Dr Evija Trofimova
PhD in English, University of Auckland, 2012
MA in Humanities (English / Literature), with Distinction, University of Latvia, 2007
BA in Humanities (English), University of Latvia, 2004
Before I started my academic pursuits, I worked for many years as a journalist for Latvian media, writing mainly on music, film and literature. I am also an experienced translator, and I have kept my interest in working at the intersection of academe and practice, and in popularising research results to wider audiences beyond the university.
Research | Current
My research interests are interdisciplinary yet consistently focus on all kinds of writing, both as a process and outcome. The relationship between self, writing, technology and space in particular is an ongoing interest.
Under the auspices of CLeaR’s SEED (Schuler Educational Enhancement and Development) Fund grant, I have been working over the recent few years on a number of collaborative projects exploring the materiality of writing (in particular, digital handwriting), and writing-related emotions (especially, how scholarly ideals shape our self-perception as academics and writers). As of 2017, I’ve had the pleasure to steer CLeaR’s “Writing, writing everywhere” (WWE) project. Last year, it brought together over 30 writing-related teaching innovation projects, implemented by staff from across the university. Through these small-scale teaching interventions, as well as through workshops, and other writing-related initiatives and events, “Writing, writing everywhere” seeks innovative ways for teachers to engage students in writing more imaginatively, elegantly, critically, and… simply more. The rich teaching resources generated by these projects and initiatives have now been published on our new WWE website. Individually and collaboratively, I will continue to explore the theme in 2019, this time focussing on writing practices of academics, and the ways in which writing could be made more enjoyable.
My current research project studies the impact of digital writing tools on writing. I’m especially interested in the work of common corrective writing tools, whose algorithmic agency has become “invisible” to us due to its ubiquity (Grammarly, Ginger, Microsoft Word grammar checker, and other software). A strand of this project looks at how students use such tools, and what they learn (or not learn) from the experience.
Another individual research project, tentatively called “The New York Writing”, builds on my ongoing interest in the “artifactuality” of urban writing in the context of a number of contemporary New York prose authors. The project aims to fill the gap in current scholarship by asking how technology affects the writer’s perception of space – physical, virtual, mediated, imagined and written – and how particular locations and the “things” assembling them, including writing “hardware”, affect through their material potencies the outcomes of writing. It also revisits New York as a writing space – at once experiential, technological, cultural and imagined.
“The New York Writing” project grew out of my work on the writing habits and “habitats” of contemporary American author Paul Auster, the topic of my doctoral thesis. Taking Auster’s oeuvre (and in particular, his films and other collaborative projects) as a case study, I investigated the role of various writing technologies, concepts and spaces as one’s “writing tools”, and I performed creative-critical readings of Auster’s work in situ in New York. The resulting book, Paul Auster’s Writing Machine: A Thing to Write With, was first published by Bloomsbury Academic in 2014, and a new paperback edition was released in 2016. Reviewers have noted its theoretical astuteness, “trenchant analysis”, “deft deployment of methodological inventiveness” and “readerly zeal”.
The beginning of my interest in the relationship between cinema and literature was marked by my MA project (2007) which explored the cinematic qualities in Anglo-Japanese writer Kazuo Ishiguro’s early novels A Pale View of Hills and An Artist of the Floating World.
Critical thinking and theory; Poststructuralism; Thing theory / object-oriented ontology; Heuristic/performative research; Close reading
Teaching | Current
I am available for guest lectures and am interested in taking part in classroom experience as part of my research into teaching writing to students across the disciplines.
I have taught university courses in Writing Studies (academic writing, rhetoric, writing technologies, new media and digital literacy) and Cultural Studies (popular culture and media), and have also the skills and expertise to teach in the areas of English Literature (postmodern and North American literatures) and Critical Theory.
Between 2009 and 2012, I worked as Graduate Teaching Assistant in the English, Drama and Writing Studies discipline, and in 2016 returned to EDWS to convene and teach its flagship English literacies course, ENGLISH 121/121G: Reading/Writing/Text.
6 August 2018 - “Writing tips and writing tools” - COMMS 200: Writing in the Workplace, University of Auckland
29 March 2018 - “Writing and space” - COMMS 305: Writing Technology and Digital Culture, University of Auckland
1 Semester 2018 (multiple workshops) - “Academic Writing Support: Writing with Digital Tools”, ENGLISH 121/121G: Reading/Writing/Text, University of Auckland
13 March 2017 - “Punctuation”, ENGLISH 91F S1: Foundation English, University of Auckland
28 September 2016 - "Writing with Machines and Online Tools" (workshop), ENGLISH 121/121G: Reading/Writing/Text, University of Auckland
26 September 2016 - "Prosthetic Writing" - ENGLISH 263/354: Writing Selves, University of Auckland
12 October 2015 - “Je est un autre, or the Self in Writing,” ENGLISH 263/354: Writing Selves, University of Auckland
25 September 2012 - “What Is a Book?” ENGLISH 121/121G: Reading/Writing/Text, University of Auckland
13 September 2012- “Mechanical Production, Digital Reproduction and the Popular Book,” ENGLISH 257/363: Writing and Culture, University of Auckland
I am interested in supervising Masters and PhD students on writing-related topics, including:
materiality of reading and writing
writing and technology
SEED Fund Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, 2016
Faculty of Arts Doctoral Research Fund award, University of Auckland, 2011
English Department’s Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF) award, University of Auckland, 2011
International Doctoral Research Scholarship (NZIDRS), Education New Zealand, 2008-2011
Master’s Degree awarded with Distinction, University of Latvia, 2007
European Union’s Socrates/Erasmus exchange scholarship, 2005
State of Latvia Scholarship for Master’s Studies, University of Latvia, 2004-2007
The LU Rector’s Certificate of Recognition for scientific work (Bachelor’s paper) in Literature, Subfield of Comparative Literature, University of Latvia, 2004.
Areas of expertise
Postmodern literature and theory, American and European cultures and literatures, comparative studies, film studies, urban studies, psychogeography and performative research methods, critical thinking and rhetoric, writing studies, digital humanities, new media and writing technologies, and pedagogical practices related to those.
Writing Studies Board, Faculty of Arts (CleaR representative for Semester Two, 2016)
Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)
- Sword, H., Trofimova, E., & Ballard, M. (2018). Frustrated academic writers. Higher Education Research & Development, 37 (4), 852-867. 10.1080/07294360.2018.1441811
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Helen Sword
- Sword, H., Blumenstein, M., Kwan, A., Shen, L., & Trofimova, E. (2018). Seven Ways of Looking at a Data Set. Qualitative Inquiry, 107780041772984-107780041772984. 10.1177/1077800417729847
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Marion Blumenstein, Helen Sword, Alistair Kwan
- Trofimova, E. (2017). Closet writing. TEXT, 21 (1)
- Trofimova, E. (2014). The Story of the Typewriter: Paul Auster and His Writing Machine. So Multiples: revue française sur les éditions d'artistes contemporains (6), 54-72. Related URL.
- Trofimova, E. (2014). Paul Auster's writing machine: A thing to write with. London, UK: Bloomsbury Academic. Related URL.