Lansdowne Lectures

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    Managing the Colonial Legacy for the Benefit of Indigenous Language Communities
    (2023-12-15) Grounds, Richard A.
    Dr. Richard A.Grounds (Yuchi/Seminole) is working at the grassroots level to create new fluent speakers of Yuchi using full immersion language methods. This presentation addresses the little recognized yet enormous gap between the academic study of Indigenous languages and the hands-on practice of keeping a language alive as the heartbeat within an Indigenous community. The bottom line for our ancient and embattled First Nations is growing new young speakers, so that we will have new speakers as culturally competent members within our own living communities to lead our Indigenous societies into the future.
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    Drawing from Indigenous and Western Science: Three Decades of Relationships and Renewal in the Klamath River Dam Removal
    (2023-12-15) Reed, Ron; Norgaard, Kari Marie
    Ron Reed and Kari Marie Norgaard have worked closely together since 2003, conducting policyrelevant research on tribal health and social impacts of environmental decline. Their 2019 article “Emotional Impacts of Environmental Decline: What Can Attention to Native Cosmologies Teach Sociology about Emotions and Environmental Justice,” received the Best Article Award from the Sociology of Emotions section of the ASA. Ron Reed is a traditional Karuk dipnet fisherman, spiritual leader and important public figure for the Karuk Tribe. Ron has collaborated closely with researchers at Stanford, U.C. Berkeley and University of Oregon, has co-authored many articles and book chapters as well as co-supervised graduate and undergraduate theses. Kari Marie Norgaard is Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies at University of Oregon. She has served as consultant for the Karuk Tribe and has chaired the Environmental Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association (ASA). Dr. Norgaard is author of Living in Denial: Climate Change, Emotions and Everyday Life and most recently Salmon and Acorns Feed Our People: Colonialism, Nature and Social Action as well as dozens of other articles. Ron and Kari have worked closely together since 2003, conducting policyrelevant research on tribal health and social impacts of environmental decline. Their 2019 article “Emotional Impacts of Environmental Decline: What Can Attention to Native Cosmologies Teach Sociology about Emotions and Environmental Justice,” received the Best Article Award from the Sociology of Emotions section of the ASA.
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    Michif...and other languages of the Canadian Métis
    (2023-12-15) Papen, Robert
    Historically, the Canadian Métis have always been multilingual, speaking a variety of Indigenous languages, learned from their mothers and either French or English, learned from their fathers. Unfortunately, this is no longer true today and the vast majority of Métis now speak only English. In this talk, I briefly discuss the difficulty in defining who exactly are the Métis in Canada and their current political situation. After having detailed the etymology and the various meanings of the term ‘Michif’, I go on to briefly describe some of the unique features of the four main language varieties developed and spoken by the Plains Métis : Michif French, (Heritage or Southern) Michif, Northern Michif, and Bungee, the now defunct dialect of English, once spoken by many Métis in Manitoba. I then point out some of the unfortunate consequences of the ambiguity of the term ‘Michif’ as well as some of the myths and misunderstandings about the Michif language. To conclude, I discuss the current politicization of Michif, taking as example the efforts of the Métis Nation of Ontario to ‘michivize’ their variety of French and the Métis National Council to make Michif the historical and official language of the Métis.
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    Making excuses and the blame game
    (2023-12-15) Hieronymi, Pamela
    Public life has recently seen some spectacular displays of defensiveness and seemingly unending iterations of the blame game. To know what to make of these phenomena, we need a better account of their inner workings. In this talk, moral philosopher Professor Pamela Hieronymi (known to a wider audience through her work as ethics consultant on the NBC show “The Good Place”) uses the tools of philosophical analysis to offer such an account.
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    Daily Life in the Households and Archives of Ferrara in the Fifteenth Century
    (2023-04-24) Cossar, Roisin
    Until recently, histories of the Christian church in the Middle Ages rarely examined the domestic worlds of those who lived and worked within the church. Now, a growing group of scholars is exploring the households of Christian clergy across Western Europe. Their discoveries are changing our understanding of the history of the church and the family in the medieval period. Several scholars have noted that the sexual and intimate relationships of supposedly celibate clerics were documented in complicated ways: sometimes in records that were hostile to those relationships and sometimes in records that deliberately obscured them. In this presentation, I use a case study from the Italian city of Ferrara to examine how critical attention to written sources enhances our understanding of daily life in clerical households. My source is a register created by the notary Pietro Lardi at the behest of the Dominican inquisitor Fra Bartolomeo after the local lord, Niccolò III d’Este, forced the expulsion of dozens of women from clerics’ residences in that city and diocese in 1421.
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    Making the Home 1400-1550: Artisans and Material Mimesis
    (2023-04-24) Ajmar, Marta
    The fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italian home was a site of central artistic, social and cultural development. Investment in the material culture of the home varied immensely, and it has been argued that among the elites objects of high ‘intrinsic’ value – such as metalwork and tapestries – were gradually integrated or replaced by artefacts designed to impress more by virtue of their ‘added’, cultural value – such as paintings and sculpture. This paradigm built around distinct and supposedly shifting ideas of value has tended to obscure other ways of interpreting the extraordinary variety of domestic visual and material culture that emerged in the period under scrutiny. In this talk I will focus on the role of artisans in the creation of new material forms for the domestic sphere that don’t sit comfortably within this ‘intrinsic’ versus ‘added’ value paradigm by discussing objects of material mimesis. From ceramics and glass imitating stone, woodwork imitating textiles, to lacquer imitating metalwork, artisans led fluid processes of experimentation across media that created an environment of heightened material awareness and ambiguity, where certainties around materiality were constantly challenged, and new knowledge created. I will argue that these phenomena are an active response to the arrival in cities such as Venice, Genoa and Florence of non-local technologies and artefacts perceived as new, and that their significance should make us question narratives that have tended to overemphasize ‘local’ and ‘national’ explanations for artistic change built on narrow and singular ideas of originality. Artisans will emerge as central agents in the making of domestic interiors that combine ‘global’ and ‘local’ and that participate to the production of a transcultural material world built on reciprocal imitation.
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    Art and Anti-Racism in Latin American Racial Formations
    (2023-04-24) Wade, Peter
    This paper reflects on possibilities for anti-racism in artistic practice. Drawing on the work of the diverse artists we have collaborated with in the project Cultures of Anti-Racism in Latin America (CARLA), I focus on two types of affective intervention that I think help to think about various ways of doing anti-racism through art. The two types are challenging stereotypes and working with communities and I explore how various artworks engage with these modes of artistic action and how they create affective traction. The aim of the exercise is to be productive and helpful in the struggle against racism by providing some tools that artists and organisations can use to think strategically about anti-racism as a practice and reflect on the opportunities and risks that attach to different interventions and images are, she argues, more compelling.
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    Roots, Routes, and Reckonings: On Blackness and Belonging in North America
    (2023-02-22) Thompson, Debra
    Dr. Debra Thompson is a leading scholar of the comparative politics of race, with teaching and research interests that focus on the relationships among race, the state and inequality in democratic societies. She is the author of The Long Road Home: On Blackness and Belonging in North America (Simon & Schuster, 2022), finalist for the Hilary Weston Writer’s Trust Prize for Nonfiction. This lecture discusses her new book on histories and experiences of Blackness in Canada and the USA.
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    The Itelmen Khodila as a Song Genre: Nature, Consciousness and Time
    (2023-02-22) Koester, David
    Anthropologist, Dr. David Koester is Professor Emeritus at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He has worked with communities of both the North Atlantic and the North Pacific and primarily, over the past 30 years, with Itelmen people of Kamchatka peninsula in the Russian Far East. Founded on a long-standing interest in historical consciousness, Koester’s work with Itelmens has included research on Itelmen history, religious revival, and cultural, linguistic and musical revitalization. In his lecture he will explain how a form of Itelmen personal song known as the khodila maintains a traditional and unique type of expression of consciousness, focused on perception of the natural environment. There is evidence for the existence of this traditional form of human-environmental relations spanning nearly 300 years.
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    Reflections on Reclamation
    (2023-02-13) Leonard, Wesley Y.
    Language reclamation is a decolonial approach to Indigenous language revitalization, one that identifies and responds to the core causes of community language shift, and that at all stages is embedded in community needs, wellbeing, and goals. Within a language reclamation framework, Indigenous community definitions of "language" - which are often very different from definitions used in language sciences - become the baseline for planning, doing, and assessing language work. In this lecture, I reflect upon my lived experiences as a Miami linguist long engaged in language reclamation, both in my community and also in academic fields such as Indigenous Studies and Linguistics, to consider how Indigenous language work in a variety of spaces can operate within a reclamation frame.
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    Rehearsals for Living
    (2023-02-13) Maynard, Robyn; Simpson, Leanne Betasamosake
    Rehearsals for Living is a revolutionary collaboration about the world we’re living in now, between two of our most important contemporary thinkers, writers and activists. When the world entered pandemic lockdown in spring 2020, Robyn Maynard, influential author of Policing Black Lives, and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, renowned artist, musician, and author of Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies, began writing each other letters—a gesture sparked by a desire for kinship and connection in a world shattering under the intersecting crises of pandemic, police killings, and climate catastrophe. These letters soon grew into a powerful exchange about where we go from here. Rehearsals for Living is a captivating and visionary work—part debate, part dialogue, part lively and detailed familial correspondence between two razor-sharp writers. The book is a national bestseller and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for non-fiction. This Lansdowne lecture is online, free and open to the public. It is co-hosted by the School of Social Work, School of Indigenous Governance, and the Centre for Indigenous Research and Community-Engaged Research (CIRCLE) at the University of Victoria.
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    Plate Tectonics, the India-Eurasia Collision, and Long-term Global Cooling
    (2023-02-02) Royden, Leigh
    The Tibetan Plateau, arguably the most dramatic expression of continental collision to have occurred in the last 600 million years, is the result of the ongoing collision and convergence of the Indian sub-continent with Eurasia. The rapid convergence of India with Eurasia, both before and after convergence, as demonstrated by basic plate tectonic theory and the constraints of sea-floor spreading the global oceans. However, a number of “mysteries” remain. For example, why did India move at nearly double the fastest rates of convergence observed across other subduction systems? Why was no major deformation observed in Tibet until nearly 15 million years after collision? Why has fairly rapid convergence continued for 50 million years after collision. Our research suggests that the answers to these long standing problems can be resolved by reexamining the basic assumptions about the collision, and suggests that the India-Eurasia convergence may be responsible for two periods of significant global cooling at approximately 80 and 50 million years ago.
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    The role of technology in second language learning: post(?)-covid
    (2023-02-02) Blake, Robert
    Technology is a means of fostering language, and Dr. Robert Blake will outline key lessons learning from teaching languages during the pandemic and where the field of language teaching is headed now. His educational perspective is framed by a discussion of the six most important human learning attributes: we are symbol-makers, natural analyzers, social beings, tool-users, game-players, and, above all else, storytellers. A new language pedagogy must address these human qualities, taking advantage of the best practices offered by technology.
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    Making the tiniest machines
    (2023-02-02) Leigh, David
    According to the 2016 Chemistry Nobel Prize Committee, “We are at the dawn of a new industrial revolution of the twenty-first century, and the future will show how molecular machinery can become an integral part of our lives". Perhaps the best way to appreciate the technological potential of controlled molecular-level motion is to recognise that nanomotors and molecular-level machines lie at the heart of every significant biological process. Prof. David Leigh is one of the pioneers of synthetic molecular machinery. In this lecture, he will outline the latest developments from his lab in illustration of Arthur C. Clarke's assertion that 'Significantly advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic!"
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    How do we know what we know about the world’s languages?
    (2023-02-02) Thieberger, Nicholas
    There are at least 7,000 languages in the world and a great deal of the knowledge that is reflected in these languages is at risk of being lost. While, in the past, this has been a colonial enterprise, only of benefit to the outsider researcher, more recently there is a change in practice that focuses on collaboration and partnership with speakers of these languages. The new challenge is how to provide longevity for their work. One form of redress is to find and digitize all the records that have been made, thus preserving them, and to make them available for the speakers and their communities. The Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures (PARADISEC) holds a collection of nearly 150 terabytes, representing 1,310 languages. I will present recent work on visualizing what is now known and how these new methods can be more responsive to community needs.
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    Thunderstorms in the Present, Past and Future
    (2023-02-02) Schumacher, Courtney
    The presentation will start with how a thunderstorm looks in 3-D using radar technology and lightning mapping arrays. We will then travel tens of thousands of years into the past using chemistry analysis of cave stalactites in Texas to see how storms behaved as the climate underwent large shifts in temperature driven by glacial variability. I will end the talk with predictions of how lightning frequency may change over North America by the end of the century using numerical models run on supercomputers, and the potential impacts to humans and ecosystems.
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    Predicting rain and lightning using statistical and machine learning techniques
    (2023-02-02) Schumacher, Courtney
    Convective storms are highly intermittent and intense, making their occurrence and strength difficult to predict. This is especially true for climate models, which have grid resolutions much coarser (e.g., 100 km) than the scale of a storm’s microphysical and dynamical processes (< 1 km). Physically-based parameterizations struggle to account for this scale mismatch, causing large model errors in rain and lightning. This talk will explore some avenues of using statistical techniques (such as generalized linear and log-Gaussian Cox process models) and machine learning methods (such as random forests and neural networks) that are trained by satellite observations of thunderstorms to see how well they can improve upon existing physical parameterizations in producing accurate rain and lightning characteristics given a set of large-scale environmental conditions.
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    Academic Ableism and Its Alternatives
    (2022-10-12) Dolmage, Jay
    In this interactive talk, we will collaborate to address the ableist attitudes, policies, and practices that are built into higher education. We will also interrogate the minimal and temporary means we have been given to address inequities, and the cost such an approach has for disabled students and faculty. We will then work together to share and develop strategies and tools for a much more accessible classroom and campus. Jay Dolmage is committed to disability rights in his scholarship, service, and teaching. He is the author of Disability Rhetoric (Syracuse University Press, 2014), Academic Ableism: Disability and Higher Education (Michigan University Press, 2017), and Disabled Upon Arrival: Eugenics, Immigration, and the Construction of Race and Disability (Ohio State University Press, 2018).
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    Political 'nights', political fights
    (2022-04-28) Jérome, Vanessa
    Night of August 4, 1789, night of crystal 1938, "great night" of colonization, night of extraordinary meetings in assemblies, nights on call in various institutions ... political nights are materiality and metaphor. Space and time at the same time, they carry their share of violence, real or fantasized plots, agreements wrested from a hard fight or even promises of better days. Disrupting the daily logics of the social contract, between rulers and ruled, between men and women, between generations, between territories, they question the relationship of humans to Politics, as well as the expectations and the terms of their struggles. While the world wonders about its future, from a climate emergency to genocides, the nights, taken as an object of research as much as a field of investigation, can contribute to the elucidation of the world as much as to its transformation. Let’s bet that we will learn something by allowing ourselves to be enveloped in their starry mantle.
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    Queendom of shadows: the female vampire on film from Theda Bara to A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
    (2022-03-31) Abbott, Stacey
    In this lecture I will discuss how the vampire emerged from the 19th Century folklore and literature and settled into 20th century cinema to become a significant and persistent filmic presence that continues to haunt our screens well into the 21st century. By focusing on the role of the female vampire, from the 'vamp' to the skateboard riding spectre of A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, I will question why this figure continues to have cultural currency, and examine how the vampire operates as an instructive metaphor for changing discourses around sexuality, modernity, identity, gender and feminism. Through this analysis, I will consider how the female vampire continues to function as an empowering icon of strength, power, and freedom.
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