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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Biography

I am a settler Canadian scholar who grew up on Algonquin and W̱SÁNEĆ territories. I studied at the University of Victoria and Carleton University before coming to the UK in 2000 to begin my PhD at in the School of English at the University of Leeds. After returning to Canada for a year as a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Western Ontario (now Western University), I came back to the UK to take up a position as Senior Lecturer in World Literature at Leeds Metropolitan (now Leeds Beckett) University. I have been at the University of Nottingham-first as a Lecturer and then Associate Professor in North American Cultural Studies-since 2008.

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 contemporary settler-colonial 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 semester 2 on the Level 1 core module, Canadian Literature, Film… read more

Research Summary

My current research focuses on postcolonial film adaptation, encompassing literature and film from Aotearoa/New Zealand, Australia, Canada, India, the US, and the UK. This project examines… read more

Selected Publications

  • ROBERTS, G., ed., 2018. Reading between the Borderlines: Cultural Production and Consumption across the 49th Parallel McGill-Queen's University Press.
  • ROBERTS, G., 2017. Writing Settlement after Idle No More:: Non-Indigenous Responses in Anglo-Canadian Poetry JOURNAL OF CANADIAN STUDIES. 51(1), 64-89
  • ROBERTS, G., 2015. Discrepant Parallels: Cultural Implications of the Canada-US Border McGill-Queen's University Press.
  • ROBERTS, G., 2015. Discrepant Traumas: Colonial Legacies in Jindabyne. In: ABIGAIL WARD, ed., Postcolonial Traumas: Memory, Narrative, Resistance Palgrave. 159-72

My teaching interests lie in the areas of Canadian literature and culture, Canada-US border studies, and film adaptation. I teach in semester 2 on the Level 1 core module, Canadian Literature, Film and Culture (AMCS1008), 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 also teach a second-year option, America's Borders: Culture at the Limits (AMCS2038), with my colleague Stephanie Lewthwaite, a module that compares the cultural dimensions of the Mexico-US and Canada-US borders, and a third-year option, North American Film Adaptation (AMCS3068), which examines Canadian and U.S. literary texts adapted for the cinema (MA students can take North American Film Adaptation as an MA variant (AMCS4064)).

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 postcolonial film adaptation, encompassing literature and film from Aotearoa/New Zealand, Australia, Canada, India, the US, and the UK. This project examines intersections of feminist and postcolonial adaptation; representations of racism and slavery; magic realism; cultural appropriation; and Indigenous representational sovereignty.

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; comparative border studies; Asian North American women's transnational literature; the Educational Gothic genre in Australian, Canadian, and US culture; Afrofuturism; and nature writing by Indigenous and settler authors in North America. I would welcome expressions of interest from potential PhD candidates working in the areas of literary prize culture, film adaptations, Canada-US border studies, contemporary Canadian literature and cinema, and comparative settler-colonial cultural studies.

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.

My second monograph, Discrepant Parallels: Cultural Implications of the Canada-US Border, was published by McGill-Queen's University Press (2015). 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 acted as Co-Investigator on the Culture and the Canada-US Border International Research Network (PI David Stirrup, Kent), funded by the Leverhulme Trust, and I was the organiser of the network's Cultural Crossings: Production, Consumption, and Reception across the Canada-US Border conference, which took place at Nottingham in June of 2014. The network's final event, a symposium on Canada-US Border Theory, took place in Paris in May of 2015. In addition to several events in Canada, France, the United States, and the UK, this collaboration has produced a number of publications, including Parallel Encounters: Culture at the Canada-US Border (eds. Roberts and Stirrup, Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2013) and Reading between the Borderlines: Cultural Production and Consumption across the 49th Parallel (ed. Roberts, McGill-Queen's University Press, 2018), which won the prize for Best Collection in Canadian Studies from the Canadian Studies Network.

Future Research

Future plans for my research include studies of settlement in Canadian writing after Idle No More, settler-colonial literary cosmopolitanism, settler-colonial citizenship, and comparative postcolonial border studies.

  • ROBERTS, G., 2020. CanLit and Canadian Literature: A Long-Distance View Canadian Literature. 239, 20-25
  • ROBERTS, G., ed., 2018. Reading between the Borderlines: Cultural Production and Consumption across the 49th Parallel McGill-Queen's University Press.
  • ROBERTS, G., 2018. Introduction—Cultural Production and Consumption across the 49th Parallel: Negotiating Material Citizenship. In: GILLIAN ROBERTS, ed., Reading between the Borderlines: Cultural Production and Consumption across the 49th Parallel McGill-Queen's University Press.
  • ROBERTS, G., 2018. Cross-border Film Adaptation and Life of Pi. In: GILLIAN ROBERTS, ed., Reading between the Borderlines: Cultural Production and Consumption across the 49th Parallel McGill-Queen's University Press.
  • ROBERTS, G., 2018. Canadian Literature and the Canada-US Border Canadian Literature. Available at: <http://canlitguides.ca/gillian-roberts/canadian-literature-and-the-canada-us-border/>
  • ROBERTS, G., 2017. Writing Settlement after Idle No More:: Non-Indigenous Responses in Anglo-Canadian Poetry JOURNAL OF CANADIAN STUDIES. 51(1), 64-89
  • ROBERTS, G., 2015. Discrepant Parallels: Cultural Implications of the Canada-US Border McGill-Queen's University Press.
  • ROBERTS, G., 2015. Discrepant Traumas: Colonial Legacies in Jindabyne. In: ABIGAIL WARD, ed., Postcolonial Traumas: Memory, Narrative, Resistance Palgrave. 159-72
  • 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

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