mgr Magdalena Jagodzka

ORCID: 0000-0002-9133-3948

My research focuses on representations of nonhuman characters in selected Canadian novels through the lens of animal studies. The dissertation endeavours to present diverse methods of portraying animals in literary texts, paying special attention to nonhuman particularity that might serve as a tool to blur traditionally enforced human-nonhuman borders. The range of primary sources includes the following titles: MaddAddam trilogy, Gail Anderson-Dargatz’s A Recipe for Bees, Colin McAdam’s A Beautiful Truth, Jessica Grant’s Come, Thou Tortoise, Alissa York’s Fauna, and Cary Fagan’s The Animals. The analysis covers physical and discursive levels, such as plot, characters, narrators and narration, as well as stylistic devices used to recreate nonhuman actors and their language. Furthermore, juxtaposing scientific facts with the literary representations, frequently burdened by anthropomorphisation and symbolism, challenges cultural stereotypes about nonhumans.
The aim shall be achieved through the use of the posthumanist perspective that redefines the position human beings hold in philosophical discourse. On account of that, animal studies emphasise the significance of interspecies dependencies, nonhumans’ subjectivity and agency, as well as their participation in historical and cultural events. Despite its etymological kinship with animal studies, the term animal has been supplanted by concepts like a nonhuman being, other-than-human person, more-than-human world, etc.; these expressions imply the recognition of the posthumanist turn more clearly. The research methodology draws on such theories as feminist literary studies, postcolonialism, ecocriticism and trauma studies, also referring to interdisciplinary studies on animal language, cognitive abilities, emotions, and pain perception.
Owing to Canadian historical and social background, the literature of this region constitutes a fascinating area to consider the representations of nonhumans. The first Canadian narratives are inextricably bounded up with the natural world, and as a result, nonhuman characters – major and minor –gradually became visible in the second half of the 19th century. Moreover, Seton and Robert’s 'animal stories' are regarded as a distinctive Canadian genre.
Even though the presence of nonhumans in Canadian literature is widely recognisable, modern critical publications seem not to have addressed this problem exhaustively. Therefore, my thesis aims at reducing this research gap. Not only do the selected primary sources demonstrate a wide range of settings and characters, but the conceptual apparatus also allows for elaborating a multidimensional analysis of the representation of animals in contemporary Canadian fiction.

1. Jagodzka M., “Found in Narration: Nonhuman Voices in Jessica Grant's Come, Thou Tortoise and Colin McAdam's A Beautiful Truth”, Word and Text – A Journal of Literary Studies and Linguistics, vol. XI / 2021.
2. Jagodzka M., “Wilki z krainy Metaksy” [Wolves from the Land of Metaxy], Fraza. Poezja -proza – esej, vol. 4/2021
3. Jagodzka M., „Ludzkie – nie-ludzkie, żywe – nieżywe. Przykłady reprezentacji istot pozaludzkich w twórczości Margaret Atwood” [w:] Monografia Nauki humanistyczne i społeczne wobec wyzwań XXI wieku. Łódź-Kielce: ArchaeGraph, 2021.
4. Jagodzka M., “Development of Science and its Consequences in Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake” [w:] Zmiany na Ziemi w XXI wieku. Łódź: ArchaeGraph, 2021.

Academic exchanges:

1–12 March 2022 – PROM – International Scholarship Exchange for PhD Students
and Academic Staff, Canadian Studies Library at the Masaryk University Canadian Studies
Centre, Brno, Czechia
5 February – 30 June 2022 – MOST Program– the National Exchange for Undergraduate and PhD Students, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland