From March 9th through March 11th 2022, Queen’s University hosted the 16th annual Inquiry @ Queen’s Conference, this year via zoom with a keynote delivered by Dr. Asha Varadharajan from the Department of English who was awareded the Queen’s Promoting Student Inqurity Teaching Award in 2021.
In our first segment, we chat with one of Dr. Varadharajan’s ENGL 421 students, Sydney Faour, 4th Year Con-Ed student and a top presenter at this year’s I@Q.
Faour shares much about her presentation, “Combatting the Literary Canon through Performance.” Ophelia’s Last Word(s), a rap performance by Faour re-examined the literary canon by combatting the trope of “fair and fragile” women. Written for Dr. Varadharajan’s English 421 course on adapting Shakespeare, this presentation/performance explored the role of women in Hamlet to offer a new voice to the archetypal shadow maiden, Ophelia. Among many concerns, Faour’s rap questions why audiences contemplate Hamlet’s madness but presume Ophelia’s to be authentic. In Faour’s view, we reinforce harmful gender representations when viewing Shakespeare’s women with a traditional and canonical lens. Examining women as codependent on male figures, emotional, and inept is a lens that perpetuates this standard for modern audiences. Adaptation provides an opportunity to re-envision these women and their fate.
In the next segment, Arishya Aggarwal chats with Tara Temeng in a lecture hall on campus about her role in QPID and what’s happening for its Youth Conference this spring.