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Canada Like You've Never Heard it Before

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Canada is more than hockey, Tim Hortons, mounted police and maple leaves and a new lecture series in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies is determined to prove that.

Join us for Canada Like You've Never Heard it Before. From economics to Indigenous issues, government and the east coast, you'll learn what shapes us as a country, where Canada has been and where it is going.

All faculty, staff, students, alumni, community members and proud Canadians are welcome.

2012 Speaker Line-Up

Friday March 9 - featuring Giller Award winning author Joseph Boyden!
Time: 4:00pm
Location: Vanier 135

joseph boyden poster

Canadian author and Giller Award winner Joseph Boyden will visit York to discuss two of his books and answer questions on his work. In his presentation, Mr. Boyden will discuss his recent biography Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont, discussing his research and understanding of the Métis leaders. From there, listeners can expect him to make some connections between the character and aspirations of Dumont and that of Mr. Boyden's Three Day Road Cree sharpshooters, Elijah and Xavier. Mr. Boyden will also address Métis and First Nations contributions to Canada's military history and armed forces in light of his writing.

Joseph Boyden is a York Alumni (Creative Writing) and Giller prize Winning author. As he notes of himself, "My heart is part Irish, part Ojibwe. I'm a Canadian in America. I'm grounded by history, and I am inspired by legend." Each of his texts reflects this interdisciplinary and varied identity.

His first book, a collection of short stories based in aboriginal life, was called Born with a Tooth and was nominated for the Upper Canada Writerscraft Award in 2001. Four years later, Boyden authored his bestselling first novel, Three Day Road featuring the story of Cree sharpshooters Xavier and Elijah in Canada's Armed Forces during WW1. Shortlisted for the Governor-General's award in 2006, it also won the Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Rogers Writer's Trust Fiction Prize, and the inaugural McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book of the Year Award.

Boyden's second book, Through Black Spruce garnered him the 2008 Giller Prize, and again returns the juxtaposition of First Nations and Canadian Culture in person of bush pilot Will Bird. In 2010, Boyden wrote a well-received biography of Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont, for Penguin's Extraordinary Canadians Series.

Currently, Mr. Boyden teaches writing at the University of New Orleans, and is Sir Wilfred Laurier University's poet-in-residence in Winter 2012.

Past Presentations


Patricia Keeney - Nov. 16 : Living on the Edge: Across Borders in Words and Poems

Lieutenant-Colonel Allan Best - Nov. 11 : Remembering the Sacrifices: Stories of Bosnia and Afghanistan

Cate Sandilands (ENVS) March 21, : "State of Origin? National Parks and Canadian Identity"


Patrick Monahan (LAW) March 1, : "Proroguing of Parliament and the question of whether the Governor General should have accepted the advice of the Prime Minister in the recent controversies"  More Details +/-
 P. Monahan's Bio

Carolyn Podruchny (HIST) Feb 9, : "Tough Bodies, Fast Dogs, Well-Dressed Wives: Measures of Manhood Among French-Canadian Voyageurs in the North American Fur Trade.”

Janine Marchessault (FILM) Feb 16,: "Inventing 3D: Expo '67"

James Laxer (HREQ) Jan 5, : "The Crash and After: Economic Choices for Canada"

James Laxer Bio +/-

Listen to Laxer's presentation ::: MP3


David McNab: "Arctic Prescription: The Story of William Kennedy's Search for Franklin"

This lecture kicks off the series with a look at the mid-1800s adventures of Métis William Kennedy and his search for missing Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin. The lecture was co-sponsored by The Centre for the Study of Indigenous Border Issues and couldn’t have been more timely: On July 25 a team of Parks Canada scientists, archaeologists and surveyors made a historic discovery. They found the HMS Investigator – a ship lost while searching for Franklin and his crew. The ship was found in shallow water in Mercy Bay along the northern coast of Banks Island in the western Arctic.

Professor David McNab's Bio +/-

Listen to McNab's presentation ::: MP3

* Co-sponsored by The Centre for the Study of Indigenous Border Issues

B.W. Powe: "Apocalypse and Alchemy: Marshall McLuhan and Northrop Frye"

This lecture looks at the the first meetings of what are arguably Canada's best known and most influential thinkers, and their 34 year dialogue with one another through their books, lectures, notes and comments. It is the premise of B.W. Powe's new book on his two teachers that McLuhan and Frye are the sources for an original indigenous visionary tradition. The lecture will look at their conflicts and their harmonies of thought; it will explore how central they are to the Canadian experience of technology and identity. We are still catching up to these two figures who are encoded in our mythological landscape.

Professor B. W. Powe's Bio +/-

Listen to Powe's presentation ::: MP3

Priscila Uppal (CRWR) "Health Poetry: Priscila Uppal's Traumatology & Winter Sport Poems "

Priscila Uppal's two most recent poetry collections examine notions of health (body, mind, spirit) in unconventional and exciting ways. The world of Traumatology is populated by dubious health authorities as the poet attempts to achieve some sort of working relationship with the various parts of her psyche and psysionomy, and against her mortality. Winter Sport: Poems is a collection of the poems Uppal wrote as the first Canadian Athletes Now's poet-in-residence during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and Paralympics. Here Uppal celebrates the beauty of winter sports (luge, bobsleigh, figure skating, hockey, and more), the athletes, the games, sport vocabulary, but most of the all the spectacle of the human body and spirit attempting the impossible.

Uppal will read from and discuss these two collections of poetry and the impact they've had on the poetry, sports, and health worlds. A Question and Answer period will follow.

Professor Priscila Uppal's Bio +/-  
Jody Berland "Cultures of Militarization"

In the face of the now infamous Toronto G20 summit and the violence surrounding it, many observers wondered "what happened to my city?" and "is this Canada?!" The feelings of fear, frustration, rage, humiliation, and confusion surrounding this event brought public attention to the growing securitization of Canadian society. In her talk "Cultures of Militarization," Professor Berland takes these events as a starting point for a broader discussion about the militarization of culture and the culturalization of the military in Toronto, in Canada, and beyond.

Her talk draws from the introduction to the recently published book Cultures of Militarization (edited by Berland and Blake Fitzpatrick, TOPIA/ Cape Breton University Press, 2010) and some of its case studies to open out the discussion of militarization to the surfaces and screens of contemporary culture.

Jody Berland Bio +/-

Listen to Berland's presentation ::: MP3

Maura Hanrahan "Women as Agents their own Lives in Depression Era Newfoundland"

"The Roots of the Novel, Sheilagh's Brush" by Maura Hanrahan"  


"The Speakers Series will give students insight into how wonderful Canada is, and how many things there are to learn about our country." - Alison Sanelli, second-year humanities student

"I am excited and eager to participate in the Canadian Studies Program Speakers Series. As a student spectator, I know I will achieve further knowledge that will be beneficial to my future professional career. We couldn't ask for better professors guiding us through our educational interests!" - Cassie Savoia, second-year Canadian Studies student

“The series really aims to showcase the breadth and depth of Canadian scholarship and research at York. We have many senior faculty from across York and across disciplines participating – including two Canada Research Chairs – who are eager to engage with students and members of the York community on key issues of the Canadian experience.” - Dr. Jon Sufrin

Thank you to the following sponsors

Without the generosity of the following individuals and groups, this series would not be made possible. We appreciate your support.