Emily Murphy was born and raised in St. John’s and received her B.Sc. from Memorial in 2015. She is currently completing a masters in the Department of Gender Studies. She describes herself as “a feminist, a musician, a bookworm and a pop-culture aficionado.” She tries to spend my free time with my family and friends, or binge watching Netflix.
How and why did you decide to attend Memorial for your graduate degree?
It was a bunch of factors, really. I was born and raised in St. John’s, so my entire family is here. This also made it a good financial decision for me. But a large part of what clinched my decision was the people in the gender studies department. As I came to be increasingly familiar with the professors in the department, and the students in the MGS program. I decided that these were the people I wanted to learn from.
What drew you to explore gender studies originally?
I’ve always identified with feminist politics, even if I didn’t always use the term “feminist,” but then I took Gender Studies 1000 as an elective because a friend recommended it, and felt like my whole outlook on life had been flipped on its head. Suddenly it was all I could talk about and it was all I was interested in. It really lit a fire in me, and so I decided that once I finished my B.Sc., I’d take a year to do as many gender studies courses as I possibly could, and then apply for the MGS program.
Can you tell us a bit about your current research?
I’m looking at fandom as a site for sociopolitical action. In particular, I’m looking at the substantial backlash and grassroots fundraising campaign that occurred on social media after the death of beloved lesbian character, Lexa, on the tv show The 100. I’ll be looking at the role that affect played in fans’ response to Lexa’s death and fans’ subsequent grassroots movement which calls for better representation of LGBT people on broadcast networks. I will also examine the power dynamics of the fan/producer relationship, and the neoliberal context in which this relationship was cultivated through social media and promotional content.
A supervisor can be key to the success of any grad student. What does your supervisor bring to her role as your advisor and mentor?
My supervisors, Dr. Sonja Boon and Dr. Jennifer Dyer, are brilliant mentors. I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from them. Their feedback is invaluable to me, and I’ve already learned so much from them. They’re also so supportive, and regularly remind me not to doubt myself and to trust my own abilities.
Have you attended any conferences/delivered any papers this year? Can you give details?
Not yet, but I am giving a public talk as part of the gender studies speaker’s series in early December. It’s basically a presentation of my thesis and the research I’ve done up to that point.
Are you involved in any organizations on-campus or off? If so, can you explain and detail such involvement?
I tend to spend most of my time focusing on schoolwork; I don’t have time for much else. I do work at the Memorial Writing Center, though, and I love it. It’s everything I could ever hope for in a job. I get to meet and talk with people from all over the world, and that can be an immensely rewarding experience.
What do you like most about being a graduate student at Memorial?
The people! The faculty and staff in my department are so helpful and understanding, and I’m lucky to be in such a welcoming environment. My favourite part, though, is getting to know my fellow students. It really is a privilege to be able to learn from such a diverse group of people with such vastly different life experiences.
What do you hope to do after completing your graduate degree?
I ask myself this question a lot, and I’m still not sure. I don’t know if I’ll continue my education or not, but I think I’d like to eventually end up doing something that helps people in my community. I do know that wherever I end up, I can take the knowledge accrued through this program with me, and I know it will be useful.