Photo of Brenda Vellino

Brenda Vellino

Degrees:B.A. Honours (Evangel College); M.A. (Northeastern University); Ph.D. (Western)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2321
Office:1815 Dunton Tower

Research Interests:

Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Poetry and Drama Studies; Canadian, Indigenous, United States, and Transnational (Chile, South Africa, Israel/Palestine) Literatures; Postcolonial, Gender, Ecocritical & Human Rights Studies.

Current Research Projects:

Contemporary Transnational Poetry and Human Rights; Intercultural Indigenous – Settler Conflict Transformation Theatre; Environmental/Climate Justice and Contemporary Poetry


CURO Development Grant, 2013

SSHRC 4A Grant, 2008

Professional Membership:

Member: Canadian Association of Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies, Canadian Association of Applied Literature, Canadian Association of Theatre Research, American Comparative Literature Association


Forthcoming: “Beyond the Trauma Aesthetic: The Cultural Work of Human Rights Witness Poetries.” Routledge Companion to Literature and Human Rights. Ed Sophia Mcclennan and Alexandra Schulteis Moore.  New York: Routledge, 2016.

Forthcoming: “Cultivating Translocal Citizen Witness:  Contemporary Human Rights Poetry as `Remembrance/Pedagogy.’”   Options for Teaching: Human Rights and Literature. Eds. Alexandra Schulteis Moore and Elizabeth Goldberg.  New York: MLA: 2015.

— with Sarah Waisvisz. “The Steveston Noh Project as Redress Theatre from Below.”  Canadian Literature.  Forthcoming: Spring 2013.

—.With Sarah Waisvisz. “Yael Farber’s Molora and Colleen Wagner’s Monument as Post-Conflict Redress Theatre.” College Literature. 40.3  Summer 2013: 113-37.

“‘History’s Pulse Measured with Another Hand’: Precarity Archives and Translocal Citizen Witness in Dionne Brand’s Inventory.”    University of Toronto Quarterly.  82.2  Spring 2013: 242-260.

“Seamus Heaney’s Transitional Justice for Post-Conflict Societies.” Peace Review. 20.1 (April 2008).

“Machine Age Discourse, Mechanical Ballet, and Popular Song as Public Archive in Dorothy Livesay’s `Day and Night’.” Studies in Canadian Literature 32.2 (2007): 43-58.

“Human Rights Poetry as Proxy Trial: Bodies and Bystanders in Margaret Atwood’s `Footnote to the Amnesty Report on Torture.” The Adventurist Jurist. Eds. Diana Majury and Atkinson, Logan. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2007.

“‘A Network of Relations’: Ethical Interdependence in Brownen Wallace’s Talking Lyric.” Postmodernism and the Ethical Subject. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s P, 2004: 302-332.

“Human Rights Pedagogy in the Canadian Literature Classroom.” Homework. Ed. Cynthia Sugars. Ottawa: U of Ottawa Press, 2004: 135-150.

“Daphne Marlatt” entry, Encyclopedia of Post-Colonial Literatures in English. Ed. Eugene Benson and Leonard Conolly. London: Routledge, 2005.

Papers Presented:

“A Woman of the Citizen’s Party”: Adrienne Rich’s Translocal Citizenship as Human Rights Ethics.” ”International Human Rights Humanities Conference. American University of Beirut,  May 9-11, 2012.

— with Sarah Waisvisz. “Staging Post-Conflict Zones: Radical Adaptation in Transnational Theatre of Redress.” Human Rights Literature Seminar, ACLA Conference, Brown University.  30 March 2012.

—- with Sarah Waisvisz. “`Caught in History’s Torrent’: The Collaborative Ethics of Redress in the Steveston Noh Project.” Human Rights Literature Seminar, ACLA Conference, Vancouver, April 1, 2011.

“Towards a Poetics of Transitional Justice” Human Rights Literature Seminar, ACLA, New Orleans, April 2010.

“Checkpoints? Countercheckpoints? Encounterpoints? Creative Reframing as Social Repair in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.”  Beyond Reconciliation Conference, University of Capetown, South Africa, 2-6  December, 2009.

“Ethics Without Borders: Counterglobalisation and Human Rights Witness in Dionne Brand’s Inventory .” CACLALS, Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities, UBC, 1 June 2008.

“A Human Rights Pedagogy of Difficult Remembrance in the Later Poetry and Essays of Adrienne Rich.” Empathy and Ethics Conference, College English Association, New Orleans, 11-14 April 2007.

“Negotiating Proximity and Distance: An Ethics of Translating Torture in Ariel Dorfman’s `First Prologue: Simultaneous Translation.’” Humanitarian Narratives of Inflicted Suffering Conference, Human Rights Institute, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Conn., 13-15 October, 2006.

“`Their Embassies Were Everywhere’: Amnesty International and Seamus Heaney’s `From the Republic of Conscience.’” Poetry and Politics Conference, University of Stirling, Scotland, 13-16 July 2006.

“Toward a Literary Human Rights Pedagogy of Reader Response-Ability.” New York College English Association Spring Conference: “Representing the Struggle for Human Rights in Literature,” Marymount College of Fordham University, April 28-29 2006.

“The Paralegal Human Rights Work of Poetic/Film Collaboration in Sister Speak to Me: A Tribute to Zahra Kazemi.” Law, Culture, and Humanities Symposium. Carleton University, 21-22 October 2006.

“Healing Wells and Soul Cures: The Redress of Poetry in Seamus Heaney’s `The Cure at Troy,’” ABAL, Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, 31 May 2005.


  • Sarah Waisvisz, Dissertation Committee Member. Dissident Diasporas: Genres of Maroon Witness in Anglophone and Caribbean Literature. 2014.
  • Rob Winger, Dissertation Co-Supervisor.  John Thompson, Phyliss Webb and the Roots of the Free Verse Ghazal in Canada. 2009.
  • Chris Johnson, MRP, Canadian Poetry (Phylis Webb), 2014
  • Danica Meridith, MRP, Canadian Fiction (Michael Redhill), 2013
  • Patricia Corrigan, MRP, Diasporic Long Poem (Dionne Brand), 2011
  • James Hanh, MRP, Canadian Long Poem (Stephen Scobie), 2011
  • Christyl Leahy, MRP, Canadian Poetry (Miriam Waddington), 2009
  • Tiffany Parks, MRP, U.S. Human rights poetry (Peter Balakian), 2009
  • Kelly Wadson, MRP,  U.S. Holocaust fiction (Jonathon Safran Foer), 2009