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McGill Reporter
October 28, 2004 - Volume 37 Number 04
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Around campus

CAPS off to communications career

It's Canada Career Week and all across the country people are celebrating this annual event in the traditional way: gathering with friends and family around the job board, decorating the classified section of the local newspaper with colourful highlighter markers and plastering the town with artfully crafted resumes.

Caption follows
Bob McDonald of CBC's Quirks and Quarks
Courtesy of the CBC

Here at McGill, things are a little more practical. The second annual Career Week Student Conference is entitled "Careers in Communications: Be an Ally."

Bob McDonald, host of CBC Radio's "Quirks and Quarks" science news show, is the keynote speaker.

"He's been a journalist for many years, and has developed this particular specialty in science, even though he doesn't have a science background himself," said Gregg Blachford, director of Career and Placement Services (CAPS).

McDonald was invited to speak to share his expertise, but how he was invited illustrates the theme this year's conference. One of the CAPS staff's stepson's mother is dating McDonald — that's networking in action.

Other events include workshops and networking opportunities that will allow students with an interest in communication to meet and learn from writers, editors, broadcasters and publishers. Professionals will share their tips on how to get into public relations, journalism, science writing and editing as careers.

"Careers in Communications: Be an Ally" runs from November 2 to November 4. Registration required. Schedule and online registration at

Spooky fun for all

Little known to much of the McGill community, the Morgan Arboretum, a sleepy forest in the West Island, is a land of myth and legend. Stars shoot and meteors glare more often across its sky than in any other part of the country. As local villagers huddle in the night, their windows shuttered against the cold air, they tell stories of how the land is stalked by nightmares and creatures of sinister and malevolent aspect.

Pumpkin carving of Nevermore raven
Courtesy of

What better place to have a Halloween party for the kids? On October 30, as the sun sets red in the west and the gloom descends upon the wood, eerie lights will appear on a darkened path, and pumpkins, with guttering flames within, will cast light from the ghoulish grins, carved by some chthonic hand.

As they proceed down a rough and crooked path, travellers are told of strange doings in these woods, events beyond the ken of mortal men. Beware the rustling in the trees — what spirits haunt this infernal place? Is that a man, or only the light playing tricks?

Catch your breath. Anne Godbout of the Arboretum explains that it will actually be John Abbott theatre students, acting the part in a spooky story written expressly to give the kids a frightfully good time on Halloween. Walking along the trail in the Arboretum, groups will be entertained with tales and meet various characters en route to a haunted house in the woods. Haunted, yes, but by hospitable ghosts: there's hot chocolate and snacks for everyone at the end — if your hands aren't shaking too much to hold the mug.

Saturday, October 30, 6:30 to 9 pm. The party and storytelling tour will be in French and English. $5 per person, reserve by calling 398-7811. For ages 6 and up.

Political theatre

In the '80s, Sheila Copps made her name as a member of the Liberal "Brat Pack" that faced off against the Mulroney Conservatives, famously telling Cabinet Minister John Crosbie that she was "nobody's baby." This phrase became the title of her first book.

Caption follows
Sheila Copps
Courtesy of the Lavin Agency

Thanks in large part to Paul Martin, Copps is now out of politics. Her abrupt exit has allowed her to indulge her interests: she was recently cast in a dinner theatre production of Steel Magnolias; she has also, to the consternation of many in the PMO's office, written another book.

Copps will be speaking at McGill for the annual Muriel V. Roscoe Lecture, sponsored by the McGill Centre for Teaching and Research on Women and the McGill Women's Alumnae Association. The title of the talk is "Canadian Woman: Whither Goest Thou?" We suspect that there may be some chance that the contents of her latest book, Worth Fighting For — already making headlines for its insider's take on the Liberal government and Paul Martin — may come up in discussion over the course of the evening.

Tuesday, November 2, at 6 pm, Leacock 132. Admission is free. Worth Fighting For will be on sale on the premises. Call 398-3911, ext. 3, for details.

Hacking on the body

Ian Hacking is a man who is trying to put the soul back into the body. The renowned philosopher will speak at McGill to deliver the annual Osler Lecture on the History of Medicine on November 3.

Caption follows
A photo illustration of Ian Hacking, cosmonaut
Photo: Katie Haigh, Montage: Yan Gilbert

"His speciality is on the relation of mind and body, not just in philosophy but also in medicine," said Faith Wallis, social studies of medicine professor.

Hacking decries the modern tendency to think of the brain as analogous to a computer, and of the body as a machine. The two are intertwined, a realization that physicians are now trying to come to grips with, especially at McGill's Faculty of Medicine (it was Dean Abe Fuks who suggested the Osler Society invite Hacking).

"Medicine has painted itself into this materialistic corner where physicians are technicians," said Wallis, explaining that doctors view the body as a machine that can be fixed, rather than as part of a person.

Hacking's work, which draws heavily on the historical analysis of medicine, looks to a more holistic approach. Originally from Vancouver, Hacking is currently a professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Toronto and has been elected to a permanent chair at the Collège de France. He has written several books, including The Taming of Chance, Rewriting the Soul: Multiple Personality and the Sciences, Mad Travellers: Reflections on the Reality of Transient Mental Illness and The Social Construction of What?

"Analogue Bodies, Digital Minds," Ian Hacking, 6 pm, McIntyre Medical Building, Charles F. Martin Amphitheatre, Rm 504. Information: 398-6034.

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