AHCS at McGill, 2008-2009

April 20 (Monday)

Charmaine Nelson, Associate Professor, Department of Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University.

Event: Roundtable discussion of "The Humanities, the University, and the Public Good" for the inaugural celebration of the cross-disciplinary initiative The Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas.


  • Robert Gibbs, Director, Jackman Humanities Institute, University of Toronto
  • Nancy Adler, Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill
  • Roderick Macdonald, Faculty of Law, McGill
  • Charmaine Nelson, Faculty of Arts, McGill
  • Moderator: Paul Yachnin, Faculty of Arts, McGill

Location: Moyse Hall, Arts Building, 12:30pm to 2pm.

Vukov lecture

April 6 (Monday)

Dr. Tamara Vukov, FQRSC Postdoctoral Fellow based in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies and Media@McGill.

Public talk: "Noborder Media: Some Thoughts on the Work of Activist Media / Art in Migrant Justice Movements."

Location: Media@McGill, Ferrier Building (840 Dr. Penfield), Room 230, 4-6 pm.

Abstract: This talk will present my recent research into some of the media activist and art practices that have emerged from migrant justice organizing networks in a number of locales in the global North over the past ten years. Challenging the increasing regimes of closure and securitization of migration in Fortress Europe and Fortress North America from an anti-deportation/anti-detention perspective, these noborder networks have mobilized a range of flexible, innovative activist media and art practices in contesting the current governmental regulation of migration – from the anti-deportation campaigns targeting Lufthansa and KLM initiated by kein mensch ist illegal (no one is illegal) in Germany, to a series of Noborder camps, to more recent media and tactical art projects, activist video, and sound art (Ostojic, Ramujkic, Les Lucioles, Kanak Attack, SchleuserNet). Drawing on elements of participatory activist and militant research practices, this talk proposes to initiate a mapping of and reflection on the tactics and practices at work in what Angela Mitropoulos calls "noborder media" and its role in the articulation of translocal movements for justice and freedom of movement for migrants and undocumented people.

April 3 (Friday)

Charmaine Nelson, Associate Professor, Department of Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University.

Event: "Back Off! : Dissident Representations in Art and Social Movements."

Location: The CEDA - 2515 Delisle street, near Lionel-Groulx metro, 12:30pm to 9pm.

April 2 (Thursday)

Dana Broadbent and Jessica Wurster, PhD Candidates, McGill University, Department of Art History and Communication Studies.

Event: AHCS Graduate Student Speaker Series.

Location: Arts W-220, 5:30pm.

March 19 (Thursday)

Event: Cyberspace Invaders: A Panel Discussion on the "Net Neutrality" debate and Activist/Student Resources for Getting Involved.

Sponsored by Borderless World Volunteers (BWV)

Location: Bronfman Building, Room 151, 5:30pm-7:30pm
Facilitator: Flo Schade, BWV Vice President (514-814-3919).


Cameron McApline - Former Communications Advisor to M2z Networks, and current Account Manager at Optimum Public Relations in Toronto.

Leslie Shade - Associate Professor of Media Studies and MA Program Director, Concordia University.

Becky Lentz - Assistant Professor of Media and Public Policy, Department of Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University.


  • Internet Infrastructure and its consequences for freedom of expression
  • Under the Hood: the technical process of internet distribution from the perspective of a service provider
  • Now that you know why you should care, how can YOU get involved!

This year BWV will be holding a panel discussion on the topic of Net Neutrality. The discussion will revolve around current internet infrastructure and the user's position within it. The aim is to explore the dynamic between internet service providers and clients to expose unconstitutional, unethical, and possibly abusive business practices which constrict the potential of free speech and self-determination online.

This subject is one incredibly worthy of attention because it is purposefully underplayed in mainstream media although it is vitally formative to contemporary life. The internet is now the most widely used medium for human organization, communication, information, personal expression, and a myriad of other social, cultural, political, and economic functions.

Service providers are restricting speeds, monitoring files, and withholding technology, among other things, in an effort to eventually complete the commodification of the internet. Through practices that the average user cannot even see let alone understand, the freedom of the public to use the web as an open forum of communication is being jeopardized.

The panel discussion will aim to educate the average user on the concept of Net Neutrality- unrestricted, egalitarian access to and movement on the internet and why this matters to every individual who uses it. As well the audience will be informed of how the infrastructural system generally runs, i.e., current business practices, legal rights of provider and consumer, and what people can do to maintain the integrity of the internet.

March 19 (Thursday)

Andrea Braithwaite and Max Ubelaker Andrade, PhD Candidates, McGill University, Department of Art History and Communication Studies.

Event: AHCS Graduate Student Speaker Series.

Andrea Braithwaite

"Labourious Femininity: Compulsion, Choice, and Self-Care"

Abstract: In popular culture, the postfeminist chick is typified by her 'empowerment' - her freedom to choose, her sassy sexuality, her equal footing with men. She is also recognizable by her characteristic anxiety and confessed insecurities about her appearance, skills, and future. These tropes collide in the concept of the "belaboured self," an approach to female subjectivity that situates care of the self as an unending form of labour and self-surveillance amidst countless cultural injunctions to be better, do better, look better. Chicks are simultaneously enthusiastic and hesitant about this work, an affective ambivalence best understood through Lauren Berlant's notion of the "juxtapolitical." By combining the concepts of the belaboured self and the juxtapolitical in an investigation of chick texts, we can begin to nuance the notions of agency, empowerment, and choice, as well as gain greater analytical purchase on the discourses through which these terms claim to represent women's experiences.

Max Ubelaker Andrade

"The Limit of the Fractal Curve in José Donoso's 'El obsceno pájaro de la noche'"

Abstract: In José Donoso's famously labyrinthine novel, 'El obsceno pájaro de la noche,' the notion of an essential limit of human order is developed as a central theme. Often this limit is understood as it relates to language and textual order. This paper seeks to bring attention to the spatial nature of the problem through the use of a cartographic framework-specifically the promise of Benoit Mandelbrot's fractal geometry as a tool for describing the complexity of real topographies. We will additionally visit Lucretius' 'De Rerum Natura' as an attempt to confidently communicate spatial order through language despite the challenges of scale.

Location: Arts W-220, 5:30pm.

February 20 (Friday)

Valerie Pocock-Beheiry, PhD Candidate, McGill University, Department of Art History and Communication Studies.

Event: PhD Oral Defense - "Cartographies of Cloth: Mapping the Veil in Contemporary Art".

Location: Ferrier Building, Room 230, 10:15 am.

February 11 (Wednesday)

Angela Vanhaelen

Angela Vanhaelen, Associate Professor, Department of Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University.

Lecture: "Making Sex Public in Dutch Children's Prints" (as part of McGill's Making Publics (MaPs) project).

Location: Ferrier Building, Room 230, 4:00 pm.