Our PhD Program’s dedicated speaker series brings internationally recognized scholars to the department to address major issues and new directions in the field of the Production of Literature. In addition to the formal public lecture, invited speakers share their work in progress with grad students in an intimate workshop setting.

David Austin

David Austin is the author of Dread Poetry and Freedom: Linton Kwesi Johnson and the Unfinished Revolution (2018) and Fear of a Black Nation: Race, Sex, and Security in Sixties Montreal (2013, winner of the 2014 Casa de las Americas Prize). He is editor of Moving Against the System: The 1968 Congress of Black Writers and the Making of Global Consciousness (2018) and You Don’t Play with Revolution: The Montreal Lectures of C.L.R. James (2009). He has also produced radio documentaries for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Ideas on C.L.R. James and Frantz Fanon. A former youth worker and community organizer, he currently teaches in the Humanities, Philosophy, and Religion Department at John Abbott College and is a Lecturer in the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada.

PhD SPEAKER SERIES WORKSHOP 2024: “Sociology and Prophecy as Poetry: Linton Kwesi Johnson and the Phenomenology of Violence”
Monday, January 29, 2024, 10 – 11:30 a.m. in DT 1812

Faculty and graduate students in English are warmly invited to join David Austin for a workshop on Linton Kwesi Johnson. This workshop will be of interest to those working on twentieth-century literature and culture, twentieth-century poetry and performance, and Black Studies.

Drawing on his poems, this workshop will explore Linton Kwesi Johnson’s poetry and prose as part of a tradition of dread poetry as prophecy (revelation). Invoking Aimé Césaire and Frantz Fanon, we will discuss Johnson’s poems “Dread Beat an’ Blood,” “Five Nights of Bleeding,” and “Doun de Road,” and his poetic essay “Jamaican Rebel Music” as part of his phenomenology of violence. For a copy for the readings and confirming your attendance, please contact Prof. Jody Mason, by January 22, 2024, at jody.mason@carleton.ca.

PUBLIC LECTURE: “C.L.R. James: Philosopher of the Dispossessed”
Monday, January 29, 2024, 4 – 6 p.m. in DT 2017

Image by Gail Campbell (2022)


C.L.R. James was one of the great minds of the 20th century. James was a true polymath who made significant contributions in the areas of politics, philosophy, sports and aesthetics, history, literature, literary criticism, and Marxist theory. Ultimately, James was a socialist who fought and thought to change the world. The lecture will explore James’s life and ideas and situate him within his formative years in the Caribbean. Light refreshments will follow the lecture.

Past Speakers

Claire Battershill

Claire Battershill is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, cross-appointed in the Faculty of Information and the Department of English and a short fiction writer. Her research focuses on 20th and 21st century book history, digital archives, and experimental literature. She’s the author of Circus (McClelland & Stewart, 2014); Modernist Lives: Biography and Autobiography at Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s Hogarth Press (Bloomsbury 2018); and Women and Letterpress Printing: Gendered Impressions 1920-2020 (Cambridge 2022), as well as several articles and co-authored and collaborative publications. She’s also a co-director of the Modernist Archives Publishing Project (MAPP) a digital archive of 20th century publishing history.

Thursday, March 16, 2023
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Book Arts Lab (MacOdrum 234E & 234F)

In this book making and creative writing workshop, we will make simple accordion books and consider the types of narratives and poems best suited to this simple but evocative form of paper folding. The accordion’s musical associations, its elongated structure and its capacity for doubleness make it a particularly enjoyable form for experimentation. Through a series of writing prompts and accordion making exercises we’ll experiment with the aesthetic, material, and literary potential of this form. No previous experience in book arts or creative writing is required.

PUBLIC LECTURE: “Constellations and Marks on the Wall: Metaphorical Methodologies and the Gendered History of Letterpress Printing”
Thursday, March 16, 4 – 6 p.m.
Gordon Wood Lounge (Dunton Tower 1811)


This talk will present historiographical methodologies particularly suited to the study of gender and literary letterpress printing from the early 20th century to the beginning of the 21st. Through a series of examples of letterpress practitioners and literary letterpress artists, I consider how and why we might approach the study of women printers in a constellated rather than a comprehensive fashion. The figure of the constellation and indeed material metaphorical ways of thinking can help us with the extremely challenging process of example selection in a time period that is so full, so diverse, and so complex that drawing out particular examples almost inevitably feels either overdetermined by existing canons of print culture or feminist history or else completely random. Thinking about feminist historiography as a constellated practice, and seeking metaphors that allow for fragile archives, indeterminate narratives, and speculative approaches, allows patterns and suggestions of meaning to come into and fall out of view; it suggests that some kind of narrative is possible, but that comprehensiveness is not the goal.

Cheryl Suzack

SEMINAR WORKSHOP: “Historicizing Indigenous Dispossession”
Tuesday, November 20, 2018
10 a.m. – Noon in DT 1216

*SPACES LIMITED* Graduate students and faculty please register via email to priya.kumar@carleton.ca, to receive pre-circulated readings.

PUBLIC LECTURE: “Transnational Indigenous Feminisms”
Tuesday, November 20, 2018
2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. in DT 1811


Cheryl Suzack is Associate Professor in the Department of English and Centre for Indigenous Studies at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on Indigenous law and literature with a particular emphasis on writing by Indigenous women. In her book, Indigenous Women’s Writing and the Cultural Study of Law (U of T Press 2017), she explores how Indigenous women’s writing from Canada and the United States addresses case law concerning tribal membership, intergenerational residential school experiences, and land claims.

Her current project analyzes Justice Thurgood Marshall’s papers in the context of Indian civil rights claims from the 1960s. She is a co-editor (with Greig Henderson and Simon Stern) of “The Critical Work of Law and Literature,” University of Toronto Quarterly (Fall 2013) and a co-editor and contributor (with Shari Huhndorf, Jeanne Perreault, and Jean Barman) to the award-winning collection, Indigenous Women and Feminism: Politics, Activism, Culture (UBC 2010).

Piper Banner image

Andrew Piper

WORKSHOP: “Modeling Plot” (open to Graduate Students and Faculty)
Thursday, February 5, 2015
12:30-2:30 p.m., Gordon Wood Lounge (1811 Dunton Tower) 

Please register in advance for the workshop: lana.keon@carleton.ca

In this workshop we’ll read recent pieces that discuss new computational methods for studying plot at large scale, including my new article, “Novel Devotions: Conversional Reading, Computational Modeling, and the Modern Novel,” which will be appearing this Spring in New Literary History. What is the relationship between plot and language? What functions do different plot structures serve? How can we best measure these across large collections of texts? And what role does modeling play in the interpretive process? These are some of the questions I hope we can address during our workshop.

PUBLIC LECTURE: “Of Topics and Topoi: On Spatial Reading”
Friday, February 6, 2015
1:30-3:30 p.m., Gordon Wood Lounge (1811 Dunton Tower)

With all of the recent work that uses topic models to study large amounts of texts, no one has as yet stopped to ask the question, “What is a topic?” Ranging from classical rhetoric to computational models, this talk will explore the nature of topics and the way they are currently being understood and deployed within the field of cultural and literary analytics. My goal is to better understand the nature of computational topics and the types of conceptual entities for which they stand, and more importantly, the way they represent open, generative language fields rather than closed conceptual units.

piper book was thereAndrew Piper is Associate Professor and William Dawson Scholar in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at McGill University. His work explores the application of computational approaches to the study of literature and culture with a particular emphasis on network theory. He directs the digital humanities laboratory, .txtLAB @ McGill, and is the lead investigator on two multinational research projects, the Digging into Data project, “Global Currents: Cultures of Literary Networks, 1050-1900,” and the SSHRC partnership grant, “NovelTM: Text Mining the Novel,” which brings together 21 partners across North America. He is the author most recently of Book Was There: Reading in Electronic Times (Chicago 2012) as well as Dreaming in Books: The Making of the Bibliographic Imagination in the Romantic Age (Chicago 2009), which was awarded the MLA Prize for a First Book and honourable mention for the Harry Levin Prize for the American Comparative Literature Association.

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean

“Enclosing the Subject” (from current project, Crowds and Party)
November 21, 2014
Workshop, 12:30-2:30 p.m., Gordon Wood Lounge (1811 Dunton Tower) (open to graduate students only, please register in advance: lana.keon@carleton.ca)

This paper inverts Althusser’s claim that the individual is interpellated as a subject. Arguing that the subject is interpellated as an individual, it engages Freud’s discussion of group psychology to demonstrate the enclosure of the collective subject of politics in the individual form.

“Crowds and Publics”
Public Lecture, 3:30-5:30 p.m.
2017 Dunton Tower

Since 2011, the most important social actor worldwide has been the crowd. The most pressing political challenge has been the struggle over, around, and through the crowd: of what politics is the crowd the subject? Drawing from early crowd theory and its inversion in contemporary business porn as the “wisdom of crowds,” this talk considers the affective and disruptive dimension of crowds. Crowds force a relation to politics different from that theorized around ideas of publicity and publics, a relation that draws out the necessity of political division.


The Communist HorizonProfessor of Political Science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York and Erasmus Professor of the Humanities in the Faculty of Philosophy at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Jodi Dean is one of the most exciting and incisive diagnosticians of our contemporary moment. Spanning the theoretical terrain of feminism, media theory, psychoanalysis, and Marxism, her work offers a profound and far-reaching challenge to the complacencies of the neoliberal imagination. She is the author of The Communist Horizon (2012), Blog Theory: Feedback and Capture in the Circuits of the Drive (2010), Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies: Communicative Capitalism and Left Politics (2009), Žižek’s Politics (2006), Publicity’s Secret: How Technoculture Capitalizes on Democracy (2002), Aliens in America: Conspiracy Cultures from Outerspace to Cyberspace (1998), and Solidarity of Strangers: Feminism After Identity Politics (1996).

Jodi Dean’s Blog      counterpunch Interview


Priscilla Wald (Duke University), “How Do You Know You’re Human?: Bioslavery in the Moment of Biotechnology”

Alan Galey (University of Toronto), “The Dark Basement of the Digital Humanities: Shakespeare and the Prehistory of the New Media Prototype”


Heather Murray (University of Toronto), “The CANLIT Project, and the Question of a National Reader”


Mary Poovey (New York University), “Discriminating Reading”

Peter Stallybrass (University of Pennsylvania), “The Materiality of Writing”

Ato Quayson (University of Toronto), “Postcolonial and Diaspora Studies: Spaces, Dialogues, Controversies”


Timothy Brennan (University of Minnesota), “Intellectual Labor”

Seth Lerer (Stanford University), “Lyric Times: Voice and Text in Medieval Literature”


Christine Bold (University of Guelph), “Cowboys and Publishers: The Emergence of Transatlantic Popular Print Culture”

Linda Hutcheon (University of Toronto), “In Defense of Literary Adaptation as Literary Production”