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Department of American and Canadian Studies
   
   
  
 

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Gillian Roberts

Associate Professor in North American Cultural Studies, Faculty of Arts

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Expertise Summary

My research focus on Canadian cultural texts and their circulation and celebration examines how the boundaries of 'Canadianness' are constructed and reconstructed according to opportunities for Canada to accrue cultural power. My work consistently returns to hospitality discourse both in its engagement with immigrant and hyphenate Canadian writers who become internationally celebrated and in my interest in the Canada-US border: in both these areas, I am interested in how a 'Canadian host position' is constructed, as well as in the discrepancy between Canada's projection of itself as hospitable and the exclusivity with which 'Canadianness' is often defined. Thus, I often return to concepts of citizenship in my work in my effort to assess Canada's claims to be a just society as they are presented and invoked in its settler-invader postcolonial culture.

Teaching Summary

My teaching interests lie in the areas of Canadian literature and culture, Canada-US border studies, and film adaptation. I teach in alternative years on the Level 1 core module, Canadian Literature,… read more

Research Summary

My current research focuses on cultural representations of the Canada-US border, primarily, although not exclusively, in Canadian culture. The book comprises chapters on travel writing, cross-border… read more

Selected Publications

  • ROBERTS, G., 2011. Prizing literature: the celebration and circulation of national culture University of Toronto Press.
  • ROBERTS, G., 2008. "The greatest hotel on earth": citizenship, nationality, and the circulation of Canadian literature West Coast Line: A Journal of Contemporary Writing and Criticism. 42(3), 146-160
  • ROBERTS, G., 2008. Return of the prodigal: hospitality and Michael Ondaatje's Running in the Family'. In: CARRIÈRE, M. and KHORDOC, C., eds., Migrance comparée : les littératures du Canada et du Québec = Comparing migration : the literatures of Canada and Québec Peter Lang.

My teaching interests lie in the areas of Canadian literature and culture, Canada-US border studies, and film adaptation. I teach in alternative years on the Level 1 core module, Canadian Literature, Film and Culture (Q41119), which introduces students to Canadian literary and visual culture through discussion of the wilderness paradigm, Quebec nationalism, Indigenous culture, multiculturalism, the Canada-US border, and Canadian popular culture. I will be teaching Canadian Literature, Film and Culture for the first semester of 2013-14, along with a Level 2 option, North American Film Adaptations (Q42307), which discusses North American literary texts adapted across national boundaries. I am on sabbatical in the second semester of 2013-14.

In other academic years, I teach a Level 3 option, Contemporary Canadian Literature (Q43342), which focuses on Canadian literary texts published from 2000 to the present, which MA students can take Contemporary Canadian Literature as an MA variant (Q44342); a Level 2 option module, America's Borders: Culture at the Limits, comparing the Mexico-US border with the Canada-US border, with my colleague Stephanie Lewthwaite; and an Asian Canadian section on Asian North American Literature (Q43003) with my colleague Ruth Maxey.

All of my modules seek to combine close examination of cultural texts with consideration of larger cultural contexts of production and consumption. Student participation is a crucial component of my approach to seminar teaching, and contributes to my modules' assessment, alongside written and sometimes verbal assignments.

Current Research

My current research focuses on cultural representations of the Canada-US border, primarily, although not exclusively, in Canadian culture. The book comprises chapters on travel writing, cross-border policing dramas, First Nations and Native American approaches to the border, African-Canadian perspectives on the border, and Canada's relationship to Latin America. I am Co-Investigator on the Culture and the Canada-US Border International Research Network (PI David Stirrup, Kent), funded by the Leverhulme Trust, and am the organiser of the network's Cultural Crossings: Production, Consumption, and Reception across the Canada-US Border conference, which will take place at Nottingham 20-22 June, 2014.

PhD theses by past and present supervisees have focused on cultural representations of Vancouver, literary representations of Toronto, queer theatre in Toronto, Carol Shields's fiction, and comparative border studies. I would welcome expressions of interest from potential PhD candidates working in the areas of literary prize culture, film adaptations, Canada-US border studies, and contemporary Canadian literature and cinema.

Past Research

My PhD focused on Canadian writers Michael Ondaatje and Carol Shields and their relationship to national and international literary prizes, as well as the ways in which international celebration is involved in negotiating the identities of immigrant writers. My first monograph, entitled Prizing Literature: The Celebration and Circulation of National Culture (University of Toronto Press, 2011), extends the PhD material and adds writers Rohinton Mistry and Yann Martel to my discussion. Prizing Literature won the International Council for Canadian Studies' Pierre Savard Award.

Future Research

Future plans for my research include studies of postcolonial film adaptations, Canadian cosmopolitanism, the construction of citizenship in the settler-invader cultures of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and further examination of Canadian culture in a hemispheric context.

  • ROBERTS, G., 2014. The Book of Negroes’ Illustrated Edition: Circulating African-Canadian History through the Middlebrow International Journal of Canadian Studies. 48, 53-66
  • ROBERTS, G. and STIRRUP, D., eds., 2013. Parallel Encounters: Culture at the Canada-US Border Wilfrid Laurier University Press.
  • ROBERTS, G., 2013. Strategic Parallels: Invoking the Border in Thomas King's Green Grass, Running Water and Drew Hayden Taylor's In a World Created by a Drunken God. In: ROBERTS, G. and STIRRUP, D., eds., Parallel Encounters: Culture at the Canada-US Border Wilfrid Laurier University Press. 127-143
  • ROBERTS, G. and STIRRUP, D., 2013. Introduction—Culture at the 49th Parallel: Nationalism, Indigeneity, and the Hemispheric. In: ROBERTS, G. and STIRRUP, D., eds., Parallel Encounters: Culture at the Canada-US Border Wilfrid Laurier University Press. 1-24
  • BATES, C., ROBERTS, G. and TOLAN, F., 2013. Introduction British Journal of Canadian Studies. 26(2), 165-171
  • BATES, C., ROBERTS, G. and TOLAN, F., EDS, 2013. Canadian Literary Study in the Twenty-First Century: Special issue of British Journal of Canadian Studies 26 (2).
  • ROBERTS, G., 2011. Prizing literature: the celebration and circulation of national culture University of Toronto Press.
  • ROBERTS, G. and STIRRUP, D., eds., 2010. Culture and the Canada-US Border: Special Issue of American Review of American Studies 40(2).
  • ROBERTS, G., 2010. 'The Reading Lesson Revisited: Educating the English Patient' MOVING WORLDS: A JOURNAL OF TRANSCULTURAL WRITINGS. 10(2), 68-78
  • ROBERTS, G. and STIRRUP, D., 2010. Introduction to the ARCS Special Issue on Culture and the Canada-US Border AMERICAN REVIEW OF CANADIAN STUDIES. 40(2), 321-325
  • ROBERTS, G., 2008. Return of the prodigal: hospitality and Michael Ondaatje's Running in the Family'. In: CARRIÈRE, M. and KHORDOC, C., eds., Migrance comparée : les littératures du Canada et du Québec = Comparing migration : the literatures of Canada and Québec Peter Lang.
  • ROBERTS, G., 2008. "The greatest hotel on earth": citizenship, nationality, and the circulation of Canadian literature West Coast Line: A Journal of Contemporary Writing and Criticism. 42(3), 146-160
  • ROBERTS, G., 2007. 'Ethics and Healing: Hospital/ity and Anil's Ghost' UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY. VOL 76(NUMB 3), 962-976
  • ROBERTS, G., 2006. 'Sameness and Difference: Border Crossings in The Stone Diaries and Larry's Party' CANADIAN LITERATURE. NUMB 191, 86-102
  • ROBERTS, G., 2003. 'Circulations of Taste: Titanic, the Oscars, and the Middlebrow'. In: STRINGER, JULIAN, ed., Movie Blockbusters Routledge. 155-166
  • ROBERTS, G., 2002. '"Sins of Omission": The English Patient, THE ENGLISH PATIENT, and the Critics' ESSAYS ON CANADIAN WRITING. ISSU 76, 195-215
  • ROBERTS, G., 2000. 'Spectacle Matters: Titanic, The Sweet Hereafter, and the Academy and Genie Awards' CANADIAN REVIEW OF AMERICAN STUDIES. VOL 30(PART 3), 317-338

Department of American and Canadian Studies

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD


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