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).



MacKay Lecture Series - 2020-2021



Organized by Denis Kozlov, Department of History

Thursday, November 26, 2020, 7 p.m.
The lecture will be presented online and is free to attend, with registration. To receive the link to the event space, please register ON EVENTBRITE.

The registration link is also available via the History Department website:


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

"Within universities the most visible aspect of the debate about Israel/Palestine is student and faculty activism, often associated with support for or opposition to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.  This activism rarely integrates the academic teaching and research that lie at the centre of a university’s mission.  In this talk I examine the development of the academic fields known as “Israel Studies” and “Palestine Studies.”  I discuss their contributions, their strengths and limitations, and whether they should remain independent or be united into a single field.  I hope to show how thoughtful and rigorous scholarship can break down barriers and transform hostile rhetoric into productive conversation."

Derek Penslar is the William Lee Frost Professor of Jewish History at Harvard University. He takes a comparative and transnational approach to the study of Jewish history, which he studies within the contexts of modern capitalism, nationalism, and colonialism. Penslar has spent the bulk of his career as the Samuel Zacks Professor of Jewish History at the University of Toronto. He also served as the inaugural holder of the Stanley Lewis Chair in Israel Studies at the University of Oxford. Penslar’s books include Shylock’s Children: Economics and Modern Identity in Modern Europe (2001), Israel in History: The Jewish State in Comparative Perspective (2006), Jews and the Military: A History (2013) and Theodor Herzl: The Charismatic Leader (2020), which won the 2020 Canadian Jewish Literary Award for History.  He is currently writing a book titled Zionism: An Emotional State and is beginning work on a global history of the 1948 Palestine War. Penslar is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and President of the American Academy for Jewish Research.    





Organized by Lisa Binkley, Department of History

Thursday, March 5, 2020, 7:00 pm
Room 127, Goldberg Computer Science Building
6050 University Avenue

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

In 1866, the young Englishman Frederick Dally opened a photographic studio in Victoria, at the time, capital of the Crown Colony of Vancouver Island. In the remarkable visual legacy he produced over the next four years, we can discern the origins of an enduring vision of British Columbia — as an outpost of Empire, as a gold rush colony, as a Royal Naval station, as the home of Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest. We can also recognize the power of photography as a tool of documentation, visualization, and imagination.

Dr. Joan M. Schwartz is a professor in the Department of Art History and Art Conservation (cross-appointed to Geography) at Queen’s University where she teaches courses in the History of Photography. She is also an adjunct research professor in the Department of History at Carleton University. A historical geographer and former specialist in photography acquisition and research at the National Archives of Canada, she is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and the Society of American Archivists.


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)


Talk 1: Thursday, February 7th, 2019 | 6:30pm-8pm | Room 127, Goldberg Computer Science Building, 6050 University Avenue.

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

Title: AI, Automatization and Social Transformations

Talk 2: Wednesday, March 27th, 2019 | 6:30pm-8pm | Room 127, Goldberg Computer Science Building, 6050 University Avenue.

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

TitleTransparency, Accessibility, and Ethics in AI


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

Thursday, February 28, 2019, 7:00 pm
Room 127, Goldberg Computer Science Building
6050 University Avenue

Professor Robbie Shilliam
John Hopkins University

Title: Fire Pon Rome: Rastafari and anti-Fascism

Through the music of Bob Marley many people across the globe have become acquainted with the Rastafari lexicon. Most popular, perhaps, is the term “Babylon”, which in Rastafari pertains to an iniquitous “system” (criminal justice, capitalism etc.) under which humanity suffers and which must be replaced by making heaven (Zion) on earth. Fewer people might know that, in Rastafari, Babylon is synonymous with Rome. Why Rome? To address this question takes us on a journey through the inter-war period of the 20th century and the struggle against Italian fascism which pivoted around Mussolini’s 1935 invasion of sovereign Ethiopia. Commitment to the struggle spanned Caribbean and African colonies, North America and Europe, and included Black and white activists, community leaders, establishment figures and rebels. What bound them all together was an understanding that to be anti-fascist one had to - at the same time - be anti-colonial. Rastafari as a faith and movement was tempered in this crucible. As the iconic expression of anti-colonial anti-fascism, what might Rastafari say about our current predicament?

Professor Robbie Shilliam, author of The Black Pacific (2014) ​and ​Race and the Undeserving Poor (2018), will be giving the 2018/2019 History MacKay Lecture. Shilliam is a leading authority in postcolonial and decolonial studies and has written prolifically on this and many overlapping themes epistemic historical justice surrounding the colonial question more generally.​


MacKay Lecture Series - 2016-17

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


Thursday, November 17th, 7:00 pm, Room 127 Goldberg Computer Science Building

Dr. Minelle Mahtani
Associate Professor of Human Geography and Program in Journalism
University of Toronto - Scarborough

Title: "Living Race in the Post-Racial Era? Mixed Race Amnesia in Canada"


Thursday, January 19th, 7:00 pm, Scotiabank Auditorium, McCain Building

Dr. Audrey MacKlin
Professor and Chair in Human Rights Law
University of Toronto

Title:  "Resettler Society:  Private Sponsorship of Refugees and the Making of Citizenship"

Audrey Macklin
(BSc. (Alberta), LLB (Toronto), LLM (Yale) is the Director of the Centre for Criminology and Socio-legal Studies at the University of Toronto.  She is also Professor of Law and Chair in International Human Rights Law. She teaches, researches and writes in the area of migration and citizenship law, gender, multiculturalism, business and human rights, and administrative law.  Professor Macklin began her career at Dalhousie (now Schulich) Law School (1991-2000) and has held visiting positions at the European University Institute, Hebrew University, and University of Erfurt.  She is co-author of the Governance Gap: Extractive Industries, Human Rights, and the Home State Advantage (London: Routledge: 2014) and the Canadian text, Immigration and Refugee Law: Cases, Materials and Commentary, 2nd Edition (Toronto: Emond Montgomery, 2015). 



Friday December 1, 2017 - 02:30 PM
Marion McCain Building room 1116

Dr. Thomas Faist
Professor of Sociology of Transnationalism, Migration and Development
Bielefeld University, Germany

Title: "The Futures of Migration in Europe and Germany: A New Normalcy?"


Thursday, March 16, 2017, 7:00 pm, Room 1009, Kenneth C. Rowe Management Building

Dr. Daniel Lord Smail
Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of History
Harvard University

Title: Containers & Humans in Deep Time: An Environmental History

Daniel Lord Smail is a pioneer of what is called Deep History - someone who identifies and develops new narratives for binding human history together over the very long duration. History is not a brand of political science to explain the present, but an anthropological science designed to help us understand humanity. Historians must reach back into time before written documents, with the help of neurobiology, neurophysiology and genetics in order to understand global environmental change. His book “Deep History and the Brain” examines how cultural structures shape patterns of the brain-body system. Simultaneously Smail examines the role of universal emotions as they are expressed in the specific context of late medieval Provence and Tuscany. A gifted archival historian with considerable expertise in judicial and notarial papers in Marseille and Lucca, Smail’s new book “Legal Plunder” examines material culture seen through the lens of material accumulation and debt recovery.


MacKay Lecture Series - 2015-16

"Multilingualism Matters--Beyond Babel," organized by Krista Kesselring. 


7:00pm, Thursday, September 24th
Weldon Law Building, Room 105

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

Patricia Lamarre is a professor at the University of Montreal (Faculté des sciences de l’éducation) and is director of the research group « langues, identités et relations intergroupes » of the Centre d’études ethniques des universités montréalaises (CEETUM).  Her main research area is the study of the language practices of young adults in Montreal, a city with a very high level of individual bilingual and multilingualism. Her theoretical framework is situtated within critical sociolinguistics, examining the stakes and power relations underlying language politics and language practices from an historical and materialist perspective. In addition to a number of key policy papers, her publications include works in the International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Canadian Ethnic Studies, Langue et sociétéFrancophonies d’Amérique and Linguistic Landscapes: Multilingualism and Social Change.


7:00pm, Thursday, October 22nd
Weldon Law Building, Room 105

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

Sherry Simon is a professor in the French Department at Concordia University.  She has published widely in the areas of literary, intercultural and translation studies, most recently exploring the cultural history of linguistically divided cities, multilingual cities in situations of post-conflict and the cities of the former Habsburg empire.  Among her publications areTranslating Montreal. Episodes in the Life of a Divided City (2006) and Cities in Translation: Intersections of Language and Memory. (2012), both of which have appeared in French translation.  She has edited or co-edited numerous volumes, including Translation Effects: The Shaping of Modern Canadian Culture (with K. Mezei and L. von Flotow), (2014). She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a member of the Académie des lettres du Québec. She was a Killam Research Fellow (2009-11) and in 2010 received the Prix André-Laurendeau  from l’Association francophone pour le savoir (ACFAS).


7:00pm, Tuesday, October 27th
Weldon Law Building, Room 105

Monica Heller, "Multilingualism in the Globalized New Economy"

Monica Heller is Professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and the Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto. She is a member of the Royal Society of Canada, and currently President of the American Anthropological Association. Her work focusses on changing ideologies of language, identity and nation with an ethnographic focus on francophone Canada. Her recent publications include Paths to Postnationalism: A Critical Ethnography of Language and Identity (2011, Oxford University Press) and Language in Late Capitalism: Pride and Profit (2012, Routledge, co-edited with Alexandre Duchêne). She is co-author (with Lindsay Bell, Michelle Daveluy, Mireille McLaughlin and Hubert Noël) of Sustaining the Nation: Mobility, Labour and Identity (Oxford University Press), due out by the end of 2015. 


7:00pm, Thursday, November 5th
Rowe Building, room 1028 (Potter Auditorium)

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

Marcia Chatelain is associate professor of history and African-American Studies at Georgetown University.  Her first book, South Side Girls: Growing Up in the Great Migration (Duke University Press, 2015) examines the ways in which African-American’s women’s outreach to girls constructed Black girlhood during the dynamic changes of the Great Migration period, and it argues that girlhood was a contested ideological space in which African-Americans grappled with anxieties and hopes for the period.  Her second book project, Burgers in the Age of Black Capitalism: Race, Civil Rights, and Fast Food in America explores the ways in which dining culture shaped African-American protest, entrepreneurship and activism in the 20th century.  Burgers in the Age of Black Capitalism engages visual representations of African-American consumers in advertising in the post-Civil Rights era to understand the relationship between the politicized marketplace and a long history of struggle.  In 2014, she launched the#FergusonSyllabus initiative to encourage educators to devote the first day of classes to teaching about the national crisis in Ferguson, Missouri.

MacKay Lecture Series - 2014-15

"Performance Across Boundaries," organized by Roberta Barker (Fountain School of Performing Arts).  All lectures are free and open to the public.


7:00pm, October 2, 2014
Scotiabank Auditorium, Marion McCain Arts and Social Sciences Building:
Christopher Baugh (University of Leeds): "Devices of Wonder and the Spectacle of Power"

Christopher Baugh is Emeritus Professor of Performance and Technology at the University of Leeds. For most of his career, he has found ways to combine work in the professional theatre alongside teaching and research. He has designed in Bristol, London Manchester and in the USA. As scenographer with the Abbey Theatre, Dublin The Borstal Boy won a New York Drama Critics Tony award for  ‘best staged play’, and as scenographer with Mecklenburgh Opera (London), the Prudential Award for Opera 1991. He has written widely on the history of stage technologies. His books include Garrick and Loutherbourg (1990) and Theatre, Performance and Technology: the development of scenography in the 20th century (2005), which was nominated in 2007 by the United States Institute of Theatre Technology (USITT) for a Golden Pen Award. The enlarged 2nd edition of this book (2013) brings analysis up to date and considers recent transformations within scenographic performance and practice. Forthcoming in 2015 is an annotated translation of Jean-Pierre Moynet’s 1873 memoire, L'envers du théâtre; machines et decorations.  He has a particular interest in the use of digital technologies in contemporary theatre and performance practices. He was a founder member of the Society of British Theatre Designers, and is a vice chair of the Society for Theatre Research.


… the great design was to entertain the town with variety of music, curious dancing, splendid scenes and machines …” (Thomas Shadwell & Matthew Locke, Preface to Psyche,1675)

In Florence in May 1589, the wedding to end all weddings took place between Christine of Lorraine and Ferdinando di Medici. It was an event circumscribed by politics, economics and social power. It required the building and equipping of a theatre, the construction of complex machinery and costumes for hundreds of singers, musicians and actors. The resulting architecture, performance practices and technologies became commodified and dominated western theatre for the next three centuries. Today, digital technologies enable theatre and opera to be commodified as international cultural assets of similarly important political significance. Performances such as Phantom of the Opera or Don Giovanni have become as globalized as McDonalds or Coca Cola. This lecture argues that “devices of wonder” – the technologies of performance – have always played, and still do play, a vital and sophisticated role within the complex cultural phenomena of theatre, opera and public performance.


7:00pm, October 15, 2014
Room 127, Goldberg Computer Science Building
Philip Auslander (Georgia Institute of Technology): "Barbie in a Meat Dress: Performance and Mediatization in the 21st Century"

Philip Auslander is a Professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication of the Georgia Institute of Technology. He writes on performance, popular music, media, and visual art. His publications include: Presence and Resistance: Postmodernism and Cultural Politics in Contemporary American Performance (University of Michigan Press, 1992), From Acting to Performance: Essays in Modernism and Postmodernism (Routledge, 1997), and Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture (Routledge, 1999), for which he received the prestigious Callaway Prize for the Best Book in Theatre or Drama. Most recently published books are Performing Glam Rock: Gender and Theatricality in Popular Music (2006), also for the University of Michigan Press, and a second, updated and expanded edition of Liveness published by Routledge in 2008. Auslander is the founding editor of The Art Section: An Online Journal of Art and Cultural Commentary ( and a working film actor.

Abstract: Although mediatization is a permanent condition of modern societies the particular forms it takes on are historically contingent. The processes of mediatization derive from the workings of the culturally dominant media forms of a particular time. Today, the televisual has clearly yielded sway to the digital in all its forms. In seeking to understand the implications of this transition for performers navigating this new cultural terrain I focus on two currently successful pop music artists, Nikki Minaj and Lady Gaga, who both create multiple personae that morph with astounding velocity. Gaga, in particular, takes this strategy so far that she seems to have no stable performance persona or brand image at all. Her constantly changing appearance and image suggests instead the urgency and frequency with which we must adjust our self-presentations to the multiple platforms on which we continuously perform them.


7:00pm, November 6, 2014, 
Room 127, Goldberg Computer Science Building:
Marlis Schweitzer (York University): "Precious Objects: The Material Culture of Nineteenth-Century Child Performers"

Marlis Schweitzer is an Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre at York University where she teaches courses on performance and commodity culture, theatre research methodologies, and nineteenth-century popular entertainment. She is the author of When Broadway Was the Runway: Theater, Fashion, and American Culture (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009) and Transatlantic Broadway: The Infrastructural Politics of Global Performance (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming), and co-editor (with Joanne Zerdy) of Performing Objects and Theatrical Things (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). Her current SSHRC-funded research asks how the movement of child performers along global theatrical circuits affirmed Anglo-American cultural values, served imperial interests, and provoked debate about colonial as well as national identity in the mid-nineteenth century. She is the Editor of Theatre Research in Canada/Recherches théâtrales au Canada.

Abstract: Snuff boxes, figurines, fans, medals, paper dolls, cups, sketches, tables, eggs, and ink pots. What do these seemingly disparate objects suggest about the production and consumption of child celebrity in the nineteenth century? What do they reveal about audience-performer relations and the immaterial labour undertaken by child performers in service to national or imperial agendas? How might theatre historians use these objects to re(dis)cover lost, overlooked, or forgotten performance repertoires? Responding to the recent “material culture” turn within theatre and performance studies and the uptake of “thing theory” by historians of the Victorian era, this talk will explore the careers of three celebrated child performers--Master William Henry West Betty, Jean Margaret Davenport, Charles S. Stratton (Tom Thumb)through the objects that bear their image and circulated alongside them as they traveled from city to city and from one side of the ocean to the other. 


7:00pm, November 20, 2014
Rowe 1009
Maria Subtelny (University of Toronto), "Rules for Rulers: Political Ethics in Medieval Islam"

Maria Subtelny (Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto) is a specialist in the history and culture of medieval Iran and Islam. She received her PhD from Harvard University and has been teaching at the University of Toronto for over 25 years. She is the author of numerous articles and books, including Timurids in Transition: Turko-Persian Politics and Acculturation in Medieval Iran, which received the Houshang Pourshariati Award; and Le monde est un jardin: Aspects de l’histoire culturelle de l’Iran médiéval, which received the Saidi-Sirjani Award.  She is currently editing and translating the Akhlaq-i muhsini, a popular work of political ethics by the 15th-century Persian author and polymath Husain Va’iz Kashifi, which was dedicated to one of the descendants of Tamerlane.

For more information about the MacKay Lecture Series, please contact the Dean’s Office, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Dalhousie University, 494-1440. 


MacKay Lecture Series - 2013-14

“European and Canadian Separatisms”

Jerry White, Canada Research Chair in European Studies

The last few years have seen the increased electoral success of a number of European separatist movements that have been either dormant (such as Catalonia’s) or until now advancing very slowly (such as Scotland’s). In some ways these seem to echo the separatist movement that is most known to Canadians, that in Quebec. Catalonia’s separatists couch their arguments mostly in linguistic terms, and Scotland’s separatists are looking to undo a multi-national union with deep roots in British history. But it is worth asking what these movements really share, and how they differ. How is the Quebec sovereigntist movement facing globalisation? Do Catalonia’s problems really tell us more about federalism – within Spain and the EU alike – than they do about language? And what is the role of language in Scottish nationalism?

The 2013-2014 MacKay Lecture series will examine these questions through the works of three scholars from different disciplines across the humanities and social sciences: a historian, a political scientist, and a poet/translator.


Thursday, 13 February 2014
"Myths, Nations and Collective Imaginaries: A New Frontier for Cultural Research"

Gérard Bouchard
Scotiabank Auditorium, Marion McCain Arts & Social Sciences Building

Gérard Bouchard is Canada Research Chair in the Comparative Study of Collective Imaginations at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi. In Quebec he is best known for being one half of the “Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences,” colloquially known as the Bouchard-Taylor Commission, which was at the centre of public debate in Quebec during 2008. He is also a renowned scholar, and the author of such definitive works of social history as Genèse des nations et cultures du Nouveau Monde. Essai d’histoire comparée (2000), La culture québécoise est-elle en crise? (with Alain Roy, 2007), and most recently L’interculturalisme. Un point de vue québécois (2012).


Wednesday, 5 March 2014
"The Language of Incomprehension: How Not To Be a Minority Language Writer"
Christopher Whyte
Room 127, Goldberg Computer Science Building, 6050 University Avenue

Christopher Whyte is a poet, novelist and translator. He left his academic post at the University of Glasgow in 2005 to devote himself to writing full-time, and he presently lives in Budapest. His novels Euphemia MacFarrigle and the Laughing Virgin (1995), The Gay Decameron (1998) and The Cloud Machinery (2000) are all about revising the myths of Scottish identity, a project he began with his anthology Gendering the Nation: Studies in Modern Scottish Literature (Edinburgh University Press, 1995). In Gaelic, he is the author of the 2002 poetry collection An Tràth Duilich/The Difficult Time. He has also produced widely acclaimed scholarly editions of the great Gaelic poet of the 20th century, Sorley MacLean: his Dàin do Eimhir / Poems for Eimhir appeared in 2002, and his edition of An Cuilithionn 1939 / The Cuillin 1939 appeared in 2011.


Wednesday, 12 March 2014
"Recognition and Political Accommodation, From Regionalism to Secessionism: The Catalan Case"
Ferran Requejo Coll
Room 127, Golberg Computer Science Building, 6050 University Avenue

Ferran Requejo Coll is Professor of Political Science at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. His awards include the Rudolf Wildenmann Prize (1997), the Ramon Trias Fargas Prize (2002), and the 2006 Spanish Political Science Association Prize for best book (Multinational Federalism and Value Pluralism, Routledge 2005). He has published numerous books – In English, Catalan, Spanish and French – on comparative approaches to federalism, with special attention to small nations, multinational states, and the European Union. His most recent book is Political Liberalism and Multinational Democracies (2010), the English edition of his 2009 book Liberalisme polític i democràcies plurinacionals, which is part of the “Clàssics del Federalisme” series.


Thursday, March 20, 2014
"Dis-united kingdoms? Debating Britain in Seventeenth-Century Scotland"
Roger Mason
Room 104, Weldon Law Building (6061 University Ave.)

Roger Mason (Department of History, University of St. Andrews) is a specialist in political thought and culture in early modern Scotland. He is also general editor of the New Edinburgh History of Scotland and Director of the Institute of Scottish Historical Research. He has published numerous articles and books, including key works on John Knox, George Buchanan, and the Anglo-Scots regal union of 1603. Professor Mason has emerged as one of the foremost scholars of the varieties of unionism that preceded the formation the United Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707, a union now in question.


FALL 2012

Reconciliation:  The Responsibility for Shared Futures
Brian Noble, supported by Sociology and Social Anthropology, Canadian Studies, and International Development Studies //, 902-494-6751
Three internationally-distinguished Canadian scholars have agreed to deliver the 2012 MacKay Lectures—all have offered some of the most powerful humanities and social science scholarship, anywhere, in relation to this thematic:  Anishinabek/Ojibway Legal Scholar Dr. John Borrows (Robina Chair in Law, Public Policy and Society, U. Minnesota); Political Philosopher Dr. James Tully (Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Law, Indigenous Governance and Philosophy at the U. of Victoria); and Anthropologist Dr. Michael Asch (Professor emeritus, U. of Alberta, Hon. Doctorate Memorial U.). 


Thursday, October 4, 7p.m.
"Back to the Future:  The Confederation Treaties and Reconciliation"
Dr. Michael Asch
Ondaatje Hall, Marion McCain Building

Canadian anthropologist Michael Asch, FRSC, has worked untiringly on the issue of finding just resolution of relations between Aboriginal Peoples and Canada. Dr. Asch will speak on some of the powerful arguments in his forthcoming book We are all Here to Stay: Between Canadian Sovereignty and First Nations’ Self-Determination (University of Toronto). In his new book he unpacks the history of legal, political, and knowledge relations between newcomers to Canada and Indigenous Peoples, and offers an empirically-sound proposition for the reconciliation of relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, following a path that “offers an opportunity for Canadians to come to terms, honourably, with our settlement in what we used to call the New World.”  Dr. Asch argues that his proposition is grounded in a common capacity and common will to enter into committed peaceful political relations in shared lands — by way of deeply rigorous enactment of treaty as a practice of living reciprocal obligations among peoples. His discussion goes directly to the idea of mutual responsibility in reconciliation, and expanding relations around that principle into the future.
Speaker Bio: 
Dr. Asch worked with the Northern Dene over the 1970s and 80s, aiding them in treaty-based land claims when they were facing the prospect of Alaskan Pipeline development through their territories, and in the 1990s was Senior Research Associate for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.  He is recipient of the Canadian Anthropology Society’s Weaver-Tremblay Prize in Applied Anthropology and an Honorary Doctorate from Memorial University; author of the landmark book Home and Native Land: Aboriginal Rights and the Canadian Constitution (1984) among other books, as well as many articles and chapters on the history of Anthropological, Legal, and Political thought and their effects for Indigenous peoples relations with Canada.

Watch Michael Asch's presentation of "Back to the Future:  The Confederation Treaties and Reconciliation" online [.mov - please allow approximately 10 minutes for full download]


Thursday, October 18, 7p.m.
"Aki-noomaagewin (Earth's Teachings):  Stories of the Fall, Indigenous Law and Reconciliation"
Dr. John Burrows
Ondaatje Hall, Marion McCain Building

Professor John Borrows (Kegedonce) who works and writes between and across humanist and Indigenous knowledge-practices. He is one of Canada’s most highly regarded Constitutional Law experts, and much more.  Dr. Borrows’ writing, scholarship, and speaking is a living conversation between the oral history, story, pictographic, and dreaming practices of the Anishnabek, and the practices of western academic scholarship, from constitutional and case law analysis, discourse studies, to philosophical reflection.  In many ways, his scholarship is an enactment, a “physical philosophy” of Indigenous peoples’ reconciliation of their legal traditions, with those of Canada, and in turn with Creation.  Dr. Borrows’ lecture will open audiences to this practice of reconciliation, as exampled in his 2010 paired volumes Drawing out the Law:  A Spirit’s Guide, and Canada’s Indigenous Constitution. It is precisely his gentle, yet formidable capacity to move between an Indigenous practice of knowledge and a conventional scholarly one, that gives Dr. Borrows the quiet authority to draw us all into the unfolding livable possibilities of reconciliation between peoples, with the animated things of nature, with the richness of our differences.

Speaker Bio: 
Dr. Borrows is Anishinabek / Ojibway and a member of the Chippewa of the Nawash First Nation in Ontario.  Author of numerous articles and books, his Recovering Canada; The Resurgence of Indigenous Law, received the Donald Smiley Award for the best book in Canadian Political Science. Professor Borrows is a recipient an Aboriginal Achievement Award in Law and Justice as well as innumerable gifts of honour from Indigenous communities in Canada and around the world, a Fellow of the Trudeau Foundation, and a Fellow of the Academy of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada.

Watch John Burrows' presentation of "Aki-noomaagewin (Earth's Teachings):  Stories of the Fall, Indigenous Law and Reconciliation" online now [.mov - please allow approximately 10 minutes for full download]


Thursday, October 25, 7p.m.
"Reconciliation Here on Earth:  Shared Responsibilities"
Dr. James Tully
Ondaatje Hall, McCain Building

The third and final speaker is one of this year’s national Killam Prize winners, Professor James Tully, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Law, Indigenous Governance and Philosophy at the U. of Victoria. Dr. Tully will speak on “Reconciliation as being-peace” both in relations between peoples, and in relations with the common earth on which we live and strive to flourish together.  Prof. Tully has suggested provisionally that he will set out a number of different ways in which ‘reconciliation’ has been understood and then make a series of arguments for one particular understanding, as the best way forward in the next decade. His approach is to seek a double move in reconciliation — the first move being reconciliation between peoples for past wrongs done, and the second, necessarily related move being a non-violent reconciliation of our modes of living with the earth, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.  The latter, shared responsibility answers an imperative of our contemporary condition, embracing a positive mutual way forward, beyond redress of past harms.

Speaker Bio:
Professor Tully is among the most influential political philosophers in Canada and beyond, author or editor of eight books and many articles in the field of contemporary political and legal philosophy and its history, and in Canadian political and legal philosophy.  He was also a Senior advisor to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. In 2010, he was awarded the prestigious Killam prize in recognition of his distinguished career and exceptional contributions to Canadian social science scholarship and public life.  His monographs include the two-volume Public Philosophy in a New Key (Cambridge, 2008), Strange Multiplicity: Constitutionalism in the Age of Diversity (Cambridge, 1995), and A Discourse on Property: John Locke and his Adversaries (Cambridge, 1980).

For more information contact the Dean’s Office, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Dalhousie University, 494-1440.

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