Meet Our Faculty: Dr. Jason Peters

Tell us a little bit about your background

Iʼm originally from Winnipeg and studied at three local universities—Canadian Mennonite University, University of Winnipeg, and University of Manitoba—before moving to the University of Toronto to study for a PhD in English Literature and Book History in 2009.

How do the students at Booth UC inspire you?

Lots of ways. Probably the biggest for me has been their warmth and enthusiasm. As a new(ish) teacher, I sometimes feel like an impostor. Do I know enough? Am I interesting enough? Are students bored? I’m naturally pretty shy and introverted and care a lot about my work. I can be a perfectionist, and teaching reminds me (sometimes painfully so) that I’m not perfect. The students at Booth UC make my job fun—they’re kind and curious, very supportive, exactly the kind of people who make teaching a joy.

What topic is particularly exciting for you to teach at Booth UC and why?

Probably all of them. One of the hardest (and best!) things about Booth UC is that all faculty members have to teach quite broadly, well outside their areas of specialization. At a larger university I might only get to teach Shakespeare, Milton, and Intro English. That’s it. At Booth UC I teach literally everything: Canadian Literature, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Literature and the Environment, Media Studies, Literary and Cultural Theory, Religion, Literature and Popular Culture, and so on. That’s a huge challenge but also a great gift.

I remember talking to a senior scholar I really respect about this at a conference a few years ago. He said he “envied” me. He’d been teaching (and researching) the same topics for thirty years; his work was getting pretty stale. I try to keep that in mind whenever I start grumbling about new courses.

How does your research and/or teaching help “Education for a Better World”?

My intellectual concerns are largely spiritual. I want my work to address the same basic spiritual questions that animate my teaching. What does it mean to really flourish as a human being? What are our basic needs and desires? How did we get to our present situation? What can we do to make the world a better place? How might art and literature contribute to all of this?

Outside of your work at Booth UC, what are you interested in?

I’m pretty boring. Walking, eating, gardening, reading, sleeping. And sweeping! I sweep my house at least four or five times a day. It goes back, I think, to my twelve years as a Zamboni driver and janitor. I just bought a new corn broom so I can sweep outside, too!


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Kimberly Kakegamic
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