July 11, 2018

PURE Award Winner 2018: Emilie Medland-Marchen

Undergrad seeks to map out the emergence of Goth subcultures in Western Canadian urban centres
Emile Medland-Marchen
Photo courtesy Emile Medland-Marchen

Committed to a goal of research excellence with its bold Eyes High strategy, one of UCalgary’s most important initiatives is the Program for Undergraduate Research Experience, better known as PURE.

Each year undergraduates can apply for the prestigious PURE Awards, which provide financial research support to some of the university’s most promising students over the Spring and Summer months.

The program is designed to give undergraduate students the opportunity to learn how to develop research projects, undertake independent research and contribute to knowledge in their respective fields.

To celebrate the PURE Award winners from the Faculty of Arts we will be running Q&A’s with a few of the recipients. Good luck to all of the Faculty of Arts PURE winners in their research pursuits!

Emilie Medland-Marchen

Degree sought?
BA in English with a concentration in creative writing.

Research Topic
The historical and contemporary development of Goth subcultures in Western Canadian urban centres

What attracted you to this particular research project?
“I’ve been following the development of the Goth subculture in online spaces — especially as it intersects with the LGBTQIA+ community and with mental health — for some time. Although there has been some research documenting the historical and contemporary relevance of the Goth subculture in Canada, this research has largely been contained to Toronto and Vancouver. I wanted to propose the topic to highlight a multitude of marginalized communities that have yet to be explored in academic research. To my knowledge, the development of Goth communities in western Canadian cities like Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg has yet to be mapped in my field.”

Why is this research important?
“The Goth subculture has historically been queer and non-binary. Figures like Marilyn Manson, Grimes and even David Bowie (considered by many to have anticipated the rise of goth in the ‘90s) experimented (and continue to experiment) with androgynous fashion throughout their careers. BDSM culture and experimental identities were relevant in Goth communities in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Post-Columbine, Goth moved largely online, and it has become increasingly intersectional over time. Goth culture has transitioned away from performative displays of binary feminine and masculine roles in fashion, art and literature. It is important to trace this change and provide a platform through which academics can discuss how counter-cultural movements are adapting socially and becoming more diverse. The lack of academic discourse on the development of the Goth subculture in Western Canadian urban centres indicates a niche in existing academic literature that demands to be filled.”

What do you hope to achieve with this research?
“My hope with my research project is to pave the way for an area of research that has yet to be approached in my field. I hope to shed light on the identities and voices apparent in a wide array of marginalized communities, and to identify how the Goth subculture specifically has interpreted counter-culture both historically and contemporarily.”

What do you love most about your field of study?
“A lot of students think that research only happens in the sciences and not the arts. This is not true! I love that English is a field that is moving beyond the text to include other disciplines — communications, media studies, cultural criticism, sociology and even psychology. We are beginning to understand how everything around us can be read as a cultural text. The way we converse with one another and the language we use is an important part of our cultural discourse. It is essential to introduce underrepresented voices in arts research, including those of LGBTQIA+ identifying individuals, and I love that English gives researchers the opportunity to include interdisciplinarity in their degree.”

Here is the complete list of PURE award winners from the Faculty of Arts:

  • Ali Hassan (Psychology) “The role of zinc in neurotransmission in the olfactory bulbs)
  • Alyssa Carruthers (Urban Studies) “Temporary land use, the creative class and the local economy in Calgary”
  • Andrew Kacey Thomas (Communications Studies and Archaeology) “Constructing Historical Value: Value discourses and the classification of archaeological sites in Alberta”
  • Araleigh Cranch (Geography) “Techniques in dissolved inorganic carbon analysis for sea ice”
  • Brooks Johnston (Linguistics) “Tracking the plural in classical Nahuatl”
  • Chloe Devereux (Psychology) “Language development and internalizing problems in children”
  • Emilie Rebecca Medland-Marchen (English) “My business is cloak and dagger: The historical and contemporary development of goth subcultures in Western Canadian urban centres”
  • Ira Adam (Law and Society) “Rehabilitation and social inclusion in twentieth century Canada”
  • Kate Lee (Psychology) “Can children be taught to understand verbal sarcasm? Short and long-term effects of training”
  • Katia Milovanova (Psychology) “Towards improving interview strategies: a glimpse into the goals of current interview practices”
  • KyungHwan Woo (Psychology) “Brian asymmetry study in children with prenatal alcohol exposure”
  • Leighton Fenske (Art History) “Spatial Context: The role of space in the sculptures of three baroque artists”
  • Mischa Longman (International Relations) “Changing attitudes to Arctic security policy”
  • Rachel Huh (Communications Studies) “Peer mentorship and inquiry based learning in higher education: A qualitative study of emotive support for first-year students”
  • Sabrina Pennetta (History Honours / Italian Studies) “Every word I write is history: Memory and literary analysis of Italian postwar literature”
  • Shifa Hayat (Geography) “Mapping accessible mobility in a Calgary community”
  • Yomna Waly (Psychology) “The effect of anxiety on grit in ethnic minority and non-minority undergraduate populations”