Dr. Alice Ridout

Assistant Professor and Department Chair

Alice Ridout

Educational Background
Post-doctoral Fellowship in Contemporary Women’s Writing (Leeds Metropolitan University)
PhD (University of Toronto)
MA (Durham University)
BA with First Class Honours (Durham University)

Alice Ridout teaches courses in Contemporary, Canadian, Children’s and Popular Literature. Her upper year seminars have included “Contemporary Women’s Historical Fiction,” “Re-reading the Canadian Postmodern: In Memoriam, Robert Kroetsch,” “Dear Diary: Fictional Diaries,” and “Twice Upon a Time: Contemporary Retellings of Folk and Fairy Tales.”

Alice was born and brought up in Japan and is a dual British and Canadian citizen. These transnational life experiences have resulted in her interest in working across national borders in her research and teaching. She is the author of Contemporary Women Writers Look Back: From Irony to Nostalgia (Continuum, 2011), and co-editor of Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook After Fifty (Palgrave, 2015) and Doris Lessing: Border Crossings (Continuum, 2009). Her work has appeared in the journalsAdaptation, Margaret Atwood Studies, Doris Lessing Studies, and the University of Toronto Quarterly. She is Website Editor for the Doris Lessing Society and was President from 2012-2015. She also serves on the Editorial Board for Doris Lessing Studies and was Book Reviews Co-editor for Contemporary Women’s Writing from 2009-2011.

Teaching Philosophy
My first teaching experiences were as a tennis instructor so I came to academic teaching with a model of teaching and learning that was focused on skills acquisition. I have carried this model from the tennis court into the classroom as I continue to see a key aspect of my role as a university professor to be to enable students to acquire and practice their own critical thinking, reading and writing skills. Therefore, my classroom is a very interactive space, to which each student is encouraged to contribute, and in which all students are encouraged to feel safe to practice and develop their thinking and communication skills. I encourage students to place the texts and cultural products we are studying in their socio-historical context and I hope that the material we cover in class transforms their approach to the world around them. For example, in studying class-based cultural theories in the “Introduction to Popular Literature and Culture” course, I gave students an open-ended assignment inviting them to respond critically, creatively or actively to our module on class. As we were studying this topic at the time of the Occupy Wall Street movement we looked at some of the cultural products coming out of that movement and one group of students created a YouTube video along the lines of the 99% campaign while other students designed posters and artwork for their assignment. Studying cultural theories of class enabled students to see the Occupy Wall Street movement differently and vice versa.