Back to Top

Faculty Profiles

Michelle Coupal

Michelle Coupal 

Assistant Professor

English

Arts

 

L-709, R.D. Parker Building 

Sudbury Campus

 

705.675.1151 ext 4329705.675.1151 ext 4329

705.675.1151 ext 4329mcoupal@laurentian.ca

Biography

I am a member of the Bonnechere Algonquin First Nation, and Assistant Professor of Indigenous Literatures in the Department of English at Laurentian University, where I live and work on the lands of the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek peoples. I received my PhD in English Literature from Western University in 2013. My research, teaching, and training have focused on the following: Indigenous literatures in Canada; Canadian literature; pedagogies of reconciliation; Indigenous pedagogies, protocols, and ethics; trauma theory; and life-writing (with an emphasis on testimony).

I hold a SSHRC Insight Development Grant (2016-2018; $55,691) for my book project entitled, Teaching Trauma and Indian Residential School Literatures in Canada. In response to Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, English literature teachers across the country (from elementary to secondary to postsecondary), are being asked to deliver curricula on Indian residential school literature. However, there is a deeply problematic insufficiency of material on the theory and praxis of interpreting and teaching trauma and Indian residential school literature to a diverse population of Canadian learners. This research is the first comprehensive study of concepts of trauma and Indian residential school literatures in Canada that makes the theorization of trauma from an Indigenous perspective, and the teaching of Indian residential school literatures as literatures of reconciliation, its focus. My research will work toward decolonizing trauma theory, Indigenizing pedagogical approaches to challenging narratives, and promoting reconciliation through a relational reading practice and pedagogy of mutual respect, recognition, responsibility, and sharing (1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples). 

With Dr. Deanna Reder (Cree-Metis, SFU) and poet Joanne Arnott (Metis/mixed blood), I have submitted an edited collection of the works of Secwepemc and Ktunaxa writer Vera Manuel. Our working title is Honouring the Strength of Indian Women: Plays, Stories, Poetry by Vera Manuel. Manuel’s work, which incorporates dramatherapy as a healing practice for peoples struggling with the legacies of residential schooling, has been largely unpublished. This collection will be an important addition to Indigenous literatures of reconciliation. 

Education

  • Ph.D. Western University
  • B.Ed. Althouse College, Western University
  • M.A. University of Waterloo
  • Honours B.A. University of Waterloo

Academic Appointments

Assistant Professor of English, Laurentian University, 2013-Present

Teaching

2016-2017 academic year:

English 3456: Indigenous Literatures in Canada

English 3445: Survey of Canadian Literature

English 3546: Media Representations of the Native

English 4787: Honours Seminar IV: Indian Residential School Literature

2015-2016 academic year:

English 3445: Survey of Canadian Literature

English 3496: Indigenous Literatures in Canada

English 3596: Media Representations of the Native

English 4786: Honours Seminar III: The Rhetoric of Apology in Canada

2014-2015 academic year:

English 3445: Survey of Canadian Literature

English 3496: Indigenous Literatures in Canada

English 3596: Media Representations of the Native

English 4786: Honours Seminar III: The Rhetoric of Apology in Canada

2013-2014 academic year:

English 3445: Survey of Canadian Literature

English 3596: Media Representations of the Native


Awards

  • SSHRC Insight Development Grant (2016-2018) $55,691
  • Western University Students’ Council Teaching Honour Roll 2012-2013 (Awarded to instructors who receive an accumulated average of 6.3 or higher out of 7 on the first 14 questions on the UWO Senate-mandated course and teacher evaluations.)
  • F.C. Biehl Memorial Award for Excellence in English Education, Faculty of Education, Western University

Publications

“‘one thing can look like another’: The Aesthetics and Performance of Trauma in Ann-Marie MacDonald’s Fall on Your Knees.” Studies in Canadian Literature 38.1 (2013): 170-89.

“Teaching Indigenous Literature as Testimony: Porcupines and China Dolls and the Testimonial Imaginary.” Learn, Teach, Challenge: Approaches to Indigenous Literatures. Eds. Deanna Reder and Linda M. Morra.Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2016. 477-86.

Teaching Trauma and Indian Residential School Literatures in Canada. Wilfrid Laurier UP.  [Under Contract]

“Indian Residential School Literature and the Pedagogy of Reconciliation.” L’enseignement des Traités à l’ère de la Réconciliation dans l’Ouest Canadien. Ed. Lace Marie Brogden, Andrea Sterzuk, and James Daschuk. Presses de l'Université Laval. [Accepted subject to revisions]

Honouring the Strength of Indian Women: Plays, Stories, Poetry by Vera Manuel. Ed. Michelle Coupal, Deanna Reder, and Joanne Arnott. First Voices First Texts. General Ed. Warren Cariou. University of Manitoba Press. [Under Review]

“Narrative Acts of Truth and Reconciliation: Teaching the Healing Plays of Vera Manuel.”  Honouring the Strength of Indian Women: Plays, Stories, Poetry by Vera Manuel. Ed. Michelle Coupal, Deanna Reder, and Joanne Arnott. First Voices First Texts. General Ed. Warren Cariou. University of Manitoba Press. [Under Review]