Why Indigenous Literatures? Reading for Renewed Relationships in a Post-TRC Canada, by Aubrey Hanson (February 4th)
What possibilities do Indigenous literatures offer to renewing relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people? With the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report in 2015, many in Canada are considering what their roles might be in re-storying Indigenous presence. This presentation, given by Aubrey Jean Hanson of the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary, explored how Indigenous literatures can inspire change by disrupting colonial scripts and motivating relational understandings. Sharing perspectives from writers and from classroom teachers, this lecture sought to answer what implications Indigenous media offers for the Indigenization of Canadian cities.
Ms. Hanson is of Métis, Icelandic, and German ancestry and is from Calgary, Alberta. Her current research focuses on the relationships between Indigenous literatures, learning, and the resurgence of healthy Indigenous communities with an emphasis on Indigenous cultural expression in urban settings. Her recent work has received awards and support from the Killam Trusts and from the Métis Education Foundation.
The Indigenous Knowledge Holder Series, featuring
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson (February 9th-12th)
As part of the recently established Indigenous Studies Program, the Indigenous Knowledge Holder Series invites an Indigenous Knowledge Holder to spend a week at McGill and to share their scholarship, work, or advocacy.
For their inaugural series, the Indigenous Studies Program welcomed Dr. Leanne Betasamosake Simpson as the first Indigenous Knowledge Holder, participating in events held from February 9th-12th, 2016. Leanne spent a week at McGill, where she hosted a Student Writing Workshop, presented a lecture titled “Creating Decolonial Communities of Resurgence", and gave a talk on her book, Islands of Decolonial Love, during an Indigenous Studies class opened to all members of the public. She was also a keynote speaker at MISC's 2016 Annual Conference, "Canada on the Global Stage".
Mass Capture: Captivation and the Making of Non-Citizens, by Lily Cho (March 16th)
Just as citizens are made through a series of social, cultural, and political movements, non-citizens also emerge out of a complex process. It is not simply the case that non-citizens just happen to exist as refugees, immigrants, and indigenous peoples. Not only are non-citizens created - they are captured. Through an examination of the Chinese Head Tax levied on Chinese immigrants to Canada between 1885 and 1923, Lily Cho's lecture explored the argument that the practice of "mass capture" is a technology central to the making of non-citizens in Canada.
Lily Cho is an Associate Professor at York University whose reserach focuses on diasporic subjectivity within the fields of cultural studies, postcolonial literature and theory, and Asian North American and Canadian literature.
2016 Winter Eakin Lecture - The Cultures of Consumption in Canada: Retail Therapy in Downtown Calgary by Kit Dobson (March 17th)
The 2016 Winter Eakin lecture examined cultures of consumption in downtown Calgary, analyzing works of film and writing to explore what it means to shop, buy, and consume in Calgary. A part of Dobson’s ongoing research and writing on shopping and mall spaces in Canada, this talk discussed the culture of Calgary's downtown and argued for its fragility, its impermanence, and for the flickering moments in which it contributes to how we understand the formation of community and culture in the 21st century.
Kit Dobson is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at Mount Royal University. He is the author and editor of several works, including the monograph Transnational Canadas: Anglo-Canadian Literature and Globalization. He is also a member of the Board of the non-profit Edmonton-based publisher NeWest Press. His current research project is a book-length study of malls, consumerism, and shopping as a practice of everyday life, an examination that encompasses Canadian literature, art, and film. View the lecture here or view photos here. (credit: Owen Egan)
The 2016 J.R. Mallory Lecture: “The State of Our Institutions: A Symposium in Honour of James Mallory” (March 23rd)
The 2016 edition of the Winter Mallory Lecture took place on March 23rd and was centered on discussing the state of government institutions. The keynote speech, presented by columnist Andrew Coyne, was followed by a panel of political scientists who shared their thoughts and perspectives on the state of our nation's parliamentary institutions.
"Québec, the Cree, and the James Bay Project in a Hemispheric Perspective" by James Rice (April 13th)
On Wednesday, April 13, Professor James Rice of SUNY Plattsburgh presented a lecture on a familiar subject in the modern history of Québec: the story of Hydro-Québec’s James Bay Project. Although this story is in many respects unique to Québec, Rice's arguments demonstrated through a comparative perspective that it is also part of broader historical patterns that can be discerned elsewhere in the Americas.
Professor Rice specializes in early American, Native American, and environmental history and has also taught at the University of Maryland and Tübingen University. His publications include Nature and History in the Potomac Country: From Hunter-Gatherers to the Age of Jefferson and Tales from a Revolution: Bacon’s Rebellion and the Transformation of Early America. Read about his work and current projects here.
Indigenous Studies Program presents a free screening of "The Pass System" (September 19th)
The Indigenous Studies program, in partnership with SEDE, First Peoples' House, the Department of History, and the Faculty of Law, presented a free screening of director Alex William's acclaimed documentary, "The Pass System". The screening was followed by a panel discussion with past SEDE Director Alex Williams, Winona Wheeler, Katsi'tsakwas Ellen Gabriel, Orenda Boucher-Gurotte, Sandra-Lyn Kahsennano:ron Leclaire and Allan Downey.
View photos of the event here.
Fall 2016 Eakin Lecture - "The Shubenacadie Residential School and the Dream of Modern Statehood” by Dr. Karen Murray (October 20th)
The scholarly literature has not yet appreciated the importance of the relationship between the pan-territorial residential school system ideal and Canada’s quest for recognition as a modern state. This paper focuses on the establishment of the Shubenacadie Residential School - the final regional frontier in the system - which opened in 1930. Drawing upon Walter Benjamin’s “principle of montage,” the analysis juxtaposes three moments that tell the story of the imagination, realization, and securitization of the pan-territorial ideal made manifest in the only school of its kind set up in the Maritimes. While the residential school system's internalized violence is now widely recognized, through the Shubenacadie Residential School we see how state violence against Indigenous Peoples, including children, was a characteristic feature of the system and modernity itself.
View photos of the lecture here.
Book Launch: "Trudeaumania: the Rise to Power of Pierre Elliott Trudeau " by Robert Wright (October 28th)
An evening with bestselling author, Professor Robert Wright, to celebrate the publication of his latest book, "Trudeaumania: The Rise to Power of Pierre Elliott Trudeau". Professor Wright joined MISC Director, Andrew Potter, for a conversation about Pierre Trudeau and the incredible period leading up to the decisive election of 1968. In advance of the event, Wright spoke to the McGill Reporter about Pierre Trudeau “the visionary” and compared his rise power to Justin Trudeau’s victory in the 2015 federal election. Read his Four Burning Questions on the McGill Reporter here.
View photos here.
L'affaire Lagacé: A Free Press in the Surveillance State (November 10th)
The tapping of journalists' phones by Montreal police and the SQ raises extremely troubling questions about the ability or even willingness of public officials to safeguard the integrity and the freedom of the press. We have convened a panel of experts to debate what officials should do, and how journalists can protect themselves, in an age of digital surveillance.
A panel discussion took place on November 10th with media lawyer Mark Bantey, partner at Gowling WLG; McGill law professor Fabien Gélinas; Caroline Locher, Executive Director of Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec (FPJQ); and Yann Pineau, Senior Director, Continuous Improvement, La Presse.
Moderated by MISC Director, Andrew Potter; with opening remarks from former publisher, Michael Goldbloom, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Bishop’s University.
Exporting and Defending : “Marriage”: Canada, Gay and Lesbian Marriage, and the International Implications (November 28th)
In 2005, Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize gay and lesbian marriages (after the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain). This contemporary development has a lengthy history, dating back to the 1970s and gay liberationist activism. Alongside this national history of marriage redefinition was an equally interesting international development, where Canada and in particular, Toronto, where marriages were first legalized in 2003, became the centre of an activist, queer marriage “industry”. This paper historicizes how Canada, a country not known for queer activism, became a “destination” location for queer couples, exported marriage “activists” internationally, and, in so doing, helped to redefine “marriage” for the 21st century.