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April 11, 2002 New research fellows celebrated: Tom Waugh and Natalie Phillips



Tom Waugh, Natalie Phillips

Research fellows Tom Waugh (Cinema) and Natalie Phillips (Psychology)

Photo by Andrew Dobrowolskyj

by Barbara Black

It has become a Concordia tradition. A breakfast reception was held April 4 at the Château Versailles hotel on Sherbrooke St. W. to honour this year’s University Research Fellows, Professors Thomas Waugh and Natalie Phillips.

As Rector Frederick Lowy said at the gathering, research has grown exponentially in recent years at the university, though it came late. Concordia’s two founding institutions, Sir George Williams University and Loyola College, put their emphasis on teaching and service.

Dean of Graduate Studies and Research Claude Bédard agreed, and said that these two appointments bring the number of University Research Fellows to 10 — and it’s still hard to choose from among the worthy nominees.

Tom Waugh is at the peak of a career notable for both originality and mentorship. He has been a teacher of cinema at Concordia since 1976, and has become a leading expert in his field, sexual representation in the cinema, Canadian cinema, queer cinema, and photography. He has published three books (two of them since 1996) and he has two more in progress.

The Fruit Machine,
published in 2000, is a collection of his essays since 1976, and is a rich resource for anyone exploring the political and social history of the gay and lesbian liberation movement. Hard to Imagine, published in 1996, was the first and most comprehensive history of gay male erotic photography and film.

Waugh is also the founder of Concordia’s program in interdisciplinary studies in sexuality, and initiated the lecture series in HIV/AIDS, one of the most exciting and well-attended events at Concordia. Through his involvement with the program, he has provided advising and mentoring to students in Cinema and other departments, as well as providing accurate and insightful information to the Montreal community as a whole.

The Maclean’s magazine national survey cited him as one of the reasons to choose Concordia’s cinema program over similar programs in Canada.

Natalie Phillips has had her PhD for only seven years, but her accomplishments within the Centre for Research in Human Development (CRDH) in the Department of Psychology are impressive, especially since much of her effort in her first years here has had to be directed towards building a functioning laboratory for doing evoked-potentials research.

Her approach, which uses neuroimaging and neuropsychological techniques in the study of cognitive aging, is both timely and methodologically sound, and is likely to add significantly to the theoretical understanding of the mechanism involved in language processing, as well as the nature of age differences in these mechanisms. She is doing research on both normal aging and on Alzheimer’s disease.

As University Research Fellows, Phillips and Waugh received a plaque and a cash award of $5,000. In return, they are asked to give a public lecture, which each will do sometime soon.