Dr. Kathleen Venema


Kathleen  Venema Title: Associate Professor, English


Dr. Kathleen Venema is an Associate Professor in the English Department at the University of Winnipeg where she teaches Canadian literature.  Her previous research, on early Canadian literature, especially exploration writing and imperial women’s epistolary writing, has evolved into an extended inquiry into narratives of conflict, illness, aging, disability, and care.  Over the past several years, she has developed three new English courses:  The Making of Peace and War in Literature (with Deborah Schnitzer; this course includes both experiential learning and activist components); Representations of Disability in Literary and Cultural Texts; and Biblical Texts in Literary and Cultural Studies. 

The latter course reflects her fascination with the ways in which biblical texts have influenced the Western literary tradition, and the ways in which texts that some groups consider sacred are negotiated and remediated in secular 21st C literary and cultural production.  Her lecture in May 2015, “Irrepressible Religion in Margaret Atwood’s Post-apocalyptic Worlds,” for the Spring Institute course, Public Religion in a Secular World, marked her public debut as a member of the CLASS research group.

Dr. Venema’s current major project – an interdisciplinary critical memoir that integrates creative, critical, and theoretical perspectives on the ways in which international development, spiritually-grounded commitments to social justice, war, trauma, loss, and loss associated with dementia’s devastations are negotiated in writing, particularly in epistolary discourse – will be published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press.  


Venema, Kathleen.  “Untangling the Graphic Power of Tangles:  A Story about Alzheimer’s, My Mother and Me.”  Canadian Graphic: Picturing Life Narratives.  Eds. Candida Rifkind and Linda Warley.  Wifrid Laurier UP.  Forthcoming 2015. 

Venema, Kathleen.  “Perfect Correspondence:  Remembering the Archived Mother.”  Forthcoming.  Lifewriting Annual: Biographical and Autobiographical Studies 5 (2016). Refereed.

Venema, Kathleen.  “‘You can do with all this rambling whatever you want’:  Scrutinizing Ethics in the Alzheimer’s Archives.”  Basements and Attics, Closets and Cyberspace: Explorations in Canadian Women's Archives.  Eds. Linda M. Morra and Jessica Schagerl.  Waterloo:  Wilfred Laurier UP, 2012.  281-301 

Note:  This paper was nominated for the 2013 Hilda Neatby Prize, which is awarded to an English-language academic article published in Canada during 2012 and deemed to make an original and scholarly contribution to the field of women's and gender history as it relates to women. 

Venema, Kathleen. “a trading shop so crooked a man could jump through the cracks”:  Counting the Cost of Fred Stenson’s Trade in the Hudson’s Bay Company Archive.”  National Plots: Historical Fiction and Changing Ideas of Canada.  Ed. Andrea Cabajsky and Brett Grubisic.  Wilfred Laurier UP, 2010.  3-19.

Devereux, Cecily and Kathleen Venema, eds.  Women Writing Home 1700-1920:  Volume 3:  Canada.  London:  Pickering & Chatto, 2006.

Venema, Kathleen.  “Letitia Mactavish Hargrave and Hudson’s Bay Company Domestic Politics:  Negotiating Kinship in Letters from the Canadian Northwest.”  Re/Calling Early Canada:  Reading the Political in Literary and Cultural Production.  Eds.  Jennifer Blair et. al.  Edmonton:  U of Alberta P, 2005.  145-71. 

Venema, Kathleen.  “Mapping Culture onto Geography:  ‘Distance from the Fort’ in Samuel Hearne’s Journal.”  Studies in Canadian Literature (Special Issue on “Writing Canadian Space”) 23.1 (1998):  9-31.  Republished in Literature Criticism From 1400 To 1800.  95 (2004):  131-42.


Recent peer-reviewed conference presentations:


Venema, Kathleen.  “Posthuman Alzheimer’s:  Loving the Virtual M/other.”  “Age and the Posthuman.”  130th Modern Language Association Annual Convention.  Vancouver, B.C.  10 January 2015. 

Venema, Kathleen.  “Mothering as Containment Strategy in Lori Lansens’ The Girls.”  Mothers, Mothering and Motherhood in Literature Conference.  Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement, Ryerson University.  24 October 2014.

Venema, Kathleen.  “‘you can’t go back in life’: Borrowing Tongues for Identities in Transit.”  International Association for Biography and Autobiography (IABA) Conference, “Auto/biography in Transit.” Banff, AB.  1 June 2014.

Venema, Kathleen.  “‘she never finished her life’s work’:  Graphic Narratives of Alzheimer’s Care.”  “Contemporary Narratives of Care,” a Medical Humanities Symposium. Birkbeck, University of London.  25 October 2013

Venema, Kathleen.  “‘she was only as he wished her to be’:  Staging Gendered Economies of Desire in Margaret Sweatman’s The Players.”  2013 Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English Conference, Victoria, B.C.  Member-organized session:  “Writing the Past.”  4 June 2013.

Venema, Kathleen.  “‘I think it’s going quite sadly’:  Representing Accelerated Aging in Sarah Leavitt’s Tangles.”  2013 Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English Conference, Victoria, B.C.  Member-organized session:  “What are Years?”  2 June 2013.