English faculty

Department Chair

Elizabeth McCausland



Janet Allwork
Jason Bourget
Ivanna Cikes
Roger Clark
Karen Cowan
Richa Dwor
Wilhelm Emilsson
Dorritta Fong
Brenna Clarke Gray
Jon Paul Henry
Jacqueline Joan Hoekstra
Trish Matson
Elizabeth McCausland
Ryan Edward Miller
Jasmine Nicholsfigueiredo
Noëlle Phillips
Amber Riaz
Leni Robinson
Louise Saldanha
Naava Smolash
Nancy Squair
Ryan Stephenson
Diane Stiles
Karen Thomson
Peter Wilkins
David N. Wright

Janet AllworkBA (hons) (Simon Fraser), MA, MLS (British Columbia)

Interests: Drama, 19th Century Literature, Composition Theory.
Jason BourgetJason BourgetBA (British Columbia), MA (Leeds)

My research focuses on how political beliefs and anxieties inform and structure representations of masculinity in contemporary science fiction. I am also interested in weird fiction and other horror, post-WWII mainstream American fiction, the history of publishing and the book, and Renaissance literature.

In Fall 2016, I will be teaching sections of ENGL 1106 (Reading Fiction)ENGL 1130 (Academic Writing), and ENGL 3149 (Twentieth Century Literature After 1945). In ENGL 3149, we will examine the intersections between and among the utopian, dystopian, and apocalyptic in American science fiction and horror, starting with a discussion of the ambiguous anarchist utopias of Robert A. Heinlein and Ursula K. Le Guin and eventually turning our attention to the more recent weird fiction of Octavia Butler and Jeff VanderMeer.
Ivanna CikesIvana CikesBA, BEd (British Columbia), MA (Central European University - CEU), PhD (Brandeis University)

For my PhD dissertation, I examined the effect the new visual technology of photography had on American writers of the 19th and early 20th century – both in terms of how they wrote and how they saw themselves as visible public figures. My 1130 course is an outgrowth of this interest in visual culture and self-identity. In other words, the questions I find most fascinating are: how do different forms of representation in popular culture affect how we view ourselves and others? How are these representations framed and narrated? How do these views affect our understanding of the world around us?

I also teach classes on Fear in Fiction (what the noir, ‘thriller,’ or suspense genres from various eras tell us about what society fears) and Gender and the Hero (a look at the role of the female hero and how this role exposes gender issues of our time). 

Currently, I am revising and expanding my dissertation chapters on Frederick Douglass and Henry James for conference presentations and publication.
Roger ClarkRoger ClarkBA (Calgary), MA (Calgary), PhD (British Columbia)

I am fascinated by history, geography, Romance languages, and travel. Recent obsessions include learning Spanish and Italian, ancient civilizations, astronomy, TV serials, and the music of Nina Zilli. I did my graduate work on writers from the US., China, and India, and I presently enjoy teaching international literature.

  • Stranger Gods (McGill-Queen’s, 2001), “Rushdie’s Other Worlds” (Critical Insights – Salman Rushdie, Salem Press, 2012)
Karen CowanBA (hons) (Guelph), MA (Simon Fraser)

19th-Century Novel/Jane Austen, Women's Literature.
Richa DworRicha DworBA Hons (British Columbia), MA and PhD (Nottingham)

I am a Victorianist with a specialization in Anglo-Jewish literature and culture.  In my work on Jewish women’s writing, I have argued that the authors Grace Aguilar (1816-1847) and Amy Levy (1861-1889) drew on Jewish approaches to reading with feeling in their own novels, poetry, and criticism.  Aspects of this research have appeared in the journals Literature and Theology, Partial Answers, English Literature in Transition, and Leeds Working Papers in Victorian Studies, as well as two entries in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (on Charlotte Montefiore and Judith Montefiore).  I have written a book, Jewish Feeling: Difference and Affect in Nineteenth-Century Jewish Women’s Writing (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015), which reads Aguilar and Levy alongside the canonical Victorian authors George Eliot and Henry James.  My current research focuses on transatlantic Jewish networks facilitated by private correspondence, trade, and the periodical press.

At Douglas College, I teach on ENGL 1130 and ENGL 1106.  Before coming to Douglas, I was Lecturer in Victorian Literature at the University of Leicester.  I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK.
Wilhelm EmilssonWilhelm EmilssonBA (Iceland), MA (East Anglia), PhD (British Columbia) 

My interests include 19th-, 20th- and 21st-century British and American literature and culture and how they interact with world culture. Realism, aestheticism, decadence, detective fiction, and music are of particular interest to me.
Dorritta FongDorritta FongBA (British Columbia), MA (Queen's)

Teaching Interests:
Academic Writing, Fiction, Children's Literature, Postcolonial Literature.

Research Interests:
Gender, Popular Culture, Race, Politics.
Brenna Clarke GrayBrenna Clarke GrayBA (hons), MA (Carleton), PhD (New Brunswick)

My PhD from the University of New Brunswick (East Coast represent!) is in contemporary Canadian and American literature, but I really love to talk about pop culture.  I teach Academic Writing, of course, as well as Canadian Literature, Children's Literature, and Drama.  I also spend a lot of time reviewing and blogging about books.  I am finishing writing a book on Douglas Coupland right now.  My non-academic interests include cats, baking, the critical intersection between Muppets and Fraggles, and candy.

Twitter: @drbcg
Jon Paul HenryJon Paul HenryBA (British Columbia), MA (Simon Fraser)

Medieval; Eighteenth Century; Theory; Publisher’s Genres; History of the Novel; Film.
Jacqueline Joan HoekstraJacqueline Joan Hoekstrahoekstraj@douglascollege.ca

I teach academic writing, children's literature, nature writing, Canadian literature, and women's literature.  My field of study is ecopoetics and ecocriticism.  I write poetry and I am interested in the transformative possibility of literature. I am currently exploring what William Rueckert noted in 1978, that "If we begin with the poets (who have never had any doubts about the seriousness and relevance of what they are doing), they teach us that literature is an enormous ever increasing, wonderfully diverse storehouse of creative and cooperative energy which can never be used up" ("Literature and Ecology”).  I am also working on a chapbook entitled "farm poems".
Trish MatsonTrish MatsonBA, MA (Simon Fraser)

I have taught English at Douglas College since 1993.  My interests include twentieth-century fiction and poetry, gender studies, and media studies. My interest in popular media has led me to design a specific curriculum for English 1130 (Academic Writing) that focuses on advertising and consumer culture.  The course includes analysis of print advertisements and readings and assignments that look critically at the psychological and social dimensions of advertising and its place in contemporary culture.   

In literature courses, I enjoy teaching a range of diverse writers from the Victorian to the modernist to the contemporary.  In addition to English courses, once a year I teach WSGR 1100 (Introduction to Women’s Studies).  I am an avid reader of contemporary fiction, a particular fan of mysteries and thrillers, and a film buff.  Most recently, I designed and taught a course focusing on both The Hunger Games and Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogies.
Elizabeth McCauslandBA (Bryn Mawr), MA, PhD (California, Irvine)

Interests: 19th Century, The Novel, Critical Theory.
Ryan Edward MillerBA (British Columbia), MA, PhD (Simon Fraser)

My doctoral studies were built around an examination of Gnostic influences in Canadian literature, although my interests also include contemporary American fiction and poetry.  I regularly teach in these areas, in addition to Douglas College’s Academic Writing course.  I enjoy seeking out diverse voices in literature that represent unique lenses of experience.
My current research projects include a renewed examination of Canadian writer Robertson Davies’s religious leanings, as well as a study of Christian William (Bill) Miller, an American party boy who frequented literary circles in America in the 1940s.
Apart from teaching and research, I love to remain current with new music of all genres, and to experiment with film photography.

Jasmine NicholsfigueiredoJasmine NicholsfigueiredoBA, BEd (Simon Fraser), MA (Queen's), PhD (Simon Fraser)

Jasmine Nicholsfigueiredo is a faculty member in the Department of English and the Chair of Education Council at Douglas College. She holds a BA and B.Ed. from Simon Fraser University, a Master’s Degree from Queen's University and a PhD. in Medieval and Renaissance Literature from Simon Fraser University. She is an advocate of experiential learning and promoting student engagement in the community. Her research interests include Urban Liveability, Medieval and Renaissance Women’s Writing, Shakespeare, Theatre, and African Literature. In addition, she enjoys traveling and to date has incorporated that love into two separate field schools for students – The Maritime Canadian Field School held at the University of Dalhousie and the Wales Field School held at The University of Wales Trinity Saint David.
Noëlle PhillipsNoelle PhillipsBA Hons (UVic), PhD (British Columbia)

My primary research area is late medieval book culture and Middle English literature, particularly William Langland's poem Piers Plowman and the fifteenth-century political appropriations of John Lydgate's poetry. However, I am also very interested in "medievalisms" - how later readers, including modern ones, understand, re-imagine, and use the medieval period. In my teaching, I enjoy using our understanding or interpretation of the past to illuminate our experience of the present.

Before coming to Douglas, I taught various introductory and upper-level courses at SFU and UBC and I completed a two-year postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Toronto's Centre for Medieval Studies. I am also involved in the Piers Plowman Electronic Archive as the editor of the electronic edition of one Piers Plowman manuscript.
Amber F. RiazAmber RiazBA (Comparative Literature), MA (Comparative Literature), PhD (English) (Western)

I have been teaching English at Douglas since 2014, and have taught both Academic Writing (1130) and Literature Courses. My interests include World Literature, PostColonial Literature, Women’s Studies and Popular Culture. The courses I teach at Douglas focus on gender and international literature, with a generous amount of Pop Culture references thrown in. I like teaching texts from the late nineteenth century and contemporary literature published by authors from diverse backgrounds.

Before joining Douglas College, I was a Professor and Visiting Assistant Professor at Fanshawe College and Western University (in London, Ontario). I taught courses on Feminist Literary Theory, Reading Popular Culture and Professional Communications as well as Writing and Composition at the postsecondary level. My current research interests include gender and literature in a South Asian context, literatures of migrations and borders, diaspora and postcolonial theory, architecture theory and representations of space in literature and popular culture as well as alternative theatre in Karachi.
Leni RobinsonBA, MA, PhD (British Columbia)

Teaching Interests:
Fiction, poetry, literature prior to the eighteenth century, Canadian literature, academic writing.

Research Interests:
Seventeenth-century literature; natural philosophy; vitalism in both early modern and recent literature; the relationship between Nature, the self and the sense of place in literature; dance history in literature.
Louise Saldanhasaldanhal@douglascollege.ca
Naava SmolashNaava SmolashBA (hons) (Trent), MA (Guelph), PhD (Simon Fraser)

Research areas include contemporary Canadian literature, poetry and poetics, nationalism, race theory, and print news media. My work has appeared in Studies in Canadian Literature, West Coast Line, and the University of Toronto Quarterly's special issue Discourses of Security, "Peacekeeping" Narratives and the Cultural Imagination in Canada. Current projects include papers on representations of land, nation, and borders in Canadian fiction, examining Sinclair Ross' As For Me and My House, Maria Campbell's Halfbreed, Eden Robinson's Monkey Beach and Ethel Wilson's The Innocent Traveller; a paper on national newspaper representations of sanctuary cases in Canada; a book project on neoliberal citizenship and Canadian literature; and a speculative fiction piece.
Nancy SquairNancy SquairBEd (Alberta), MA (Arizona)

My degree is in the area of rhetoric and composition, with an emphasis on the teaching of academic writing. I think that the first-year writing classroom should be a space where we de-mystify the assumptions of academic culture and make college-level learning accessible to all.

My research has focused on the rhetoric of literacy crises, and how the framing of what literacy involves creates certain types of power. I have presented at national conferences on historical and modern aspects of literacy crisis rhetoric. As part of this research, I focused on nineteenth-century working-class autobiographies, which led to my current teaching and research focus on life writing. I teach life writing courses on coming-of-age narratives, as well as travel narratives. I’m fascinated by the ways travel writing works on social, cultural, and political levels to shape world views.

In addition to my teaching specialties, I have a background in tutoring and tutor training. I work as a faculty trainer for tutors in the Douglas College Learning Centre and am pursuing a research project on the long-term benefits of tutoring for the tutors themselves.
Ryan StephensonRyan StephensonBA, MA (British Columbia), PhD (Ottawa)

I’ve been teaching academic writing and literature courses consistently for the past several years, both at Douglas College and at universities in the Lower Mainland. I’ve also developed upper-level courses on Romantic, Victorian, and 20th-Century literature.

My research focusses on popular literacy and the representation of reading and writing in Victorian prose, looking specifically at how the presence of a mass audience, beginning in the second half of the nineteenth century, changed the way writers defined and discussed the practices of reading and writing. I study Victorian schoolbooks, periodicals, and the fiction of George Eliot, George Gissing, and others.

  • “The Manly Reader and His Other: Bookworms, Book-Butterflies, and Crises of Masculinity in Gissing’s ‘Spellbound’ and ‘Christopherson’.” Writing Otherness: The Pathways of George Gissing’s Imagination. Ed. Christine Huguet. Haren: Equilibris, 2011. 201-16.
  • “Mr. Baker and Miss Yule: Popular Literacy and the Complexity of Reading and Writing in Gissing’s New Grub Street.” The Gissing Journal 43 (2007): 3-26.
Diane StilesBSc, (McGill), MA, PhD (British Columbia) 

I have taught English at Douglas since 2002.  For the past few years I have been teaching the preparatory course (1099) for Academic Writing (1130), and both second year survey courses (2116 and 2117: “Beowulf to Virginia Woolf”).  I have also been developing and teaching a first year literature course (1102) that explores social, psychological, existential and scientific/medical constructs of identity.
Karen ThomsonKaren ThomsonBA (hons), MA (Regina)

I particularly like to teach ENGL1130 (Academic Writing) and ENGL2112 (Studies in Children's Literature), though I enjoy teaching many different kinds of literature.  I am interested in the effects of media and technology on contemporary society (it is, for starters, the theme in my 1130 course).
Peter WilkinsBA, MA (British Columbia), PhD (California, Irvine)

Interests: North American Literature, Critical Theory.
David N. WrightDavid WrightB.A. (Honours) (Concordia), M.A. (English Literature / Creative Writing) (Concordia); PhD (McGill)

I usually teach English 1130 (Academic Writing), 1102 (Reading Literature and Culture), 1106 (Reading Fiction), and sometimes 2313 (Studies in Major Writers), 3190 (Topics in Literary Modernism).

My current research focuses on three main areas:

An examination of burlesque performance and its relationship to the aesthetic practices of modernist writers. The study focuses on a diverse range of early Twentieth Century practitioners in a variety of media, but spends the most time on E. E. Cummings, Hart Crane, George Herriman, Gilbert Seldes, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and Djuna Barnes.

I am engaged with several discussions already underway in establishing methodologies for emerging trends in the digital humanities. I am particularly interested in pedagogical applications of digital technologies, the intersection of coding and writing, digital literature and the implications of "open source," and facilitating spaces for the digital dissemination of academic work.

Comic books. I am interested in the superhero, its role in shaping cultural narratives (particularly those around masculinity), and how comic books offer a way of understanding narrative as it responds to external political and social pressures. I write a monthly post at Graphixia.


Faculty Emeritus

Lorna McCallum
BA (Carleton), MA, PhD (Alberta)
19th-Century Literature, Poetry, Composition Studies.

Susan McCaslin
BA (hons), (Washington), MA (Simon Fraser), PhD (British Columbia)
Romanticism, 20th-Century Poetry and Poetics, Religious Studies.
mccaslins@douglascollege.ca / smccaslin@shaw.ca

Susan Wasserman
BA, MA (British Columbia) 
Canadian Literature, Comedy in Literature, Theories of Comedy.
wassermans@douglascollege.ca / susanwasserman@shaw.ca

Retired and Affiliated Faculty

Susan Briggs

Stephen Dunning

Howard Eaton

Brian Marrs

Meg Stainsby (Dean)

Educational Leave

Our Department is committed to recognizing and encouraging teaching excellence and innovation through regular support of instructors seeking professional development funding and educational leaves.