MacKay Lecture Series

The annual MacKay Lecture Series features up to four lectures given by internationally renowned speakers, addressing subjects related to the liberal and performing arts. Three of the lectures revolve around a common interdisciplinary theme chosen each year by the Faculty's Research Development Committee from a selection of faculty proposals. The fourth lecture is on a broadly based historical theme, in recognition of the generous donation funding the lecture series that was given by Gladys MacKay in appreciation of the education that her husband, the Reverend Malcolm Ross MacKay, received at Dalhousie as a B.A. student in History (1927).

2023 MacKay History Lecture

Organized by Dr. Will Langford, Department of History

Siloed Knowledge: Mennonite Settlers vs. the Farm Expert
Featuring Dr. Royden Loewen, University of Winnipeg

Tuesday, February 28, 2023
7:00 pm AST
Potter Auditorium, Rowe Building, 6100 University Avenue, Halifax

Also available to attend online via Zoom. To attend online, please contact to request the Zoom link.


The department of History, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the College of Sustainability will welcome Dr. Royden Loewen (Professor Emeritus, University of Winnipeg) to Dalhousie to deliver his lecture, titled: Siloed Knowledge: Mennonite Settlers vs. the Farm Expert.

“Siloed Knowledges: Mennonite Settlers vs the Farm Expert” arises from a larger program of study, ‘Flows of Transnational Agricultural Knowledge: Mennonites Beyond Borders,’ a SSHRC-funded study of the global dialectics of farm knowledge, accounting for both nature-based and reason-based epistemologies and their intersections with modernity in western Canada and beyond. The paper considers as a case study the agricultural knowledge reflected in letters by Manitoba Mennonite settlers from Ukraine published in a diasporic newspaper also featuring scientific pieces from American farm magazines during the 1880s.

Royden Loewen taught Mennonite Studies at the University of Winnipeg for many years and has published in the fields of North American settler history, transnational migration, and global environmental history. His most recent work, ‘Mennonite Farmers: A Global History of Place and Sustainability’ won the CHA’s Wallace K. Ferguson prize. When he is not tending grandchildren or writing, he’s probably at Millview Organic Grain farm in southeastern Manitoba.

Public lecture, all are welcome.


2022 MacKay History Lecture

Organized by Ajay Parasram, Departments of History and International Development Studies

Old Beginnings: The Scene of Decolonisation
Featuring Professor Priyamvada Gopal  (University of Cambridge)

MacKay Lecture Series 2021-22

Organized by Martha Radice, Department of Sociology & Social Anthropology

This year, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences hosted a virtual MacKay Symposium, Happiness in Troubled Times.


  • Dr. Carol Graham, The Brookings Institution - Unequal Hopes and Lives in the U.S.A.: Insights for Research and for Policy from the New Science of Well-Being
  • Dr. Helen A Regis, Louisiana State University - Troubling Joy: Learning from Activists for Racial Justice in the Festival Archive 
  • Dr. Joel Faflak, Western University – Got Happy?
  • Dr. Francisco Cruces Villalobos, UNED – Little Joys and Agonies of the Intimate Space

Watch the video recordings of the 2021-22 MacKay Symposium presentations.

MacKay History Lecture 2020-21

Organized by Denis Kozlov, Department of History

Professor Derek PenslarHarvard University
"Towards a Unified Field of Israel/Palestine Studies"

MacKay History Lecture 2019-20

Organized by Lisa Binkley, Department of History

Professor Joan M. Schwartz, Queen's University
"Picturing Place & The Writing of History: The Lens & Legacy of Frederick Dally"

MacKay Lecture Series - 2018-19

"Learning Machines: Who builds AI? Who benefits?" - organized by Karen Foster (Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology) and Darren Abramson (Department of Philosophy)

AI, Automatization and Social Transformations
Dr. Ross Boyd,
Senior Research Associate
Hawke EU Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence and Network
University of South Australia

Transparency, Accessibility, and Ethics in AI
Dr. Larry Medsker, Research Professor of Physics
Associate Editor, Neural Computing and Applications
Public Policy Officer, ACM SIGAI and Member, ACM US Technology Policy Committee
The George Washington University, Washington, DC

MacKay History Lecture 2019

Organized by Ajay Parasram, Department of History, Department of International Development Studies

Professor Robbie Shilliam
John Hopkins University

Fire Pon Rome: Rastafari and anti-Fascism

MacKay Lecture Series - 2016-17

"Immigration Politics in Review" organized by Pauline Gardiner Barber and Ruben Zaiotti. 

Living Race in the Post-Racial Era? Mixed Race Amnesia in Canada
Dr. Minelle Mahtani
Associate Professor of Human Geography and Program in Journalism
University of Toronto - Scarborough

Resettler Society:  Private Sponsorship of Refugees and the Making of Citizenship
Dr. Audrey MacKlin
Professor and Chair in Human Rights Law
University of Toronto

The Futures of Migration in Europe and Germany: A New Normalcy?Dr. Thomas Faist
Professor of Sociology of Transnationalism, Migration and Development
Bielefeld University, Germany

MacKay History Lecture 2017

Containers & Humans in Deep Time: An Environmental History
Dr. Daniel Lord Smail
Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of History
Harvard University

MacKay Lecture Series - 2015-16

"Multilingualism Matters--Beyond Babel," organized by Krista Kesselring, department of History

Patricia Lamarre: "Parkour de ville: What the linguistic trajectories of young multilingual Montrealers tell us about Quebec post-Bill 101"

Sherry Simon: "The Translational Life of Cities: How Language Exchange Shapes Urban Culture"

Monica Heller: "Multilingualism in the Globalized New Economy"

MacKay History Lecture 2015

Marcia Chatelain: "Teaching in the Age of #BlackLivesMatter: Social Media, Social Justice, and Social Change in Classrooms and Communities"

Dal News story: Marcia Chatelain Talks #FergusonSyllabus at Dal

MacKay Lecture Series - 2014-15

"Performance Across Boundaries,"
Organized by Roberta Barker (Fountain School of Performing Arts).  

Christopher Baugh (University of Leeds): "Devices of Wonder and the Spectacle of Power"

Philip Auslander (Georgia Institute of Technology): "Barbie in a Meat Dress: Performance and Mediatization in the 21st Century"

Marlis Schweitzer (York University): "Precious Objects: The Material Culture of Nineteenth-Century Child Performers"

MacKay History Lecture 2014

Maria Subtelny (University of Toronto): "Rules for Rulers: Political Ethics in Medieval Islam"

MacKay Lecture Series - 2013-14

“European and Canadian Separatisms”

Organized by Jerry White, Canada Research Chair in European Studies

"Myths, Nations and Collective Imaginaries: A New Frontier for Cultural Research"
Gérard Bouchard

"The Language of Incomprehension: How Not To Be a Minority Language Writer"
Christopher Whyte

"Recognition and Political Accommodation, From Regionalism to Secessionism: The Catalan Case"
Ferran Requejo Coll

MacKay History Lecture 2014

"Dis-united kingdoms? Debating Britain in Seventeenth-Century Scotland"
Roger Mason

MacKay Lecture Series - 2012-13

Reconciliation:  The Responsibility for Shared Futures
Organized by Brian Noble, supported by Sociology and Social Anthropology, Canadian Studies, and International Development Studies 

"Back to the Future:  The Confederation Treaties and Reconciliation"
Dr. Michael Asch

"Aki-noomaagewin (Earth's Teachings):  Stories of the Fall, Indigenous Law and Reconciliation"
Dr. John Burrows

"Reconciliation Here on Earth:  Shared Responsibilities"
Dr. James Tully

Previous Series Themes:

  • 2011-2012: Reconciliation:  The Responsibility for Shared Futures
  • 2010-2011: Global Change and the Need for a New Social Imagination
  • 2009-10 - Sustainability: Past, Present, Future
  • 2008-09 - Music, Culture, and Society
  • 2007-08 - Identities and Ideologies:  Changes and Transformations in the Modern Islamic World
  • 2006-07 - The Early Modern Family
  • 2005-06 - With Respect to Readers: Book History and the History of Reading
  • 2004-05 - Finding the Balance: Citizenship, Immigration, and Security
  • 2003-04 - Europe: A Multidisciplinary Feast
  • 2002-03 - Origins
  • 2001-02 - Cross-Cultural Exchanges in North America