Beverley Diamond

“Re” Thinking: Revitalization, Return, and Reconciliation in Contemporary Indigenous Expressive Culture.

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Michaëlle Jean and Jean-Daniel Lafond

TO THE ARTS, CITIZENS! : Social Mediation through the Arts

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Dr. Kwame Anthony Appiah

Society Matters: why should we value the Humanities?

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James Bartleman

Residential Schools: Have we forgotten our responsibility?

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Weaver, Johnson and Chuenpagdee

How Do We Build Resilient Communities in the Face of Climate Change?

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Gérard Bouchard and Graham Fraser

Pluralist Societies: what's their future?

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David Adams Richards

Threatened Identity: what do we lose when we lose the sense of place?

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Chief Shawn Atleo

First Nations Education: Can we afford to miss out?

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Antonine Maillet

Giving voice: Who speaks for the forgotten?

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Andrew Weaver, climatologist

How can Canadians keep their cool in a warming world?

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climate change panel

Europe wants to attract canadian scholars


The European Union seeks to develop collaboration with overseas scholars, among which Canadians. In partnership with the three funding bodies and various departments and agencies, an organization, ERA-Can, has been created with the purpose of making the funding opportunities better known. Era –Can was at Congress 2011 to meet with Canadian Sociological association (on June 1st) and with the Canadian association for the studies of Cooperation, on June 2nd.

ERA-Can’s purpose is to bring help and information to Canadian scholars who would like to work with Europe by setting up meetings and doing presentations on the 7th Framework Program (7FP), the EU research funding program.

Many Canadians are already involved and benefit from that funding.
To get more information please look at the  CSA presentation and the CACS presentation.

Also, here you can have a look at the 7FP portal, on the European commission website.

Congress 2011 in pictures

UNB/STU Campus

With 5 000 delegates on a campus for a week, there are plenty of great Kodack moments

We have a few photos shot at Congress 2011 here for your viewing pleasure.

Photos are made available thanks to UNB Media Services and Jared Morrison.

Big Thinking lectures at Congress 2011


Here are videos of the Big Thinking lectures series. The videos are in the language of presentations.

Chief Wilton Littlechild
Truth and Recnciliation: What does the future hold?

Antonine Maillet
Giving Voice: Who speaks for the forgotten?

David Adams Richards
Threatened Identity: What do we lose when we lose the sense of place?

Chief Shawn Atleo
First Nations Education: Can we afford to miss out?

Panel: Weaver, Johnson, Chuenpagdee, Mauro
How Do We Build Resilient Communities in the Face of Climate Change?

James Bartleman
Residential Schools: Have we forgotten our responsibility?

Gérard Bouchard, Graham Fraser
Pluralist Societies: What’s their future?

(Français) Les défis de l’immigration au Nouveau-Brunswick


Sorry, this entry is only available in Français.

RYME Group: Music to Youth’s Education System’s Ears

Four members of the Research for Youth, Music, and Education (RYME) group gathered at UNB’s Marshall D’Avary Hall on Tuesday, May 31st to present a new, mind-broadening study on child education and its future outlook towards art and the media.

Susan O’Neil, Project Director of RYME, opened the lecture by explaining the general importance of music and human’s natural born connection to this form of art. “While in the womb, you know that you are involved in that culture, you know that you can hear music in the womb,” says O’Neil. “We know that infants show memory for music after they’re born. There’s so much research being done to show we have a lot going on musically.”

The group of researchers has studied children’s reactions and cognitive abilities towards music through analytic processes and by interviewing Vancouver and Ontario Middle and Secondary School students.

They have narrowed their research by gaining philosophical insight from experts. Since then, they have discovered a need for more engaging, collaborative and positive music-program classrooms, and they have created a number of alternative programs for educators to learn from and incorporate into their lesson plans.

These programs are based on an existential mindset, encouraging motions students’ freedom of choice. While most schools’ music classes are restricted to text-oriented programmes, RYME believes that this type of practice suffocates the true breath of music. O’Neil says

Our ‘Musical Futures’ program has been working well. We went to schools where students worked in a typical band program with notebooks and told them to split into friendship groups, choose their own song as long as it was appropriate for the school, and told them to play it by ear. This program originally developed from the UK. The key feature [of these programs] is to use empowerment and voice while building resilience.

Another program used to nurse this educational divot is called the ‘Paradigmatic Shift’ – a problem-behavior preventative, that looks at youth in a positive light.  For instance, instead of looking at spray pain as graffiti, they would call it street art.

“This highlights the importance of shifting one’s thinking of ‘being’ to ‘becoming,’” O’Neil says. “The idea of ‘being’ is static, while ‘becoming’ holds potential, creativity and unfolding possibilities.”

Deanna Peluso, RYME’s Project Coordinator, takes this idea of ‘becoming’ and links it with ‘media convergence’ and children’s remarkable understanding and involvement in media’s many realms of interconnections. Peluso takes the example of YouTube and explains how its videos are, “Mastery of skill passing onto others.” During the presentation, Peluso played recordings of pre-teens performing difficult pieces of music, with thousands of views on YouTube, displaying the possibility of successful youth-teaching-youth method.

Not only are youth teaching youth, but if integrated into the school system, this student empowerment will help teachers learn more about youth’s unique artistic abilities and the multi-coordination that comes with technology advancements. “Teachers facilitate the role of exploring these opportunities, learn from kids and offer youth empowerment. Everyone has knowledge of what the next person doesn’t.”

Yaroslav Senyshyn, another director for RYME, acted as a safeguard for all the fluid and existential ideas in the research group, setting cautions for the possibility of vainity entering the education system through this method.

However, as he says, it is the teacher’s responsibility to make sure this is prevented as well as enabling them to think out of the box. “Teachers have to get in the habit of asking students what their artistic yearnings are so to communicate together properly,” he says, “Even though students are condemned to be there, they have freedoms that teachers have to portray as well. If not, there’s bad faith.”

The U.S. has already begun incorporating arts in different subjects, recognizing the great potential it holds. However, as Susan says, this type of facilitating takes baby steps, as each school district is so unique.

“It’s not a recipe,” Susan says, “It [the project] was messy and it was a leap of faith. But we have to advocate teachers to take a leap of faith.”

Afghanistan mission not about peacekeeping

08 June 2021
Kandahar, Afghanistan
Members of Oscar Company (O Coy) part of 1 Royal Canadian Regiment (1RCR) conduct a joint foot patrol with the Afghan National Army (ANA) near the village of Salavat west of Folad on 08 June 2010. 
JTF-Afg is CanadaÕs military contribution to Afghanistan. Canadian operations focus on working with Afghan authorities to improve security, governance, and economic development in the country. 
Photo by Cpl Keith Wazny, Joint Task Force Kandahar Image Tech, Afghanistan Roto 9
8 juin 2010
Kandahar, Afghanistan
Des membres de la Compagnie Oscar (Cie O) du 1er Bataillon, The Royal Canadian Regiment (1 RCR), ex´cutent une patrouille ? pied conjointe avec lÕArm´e nationale afghane (ANA) prs du village de Salavat, ? lÕouest de Folad, le 8 juin 2010. 
La FOI-AFG constitue la contribution des Forces canadiennes en Afghanistan. Les op´rations canadiennes privil´gient une collaboration avec les autorit´s afghanes afin dÕam´liorer la s´curit´, la gouvernance et le d´veloppement ´conomique du pays.
Photo : Cpl Keith Wazny, technicien en imagerie, Force op´rationnelle interarm´es Ð Kandahar, Afghanistan, ROTO 9

Canadians on the whole support the idea of the country’s military being engaged in international peacekeeping activities.

The director of the Ethics, Society and Law Program at the University of Toronto’s Trinity College says the federal government has capitalized on that support and framed our intervention in Afghanistan in peacekeeping terms in an attempt to maintain public support for the mission.

In a paper presented at the 2011 Congress of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, John Duncan looks at how Canada’s military involvement abroad, and particularly in Afghanistan, has been “spun” to the public.

On the one side are those who say we are a nation with a peacekeeping tradition involved in a peace-building mission in Afghanistan, and on the other are those who argue Canada is not a peacekeeping nation at all. Canadian foreign policy, they say, is motivated primarily by the desire to improve our image at the international level and particularly in the eyes of the United States.

Duncan concludes that the critics are right and that Canada’s recent military interventions have more to do with furthering our own interests than anything else.

Duncan says Canadians not only support peacekeeping, but strongly resist the idea of our soldiers being involved in wars.

“Politicians are aware of this, and they are folding out intervention in Afghanistan into the peacekeeping concept,” he said.

“That allows Canada’s politicians to get support for the mission that is based on perceptions and not reality.”

In fact, Duncan says that public support for the mission began to decline when Gen. Rick Hillier, then chief of defence staff, called Afghan terrorists “detestable murderers and scumbags” and said in 2005 that Canadian forces would be ruthless about going after them.

“People on the left have been outmanoeuvred by the politicians who know enough Canadians believe in our peacekeeping heritage to fold it into our hearts and minds,” he said. “Why are we being asked to support a war on the basis of peacekeeping?”

Duncan says he doesn’t believe Canadians are getting the full story about Afghanistan.

“A democratic society suffers when it fails in this regard. Many Afghans are suffering because of this failure,” he says.

He says it’s easy to find evidence of the lack of information.

“The larger problem is finding the right way to frame the material so as to challenge the range of deeply held Canadian pre-suppositions about good intentions.”

Photo courtesy of isafmedia on Flickr

Lady Gaga Projecting Positive Values


There’s no doubt American pop singer Lady Gaga is a powerful cultural phenomenon just now. She’s won Grammy Awards for her music, been photographed for the cover of Vanity Fair, and wowed the public with powerful videos and an over-the-top sense of style.

Along the way, she’s attracted a wide following among teens, gays – and academics.

It’s Lady Gaga’s pull as a cultural icon that led Zorianna Zurba, a first-year PhD student in communications and cultural studies at Ryerson and York universities, to take a closer look at one of her most successful hits, the song and video ‘Telephone’.

Zurba explained, at the 2011 Congress of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of New Brunswick, how “Telephone” speaks to values of the young people who are Lady Gaga’s core fans.

And those values, she says, include love and acceptance.

There’s a recent history of strong female pop stars attracting attention by a combination of creativity, talent, and pushing the boundaries of dress. Cher, with her outré Bob Mackie gowns, was a hit in the 1980s and a few years later Madonna’s cone bra became an iconic image.

Zurba says Lady Gaga – a 25-year-old American born Stefani Germanotta – follows in that tradition.

But her music and style are contemporary, speaking to her audience about modern technologies and values.

In “Telephone,” Lady Gaga shows how ubiquitous the cellphone has become for people of a certain generation. Zurba says it’s now assumed the person we’re calling will always be available. In “Telephone,” Lady Gaga sings of how she takes unwanted calls even if she’s in a nightclub.

(“My question to Gaga is, ‘Why don’t you just turn it off?’” Zurba quips.)

The song also shows that text messages and phone calls have different rankings.

If someone wants to put out a covert and serious message, they will use text. But if they want to be more open, they’ll call.

Zurba says Lady Gaga is also speaking strongly to the idea of accepting yourself as who you are.

“The younger audience is picking up on those messages,” she says. “For example, that you don’t have to look perfect and be a representative of the mainstream culture. Success does come in different packages.

“Lady Gaga is ushering in a post-modernist perspective,” she adds. “What’s fantastic about what she’s doing is that it gives us a multiple perspective on the world.”

Photo courtesy of  FV/RAVENSYMONECPEARMAN on Flickr

War as a Disease

Dr. Dale Dewar speaks to the Canadain Peace Research Association (Photo: Matthew Sheriko)

Matthew Sheriko, Experience Congress 2011

If there’s only one constant in human history, you could argue it’s the occurrence of war.  Dale Dewar says it’s time for that trend to end.

A rural family doctor from Saskatchewan, she presented her thesis to the Canadian Peace Research Association on a unique topic.

Dewar used a medical model to explain  the phenomenon of war and how that approach could be used to abolish it. She identified war and global conflict as mankind’s disease or addiction, saying that war and disease can similarly be eradicated.

“When we name a behaviour as an illness it becomes less likely that engaging in it will be considered appropriate,” said Dewar.  “Either we cure the disease, or ultimately, the disease will kill us.”

Dewar passionately advocates for demilitarization and the rechanelling of funds spent on the military to other programmes.

Drawing comparisons to spousal abuse, bullying, and slavery, she said, “In my mind, prevention of war is the only road into the future.  I believe that when enough people say violence is unacceptable as a method of discourse, it will become unacceptable.”

Programs that study these types of phenomena, such as peace studies and conflict studies, are being developed in universities across Canada.  “If these studies aren’t in your university, then ask, ‘why not?  We changed the face of women’s studies this way 25 years ago.”

“We need to wean ourselves off of violence.  This means off our own propensity to watch violent movies, violent TV shows, and games.  Adrenaline junkies, find other sources for our adrenaline.  And needless to say, wean your kids off it as well.”

She says persistence is what will make it happen, relating  it to rehabilitation from an injury — the key to getting better and the key to ending war.

Citing a study that said conflicts are more likely to be resolved at the negotiating table when the gender ratio is closer to even, Dewar suggests that having more women in positions of power might help diffuse the tendency for violent conflict.

Photo by Matthew Sheriko.

Mothers, Teachers, and Ambassadors


Jacqueline LeBlanc Cormier, Experience Congress 2011

Parenting a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has its share of challenges. But Pinar Kocak knows first-hand that these parenting challenges extend beyond the home and enter the classroom.

The University of Lethbridge graduate student recently conducted research on Alberta mothers who chose to home school their ADHD child. The topic is close to home for Kocak who home schools her 16-year-old ADHD son.

The purpose of the study was to talk to mothers who have considered, who are currently, or who once home schooled their ADHD child and explore the reasons that compelled them to do so.

“(In a communal school), rules and regulations are all there to lead you to a successful school year,” she says. “In such an environment, students are taught and expected to display certain behaviours, but some children are unable to do so. Those children who are unable to sustain attention, sit still, wait for their turn, work quietly, listen, comply with their teachers’ instructions, follow through with assignments, and concentrate on the task at hand are all identified as having ADHD.”

In Alberta, ADHD students are excluded from special education coding and funding. This means the child will not be guaranteed a one-on-one aid, classroom support or modifications, leaving the parents with limited options.

The school will often recommend the child turns to medication. When the medication works, she says, the results are almost immediate. But, medication doesn’t always work, or it sometimes comes with nasty side effects.

“The mother is often caught between pressures from school to medicate her child, her own views on medicating her child and her child’s resistance or will to be medicated,” she explains.

The mothers Kocak interviewed are ambassadors for their children and their needs.  They are vocal about social pressures to medicate their children.  They push for modifications in the classroom to help their child’s unique needs; and they educate themselves and others about ADHD.

“They look for information on how to help their children,” she says. “They look for other options such as schools specializing in special needs, private schools, tutors, etc. But these are not always available. They’re not always affordable and they’re not always desirable to the parents.”

That’s when a lot of parents turn to homeschooling.

“These particular mothers felt compelled to home school their children, and most felt it was the best available option to both explore and provide their children with what they needed when they needed it.”

Photo Courtesy of Chiot’s Run’s

Launch of Accord on Research in Education


Sarah Bernstein, Experience Congress 2011

The Association of Canadian Deans of Education (ACDE) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) launched the Accord on Research in Education on Tuesday, May 31 with a keynote address by Canada Research Chair James Cummins.

The Accord emerges from a shared commitment by ACDE, a network of deans, directors, and chairs of education faculties nationwide, to contribute to and expand on discourses on the importance of public education’s accountability within and outside of the Academy.

Brent Herbert-Copley, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Center (SSHRC)Vice-President of Grants and Fellowships, addressed SSHRC’s shared perspective with the Accord: “Educational research is also a central element of what SSHRC does,” he said. “We support hundreds of MA, PhD, and Post-Doctoral researchers each year.”

In reshaping what he called SSHRC’s “new ergonomy of programmes,” the council struggled with how best to articulate these new programmes. “The Accord expresses it well. The document is an example of something that speaks to a broader community – that has a focus on diversity, multiple forms of knowing.”

James Cummins spoke on the goal of the document and the three main areas of difficulty. The first difficulty is around ensuring that a constructively challenging, rather than adversarial, dialogue takes place across paradigms, academic disciplines, and educational constituencies. Second, Cummins stressed the importance of creating dialogic structures to challenge implicit assumptions that often are embedded in research programmes. Last, Cummins articulated the importance of examining and recognizing research regarding power relations and its impact on achievement. “There has been clear evidence,” he said, “regarding the impact of societal power relations, in schools and in society in general, on student achievement.” This research, he pointed out, has often been overlooked.

In his concluding remarks, ACDE President Ted Riecken said, “The idea is to improve education in and out of schools and across the lifespan. To confront [and utilize] ‘difficult knowledge’ Educational institutions can sometimes silence and marginalize some people and raise others. We need to be mindful of that.”


Lady Gaga Projecting Positive Values

Zorianna Zurba explains how Telephone speaks to the values of the young people who are Lady Gaga’s core fans.

learn more >
Dr. Dale Dewar speaks to the Canadain Peace Research Association (Photo: Matthew Sheriko)

War as a Disease

If there’s only one constant in human history, it’s the occurrence of war.

learn more >

Mothers, Teachers, and Ambassadors

Pinar Kocak explores why some Alberta mothers are compelled to homeschool their ADHD children.

learn more >

Launch of Accord on Research in Education

Putting the Evidence Back into Evidence-Based Policy Making for Underachieving Students.

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Phot by Jared Morrison

Taking Leave of Your Census

Dr. Monica Boyd explains why a voluntary Long form census will be damaging to Canada

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