Brock Master’s students to present their interdisciplinary research

From post-Christian theology, to artificial intelligence, to the study of black bodies represented in opera, Brock Master’s students will speak on a variety of research topics at an upcoming colloquium.

This year there are eight students that take part in the Studies in Comparative Literatures and Arts Master’s program (SCLA), all of which will be presenting their up-to-date research to the Brock community at the colloquium.

“Our Master’s program is remarkably interdisciplinary,” explained Glavac, one of the students from SCLA. “Although we all come from different backgrounds of study, we still relate in various ways.”

“When I graduated [from my undergraduate program], I just wanted to relax and work. I wasn’t planning on going back to school,” said Glavac. “But then I began being passionate about my research topic and I really wanted to be a part of, and add to, the academic research and discourse on it.”

With Glavac pursuing the topic of post-Christian theology with an interest in contemporary spiritual practices, he stated that “I’m also researching the conscious forms of meaning making, such as how some objects hold more meaning to humans than others because I truly believe that one of our biggest talents as humans is finding meaning in the arbitrary.”

Glavac’s research, along with his colleagues’, such as Fessler’s focus on the representations of artificial intelligence and reality, will be presented at the colloquium that the students are planning.

“This conference is an opportunity for students to engage in an academic setting and have open dialogue with their peers,” said Fessler. “Research is all about growing and building off of other ideas.”

Additionally, Fessler stated that for the Master’s students, it’s also “a way to be able to develop our academic skills as well as receive feedback on our research thus far.”

The research that the students will be proposing will eventually become part of their 40-page thesis paper which they will complete in the Spring semester.

“We’re really passionate about our research topics,” said Glavac. “Many research ideas are part of continuations from the work we did in our undergrads.”

More so, Glavac explained that the research topics are hoping to challenge some of the conventional notions within their disciplines. “For example, when we say ‘the arts’, is that exclusive? What really is it? I think religion can be artistic,” said Glavac.

Along with the eight students presenting their individual and unique research, the colloquium will also feature a guest speaker.

“It was difficult to find a guest speaker that touched on all of our research topics,” said Glavac. “Luckily we sat down and chose Erin Hurley from McGill who teaches and researches on a variety of topics such as Quebecois theatre and cultural performance,  theatre historiography, performance studies, dramatic theory, 20th century theatre, as well as feminist and LGBTQ theatre”

All students ranging from first years to graduates are invited to participate in the colloquium as the Master’s students are hoping to inspire and empower some positive change in the community with their research proposals.

In reference to the colloquium, Glavac stated “you truly get to see the seeds before they turn into trees.”

The group of students have chosen to hold a colloquium in order to alter perspectives towards research and academic conferences. Glavac stated, “this is a way to make scholarship exciting, because frankly it’s often portrayed as being quite boring.”

To students looking to pursue a Master’s degree, Glavac stated that “a colleague of mine once told me to only do a Masters if you need the credentials, or if you have something to add to the discourse [of your topic]. If you can’t answer any of those, maybe it’s not for you.”

But if, and once, you do enter the world of a Master’s program, Glavac says that “it’s a playground” in terms of the wide range of research to uncover.

The students names and their research topics that will be presented are as followed: Carla Chambers, Black Bodies in Opera; Paloma Wapinski, Contemporary History and Vikings; Hayley Malouin, Social Abjection and the Grotesque Body in Performances of Circus, Street Art, and Public Protest; Marcus Fessler, The Differences between the Identity of Artificial Intelligence in Technological Embodiments and Artistic Speculation; Collin Glavac, Post-Christian theology in comic books; Pascal Michelberger, Fictional Representations of the Spanish Civil War in Cinema and Graphic Novels; Antony Zhang, Mulan’s Legend in Folklore Literature and Popular Culture; and Celena Glanville, How the Trauma of Modernity Comes to be Represented and Negotiated in the Work of Art.


The colloquium will be held on Saturday February 11 from 2-5 p.m. in room 156 at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. The entrance fee is free and all are welcome to attend.

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