A look into the ways in which environmental concerns have been woven into the narrative of contemporary Canadian fiction will be the focus for a Lakehead University professor who is the recipient of a prestigious Fulbright Canada Visiting Research Chair.
Dr. Cheryl Lousley, Associate Professor of English and Interdisciplinary Studies at Lakehead Orillia, will be a Fulbright Canada Visiting Research Chair at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), starting in Jan. 2018.
“It’s a great honour and I’m very excited,” Lousley said. “UCSB has a centre for literature and environmental research that brings together faculty from a variety of fields and departments, so I’m looking forward to developing further international collaboration with colleagues in my field.”
While in California, Lousley will work with the Department of English at UCSB, teach a seminar course on Canadian literature, and begin her research project titled Environmental Narrative and Memory in Contemporary Canadian Fiction at UCSB’s Literature and Environment Research Center.
Lousley’s research will focus on the study of contemporary Canadian novels and short stories, looking at the ways in which environmental concerns have been narrated in Canadian fiction. Her interest in memory aims to shift the focus away from future environmental concerns that tend to dominate discussion to look at how our environmental histories tend to be forgotten.
“We talk about a number of great losses and sacrifices made in the development of our country, such as during war, but environmental losses, such as from polluted waterways, mining and climate change, do not tend to have the same profile and public memory,” said Lousley. “We always think that environmental problems are going to come in the future and that contributes to us carrying on in denial of climate change.”
In particular, she hopes her research will unveil the ways that different Canadian contemporary writers have been intervening in the narrative of Canada by the way in which they talk about our environmental past – writing stories back into awareness so that we can remember the ecological suffering that also happened during the development of our nation.
Lousley began her career at Lakehead University in Jan. 2011. Previously, she has been a Carson Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society (Munich, Germany), and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Leeds (UK) funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and International Council for Canadian Studies. She received her PhD in 2006 in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, and her Master of Arts at the University of Toronto. She is also the editor of the Environmental Humanities series with Wilfrid Laurier University Press.
Fulbright Canada, the Foundation for Educational Exchange between Canada and the United States of America, is a binational, treaty-based, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization that encourages mutual understanding between Canada and the United States of America by providing academic and cultural opportunities.