Dr. Maria João Dodman, York University
Dr. Maria João Dodman is Assistant Professor at York University’s Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics. She is a native of the Azores, Portugal, and she has lived in Canada since 1989. She has taught Spanish and Portuguese language and literature in several Ontario institutions before coming to York University where she is assistant professor since 2008.
Professor Dodman’s original research focused on Portuguese and Spanish literature of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In her PhD dissertation she carried out a comparative study regarding the representations of beauty and ugliness in several genres of early modern Iberian literature: poetry, novel, theatre and emblematic literature. Within the traditional concepts of beauty and ugliness, she is interested in the contradictions and intersections of literary and social discourses that focus on the representations of marginal and deviant characters that challenge traditional constructions of gender, race and class. She has expanded her research to include those marginal and deviant characters encountered by the Portuguese in the literature of the discoveries, with a particular interest in Brazil. Currently, Dr. Dodman is researching the concept of Açorianidade [Azoreanness] and its manifestations not only in the literature produced in the region of the Azores, but also in the Diaspora.
Her research is reflected in her course syllabi, especially those related to early modern Portugal and Brazil: Conquest and Discovery: the Age of Camões, Aspects of Modern Brazil, the Culture and Literature of the Azores, and her newest course Heroes, Monsters, Marvels and Beauties in Portuguese Literature, a course that delves deeper into the theoretical foundations of social constructions of beauty, monstrosity and deviance. Dr. Dodman is also interested in non-traditional pedagogical methods of delivery such as technology-enhanced learning, and how these can contribute to better students’ learning environments. As such, in the literature courses, she has developed on-line strategies that encourage student participation, improve research skills and make use of on-line library sources, all aimed at strengthening analytical, critical and organizational skills.