Department of English


English Language and Literature

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Photo: Laura Murray

Laura Murray


PhD Cornell 

  • community-based and oral history
  • southern Ontario treaty and Indigenous history
  • US literature before 1865, particularly focussing on urban life, media, gender, race, Indigenous experience
  • North American history in relation to immigration, colonialism, Indigenous experience, history of the book
  • CV/Bio (PDF 579 KB)

My research and teaching interests are diverse (19th century American literature, copyright and cultural policy, Indigenous history and literatures, oral and community history), but there are some common threads among them: I am interested in language, narrative, and culture as they emerge from ordinary and quotidian contexts, and I am interested in the relationships between social justice, law, and media. I’m also a history nerd. My current research and teaching focuses on the treaty history of Kingston and what it might mean to us today. I love archives, but I practice oral history as well and am committed to drawing from and contributing to knowledge outside the academy. Check out blog and podcasts at Another area of research and teaching is nineteenth-century American media landscapes, where I seek both contrasts and connections between today’s issues such as fake news and information overload and the challenges of the early days of mass media in the 1830s. I am interested in supervising students focused on community-engaged methodologies, media studies, colonial literatures and early Indigenous writing, and nineteenth-century US literatures.


2020-21 Courses

  • ENGL 816 Topics in Literary Study II: Talking on the Page: Oral History as Art and Testimony

Research in progress

  • Swamp Ward and Inner Harbour History Project:
  • Research on Crawford Purchase and Mississauga territories, ongoing

Recent Publications

“Settler and Indigenous Stories of Kingston/Ka’tarohkwi: A Casy Study in Critical Heritage Pedagogy.” Journal of Canadian Studies 52.1 (winter 2018): 249-279.

Stories of the Swamp Ward – a series of 6 audio documentaries.

“Beyond Sir John: Unsettling Public Memory in Kingston, Ontario.” With Paul Carl. Journal of Critical Race Inquiry 3.1 (2016): 61-86.

Putting Intellectual Property in its Place: Rights Discourses, Creative Labor, and the Everyday. With S. Tina Piper and Kirsty Robertson. Oxford University Press, 2014.

Canadian Copyright: A Citizens’ Guide. With Samuel E. Trosow. Toronto: Between the Lines Press, 2007. Second edition 2013.

“Exchange Practices Among Nineteenth-century US Newspaper Editors: Cooperation in Competition.” Katherine Strandburg, Michael Madison, and Brett Frischmann, eds., Governing Knowledge Commons. NY: Oxford University Press, 2014.

“Appropriation Appropriated: Ethical, Artistic and Legal Debates in Canada.” With Kirsty Robertson. Teresa Scassa and Mistrale Goudreau, eds., Intellectual Property for the 21st Century: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Intellectual Property Law. Toronto: Irwin Law, 2013.


  • Principal’s Education Leadership Award (2018)
  • Award of Merit from the Rideau Waterway Landscape Strategy Team, Parks Canada (for work on the Swamp Ward and Inner Harbour History Project) (2017)