Rita Dirks, PhD

Associate Professor of English Literature
+1 (403) 410-2000 ext. 5900
Office Location:

I was born in Kazakhstan, have lived and studied in Asia, Europe, and, for most of my life now, have resided in Manitoba, Ontario, and Alberta, Canada. I joined the Ambrose faculty in 2001 and designed the first English program at Ambrose (formerly Nazarene University College). My teaching and scholarly interests are interdisciplinary and include women’s & gender studies, literary theory, Decadence and Modernism, Postmodernism, Canadian and world literatures, film, and popular literature.



  • Ph.D. Comparative Literature, Religion, Film/Media Studies, University of Alberta
  • M.A. Slavic Studies, Russian, University of Manitoba
  • B.A. German, University of Winnipeg

Select Publications

Current Research

Book Contract, Lexington Books: Silence and Rage: The Mennonite Novels of Miriam Toews, forthcoming in 2022.

Scholarly & Professional Activity

Professional Affiliations
  • Member of the Modern Languages Association (MLA)
  • Member of the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL)
  • Native command of English, Russian, German, Low German; reading knowledge of Ukrainian, French.
  • Faculty representative for the English Literature Students Association (ELSA) at Ambrose.
Recent Scholarly and Professional Activity Outside of Ambrose
  • 2019 External reviewer for forthcoming edited collection of essays: Beyond Munro and Atwood: Other Voices in Canadian Women’s Writing, Suzanne Hayman and Cristina Ruiz Serrano, eds.
  • 2017-present Editorial Advisory Board, Volupté: Interdisciplinary Journal of Decadence, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • 2016-18 Consultant K-12 Curriculum Redesign, Alberta Education, Government of Alberta  

Recent Conference Presentations

Light is Spent Conference Presentations
  • “Following a Different Times[s]line: Wilde’s Vera; or, The Nihilists.” Aesthetic Time, Decadent Archives, July 18-19, 2019, Goldsmiths, University of London.
  • “Miriam Toews’s Unbreakable Circles in Women Talking.Women’s and Gender Studies et Recherches Féministes, Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences 2019: Circles of Conversation, June 1-7, 2019, Vancouver, Canada.
  • “Madame B’s Eternal Return: Blavatsky as Muse for Magus-Writers.” Decadence, Magic(k), and the Occult, July 21, 2018, Goldsmiths, University of London.
  • "A Literary Friendship: Arthur Symons and Bliss Carman, Mediators of Decadence." Arthur Symons at the Fin de Siècle, July 21, 2017, Goldsmiths, University of London.
  • "Forgetting Friendship: Redefining Friendship in the Age of Techno-Reality (Derrida's Politics of Friendship)." Global Conference on Friendship, 12-14 June, 2017, Mount Melleray Monastery, Waterford, Ireland.
  • "The Gothic, New Woman, and Literary Travesty: Eating in Hell in Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita." April 4, 2017, Ambrose Research Conference, Ambrose University.
Public Lectures
  • “On the Instrumental Value of Literature.” Response to Gordon T. Smith, President, Ambrose University, to his “The Vocation of the Scholar: Tending to the Life of the Mind.” Faculty Retreat, Ambrose University, August 26, 2020.
  • “Decolonizing the Classroom: A Close Reading of Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘Girl’.” The Teaching and Learning Committee: Professional Development Day, Ambrose University, August 20, 2020.
  • “Literary Convergences from Wilde to Woolf.” St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan, March 11, 2019.
  • “Self-Love and the Other.” Chapel, Ambrose University, January 15, 2019.