Working groups

Interdisciplinary Working Groups

Our Working Groups bring together faculty and graduate students from different disciplines. The aims? To explore common research interests and encourage collaborative research projects.

This year we are hosting ten interdisciplinary working groups. They represent faculty and graduate students from across the Faculty of Arts, as well as cross-faculty teams including researchers from the Haskayne School of Business, Cumming School of Medicine, and O’Brien Institute for Public Health.

They will :

  • search for new approaches for discovery,

  • host workshops

  • and explore new ways of collaborating in interdisciplinary ways.

Past groups have an impressive track record with SSHRC grant applications, peer-reviewed publications, international collaborations, and community outreach events.

Working Group composition and guidelines

Convenors must be at least two individuals from different departments. Groups must agree to meet at least three times per term.

Ideally, membership in the group should be open. Initial meetings should be publicized to attract diverse participants.

Groups can use meetings to present work-in-progress, discuss texts and scholarship, or pursue a common research project.

Our Working Groups also add to research and learning opportunities by arranging for guest speakers, hosting symposia and workshops, building public exhibitions, and hiring student research assistants.

Interested in participating?

View group descriptions below and contact the group's convenor's directly.

Look for IWG lectures and workshops that are open to the public on our Events page.

 

2020 - 21 Interdisciplinary Working Groups


African Navies: The Overlooked Maritime Arena (ANOMA)

The African Navies working group examines the development and role of African navies in providing maritime security including protection of shipping and offshore resources for coastal African states as well as the involvement of non-African navies with the continent. Given the legacy of European colonial rule, the independent African states that emerged from the late 1950s and 1960s possessed little to no naval or coast guard capabilities leaving them unable to secure offshore resources such as fish and oil potentially central to economic development and poverty alleviation. At the same time, the expense of purchasing foreign manufactured naval vessels and the Cold War context of the 1960s to 1980s meant that cash-strapped African states founded navies and coast guards but struggled to make them relevant to regional circumstances including the rise in piracy in coastal waters. In terms of the human experience, this meant that African merchant sailors and oil industry workers began to suffer from kidnapping and African fishing communities lost their livelihood to large-scale illegal, unrepeated and unregulated fishing (IUUF). While problems around building and sustaining effective and locally relevant African navies and coast guards have had profound impacts on standards of living and security in coastal African states, the topic remains understudied by academics. Our groups seeks to advance knowledge about this field through building an international network of scholars, publishing an edited collection of papers for which we have obtained funding from the Canadian Department of National Defence and hosting guest speakers on campus.

Conveners:

Tim Stapleton (Professor, Department of History), timothy.stapleton@ucalgary.ca
Rowland Apentiik (Senior Instructor, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology), rapentii@ucalgary.ca

Classics, Religion, Anthropology and Archaeology

CRAIG is a graduate student-driven collective that, since its inception in 2018, aims at promoting collaborative activities between its University of Calgary members interested in the study of topics pertaining to Classics, Religious Studies, Archaeology, Anthropology and more. From 2021/2022 the group is officially expanding to include members from the English and the History Departments. The Group is comprised of both Graduate and undergraduate students from UofC and other institutions, as well as UofC faculty members, who engage in discussions and projects of an interdisciplinary nature, combining perspectives and frameworks such as material studies, literary, philological, historical and theoretical-critical approaches to incite dialogue and academic collaborations. Each year the group chooses a broader theme of discussion (previous themes were ‘Landscape’, ‘Economics’, and ‘Materiality’; ‘Gaze’ is the theme for the upcoming year), on which the conveners share their discipline’s views and approaches in an open and informal exchange. Reading & Discussion sessions usually occur at least once a month, and the Group actively organizes public guest lectures inviting experts from the University of Calgary as well as from other institutions.erts from the University of Calgary and from other institutions as well.

Conveners:

Department of Classics and Religion
Kellie Christine Cornforth, kccornfo@ucalgary.ca
Durga Kale, durga.kale1@ucalgary.ca
Gabriele Roccella, gabriele.roccella@ucalgary.ca

Department of Anthropology and Archaeology
Matthew Munro, matthew.munro@ucalgary.ca

Department of English
Stephen Bauhart, stephen.bauhart@ucalgary.ca

Department of History
Dr. Courtnay Konshuh (Assistant Professor), courtnay.konshuh@ucalgary.ca

 

 

 

 

 

Energy In Society

The Energy In Society (EIS) interdisciplinary working group is interested in the human dimensions of energy systems and in sustaining and enriching the community of energy scholars in the humanities, social sciences and the natural sciences that now exists on campus as well as continuing to reach out to academics and activists worldwide who are involved in the energy field. With the support of the CIH, we have engaged practitioners and scholars of a variety of energy processes and industries and wish to advance a new agenda for energy scholarship based on community-engaged research and international collaborations. This coming academic year, we will build on our previous activities and run a series of online and in-person public talks, workshops and reading group meetings on the Energy Humanities to discuss in more depth what the Humanities can add to current discussions on net zero policies, decarbonization and energy transitions more generally. Through an Energy In Society podcast series we aim to engage with the wider public and beyond Canada. T

Conveners:

Petra Dolata (Associate Professor, Department of History), pdolata@ucalgary.ca
Sabrina Perić, (Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology), speric@ucalgary.ca
Roberta Rice (Associate Professor, Department of Political Science), roberta.rice@ucalgary.ca

Food Studies

The Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group is a CIH Working Group which aims to build and foster a network of food studies scholars both at the University of Calgary and beyond. Working across disciplines, we promote critical scholarship from the broad area of food studies, engaging with faculty and students across various departments within the University, as well as engaging with food studies scholars, activists and community leaders outside the university. Through our speaker and lecture series, we hope to continue to expand the food studies network and develop interdisciplinary research collaborations for research projects concerning the many facets of, and approaches to, food. Our monthly group meetings will continue to cover a range of topics aligned with expertise and interests of participants, to gain better insights into the kind of food-related research currently conducted by members of the UofC community. Our events will investigate the theoretical and empirical relation of sustainability and social justice within current food systems: How can we better bridge alternative and sustainable food systems concerns with that of anti-hunger activism? In addition, the group activities aims to be addressing themes such as: How can agroecological food practices provide solutions to the issues of climate change as well as food security? How can (engaged) research help to foster more socially inclusive urban food networks that support BIPOC for example? How can we ensure that local food production is regenerative, inclusive and diverse and what kind of technical and leadership capacity would need to be built to achieve that? How can indigenous cosmologies and ecological knowledges inform urban food spaces and frameworks? How can our research inform activities to close the gender gap in agriculture? Together, those activities will further build and consolidate an interdisciplinary group of food scholars at the UofC as well as increase visibility of ongoing research efforts in the wider academic and non-academic community.

 

Website

Conveners:

Marit Rosol (Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Canada Research Chair), marit.rosol@ucalgary.ca
Craig Gerlach (Professor n Anthroplogy, Academic Coordinator for Sustainability), sgerlac@ucalgary.ca

Performance and Business

The Performance and Business Research Working Group (PBRWG) explores aspects of business practice and communications through the lens of performance theory. For the last three years, we have challenged performance researchers to broaden their perspectives on where and how performance occurs while challenging business researchers to deepen their insight into the dynamics of business performances. For our fourth year, we have three major goals, all aimed at expanding the subfield we have planted. First, we plan to produce research papers as a group, targeted at journals and/or conferences within two years. Second, we plan to extend our emerging international community to include more scholars. Third, we will create structures to support long term continuation of the working group – our initial objective will be to invite a different institution to host the meetings for a year.

Conveners:      

Alice de Koning (Sr. Instructor, Entrepreneurship and Strategy, Haskayne School of Business), alice.dekoning@ucalgary.ca
Joy Palacios, (Assistant Professor, Department of Classics and Religion), joy.palacios@ucalgary.ca

Rethinking Latin American Studies from the South (RLASS)

Last year, we created the Rethinking Latin American Studies from the South (RLASS) CIH working group. Our aim was to build a platform to reconnect the community of Latin Americanist scholars on campus, especially those committed to inter- and transdisciplinary collaboration with partners in the region: to rethinking Latin American Studies from the South by working together across horizons and disciplines. By turning the crisis of the pandemic into an opportunity, we took advantage of the virtual environment to connect with scholars and activists from a range of places not only in Latin America and the Caribbean, but also in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Having built this platform, in Year Two we want to deepen and broaden it. First, we want to draw upon our diverse team and networks to deepen our efforts to secure larger future funding. To this end, we plan to allocate significant time to organizing grant writing retreats. And second, we want to further embrace RLASS as an incubator to foster innovative transdisciplinary research, graduate student training, and the co-creation of knowledge on the key areas that connect our work as conveners. Although we come from different disciplines and departments, all of us share a commitment to transdisciplinary action-research. We do this with a big picture understanding of the significance of complex ecosystems to sustainable rural livelihoods, especially involving Indigenous communities. We also believe that innovation comes through bringing our perspectives together. The RLASS platform allows new ideas to emerge and develop, through experimentation and by bringing different disciplines and fresh perspectives across horizons and disciplines to collaborate.

Conveners:

Gabriela Alonso-Yañez (Associate Professor, Werklund School of Education), galonsoy@ucalgary.ca
Ben McKay (Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology), ben.mckay@ucalgary.ca
Pablo Policzer (Professor, Department of Political Science), policzer@ucalgary.ca
Ana Watson (PhD Candidate, Geography)

 

Social Justice and the Smart City

In the fourth installation of the Social Justice in the Smart City working group, we will continue to develop the internationally recognized research that commenced in earlier years. Thus far in the series, we have consolidated an interdisciplinary team focused on scholarship pertaining to ‘smart cities’ (i.e. urban environments instrumented with sensors, communication technologies, analytics, and related technologies for collecting, analyzing, and visualizing data, that mediate decision-making and governance). Our focus for the coming year will be mapping injustices in the smart city, which will question the spaces of injustice, what we mean by invoking “social justice”, and the relation between digital urban spaces and the concept of smart cities. These topics address pressing research questions for the field as a whole, and will be of particular importance for University of Calgary researchers. This working group will leverage and contribute to conversations that inform an edited volume that three of the conveners are currently producing.

Conveners:

Debra Mackinnon (Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Geography), debra.mackinnon@ucalgary.ca
Victoria Fast (Assistant Professor, Department of Geography), victoria.fast@ucalgary.ca
Byron Miller (Professor, Department of Geography), bavrmill@ucalgary.ca
Ryan Burns (Assistant Professor, Department of Geography), ryan.burns1@ucalgary.ca
Dean Curran (Associate Professor, Department of Sociology), dcurran@ucalgary.ca
Noel Keough (Associate Professor, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape), nkeough@ucalgary.ca
Alan Smart (Adjunct Professor, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Archaeology)

Translation Studies

Translation Studies is by nature interdisciplinary, not only the purview of philology and linguistics, but also of literary studies, history, philosophy, semiotics and cultural studies, as well as being a creative act in itself. Thus, angles of investigation and practice are varied and many. The main goal of our working group is first and foremost to establish a supportive and collaborative space for those working on any aspect of Translation Studies, whether they are looking to enhance and expand their knowledge of the theoretical side of this trans-discipline, or wishing to discuss ways to become more skilled and thoughtful translators, or hoping to find new pedagogical methods of incorporating translation studies into teaching at all levels. A secondary and parallel goal is to work towards establishing an interdisciplinary course on translation studies which would serve the interests of students in a number of disciplines. In 2021-22, we aim to build on the excellent foundations we laid towards establishing both goals during the past year.

Conveners:

Eleonora Buonocore (Instructor, SLLLC, Italian Studies), eleonora.buonocore@ucalgary.ca
Rachel Friedman (Instructor, SLLLC, Arabic), rachel.friedman@ucalgary.ca
Noreen Humble (Professor, Department of Classics and Religion), nmhumble@ucalgary.ca

Voice and Marginality at the Nexus of Racism and Colonialism

Voice and marginality are intrinsically intertwined with racism and colonialism, yet considerations on whose voice, and who speaks for whom, are often overlooked in Western academic spaces. Our research privileges the perspective and priorities of the vulnerable communities we work with, in diverse fields across Indigenous political theory and sovereignty, environmental and natural resource governance, curriculum, literacy and participatory communication, with Indigenous / remote / diasporic and immigrant communities globally. This working group, led by graduate students, is a collaborative, creative and critical research space stemming from the common call against imperialism and paternalism, working towards building a supportive, epistemic community that fosters productive intersectionality, praxis, and engaged scholarship. This space validates different ways of knowing and being, learning from academia and phenomenological lived experience; it encourages researchers to reflect on positionality and to carefully attend to the epistemological and ontological ways in which our work, situated in Western neoliberal academia, serves not to totalize and dehumanize, but to empower the vulnerable voice.

Conveners:

Suzanne Chew (PhD Candidate, Geography), suzanne.chew1@ucalgary.ca
Harrison Campbell (PhD Candidate, Werklund School of Education), harrison.campbell@ucalgary.ca

Archive of 2020- 21 Interdisciplinary Working Groups

Post-colonial Africa’s weak navies have struggled to ensure their states’ sovereignty over territorial waters including access to off-shore resources like fishing and oil extraction, and protection of ocean-going commerce. As a result, African states lack the full benefit of their offshore resources illegally extracted by others and maritime insecurity discourages international trade and investment, and encourages smuggling and criminal activities. The academic literature on African navies is almost non-existent and the link between the limitations of African navies and the offshore dimension of Africa’s “resource curse” remains largely unexplored. Illustrating the lack of interaction between scholarship and practice in this field, the inaugural meeting of the African Maritime Security Forum held in Dakar, Senegal in January 2020 featured no academic participation. Our working group’s conference and subsequent publication will serve to stimulate academic studies of African navies and their role in promoting development with a view to making some impact on policy makers in African governments and defense forces. This humanist-centered project will focus on issues such as maritime law, naval capabilities and training, international security cooperation, human rights and development.

Conveners:

Tim Stapleton (Professor, Department of History), timothy.stapleton@ucalgary.ca
Rowland Apentiik (Senior Instructor, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology), rapentii@ucalgary.ca

Climate science is complicated and effectively communicating about the specifics of climate change for different populations is even more difficult. Such discussions, due to the fraught nature of impending changes as well as how intertwined such changes are with present political and socioeconomic realities, turn empirical research into a plaything for various factions, rather than a cornerstone for practical future planning. This description highlights a social need, that is, the need to deeply consider both the ways and means for communicating around the climate crisis as planetary transformations grow in both frequency and magnitude. Additionally, due to the diversity of experiences with respect to the climate crisis, it is important to understand the crisis via an interpretive social science and humanities (ISSH) perspective, which allows for highlighting issues of justice, gender, power, and identity. As researchers and educational leaders, university faculty members are uniquely positioned to address this social need. The working group, “Communicating around climate change: Interdisciplinary conversations”, would allow for a group of interdisciplinary researchers, positioned in Fine Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences to come together to consider this challenging situation.

Website

Working Group Conveners:

Melanie Kloetzel (Associate Professor, School of Creative and Performing Arts – Dance), kloetzel@ucalgary.ca
Ann-Lise Norman (Professor, Physics & Astronomy and Environmental Science), alnorman@ucalgary.ca

 

CRAIG is a graduate student-driven collective that aims at promoting collaborative activities between the University of Calgary members interested in the study of the disciplines pertaining to Classics, Religious Studies, Archaeology and Anthropology. Graduate and undergraduate students as well as faculty members from the two Departments, CLARE and ANTHARKY, are engaged in projects of an interdisciplinary nature, combining material studies with the study of literary sources and other approaches. The field methods and interpretive theories from Archaeology, the conceptual frameworks of Anthropology, and the philological, historical and theoretical-critical approach integrated from both Classics and Religious Studies are brought together to form a concrete base for furthering dialogue and collaboration. This interdisciplinary dialogue is aimed at igniting discovery and innovation through the purposeful integration of the different methodologies of our disciplines. Each year the group chooses a broader theme (Landscape for the year 2018/2019; Economics in 2019/2020; Materiality in 2020/2021), on which the conveners share their discipline’s views and approaches. Reading & Discussion sessions usually occur twice per month, and the Group actively organizes public guest lectures inviting experts from the University of Calgary and from other institutions as well.

Conveners:

Department of Classics and Religion
Brittany DeMone, brittany.demone@ucalgary.ca
Monica Di Rosa, monica.dirosa1@ucalgary.ca
Durga Kale, durga.kale1@ucalgary.ca
Gabriele Roccella, gabriele.roccella@ucalgary.ca
Scott Coleman, scott.coleman1@ucalgary.ca

Department of Anthropology and Archaeology
Matthew Munro, matthew.munro@ucalgary.ca

The Energy In Society (EIS) interdisciplinary working group is applying for its fifth year with the Calgary Institute for the Humanities (CIH). EIS is interested in sustaining and enriching the community of energy scholars in the humanities, social sciences and the natural sciences that now exists on campus as well as continuing to reach out to academics and activists worldwide who are involved in the energy field. With the support of the CIH, we have engaged practitioners and scholars of a variety of energy processes and industries and wish to advance a new agenda for energy scholarship based on community-engaged research and international collaborations. This coming academic year, we propose to build on the success of our conference by completing a podcast series and an edited volume, both tentatively titled “Energy and Scale,” that will include contributions from graduate students, scholars and activists based on their conference proceedings.

Conveners:

Petra Dolata (Associate Professor, Department of History), pdolata@ucalgary.ca
Sabrina Perić, (Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology), speric@ucalgary.ca
Roberta Rice (Associate Professor, Department of Political Science), roberta.rice@ucalgary.ca

Experts agree that the global industrial food system is a prime driver — and generally the first victim — of the Anthropocene and that we need a substantial food system transformation in order to deliver both on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement . The current Covid-19 pandemic pandemic vividly shows the weaknesses of our current dominant food system. Although mainly treated as a commodity like any other today, Food has always been strongly interconnected with social organization, history, culture, politics, language, is time and place specific, and is embedded in complex social, cultural, economic, and political relations. Food has also emerged as a mobilizing frame for social justice movements. All this means that the study of food requires an interdisciplinary approach. This CIH working group is a first step towards building and consolidating an interdisciplinary group of food scholars at the University of Calgary. We are inviting any faculty member or student interested in the study of food to join our group. We meet about once a month to read and discuss work by group members as well as by authors from across the disciplines, aligning with expertise and interests of participants, and we host external guest speakers for public talks.

Website

Conveners:

Marit Rosol (Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Canada Research Chair), marit.rosol@ucalgary.ca
Ben McKay (Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology), ben.mckay@ucalgary.ca

The Performance and Business Research Working Group (PBRWG) explores aspects of business practice and communications through the lens of performance theory. For the last two years, we have challenged performance researchers to broaden their perspectives on where and how performance occurs while challenging business researchers to deepen their insight into the dynamics of business performances. For our third year, our goal is to foster a subfield by creating an international community of scholars at the intersection of performance and business.

Conveners:      

Alice de Koning (Sr. Instructor, Entrepreneurship and Strategy, Haskayne School of Business), alice.dekoning@ucalgary.ca
Joy Palacios, (Assistant Professor, Department of Classics and Religion), joy.palacios@ucalgary.ca

The gap between rich and poor countries is rapidly closing and emerging economies such as Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) and other middle-income countries (MICs), from Argentina, Chile and Peru to Malaysia, Thailand, Kenya and Nigeria challenge existing conceptions of a North-South divide as the most significant dimension of global inequality in wealth and power. In an increasingly globalized, interconnected and polycentric world, it is no longer accurate to refer to “their” problems and “our” problems, and we need to build new frameworks based on us working together to solve a range of “our” common problems. This kind of collaboration requires working alongside people in the region (which many of us have done for a long time), and across disciplines. Such a framework is not only premised on a more equal relationship; it is also much more in tune with the world we live in today. The Rethinking Latin American Studies from the South (RLASS) Working Group will facilitate knowledge mobilization, exchange and collaboration across cultures, languages, and disciplines to address common problems with sensitivity to local knowledge.

Website

Conveners:

Gabriela Alonso-Yañez (Associate Professor, Werklund School of Education), galonsoy@ucalgary.ca
Ben McKay (Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology), ben.mckay@ucalgary.ca
Pablo Policzer (Professor, Department of Political Science), policzer@ucalgary.ca

Scientific, medical, and technological progress is relentless and has become ever so rapid. As such, the conditions for a social and contextual understanding of science’s implications for humanity and its place in society are changing rapidly as well. Furthermore, new inventions, discoveries, and theories have a significant impact on the way we understand the facts, products, and processes developed by past and recent scientists, engineers, and physicians. In a current political “post-factual climate,” it is absolutely vital to realize that this constantly changing field needs in-depth analyses and examinations to grasp the magnitude of today’s challenges. More complex science needs more in-depth humanities scholarship. Through the social studies of medicine, science, technology, and the environment (including historical, sociological, anthropological perspectives among others), it is possible to understand how these related fields have affected people’s lives in the past and present. The research conducted by the members of the STEMS Working Group will yield historical and social lessons for society’s contemporary problems, while also allowing for useful insights to cope with future societal and technological challenges.

Conveners:

Dr. Frank W. Stahnisch (AMF/Hannah Professorship in the History of Medicine and Health Care), fwstahni@ucalgary.ca
Dr. Glenn Dolphin (Tamaratt Chair, Science Education and Teaching, Faculty of Science), glenn.dolphin@ucalgary.ca
Dr. Jesse L. Hendrikse (Instructor, Department of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine), jlhendri@ucalgary.ca
Dr. Gregor Wolbring (Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Community Health Sciences, Stream Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies), gwolbrin@ucalgary.ca
Dr. Fedir Razumenko (PostDoc, Department of Community Health Sciences and Charbonneau Institute for Cancer Research), fedir.razumenko@ucalgary.ca

In the fourth installation of the Social Justice in the Smart City working group, we will continue to develop the internationally recognized research that commenced in earlier years. Thus far in the series, we have consolidated an interdisciplinary team focused on scholarship pertaining to ‘smart cities’ (i.e. urban environments instrumented with sensors, communication technologies, analytics, and related technologies for collecting, analyzing, and visualizing data, that mediate decision-making and governance). Our focus for the coming year will be mapping injustices in the smart city, which will question the spaces of injustice, what we mean by invoking “social justice”, and the relation between digital urban spaces and the concept of smart cities. These topics address pressing research questions for the field as a whole, and will be of particular importance for University of Calgary researchers. This working group will leverage and contribute to conversations that inform an edited volume that three of the conveners are currently producing.

Conveners:

Debra Mackinnon (Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Geography), debra.mackinnon@ucalgary.ca
Victoria Fast (Assistant Professor, Department of Geography), victoria.fast@ucalgary.ca
Byron Miller (Professor, Department of Geography), bavrmill@ucalgary.ca
Ryan Burns (Assistant Professor, Department of Geography), ryan.burns1@ucalgary.ca
Dean Curran (Associate Professor, Department of Sociology), dcurran@ucalgary.ca
Noel Keough (Associate Professor, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape), nkeough@ucalgary.ca
Alan Smart (Adjunct Professor, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Archaeology)

Translation studies is by nature interdisciplinary, not only the purview of philology and linguistics, but of literary studies, history, philosophy, semiotics and cultural studies, as well as being a creative act in itself. A SLLLC workshop in April 2019 (co-organised by Eleonora Buonocore and Rachel Friedman, along with Fanny Macé) on this topic revealed both how much interest in translation there is across the humanities disciplines, and how varied the angles of investigation and practice are. Our goals, therefore, for this working group are to establish a supportive and collaborative forum for those working on any aspect of Translation Studies so that we can enhance our own knowledge of this transdiscipline, share work with each other, and specifically in the first instance work towards establishing a graduate course on Translation Theory. A longer-term goal is to become well-versed in the theory and practice of literary translation, broadly construed.

Conveners:

Eleonora Buonocore (Instructor, SLLLC, Italian Studies), eleonora.buonocore@ucalgary.ca
Rachel Friedman (Instructor, SLLLC, Arabic), rachel.friedman@ucalgary.ca
Noreen Humble (Professor, Department of Classics and Religion), nmhumble@ucalgary.ca

Archive of 2019 - 20 Interdisciplinary Working Groups

Climate science is complicated and effectively communicating about the specifics of climate change for different populations is even more difficult. Such discussions, due to the fraught nature of impending changes as well as how intertwined such changes are with present political and socioeconomic realities, turn empirical research into a plaything for various factions, rather than a cornerstone for practical future planning. This description highlights a social need, that is, the need to deeply consider both the ways and means for communicating around the climate crisis as planetary transformations grow in both frequency and magnitude. Additionally, due to the diversity of experiences with respect to the climate crisis, it is important to understand the crisis via an interpretive social science and humanities (ISSH) perspective, which allows for highlighting issues of justice, gender, power, and identity. As researchers and educational leaders, university faculty members are uniquely positioned to address this social need.

The working group, “Communicating around climate change: Interdisciplinary conversations”, allows for a group of interdisciplinary researchers, positioned in Fine Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences to come together to consider this challenging situation. The working group demonstrates particular potential as an interdisciplinary group, examining a range of both communication methods and platforms. In short, due to the diversity of any given population, it is critical to explore an array of options to communicate effectually. These options could include artistic avenues (visual art, dance, creative writing, film etc.), varied journalistic styles and platforms, pedagogical frames, and academic outlets. By examining a large assortment of methods and media (with the added lens of ISSH), we hope to consider how best to offer the public – and public organizations addressing climate issues – information that spurs thoughtful analysis and assessment of the climate crisis without traversing typical partisan paths.

Conveners:

  • Melanie Kloetzel, Associate Professor, School of Creative and Performing Arts (Dance), University of Calgary (kloetzel@ucalgary.ca)
  • Ann-Lise Norman, Professor, Physics & Astronomy and Environmental Science, University of Calgary (alnorman@ucalgary.ca)
  • Gwendolyn Blue, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, University of Calgary (ggblue@ucalgary.ca)

CRAIG aims at collaborative activities between the University of Calgary members interested in the study of Classics, Religion, Archaeology and Anthropology. Graduate students and faculty members from the two departments, CLARE and ANTHARKY, are engaged in projects of interdisciplinary nature, combining material studies and literary source material. The field methods from Archaeology, conceptual framework of Anthropology and the literary component integrated from Classics and Religion will form a concrete base for further collaborative activities. The methodological overlap between the two components enables further dialogue, which will be facilitated through this group.

Objectives

  1. Providing a platform for the graduate student community for inter-disciplinary work across Classics, Religion, Archaeology and Anthropology
  2. Workshops and introductory lectures to familiarise Classicists, scholars of religion, Anthropologists and Archaeologists of the methodologies from the other fields to better articulate a firm working ground
  3. Collaborative projects, leading into tangible knowledge translation such as publication and public outreach

Conveners:

In our contemporary world, especially in an Alberta currently defined by oil bust, many people are focused on finding solutions to a fossil-fuel dependent society. However, in order to understand both the nature of today’s energy challenges, as well as socially acceptable solutions, we need to uncover the history and politics of certain assumptions about energy. Over the past two years as a working group at CIH, Energy In Society (EIS) has put together a research agenda on energy transitions which asserts:

 If we want to address our energy futures, we need to know about our energy pasts, because historical decisions and narratives create the societal criteria of the present;

  • We need to understand the dynamics of energy politics, not only in Canada, but elsewhere in the world. This includes addressing dominant and suppressed energy discourses as well as examining and giving voice to all actors involved—this includes the State, Indigenous peoples, corporate actors and marginalized groups;
  • Scholars, policy makers and the general public have focused too much on singular commodities—such as oil and coal. We need to understand that all energy systems are intertwined, and that energy pathways and transitions need to be understood holistically.
  • Lastly, research on our energy futures and solutions also entails cooperation across disciplinary lines. We know therefore that energy research should always be interdisciplinary.

 The EIS interdisciplinary working group seeks to build on its successful collaboration with the Calgary Institute for the Humanities and its multiple initiatives over the past two years. In 2018-2019, we will solely focus on beginning to implement the research agenda described above. We therefore propose to focus our working group on the writing of grants, preparation of a large international conference, and writing of scholarly work over the next year.

In 2016-2018, we developed our energy-centered research agenda through our speaker series and working group sessions on the topics of coal, Indigenous rights and extractive industry, environmental regulation, energy and our food system. We also used the CIH working group as a starting point to create research collaborations both within the university and with international partners. This past year, EIS organized a large cross-faculty workshop on the topic of Global Energy Transitions. This event, co-organized by CIH and the VPR’s office, featured the work of 20 University of Calgary scholars from the Faculties of Arts, Sciences, Environmental Design, Law, Engineering, and Social Work, as well as the Schools of Education, and Public Policy. The initial steps towards collaboration were complemented by an “Energy Transition” lunch at CIH. With CIH’s support, EIS has also embarked on a series of workshops and meetings with the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG) about the formation of a joint partnership on the topic of “Energy Transitions.” Over the past two years, we have met with our collaborators in Germany four times, and EIS hosted MPIWG scholars at the University of Calgary in June 2018 to formalize a memorandum of understanding, and embark on formal joint research.

EIS is now in a critical position. We have completed much of the work to assemble a research agenda, identify research partners and collaborators, and develop a research infrastructure for energy in the humanities and social sciences at the U of C. In 2018-2019, it is therefore imperative for us to begin putting the agenda in action through grants, conferences and writing.

Convenors for 2019-2020:

  • Dr. Petra Dolata, CRC History of Energy, Associate Professor, Department of History (pdolata@ucalgary.ca)
  • Dr. Sabrina Perić, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology (speric@ucalgary.ca)
  • Dr. Roberta Rice, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science (roberta.rice@ucalgary.a)

The goal of our interdisciplinary working group on “Film Theory and Resistance in the 1960s and 1970s” is to promote interdisciplinary collaboration among scholars and graduate students in the humanities and social sciences who are interested in reading the relationship between politics and the representation of a radical opposition to commodification and conformism: the relevance of Film Theory in a global context will be a topic for discussion with a focus on the 1960s and 1970s.

The group welcomes everyone interested in the topic at the University of Calgary, and is open to the Calgary community at large. If you are interested please contact Francesca Cadel (fcadel@ucalgary.ca) & Matthew Croombs (matthew.croombs@ucalgary.ca).
The Group will meet from October to April on one Friday each month, 3 to 4:30 p.m. Fall meetings will be held in Biological Sciences 542. Winter meeting location TBA. Meeting dates:

2019: Oct. 18, Nov. 15, Dec. 05
2020: Jan. 31, Feb. 28, Mar. 27

We all need to eat. Yet, food is much more than a source of energy. It is strongly interconnected with social organization, history, culture, politics, and is time and place specific. What we eat, if we eat, when we eat, where we eat, how and with whom we prepare and share our meals reflect those relations. Nonetheless, we are often oblivious to where our food and our food habits come from, how they are produced and by whom, as well as the production, processing, and distribution networks they depend on. Most of us also think little about the socio-economic, political, and environmental implications of all of this. At the same time, many academic, governmental, civic, and economic stakeholders stress the necessity and urgency to change the dominant agri-food regime in response to environmental, health, justice, and ethical concerns. Food has also emerged as a mobilizing frame for social justice movements (i.e., food justice) and within human rights frameworks (i.e., the right to food), as well as for broader movements around the political economy of food (i.e., food sovereignty). Food is thus embedded in complex social, cultural, economic, and political relations.

This calls for a closer inspection of our current ways of producing, processing, distributing, and consuming food and how this relates to overarching issues such as global economic integration, immigration, language and culture, welfare state transformation, the environmental crisis or the crisis of care work. Evidently, this requires an interdisciplinary approach. This CIH working group is a first step towards building and consolidating an interdisciplinary group of food scholars at the University of Calgary. This entails:

  • making visible and highlight existing food research at the University of Calgary
  • promoting critical interdisciplinary scholarship in the broad area of food studies
  • developing an on-going lecture/events series targeting an audience from across the campus and beyond that will host local, national and international speakers
  • facilitating ongoing exchange about food related teaching
  • developing new interdisciplinary research collaborations and grant applications for future research projects concerning the many facets of food

Conveners:

  • Marit Rosol, Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair, Department of Geography (marit.rosol@ucalgary.ca)
  • Ben McKay, Assistant Professor, Development Studies Program, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology (ben.mckay@ucalgary.ca)

Research Interests

This returning group facilitates communication and shares current research among faculty and students interested in examining genomics and bioinformatics from a critical social sciences and humanities perspective.

Promissory claims abound about the benefits of genetic information to inform and improve health, environment, and industry practices. Since the 1970s, governments and industry have promoted the mapping and manipulation of DNA as an avenue to fuel, feed, and heal the world. In 2003, the completion of the human genome project stimulated the development of other large-scale DNA-sequencing projects for bacteria, plants, and mammals. With computer technology and bioinformatics, large-scale genomic consortium produce DNA sequences at impressive rates. DNA is also currently used to store and transmit digital data. As synthetic biology continues to evolve and mature, genetic information can be used to create new forms of life.

Scientific experimentation and industry application have run ahead of analysis in the social sciences and humanities, leaving gaps in our understanding of the political and ethical implications of genomic and bioinformatics applications. In turn, current regulatory regimes have yet to keep up with the pace of technological change and lay publics are often unaware of the scope, speed, and significance of techno-scientific advances.

The stakes could not be higher and the need for critical engagement more urgent. Genomic and bioinformatics technologies raise important questions about power, governance, and ownership of genetic resources and life itself. As science and technology studies scholar Sheila Jasanoff explains, “science exerts power in part by turning the myriad pathways for living that humanity has evolved over millennia into singular channels that have undeniable value for segments of the human community…but these ‘solutions’ may not speak to the fundamentals of the human condition, and they may err or produce unintended consequences through premature simplification” (2019, 179).

The ultimate goal of this working group is to advance critically informed discussions about issues that are often left out of dominant scientific narratives including the temptation and danger of genetic reductionism, the limitations of predictive knowledge, the social dimensions of genomics and bioinformatics, and the importance of including a diverse range of values and perspectives in adjudicating emerging biotechnologies.

Proposed Activities

The group will meet monthly from September 2019 to March 2020 to discuss published research and present work in progress. We will also host one guest speaker.

Faculty and grad students at University of Calgary interested in critical discussions about the social dimensions of genomic technologies are invited to participate. This working group will provide a space to connect researchers from humanities, social sciences, health, and natural sciences to support interdisciplinary conversations.

Conveners

  • Gwendolyn Blue, Associate Professor, Geography. SSHRC funded research examined public engagement with climate change. Current research supported by Genome Canada examines the social and policy implications of genomic assisted tree breeding to address the challenges of climate change in the forestry industry. ggblue@ucalgary.ca
  • Mél Hogan, Assistant Professor (Environmental Media) Communication, Media and Film. Dr. Hogan’s SSHRC funded work examines the materialities of data storage, from hard drives to DNA. mhogan@ucalgary.ca

 

Research Working Group to Explore Performance Theory in Business Communications

This working group brings together performance and business researchers to explore ritualized business communications through the lens of performance theory. In monthly workshop-style meetings, we will consider business practices that can be fruitfully analyzed as ritual or performance. Each meeting will introduce and combine a different performance framework with business data so that participants as a group can explore applications and insights from the intersection of these distinct academic traditions. Examples include the performative aspects of business pitch competitions, the use of “scriptive things” in experiential retail spaces like Apple or Ikea stores, ritualization in brand-building mega-events such as Salesforce’s annual Dreamforce conference, and the performance of self in networking events where business professionals must engage in impression management. The goal will be to create bridges between two academic disciplines that historically have been divided. In doing so, the group aims to challenge performance researchers to broaden their perspectives on where and how performance occurs, and to challenge business researchers to deepen their insight into the dynamics of business performances beyond the current, largely a-theoretical prescriptions found in the business research literature. We invite faculty and students who are interested in participating to contact the co-organizers.

Conveners:

 

Scientific, medical, and technological progress is relentless and has become ever so rapid. As such, the conditions for a social and contextual understanding of science’s implications for humanity and its place in society are changing rapidly as well. Furthermore, new inventions, discoveries, and theories have a significant impact on the way we understand the facts, products, and processes developed by past and recent scientists, engineers, and physicians. In a current political “post-factual climate,” it is absolutely vital to realize that this constantly changing field needs in-depth analyses and examinations to grasp the magnitude of today’s challenges. More complex science needs more in-depth humanities scholarship.

A STEMS Working Group, with strong participation from the Faculty of Arts, the Cumming School of Medicine, Faculty of Science, and Werklund School of Education, creates a space for researchers, students, and trainees from the University of Calgary and related institutions, interested in the social aspects of science, technology and medicine, to interact and collaborate on exciting new initiatives.

When viewing instances of social debates, legal and military conflicts, it becomes imperative to likewise unearth the cultural origins of scientific discoveries, as these pertain to issues regarding group participation and impacts, community benefits, and equitable access to new scientific products. Science, technology, and medicine are usually seen as the main fields where contemporary societies place their hopes for a better future. However, as examples in the past and present have shown, science, technology and medicine have not always been used in completely positive ways (e.g. environmental issues, military conflicts, postcolonial dependencies, etc.), while the public’s relationship to innovations and scientific practices remains a complex issue.

As such, the STEMS Working Group research agenda will have two main and complementary focus, as follows:

 I. Creating Social Insights on Science

Through the social studies of medicine, science, technology, and the environment (including historical, sociological, anthropological perspectives among others), it is possible to understand how these related fields have affected people’s lives in the past and present. The research conducted by the members of the STEMS Working Group will yield historical and social lessons for society’s contemporary problems, while also allowing for useful insights to cope with future societal and technological challenges.

Creating social insights on science means sponsoring activities related to the social studies of science, technology, medicine, and the diffusion of related knowledge. The Working Group will be committed to creating and organizing colloquiums and presentations for the production of scholarship, as well as hosting visiting fellows and scholars.

 II. Enhancing Science’s Use for Society

The University of Calgary has an opportunity to lead the way for Western Canada by building our own capacities to be competitive for future high-tech and knowledge-based economies. The sooner the U of C can take the lead, the earlier the research centre will be able to start to produce influential publications on relevant subjects in the studies of science, technology, environment, and medicine. The efforts to be the frontrunner will materialize in enhanced collaborations and support for partnership projects, particularly between faculties in an effort to bridge the humanities and social science to the science, technology, and medicine fields.

  • Dr. Frank W. Stahnisch (AMF/Hannah Professorship in the History of Medicine and Health Care) fwstahni@ucalgary.ca
  • DrGlenn Dolphin (Tamaratt Chair, Science Education and Teaching, Faculty of Science) glenn.dolphin@ucalgary.ca
  • DrSabrina Perić (Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology) speric@ucalgary.ca
  • DrJesse L. Hendrikse (Instructor, Department of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine) jlhendri@ucalgary.ca
  • DrGregor Wolbring (Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Community Health Sciences, Stream Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies) gwolbrin@ucalgary.ca

The Social Justice and the Smart City working group focuses on cross-disciplinary inquiry into the social and environmental justice implications of smart city technologies, policies, and practices. Our goal is to support interdisciplinary research and facilitate the development of a scholarly community through reading groups, writing feedback, and guest speakers.

We seek to expand on the work that our CIH-funded reading group has been carrying out since 2017. The CIH funding obtained in 2017 has been instrumental in the creation of a shared academic culture among our diverse group, which included members (graduate students, postdoctoral scholars and faculty members) from diverse disciplines (geography, history, sociology, communications, anthropology, political science, public health and environmental design). Through our monthly meetings, we have discussed major publications on smart cities and subsequently refined our own positioning with regards to social and environmental justice in the smart city. These discussions have been successfully expanded by the visit of two guest speakers from the USA and Canada, Taylor Shelton and Elvin Wyly. These visits triggered in-depth conversations, but also increased our group’s visibility and fostered new partnerships that will considerably strengthen the global research network that we are seeking to constitute.

In light of this previous experience, our group plans to continue holding monthly meetings to discuss readings from key scholars as well as group members. After a first year characterized by a focus on urban studies scholarship, we seek to expand our critical analysis of smart cities by discussing broader theoretical work (including philosophical writings on justice, Science and Technology Studies – STS, digital humanities, history of technology). Additionally, we will use our CIH reading group meetings as a platform to discuss work in progress and to receive feedback on ongoing projects and publications. These meetings will be complemented by the visit of another guest speaker.

We welcome everyone interested in Smart Cities research and/ or theoretical work that can inform our critical engagement with social justice in the smart city and the digital age more broadly. Graduate students are particularly encouraged to join the group.  Do not hesitate to get in touch with us with any questions you may have.

Conveners:

The Vendler Reading Group is an interdisciplinary group composed of faculty and graduate students from philosophy and linguistics. The group's main goal is to facilitate communication between researchers working on issues related to the syntax, semantics, and pragmatics of natural languages. The group meets approximately twice a semester to discuss current research, work in progress by reading group members, and to host visiting scholars. 

Proposed activities for 2019-2020

In 2019-2020 we propose to organize a series of six meetings and a workshop. Each meeting we will discuss an article about the semantics, pragmatics, or processing of the progressive. For the workshop, we will invite two speakers to present their recent research on the progressive. While both speakers will be conversant with philosophers and linguists, we’ll invite one speaker who is primarily engaged with philosophers and another primarily engaged with linguists. Brad Skow (M.I.T), our philosophy-centric invitee, examines the way that linguistic aspect matches metaphysical reality and makes several novel distinctions that he applies to some familiar philosophical problems. Valentine Hacquard (University of Maryland), our linguistics-centric invitee, examines the compositional semantics of aspect and the way it interacts with other linguistic mechanisms like tense. Bringing these two theorists together will provide substantial opportunity for interdisciplinary insight. Our 2019-2020 program is modeled on our 2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019 programs which, thanks to CIH funding, generated fruitful interdisciplinary interaction. In fact, our 2018-2019 program was our most successful ever, with more than 30 attendees, including undergrads, graduate students, postdocs, and faculty of all ranks.   

The Progressive

Consider a mundane event, like Emma’s eating breakfast. When we speak about that event, natural language allows us to locate it relative to our current time. For instance, if we want to express that it already happened, we’ll utter “Emma ate breakfast”. If we want to express that it will happen in the future, we’ll utter “Emma will eat breakfast”. In addition to simply placing the event in the past or future, we can express that it is unfolding as we speak. For this we use the suffix “ing”, as in “Emma is eating breakfast”. 

The progressive morpheme “ing” is certainly not limited to eating. We can append it to many (though not all) verbs to express that an event of some kind is happening. Unlike the future or past tense, that have relatively straightforward semantics (they locate the event after/before the time of utterance), the meaning of “ing” is still deeply controversial. This should not be surprising. After all, in order to understand the meaning of “ing” it seems as if we have to answer a deeply vexing question about the nature of events—what is it for something to happen? 

Any adequate semantics for the progressive mopheme will have to account for the fact that progressive sentences can be true even if the events they speak about never culminate. For instance, “I am crossing the street” may be true even if I never get across. Dowty (1979) proposed an influential way to account for this. His idea was to explain the progressive in terms of possible trajectories. The idea is that if it is true that I am crossing the street, then it is true that I will cross the street if my event continues unimpeded.

Following Dowty, some have tried to make precise the notion of continuing unimpeded. Others, however, argue that this entire approach is misguided and we should rather understand the progressive as a fundamental notion itself or in term of another notion like parthood. The division between these types of approaches marks one of the fundamental divisions in approaches to the progressive.

Our goal in the Vendler group will be to examine the debate over the meaning of the progressive in detail. We’ll then be in an perfect position to invite two well-known experts on the progressive to present their competing views. 

Convener:

Dr. David Liebesman, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy (david.liebesman@ucalgary.ca)

Participants:
Dimitrios Skordos (Linguistics), Nicole Wyatt (Philosophy), Betsy Ritter (Linguistics), Susanne Carroll (Linguistics), Ali Kazmi (Philosophy), Mark Migotti (Philosophy), Dennis Storoshenko (Linguistics), Jonathan Payton (Philosophy).

The group invites all faculty and graduate students in both Linguistics and Philosophy and individual faculty with related interests in the Faculty of Arts.

Archive of 2018 - 19 Working Groups

CRAIG aims at collaborative activities between the University of Calgary members interested in the study of Classics, Religion, Archaeology and Anthropology. Graduate students and faculty members from the two departments, CLARE and ANTHARKY, are engaged in projects of interdisciplinary nature, combining material studies and literary source material. The field methods from Archaeology, conceptual framework of Anthropology and the literary component integrated from Classics and Religion will form a concrete base for further collaborative activities. The methodological overlap between the two components enables further dialogue, which will be facilitated through this group.

Objectives

  1. Providing a platform for the graduate student community for inter-disciplinary work across Classics, Religion, Archaeology and Anthropology
  2. Workshops and introductory lectures to familiarise Classicists, scholars of religion, Anthropologists and Archaeologists of the methodologies from the other fields to better articulate a firm working ground
  3. Collaborative projects, leading into tangible knowledge translation such as publication and public outreach

Conveners:
Durga Kale, Doctoral Student, Department of Classics and Religion (durga.kale1@ucalgary.ca)
Kelsey Pennanen, Master's Student, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology (kelsey.penannen1@ucalgary.ca)

In our contemporary world, especially in an Alberta currently defined by oil bust, many people are focused on finding solutions to a fossil-fuel dependent society. However, in order to understand both the nature of today’s energy challenges, as well as socially acceptable solutions, we need to uncover the history and politics of certain assumptions about energy. Over the past two years as a working group at CIH, Energy In Society (EIS) has put together a research agenda on energy transitions which asserts:

  • If we want to address our energy futures, we need to know about our energy pasts, because historical decisions and narratives create the societal criteria of the present;
  • We need to understand the dynamics of energy politics, not only in Canada, but elsewhere in the world. This includes addressing dominant and suppressed energy discourses as well as examining and giving voice to all actors involved—this includes the State, Indigenous peoples, corporate actors and marginalized groups;
  • Scholars, policy makers and the general public have focused too much on singular commodities—such as oil and coal. We need to understand that all energy systems are intertwined, and that energy pathways and transitions need to be understood holistically.
  • Lastly, research on our energy futures and solutions also entails cooperation across disciplinary lines. We know therefore that energy research should always be interdisciplinary.

The EIS interdisciplinary working group seeks to build on its successful collaboration with the Calgary Institute for the Humanities and its multiple initiatives over the past two years. In 2018-2019, we will solely focus on beginning to implement the research agenda described above. We therefore propose to focus our working group on the writing of grants, preparation of a large international conference, and writing of scholarly work over the next year.

In 2016-2018, we developed our energy-centered research agenda through our speaker series and working group sessions on the topics of coal, Indigenous rights and extractive industry, environmental regulation, energy and our food system. We also used the CIH working group as a starting point to create research collaborations both within the university and with international partners. This past year, EIS organized a large cross-faculty workshop on the topic of Global Energy Transitions. This event, co-organized by CIH and the VPR’s office, featured the work of 20 University of Calgary scholars from the Faculties of Arts, Sciences, Environmental Design, Law, Engineering, and Social Work, as well as the Schools of Education, and Public Policy. The initial steps towards collaboration were complemented by an “Energy Transition” lunch at CIH. With CIH’s support, EIS has also embarked on a series of workshops and meetings with the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG) about the formation of a joint partnership on the topic of “Energy Transitions.” Over the past two years, we have met with our collaborators in Germany four times, and EIS will be hosting MPIWG scholars at the University of Calgary this June 2018 to formalize a memorandum of understanding, and embark on formal joint research.

Convenors for 2018-2019:

  • Dr. Petra Dolata, CRC History of Energy, Associate Professor, Department of History (pdolata@ucalgary.ca)
  • Dr. Sabrina Perić, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology (speric@ucalgary.ca)
  • Dr. Roberta Rice, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science (roberta.rice@ucalgary.ca)

Research Focus:
This study investigates the contributions of the Canadian subsidiary of UK-based EMI Music to Canada's musical culture and industry. The research is based upon the contents of the EMI Music Canada Archive collection - a vast new archive recently acquired by the University of Calgary. EMI (and earlier, Capitol Records) was active in Canada from about 1950 until 2006. During this period, the company discovered, developed, and promoted many of Canada’s most important musical acts. These archives provide an unprecedented opportunity for detailed examination of the operations of a multinational record company in Canada. They provide considerable details about EMI Canada’s operations and a window into Canada’s cultural policy over the last 50 years.

Research Questions:
1) What role did EMI Canada (not only in its own right, but as an example of a multinational major record company) play in developing Canadian popular music and the Canadian music industry?  How did Canada fit into a wider global music strategy?

2) What resources did the company allocate to the production and promotion of Canadian music artists in the late 1970s and early 1980s?  How did Canadian cultural policy influence these decisions?

3) What is the relationship between physical infrastructure development and Canadian cultural and economic policy? To this end we have begun a study on the development of the Capitol Records pressing plant in Toronto in 1976.

This study combines Dr. Gregory Taylor’s expertise in Canadian cultural policy, working with University of Calgary archivist Robb Gilbert.  Dr. Taylor is also part of a wider provincial research team with Dr. Brian Fauteux, Assistant Professor, Department of Music at University of Alberta; and Dr. Richard Sutherland, Associate Professor in Economics, Justice, and Policy Studies at Mount Royal University.

Principal Investigator:
Dr. Gregory Taylor, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, Media and Film (gregory.taylor2@ucalgary.ca)

Many discussions of social media have touted their benefits in connecting people and breaking down geographical boundaries, efficient and speedy dissemination of information, and the creation of online communities and safe spaces for self help. While there has also been discussion of the “dark side” of social media, recent events have taken things to an entirely new level, illustrating that social media can be—and has been used to manipulate elections, incite violence, and spread misinformation on a massive scale. Network societies are at a critical junction in terms of their need to grasp and deal with the various dilemmas and issues involved in the design, business models, governance, regulation and use of social media. The proposed interdisciplinary working group will bring together scholars from the humanities, social science, business, education and law to discuss and collaborate on projects focusing on these interrelated issues that touch every facet of social life. We plan to pay special attention to the currently understudied topic of the ethics of social media provision and use. We have two broad lines of inquiry in mind, each involving a series of sub-inquiries. The primary inquiry we want to pursue regards the ethical questions concerning social media platform design and operation, while the second addresses the ethics of the social media user.

Conveners:

The Intersection of Performance and Business:
Research Working Group to Explore Performance Theory in Business Communications

This working group brings together performance and business researchers to explore ritualized business communications through the lens of performance theory. In monthly workshop-style meetings, we will consider business practices that can be fruitfully analyzed as ritual or performance. Each meeting will introduce and combine a different performance framework with business data so that participants as a group can explore applications and insights from the intersection of these distinct academic traditions. Examples include the performative aspects of business pitch competitions, the use of “scriptive things” in experiential retail spaces like Apple or Ikea stores, ritualization in brand-building mega-events such as Salesforce’s annual Dreamforce conference, and the performance of self in networking events where business professionals must engage in impression management. The goal will be to create bridges between two academic disciplines that historically have been divided. In doing so, the group aims to challenge performance researchers to broaden their perspectives on where and how performance occurs, and to challenge business researchers to deepen their insight into the dynamics of business performances beyond the current, largely a-theoretical prescriptions found in the business research literature. We invite faculty and students who are interested in participating to contact the co-organizers.

Conveners:

Those who use paleographical skills are spread out over a number of different disciplines (Classics, History, and English, the disciplines of the project leaders, to name only three). While over the past 25 years courses have occasionally been offered in which students can learn paleographical skills, these have been difficult to sustain in individual departments because numbers are low. But when we cast the net wider it is clear that many of us in diverse disciplines work with handwritten documents and individually train our own students. Though handwriting varies over time and is discipline specific there are broad transferable skills as well. Thus the prime aim of this working group is to bring together those of us who need these skills for our basic research in order to provide a supportive, collaborative environment in which we can learn from each other and help students gain the appropriate skills in a more effective way.

The working group will have skilled individuals presenting the type of material each works on to the group, discussing the challenges their source material poses, and what skills and tricks they have learnt which can be transferred. We plan to have three meetings in the fall term and three in the winter term. These seminars will be pedagogical in focus but make use of our own current research and the problems we encounter.

Once the skills to decipher handwritten documents more successfully have been learnt, an important follow up practice is to acquire the knowledge to digitise the material in such a way that an independent and easily transferable and searchable document is the end result. Indeed we want to encourage students to consider digitally encoding transcriptions of handwritten material as a basic part of the process. To this end we propose to bring in an expert in this field for a training session in March. 

The aims of this working group, therefore, are: (a) to establish a paleography training and support group which carries on after the term of the working group; (b) to train student members in particular in paleographical skills, and (c) to train all members of the group in digitally encoding their work following the best practices established by the TEI consortium. It is hoped that such training will also feed well into and bolster our forthcoming SSHRC applications particularly by having on hand trained students for research support and by providing new archival material in a form easily and openly accessible to other researchers.

Conveners:

We seek to expand on the work that our CIH-funded reading group has been carrying out since 2017. The CIH funding obtained in 2017 has been instrumental in the creation of a shared academic culture among our diverse group, which included members (graduate students, postdoctoral scholars and faculty members) from diverse disciplines (geography, history, sociology, communications, anthropology, political science, public health and environmental design). Through our monthly meetings, we have discussed major publications on smart cities and subsequently refined our own positioning with regards to social and environmental justice in the smart city. These discussions have been successfully expanded by the visit of two guest speakers from the USA and Canada, Taylor Shelton and Elvin Wyly. These visits triggered in-depth conversations, but also increased our group’s visibility and fostered new partnerships that will considerably strengthen the global research network that we are seeking to constitute.

In light of this previous experience, our group plans to continue holding monthly meetings to discuss readings from key scholars as well as group members. After a first year characterized by a focus on urban studies scholarship, we seek to expand our critical analysis of smart cities by discussing broader theoretical work (including philosophical writings on justice, Science and Technology Studies – STS, digital humanities, history of technology). Additionally, we will use our CIH reading group meetings as a platform to discuss work in progress and to receive feedback on ongoing projects and publications. These meetings will be complemented by the visit of another guest speaker. In March 2019, we will host Dr. Gillian Rose (Professor of Human Geography, University of Oxford, UK) for a public CIH lecture and a seminar to discuss her work within the working group.

We welcome everyone interested in Smart Cities research and/ or theoretical work that can inform our critical engagement with social justice in the smart city and the digital age more broadly. Graduate students are particularly encouraged to join the group.  Do not hesitate to get in touch with us with any questions you may have.

Conveners:

In 2018-19 we propose to organize a series of eight monthly meetings. Each meeting we will discuss an article about the semantics, pragmatics, or processing of plurals and/or mass nouns. The final meeting of each semester we will invite a guest speaker who will present their recent work on information structure.

Our plan in the Vendler group in AY 2018-2019 is to read a variety of articles of different aspects of plurals and mass nouns, in order to grasp the challenges they present. Our investigations will culminate in hosting two visiting speakers: one who is primarily a linguist and the other is primarily a philosopher. Over the past two years, the group has been extraordinarily successful in generating interdisciplinary discussion, and we have good reason to think that this will continue in the 2018-2019 AY.

Plurals and Mass Nouns

Our investigations into linguistic meaning usually start with simple sentences in which we refer to an individual, and ascribe it a singular property, or express that a single entity of a single sort exists. For instance, in (1), we refer to the individual Emma and ascribe her the property of being a dog, and in (2) we express that the category dog, which consists of individual dogs, is not empty.

1)       Emma is a dog.

2)       Something is a dog.

Natural language, however, doesn’t stop with the singular. Adequately understanding the meaning, use, and processing of English will require understanding plurals and mass nouns, as exemplified in (3)-(6).

3)       Emma and Oli are dogs.

4)       Some things are dogs.

5)       That liquid is water.

6)       Some water is in my glass.

Mass terms and plurals give rise to a large set of challenges that don’t arise in examining singular terms. Consider, for instance, (7), which has two readings:

7)       Emma and Oli ate three bones.

On one reading of (7), Emma and Oli each ate three bones, such that a total of six were eaten. On the other, Emma and Oli ate three bones together. The former is called the ‘distributive’ reading while the latter is called the `collective’ reading. Understanding how this ambiguity arises has been the source intense recent attention, e.g. Schwarschild (1996) and Brisson (2003)).

One influential thought is that collective readings show that plural predication—ascribing a property to multiple things together—cannot be reduced to singular predication. The idea is that it can be true that Emma and Oli ate three bones together, even though it is not true of either of them individually that they ate three bones. In fact, we can imagine that they shared each bone, so it is not even true of either of them individually that they ate one bone. McKay (2006) and Yi (2005) argue that the fact that plural predication cannot be reduced to singular predication requires us to give a novel semantic interpretation for plurals, one that makes use of entirely new apparatus.

All of these theorists share the view that plurality cannot be understood wholly in terms of singularity. A natural question then arises: does the same apply to mass nouns? The intuition is that mass nouns let us pick out undifferentiated stuff, rather than individual entities. To understand this, consider (8):

8)       Some wine is in the glass.

(8) doesn’t communicate that one individual is in the glass. Rather, it communicates that some quantity of wine is in the glass. Just as in the plural case, many think that (8) cannot be reduced to any singular generalization or existence claim, e.g. Laycock (2007), Koslicki (1999), and Higginbotham (1995).

Why study mass and count nouns in tandem? The reason is that there’s a large body of empirical evidence that they should be treated similarly, e.g. Gillon (1992). Both present challenges for linguistic theories designed primarily to deal with the singular, and, the thought goes, these problems often have common solutions.

Convener:
Dr. David Liebesman, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy (david.liebesman@ucalgary.ca)

Participants: 
Dimitrios Skordos (Linguistics), Nicole Wyatt (Philosophy), Betsy Ritter (Linguistics), Susanne Carroll (Linguistics), Ali Kazmi (Philosophy), Mark Migotti (Philosophy), Dennis Storoshenko (Linguistics), Jonathan Payton (Philosophy).

The group invites all faculty and graduate students in both Linguistics and Philosophy and individual faculty with related interests in the Faculty of Arts.

Archive of 2017 - 18 Interdisciplinary Working Groups

This returning group facilitates communication and shares current research among faculty and students interested in examining genomics and bioinformatics from a critical social sciences and humanities perspective.

Promissory claims abound about the benefits of genetic information to inform and improve health, environment, and industry practices. Since the 1970s, governments and industry have promoted the mapping and manipulation of DNA as an avenue to fuel, feed, and heal the world. In 2003, the completion of the human genome project stimulated the development of other large-scale DNAsequencing projects for bacteria, plants, and mammals. With computer technology and bioinformatics, large-scale genomic consortium produce DNA sequences at impressive rates. DNA is also currently used to store and transmit digital data. As synthetic biology continues to evolve and mature, genetic information can be used to create new forms of life.

Scientific experimentation and industry application have run ahead of analysis in the social sciences and humanities, leaving gaps in our understanding of the social, political, and ethical implications of genomic and bioinformatics applications. The stakes could not be higher and the need for critical engagement more urgent. As science and technology studies scholar Sheila Jasanoff explains, “science exerts power in part by turning the myriad pathways for living that humanity has evolved over millennia into singular channels that have undeniable value for segments of the human community…but these ‘solutions’ may not speak to the fundamentals of the human condition, and they may err or produce unintended consequences through premature simplification.” (2019, 179) Genomic and bioinformatics technologies raise important questions about the risks, governance, and ownership of genetic resources.

Current regulatory regimes have yet to keep up with the pace of technological change and lay publics are often unaware of the scope, speed, and significance of techno-scientific advances.

Proposed Activities

The group will meet monthly from September 2019 to March 2020 to discuss published research, present work in progress, draft future grant applications, and host one guest speaker. Faculty and grad students at University of Calgary interested in the social dimensions of genomic technologies will be invited to participate. We have convened initial participants across a range of academic appointments – including tenured and pre-tenured faculty, research associates, and graduate students. We will continue to recruit additional participants through our shared networks and email list serves. This working group will provide a space to connect researchers from humanities, social sciences, health, and natural sciences to support interdisciplinary conversations.

Conveners:

Gwendolyn Blue, Associate Professor, Geography. SSHRC funded research examined public engagement with climate change. Current research supported by Genome Canada examines the social and policy implications of genomic assisted tree breeding to address the challenges of climate change in the forestry industry. ggblue@ucalgary.ca

Mél Hogan, Assistant Professor (Environmental Media) Communication, Media and Film. Dr. Hogan’s SSHRC funded work examines the materialities of data storage, from hard drives to DNA. mhogan@ucalgary.ca

Etymologically “data” is that which is “given”, but in humanistic inquiry there are very few, ifany, “givens”. Some have suggested that “humanities data” is a “necessary contradiction” (Posner). Others argue that rather than data, the humanities deal with “capta”—that which is captured, or actively taken and constructed, “not simply given as a natural representation of pre-existing fact” (Drucker). This latter term is meant to emphasize “the situated, partial, and constitutive character of knowledge production” in the humanities (Drucker). It is also meant to invite humanists who borrow tools, techniques, and even terminology from the sciences to think more critically about the implicit assumptions that they might unwittingly inherit in doing so. Take the case of information visualization, which is fast becoming a staple of computationally driven humanistic inquiry (Jänicke et al., Jockers, Moretti, among others). Such methods (with their provenance in the sciences) often project a positivist approach to knowledge generation that is fundamentally at odds with the interpretative critical practices of knowledge construction inherent in humanities research (Drucker). To a certain extent all visualizations depend on counting bits of information, but by the time they “present” the effect of their counting, several interpretive steps have already taken place out of sight, including fundamental decisions about what counts, how to count it, and how to represent it. These are not trivial decisions; they should not go unexamined and unchallenged. Rather, they must be subject to critical deliberation and open debate within and across disciplines and communities.

The “Thinking Data, Data Thinking” working group will cultivate the synergistic possibilities of combining humanistic critical interrogations of data structures and representations with the cutting-edge research being done in computer science (especially information visualization and computational media design).

Conveners:

Those who use paleographical skills are spread out over a number of different disciplines (Classics, History, and English, the disciplines of the project leaders, to name only three). While over the past 25 years courses have occasionally been offered in which students can learn paleographical skills, these have been difficult to sustain in individual departments because numbers are low. But when we cast the net wider it is clear that many of us in diverse disciplines work with handwritten documents and individually train our own students. Though handwriting varies over time and is discipline specific there are broad transferable skills as well. Thus the prime aim of this working group is to bring together those of us who need these skills for our basic research in order to provide a supportive, collaborative environment in which we can learn from each other and help students gain the appropriate skills in a more effective way.

The working group will have skilled individuals presenting the type of material each works on to the group, discussing the challenges their source material poses, and what skills and tricks they have learnt which can be transferred. We plan to have three meetings in the fall term and three in the winter term. These seminars will be pedagogical in focus but make use of our own current research and the problems we encounter.

Once the skills to decipher handwritten documents more successfully have been learnt, an important follow up practice is to acquire the knowledge to digitise the material in such a way that an independent and easily transferable and searchable document is the end result. Indeed we want to encourage students to consider digitally encoding transcriptions of handwritten material as a basic part of the process. To this end we propose to bring in an expert in this field for a training session in March. 

The aims of this working group, therefore, are: (a) to establish a paleography training and support group which carries on after the term of the working group; (b) to train student members in particular in paleographical skills, and (c) to train all members of the group in digitally encoding their work following the best practices established by the TEI consortium. It is hoped that such training will also feed well into and bolster our forthcoming SSHRC applications particularly by having on hand trained students for research support and by providing new archival material in a form easily and openly accessible to other researchers.

Conveners:

Building on interdisciplinary partnerships already nurtured through a SSHRC Connection grant, this working group will be established to advance research on what has been termed the “smart city.” Twinned patterns of urbanization and technology growth have converged into a digitallymediated, data-driven mode of urbanism that many have called “smart” (cf Albino, Berardi, & Dangelico, 2015; Allwinkle & Cruickshank, 2011; Angelidou, 2014; Batty, 2013). The smart city typically refers to urban environments instrumented with sensors, communication technologies, displays and other technologies that collect data on urban processes enabling informed decision making and control (Kitchin, 2013, 2015). Technologies in the smart city range from ride-sharing to smart grid infrastructure to air quality sensors to open data platforms. This broad topic area has quickly gained attention amongst scholars across disciplines, bringing new forms of expertise to questions of the city. Within this arena, this group is primarily concerned with social and environmental justice in the smart city, an area needing further research and development to answer critical questions related to political economy, sustainability, resilience, participation, democracy, discrimination and justice as they get wound up and embedded in cities and technologies. The complex nature of smart cities demands combining humanistic and social science frameworks and methods. To this end, the group seeks to bring together an interdisciplinary group of scholars (faculty and graduate students) from geography, history, sociology, communications, anthropology, political science, and environmental design interested in issues and developments in smart urbanism. The group plans to facilitate a weekly seminar, host guest speakers and visiting scholars, and apply for funding for future research.Themes will range from big data, urban technology, resilience, sustainability, digital humanities, digital cultures and ethnography, history of technology, software studies, and more.

Conveners:

Over the last decade, a literature on "art-based" and "practice-based" research has integrated creative research in the visual and performing arts with the strategic research directions of postsecondary institutions. Such work cuts across departments and disciplines in the academy to influence research in traditional social science and humanities disciplines, to re-imagine or reassert the role of the visual and performing arts in a research university, and to mobilize knowledge and social engagement. This working group is positioned at the centre of such exchanges and aims to facilitate dialogue about research creation and practice across departments and faculties.

Creative research or research creation is an umbrella term that distinguishes two primary areas of activity from scholarly research that takes artistic practice as its subject matter (art history, textual studies of drama, music criticism, etc.): 1. art-based research that involves the methodological use of artistic media to research or to represent social experience (Boal's theatre of the oppressed, applications of Photovoice, digital storytelling, or ethnodrama that create visibility and voice for disenfranchised communities); 2. practice-based research that involves knowledge generation by artist researchers grounded in the experience and processes of their creative work (advancing creative practices through new media, technologies or materials, or providing insight into aspects of the creative process).

Critical, qualitative researchers across the human and health sciences have recognized the value of creative research as an epistemologically distinct and embodied research method, and as an affective form of knowledge mobilization and social transformation. Evidence of its diffusion can be found in SSHRC's renewed support of "research creation" in their grant structures, in CFI's support of art-based research facilities for teaching and research creation, and in an increased interest nationally and internationally in developing practice-based doctoral degree programs in creative research. In a Canadian context, the development of scholarly journals such as the Canadian Journal of Practice Based Research in Theatre, or the International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice indicate the emergence of venues for disseminating this research.

In addition to elaborating a robust place for creative research within the University's Strategic Research Plan, and building on its role in the Faculty of Arts Strategic Plan, this group has a medium term goal of developing a doctoral level research opportunities in creative and practice-based research. The success of such a goal is directly related to nurturing a critical mass of faculty and students interested in these approaches to research.

Conveners:

Dr. Bruce Barton, Director, School of Creative and Performing Arts, bruce.barton@ucalgary.ca

Dr. Brian Rusted, Department Head, Department of Art, rusted@ucalgary.ca

The Energy In Society interdisciplinary working group (formerly known as the Beyond Petrocultures working group) seeks to build on its successful collaboration with the Calgary Institute for the Humanities (CIH) during the 2016-2017 academic year. Last year we organized a speaker series and conducted working group sessions around the topics of the history of coal in Alberta, Indigenous rights and extractive industry in the Americas, and environmental management in the Yukon. This year, we aim to grow our working group by building links with fellow faculty members and graduate students at the University of Calgary and to showcase the research being done here on energy transitions to an international audience.

The Energy In Society (EIS) research group was formed by four scholars in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Calgary: Drs. Petra Dolata, Sabrina Perić, Roberta Rice and Saulesh Yessenova. We were interested in creating a community of energy scholars in the humanities and social sciences on campus as well as to reach out to engineers, natural scientists, health researchers and many others who are actively engaged in the energy field. With the support of the CIH, we have begun to engage practitioners and scholars of a variety of energy processes and industries and wish to chart a new agenda for energy research through E/S at the University of Calgary.

In our contemporary world, especially in an Alberta currently defined by oil bust, many people are focused on finding solutions to a fossil-fuel dependent society. As a society, we are focused on the next big transition away from a hydrocarbon-dominated economy. However, in order to understand both the nature of today’s energy challenges, as well as socially acceptable solutions, we need to uncover the history and politics of certain assumptions about energy. To this end we have put together an Energy In Society research agenda:

• If we want to address our energy futures, we need to know about our energy pasts, because historical decisions and narratives create the societal criteria of the present
• We need to understand the dynamics of energy politics, not only in Canada, but elsewhere in the world. This includes addressing dominant and suppressed energy discourses as well as examining and giving voice to all actors involved—this includes the State, Indigenous peoples, corporate actors and marginalized groups
• Scholars, policy makers and the general public have focused too much on singular commodities—such as oil and coal. We need to understand that all energy systems are intertwined, and that energy pathways and transitions need to be understood holistically. Coal, oil, wind, solar and nuclear energy (amongst others) systems will also interact with one another.
• Research on our energy futures and solutions also entails cooperation across disciplinary lines. We know therefore that energy research should always be interdisciplinary.
• Lastly, while we focus on energy and our energy future, we understand that energy is always tied to and embedded within other social practices.

Convenors:

  • Dr. Petra Dolata, CRC History of Energy, Associate Professor, Department of History (pdolata@ucalgary.ca)
  • Dr. Sabrina Perić, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology and Archeology (speric@ucalgary.ca)
  • Dr. Roberta Rice, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science (roberta.rice@ucalgary.ca)
  • Dr. Saulesh Yessenova, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology and Archeology (sbyessen@ucalgary.ca)

energyinsociety.strikingly.com

In 2018-19 we propose to organize a series of eight monthly meetings. Each meeting we will discuss an article about the semantics, pragmatics, or processing of plurals and/or mass nouns. The final meeting of each semester we will invite a guest speaker who will present their recent work on information structure.

Our plan in the Vendler group in AY 2018-2019 is to read a variety of articles of different aspects of plurals and mass nouns, in order to grasp the challenges they present. Our investigations will culminate in hosting two visiting speakers: one who is primarily a linguist and the other is primarily a philosopher. Over the past two years, the group has been extraordinarily successful in generating interdisciplinary discussion, and we have good reason to think that this will continue in the 2018-2019 AY.

Plurals and Mass Nouns

Our investigations into linguistic meaning usually start with simple sentences in which we refer to an individual, and ascribe it a singular property, or express that a single entity of a single sort exists. For instance, in (1), we refer to the individual Emma and ascribe her the property of being a dog, and in (2) we express that the category dog, which consists of individual dogs, is not empty.

1)       Emma is a dog.

2)       Something is a dog.

Natural language, however, doesn’t stop with the singular. Adequately understanding the meaning, use, and processing of English will require understanding plurals and mass nouns, as exemplified in (3)-(6).

3)       Emma and Oli are dogs.

4)       Some things are dogs.

5)       That liquid is water.

6)       Some water is in my glass.

Mass terms and plurals give rise to a large set of challenges that don’t arise in examining singular terms. Consider, for instance, (7), which has two readings:

7)       Emma and Oli ate three bones.

On one reading of (7), Emma and Oli each ate three bones, such that a total of six were eaten. On the other, Emma and Oli ate three bones together. The former is called the ‘distributive’ reading while the latter is called the `collective’ reading. Understanding how this ambiguity arises has been the source intense recent attention, e.g. Schwarschild (1996) and Brisson (2003)).

One influential thought is that collective readings show that plural predication—ascribing a property to multiple things together—cannot be reduced to singular predication. The idea is that it can be true that Emma and Oli ate three bones together, even though it is not true of either of them individually that they ate three bones. In fact, we can imagine that they shared each bone, so it is not even true of either of them individually that they ate one bone. McKay (2006) and Yi (2005) argue that the fact that plural predication cannot be reduced to singular predication requires us to give a novel semantic interpretation for plurals, one that makes use of entirely new apparatus.

All of these theorists share the view that plurality cannot be understood wholly in terms of singularity. A natural question then arises: does the same apply to mass nouns? The intuition is that mass nouns let us pick out undifferentiated stuff, rather than individual entities. To understand this, consider (8):

8)       Some wine is in the glass.

(8) doesn’t communicate that one individual is in the glass. Rather, it communicates that some quantity of wine is in the glass. Just as in the plural case, many think that (8) cannot be reduced to any singular generalization or existence claim, e.g. Laycock (2007), Koslicki (1999), and Higginbotham (1995).

Why study mass and count nouns in tandem? The reason is that there’s a large body of empirical evidence that they should be treated similarly, e.g. Gillon (1992). Both present challenges for linguistic theories designed primarily to deal with the singular, and, the thought goes, these problems often have common solutions.

Convener:
Dr. David Liebesman, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy (david.liebesman@ucalgary.ca)

Participants: 
Dimitrios Skordos (Linguistics), Nicole Wyatt (Philosophy), Betsy Ritter (Linguistics), Susanne Carroll (Linguistics), Ali Kazmi (Philosophy), Mark Migotti (Philosophy), Dennis Storoshenko (Linguistics), Jonathan Payton (Philosophy).

The group invites all faculty and graduate students in both Linguistics and Philosophy and individual faculty with related interests in the Faculty of Arts.

The Visual Research Working Group has been supported by the Calgary Institute for the Humanities for the past two years (2015/16 and 2016/17). Now in our third year, we will develop plans for presenting our collaborative work to the public. We are creating opportunities to organize conference presentations, exhibitions, and panel discussions, in addition to writing and other potential joint projects.

Visual research is a growing interdisciplinary movement across the social sciences, humanities, and applied health and human service disciplines. Visual research takes many different forms, but most often it involves photography or film created by researchers/artists and/or research participants, although some visual researchers work with archival, media and found images. Images may be used as intermediary data or conversational aids in more conventional research. Also, and increasingly, images and films are used in presentations, publications and exhibitions, valued for their expressive as well as informational dimensions. Here sharp boundaries between art, literature and science are deliberately blurred in search of new forms of exploration and knowledge dissemination.

Our main goal for 2017/18 is to prepare for and mount an exhibition of our work during the 2018 Exposure Photography Festival, which runs during the month of February in Calgary. We will locate a suitable venue and plan and install the exhibition; we will also hold related events, such as a reception and a public panel discussion of visual research and its manifestation in our projects. Following the exhibition in February we will begin work on next steps, exploring additional potential collaborations, such as a journal article about the project, and an edited volume showcasing the range of disciplinary approaches to visual research. The Visual Research Working Group has successfully navigated the goals we outlined for years 1 and 2—our group is cohesive and motivated to continue exploring possibilities for future collaborative research and funding opportunities.

Conveners: