Photo of Sophie Tamas

Sophie Tamas

Assistant Professor

Degrees:B.I.S. (University of Waterloo), M.A. (Carleton), PhD (Carleton)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 3578
Office:A331 LA
Cross-posted 50% Canadian Studies, 50% Geography


My education began in Creative Writing – particularly playwriting. My undergraduate and MA theses looked at dating, courtship, storytelling, and feminist activism in a religious minority community. This was followed by eight life- and research-altering years as a stay-at-home mom and active volunteer in small-town non-profit social services. I remain active in this sector, as a board member for agencies serving youth, seniors, low-income families, and people with developmental disabilities.

My PhD research examined the long-term impact of domestic abuse, using arts-based research methods to critique the dominant ‘recovery’ paradigm. It was followed by a SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship in Emotional Geography at Queen’s University, during which I studied scrapping – in scrapyards and in scrapbooks – as methods of redeeming value from loss. As a Banting Fellow in Geography and Canadian Studies, I have created an online dynamic atlas and trauma scrapbook to document the impact of leaving abuse (at, to be launched in early 2015.

I write academic and literary work in a variety of genres, including articles, poetry, memoir, and reader’s theatre. In addition to publications on trauma/abuse and its aftermath, I write about the ethical and practical challenges of using arts- and narrative-based qualitative research methods. I am currently working on two books: a memoir and a methods text on the (mis)uses of personal narrative in academic, literary, and therapeutic discourses.

Research Interests

  • Personal narrative and creative arts at the intersection of academic, aesthetic, and therapeutic discourses.
  • Community engagement, knowledge mobilization and social justice praxis.
  • Interdisciplinary critical qualitative research methodologies and epistemologies.
  • Emotional geographies of trauma and domestic abuse.
  • Gender, identity, memory, and loss as mediated by objects and spaces.
  • Visual testimonies and collaborative witnessing in digital communities.
  • Feminist, postmodern, poststructural, non-representational, and psychoanalytic theory.

Selected Publications


  • Subject to loss. Emotion, Space and Society 11, 61-63.
  • Subject to revision. Emotion, Space and Society 11, 64-66.
  • My imaginary friend: Writing, community and responsibility. Cultural Studies – Critical Methodologies 14.3, 369-373.
  • Bedtime stories. In J. Wyatt and T.E. Adams (Eds.) Presence and absence, love and loss: Autoethnographies of parent-child communication. Rotterdam, NL: Sense Publishers. 131-140.
  • Scared kitless: Scrapbooking spaces of trauma.” Emotion, Space and Society 10, 87-94.


  • Researcher as hostess: Power, gender, loss, and cookies. Feminist Studies 39.2, 484-93.
  • with Jonathan Wyatt. Telling. Qualitative Inquiry 19.1, 60-66.
  • with Jonathan Wyatt. Intimate (dis)connections: Research, therapy, and ‘real’ life. Qualitative Inquiry 19.1, 3-8.
  • Who’s there? A week subject. In S. Holman Jones, T. E. Adams, and C. Ellis (Eds.), The handbook of autoethnography. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press. 186-202.


  • Writing trauma: Collisions at the corner of art and scholarship. Theatre Topics 22.1, 39-48.
  • Biting the tongue that speaks you: (Re)writing survivor narratives. International Review of Qualitative Research 4.4, 431-460.
  • Love and happiness? Qualitative Journal of Communication 2.1, 231-252.


  • Autoethnography, ethics, and making your baby cry. Cultural Studies – Critical Methodologies 11.3, 258-264.
  • Life after leaving: The remains of spousal abuse. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.


  • Walking the lines: Art, research, and unknowing. Creative Approaches to Research 3.2, 3-18.



  • Sketchy rendering: Seeing an other. Qualitative Inquiry 15.3, 607-617.

Courses Taught

  • GEOG/ENST 2005 Introduction to Qualitative Research
  • CDNS 5202 Gendering Canada: Selected Contemporary Debates
  • CDNS 3400/WGST 3812 Feminists and Feminisms in Canada
  • GEOG 3001/CDNS 3000 Qualitative Methods/Producing Knowledge
  • FYSM 1600A Contemporary Controversies in Canada