Iris J. Gildea

Dr. Iris J. Gildea is an Associate Professor at the University of St. Michael’s College and teaches in the Book & Media Studies Program. She has taught at St. Michael’s for ten years.

Iris’ work and research are at the intersections of art, media, trauma and feminist studies. Most of her courses focus on various aspects of critical media studies. She writes and publishes on trauma theory and art as a mode of meaning-making and healing, often with a focus on survivors of gendered violence and childhood trauma.

Iris received her PhD from the University of Toronto in Comparative Literature with a dissertation on Paul Ricoeur’s phenomenological hermeneutics. She loves the intersections of theory and art, seeking always to expand structures of knowledge and meaning-making. Outside of her university teaching, Iris leads poetry and expressive arts workshops in community. She also teaches meditation. When not writing, teaching or making art, Iris is in nature hiking with her dog. She splits her time between Cortes Island in British Columbia and Toronto, Ontario.

  • Areas of Expertise

    Critical Media Studies

    Feminist Trauma Theory

    Phenomenological Hermeneutics

    Arts-Based Research & Pedagogy

  • Links
  • Publications


    “Autoethnographic Aesthetics as Feminist Arts-Based Trauma Work,” Forthcoming in Departures in Critical Qualitative Research

    “Body-speak: Poetic intervention for adult survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA).”  The Arts in Psychotherapy, 74,  2021.

    “The Poetry of Forgiveness: CSA, Poetic Inquiry and Autoethnography.” The Journal of Spirituality and Mental Health, February 2020, DOI: 10.1080/19349637.2020.

    “The Emergency Stage: Flashbacks & Poetry.” The Journal of Poetry Therapy, March 2020.

    “A Poetics of The Self: Ricoeur’s Servile Will and Living Metaphor as Creative Praxis.” Ricoeur Studies, 9 (2), 2019: 90-103.

    “Ricoeur’s Theory of Metaphor as Trauma Praxis”, Journal of Literature and Trauma Studies, 7(2) 2018: 21-43.

    “Comparative Approaches to Trauma.” Canadian Review of Comparative Literature. 44 (2), 2017.

    “The Narcissus Narcosis: A Meeting of Media Studies and Cultural Pedagogy.” Legas, 2015. (Published under Jenna Brooke)

    “Narrative Identity: Ricoeur and Augustine.” Recognition and Modes of Knowledge: Anagnorisis from Antiquity to Contemporary Theory. Ed. Teresa Russo. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2013. (Published under Jenna Brooke)

    “Waking up Narcissus.” International Journal for McLuhan Studies. Barcelona, 2012. (Published under Jenna Brooke)

    “In Between Reality and Fiction: Ricoeur’s Métaphor Vive.” Scripta Mediterranea, Autumn 2011. (Published under Jenna Brooke)

  • Presentations

    “The Poetry of Forgiveness,” National Association of Poetry Therapy, April 2021

    “Trauma & Autoethnographic Poetics,” International Association of Autoethnography & Narrative Inquiry, Digital, January 2021

    “Expressive Arts Pedagogy for Trauma Survivors,” INSEA, Vancouver, July 2019

    “Poetic Inquiry and Expressive Arts,” INSEA, Vancouver, July 2019

    “Relational Pedagogy: The Writing Centre as a Site of Institutional Change in Higher Education.” Southern California Writing Centres Association, Thousand Oaks, California, March 2018.

    “Searching for the Self in the Digital Age.” International Communications and Media Studies Conference, University of British Columbia, November 2017.

    “Expressive Arts Pedagogy.”  Faculty Institute on Community-Engaged Learning, University of Toronto, June 2017.

    “Reflection as Pedagogy.” Centre for Community Partnerships, Guest Speaker, Graduate Pedagogies Class, University of Toronto, January 2017.

    “Comparative Approaches to Trauma.” Canadian Comparative Literature Association, Federation of the Humanities Conference 2016, University of Calgary, May 2016.

    “Arts-Based Pedagogy,” Community Engagement Symposium, Centre for Community Partnerships, University of Toronto, November 2015

    “Educating the Whole Person:  Reflective Practices and Social Justice Pedagogy,” Symposium in Social Justice and Liberal Education, University of St. Michael’s College, September 2014.

    “The Place of Storytelling in Reflective Pedagogy,” Religions and Social Innovations Conference, University of St. Michael’s College, October 2013.

    Service Learning and Social Justice,” roundtable discussion, Religions and Social Innovations Conference, University of St. Michael’s College, October 2013.

    Waking up Narcissus,” Marshall McLuhan and Religious Thought: A Symposium, University of St. Michael’s College, September 2012.

    “The Social Rhythm of Embodied Metaphor,” Department of Music and Culture Conference, Carleton University, February 2012.

    Narrative Identity: Recognizing Oneself in Augustine and Ricoeur,Centre for Comparative Literature Colloquium, University of Toronto, April, 2008.

    Paul Ricoeur’s Hermeneutics of Metaphorical Truth, Pacific and Ancient Modern Language Association Annual Conference, University of Western Washington, November, 2007.

  • Education

    PhD, Comparative Literature (2009) — University of Toronto

    MA, Comparative Literature (2005) — University of Toronto

    BA (2004) — Boston University


    Certified Expressive Arts Therapy Practitioner
    Centre for Creative Arts Therapy Education, Toronto
    (September 2014 – March 2017)