Sabbatical Talks by Dr. Bill Leeming and Dr. Selmin Kara

Tuesday, March 26, 2019 - 3:00pm

Please join the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences and School of Interdisciplinary Studies for two Sabbatical Talks: “Extending the Meaning of “Genetic” in Medicine in Canada and Mexico to include ‘Related to Chromosomes and Genes’” by Dr. Bill Leeming and "Cinematic Life in the Anthropocene" by Dr. Selmin Kara.

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

205 Richmond St. W., Room 320


Dr. Bill Leeming

Extending the Meaning of “Genetic” in Medicine in Canada and Mexico to include “Related to Chromosomes and Genes”

My talk describes work completed during my sabbatical in 2016-17, including collaborative work with Dr. Ana Barahona of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. I begin the talk by exploring how medico-scientific reporting of chromosomal anomalies using karyotype cytogenetics permitted scientists in a wide range of fields to manipulate and extend the meaning of “genetic” in medicine from “heredity” to include “related to chromosomes and genes.” I then go on to show how the adoption of cytogenetics in Canada and Mexico unfolded against strikingly different backgrounds in clinical research and health care delivery.

Dr. Selmin Kara

Cinematic Life in the Anthropocene

This talk presents an overview of one of the book chapters I completed during my Sabbatical. In recent big-budget science-fiction films such as Ridley Scott’s The Martian (2015) and Danny Boyle’s Sunshine (2007), the search for restoring or expanding sustainable life (which are necessitated by the climatic events that threaten human survival) require characters to interact with and maintain various forms of manmade closed ecosystems in outerspace. These ecosystems (ranging from small-scale life support systems comprising of a few species of edible and oxygen producing plants within the larger enclosures of space ships to grand-scale generation ship habitats that simulate entire biomes) initially establish a vision of life as a machinic-systemic artefact, which can be isolated and engineered through technological means. Alex Garland’s Annihilation (2018) also engages with the trope of closed ecologies in the making (this time located on Earth and colonized by nonhuman forces) yet moves toward weird realism as an aesthetic proper to depicting the ultimate strangeness and unknowability of life under the extant conditions of climate change. In exploring the scientific and weird cinematic realisms in these films, my talk tracks the ways in which the 21st century film has responded to the question of life in the Anthropocene, locating it on a spectrum that shifts from extreme certainty towards extreme uncertainty.

Venue & Address: 
205 Richmond St. W., Room 320
Image 1: A close up of a scientist seated at a desk and looking up from his work. Image 2: Still from Annihilation (2018)

Mark Dickinson

Mark Dickinson was educated at the University of British Columbia (General Studies), York University (Master's of Environmental Studies) and Trent University (Ph.D., Canadian Studies). His publications include Lyric Ecology: An Appreciation of the Work of Jan Zwicky (Cormorant, 2010); Listening for the Heartbeat of Being: Perspectives on the Arts of Robert Bringhurst (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2015); and Canadian Primal: Poet-thinkers and the Rediscovery of Earth (forthcoming from McGill-Queen's University Press).

Dr. Rauch presents at UCL’s Joint Faculty Institute of Graduate Studies conference

Animalesque mask-like sculptures made in white, hanging on a wall.
Friday, September 19, 2014 - 3:15pm

Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media and Design Graduate Program Director Dr. Barbara Rauch presented her research on ‘Synthetic Emotions of Hybrids’ in London, UK this week as part of the interdisciplinary conference “Humanity and Animality in 20th and 21st Century Culture: Narratives, Theories, Histories.”

The conference was hosted by University College London’s Joint Faculty Institute of Graduate Studies on September 15 and 16. The event stages an important debate in a field of growing importance in the humanities, where animal studies, post-humanism, and eco-criticism have arisen in recent years. A strikingly varied program of papers and debates chaired by high-profile contributors to this emerging field of study were presented. Dr. Rauch participated as a panel speaker to address theoretical and methodological issues alongside philosophy, history and art practice.

Susan Ferguson at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences

Monday, June 2, 2014 - 4:00pm

Susan Ferguson, Manager of OCAD University’s Writing & Learning Centre and Centre for Innovation in Art & Design Education presented her paper “Embodied Writing and Decolonizing Knowledge Production” at the annual conference of the Canadian Sociological Association last week. The conference is part of the larger Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, held at Brock University.

Ferguson’s presentation was part of a roundtable session featuring contributors to an edited collection entitled Embodiment, Pedagogy and Decolonization: Critical and Material Considerations. The intention of the book is to consider how embodiment and embodied learning are taken up in pedagogical and decolonization theories and practices.

Abstract: “Embodied Writing and Decolonizing Knowledge Production”
This paper explores the possibilities of embodied writing for social research and its implications for decolonizing knowledge production about and of the body. While there has been considerable interest in issues of subjectivity and embodiment in social research, much scholarly writing about the body, health and subjectivity maintains the normative orders of Western academic knowledge production through its reliance upon dominant understandings of embodiment and writing practices that (re)produce disembodied relations to text. Drawing on my research regarding the social production of bodily pain, I will describe how I brought together feminist autobiography, phenomenologically-informed interpretive sociology and mindfulness meditation to develop an understanding of embodied writing practice and consider how it can support a project of decolonizing knowledge production.