English Graduate Student Interviews (III)

By: Lindsey Seatter & Nadia Timperio

For the third instalment of graduate student interviews, we are happy to introduce you to Olivia Burgess and Bassam Chiblak.

Olivia Burgess
Year of Study: Year 2, M.A.
‪Research focus: Reconciliation politics in Canada especially in relation to resource politics, as well as related things like territorial sovereignty, Aboriginal Rights, treaties, Western versus Indigenous conceptions of sovereignty/nationhood, and the always-exciting Canadian Constitution Act, 1982.

‪What are your career goals?
I’m considering pursuing a career in Indigenous Law, but I’m not sure if I would prefer to teach it or practice it.

‪What are you reading right now (for work or for pleasure)?
Right now I’m pretty much only reading for work, but during my tiny bit of spare time, I’m also reading Prologue for the Age of Consequence, which is a book of poetry by former UVic student Garth Martens.

Using only three words, describe the English department at UVic..
Diverse, supportive, creative.

Using only three words, describe yourself.
Imaginative, passionate, loyal.

What cereal or candy brand describes you best?
Lucky Charms (I’m lucky and Irish)

What is your favourite thing to do in Victoria, or what new place have you recently discovered?
I love climbing on the rocks around Spiral Beach off Dallas Rd, and I LOVE Big Bad Johns (dive bar) in the Strathcona Hotel, especially the free peanuts 🙂

Bassam Chiblak
Year of Study: Year 2, Ph.D.
Research focus: My research focuses on Victorian visual culture. I am interested in illustrations, paintings, ekphrasis, museums, maps, graphs, charts, spreadsheets, and DH. Although I still conduct research in illustrated serials (mainly in the Cornhill magazine), I have recently turned my attention to geocriticism and poetry.

What are your career goals?
My career goal is to be gracefully ambitious and see what happens. I am open to a variety of careers and adventures, although some stability would eventually be nice. Here are some careers that would interest me (mixed in with some lighthearted humour): Forest-green-convertible-driving dean, PR agent for deceased writers (a literary scholar), total artist (Bassamkunstwerk see Wagner), whizbang wiz (DH project manager), and investment banker (one of them had to be somewhat normal).

What are you reading right now (for work or for pleasure)?
I am reading Sight and Song by Michael Field and Flatland by Edwin Abbott Abbott (double your Abbott double your fun) for my focused field exam. In other words, I am reading for pleasure. Seriously, I am. I love my job.

Using only three words, describe the English department at UVic..
Clearihue third floor.

Using only three words, describe yourself.
CLEARIHUE THIRD FLOOR!

What cereal or candy brand describes you best?
Kit-Kat. Give me a break. Breaks are when I get my best ideas.

What is your favourite thing to do in Victoria, or what new place have you recently discovered?
Victoria is a quiet, scenic, and leisurely town. It is perfect for walking before and after some satisfying PhD research. On a sunny day, I will aim to walk for two hours. I often run into friendly neighborhood folks, colleagues, and cats. We chat about the weather, share intellectual ideas, and meow meow meow, respectively.

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