The Cultural Studies Ph.D. involves tenured and tenure-track members of Trent University’s Cultural Studies Program. This faculty is innovative in both pedagogy and research, and brings a sense of ongoing invention to the field of cultural studies. Collectively, the core faculty have published 45 books, hundreds of articles in prestigious and cutting-edge journals, and presented hundreds of original papers at scholarly conferences.

Contact information for faculty is found below, including email addresses and home pages where more detailed information about research interests and publications can be found.


Jonathan Bordo

E-Mail: jbordo@trentu.ca

Dr Jonathan M. Bordo, MA, M.Phil, PhD (Yale), is a philosophically trained cultural historian and theorist whose thought is grounded in the philosophical, scientific, religious and aesthetic culture of early modernity (1450 – 1710) cv link. His continuing work bridges his interests between picturing, testimony and institutions of memory. He is also one of the leading scholars in the interdisciplinary study of landscape. Dr Bordo has received many grants and held many fellowships including at present a Trent Research Fellowship, having been a Research Fellow at many distinguished Institutes and Centres most recently at the John Carter Brown Library. JCB poster

Jonathan Bordo’s research and publications have been on the cutting edge for some years. (recent work). His writings have been published widely in international and national journals and collections that include: . “The Homer of Potsdamerplatz – Walter Benjamin in Wim Wender’s Sky over Berlin/Wings of Desire, a Critical Topography” in Images (Brill Amsterdam, 2008) (link)

Jonathan Bordo’s scholarly research has two orientations -- a geopoetics and a critical inventory of and meta reflection on theory itself. The geo-poetics is entwined with the study of art, film and visual culture and it has led to his articulation of an approach that he refers to as “critical topography. ”  At the same time Bordo persists with the question, what is theory? in order to interrogate the unstable middle station  of theory between philosophy and cultural history.  For Bordo, theory is a kind of cultural analysis that advances in part by checking tendencies of inexorable textual repetition and unmitigated speculation through lexico-philological work, critical inventory of concepts and case studies – Bordo’s gloss on Kant’s dictum:  concepts without objects are empty, objects without concepts are blind.  His current doctoral seminars are a contribution to a reflection on theory, in the formation of early 20th century cultural inquiry with special attention to the works of Freud, de Saussure & Benjamin. The Specular Witness, a collection of published and new essays, also nearing completion, gives attention to the very character of theory as a kind of testimony. Bordo’s two orientations are reflected in the projects and the approaches of the doctoral students with whom he is engaged: Forensic determinations of evidence and cultural memory in the matter of mass deaths (Cyr), Bataille and the Collège de Sociologie (Bell), Theories of social ontology of 'late capitalism' as a critical examination of autopoiesis and theory (Timms), Studies in the critical topography of famine and the Irish diaspora (Dunne).

Jonathan Bordo is the founding director of the Canadian Centre for the Study of Landscape, Art and Critical Topography (link).  


Faculty Members

Victoria de Zwaan

E-Mail: vdezwaan@trentu.ca

Victoria de Zwaan has been involved with Cultural Studies at Trent since she took some of the Department's first courses while pursuing her BA in philosophy and English. After studying literary and cultural theory for her MA at McGill, she pursued a PhD in English literature at the University of Toronto on the subject of American experimentalism.

Her dissertation research was published in book form as Interpreting Radical Metaphor in the Experimental Fictions of Donald Barthelme, Thomas Pynchon, and Kathy Acker. In both her teaching and her current research into international experimental texts, she is always looking for the cutting edge at the interface of theory and fiction.

She is currently working on a series of comparative literary essays on such writers as Franz Kafka, Milan Kundera, Christa Wolf, Italo Calvino, Milorad Pavic, Christine Brooke-Rose, and Salman Rushdie.

Finis Dunaway

Finis Dunaway holds a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Ph.D. from Rutgers University. His research interests include modern US cultural and environmental history; American Studies; visual culture; and the environmental humanities. He is the author of Natural Visions: The Power of Images in American Environmental Reform (University ofChicago Press, 2005), and, most recently, of Seeing Green: The Use and Abuse of American Environmental Images (University of Chicago Press, 2015).  In addition, his articles have appeared in American Quarterly, Environmental History, Raritan, and other journals, and in anthologies on such topics as the history of landscape photography, ecocritical approaches to art history, climate change, and American environmental history.

David Holdsworth

Email: dholdsworth@trentu.ca

Current interests:  Observation and representation in physical theory; valuation and interpretation of mathematics; the (algebraic) topos as site of theory; political discourses and cultural organization of scientific community; interdisciplinary and professional practice within post-modern culture; environmentalism as a moral discourse.

Publications include ‘Becoming Interdisciplinary: Making Sense of DeLanda's Reading of Deleuze”, Paragraph, forthcoming (2006); ‘Transformational Economics and the Public Good’, in Bernard Hodgson (ed.), The Invisible Hand and the Common Good, Springer Verlag (2004); ‘Science, Politics and Science Policy in Canada: Steps towards a Renewed Critical Inquiry,’ Journal of Canadian Studies (2003); ‘Regulating Professional Practice in Canada: Misguided Steps away from Reflexive Modernity,’ Bridging Minds and Markets, 6th Internaltional auDes Conference; 'Science, Technology, and Discourse: Comments on "Textual Analysis in Technology Research', Technology Review (1996); 'Institutions for a Sustainable Civilization: Negotiating Change in a Technological Culture', Proceedings of the International Society for the Systems Sciences (1995); 'Evaluating Environmental Policy: National Contexts and Normative Planning', Proceedings, UNESCO Seminar on the Environment (1993); 'Universality and Rationality: Transdisciplinary Methods and Methodological Pluralism', Proceedings of the International Society for the Systems Sciences (1993); 'Risk Assessment and National Standards: Philosophical Problems' in J. Bonin and D. Stevenson (editors), Risk Assessment in Setting National Priorities (Plenum, 1989); 'Critical Survey of Quantum Logic', Scientia (1983).

Ihor Junyk

E-Mail: ihorjunyk@trentu.ca

Ihor Junyk has a BA from the University of Western Ontario, an MA from Queen's University, and a PhD from the University of Chicago. He is also an alumnus of the Humber School for Writers where he worked with two-time Booker Prize winner Peter Carey. He comes to Trent from Cornell University.

His research interests include modernism and the avant-garde; classicism and myth; opera; trauma, memory, and history; and the contemporary novel.

His work has appeared in such publications as the Journal of Modern History, the Chicago Review, Arts and Letters Daily, and the New York Times. He is currently working on a study of modernist classicism in interwar Paris and a novel, tentatively titled The Portrait.

Check out:  http://trentu.academia.edu/IhorJunyk

Liam Mitchell

Liam Mitchell is a media studies theorist trained in political science and cultural, social, and political thought.  He holds a BA from Thompson Rivers University, and MA from York University, and a PhD from the University of Victoria.  His research concerns the effects of our continual immersion in media in general, and particularly those social media services that seem to fall under our control.  His teaching begins from students’ own experiences of the media, moving from their daily media practices to theoretical conclusions about what possibilities these practices open up and what other possibilities they close down.

His research brings a phenomenological perspective to bear on everyday cultural practices (like social media and gaming) and their transgressive opposites (like trolling and griefing).  He is currently preparing a manuscript that investigates the ontological implications of different moods associated with internet browsing, particularly the twinned moods of boredom and interest.  Activities like internet browsing seem to be both the cause of and solution to “negative” moods like boredom.  This is true for both interest-oriented websites for which usage means advertisements means money and for sites that have ostensibly different aims: they all have a structural incentive to maintain a certain degree of boredom in their users to ensure that these users keep returning.  Following from Martin Heidegger’s observations concerning the ontological significance of technology, the manuscript analyzes small sites of distraction in order to question the extent to which this incentive, perhaps embedded in the net, reflects an epochal preoccupation with preoccupation.

Alan O'Connor

E-Mail: aoconnor@trentu.ca

Alan O'Connor holds a degree in Sociology from Trinity College, Dublin, studied at York for his MA and PhD, and taught at Simon Fraser before coming to Trent. His research field is popular culture and media.

He has a particular interest in alternative community media and how they become the means for the expression of group and subcultural identities. This interest, which represents the expansion of cultural studies to a global context, takes him from Toronto, where he founded the countercultural café Who's Emma? to Central and South America where he has participated in community political action.

Alan O'Connor's new book on Punk Record Labels and the Struggle for Autonomy is now available through Lexington Books. He is also author of The Voice of the Mountains: Radio and Anthropology (2006), Raymond Williams - Key Thinkers in Critical Media Studies (2005), and editor and translator of Community Radio in Bolivia: The Miner's Radio Stations (2004).

His current research, with Ian Mclachlan, is a book on the underground arts scene in Peterborough since 1970. This research is influenced by Pierre Bourdieu's sociology of cultural fields, and documents the extraordinary richness of community theatre, art and music in this small city.  With start-up funding from the Symons Foundation, and a major research grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the research is focusing on The Union (1989-1996), a collectively-run space in downtown Peterborough for community theatre, and part of the underground touring circuit for hardcore punk bands in the 1990's.

Check out: http://alanoconnor.wordpress.com/

Alan O'Connor is on sabbatical 2013-14

James Penney

E-Mail: jamespenney@trentu.ca

James Penney received his BA and MA in comparative literature and film studies at the University of Alberta, going on to earn his PhD in the graduate program in literature at Duke, where he specialized in comparative literature and critical theory. He has been teaching at Trent since 2003.

His research pivots around the implications of Lacanian psychoanalysis for the study of culture and Left politics. Published by SUNY Press in 2006, The World of Perversion examines the debate in queer theory between Foucault and psychoanalysis on the subject of sexuality by linking the term 'perversion' to its pre-sexual meanings.

Prof. Penney's forthcoming book, The Structures of Love: Art and Politics beyond the Transference, reframes the terms of cultural analysis with a fresh take on transference theory in Freud and Lacan and a critical engagement with the philosophy of Alain Badiou.
His writing--on thinkers as various as Kristeva, Pascal, Bataille, Fanon, Sartre, Marx, Hocquenghem, Plato, Genet, Deleuze, Kant, Diderot, Freud, Lacan, Butler, Laclau--has appeared in the journals Paragraph, Angelaki, Communication Theory, New Formations, Radical Philosophy, Diacritics, Umbra, and Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society; as well as in the volumes The Psychoanalysis of Race (Columbia UP, 1998), Perversion and the Social Relation (Duke UP, 2003), and Comparatively Queer: Interrogating Identities across Time and Cultures (Palgrave, 2010).


Check out: http://jamespenney.weebly.com

Veronica Hollinger

E-Mail: vhollinger@trentu.ca

Veronica Hollinger received her BA from Marianopolis College in Montreal, and then went on to Newcastle-upon-Tyne (UK) for a Masters in Education. She completed the MA and PhD at Concordia University .

Her background in theatre arts has influenced her work on postmodern theatre and on theories of performance and spectacle. These interests have also helped to shape her research and writing in the areas of literary science fiction and speculative fiction. She is especially interested in the theoretical and imaginative constructions of hybrid and artificial subjects in technoculture, and in how such theories and fictions are influencing current developments in artificial intelligence and robotics.

As co-editor of the journal Science Fiction Studies, past vice-president of the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, and author of many articles, she has an international reputation in the field of science fiction studies. Her work has focused in particular on feminist and cyberpunk science fiction, as well as on the theoretical implications of postmodernism and posthumanism for science fiction as a popular genre. She is the co-editor of five scholarly collections: On Philip K. Dick: 40 Articles from Science Fiction Studies (SF-TH, 1992); Blood Read: The Vampire as Metaphor in Contemporary Culture (U of Pennsylvania P, 1997); Edging into the Future: Science Fiction and Contemporary Cultural Transformation (U of Pennsylvania P, 2002); Queer Universes: Sexualities in Science Fiction (Liverpool UP, 2008), and Parabolas of Science Fiction (Wesleyan UP, 2013).

With her co-editors at Science Fiction Studies, she completed The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction (Wesleyan UP, 2010), an extensive collection of short stories designed for use in university and college science fiction courses.

Veronica Hollinger is a past chair of the Cultural Studies Program and past Director of Trent's MA Program in Theory, Culture and Politics.


Recent Publications