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Melanie Dennis Unrau recently awarded Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship

Dr. Melanie Dennis Unrau has taken her career to new heights as a recipient of a 2022/2023 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship.

October 11, 2023 — 

She started as a doctoral student in the Faculty of Arts. Dr. Melanie Dennis Unrau has been ranked first for a prestigious Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship.  


Dr. Unrau graduated with a Ph.D. in English from the University of Manitoba in 2019. Her dissertation, “Tend the rusted steel like a shepherd”: Petropoetics of Oil Work in Canada, was awarded the University of Manitoba Distinguished Dissertation Award, the Canadian Studies Network Best Ph.D. dissertation in Canada Studies, and the International Council for Canadian Studies Brian Long Best Doctoral Thesis in Canadian Studies.   


While studying for her Ph.D., Dr. Unrau became a Visiting Fellow at St. John’s college, where she enjoyed having an office in a place where she could be surrounded by other Fellows studying related topics in Canadian studies, Indigenous studies, environmental studies, and literary studies.  


Following her PhD, Dr. Unrau was awarded an SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at Columbia University. Holding the Fellowship during the COVID-19 lockdowns, Dr. Unrau found it essential to maintain her connections at the University of Manitoba. She remained a Visiting Fellow at St. John’s college and became a Research Affiliate at the University of Manitoba Institute for the Humanities (UMIH). Her postdoctoral work included completing her book The Rough Poets: Petropoetics and the Tradition of Oil-Worker Poetry in Canada,” which is forthcoming with McGill-Queen’s University Press, guest-editing an issue of Canadian Literature on “Poetics and Extraction,” and hosting two well-attended forums at the UMIH featuring prominent poets such as Rita Wong, Adam Dickinson, and Cecily Nicholson.  




Dr. Unrau was the top-ranked recipient of this year’s SSHRC Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships. She began her project “Poetry and Poetics of Just Transition” under the supervision of Dr. Emily Eaton (Geography and Environmental Studies) and Dr. Michael Trussler (English) at the University of Regina in April 2023.  

About her unconventional plans to do interdisciplinary research-creation and run poetry workshops in climate-change-affected communities, she says,  


“I’m excited to collaborate with a literary scholar and a geographer on a project related to a global crisis that demands attention, creativity, and collaboration from all of us.”  


Dr. Unrau will continue at St John’s college as a visiting Fellow while she pursues the two-year Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship.  


To learn more about the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships, visit here. 


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