Affiliate wins teaching award; new affiliate studies Quebec literature

A newsletter from a fellow Canadian organization in the Bay Area.

Canadian Studies Announcements
In This Issue:
Program News & Events
  • Faculty affiliate Sabrina Agarwal wins 2022 Distinguished Teaching Award
  • New faculty affiliate William Burton studies French & Québécois literature
  • Upcoming event: “Future Imaginaries of Abundant Intelligences: Indigenous Perspectives on Artificial Intelligence and its Discontents”
Other Announcements
  • Call for applications: Cornell University Migrations Summer Institute
External Events
  • Public attitudes towards immigration in Canada: A false or true positive?
  • Ciné Canapé: Language is a Love Story
  • Reading Canada: Canada in NATO, 1949-2019
  • Permanent Revolution: A reading and conversation with Gail Scott
Faculty Affiliate Sabrina Agarwal Honoured With 2022 Distinguished Teaching Award
Canadian Studies is proud to announce that Sabrina Agarwal, a professor of anthropology and Canadian Studies affiliate, was one of five Berkeley faculty selected to receive a 2022 Distinguished Teaching Award. The award recognizes faculty for “sustained performance of excellence in teaching”. We hope you will join us in congratulating Professor Agarwal for this significant achievement!
Professor Agarwal is an expert in biological anthropology specializing in age, sex and gender-related changes to human bone. She received her bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, where she also taught for one year before coming to Berkeley. She is interested in the philosophies of teaching, and is actively involved in the pedagogical training of current and future college instructors.
Professor Agarwal emphasizes inclusive and respectful exchange in her teaching and research, particularly in the context of the fraught relationship between anthropology and many historically disenfranchised communities. In addition to her teaching, she chairs the UC Berkeley NAGPRA Advisory Committee, which facilitates the return of Native American ancestral remains and cultural goods to their tribes of origin. Last month, she moderated a panel on repatriation efforts in the US and Canada for Canadian Studies.
Recipients of the Distinguished Teaching Award receive a cash award from the campus and permanent recognition in the UC Berkeley catalogue. Distinguished Teachers are frequently called upon to serve on forums, panels, and committees involving teaching issues, and advocate for excellence in teaching at Berkeley.
Canadian Studies Welcomes William M. Burton, Scholar of French Literature, as Newest Faculty Affiliate
This week, people across Canada and around the world celebrate the French Language and Francophonie, the global French-speaking community. Canadian Studies is pleased to join in by announcing that William M. Burton, an assistant professor of French with a love for Quebec, has joined the program as our newest faculty affiliate.
Professor Burton is an expert in 18th- and 20th-century French literature and philosophy, with a focus on gender, sexuality, and feminism. Their current project, The End of Sex, approaches this topic through a case-study of Monique Wittig and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Burton also has an interest in Quebec culture and literature. This semester, they are teaching “Montreal: Colonization, Urbanization, Migration“, a course that explores the development of the unique literary and artistic voice of the world’s second-largest Francophone city.
Professor Burton joined the Berkeley faculty in August 2021. They received their B.A. in French literature and translation from McGill University; an M.A. in English studies from Université de Montréal; and an M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in French and Romance philology from Columbia University.
Future Imaginaries of Abundant Intelligences: Indigenous Perspectives on Artificial Intelligence and its Discontents
Thursday, April 7 | 12:30 pm PT | 223 Moses | RSVP here
The artificial intelligence (A.I.) industry-academic complex does not have an ethics problem. It has an epistemology problem. The persistent failures with computationally-enabled and -amplified bias are symptoms of a blind allegiance to knowledge frameworks that define the “knower” as a post-Enlightenment individual motivated by selfish utilitarianism while subordinating or erasing ways of understanding the world that imagine people differently. How do we expand the operational definitions of intelligence to account for different epistemologies? In particular, how might we take inspiration from Indigenous knowledge frameworks that situate knowing within a web of relationships amongst humans and non-humans? And how might we consider integrating advanced computational practices, such as A.I., into traditional knowledge frameworks to the benefit of Indigenous communities?
Jason Edward Lewis is the University Research Chair in Computational Media and the Indigenous Future Imaginary as well professor of computation arts at Concordia University in Montreal. His research explores computation as a creative material, and seeks to understand how our technologies are constituted through explicit and implicit cultural knowledge practices. He is lead author of the award-winning “Making Kin with the Machines” essay and editor of the Indigenous Protocol and Artificial Intelligence Position Paper. Lewis directs the Initiative for Indigenous Futures Partnership, and co-directs the Indigenous Futures Research Centre and the Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace research network.
Call for Applications: Cornell University Migrations Summer Institute
Application deadline: April 4, 2022
Cornell University invites advanced graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and early career scholars to apply now for the virtual 2022 Migrations Summer Institute, “The Ongoing Afterlife of Dispossession in Africa and the Americas.”
From July 11 to 22, 20 participants will join a collaborative virtual space that engages with African studies, Native American and Indigenous studies, and settler colonial studies from a comparative perspective. A stipend of $2,000 supports each participant as they join a dialogue with other migration scholars, activists, and artists, design curricula and digital humanities resources, and contribute to a publication.
This institute is hosted by the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies and Migrations: A Global Grand Challenge. Learn more and apply here.
Public attitudes towards immigration in Canada: A false or true positive?
Tuesday, March 22 | 7:00 am PT | Online | RSVP here
Contrary to the experiences in most European countries and the U.S., public attitudes towards immigration in Canada have grown increasingly positive over the last two decades. However, several studies have found that while most of the population has a positive opinion on immigration, there is a significant difference in public attitudes depending on an individual’s education, age or political ideology. Studies also have shown that different factors, including economic and cultural concerns, play an essential role in influencing public opinion towards immigration, and that this has been shown to shift over time.
To understand the reasons behind changing public opinion, researchers have explored whether they are driven by changing demographics, ideological shifts or simply individuals changing their minds. Some scholars have taken a further step to examine what public support is like towards specific categories of immigration, racial groups or regions, showing that, at the finer grain, public support might not be as positive as Canada’s general attitudes suggest.
This workshop aims to address the following questions:
  • What are the main factors that explain the positive change in public attitudes towards immigration in Canada?
  • Are there differences in attitudes towards refugees versus (economic) immigrants?
  • Should we look closer at the attitudes of people in smaller communities?
  • What can we learn from qualitative and quantitative perspectives?
Ciné Canapé: Language is a Love Story
Wednesday, March 23 | 4:30 pm PT | Online | RSVP here
Join the Alliance Française of San Francisco for a special “Celebrate Francophonie” virtual film screening of the Canadian film Language is a Love Story (original title: “La langue est donc une histoire d’amour”). The film tells the story of a woman who teaches refugees to read and write. Their stories of pain and hope converge in one big-hearted lesson
This program is co-hosted by the consulates general of Canada, Luxembourg, and Switzerland in San Francisco, the Wallonia Export & Investment Agency, and the Quebec delegation in Los Angeles.
Reading Canada: Canada in NATO, 1949-2019
Thursday, March 24 | 11:00 am PT | Online | RSVP here
On April 4, 1949, Canada joined 11 other states in signing the North Atlantic Treaty, establishing a post-war western alliance and becoming one of the founding members of NATO. In the seventy years that followed, Canadian contributions to the organization have assisted operations in Korea, the Baltics, and the Middle East, supported NATO’s expansion in Eastern Europe, and played a vital role in promoting Canada’s image of international leadership.
Join the Wilson Center’s Canada Institute for a moderated discussion with Dr. Joel Sokolsky and Dr. Joseph T. Jockel, co-authors of Canada in NATO: 1949-2019. The 2021 publication explores Canada’s historical contributions to NATO and the impact that the alliance has had on Canadian defense and foreign policy.
Permanent Revolution: A reading and conversation with Gail Scott
Thursday, April 21 | 4:00 pm PT | 4229 Dwinelle Hall
The Montreal writer Gail Scott writes in the interstices of anglophone and francophone traditions, of the novel and theory, of prose and poetry. Scott’s audacious books refuse to divorce aesthetics from politics, and they demonstrate the inseparability of the erotic and the theoretical. Her innovative sentences dramatize the fractured relationship to language of minority subjects (including women, lesbians, and Indigenous people) and the sutured subjectivity that results.
In the 1970s and 80s, living in a French-speaking metropolis gave Scott a kind of privileged access to “French theory,” reading Barthes, Cixous or Derrida in the original. It also was during this period that she participated in Quebec’s feminist and formalist écriture au féminin moment alongside the poet Nicole Brossard. Her continental consciousness later led to her involvement with San Francisco’s New Narrative group in the 1990s and New York’s conceptual poetry scene in the past two decades.
Scott reflects on this trajectory in her essay collection, Permanent Revolution (Book*hug, 2021): “an evolutionary snapshot of [her] ongoing prose experiment that hinges the matter of writing to ongoing social upheaval.” She will read from her new book and then be joined by Canadian Studies faculty affiliate William Burton to discuss the politics and/of form, lesbian sexuality, colonisation, and more.
Canadian Studies Program
213 Moses Hall #2308
Canadian Studies Program | Univ. of California, Berkeley, 213 Moses Hall #2308, Berkeley, CA 94720

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