Photo of Kirsten Bussière

Kirsten Bussière

Ph.D. Candidate, University Instructor

Degrees:B.A. English with a Concentration in Creative Writing, Minor in Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies 2017 (Carleton), M.A. English with a Specialization in Digital Humanities 2018 (Carleton)

I am currently a Doctoral Candidate and Sessional Instructor in the department of English at the University of Ottawa. My research, which is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), analyses representations of time, space, and memory in post-apocalyptic fiction. In my dissertation, I examine the ways that different forms of collective memory emerge in response to disaster, which ultimately exposes tensions between nostalgic longing for the past and the development of progressive new futures. Since this genre offers a unique temporal perspective, which reframes our real-world present as the recent past, this project intends to serve as a critical intervention where we can re-examine our current precarious position in a novel way.

When I was a teenager applying for the first time to university, Carleton’s English Department was always my top choice. I was impressed by the department’s wide variety of course offerings and I wanted to be able to simultaneously pursue my interests in literary theory, while also honing my craft as a creative writer. During my time as a student at Carleton, I found the department to be a vibrant and welcoming space with a community of enthusiastic professors, staff, and students. The professors who I took courses with were so passionate about the subjects they were teaching that it made it difficult for me to choose a specialized research area of my own when I went on to graduate studies because their excitement over their class materials made me fall in love with every course I took.

Upon completing my undergraduate degree, I almost immediately began a Master’s in English with a specialization in Digital Humanities at Carleton – I just wasn’t ready to leave. During the twelve months I spent completing this degree, I was able to take a variety of courses, while also pursuing my own research. I found the environment to be deeply supportive and when it came time for me to apply to doctoral programs, I had professors, some of whom I hadn’t taken courses with since my first couple years of undergrad, who all offered to help me refine my applications. With their support and assistance, I received multiple offers of admission, each of which had a generous funding package. Ultimately, I decided to stay in the city, and I accepted an offer at the University of Ottawa, which is where I am now.

As an individual who is currently a graduate student and educator, I truly believe that my time at Carleton University allowed me to develop a strong background in scholarship and research methodology, and inspired my own pedagogical techniques and practices.