Research Canadian cultural studies; trauma and memory studies

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Research Canadian cultural studies; trauma and memory studies Powered By Docstoc
					Amber Dean
Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of English and Cultural Studies
McMaster University


Canadian cultural studies; trauma and memory studies; representations of violence, suffering and
loss; gender and sexuality studies; and critical race studies (particularly as related to western


Amber Dean holds a SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship (2009-2011) in the Department of English
and Cultural Studies, under the faculty sponsorship of Daniel Coleman. Her current research
project explores the connections between public mourning and the (re)production of an idealized
“Canadian-ness” that privileges whiteness and conventional expressions of gender and sexuality.
Specifically, she is investigating the significance of public mourning that has occurred (or not) in
the wake of the 2005 Mayerthorpe RCMP murders, the 1985 Air India bombings, and the
disappearance or murder of over 500 Aboriginal women across Canada in the last thirty or so
years. She will argue that the specifics of how public mourning was or was not enacted in each
case relate to how histories of colonization continue to haunt our nation in the present. When
these instances of public mourning are juxtaposed with each other and bolstered with research on
their connections to colonial histories, one encounters signs of some of the ways that the past
lives on in the present, challenging commonplace understandings of history as past or settled.

This new research project builds on Dean’s doctoral research on cultural representations of
murdered and missing women from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood. That
research project traces the presences of disappeared women as they arise in a variety of cultural
productions (including documentary film, photography, journalism, art, and poetry), and
examines how histories of colonization – in particular, the frontier mythology so commonplace
in western Canada – are implicated in these contemporary disappearances. It also asks: what kind
of memorial practices might be most capable of hailing an “us” into relations of inheritance with
the women who have been disappeared?

Dean’s writing on a range of topics, from gentrification to critical pedagogy to queer theorizing,
can be found in publications such as Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies; Review of
Education, Pedagogy and Cultural Studies; and Canadian Woman Studies. In 2007, she co-
edited a special issue of the journal West Coast Line (41.1) on “Representations of Murdered and
Missing Women,” with Vancouver writer Anne Stone. Forthcoming essays can be found in a
number of edited collections, including Reconciling Canada; The West and Beyond; and
Feminism in the Liberal Arts, and a recent essay with Sharon Rosenberg and Kara Granzow on
the Alberta centennial celebrations is forthcoming in the journal Memory Studies.
In the News:

“After the Pickton Trial: What lives on” News for the Rest of Us
Published: December 20, 2007

“Memorializing disappeared and murdered women through research”
University of Alberta ExpressNews

“Gentrifying Downtown East will leave poor out in the cold, community fears”
VUE Weekly: Edmonton’s 100% Independent News and Entertainment Weekly
Article by Shannon Phillips
Published: April 6, 2006