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Queen's University

Cultural Studies

Cultural Studies Seminar Series - Fall 2013

Unless otherwise noted, all seminars take place in Sir John A. McDonald Hall, Room 2. 2:30 p.m.

October 9, 2013

Decolonizing Aesthetics
Leah Decter speaks
“The bay blanket, the beaver and the maple leaf; redeploying Canadian icons as counter-narrative”

Working from a methodology of integrative artistic inquiry Decter’s work considers the historical and contemporary mechanisms of settler colonialism, discourses of reconciliation, and strategies of decolonization in Canada through a critical white settler lens. This talk will be a discussion of her recent works and works in progress that tamper with Canadian icons.

Leah Decter is a Winnipeg based inter-media artist whose work integrates video, digital media, installation, textiles, performance, social practice and writing. She has exhibited and presented her work widely in Canada including at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Grunt Gallery, Dunlop art Gallery and Trinity Square Video, and internationally in the US, UK, Australia and Germany. Her videos have screened nationally and internationally including at the Images Festival Toronto, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and Malta Contemporary Art with screenings upcoming at MS University, Baroda India and Jaaga, Bangalore, India. Recent publications include (official denial) trade value in progress: Unsettling Narratives ,(co-authored with Jaimie Isaac) in the West Coast Line Reconcile This! Issue (2012), and Addressing the Settler Problem’: Strategies of settler responsibility and decolonization in contemporary aesthetics,(co-authored with Carla Taunton) in Fuse Magazine’s Decolonizing Aesthetics Issue (Fall, 2013). Decter holds an MFA in New Media from Berlin-based Transart Institute and is currently undertaking a PhD in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University.


October 16, 2013

Grant writing workshop
Workshop on grant applications with CS students who have been successful.


October 23, 2013

Lynn Marsh speaks

Lynne Marshʼs practice lies at the intersection of moving image, performance and installation. Marsh invests specific sites and architectures—the spaces of spectacle—through location-based filming and behind-the-scenes views. Marsh also depicts them a temporal remove—too early or too late—which casts their absent audiences as trespassers, recently dispersed or yet to come. Strategically delving into the spaces and performances on the margin of mass consumption and mass cultural expression, the works stage the network of historical, social and political forces that produce the spectacle. They explore how the camera’s performance can reconfigure social spaces and their ideological orientation, casting viewers—figures of latency—to step on stage, to seize an active role. Her works are specific evocations of the complex relationships between complicity and participation, camera and subject and the individual and the social.

Lynne Marshʼs work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions internationally at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Steve Turner Contemporary, Los Angeles, the Musée dʼart contemporain de Montréal, Danielle Arnaud contemporary art, London, and PROGRAM, Berlin and in group exhibitions and screenings at Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels, Kunstverein Wolfsburg, Germany, the 10th International Istanbul Biennial, Centro Cultural Montehermoso, Spain, Manif dʼart 5, Quebec City, Oakville Galleries, Canada, 53 Art Museum, China and The National Gallery of Canada. She lives and works between Montréal, Berlin and London.


October 30, 2013

No class


November 6, 2013

Publishing Workshop with Dr. Alexandre Da Costa and Dr. Sarah Smith


November 13, 2013

Unlimited sounds: listening as a socio-cultural construction
José Cláudio Siqueira Castanheira Speaks

Before attempting to describe different patterns through which society relates to sounds at specific moments and within certain social and/or cultural practices, we must try to define what we mean here by listening models.

We must approach this term carefully lest we take it as the common sense, confusing “listening” to something more pertaining to the physiological field, as “audition”. In order to begin our research, we must first look at the fact that the more general study of perception can understand perspectives as diverse as cognitive sciences, philosophical approaches such as phenomenology, or epistemological questions. While the first one would take care of the psychological or neurophysiological aspects, the phenomenological view would try to describe the intentional aspects of perceptual and intellectual mechanisms.

On the other hand, more recent theories, as a kind of criticism of previous models, tend to ignore the phenomenal dimension of perception, often reducing it to a description of physiological processes. Studies in the field of acoustics and psychoacoustics tend to face the phenomenon of listening as something purely physical and/or biological. One of the possible problems we find in taking this perspective as a study model is to treat social or cultural practices that dialogue with perception indiscriminately and homogeneously, not observing the social construction of the senses.

Thus, when analyzing films, music etc., we are also talking about specific ways of seeing and listening. These ways are not related only to the technical processes by which we make films and music, but to an entire environment – technological or not – that presents itself through sounds and images. This environment cannot be thought of just as a source of knowledge, but also as a form of knowledge.

The study of different ways of relating to the sound material in various historical moments necessarily involves the knowledge of social and cultural processes through which that environment is built. To paraphrase Jonathan Crary, a history of the forms of listening is inseparable from the possibilities of a subject “who is both the historical product and the site of certain practices, techniques, institutions, and procedures of subjectification.” Keeping this in mind, we defend a study of objects that are presented to our ears, eyes etc., not only by the different forms of representation that these objects have been described with, but by a premise of more profound changes in the way knowledge is organized into different practices.

José Cláudio Siqueira Castanheira is Assistant Professor at the Arts Department and sub-coordinator of the Cinema Course at Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina – UFSC, Brazil.  He is developing research into the constitution of different models of listening and their relation to technologies and social practices. He is one of the contributors to the anthology Reverberations: The Philosophy, Aesthetics and Politics of Noise (2012), edited by Michael Goddard, Benjamin Halligan and Paul Hegarty. He is also member of the organizing committee of the IV Small Cinemas Conference – Crossing Borders, held at Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil, September 2013. Grantee of CAPES - Proc. nº 4902/13-0.


November 20, 2013

Roundtable on ‘The Cold War in the Arctic: Contemporary Appropriations and Reiterations’
Anna Stenport, Scott McKenzie, David Serkoak, & Noel McDermott speak

Cultural Studies Speaks is pleased to present Professor Anna Westerståhl Stenport (University of Illinois), Professor Scott MacKenzie (Queen’s University), Inuit Elder David Serkoak (curator and educator), and Professor Noel McDermott (Queen’s University) in a Roundtable on Critical Arctic Studies. Panelists will discuss historical and contemporary iterations of the “Cold War” in the Arctic. Stenport considers the way in which popular cinemas from the 1950s to the present day have utilized the Cold War as a means to chart the ideological battles between East and West. MacKenzie addresses the rampant use of the term the “New Cold War” in the media and the press in relation to the Arctic and questions of sovereignty and resource extraction, tracing the genealogy of the term. McDermott addresses education in the arctic, its history, the present and what needs to happen in the future. Serkoak, who was born on the northern part of Nueltin Lake, Nunavut, focuses on the forced relocations of his family, along with other Ahiarmiut, and their consequences. Please join us for this public roundtable.


Scott MacKenzie teaches film and media at Queen’s University, Canada and is a Research Associate at the Danish Film Institute in 2013-2017. His teaching and research focuses on national and transnational cinemas, activist media, minoritarian cinemas and film and the public sphere. His books include: Cinema and Nation (w/ Mette Hjort, Routledge, 2000), Purity and Provocation: Dogme ‘95 (w/ Mette Hjort, BFI, 2003), Screening Québec: Québécois Moving Images, National Identity and the Public Sphere (Manchester University Press, 2004), The Perils of Pedagogy: The Works of John Greyson (w/ Brenda Longfellow and Thomas Waugh, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013), Film Manifestos and Global Cinema Cultures (University of California Press, 2014), Films on Ice: Cinemas of the Arctic (w/ Anna Stenport, Edinburgh University Press, 2014), When Worlds Collide: Arctic Ecological Imaginaries (w/ Lill-Ann Körber and Anna Stenport, forthcoming 2014) and Guy Debord: French Filmmakers Series (Manchester University Press, forthcoming 2015). He has taught widely in Canada (York University, University of Toronto) and the UK (University of Glasgow, University of East Anglia, University of St. Andrews).

Anna Westerståhl Stenport is Associate Professor of Scandinavian Studies and Director of the European Union Center , University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She holds faculty appointments in Media and Cinema Studies, Comparative and World Literature, Theatre, Gender and Women's Studies, Global Studies, and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory and is a Research Associate at the Danish Film Institute in 2013-2017. Stenport's teaching and scholarship focuses on modern European film, literature, theater, media, and culture, with a particular emphasis on Nordic and Arctic studies. She is the co-editor of Films on Ice: Cinemas of the Arctic (w/ Scott MacKenzie, Edinburgh University Press, 2014), the first book on transnational global Arctic film and media, and the forthcoming When Worlds Collide: Arctic Ecological Imaginaries (w/ Lill-Ann Körber and Scott MacKenzie). Her other books include  Nordic Film Classics: Lukas Moodysson's 'Show Me Love'  (U of Washington P, 2012),  Locating August Strindberg's Prose: Modernism, Transnationalism, and Setting (Toronto UP, 2010),  The International Strindberg: New Critical Essays  (ed., Northwestern UP, 2012), and Det gäckande könet: Strindberg och Genusteori (w/ Anna Cavallin, Symposion, 2006).  

David was born on the northern part of Nueltin Lake, Nunavut southwest of Arviat, Nunavut. He lived through hardships from birth into the 1960s, as a result of his family, along with other Ahiarmiut, being moved numerous times by the Federal Government. David received his primary education in Rankin Inlet and Whale Cove in the 1960s. In the early 70s he worked in the art industry in Arviat to promote the Inuit art from local carvers. He got interested in education when he was a halftime classroom assistant in the 1970s and shortly after he found himself in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories at the Teacher Education Program. In the summer of 1978, shortly after his graduation, he returned to Arviat to start his teaching career. Education is life-long learning for David and in 1993-1994 he received his Bachelor of Education from McGill-Arctic College. David has worked in many levels in education as a teacher (primary/high schools), vice-principal, principal, Instructor at Nunavut Arctic College, and as a curator at the British Museum of Mankind in England. He was language and cultural instructor at Nunavut Sivuniksavut (NS) a college preparation program for young Inuit in Ottawa. David helped to develop Inuktitut (language) teaching materials at all levels local, regional and territorial. David is much in demand at regional, national and international events. He regularly gives workshops in drum dancing and drum making across Canada and at conferences around the world. He was a member of the Winter Olympic Symposium Committee in Vancouver and took part in the opening and closing ceremonies and in launching the Aboriginal Pavilion at the games in 2010. David spends much of his time making Inuit drums and teaching youth about the art of drum dancing. He and his wife Lesley have three grown daughters, Amanda, Meeka and Karla. David spends many hours with his six grandchildren, Briana, Makayla, Kyle, Laura, Ryan and Emma.

Noel McDermott trained as a teacher at Hopwood Hall, University of Manchester, UK (1964-67) where he completed a Diploma in Education.  He earned a B.A. (Honours English) from the University of London, UK (1973), an MA in Shakespeare Studies, University of Birmingham, UK (1978) and an M.Phil. in English Renaissance Drama, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada (1979).  At Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada (1984) he completed the requirements for the Ph.D. (ABD) specializing in English Renaissance drama. He taught for twenty one years at NTEP, Nunavut Arctic College, Iqaluit during which time he was Adjunct Professor of Education, McGill University, Montreal. He also taught at the universities of Waterloo (fall 1978) and Trent (winter 1985), Ontario and was visiting professor of English at the Saami University College, Kautokeino, Norway ( fall 2005). In 2010 he taught classes on Inuit mythology and poetry at Carleton University. His publications include Akinirmut Unipkaaqtuat: Stories of Revenge (2006), That’s My Vision: Life Stories of Northern Leaders(2007), Unipkaaqtuat: An Introduction to Traditional Inuit Myths and Legends (2011) which he co-edited with Neil Christopher,  Canadian Literature in Inuktitut(2011) andOrpingalik: The Wordsworth of the North (2012). Noel lived for thirty five years in the Canadian arctic and was principal of the Nunavut Teacher Education Program (NTEP) at Nunavut Arctic College, Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada where he taught courses on Inuit Literature and Language.  He was involved in the writing and publication of books in Inuktitut, especially stories for children. He is now retired and living in Almonte, Ontario where he continues to read, learn, teach and write about Inuit traditional stories. He is presently a Teaching Fellow at Queen’s University and a doctoral candidate in Cultural Studies.

Please note the different time and location of this second event:

November 21, 2013

Undoing Border Imperialism Book Launch w/Harsha Walia and contributor Harjap Grewal. Thursday November 21, 6:30–8:30pm. Central Library, Wilson Room, 130 Johnson St (Kingston, Haudenesaunee & Anishinaabe territory). Supported by Cultural Studies Speaks Series, OPIRG-Kingston and the Society for Graduate and Professional Students


Undoing Border Imperialism is an exciting new book that situates immigrant rights movements within a transnational analysis of capitalism, labor exploitation, settler colonialism, state building, and racialized empire. By providing the alternative conceptual frameworks of border imperialism and decolonization, this work offers relevant insights for all grassroots and social movement organizers on effective strategies to overcome the barriers and borders within our movements in order to cultivate fierce, loving, and sustainable communities of resistance striving toward liberation.  (Visit: )

Novel Idea will be on hand to sell copies of the book at this event ($16 cash-only). The author and other contributors will be available for a book-signing following the event.

This event is free. Light Refreshments will be provided. Childcare is available with 48 hours advance notice (email to make arrangements). Venue is wheelchair accessible.

For more information, contact Jane Kirby


November 27, 2013

Nahed Mansour Speaks

We invite you to join us for a public talk by Nahed Mansour (MFA), a Toronto-based artist working in performance, installation, and video.

In this talk, Nahed will discuss recent video and installation works, which have taken up notions of mimicry in popular entertainment. Her work speaks of physicality, performance, and power relations between generations, genders, and races. These works center on dancers/singers, ranging from Egyptian icon Sherihan to the King of Pop Michael Jackson, who become apertures for thinking about the ways in which racial identities are performed and negotiated in the globally hybrid post-colonial present. Her work aims to expose the ways in which narratives of labour and entertainment are often grafted onto the racialized physicality of bodies exploited for hyper-mediated viewing. 

Currently the Director of Mayworks Festival-Toronto, Nahed has also recently programmed the South Asian Visual Arts Centre’s (SAVAC) MONITOR 9: New South Asian Short Film & Video. (For more information on MONITOR 9 and Nahed’s upcoming engagement at Modern Fuel Artist Run Centre, click here). Please join us for Nahed’s public talk.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000