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Studying the past to dream our future

In this piece, History professor Adnan Husain talks about using education to combat stereotypes, and he explains how universities provide us with the opportunity of learning from the past to build a better future

As a historian, my reflex is to look to the past to analyze contemporary conditions and understand recent experiences.  When I first began to study medieval European and Middle Eastern/Islamic History as a university student, I did not imagine that my preoccupations with how religious identities were formed through the interrelationships between Muslims, Christians and Jews in the pre-modern world would seem so relevant to so many others.  My interests at the time developed from a more personal perspective as a Muslim from a religiously observant family raised in North America.  I was seeking historical grounding for what seemed an eccentric problem—being what one scholar would later term a “Western Muslim.”   My exploration of inter-religious interaction was meant to satisfy an internal dialogue about identity and its diverse sources and to discover ways to integrate and reconcile disparate influences of my heritage and formation. Continue Reading »

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A place of community

 

In this piece,  Kandice Baptiste, the Director of Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre, reflects on how space can be re-imagined to mirror Indigenous values and traditions, and how these changes create a meaningful atmosphere where everyone feels welcome.

It is my understanding that Indigenous education is built off the land and our stories, embedded in these are our worldviews and guiding principles for how to be and do good in the world. This is what drove the recent extensive renovations to the Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre.

Taking inspiration from the land the design of both houses was guided by Haudenosaunee and Anishnabee worldview. When you enter 144 there is a round room, which was meant to replicate the feeling of a round house. Inside these round houses, Anishnabee communities have conducted ceremonies for thousands and thousands of years. Continue Reading »

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Embracing Vulnerability

Mia Berloni, a fourth-year Environmental Science student at Queen’s, writes about the importance of expressing one’s thoughts and feelings, and how vulnerability can shift the campus culture to be more empathetic and open.

The topic I was given for this blog post was re-imagining the future. This is a very broad topic, and there are so many things I believe could be changed and improved to make the institution of Queen’s better. The thing that stuck out the most for me was vulnerability. Attending a school that more openly encourages and embraces vulnerability would have so many benefits for all students at Queen’s.

When space is made for openness, students can feel more comfortable living as their genuine selves, as living authentically in itself is a vulnerable act. Through my work at the Peer Support Centre (PSC), I have seen what incredible things can come from providing space for students to tell their story, Continue Reading »

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Breaking Boundaries Through the Arts: The Power of Poetry

Can’t see the video? Click Here.

This month, Nirosha Balukamar -fourth-year undergraduate student at Queen’s- writes a powerful piece on how the art of the spoken word can be used to create connections and understandings. Nirosha sees poetry as a tool to educate, empower and engage others in the conversation by raising awareness and fostering environments for constructive dialogue.

 

My voice is my strength and my strength lies in my voice.

If you know me, you’ll know that one of my favourite phrases is “let’s decolonize education.” I am a huge believer in embracing the untraditional and unconventional ways of learning, of challenging the systems in place and trying to reimagine the way in which we communicate and educate. I am a spoken word artist and I use my art as a platform to advocate and empower others. Continue Reading »

Year Four!

Together We Are reaches its fourth year!

Another successful year for the Together We Are blog! Thank you to our bloggers and readers who gave so graciously of their time, creativity and passion. Without your energy and support the blog would not be possible.

In 2018-2019 our blog will focus on (re)imagination. Contributors will (re)imagine the institution, space and dream for the future. Over the course of the next year you will hear from students, staff and faculty reflecting on the challenges and accomplishments of the past as well as their respective visions for the future.

Oh and don’t forget, YOU are part of this conversation as well. Together We Are all part of the Queen’s and broader Kingston community and therefore your comments and feedback are welcome.

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Being Who You Are, Inside and Out

This month, contributor Erin LeBlanc, Director, Strategic Program Development & Accreditation at the Smith School of Business and Queen’s alumnae, discusses themes of identity, authentic self, and belonging. Ms. Leblanc is an advocate for LGBTQ+ people with a focus on education, awareness, and building community for transgender people.

If I can’t be me, who am I supposed to be?

This is a question that I hear time and time again in conversations with transgender people. And with June just around the corner and communities preparing to host Pride celebrations, I am reminded of these conversations. Some people may be perplexed by this statement in that they don’t understand why there is such a great deal of stress for those who suffer from Gender Dysphoria.

They don’t understand why there is any issue with someone being transgender. Continue Reading »