Dr. Kris Singh: Unconventional and Unexpected Comparisons

RMC Cadets are “Eager to Solve Problems”

Article by 25366 Anna-Michelle Shewfelt

Dr. Kris Singh came to RMC’s English Department from Trinidad by way of the University of Waterloo, where he did his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and Queen’s University, where he did his PhD. “My Caribbean roots certainly motivated my initial interest in postcolonial literature,” he said. “As a descendent of indentured labourers, I am interested in the voluntary and involuntary movements of peoples across the globe.” And as Dr. Singh observes, given the times we live in, “This focus is as relevant as ever. For reasons old and new, scholarship on identities, borders, and individual and collective action is pressing in Canada in both civilian and military contexts.”

In the two and a half years since he came to the College, Dr. Singh has taught both introductory English courses in the ALOY Program and second, third, and fourth year courses that include contemporary literature from across the globe. And he loves every minute of it. “I revel in the openness of these courses,” he said, “as they allow for unconventional and unexpected comparisons. With the help of frameworks like postcolonialism, we use literature to interrogate abstract concepts like ‘the nation,’ an especially poignant concept for Cadets.”

Dr. Singh’s passion is evident both inside and outside the classroom. Last winter, for example, he co-organized with Dr. Pierre-Luc Landry an international, multi-disciplinary conference entitled “Resistance: Indigenous and Postcolonial Perspectives.” As he recalled, “Not only were we able to bring a range of senior and junior scholars to RMC for productive dialogue, but I was also able to unpack some of the conference proceedings in my classes. It was enlightening to hear students’ take on the topics discussed, whether they were in First Year or Fourth.” It is this “interplay” that Dr. Singh finds most rewarding. “The intellectual curiosity of these groups overlapped in unforeseen ways which also aids my continuous refinement of these courses.”

It’s the Cadets, he said, that make RMC what it is. “More than anywhere else,” he observed, “I notice among RMC Cadets an eagerness to solve problems.” In turn, that eagerness shapes his teaching philosophy. “I forgo any pretense of having a monopoly on solutions and instead invite Cadets to dig into the world’s complexities via literature. By enriching their conceptions of themselves, each other, and those they may later encounter, they are better prepared to confront the challenges of today and tomorrow.”