acmckenz


Andrea McKenzie

Photo of Andrea McKenzie

Writing Department

Associate Professor

Office: Ross Building, S353
Email: acmckenz@yorku.ca

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Andrea McKenzie specializes in STEM communications, Writing in the Disciplines, women's war narratives, and the works of L.M. Montgomery.

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I am often asked what the connection is between my fascination with war narratives and literature, and my interdisciplinary work in writing pedagogy, especially STEM work and first-year writing studies. How can someone who researches Canadian First World War military nurses’ photograph albums and first-person narratives also be fascinated with the engineering of micro-ornithopter wings or the algorithms that govern the movements of a Mars Rover? How can the same person analyze the literature of Canadian author L. M. Montgomery, yet seek answers to questions about the use of images in medicine and science?
The fascination that underlies these seeming disparities is the concept of chaos, and how our narratives—the patterns we find to create order in chaos—establish and impose meaning upon it. Scientist Jacob Bronowski once said, in speaking of the “likenesses” that scientists seek, that “order must be discovered, and, in a deep sense, it must be created. What we see, as we see it, is mere disorder.” We can, he comments, record data for a lifetime, yet it remains “mere disorder.” Yet Bronowski also says that to find such “hidden likenesses”—such patterns—takes a “leap of imagination.” To uncover the “orbits of the planets,” for instance, Copernicus had to “put himself wildly, speculatively into the sun.”
All disciplines, all scholars, all students attempt this creative leap, and in doing so, create communities with specific values and conventions, from engineering to history to literature. We seek stability through such communities and their shared values, yet the heart of our inquiries—our questions—inevitably seeks to destabilize the known, reaching for greater understanding through the new. The questions that a discipline or community values, the evidence they read, the ways they read that evidence, and the language they use to express their discoveries creates distinctions among disciplines.
My publications reflect this commonality and diversity, as does my teaching. I am currently analyzing Engineering students' writing, co-hosting a Rilla of Ingleside Readathon to create community during the current lockdown, and working on a book project about Canadian war photography during the 20th century.

Degrees

PhD, University of Waterloo
MA, University of Waterloo

Research Interests

Writing , History, First World War, L.M. Montgomery, STEM communications
Books

Publication
Year

Andrea McKenzie and Jane Ledwell, eds. L. M. Montgomery and War. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, May 2017

2017

Andrea McKenzie, ed. War-Torn Exchanges: The Lives and Letters of Nursing Sisters Laura Holland and Mildred Forbes. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2016.

2016

Book Chapters

Publication
Year

“The Battle to Care: Canadian Nurses in France and Gallipoli.” Two Sides of the Same Bad Penny: The Western Front and Gallipoli. Edited by Michael LoCicero. Helion & Company, UK, 2018.



Current Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Fall 2020 AP/WRIT3011 3.0 B Reading the News: Examining the Rhetoric ONLN


Upcoming Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Winter 2021 AP/WRIT2004 3.0 N Writing in Digital Cultures ONLN


Andrea McKenzie specializes in STEM communications, Writing in the Disciplines, women's war narratives, and the works of L.M. Montgomery.

I am often asked what the connection is between my fascination with war narratives and literature, and my interdisciplinary work in writing pedagogy, especially STEM work and first-year writing studies. How can someone who researches Canadian First World War military nurses’ photograph albums and first-person narratives also be fascinated with the engineering of micro-ornithopter wings or the algorithms that govern the movements of a Mars Rover? How can the same person analyze the literature of Canadian author L. M. Montgomery, yet seek answers to questions about the use of images in medicine and science?
The fascination that underlies these seeming disparities is the concept of chaos, and how our narratives—the patterns we find to create order in chaos—establish and impose meaning upon it. Scientist Jacob Bronowski once said, in speaking of the “likenesses” that scientists seek, that “order must be discovered, and, in a deep sense, it must be created. What we see, as we see it, is mere disorder.” We can, he comments, record data for a lifetime, yet it remains “mere disorder.” Yet Bronowski also says that to find such “hidden likenesses”—such patterns—takes a “leap of imagination.” To uncover the “orbits of the planets,” for instance, Copernicus had to “put himself wildly, speculatively into the sun.”
All disciplines, all scholars, all students attempt this creative leap, and in doing so, create communities with specific values and conventions, from engineering to history to literature. We seek stability through such communities and their shared values, yet the heart of our inquiries—our questions—inevitably seeks to destabilize the known, reaching for greater understanding through the new. The questions that a discipline or community values, the evidence they read, the ways they read that evidence, and the language they use to express their discoveries creates distinctions among disciplines.
My publications reflect this commonality and diversity, as does my teaching. I am currently analyzing Engineering students' writing, co-hosting a Rilla of Ingleside Readathon to create community during the current lockdown, and working on a book project about Canadian war photography during the 20th century.

Degrees

PhD, University of Waterloo
MA, University of Waterloo

Research Interests

Writing , History, First World War, L.M. Montgomery, STEM communications

All Publications


Book Chapters

Publication
Year

“The Battle to Care: Canadian Nurses in France and Gallipoli.” Two Sides of the Same Bad Penny: The Western Front and Gallipoli. Edited by Michael LoCicero. Helion & Company, UK, 2018.


Books

Publication
Year

Andrea McKenzie and Jane Ledwell, eds. L. M. Montgomery and War. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, May 2017

2017

Andrea McKenzie, ed. War-Torn Exchanges: The Lives and Letters of Nursing Sisters Laura Holland and Mildred Forbes. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2016.

2016


Current Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Fall 2020 AP/WRIT3011 3.0 B Reading the News: Examining the Rhetoric ONLN


Upcoming Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Winter 2021 AP/WRIT2004 3.0 N Writing in Digital Cultures ONLN