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2017 Liberal Arts & Sciences
Interdisciplinary Conference


OCT. 13/14, 2017
Humber North Campus


All Events in the Seventh Semester Room (LX 101)

Delegate Registration
4:00 – 4:30 PM

4:30 – 5:30 PM

“The New Canadian Urbanism”
As co-founder of Spacing Magazine, a Toronto Star columnist & a lecturer at the University of Toronto, Shawn has devoted his career to thinking about the culture of cities. Reflecting themes of his 2017 book, Frontier City: Toronto on the Verge of Greatness, this address will explore what our & other Canadian cities are poised to become—& why what’s next will make them models of resilience, diversity & prosperity from which the world can benefit.

Q & A Followed by Reception
5:30 – 7:00 PM


Breakfast & Registration in the Seventh Semester Room from 8:30 to 9:30am

9:30 – 11:10 AM


Karen Schucher (Paralegal Studies): "Negotiating the Changing Terrain of Professional 'Expertise' and 'Authority'"

Access to affordable legal services is a critical access to justice problem in Ontario and in Canada. In Ontario, paralegals became a regulated profession in 2007. They have an independent scope of practice, within which they can provide certain legal services independently and without supervision. They can also work under the supervision of lawyers in law firms, government legal departments and in-house legal departments. In order to become a licensed paralegal, students need to complete an educational program accredited by the Law Society of Upper Canada and pass a licensing exam developed and administered by the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Licensed paralegals are a regulated profession. A profession is often understood to mean “A paid occupation, especially one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification” [OED]. It is also often understood that prolonged training creates professional expertise, which in turn creates professional authority that has significant value for citizens. As educators, we are particularly interested in the “prolonged training” component of creating professions and professionals, as we are deeply involved in this educational component. We develop and deliver the education programs that are a key part of the process of creating professional expertise.

However, there are other perspectives on the meaning of expertise and the value of expertise. Professional expertise is regularly subject to critique – sometimes for reasons that in my view are legitimate and other times for reasons that in my view are not legitimate. In my view, it is legitimate to criticize an approach to professional expertise that treats this expertise as singularly authoritative and not open to question. On the other hand, it is in my view not legitimate to devalue professional expertise, to treat lay expertise as an equally reliable substitute for professional expertise and to shift an undue degree of responsibility from professionals to citizens.

There is a multitude of examples of the second critique of professional expertise – from populist challenges to scientific inquiry and evidence-based decision-making, to taxi drivers who make the passenger responsible for selecting the “best” route and to physicians who seek to make patients responsible for important health care decisions.

In this presentation, I examine this second critique of professional expertise – and its implications for the future of the professions, professional expertise and the educational programs attached to professions – through the example of paralegal regulation in Ontario. All of the services that paralegals are trained to provide are, in theory, services that would-be clients can provide for themselves. Citizens are not required to retain a paralegal (or a lawyer) to represent themselves, for example, at a tribunal such as the Landlord and Tenant Board or in family court or in traffic court. Although there is clear evidence that citizens achieve better outcomes when they have legal representation, the difficulty in obtaining affordable legal services has encouraged a proliferation of strategies designed to help unrepresented litigants represent themselves. These strategies inevitably call into question the meaning and value of paralegal professional expertise: why should a litigant retain a paralegal and pay for legal services that they can – they are told – provide for themselves? As educators, this requires us to examine the value of the paralegal professional expertise and to develop strategies that prepare students to promote not only their skills but also the need for these skills. Moreover, this opportunity to examine and reflect on the meaning and future of professional expertise has implications for every occupation that is built on a foundation of learning – from the elite professions to the trades.

Kerry Potts (LAS): "What Are We Going to Celebrate? Indigenous Artists Respond to Canada 150"

In 1989, Former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, George Erasmus, sent an impassioned message to Canadians in preparation for the celebration of Canada’s 125th year of Confederation:

What are we going to celebrate? Are we going to celebrate that it took until 1959 before we could vote in this country? Are we going to celebrate that our Aboriginal languages are not considered important enough in this country to be regarded in any legal way? I don’t like what has happened over the last 500 years… But what are we going to do about the next 500 years? What are we going to do in the next 10 years?

In this pivotal time following the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Canadians have been called upon to hear the truth of this country’s colonial legacy, and take action so that this legacy does not endure. As educators and as human beings, we currently face an important moment that demands that we examine the truths we put forward to our students, and consider whether the stories we tell will support a future of equality and solidarity with the first peoples of this land.

This presentation explores a selection of indigenous artists’ responses to Canada’s sesquicentennial celebrations. I will briefly review the work of artists such as Christi Belcourt and her #ResistCanada150 campaign, and Kent Monkman’s contribution to Canada 150, Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience. I will review the counter-narratives put forward by these indigenous artists as they map a less celebrated, colonial narrative of this country. The idea of “what’s next” will be contemplated through a brief critique of my current pedagogy. I will subsequently suggest that integrating indigenous scholarship and artistic expression into my teaching practice is part of a larger vision, which ensures that indigenous peoples can celebrate the next 150 years.

Alcibiades Malapi-Nelson (LAS):  “The Future is Perhaps Bright:  The Hope & Promise of Humanity 2.0”

Humanity faces a dual future: gradual evolutionary annihilation or directed flourishing of the species. Post-humanism stands as a position friendly to the first scenario, whereas transhumanism unapologetically advocates the latter one. In tune with the furthering of an ongoing positive alteration of the human condition, emergent technologies (e.g. nanotech, biotech, information technology, cognitive technology) promise mastery over the last bastion unconquered by modern science: humanity itself. Echoing my recently published book, the talk will have a twofold aim: On the one hand I will articulate the deep seated philosophical tensions between post-humanism and transhumanism. On the other, in virtue of unveiling the metaphysical commitments present in the indicated struggle, some novel scientific attitudes and methodologies, with their corresponding technological tools, will be assessed. Finally, it will be proposed that these technologies, aiming at the accomplishment of what Heidegger called a “cybernetically organized mankind”, contrary to popular belief, entail an ultimate affirmation of humanity.


Alex Ufkes (Ryerson):  “’I’m Sorry, Dave, I’m Afraid I Can’t Do That.’  Should We Fear the Emergence of General Artificial Intelligence?”

This talk will take a high level, non-technical approach to discussing the past, current, and predicted future state of Artificial Intelligence (AI) research. It will formally define and contrast notions of general AI versus narrow AI, and discuss how they relate to human intelligence using concrete examples such as IBM’s Watson and Deep Blue, and most recently Google’s AlphaGo. It will explain broadly how these systems work, and discuss why AlphaGo represents a fundamental leap forward in this field. The talk will move into the future by discussing some of the key challenges on the road to developing general AI. It will examine these challenges technically, using examples from recent research, as well as philosophically, using thought experiments posed by some of the foremost researchers and thinkers in this field including Stuart Russell, Nick Bostrom, and Sam Harris. Finally, this talk will discuss some of the world-altering scenarios (both utopian and apocalyptic) being warned of by prominent public intellectuals such as Stephen Hawking, Ray Kurzweil, Elon Musk, and Sam Harris, and ultimately attempt to answer the titular question: Should we be afraid?

Mohammed Maxwel Hasan (Applied Technology):  “Virtual Reality:  Friend or Foe?”

Virtual reality (VR) is primarily an escape. An escape from the mundane world or perhaps seeking order within this world of chaos. Although technology is progressing at lightning speed, is it necessarily a positive thing? By examining how virtual reality impacts our everyday human relationships, enhances the entertainment industry and influences common professions, I propose that virtual reality can be dangerously misused unless handled with care.

For modern day social media platforms, the screen still separates us from full interaction with others. However, virtual reality aims to shatter that screen in order to engage closer conversations. For instance, Facebook purchased Oculus and the way things are headed look like creating social virtual worlds. One the one hand, it could be a wonderful moment to reunite with past friends and family. Fallen into the wrong hands, people can undergo unwanted experiences (imagine cyberbullying to the nth degree). 

In the gaming world, it's all about immersing yourself with the characters or having multiplayer events online. Grand Theft Auto 5 is a case where you can be in 1st person, go through 43 hours of storyline and have endless fun with friends in multiplayer.

Similar to Disney and in sports, the gaming industry transports people into a new illusionary world. It’s great to have fun, however will it be harder to set limits?

Virtual reality development can impact regular professions and allow users to be in more accurate environments. For instance, an architect can use VR to demonstrate to clients how the building will look like before it's even built (maybe a tour of the first floor). Or, perhaps surgeons will be able to have a VR training ground for difficult surgeries that won't have severe ramifications if anything goes wrong. VR is fantastic at creating realistic atmospheres and making more competent professionals. However, what if the wrong people are being trained?

In conclusion, virtual reality blurs lines between real world and constructed world. Just like smartphones, it's all about what you do with this tool. If used unwisely, it can have severe consequences but if used correctly, it can bring a lot of benefit to humanity.

Sarah Bokhari (LAS):  “Learning Challenges for Students in the Age of Social Media:  Academic, Health & Financial Drawbacks.”

Today’s student is bombarded by news, about societies, people, politics, cultures, weathers, films, fashion and food, more than any other age.  The immense connectivity provided by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and other sites often times results in a ‘disconnect’ to ‘real things in life’ for students. School work, class performance, better grades and finally highly paying careers are negatively affected by the improper use of social media by students. 

Students in North America are webbed at all times through social media. It allows an unprecedented level of togetherness, availability, instant gratification and presence with immense speed which if goes unchecked can lead to diverse affects for students academically and financially.

There is no denying to the fact that social media has several uses as well, e.g. advertisements, job hunting, political campaign and lobbying etc. Many users have attained immense advantages in their lives by embarking on a healthy use of social media. However, improper use leads to disastrous results. While it's true that spending many hours in a day on social media can have a negative impact on your brain, it's not the tool itself that's the problem but how it's used. The amount of time used on social media is directly proportional to the number of disadvantages for students.

Research shows that when students bring electronic devices in the class rooms or sit down on their laptops to do school work at home they hardly spend any time on their assignments and waste time flipping through Facebook checking for ‘likes’ on a new selfie they just posted 15 minutes ago or would browse through their peers on Instagram to see the latest fashion or trends in dating culture. The time required to finish the assignment goes to waste. Too much ‘availability’ and ‘connectivity’ offered by social media comes with huge problems for today’s college students.

A whole host of drawbacks arise of this constant use of social media. Loss of time, addiction, less attention spans, restricted social groups, poor writing skills and grammar etc. All these disadvantages lead to one big drawback and that is poor academic performance by students which can have a spiral effect on finances and even health in the long run.

I would like to propose a research paper on how the improper use of time spent on social media could lead to disastrous results for students. I would recommend a few ways and methods through which students can effectively reduce the improper use of social media. I would conclude that teachers should use social media for their usual lectures and class material. 


Workshop I - Saima Sheikh & Rosana To (Health Sciences): "The Missing Population: Including Students With Special Needs"

Have you ever wondered where do they go? You may be wondering who we are referring to…in this discussion style presentation we will be addressing what happens to students who have intellectual disabilities once they exit high school. This is a ‘disappearing or missing’ population in academia. Special needs have existed since the beginning of time but as a community and society we have neglected a lifespan policy on how to embrace and include diverse populations into our educational pathways. One way Humber ITAL has attempted to address this is through offering the Community Integration through Co-operative Education (CICE) program. This two year program began in 1989. It is the longest running program that supports the integration of individuals with intellectual disabilities in a college experience in Ontario! Since the past five years many more colleges have adopted a CICE style program. Why is this a quiet phenomenon?

In this interactive session we intend to explore what responsibility do colleges have to offer integration programs and possibilities, build awareness, and create dialogue to encourage mindfulness in our teaching and learning environments. What possibilities exist in the next 50 years for people with intellectual disabilities? What is our role as mediators in practical hands- on experiential learning institutes?

Workshop II -- Theo Selles (Guelph-Humber):  “Teaching Critical Thinking”

Critical thinking is at the core of university curriculums as teaching students how to think rather than what to think is recognized as a vital skill they will need for what’s next (Paul, Elder, 2002).  Critical thinking is outlined by the University of Guelph as one of the five major learning outcomes of the university. Critical thinking is viewed by the university as required to not only support academic success within the academic environment, but also to enhance career success when students graduate (Desmarais, 2012).  So what teaching techniques and methods increase student critical thinking in a Guelph-Humber Family and Community Social Services course?  This presentation examines how particular needs and features of this learning group influenced our approach as we developed a critical thinking course able to serve their needs in future studies and careers.

11:15 AM – 12:25 PM


Andrew Scott (Creative & Performing Arts):  “While His Guitar Gently Wept:  Locating Meaning in a Prince Performance”

On March 15, 2004 at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria hotel, the late musician and polymath Prince, unexpectedly took the stage for that year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame awards show with an all-star band that included Tom Petty, Steve Winwood, Jeff Lynne, Steve Ferrone and Dhani Harrison for a performance of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” a tribute to George Harrison, the then recently passed former Beatle who was being honoured for his solo contributions to rock history. For the first three minutes and twenty seconds, the group delivers an appropriate, if uninspired, cover version of what is arguably Harrison’s best-known composition, complete with Lynne guitarist Marc Mann playing a largely “note-for-note” sonically accurate recreation of Eric Clapton’s original solo. As the song heads towards completion, Prince, who up until this point had largely held back both musically and performatively, steps forward and, using the accepted semiotic gestures of rock guitar God-ery, begins a musical statement nearly four minutes in length that traverses genre, style, decade, performance practice and the binaries of the codified and the improvisatory. Although Prince had made throwing divisive binaries into flux (music, style, race, and gender) a career-long practice, this particular performance is memorable, I argue, for his re-contextualization of Harrison’s song as a blues trope and his assertion of performance-based agency on this sacrosanct piece of music. 

The result was electrifying. The band, particularly Tom Petty, look flummoxed and for the more than 35 million people who have now viewed it on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s official YouTube channel, the performance, which culminates with Prince throwing his Fender Telecaster into the air, has become both part of his lore as musical iconoclast and further evidence of Prince’s authenticity as more than simply a typical “pop” star. 

In this paper, I offer a musicological unpacking and deep reading of Prince’s performance that uses musical transcription and  analysis, primary interviews with members of Prince’s band and the lens of signifyin(g) to locate extra-musical meaning while problematizing the role that iconic recordings/performances play in the history of rock.

David Miller (LAS): "Eight-Wheeled Freedom: Women’s Flat-Track Roller Derby & Fourth-Wave Feminism"

While, culturally, third-wave feminism flourished in the 1990s, sport at the time was just catching up to the second-wave. The 1990s saw the development of feminized versions of popular men’s sports, which often worked to reinforce notions of the superiority of male athletes: female athletes were often celebrated for their adherence to patriarchal notions of attractiveness, with little room for (out) members of the LGBTQ+ community. Women’s flat track roller derby emerged in the early 2000s with a direct and conscious nod to the third-wave feminist movement. Initially closer to a spectacle than a sport, flat track roller derby celebrated a heightened femininity that verged on self-satire. With a clear distrust of mainstream culture, traditional sports infrastructure was eschewed and unique, derby-specific substructures were quickly established as the sport spread at a rapid pace, impelled by increasing access to web-based dissemination tools. Even as the sport grew more traditionally competitive, its politics became increasingly progressive.

Born out of social-media activism and an increasing intersectionality, fourth-wave feminism is only now emerging as a defined movement; however, under closer analysis, one of the central arguments of this paper is that later definitions of third-wave feminism are out of step with earlier understandings of the movement, and hints of the fourth wave can be seen emerging in the latter half of the first decade of the twenty-first century.

Women’s flat track roller derby has been the avant-garde of the fourth wave, providing a model community that celebrates intersectional feminism, encouraged early adaptation of gender-neutral pronouns, and has instituted radically progressive gender and non- discrimination polices allowing a unique space for not only transgender athletes, but athletes who identify at various positions along the gender spectrum.


Zeev Perelmuter (LAS):  “The Socratic Method?”

Community Colleges have gone a long way.  No doubt, there is a lot to celebrate about.  This is also an opportunity to think about enrichment and further improvement.  It is in this context that the Socratic Method comes to mind.  Most people are hardly familiar nowadays with this way of investigation, founded by one of the greatest pioneers of Western Civilization.  This alone is a good reason to remind ourselves of what Socrates said—and even more so, the way he said it. 

Socrates said that (1) in order to find what is right (the truth), one must expose and refute first that which is wrong (false beliefs).  Therefore, (2) a dialogue between truth-seekers—say, a teacher and a student—should take the form of a refutation.  The teacher must create a state of confusion in the student’s mind. Only then will the student acknowledge that she needs to inquire further.  (3) The art of refutation should be applied in each field of study as much as needed, at the expense of what we use to call today political correctness.

In this presentation, we shall tackle the question: Is the Socratic method applicable here and now? 

Constantine Belegris (LAS):  “Finding the Future in the Past:  Nietzsche on History, Recurrence & Moving Forward”

How does our evaluation of the past and our understanding of the relationship between the past and the future condition our approach to the future? Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche held that any meaning the future has for us is rooted in the past. In his early essay entitled “On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life,” he discussed three vital perspectives on the past, each of which implies a corresponding orientation to the future. Later, in The Gay Science and Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche further developed some of the insights introduced in that earlier work, resulting in his idea of eternal recurrence, an idea that he believed has the power to endow both the past and the future with vital significance. Some versions of this idea in Nietzsche’s work are more convincing than others. In my paper I will trace the development of Nietzsche insight into the existential connection between past and future up to its mature expression in the idea of eternal recurrence. I will then discuss two version of the idea, arguing for one against the other.


12:30 – 1:25 PM

1:30 – 3:00 PM


Salem Alaton (Media Studies & Information Technology):  “What is News Becoming?  Sinking & Rising Within Information Churn”

Significant change has occurred in what we call news, how our students and the wider population access news, the nature of outlets that produce and disseminate news, and the social, cultural and political implications of current information churn. 

While the CBC, Globe and Mail and 680 News continue to do their work in updated yet familiar ways, they are increasingly crowded, challenged and relegated to secondary roles for a current generation of consumers.  About half the students in my initial courses at Humber routinely watched CBC’s The National and a third read a daily newspaper that arrived at their family home; today, Twitter is easily the leading news source for our current students.  Internet usage time is 50 per cent higher among 18 to 24 year old Canadians than television viewing time and nearly triple their radio listening time, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada; time spent on printed reading materials is disappearingly small. 

Yet while there is shrinkage and dissipation on many fronts, as well as such disturbing trends as ‘fake news’, growth is also occurring. Even as the ubiquity of smart phones has turned much of the population into front line reporters spontaneously capturing incidents on streets and in buses, a myriad of small online blogs has evolved into ad-­‐ or subscription-­‐supported professional information platforms across a range of cultural interests. These have increasingly more currency for fact-­‐and-­‐analysis oriented coverage among the generation of our students than reports from traditional outlets, even when the latter are online. 

These are obviously broad themes -­‐-­‐ yet they are all very closely related. Asking what is news is not a rhetorical question for journalism educators today but one that needs timely and concrete answers.  This presentation will examine the transformation of news production and distribution in terms of implications for the teaching of journalism.

Ed Matthews (Fanshawe):  “Post-Truth, Or the Return of Ancient Rhetoric”

The term “post-truth” relates to or denotes a situation in which “objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief” (OED).  “Post-truth” has also become the word of the year for 2016. Why? Because the hyphenated adjective, as Neil Midgley notes, “has seen a spike in frequency this year in the context of the EU referendum in the United Kingdom and the presidential election in the United States.”  Is “post-truth” an inescapable symptom of the postmodern political landscape? Hardly. Relying on emotional appeals, or the willful manipulation of facts, has been a persuasive political practice since the appearance of the Sophists in the ancient Athenian polis (city-state). The Sophists were known for a manner of speech that favoured rhetorical style over meaningful content. For them, rhetoric was the art of using speech to persuade and manipulate. Speakers employed persuasion not to profess untruths, but rather to present facts more clearly or to refute an unfair argument. Along with the use of rhetoric, the ideological biases of the speaker were clearly stated and understood by the other listener(s). 

Today, the battle over language, meaning, and veracity is being fought under social and political conditions that have less to do with laying open ideology as what Althusser called a politically-charged “system of representations,” and more to do with the cumulative effects of 24-hour news cycles, the alleged objectivity in news reporting, and an increasing reliance on social media as a “genuine” source of news. The result has become a political stalemate between the left and right. Debates are either couched in a coded language that has no clear referents, or in which resistance to such codes results in name-calling against the speaker. As well, the ideological bias of the speaker is not made clear to the listener. Instead, discussions regarding policy are hidden behind a veil of objectivity. Words can still “signify,” but what is fueling the outrage over “fake news” is a denial of the editorial choices that are necessary to compress the complexity of the modern world into two- or three-minute news “bites.” “Fake news” or “post-truth” politics today is biased journalism masking itself in an aura of objectivity. By its very definition, the documentation of reality, whether in written or pictorial form, is grounded in aesthetic and rhetorical choices, which in turn reflect an unspoken ideological position (i.e., “a system of representations”).

Paul Cross:  (Media Studies & Information Technology):  “The End of Free Mass Media?” 

What will be the socio-­‐economic and cultural implications of the ongoing shifting paradigm of Canadian consumption of mass media, particularly broadcast Radio – the 20th-century marvel that eventually brought instant, real-­‐time communication including news, entertainment and music into Canadian homes at no cost other than the purchase of a receiver?

As Canadian mass media consolidates and integrates vertically and horizontally, and pushes content over a growing number of platforms – wireless, fiber optics, coaxial cable, subscription cable or internet channels, mobile apps and more – there may be an illusion that consumers have more choice than ever before. But corporatization and globalization inevitably mean consolidation: downsizing in local Canadian broadcast organizations, the end of locally-­‐produced television programming in many communities, the reduction in news and other spoken word programming at most Radio stations, and internationalization of high-­‐priced productions once done for national markets (for example, the death of Canadian Idol).

In tandem with the federal broadcast regulator’s order to end the era of transmission of television by UHF and VHF – so that “televisions” no longer received any signal at all without the purchase of cable, fiber optic or satellite service and the related hardware – entertainment and broadcast organizations pursued a relentless drive to convince consumers to download or subscribe to their content on their mobile devices, where and when they wished. Cable and satellite subscriptions started to fall. Yet Canadians pay more and more for access to content.  By 2016, corporations that control Radio stations were pushing listeners to download apps; yet Radio already was portable and receivable at distances. But listeners don’t “pay” directly when listening to AM or FM. They “work” by listening and responding to advertisements; but apps and streaming make sure they pay directly by using data purchased from and ISP. 

Ominously, as emergency measures organizations across Canada begin to realize the life-­‐saving value of local Radio as the only local mass-­‐reach media that may be reliable in times of crisis, Radio too is now in danger in many communities.

In times of crisis, how will Canadians receive accurate, timely information? 

What’s next in how we consume media, pay for what we use, and get the most critical information we need? These questions are central to my ongoing research. Participants may be surprised, frightened, or even angered.  What’s next? The end of “free” mass media?


Josephine Mazzuca (LAS): "Addressing the Cycle of Violence: Mothering After Trauma"

Several studies indicate that children living with domestic violence are at increased risk of experiencing emotional, physical and sexual abuse, of developing emotional and behavioural problems, and of experiencing other adversities in their lives. These studies also report a range of protective factors that could mitigate against these negative outcomes, in particular a strong relationship with, and attachment to, a caring adult, usually their mother. Many studies have also shown a link between violence against women and the potential negative impact of this violence on parenting.

This presentation will report on a two year study that has involved a partnership with the Child Development Institute (CDI), an accredited children’s mental health agency in Toronto and their Family Violence Services, specifically, the Mothers in Mind (MIM) program, which was established to address these issues. MIM, is a group program for mothers who have experienced woman abuse or other trauma (e.g. childhood abuse, sexual assault, war) and have children under the age of four. The MIM program focuses on the needs of mothers who find that these hurtful experiences are making parenting difficult.

In this presentation the experiences and feedback of women who have recently participated in the Mothers in Mind program at CDI and two other Ontario agencies will be shared in order to begin to understand what impact their participation in MIM has had on their parenting, their relationship with their child, their self-esteem and any reduction in social isolation. How this program is having an impact on addressing the cycle of violence will be discussed through the experiences of the participants and group facilitators. MIM is a novel and unique approach to next steps that can be taken to address the effects of violence, focusing on the often overlooked impact of violence on women as parents and on the now established critical period of early childhood.

Alexa Carson (LAS): "Two Years In: Syrian Refugee Resettlement in the GTA"

From November 2015 until January 2017, more than 40,000 Syrian refugees were resettled in Canada (Welcome Refugees, 2017). Canada has not experienced such a massive influx of refugees from one region since the 1979-80 emigration of refugees from Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The vast majority of refugees from Syria entered Canada through the support of either the Government Assisted Refugee (GAR) or Privately Sponsored Refugee (PSR) programs.

This presentation will examine the first two years of Syrian refugee resettlement in the GTA, and consider “What’s next?” in regards to societal and institutional challenges and opportunities for the long-term successful integration of Syrian refugees. In particular, distinctions will be made between the GAR and PSR programs.

Previous investigations of refugee resettlement in Canada have suggested that PSRs tend to become economically self-sufficient more quickly (Hyndman, 2011, 14). In addition, research has demonstrated that PSR are generally better supported in their integration than GARs (Summative Evaluation, 2007).

Although it is too soon to make these same claims regarding Syrian refugees specifically, preliminary evidence is emerging that demonstrates that PSRs are indeed faring better in regards to their social and economic integration into Canada. However, it is important to recognize that this distinction may not be due only to the difference between the two programs, but is also impacted by demographic patterns (for example, PSRs tend to be more highly educated than GARs, possibly due to the fact that the GAR program aims to assist the most vulnerable refugees).

Sujana Alahari (Ryerson):  Installation:  “Online Shaming”

Online shaming is typically defined in terms of internet vigilantism, where victims are shamed on social media platforms for various social transgressions. It is an act of social disapproval, centered on public exposure where the online mob takes justice into their own hands. While cyberbullying is condemned by the public, online shaming is often viewed as a form of upholding societal norms and seeking justice. But in most cases, the shaming far exceeds the perceived transgression. Subtle nuances and contextual cues of a message are also often lost online and easily misconstrued, leading to misinterpretation. Yet the consequences are often immediate. There is no escape from online shaming, even if a victim decides to unplug from the online world. Deleting an online comment, tweet or Facebook post does not erase its existence. Many victims of online shaming lose their livelihood, living in constant fear of being “exposed” once again each time they rebuild their identity. What does the future hold if online shaming becomes rampant?

The heavy rock as a medium represents the often irreversible nature of the social media realm where nothing is erasable, and the tremendous burden faced by the victims of shaming. The identities of the victims are often set in stone, defined by their past transgressions. The dark, shadowy faceless figures in the blazing fire emerging from the computer screen illustrates the online mob on social media. I used real comments of death threats and other insults targeted towards victims of well-known online shaming cases from social media to depict the severity of shaming, and to raise important questions on the future of social media. For a better, more hopeful future, I hope to raise awareness and start an active dialogue on the consequences of online shaming through this artwork as more incidents emerge every day.


Prasad Bidaye & Greg Narby (LAS):  “Cultural Appropriation:  What’s New, What’s Next & How Do We Get There?”

Debates over cultural appropriation are nothing new, but they have intensified throughout 2017 and in multiple art forms and community contexts. In Canada alone, the controversies range from Amana PL’s “inspired” evocations-imitations of Norval Morrisseau’s Woodland paintings to novelist Hal Niedzviecki’s rhetorical call for an “Appropriation Prize” to Drake’s adoption of Jamaican dancehall on his latest release, More Life. These are just a few, and surely others will surface by the time of this presentation. In all cases, there certain key themes and questions will continue to come up: 

  • Where does cultural appropriation end and free speech begin?
  • Isn’t cultural appropriation inevitable in a highly diverse, globalized world?
  • Is cultural appropriation in the arts merely an extension of historically colonial practices (i.e., the appropriation of land, labour, resources, etc.)?
  • Does anyone own culture?

The two presenters in this session will speak to these and other related issues.  The session will not be framed as a debate, but it will begin from a place of disagreement – something that was first made clear in a Facebook conversation and quickly seized upon as an opportunity for critical, yet collaborative, dialogue.  Each presenter will deliver his position on this vexed issue, but the goal here will be to offer insights and directions on what’s next for this debate: what practical resolutions lie in sight, what can artists do better, and how all of our cultural industries can (and can’t) move beyond this debate.


3:05 – 4:00 PM


2017 LAS Conference Committee:  Jeoff Bull, Maria-Lucia Di Placito, Michael Evans, Carla Ionescu, Michelle Jordan, Aaron Landry, Shelley McCabe, Erik Mortensen, Alena Papayanis, Brett Reynolds, Alexander Shvarts, Michael Wells, Melissa Wilson.

Paula Gouveia, Dean of the School of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Melanie Sparks, LAS Business Manager
Arl Viaje, LAS Scheduler (& Conference Website Sustainer) 

Chris Whitaker, President & CEO, Humber College
Laurie Rancourt, Senior VP Academic, Humber College
Eileen DeCourcy, Associate VP Academic, Teaching & Learning
Darren Lawless, Dean of Applied Research & Innovation