Anderson Araujo, Assistant Professor, English, UBC (Okanagan)

Anderson Araujo, Assistant Professor, English, UBC (Okanagan)

BY: Catherine Nygren

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Anderson AraujoAnderson’s dissertation focused on key interventions in cultural discourse by modernist writers T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Wyndham Lewis, and Ezra Pound, with a particular eye towards radical conservative politics in the years between the world wars. While he was working on his PhD at Western University, he was a TA for several courses and taught one of his own courses. The practical change from simply marking or running conferences to preparing lecture materials and becoming the authority in the classroom was accompanied by a psychological shift, from being a consumer of knowledge to being the one who imparts knowledge.

Additional funding through scholarships and research assistantships enabled him to complete his degree in a timely fashion, as well as helping him to conduct research in Italy. Weekly meetings with his supervisor developed both the project and their professional relationship, a benefit of attending a university with smaller cohorts. The overall support, sense of collegiality, and peer support in his department was invaluable: regular gatherings at the Grad Club, thesis discussion groups organized by a professor, and even a dedicated graduate secretary all made a significant difference to Anderson’s PhD experience.

Anderson finished his degree in five years, which allowed him time to produce both a strong thesis and then to mine it for articles. Immediately after completing his doctorate, he taught a full teaching load at Western and as an LTA at Windsor. The combination of the commute and extensive teaching responsibilities led to a difficult year, but his ability to manage multiple responsibilities and adapt his pedagogical styles developed rapidly.

He continued to look for academic jobs across North America, applying for over seventy positions in one round alone. Following the 2008 economic crisis, however, his interviews were canceled, and he once again began to hunt for positions—this time, internationally—leading to the American University of Sharjah, near Dubai. He advises PhD students to look internationally, reminiscing that “it was one of the best moves I’ve ever made. I can’t praise it enough.” The teaching experience was invaluable for his CV, and he got to interact with a diverse and international student body.

Though he enjoyed teaching in the UAE, Anderson wanted more resources for research and attending conferences, so after a couple of years he successfully applied for a position at the institution he now calls home: UBC’s Okanagan campus, in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies. His overseas teaching experience was a significant asset for a university enhancing its international profile.

When reflecting on the value of a humanities PhD, Anderson notes that although the degree is valued by scholars, the metrics used increasingly by universities often fail to capture what our research and teaching do well. Beyond the university, the humanities are sometimes critiqued for being allegedly too concerned with ideology and identity politics, but institutions and campuses, like Anderson’s, breach this gap by reaching to the wider community with public lectures on social questions and other public events. This outreach is key to demonstrating the different and valuable perspectives of the arts and humanities, especially in our current world.

Anderson AraujoAnderson’s dissertation focused on key interventions in cultural discourse by modernist writers T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Wyndham Lewis, and Ezra Pound, with a particular eye towards radical conservative politics in the years between the world wars. While he was working on his PhD at Western University, he was a TA for several courses and taught one of his own courses. The practical change from simply marking or running conferences to preparing lecture materials and becoming the authority in the classroom was accompanied by a psychological shift, from being a consumer of knowledge to being the one who imparts knowledge.

Additional funding through scholarships and research assistantships enabled him to complete his degree in a timely fashion, as well as helping him to conduct research in Italy. Weekly meetings with his supervisor developed both the project and their professional relationship, a benefit of attending a university with smaller cohorts. The overall support, sense of collegiality, and peer support in his department was invaluable: regular gatherings at the Grad Club, thesis discussion groups organized by a professor, and even a dedicated graduate secretary all made a significant difference to Anderson’s PhD experience.

Anderson finished his degree in five years, which allowed him time to produce both a strong thesis and then to mine it for articles. Immediately after completing his doctorate, he taught a full teaching load at Western and as an LTA at Windsor. The combination of the commute and extensive teaching responsibilities led to a difficult year, but his ability to manage multiple responsibilities and adapt his pedagogical styles developed rapidly.

He continued to look for academic jobs across North America, applying for over seventy positions in one round alone. Following the 2008 economic crisis, however, his interviews were canceled, and he once again began to hunt for positions—this time, internationally—leading to the American University of Sharjah, near Dubai. He advises PhD students to look internationally, reminiscing that “it was one of the best moves I’ve ever made. I can’t praise it enough.” The teaching experience was invaluable for his CV, and he got to interact with a diverse and international student body.

Though he enjoyed teaching in the UAE, Anderson wanted more resources for research and attending conferences, so after a couple of years he successfully applied for a position at the institution he now calls home: UBC’s Okanagan campus, in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies. His overseas teaching experience was a significant asset for a university enhancing its international profile.

When reflecting on the value of a humanities PhD, Anderson notes that although the degree is valued by scholars, the metrics used increasingly by universities often fail to capture what our research and teaching do well. Beyond the university, the humanities are sometimes critiqued for being allegedly too concerned with ideology and identity politics, but institutions and campuses, like Anderson’s, breach this gap by reaching to the wider community with public lectures on social questions and other public events. This outreach is key to demonstrating the different and valuable perspectives of the arts and humanities, especially in our current world.

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