2019 Celebration of Research and Retirements

On Friday, April 12, 2019, the Department of English & Film Studies held its annual Celebration of Research and Retirements.

17 April 2019

On Friday, April 12, 2019, the Department of English & Film Studies held its annual Celebration of Research and Retirements. Publications from Faculty members, PhD students, Academic Teaching Staff, and Emeriti Professors were displayed along with the event posters of the past 2018-19 academic year. This year, the department sent off two long-time faculty members, Professors Patricia Demers and Janice Williamson, into their next stage in life - their retirement.

Professor Julie Rak gave a short talk about Professor Janice Williamson:

Since 1987 when she began work at the University of Alberta, Janice Williamson has combined her commitments to peace, anti-racism and anti-colonialism in Canadian society and Canadian literature with award-winning creative writing. Janice's career as an activist has included protesting the cruise missile industry and the co-founding of the award-winning Edmonton chapter of Women in Black, a women's peace group originally founded by Palestinian and Jewish women. She fought for justice for Omar Khadr, the Canadian child-soldier who should not have been sent to Guantanamo. Her six books connect to her activism: they include a co-edited collection about the feminist peace movement, the ground-breaking Sounding Differences interview collection, a fiction collection, award-winning work about adoption, and the 2012 anthology Omar Khadr: Oh Canada. Her longstanding commitment to human rights and social justice won her the Alberta Women's Association Woman of the Year award in 2018. Julie Rak led the toast to Janice and her fierce commitment to justice before a gathering of EFS colleagues, students and comrades, testimony to Janice's role in creating and maintaining community in Edmonton for more than three decades, before Janice gave her own, eloquent account of her time as a professor in the department.

Professors Katherine Binhammer and Cecily Devereux took the opportunity to talk about Professor Patricia Demers:

After 42 years of service, Pat Demers was celebrated for her brilliant accomplishments in all areas of academic life. Member of the Order of Canada, past president of the Royal Society of Canada (the first woman to hold that position), a winner of the University's highest award, the University Cup, past chair of the Department of English and Film Studies, Pat excelled at academic leadership. In her toast, Cecily Devereux reflected on Pat's work in opening doors for women in the institution. Her research career was no less impressive. Calling her a true 'Renaissance woman,' Katherine Binhammer described the incredible diversity of Pat's expertise which included not only Renaissance women writers but children's literature, eighteenth-century literature, religious writing, Jacobean drama, Canadian women's writing, and, most recently, her co-edition and translation, with Dorothy Thunder, of a Cree prayer book from nineteenth-century Alberta.

Professor Julie Rak also presented our Professor Emeritus Chris Gordon Craig with a bottle of fine spirits for his 50th anniversary at the U of A - still actively engaged in teaching and serving as a scribe for Department Council.

Professor Cecily Devereux received a 'Thank you' as outgoing Associate Chair Academic after 3 years of service in this position and Professor Peter Sinnema was thanked for his 5 years as Department Chair.

Pictures of the event can be found on our Facebook page.