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Thesis Defence: The Smark: Reflections on Growing Up in a Canadian Resource Town
June 13 at 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Justin Madu, supervised by Kevin Chong, will defend their thesis titled “The Smark: Reflections on Growing Up in a Canadian Resource Town” in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.
An abstract for Justin Madu’s thesis is included below.
Defences are open to all members of the campus community as well as the general public. Registration is not required for in person defences.
When I was growing up in Prince George, nicknamed British Columbia’s “northern capital,” I often found myself playing armchair psychoanalyst, anthropologist, and sociologist. I was fascinated with the community of people around me because I perceived them as markedly different from myself and desperately wanted to determine what forces influenced their actions, likes and dislikes, and prevailing attitudes. Understanding another person involves both assumptions and leaps in logic, as seemingly unconnected life events are grouped together to create a coherent life narrative: he is a good friend because he wants people to validate him in the ways his parents did not… she dislikes travelling because she fears change. In this way, by focusing on the parts of my life that serve my own understanding of my identity, writing early drafts of The Smark: Reflections on Growing Up in A Canadian Resource Town felt like journaling. These early confessional drafts were later expanded to begin investigating how the personal understandings within them were reached, utilizing the same social investigative strategies on myself I have long applied to those around me. The Smark explores identity, place, and associative connections primarily through narrativizing personal experiences, the implementation of humour, and occasionally, the use of a confessional tone. As a result, this collection holds space to sift through my personal history while studying my own behaviour and, at times, psychoanalyze myself. Over the course of its ten chapters, The Smark broaches topics of family, mental health, class, and Canadian-ness, with these topics overlapping and tangling within individual pieces. Theme is messy in my essay collection, which is reflective of how identity, place, and associative connections can be complicated and chaotic.