for example, and the Writing True conference organized by the Creative Non-Fiction Collective in Toronto, writing and books and events have still happened throughout this upside down period.

July 2020: two gorgeous new reviews for What the Oceans Rememberone by James M. Fisher for The Miramichi Reader and the other by Evangeline Holtz Schramek for Canadian Literature.

July 2020 : early July took me on a completely wild adventure: I interviewed Bushra Junaid for a Facebook live event about What Carries Us co-hosted by CBC NL and The Rooms. This involved my laptop, my husband’s phone, and my tablet… a feat of technological virtuosity that I am unlikely to repeat any time soon! But it was fantastic to chat with Bushra again and to talk about the exhibition, her motivations for it, what she hoped it could accomplish, and what it meant for St. John’s, and Newfoundland and Labrador, to think of Black histories in this place. Didn’t catch it but want to? You can watch it here.

June 2020: a return to my old musical stomping grounds with a virtual book club visit to the Portland Baroque Orchestra book club! So wonderful to catch up with old friends and also, to make some new ones.


April 2020: another launch event, this time for BIG: Stories of Life in Plus-Sized Bodies, edited by Christina Myers. I’m one of many, many contributors to this book, and it was a fantastic opportunity not only to share a small piece of my essay, but to hear others share theirs as well. So grateful to Christina and Caitlin Press for bringing us all together!

March 2020: Just before we shut down, I did a talk at our provincial art gallery, The Rooms, that tied What the Oceans Remember and its stories to an exhibition titled What Carries Us: Newfoundland and Labrador in the Black Atlantic. The exhibition, curated by Bushra Junaid, considers this province’s involvement in and relationship to Black histories, and responds to John Akomfrah’s monumental installation, Vertigo Sea. Lots of fantastic work there (I reviewed the exhibition here).

February 2020: I shared What the Oceans Remember with the library book club! I brought photographs and also, some Surinamese keksi and we had a blast. Later in the month, I did an interview with Rick Molloy of Vancouver Co-op Radio


December (and September): Two published interviews about What the Oceans Remember! The first on Open Book and the second, with Deborah Vail, for Prism International.

December: I travelled to the Netherlands at the very end of term for two presentations: one for Gender & Diversity Studies at Radboud University Nijmegen, and the other, a keynote for the 4th Unhinging the National Frameworksymposium on transnational life writing! What a treat to share, listen, and learn with completely different audiences!

October: Book Launch at the Eastern Edge, an artist-run gallery in an old warehouse on the waterfront that still apparently has salt leeching from its walls… A perfect space to spend an evening with friends and colleagues celebrating What the Oceans Remember’s publication. Angela Antle was a fantastic host, Kate Lahey – a former student and front woman of the band Weary – performed a short set, Matt Howse of Broken Books sold books, and I cooked up a Surinamese storm. I think I can say that a good time was had by all.

September: What a thrill to be part of Thin Air, the Winnipeg International Writers’ Festival! Fantastic audiences with great questions, and a great time getting to know some other authors whose works I’d only ever seen on bookstore shelves.

September – What the Oceans Remember is officially out and it’s even more gorgeous, as a book, than I imagined it would be! My deepest thanks to the team at WLU Press for all the care and attention they’ve given this book, right from the start! And along with its publication, its first official review, in Foreword Reviews!


September  – I’ve just had a flash non-fiction piece accepted for Room Magazine‘s forthcoming issue on hair. It will be published in 2020.

September  – Two short creative non-fiction essays on fatness forthcoming in two edited collections next year! One, “Fifty Shades of Black Fat: An Inventory” will appear in Big: Stories About Life in Plus-Sized Bodies edited by Christina Myers (Caitlin Press, 2020) and the other, “Body Lessons,” will appear in Body Stories: In and Out and With and Through Fat edited by May Friedman and Jill Andrews (Demeter Press, 2020).

August – Did a webinar (first time I’ve done one of those!) for ACRL-Choice on the topic of “Serendipity, Tactility, and Community: Library Research as a Practice of Wonder.” It’s now archived here.

July – What the Oceans Remember is included in 49th Shelf’s Most Anticipated: 2019 Fall Nonfiction Preview!

May – Conferencing and more conferencing! Started the month with at the PhiloSOPHIA conference right here in St. John’s and then headed for Vancouver, where I presented a paper on oceanic thinking as part of the annual meeting of Women’s and Gender Studies et Recherches Féministes (Congress 2019).

Earlier in May, I was invited to write a guest blog post for the Social Sciences and Humanities Ocean Research and Education (SSHORE) blog. “Thinking with Oceans,” takes up some of the conceptual issues that underpin What the Oceans Remember. I’ve also been posting regularly on my book website at

April – Congratulations to Dr. Catherine Jalbert, who successfully defended her PhD thesis on “Archaeology in Canada: An Analysis of Demographics and Working Conditions in the Discipline.” It was an honour to be part of Catherine’s research journey. If you’re interested in equity issues in Canadian archaeology, Catherine’s most definitely the expert you want to be in contact with!

April – It’s the beginning of conference season and I’m headed to the UK for the fourth international Talking Bodies conference at the University of Chester to present a paper on teaching  Fat Studies. On the way home, I’m stopping in Toronto for a reading as part of the Platform Reading Series organized by the University of Toronto Continuing Studies’ Creative Writing program. The event will feature all shortlisted writers for the Marina Nemat Award, and I’ll be reading an excerpt from What the Oceans Remember.

boon-cover-finalMarch – My forthcoming fourth book, What the Oceans Remember: Searching for Belonging and Homecan now be pre-ordered online! Written in the form of a memoir, but taking up critical conversations in global histories, colonialism, mixed-race studies, and more, it considers belonging in the afterlives of slavery and indenture. What the Oceans Remember will be out in September 2019, and can now be ordered from most major online booksellers!

March – I’m co-supervising two new Master of Gender Studies students: Sam Tacit is working on gender euphoria, while Alana Tumber is working on death doulas. I’m intrigued to see how their research projects develop!

February – I presented the contours of some new research on masculinities, work, and identity in mid-century Newfoundland (a collaboration with Búi Petersen) at a workshop  on men, masculinities, and political mindsets organized by the Gender and Politics Lab, Department of Political Science, Memorial University. We’re basing our work on two sets of letters written to J. R. Smallwood – from St. Barbe and White Bay districts – between 1948 and 1951.

February – Congratulations to Dr. Mandy Rowsell, who successfully defended her PhD thesis on Masculinity in Contemporary Newfoundland Literature! It was a delight to be part of her committee. Mandy is teaching courses in both Gender Studies and English this term.

February – Congratulations to Lesley Butler, whose thesis on the films of Julie Dash was approved as “acceptable without modifications’! Congratulations, too, to Jen d’Eon who received the Florence Fox Memorial Award, a substantial scholarship from the School of Graduate Studies.



October – two trips this month… one of them just down the road to downtown St John’s where I presented as part of the Atlantic Provinces Political Science Association conference and then another, to Toronto: at the International Festival of Authors where I received an award from the University of Toronto’s Creative Writing Program! More information on that award here.

September – Later this month I’ll be talking about – and teaching – the minuet (!!) as part of the Music, Media, and Place Lecture Series. I’m also going to having a conversation with Lisa Moore as part of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences “State of the Arts” podcast.

September – About a year and a half ago, I was involved in a project geared towards demystifying archival research for students and community members. The project lead, Dr. Karen Stanbridge in the Sociology department, worked together with Janet Harron, in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and Mandy Rowsell (a doctoral student in English, whose committee I’m on) and a some faculty, staff, and students – including me – to produce a self study program called “Archive Essentials.” You can read more about the project and see some of the videos here.

unsettled-islands-cover-expandedJune – My third book – a collaborative publication written together with MGS students Lesley Butler and Daze Jefferies – is out in e-book format! You can order Autoethnography and Feminist Theory at the Water’s Edge: Unsettled Islands in e-book or hardcover formats here (and Palgrave has free shipping around the world!): We’ve also set up a companion website that includes photographs, prompts, and activities for those interested in classroom use:

I’m supervising a new graduate student! Jen d’Eon is interested in critical disability studies and will do an internship with the Blundon Centre for Students with Disabilities, right here on campus.

Congratulations to Courtney Moddle, whose Master’s thesis on the relationships between historical and contemporary knitting just came back from examination with only the most minor of minor revisions!


January – coming out this month, the second anthology of feminist detective fiction produced by students in my graduate feminist theory seminar. These stories explore a vast landscape of feminist theory, from corporeal feminisms to transcorporeality, women  and development, feminist posthumanisms, environmental feminisms, and more. The title, spilling all over the place, comes from Sara Ahmed’s Living a Feminist Life, the last book we read together over the term.



December – A few years ago, we explored craftivism – and yarn bombing in particular – in a fourth year seminar on feminist practices. This December, my colleague and friend, Beth Pentney and I published a book chapter on knitting in a feminist classroom in Global Currents in Gender and Feminisms:Canadian and International Perspectives.

November – I’m exercising my music chops, with a guest visit to my friend and colleagues, Michelle Cheramys flute studio masterclass here at Memorial University.

October – Congratulations to Margot Maddison-MacFadyen, who was awarded her PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies during the Fall 2017 convocation. Margot is now a postdoctoral fellow at Nipissing University.

October – Five members of the Department of Gender Studies – including me – contributed short essays to a new book: The Democracy Cookbook: Recipes to Renew Governance in Newfoundland and Labrador. My essay, “Governing in the Twitter Era,” examines the role that government can play in fostering a positive social media climate. Along with the other essays in this edited collection, my essay was also featured in The Telegram.

October – I just published a collaborative autoethnographic article with my former graduate student, Gina Snooks! The article, Salt Fish and Molasses: Unsettling the Palate in the Spaces Between Two Continents,” appears in the European Journal of Life Writing, and is based on fieldwork we undertook in Suriname in 2015 as well as on endless conversations, emails, thinking, and writing together both before and after that trip. It’s been a real treat to write together with a former student. Gina is now doing her PhD at Western University and her interest in women’s life writings remains strong!

October – Two graduate students – Daze Jefferies and Lesley Butler – and I will be sharing the inaugural panel of Memorial University’s new Nexus Centre for Humanities and Social Science Research. Our panel is titled “Matters of the (Research) Body: Theory and Practice in Conducting Feminist Research.”

July – I’m in Bristol, UK for a conference on Creative Histories, which looks at how we can story the past beyond the conventional academic article or book. Lots of great panels and lots of fantastic ideas to bring into the classroom.

May – I’m delighted to be co-supervising two new graduate students – Daze Jefferies is interested in trans women’s everyday health in Newfoundland and Emily Murphy is researching online fandoms and LGBTQ+ activism.

May – in conjunction with my research project, and under Presentation2the auspices of The Blue Castle, we hosted the St. John’s premiere of multi-instrumentalist Rozalind MacPhails film and music project, From the River to the Ocean, a
series of short film accompanied by live music that reference many of the themes central to my Saltwater Stories project: belonging,, place, memory, identity, and more.

April – Congratulations to Margot Maddison-MacFadyen, who successfully defended her PhD thesis! Margot will take up a postdoctoral position later this year at Nipissing University.

April – Congratulations to my former graduate student, Gina Snooks, who was just awarded a three-year SSHRC doctoral fellowship! Gina is currently in the second year of her PhD in Women’s Studies and Feminist Research at Western.

tb2017-poster-b2April – Made it to the end of term! And next week I’m off to the always awesome Talking Bodies: Identity, Sexuality, Representation conference at the University of Chester to talk about archives, ethical encounters, and ethnographic refusal. This is Talking Bodies’ third iteration, and I’ve been fortunate enough to go to all three. All bodies, all the time. All feminist research, all the time. Who could ask for anything more?

March –  On March 10, as part of a public event called “Poking the (Academic) Bear: Experiments with Autoethnography,” I presented an excerpt from an autoethnographic essay I recently wrote. Funded in part with the support of autoethnographymy SSHRC Insight Development Grant, this eventing featured presentations and performances by MUN faculty and students and was intended to explore the power of the autobiographical in the research process. On March 16, I return, at least briefly, to my music roots – I’ll be coaching a chamber ensemble at the MUN School of Music!

March – I appeared as part of an International Women’s Day Speakers’ Panel for the Women Lawyers Forum, Canadian Bar Association (NL) on March 8. Other speakers on the panel include Chief Justice Green, Finance Minister and Minister for the Status of Women, Cathy Bennett, restorative justice scholar Dorothy Vaandering, and criminal defence lawyer, Rosellen Sullivan.

March – International Women’s Day – here‘s my short op-ed, “International Women’s Day: Politics, Passion, and Pussyhats,” in The Gazette, Memorial University’s official publication.

January – the limited-run Graduate Feminist Theory Detective Fiction anthology is here! We’re having a small book launch at the end of the month. In the meantime, doesn’t it look great? You can read an article about the project here.



November – my book chapter, “Minuet as Method: Embodied Performance in the Research Process,” is out as part of a larger collection of essays on research in nature-culture and environmental history methods and approaches: Methodological Challenges in Nature-Culture and Environmental History Research.

November – an article I co-authored with twelve (12!) others is now out in Atlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture, and Social Justice. The article, “Teaching the Intro Course: A Pedagogical Tool Kit” is part of a special section on teaching the the first year foundation course in Gender Studies. It’s open access and you can read it at the link above

November – I went to Montreal to present a paper at the National Women’s Studies Association conference. While there, I presented a guest lecture at the Université de Montréal!

October – my article, “Dusting for Fingerprints: Bodily Traces, Embodied Memories, and the Forensic Self,” is now out – open access – in the journal Life Writing.

August – Congratulations to Zaren Healey White, whose thesis passed with minor revisions! Zaren will convocate in October!

August – my essay, “French Kiss,” shortlisted for the international writing competition hosted by the online literary magazine,, has now been published. In the words of the judges: “Sonja Boon’s French Kiss is a nostalgic coming of age story about leaving home and looking for love, seen through the lens of a quintessentially Canadian theme: the spaces between us and the differences that enrich us.” You can read it here.

July – my essay, “Thirteen Litres,” appears in the current issue of the Canadian literary magazine, Geist.

June – my review of Linda Morra’s Unarrested Archives: Case Studies in Twentieth Century Canadian Women’s Authorship has just been published in the Australian journal, Life Writing. 

May – I’m headed of to the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences (or Congress, for short) in Calgary, where I’ll present papers on food and mud at the meetings of the Canadian Historical Association and Women’s and Gender Studies et Recherches Féministes, respectively. My student, Tanya Nielsen, will be presenting papers as Women’s and Gender Studies et Recherches Feministes as well as at the Sexuality Studies Association. After that, I’ll fly off to The Netherlands for two weeks of research at library and archival collections in The Hague and Leiden.

April – Welcome to another new graduate student – Courtney Moddle – whom I’ll be co-supervising together with Dr. Diane Tye, a colleague in the Folklore department. Drawing on nineteenth-century knitting patterns and knitted products, Courtney will examine  the motivations of nineteenth-century knitters and the political and social forces that shaped their knitting practices. She’ll also consider how and if these factors might intersect with contemporary engagements with knitting.

April – Congratulations to Gabriela Sanchez-Diaz, whose Master of Gender Studies project (written analysis + separate workbook) on the topic of classical music performance, gender, and Body Mapping just came back from examiners with extremely minor revisions! Gabriela will convocate this May and I look forward to seeing the workbook in print in the future!

March – As other graduate students come to the ends of their degree journeys, I’m taking on new ones. Welcome to Jillian Ashick-Stinson, whom I’ll be co-supervising with another colleague in Gender Studies. Jillian is interested in midwifery policy and legislation in Newfoundland and Labrador.

February – Welcome to Lesley Butler, a new Master of Gender Studies student who will also be part of my SSHRC-funded research project. Lesley has a background in anthropology and interests in film, so she’ll be looking at migration, memory, and identity in autobiographical films!

January – my review of Catherine Dubeau’s La lettre et la mère has just been published in Eighteenth-Century Fiction.


December – It’s official – I can finally announce that I was awarded a 2-year SSHRC Insight Development Grant for my new research project! Things have been percolating since late summer already, and you can see some preliminary musings on the project blog, In January, my doctoral student, Tanya Nielsen, will join the blog team. A Master of Gender Studies students, Lesley Butler, will come on board in the Spring.

December – Congratulations to my former student, Jess Khouri, who will startteaching a first year police foundations course at Algonquin College this coming winter. It’s called “Contemporary Social Problems: Community and Social Services.” Jess writes that she is “super excited to bring a feminist perspective and a women’s studies background to the course.”

November – My book chapter, “Mothers and Others: The Politics of Lactation in Medical Consultation Letters to Samuel Auguste Tissot,” part of the massive edited collected, The Secrets of Generation: Reproduction in the Long Eighteenth Century (eds. Ray Stephanson and Darren Wagner), is now out! Other topics covered in the book include: breeding and “race-mixing,” maternal violence, childhood disability, hysteria and motherhood, body size and reproduction, diseased ovaries, and male genital display.

November – I’m seeking a graduate student (to begin their program in September 2016) in relation to my new SSHRC-supported research project. Want more details? You can find them here:

October – I’m in Toronto for Mapping Nations, Locating Citizens, a conference organized by Humber College and embedded in the International Festival of Authors!

October – It’s party time! The book launch for Telling the Flesh is on October 27. All details below in this fantastic poster designed by Jennifer Roberts at MQUP!

Boon invitation






September – My short creative non-fiction/memoir essay, “But Where Are You Really From?” is now out in The Ethnic Aisle’s CANADA issue.

September – and it’s officially out! You can now buy my book through the website or via your favourite bookseller.


August – Congratulations to Gina Snooks, whose Master of Gender Studies thesis has just come back from examination and who will graduate with her Master of Gender Studies in the October convocation!

July – Congratulations to graduate students Zaren Healey White, Gina Snooks and Tanya Nielsen for their role in coordinating the Feminisms {Re}Framed Feminist Art Show at Gallery 24 in St. John’s!

June – My article on eighteenth-century narratives of infanticide has just been published in the European Journal of Life Writing. You can read it here

June – I participated in the first ever St. John’s SlutWalk – great to see colleagues, students and former students among those gathered.

June – Lovely news! A creative non-fiction essay I wrote has been shortlisted for Room Magazine’Creative Non-Fiction prize!

May – I’ve been awarded a publication subvention award from MUN towards the publication of Telling the Flesh. The subvention will go towards publication costs.

May – I’ve just joined the doctoral committee of a student in the English department. Mandy Rowsell is looking at masculinities in Newfoundland fiction.

May – My co-authored article (with Beth Pentney) on breastfeeding selfies is out! You can read it here on the International Journal of Communication website:

May – inching towards publication and now you can see the book website here.

April – Congratulations to Christina Young, a Master of Women’s Studies graduate now pursuing doctoral studies in Social and Behavioural Health Sciences, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. Christina was just awarded a three-year SSHRC doctoral fellowship!

April – The website for The Secrets of Generation: Reproduction in the Long Eighteenth Century (eds. Ray Stephanson and Darren Wagner) is now up! It’s a massive book with contributions from scholars in Europe and North America. My chapter is on wet nursing and breastfeeding in the medical consultation letters to Tissot. Want to see more? Look here.

April – Page proofs and indexing – the book is becoming ever more real … Too bad this is the most painful part of the process!

11049475_10153129811130590_7018574971589046212_nApril – Back from the fantastic Talking Bodies conference at the University of Chester. Papers on all sorts of topics, from the bodily side effects of research (Emma Sheppard), to the emergence of a noisy “new nude” made possible through the emergence of media technologies (Jennifer Dyer), to criminal justice and the histories of penitentiaries for women, the buzz around Leena McCall’s Portrait of Ms Ruby May, Standing, the bio-medical construction of vestibulitis, and more. Lots to think about and stew over. And for me – a minor moment of Twitter fame. Want to know more? Here‘s a blog post written by one of the conference attendees.

April – Congratulations to Zaren Healey White, who won the People’s Choice Award for Public Engagement at Memorial University’s Aldrich Graduate Students’ Conference.

March – I’m quoted in an article on reflexivity and “me-search” in the UK’s Times Higher EducationYou can find it here.

March 2015 – A photo together with the Dean of Arts, Dr. Lynne Phillips, and other recipients of Dean’s Awards in the Faculty of Arts (with thanks to Zaren Healey White for the photo).


March – In May 2015, I’ll be supervising a postdoc – Dr. Christina Doonan will be joining the department and working on breastfeeding history, policy and representation in Newfoundland.

February – My book manuscript has received an Award to Scholarly Publications Grant! I’m  now in the copyediting stage, and it should be out with McGill-Queen’s University Press later this year.

February – Good news for students – Gina Snooks has been accepted into both PhD programs for which she applied, and is now in the enviable position of choosing the one that suits her best. Pearl Sedziafa, meanwhile, has been accepted into the PhD program in Community Health at the University of Manitoba.

January – In the Fall, on the initiative of one my wonderful graduate students, a group of students and colleagues nominated me for a Dean’s Award in Teaching Excellence in the Faculty of Arts. I’ve just received a letter stating that I am this year’s recipient of the award! I’m delighted (of course) and thank my students for their support!

January – My friend Beth Pentney (profiled here after a talk in Whitehorse in 2008) and I just sent off final edits for an article on breastfeeding selfies. Should be out later this spring in the International Journal of Communication.

January – I’m gathering permissions and writing blurbs and conversing with editors. I’ve even had a sneak preview of the proposed cover. There are still a few bits and pieces that need to fall into place, but stay tuned: book #2 should be on bookshelves this coming fall!


December – Master of Gender Studies student, Gina Snooks, and I are headed off to Chester for the second Talking Bodies conference. Gina will be sharing some of her current MGS research on tattoos, embodied identity, and storytelling and I will be sharing new work on fingerprints and forensic identity.

December – Master of Gender Studies student and VOCM journalist, Zaren Healey White, explores the limitations of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Vital Statistics Act with regard to gender identity in this piece she produced for VOCM:

November – My essay, “‘Just the kind of girl who would want a chap to be a man’: Constructions of Gender in the war stories of Tryphena Duley” has been reprinted in a  special collection of essays: Essays on the Great War, a special publication of Newfoundland and Labrador Studies.

September – Congratulations to Pearl Sedziafa, whose thesis just came back from assessment with only minor revisions. Pearl will convocate with a Master of Gender Studies in October 2014!

September – I’m headed off on a research trip…new project and a brain exploding with new ideas! I love this part of a research project: anything is possible and I just have to let it go where it wants.

September: Zaren Healey White heads off to Portugal for an international conference on Identity: Representation & Practices. She’ll be presenting a paper on transgender embodiment in Nina Arsenault’s “The Silicone Diaries.”

September – Promotion! I am, as of September 1, 2014, an Associate Professor (and enjoying the first month of my sabbatical).

August – My article about two eighteenth-century experiences of childbirth appears in the most recent issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of the Motherhood Initiative.

June – I made the long list for the CBC Creative Non-Fiction Prize! There were 1800 English-language entries this year.

June – Congratulations to Gina Snooks, who has been awarded a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship from SSHRC!

May – Congratulations to Zaren Healey White, whose essay “Femaleness, Fakeness, Freakery: Nina Arsenault’s Male to Female Transformation,” was awarded second place in the national Graduate Essay Prize competition sponsored by Women’s and Gender Studies et Recherches Féministes, the national scholarly organization for women’s and gender studies in Canada!

May – Congratulations to Sarah McQuarrie, who has just been named Fellow of the School of Graduate Studies, Memorial University!

May – Congratulations to Margot Maddison-MacFadyen, whose essay on Mary Prince appears in the recently-published collection, Critical Insights: The Slave Narrative.

May – Congratulations to Margot Maddison-MacFadyen who has a poem forthcoming in the next issue of the Newfoundland Quarterly and whose co-edited book of poetry has been short-listed for a PEI Book Award!

April – Conference season is well and truly upon us. I’ll be headed to Banff in May for the International Auto/Biography Association conference and three of my students are traveling to share research as well: Zaren Healey White heads off to Winnipeg in May to present at “Writing Trans Genres: Emergent Literatures and Criticism.” Pearl Sedziafa is going to the European Population Conference to share some of her research on kinship ties and marital violence in Ghana, while Sarah McQuarrie will be headed to the Sexuality Studies Association conference.

April – Congratulations to Jessica Khouri, whose Master of Women’s Studies thesis has just come back from examination with very, very minor revisions! Jessica will convocate in May 2014!

April – Congratulations to Master of Gender Studies student, Zaren Healey White, who was awarded the CFUW-St John’s scholarship. In May 2014, Zaren will present a conference paper at Writing Trans Genres: Emergent Literatures and Criticism, being held at the University of Winnipeg.

March – I’ve been awarded two SSHRC internal grants: a conference grant, which will allow me to attend the International Autobiography Association conference in Banff in May/June 2014, and a research grant, which will kickstart my new research project (and will allow me to support a graduate student as well).

March – my GNDR4005: Feminist Practices class engaged in a collaborative yarn bombing activity. Most of the class had never knitted before, but with some help from our department administrator, as well as contributions from other students, friends and family, and one of our March guest speakers, Beth Pentney, we created a bikini bottom as a commentary on Don Wright’s controversial sculpture, Red Trench, which hangs in the Arts Atrium on campus. The project was picked up by CBC Radio, and students in another class (ENGL 3816: Television) chose to use this project as the basis for their mini-documentary assignment. You can see their work here: You can also read about it here:

March – pleased to hear that the very first Master of Women’s Studies student that I supervised, Nancy Martin, has been awarded a SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship! Nancy followed her MWS with doctoral work at Oxford University. She plans to defend her thesis on First World War life writings in June 2014. Congratulations, nancy!

February – a lovely treat in the mail today: two new CDs released by my former UBC doctoral student and fluting colleague, Mark Takeshi McGregor. Mark completed his DMA in 2012 and continues to perform in numerous chamber ensembles and with the Vancouver Symphony. He has been called “a national treasure” in The Whole Note magazine.

January – I’ve taken on three new Master of Gender Studies students (co-supervision). Gina Snooks, who completed her undergraduate degree in Women’s Studies here at MUN, is interested in storytelling as theory. More specifically, she’s interested in Tattoos and bodily storytelling. Gabriela Sanchez Diaz, meanwhile, brings an academic and professional background in classical music performance (percussion) and is interested in the gender, embodiment, classical music education and body mapping. Zaren Healey White, finally, brings research interests in the area of transgender identity and performance. More specifically, she is interested in the work of Nina Arsenault. Zaren has an MA in English from McGill University.


NovembeCreating this Placer – my book chapter on women’s letters to J.R. Smallwood will appear in an edited collection entitled: Creating This Place: Women, Family and Class in St. John’s, Newfoundland, 1900-1950. We’re into final page proofs and the book is now on the MQUP website. Thanks to Linda Cullum and Marilyn Porter for all of their work in bringing all of us together. I’m looking forward to reading all the other chapters!

November – My article on vulnerability, longing and stigma in Cixous’ The Day I Wasn’t There is now out in the journal SubStance – check here for the full contents of this special issue: Also, congratulations to Catherine Jalbert, who successfully defended her doctoral thesis proposal and now moves fully into the active stage of her research project.

October – I’ve just joined the thesis committee of a doctoral student in Archaeology! Catherine Jalbert is interested in the the gendered politics of labour within the professional and academic fields of archaeology. This month I’ll be heading off to the annual meeting of the Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies to speak about embodiment in the university classroom and I’ll be offering a short workshop on early flutes and historical performance practice as part of the MUN School of Music Fall FluteFest! Meanwhile, students in my graduate methodologies seminar are blogging their way through term. If you’re interested, take a look here:

September – Congratulations to Christina Young, whose Master’s thesis has just come back from examination with extremely minor revisions! Christina has already started her doctoral work at the University of Toronto, but will return to St. John’s for the October convocation.

August – My article on Hélène Cixous’ The Day I Wasn’t There (an expansion and re-imagining of a conference paper I gave in New Zealand in 2010) has been accepted for publication in SubStance: A Review of Theory and Literary Criticism. It will appear in December 2013. Congratulations to Pearl Sedziafa, whose Master of Gender Studies thesis proposal on the topic of Kinship Ties and Marital Violence Against Women in Ghana was accepted without revisions.

July – My article on gender, class and epistolary suffering in the Tissot correspondence has been accepted for publication in The Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library. It will appear in Fall 2014. More congratulations are in order for Margot Maddison-MacFadyen, who was recently awarded a Going Global Grant for her forthcoming research trip to Bermuda. Margot’s essay, “This White Woman Has Journeyed Far: Serendipity, Counter-Stories, Hauntings,  and Ekphrasis as a Type of Poetic Inquiry,” appears in the Fall 2012 issue of The Morning Watch, a journal produced by the Faculty of Education, Memorial University.

July – Congratulations to doctoral student, Margot Maddison-MacFadyen, who has been awarded a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship for her work on Mary Prince. Some of this funding will go to research trips (Pennsylvania, Antigua and Turks & Caicos Islands). To read more about MUN students awarded funding in this latest round of competitions, click here. In May, I served as an Insight Development Grants Selection Committee Member (more info on the various committees here). It was a great experience for two reasons: the proposals were, by and large, very interesting, thoughtful, and critical; and the committee itself worked well together. The downside is that there is never enough funding, a reality that is all the more evident when you’re the one reading all the proposals…

May –  After a busy season of hiring and assessing, I’m writing, writing, writing at the moment and gearing up for my final research trip to Lausanne. Only a small list of about 150 letters to examine in detail at one site and two portraits ( a chance discovery) to look at at another site. I can’t wait.

March – congratulations to doctoral student Margot Maddison-Macfadyen, whose is one of the finalists for SSHRC’s Storyteller Competition (more info here: and here: Also congratulations to Master of Gender Studies student, Kira Petersson Martin, who has just submitted her final thesis revisions and will convocate in October. And finally, welcome to two new Master of Gender Studies students who have joined my supervision roster: Sarah McQuarrie, who has research interests in queer theory and identity, and Pearl Sedziafa, an internship student with research interests in women and domestic violence.

March – I’m headed off to Talking Bodies, an international conference on identity, sexuality and representation taking place in Chester, UK. The conference program looks great, with participation from academics in 25 countries! I’ll be speaking on desire, shame, and pleasure in a series of eighteenth-century medical consultation letters written by a young Swiss man.

March – Congratulations to Master of Gender Studies student, Sarah McQuarrie, who has been invited to present two papers at Congress 2013, one as part of the Sexuality Studies Association and the other as part of the annual meeting of Women’s and Gender Studies et Recherches Féministes. Sarah is also the recipient of this year’s Sally Davis Award. Congratulations also to Master of Gender Studies student, Christina Young, who has been accepted into the PhD program in Social and Behavioural Health Sciences, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto.

January – At the end of the month, I’ll be appearing, together with Lisa Moore and Ann Troake, in a roundtable discussion at The Rooms on bodies, art, memory, surfaces and the work of Betty Goodwin. On an entirely different note, for those who are interested, my book, The Life of Madame Necker: Sin, Redemption and the Parisian Salon, has been positively reviewed in the Journal of Historical Biography.

January – Congratulations to doctoral student, Margot Maddison-MacFadyen, whose poem, “The Emergent Seed,” has been shortlisted for the 2013 Winston Collins/Descant Prize for Best Canadian Poem!


November – Congratulations to Kira Petersson-Martin, whose Master of Gender Studies thesis, “A Pleasurable and Painful Space: Beyond Maternity and Motherhood,” has just come back from examination. Her examiners have passed it with minor revisions. Kira, who submitted her thesis in late September 2012, has already begun a new area of study: she’s a student in the Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba. Congratulations also to doctoral student, Margot Maddison-MacFadyen, whose article “Mary Prince, Grand Turk and Antigua,” will appear in the scholarly journal, Slavery & Abolition, before month’s end.

November – I’m at an international conference on War and Life Writing in Oxford, UK, where I presented research on autobiographies of national identity. It’s been a great conference and I’ve got much to think through! I also had a chance to meet up with my former Master of Women’s Studies student, Nancy Martin, who is now completing her PhD in English at Oxford.

October – Graduate student Christina Young, who just returned from a conference organized by the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement in Toronto, will soon jet off to Montreal, where she will be participating in the CIHR’s conference on “Advancing Excellence in Sex, Gender and Health Research.” She’ll be presenting a poster on the topic of “Mothering the Mother: Doula Care in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

October – I’m headed off to Edmonton to present a paper on the relationships between Marin Marais’ 1725 “Tableau de l’Opération de la Taille” and Fanny Burney’s epistolary evocation of her breast surgery in the early nineteenth century. I’ve also been invited to perform as part of a fundraiser organized by Oxfam in support of the St. John’s Status of Women Council and the Multicultural Women’s Organization of NL.

September – My article, “Recuperative Autobiography and the Politics of Life Writing: Lineage, Inheritance and Legacy in the Writings of the Marquise de la Ferté-Imbault,” appears as the lead article in the most recent issue of the Journal of Women’s History.

May – Congratulations to undergraduate Women’s Studies/English double major, Jamie Pitt, whose essay ““Inescapable ‘Human Porosity’: Dis/ability, ‘Ethnicity’ and Language in Hélène Cixous’ The Day I Wasn’t There,” has just been awarded the Canadian Women’s Studies Association Undergraduate Essay Prize! Jamie wrote her essay as a requirement for my course, WSTD2005: Identities and Difference (Winter 2012).

May – I presented a paper on bodily memories of wetnursing in eighteenth-century letters at the MIRCI conference, “Mothers and History: Histories of Motherhood” in Toronto. Later this month, I’ll be appearing as a guest artist with the St. John’s-based Hot Earth Ensemble in “Early French Immersion,” a program of eighteenth-century French music.

April – My article, “Autobiography by numbers; or, Embodying Maternal Grief,” has just been published in the Australian journal, Life Writing.

April – Graduate student, Christina Young, has been awarded a 2013-2014 ISER Master’s Fellowship to support her research into the work of the Newfoundland and Labrador Doula Collective. Congratulations, Christina!

March – Graduate students Jess Khouri and Kira Petersson-Martin have both had abstracts accepted for the 2012 Canadian Women’s Studies Association Conference, being held this May. Jess will speak on “Fa(c)tivism: Fat Activism and Feminism,” while Kira will present some conceptual work that has emerged from her thesis: “The plaisir/jouissance construct, applied to the study of maternity and motherhood.”

February – Undergraduate student, Gina Snooks, was one of two winners of the Pro Vice-Chancellor’s Prize. Her essay, “Reading the Hijab: A Feminist Analysis on Seeing Others,” was written for my course WSTD3006: Critical Concepts: The Body in Fall 2011. The Pro Vice-Chancellor’s Prize was inaugurated in 2001. Since then, 38 students have been awarded the prize. Congratulations, Gina!

February – I’m working with two new graduate students: Margot Maddison-McFadyen, and interdisciplinary PhD student working on the History of Mary Prince, and Christina Young, a Master of Women’s Studies student interested in learning more about the politics of childbirth. She’ll be doing her research with the St. John’s-based Doula Collective of Newfoundland and Labrador.


December – What fun! I was nominated for SSHRC’s Aurora Prize! I should have learned about this in the summer, but the letter was mailed to my Vancouver address. I haven’t lived there for over three years. And my most recent SSHRC application (which resulted in the nomination) was from my current position. Go figure. A nice treat nonetheless.