PhD Oral Exam - Myriam Tremblay-Sher, Communication
When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.
Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.
The St. Lawrence River forms one of the most important inland waterways on the planet. It also has had a determining impact on history and the peoples along its shores. The river carries memories, attachments, and legacies flowed over centuries. This research-creation in the form of a written thesis and an accompanying multilinear web documentary explores the significance of place in shaping relations to history as inspired by the St. Lawrence River. The thesis combines theorizations of place from socio-geographic and philosophic study, as elaborated principally by Doreen Massey and Edward S. Casey, with theoretical and practical advancements of interactive web documentary and of the essay film from film studies. It then builds on these theories of place as event as an agent of shifting relations through time and space and of documentary representation by applying them to the St. Lawrence River. In so doing, it elaborates the conceptual frames of place, boundary, and navigation. These frameworks are broadened in the filming, editing, and presentation of a documentary that features the voices and insights of an artist, an adventurer, an environmentalist, a writer, a teacher and an historian who have all encountered the river and have also been shaped by it. The thesis concludes that the theories of place developed by Massey, Casey, and others can creatively blend with storytelling by the river, deepening our understanding of its history and the ways we can relate to the place-event known as the St. Lawrence.