The Orlando Lectures

The Orlando Lecture History

What it is?

The Department of English and Film Studies biennial Orlando Lecture marks the department's significant feminist past and present and looks forward to its future. In 1989, the English Department hired five women faculty members (unheard of at that time and a watershed event in the battle for pay equity on campus) and in 1995 the department faculty founded The Orlando Project, a groundbreaking collaborative and digital history of women's writing in the British Isles. Almost all the faculty who initiated those critically vital events in feminist literary studies, women's writing and the transformation of the institution have retired from our department. We commemorate and extend these accomplishments in this lecture series, inaugurated in 2015 and described as follows:

The Orlando Lecture will be hosted by the Department of English and Film Studies in order to celebrate our long-standing commitment to feminism, women's literary history, gender and sexuality, and queer studies. It recognizes that the department's commitment to expanding the discipline of English--in terms of texts, theories, and access-- is an important aspect of its history as well as an ongoing project. The Orlando Lecture will be given by scholars whose work contributes to and extends this feminist scholarly project, broadly conceived.

Why the name Orlando?

The Department of English and Film Studies has two other annual lecture series, named after formative male members of our department. It was time to recognize the central role women have played in making the department one of the 22nd best in the world. 1 While the lecture, in part, marks the significance of The Orlando Project within the department's feminist history, the lecture is separate from the project and it's name refers us back to the source in Virginia Woolf's historical novel, tracing Orlando's history as a writer across 300 years, famously transforming sexes and becoming a woman in the eighteenth century. Woolf's novel and this lecture emphasize the collective and collaborative nature of feminist literary studies and do not single out one women but recognize their collective efforts.

The Department of English and Film Studies presented the 2019 Orlando Lecture:

Marie Carrière

Feelings that Matter: Larissa Lai's Automaton Biographies and Tracey Lindberg's Birdie

Wednesday, February 27, 2019
3:00 - 4:30 pm
Humanities Centre, Lecture Theatre L-3


This paper considers affect as a form of thought, feeling, and embodied selfhood in feminist writings. In the first instance, it critically interrogates the "affective turn" in humanities scholarship, and recalls feminism's long-standing preoccupation with emotion and lived materiality. In the second and more elaborate sequence, it offers readings of Chinese-Canadian author Larissa Lai's poetry and Cree Métis novelist Tracey Lindberg's fiction, as both writers work an aesthetics of feeling into their very different literary worlds which, in turn, ultimately inscribe a distinct relational ethics.