Linda Munk scholarship winner Roshana Ghaedi finds inspiration at the intersection of law and literature

November 2, 2022 by Coby Zucker - A&S News

When Rose Ghaedi learned she was selected to receive the second annual Professor Linda Munk Graduate Futures Scholarship, she thought they might have the wrong person.

“I was very shocked,” she recalls, adding that the scholarship had an immediate impact in her life.

“This not only felt like a huge acknowledgement and validation of my efforts, but it also allowed me a lot more breathing room in terms of paying my combined law and English degree tuitions,” she says. "It allowed me to spend my summer as a research fellow for the National Association for Women and the Law advocating for feminist legal reform and putting together a free feminist climate justice law reform learning module, rather than being pressured to find higher paying but less rewarding and valuable work.”

Ghaedi, a second-year student in the combined law degree and master of arts program, is now entering the MA portion of her degree. After completing a bachelor of arts at Western University, Ghaedi says she knew she wanted to return home to Toronto. When she learned about the combined law and arts program U of T offered, she knew it was perfect for her.

 And receiving the Professor Linda Munk Graduate Futures Scholarship gave her reassurance that she was right where she belongs.

“It felt nice to be recognized in some way and to feel like the Faculty also feels like I belong here.”

After receiving the scholarship, Ghaedi dug into the history of the late Linda Munk, who earned her master of arts and PhD at U of T and was a faculty member in the Department of English until her retirement in 2003. Ghaedi also wrote to Munk’s children, Anthony Munk, Marc-David Munk and Nina Munk, to thank them for the scholarship they set up in honour of their mother.

“It felt nice to have a personal connection to the family that set this up and also just having time to put into words what it meant to me and the difference it made,” Ghaedi says.

Outside of being a hobbyist rock climber, Ghaedi devotes much of her free time to literature. Recently, she finds herself gravitating toward two literary genres: eco-poetry and — the subject Ghaedi hopes to explore in her master’s research — refugee studies.

“Specifically at the intersection of law and literature, with the literature element being the humanizing of people who have been denied citizenship,” she says. “And literature as a way of reintroducing that personhood.

“What's interesting to me about the eco-poetry and also personhood is that they're both situations where there's some inability of language to naturally do that. So there's that complexity of how to express something that seems a little bit inexpressible.”

For refugee literature and writing on the subject of personhood, Ghaedi points to Hannah Arendt’s influential essay “We Refugees,” as well as writers like Mahmoud Darwish, Behrooz Bouchani and Sam Selvon. As for eco-poetry, Ghaedi is particularly fond of Canadian poet Fred Wah. 

Ghaedi’s studies on the intersection of law and literature may lead her to work in copyright or publishing law post graduation. She wants to remain a part of the creative community and support people “who are trying to make things.”

“I hope that, with the help of this scholarship, I can spend the next two years finding ways to combine the legal and literary disciplines in meaningful and productive ways. I am extremely grateful for the chance to do so at an institution like the University of Toronto.”