Kevin McNeilly

Associate Professor

Relevant Degree Programs


Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - Mar 2019)
"The megaphone of destiny--" composition, voice, and multitude in the auditory avang-garde of the twentieth century: Gertrude Stein, Samuel Becket, John Cage, and Frank Zappa (2014)

No abstract available.

Master's Student Supervision (2010-2017)
The practice of everyday crimefighting : urban space in three eras of Batman comics (2017)

This thesis project uses the spatial theory of Michel de Certeau’s The Practice of Everyday Life to articulate an incipient delinquency in the movement of the superhero – in this case, The Batman – by examining three different serial runs of comic: the Golden Age pulp of the 1940s, Frank Miller’s seminal The Dark Knight Returns (1986) and Scott Snyder’s 2011 “Court of Owls” story arc. The attendant images of diegetic urban space are crucial to this analysis and, by examining the narratives imbued therein, offer a new approach to the superhero comic beyond mere historical referent.

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We gon’ be alright : Kendrick Lamar’s criticism of racism and the potential for social change through love (2016)

This thesis explores Kendrick Lamar’s criticism of institutionalized racism in America and its damaging effects on African-American subjectivity on his albums Section.80, Good Kid M.A.A.D City and To Pimp a Butterfly. The albums address the social implications of racism in the present day, throughout Lamar’s life and throughout the lives of his ancestors. In my analysis of Lamar’s albums, I address the history of American chattel slavery and its aftermath as a social system that privileges white over black. On the basis of my interpretation of the penultimate track on To Pimp a Butterfly, “i,” I propose a love ethic as a means through which the American social order can be changed. I take the term love ethic from Cornel West and bell hooks. A love ethic is a means through which individual bodies hurt by racism can be recognized and revalorized. Through the course of his three studio albums Lamar offers a narrative remediation of America’s discriminatory social order. In so doing, Lamar enacts the social change he wishes to see in America.

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Voice in text : translating orality in Robert Bringhurst's A Story as Sharp as a Knife, Harry Robinson's Write it on Your Heart, and War Party's The Reign (2010)

Voice in Text investigates the process of translation that occurs when transmitting oral stories into a written framework with the intention to bridge the gaps that exist between oral traditions and technological scholarship. This thesis explores the potential motives behind Robert Bringhurst’s retranslation of John Swanton’s Haida texts, Wendy Wickwire’s transcription of Harry Robinson’s stories onto the page, and War Party’s use of Hip Hop as an expression of Native identity. Translating (one culture into another and the spoken into the written) can be used as a tactic to reinscribe cultural priorities and also to enact resistance. A storyteller’s allowance of the transcription and translation of their stories can be read as a plea for a listening that functions cross-culturally, a listening in which we can gradually learn to hear the storyteller’s voice in a written context. I apply theories of hybridity and intersubjective approaches to listening in my investigation to uncover how the translator and storyteller engage in a cross-cultural mode of transformation. Because of the highly sensitive nature of translating First Nations literature into a European poetic context, as both Bringhurst and Wickwire do, I explore some of the debates surrounding cultural appropriation, as well as show how potential divergences between written and oral practices interact to question what constitutes a respectful rendering of another culture. In many cases, writing and orality can function within a unified synthesis that reflects the priorities of both mediums simultaneously. Ultimately, this project is intended to provide an ethical approach to listening, an approach that places responsibility on a reader’s own approach to a text, in order to show that a sensitive reading is itself a process that involves a highly dialogic and integral role in the process of uncovering a human voice in text.

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