Faculty of Arts News Roundup: October 2020

Read the latest op-eds, articles, publications, and news from members of our Arts community.

Media Mentions & Interviews

Six ways adults can help children make sense of a divisive election

The Washington Post, 29 October 2020

Teach kids the distinction between respecting the office and respecting the officeholder, too, said Jacob T. Levy, Tomlinson Professor of Political Theory at McGill University and author of the book “Rationalism, Pluralism, and Freedom.” “We don’t want children to overvalue political leaders, to exaggerate their moral importance or assume that whoever won should have won.” When we view leaders as villains or heroes, he noted, we can get complacent.

COVID-19 on the rise in Parc-Extension as some fear getting tested and losing income

Global News, 29 October 2020

McGill professor of social work Jill Hanley works in the area at the local CIUSS or regional health authority. She also doesn’t believe residents would knowingly put anyone at risk. But she does acknowledge some people may not get tested if they’re working in a factory where someone may have been exposed, for example. “I think we are putting people into terrible ethical dilemmas and people are having to make very difficult choices,” Hanley said.

His dad invoked the War Measures Act 50 years ago. Now some want Justin Trudeau to say sorry

The Toronto Star, 28 October 2020

Daniel Béland is a professor at McGill University and director of the school’s Quebec Studies program. He said the Bloc motion appears to simplify the complex reality of the October Crisis, which he described as a seminal event in the history of Quebec nationalism. “I don’t think you can just put the blame on the federal government,” he said, describing a sense of panic after the kidnappings of Cross and Laporte that prompted requests from Quebec politicians for Ottawa’s intervention.

Des élections partielles, mais pas générales : un jeu politique dit Annamie Paul

Radio-Canada, 23 octobre 2020

Reste à voir si les électeurs seront plus réticents à sortir le jour du vote, lundi prochain. L’effet COVID-19, bien que pas déterminant, pourrait décourager les électeurs à faible revenu et les travailleurs essentiels de se présenter aux urnes, selon le politologue de l’Université McGill, Daniel Béland.

Can Quebec find a balance between a lockdown and freedom?

CBC News, 16 October 2020

In trying to thread that needle, the Quebec government drafted a long, complex list of activities that were prohibited or allowed only under certain circumstances. The confusion left many exasperated. "People are confused about what the rules are because they are highly specific," said Erin Strumpf, a health economics expert at McGill.

Barrett’s Evasions Show Why Expanding the Court Is Necessary

The Nation, 14 October 2020

Court expansion is necessary not just to rebalance the court, but also to offer a remedy for the corruption that created the problem in the first place. As McGill University political scientist Jacob T. Levy shrewdly noted, court expansion offends the Republican legal establishment precisely because it would mean that their deal with the devil didn’t work.

University students remain closely tied to their parents—emotionally and otherwise

Maclean's, 8 October 2020

Experts aren’t surprised by these results. According to Sarah Brauner–Otto, an associate professor in the department of sociology at McGill University and a social demographer who studies global family change, your most important relationships are not necessarily with those you spend the most time with, but with the people who shape your life. (That’s why it also makes sense that the second-most common answer is a romantic partner.)

Et maintenant, que pourrait-il arriver ?

La Presse, 3 octobre 2020

En 1919, le président Woodrow Wilson est tombé très malade et a subi une attaque cérébrale, mais ses médecins, sa femme et sa garde rapprochée ont caché sa maladie jusqu’à la fin de son mandat en 1921, rappelle Jason Opal, professeur d’histoire à l’Université McGill. 

As cases soar, Quebec's premier must confront a health crisis and fraying social bonds

CBC News, 2 October 2020

The easy way out of this cycle is having public health rules that are widely accepted. Rex Brynen, a political science professor at McGill University, often explains the concept of legitimacy to his students by using the example of a driver who stops at a stop sign on a country road, in the middle of the night, when no one else is around.

Op-eds & Articles

Say Breonna Taylor’s name, again

Debra Thompson, The Globe & Mail, 1 October 2020

Breonna Taylor is dead. She was incontrovertibly killed by police gunfire on March 13. A grand jury, convened by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, decided last week that none of the police officers involved in the shooting would face homicide charges – not even involuntary manslaughter. Instead, one of the officers, former Louisville police detective Brett Hankison, was indicted on three charges of wanton endangerment. The bullets that pierced the apartment next to Ms. Taylor’s were of more legal consequence than those that ended her life. Here we are again.

Honoring The Dishonorable, Part 2: The Dishonorable Living

Jacob T. Levy, Niskanen Center, 9 September 2020

In my previous essay, I argued—with some help from Adam Smith’s moral psychology—that political life typically includes an excessive eagerness to admire and celebrate the powerful, to overstate the moral merit of those who rule, and to understate their moral faults. This, I think, helps us  understand the over-commemoration of political and military leaders who used their power for such evil ends as the protection and spread of slavery. It helps us to explain the widespread—albeit, at the current moment, weakening—insistence that statues and memorials honor those who used their power dishonorably must remain in place. It also helps us to think about those who are alive and using their power badly today.

New Publications

The Republic of Venice: De magistratibus et republica Venetorum

Filippo Sabetti

In this new edition of a book originally published in Latin in 1543 in Paris, Professor Filippo Sabetti (Political Science) draw attention to what makes the Republic of Venice still the longest lived self-constituted Republic – all the more important when social scientists are now increasingly focusing on the reasons why nations fail and democracies die.

Capable Women, Incapable States: Negotiating Violence and Rights in India

Poulami Roychowdury

 In Capable Women, Incapable States: Negotiating Violence and Rights in India (Oxford University Press), Professor Poulami Roychowdhury (Sociology) shows how illegality is central to the exercise of citizenship rights in India. Women stake claims by mobilizing organized support, threatening law enforcement personnel, and doing the work of the state themselves.

Aggression in Pornography

Eran Shor and Kimberly Seida

Professor Eran Shor's (Sociology) book, Aggression in Pornography, was written together with McGill Sociology PhD student Kimberly Seida and published by Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group). It examines what we know, what we think we know, and what are some surprising research findings and insights about the place of aggression within pornography today.

Us versus Them: Race, Crime, and Gentrification in Chicago Neighborhoods

Jan Doering

Professor Jan Doering’s (Sociology) new book Us versus Them: Race, Crime, and Gentrification in Chicago Neighborhoods (Oxford University Press) examines conflicts about over policing, crime, and gentrification in racially diverse neighborhoods in the age of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.

The Retrospective Imagination of A. B. Yehoshua

Yael Halevi-Wise

Professor Yael Halevi-Wise (English, Jewish Studies) has a forthcoming book coming out this December on Israel’s premier contemporary author, A.B. Yehoshua. Each of the book’s seven chapters employs a different method to showcase how Yehoshua’s constructions of character psychology, social relations, national history, and historiosophic allusions to traditional Jewish symbols manifest themselves across his novels.

Richard Rolle: On Lamentations

Michael Van Dussen

In this volume, Professor Michael Van Dussen (English) presents the first study, critical edition, and translation of one of the earliest works by Richard Rolle (c. 1300-1349), a hermit and mystic whose works were widely read in England and on the European continent into the early modern period.

Diplomacy and the Modern Novel: France, Britain, and the Mission of Literature

Isabelle Daunais and Allan Hepburn (eds.)

Professors Isabelle Daunais (DLTC) and Allan Hepburn (English) present this collection of essays, where eleven contributors reflect on diplomacy in French and British novels, with particular focus on temporality, style, comedy, characterization, and the professional liabilities attached to representing a state abroad.

Who Was Doris Hedges?: The Search for Canada's First Literary Agent

Robert Lecker

Professor Robert Lecker (English) provides a detailed account of Doris Hedges' remarkable career. Hedges published several novels, short stories, and books of poetry, moved in Montreal literary circles, did a stint as a radio broadcaster, and provided reports to the Wartime Information Board during the Second World War, possibly as an American spy.

Little Resilience: The Ryerson Poetry Chap-Books

Eli Maclaren

Professor Eli Maclaren (English) analyzes the formation of the Ryerson Poetry Chap-Books in the wake of the First World War, at a time when small presses had proliferated across the United States. Edited by Lorne Pierce, the series lasted for thirty-seven years (1925-62) and comprised two hundred titles by writers from Newfoundland to British Columbia, over half of whom were women. 

At Penpoint: African Literatures, Postcolonial Studies, and the Cold War

Monica Popescu

In At Penpoint, Professor Monica Popescu (English) traces the development of African literature during the second half of the twentieth century to address the intertwined effects of the Cold War and decolonization on literary history.

Redlining Culture: A Data History of Racial Inequality and Postwar Fiction

Richard Jean So

Professor Richard Jean So (English) draws on big data, literary history, and close readings to offer an unprecedented analysis of racial inequality in American publishing that reveals the persistence of an extreme bias toward white authors. 

Interpreting Modernity: Essays on the Work of Charles Taylor

Daniel M. Weinstock, Jacob T. Levy and Jocelyn Maclure (eds.)

Professor Jacob T. Levy (Tomlinson Professor of Political Theory, Political Science) and colleagues Professor Daniel Weinstock (Law) and Jocelyn Maclure (ULaval) have co-edited a book on the work of Professor Emeritus Charles Taylor, which includes analyses of Taylor's writings by other prominent philosophers and political theorists.

Awards & Research Grants

Associate Professor of Political Science Leo Baccini won a prestigious residential fellowship at Stanford’s Hoover Institution this year. The Hoover Institution is a public policy think tank that aims to promote the principles of individual, economic, and political freedom. 

Professor of Art History Gloria Bell has been awarded the Terra Foundation's 2020 Affiliated Fellowship in Rome for her project Eternal Sovereigns: Indigenous Artists, Activists, and Travelers Reframing Rome. The Terra Foundation for American Art is dedicated to fostering exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States for national and international audiences. 

Other News

On November 4, Professor Jacob Levy will deliver the 31st annual McDonald Lecture in Constitutional Studies at the Centre for Constitutional Studies at the University of Alberta, on "The Separation of Powers and the Challenge to Constitutional Democracy." The lecture will be delivered remotely, and you can register here

A new McGill blog, Indigenous Network McGill, has been launched! The blog is designed to provide a centralized resource for news, events, and information relating to the Indigenous community and Indigeneity at McGill. Anyone interested can subscribe to a weekly email digest by clicking on the link under "Subscribe" in the right sidebar. To suggest a blog post (for an event, good news, resources, opportunities, or other information), please email: indigenousnetwork [at] mcgill.ca.


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