Fall Lecture Series 2022

Lectures will be offered via Zoom webinars on Tuesdays, 10 AM to 12 PM, from September 27 to November 1, 2022.

Marlis Butcher

September 27th, 2022
Explore Canada’s National Parks With Canadian Park Bagger
Presented by Marlis Butcher, Environmental Conservationist, Photographer, and Author

In July 2019, Marlis Butcher became the first visitor to bag (visit) all 47 Canadian national parks. Many of us have visited other national parks, but may not be aware of the history and mandate of Parks Canada and the diversity of the land protected by the parks.

Approximately one-third of all 47 Canadian national parks have no road access, so most of us will never make our own visit to these awe-inspiring natural wonders. Marlis has done that in our place and will take us on a virtual voyage into Qausuittuq National Park, located on northwest Bathurst Island in the High Arctic, Nunavut. Through unique photographs and engaging story-telling, Marlis shares what it’s like to travel to and explore this extremely remote park – and meet its endangered inhabitants.

Marlis Butcher is an environmental conservationist, photographer, author and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and of The Explorers Club. She sits on the board of the Royal Botanical Gardens, and served for 9 years on the board of the Bruce Trail Conservancy.

In July 2019, Marlis became the first visitor to bag (visit) all 47 Canadian national parks. In addition to many published photographs and conservation related articles, her book, “Park Bagger –Adventures in the Canadian National Parks”, designed to share the park experience, was published in April 2021.

In 2021, Parks Canada was mandated to create 10 new national parks in the next 5 years, so where will she adventure next?

Vass Bednar

October 4th, 2022
Public Policy and Technology in a Digital Society
Presented by Vass Bednar, Executive Director, Master of Public Policy in Digital Society Program, McMaster University

In this lecture, Vass will review how the challenges of regulating the disruptive technologies that we have seen develop during the pandemic are forcing a re-think of the traditional policymaker’s toolkit and mindset.

Anchoring discussion in relation to efforts to modernize the Competition Act, Vass will root her remarks in current legislative proposals and outline the merits of using a range of tools that governments have available to implement effective digital regulation.

Vass Bednar is the Executive Director of McMaster University’s MPP in Digital Society Program where she is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science.

Vass participates in Canada’s policy ecosystem as a Public Policy Forum Fellow, a Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation and through her popular newsletter “regs to riches.” She is one of Canada’s most vocal advocates for competition modernization.

Dr. Julia Creet

October 11th, 2022
Datamining the Deceased: Genealogy and the Business of Family History
Presented by Dr. Julia Creet, Professor, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, Department of English, York University; Documentary Director and Producer

More than half of North Americans are fascinated by genealogy. Some gain a sense of identity by uncovering their ancestors, their culture, and their country of origin. Others find it disorienting when they discover that their history differs from what they have always believed.

But there is another side to the rise in genealogy that goes beyond human interest. It is arguably the largest historical enterprise in the world, and one of the largest data mining operations, driven by the Mormon Church, the pharmaceutical industry and now mined by law enforcement. Julia will discuss the motivations of these stakeholders in promoting the business of family history.

Julia Creet teaches cultural memory, nonfiction and satire for the Department of English at York University. She is a prize-winning scholar and an accidental documentarian who has produced two. MUM: A Story of Silence (38 min 2008), a personal search for family led to a wry second documentary about the contemporary zeitgeist of family history, Data Mining the Deceased: Ancestry and the Business of Family History” (56 min 2017).

First broadcast on TVO in Canada, and now streaming around the world, Data Mining the Deceased explores the vast databases of records and bio-information being accumulated by the genealogy industry and questions the privacy of family information freely uploaded. Creet’s companion book The Genealogical Sublime was published by the University of Massachusetts Press in 2020.

Dr. Myra Hird

October 18th, 2022
The Wicked Problem of Microplastics and What We Can Do About It
Presented by Dr. Myra Hird, Professor and Queen’s National Scholar, School of Environmental Studies, Queen’s University

Wicked problems are difficult to solve because their multi-dimensional complexity means that solutions are often contradictory; solving one aspect of a wicked problem may well open up a different problem or problems.

Plastics waste, as this presentation will show, is a wicked problem that presses us to confront the environmental, political, economic, symbolic and cultural dimensions of contemporary global society. Even if we drastically reduce our consumption (itself a contradiction in capitalist growth economies), we are left with a profound (in its scale and toxicity) waste legacy that will endure for an unknown number of future generations.

This presentation will address the health and environmental problems that (micro)plastics create, and how we might resolve the wicked problems they create.

Myra J. Hird, earned her doctoral degree at the University of Oxford. She is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and a Full Professor in the School of Environmental Studies at Queen’s University.

Dr. Hird represented Canada at the G7 Microplastics Paris meeting (2019) and earned the Queen’s Excellence in Research Prize (2015). She has earned over $11 million in external research funding and has published 11 books and over 80 articles and book chapters on a diversity of topics relating to science studies.

Her 2021 book, Canada’s Waste Flows, critically explores Canada’s waste crisis and particularly the role of ongoing settler colonialism in creating and maintaining this crisis. Her latest book, A Public Sociology of Waste explores waste as a crisis in global democracy.

Dr. Hird is regularly featured on the CBC, BBC, and other news outlets.

Shermeen Beg

October 25th, 2022
An Unrivalled City: Constantinople at the Time of the Italian Renaissance
Presented by Shermeen Beg, Architect, Instructor, LIFE Institute (Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education), Speaker, and Storyteller

The city of Constantinople was weakened and sparsely inhabited at the time of its conquest in 1453. Inspired by the Renaissance in neighbouring Italy, Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II gathered Italian artists at his court and in doing so positioned the Ottoman Empire onto a global stage.

This illustrated talk covers the siege of Constantinople and artistic and architectural achievements of the 15-17th centuries that allowed for Istanbul to emerge in its place as a magnificent city with a world-famous skyline.

Originally hailing from Pakistan where Shermeen completed her undergraduate degree in architecture, she then pursued a graduate degree in architecture from the Savannah College of Art and Design. She has practiced architecture in the United States, Pakistan and Italy and has been teaching architectural theory courses for the past 15 years.

Since moving to Toronto, Shermeen has been a regular instructor at the LIFE Institute (Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education) and guest speaker at the Vaughan Library, Elspeth Heyworth Centre, PROBUS groups and several lifelong learning groups. Shermeen now considers herself a storyteller, combining her passion for history, the built environment and travel.

Barbara Dickson

November 1st, 2022
Bomb Girls: Trading Aprons for Ammo
Presented by Barbara Dickson, Speaker, Historian, Documentary Film Producer, and Writer

Barbara will provide a history of Canada’s biggest, secret WWII munitions plant located in what was then the rural community of Scarborough. The General Engineering Company (Canada) Ltd. (GECO) employed over 21,000 citizens, predominantly women, who courageously worked around the clock with high explosives to fill ammunition for Canada’s Allied forces.

Based on in-person interviews with the women who risked their lives every time they stepped onto the “clean side” of the plant, Barbara offers a unique, intimate, and extraordinary glimpse into the lives and hearts of these dedicated Canadian women whose invaluable contribution helped win the Second World War.

Barbara Dickson is a sought-after professionally-trained public speaker, historian, documentary film producer and writer who has entertained, educated, and enlightened audiences for over twenty-five years.

Barbara strives to educate Canadians about the phenomenal work carried out by women across the nation whose invaluable contribution helped win the Second World War. She is committed to ensuring that Canada’s bomb girls are honoured and commemorated by fellow Canadians including all levels of government. Her legacy project is to found a museum on the old GECO site where the public can come to learn, appreciate, and remember the critical sacrifice women made for their country so long ago.

Lecture Series Registration

10 AM to 12 PM
September 27 to November 1, 2022

Lectures to be Virtual
Via Zoom Webinars

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