Winter Lecture Series 2022

Lectures will be offered virtually via Zoom webinars from 10 AM to 12 PM on Tuesdays from February 15 to March 29, 2022 (no lecture on March 15).

Lectures are subject to change without notice.

Doug Saunders

February 15th, 2022
Hot Zones: Why pandemics and inequality are neighbourhood-level problems
Presented by Doug Saunders

The coronavirus pandemic drew vivid attention to a problem that has quietly developed over the last 20 years: the concentration of vulnerability and isolation in specific sorts of neighbourhoods. In most North American and European cities, the pandemic’s infections were overwhelmingly concentrated in suburban apartment districts.

Doug Saunders, a journalist who focuses on neighbourhood-scale problems, had been conducting a worldwide study of these new “trap zone” neighbourhoods before the pandemic broke, and found that during the past 20 years, the growing suburbanization of immigration and poverty has created islands of vulnerability on the edges of cities. He will talk about what turns neighbourhoods into traps, and the best approaches to freeing their residents from vulnerability.

Doug Saunders is an author and journalist of Canadian and British citizenship. He is the author of the books Arrival City: The Final Migration and Our Next World (2011), The Myth of the Muslim Tide (2012) and Maximum Canada (2017).

Currently resident in Berlin as a 2019-2021 Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy, he is also the international-affairs columnist for The Globe and Mail. He served as the paper’s London-based European bureau chief for a decade, after having run the paper’s Los Angeles bureau, and has written extensively from East Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, the Middle East, and North Africa.

He writes a weekly column devoted to the larger themes and intellectual concepts behind international news, and has won the National Newspaper Award, Canada’s counterpart to the Pulitzer Prize, on five occasions, as well as the Schelling Prize for Architectural Theory, the Donner Prize, and the National Library of China Wenjin Book Award.

He was a co-designer of the Germany pavilion at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, which was based on his book Arrival City.

His current work examines the neighbourhood-scale manifestation of larger social and economic crises, with field work in seven countries.

Dr. Jamie Drake

February 22nd, 2022
Percussion: A World of Colour, Melody and Rhythm
Presented by Dr. Jamie Drake

Composer Charles Ives once wrote that “The possibilities of percussion sounds, I believe, have never been fully realized.” While percussion instruments have long been featured in musical traditions from around the world, the last hundred years has seen an explosion of the use of percussion in Western classical and chamber music. No longer confined to the back of an orchestra, composers and performers are exploring the sonic and melodic possibilities of these instruments and are bringing them to the front of the stage.

Percussionist Jamie Drake will take you on a tour of some of his favourite instruments, from antique cymbals to the vibraphone, and will open your ears to some beautiful music that features the wide world of percussion.

Dr. Jamie Drake is a Toronto-based percussionist, drummer and composer, whose musical interests span from environmental chamber music to Motown. He received his DMA at the University of Toronto, studying with Aiyun Huang and Russell Hartenberger.

He has premiered works by composers Christos Hatzis, John Luther Adams and Nicole Lizée and performed with Soundstreams, Niagara Symphony, Kingston Symphony, NEXUS and many others.

As a member of TorQ Percussion Quartet, he has given concerts, workshops and masterclasses across North America and in Europe, and been a featured soloist with the Toronto Symphony, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, and the Buffalo Philharmonic.

He is the percussionist for the renowned Hamilton Children’s Choir, has worked as a percussion composer/consultant for CBC, and taught at Acadia University. Active in musical theatre, Jamie has played drums and percussion for Mirvish, Musical Stage Company, Canadian Stage, and Young People’s Theatre. He released his first solo recording “Night” in 2014.

Dr. Adam Chapnick

March 1st, 2022
Managing Canada-U.S. Relations in Unpredictable Times
Presented by Dr. Adam Chapnick

Donald Trump might no longer occupy the White House, but the challenges facing Ottawa in its efforts to manage Canada’s most important bilateral relationship persist. Whether it be avoiding Buy American provisions, navigating a post-pandemic world, or collaborating on shared security interests, Ottawa’s political agenda continues to be dominated by the United States. This lecture examines what we can and should do about it.

Adam Chapnick is a professor of defence studies at the Royal Military College of Canada. He is located in Toronto, where he also serves as the deputy director of education at the Canadian Forces College.

He holds a BA (Honours) from Trent University, an MA in International Affairs from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University, and a PhD in History from the University of Toronto.

Marta O’Brien

March 8th, 2022
Architecture: Now I Get It! Understanding the Elements of Architecture
Presented by Marta O’Brien

Architecture is everywhere; it affects our daily experience of a street, a neighbourhood, and a city — often subconsciously. In addition, we see many more buildings than we will ever enter or use. How important is it for us to like such buildings? Buildings can be a source of pleasure. They can positively affect our experience of a place and raise our spirits. Conversely, a building can make us feel uneasy or even intimidated.

This stimulating talk will help you really see the architecture around you, and facilitate your understanding of why you feel as you do observing a building. Architectural historian Marta O’Brien will reveal the components of a building’s exterior, including ornament, materials, colour, and proportion. We’ll see how the use of these elements has changed over the centuries, and consider some of the ideological and technical reasons for the changes.

Marta O’Brien has been an architectural historian for over 25 years. She holds an honours degree in architecture from Ryerson University, and a Master’s degree in environmental studies from York University. At York she studied urban planning and people’s experience of architecture in cities.

For 14 years Marta has developed and taught architectural history courses covering Toronto, North America, and Western Europe for the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies. She served seven years on Heritage Toronto’s Board of Directors. Marta also developed and coordinated the Toronto Society of Architects walking tour program. Through her own company, Citywalks, Marta presents tours and illustrated lectures for historical societies, cultural organizations, and private groups.

Last year Marta was elected as an Honorary Member of the Ontario Association of Architects, the professional body licensing architects. This recognized her work encouraging the public to appreciate architecture.

Dr. Marcel Danesi

March 22nd, 2022
Writing Technologies and the Flow of History: How We Got Here and What It Means
Presented by Dr. Marcel Danesi

This talk will look at the relation between writing, language, and thought.

From the first cave inscriptions to emojis today, writing reveals patterns of understanding and of recording ideas. It thus documents how we have evolved cognitively and socially. Among the questions addressed are the following: What does literacy mean today? What does it tell us about who we are and where we are going? Will there ever be a time when writing, as we know it, will be obsolete?

Marcel Danesi is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Toronto where he taught from 1974 to his retirement in 2020. He has also had cross appointments at various universities, including the University of Rome and the University of Lugano. He has published extensively in the fields of language and culture.

Dr. Joe Schwarcz
March 29th, 2022
Nutritional Advice: Is there a solution to the confusion?
Presented by Dr. Joe Schwarcz

Eating has become a confusing experience. Virtually every day brings news about some “miracle food” that we should be gulping down. One day it’s tomatoes to prevent cancer, then flaxseed against heart disease, or soybeans for menopause. Then there are the worries: genetic modification, aspartame, MSG, the safety and efficacy of dietary supplements. We need proper science to guide us through this nutritional maze.

Joe Schwarcz is Director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society which has the mission of separating sense from nonsense. He is the recipient of numerous awards for teaching chemistry and for interpreting science for the public.

“Dr. Joe” has hosted a radio show on science for forty years, has appeared hundreds of times on television, writes a regular newspaper column, and is the author of eighteen best-sellers. He has been awarded honorary degrees by Athabasca University, Cape Breton University, the University of Windsor and Simon Fraser University.

Professor Schwarcz is also an amateur magician and often spices up his presentations with a little magic.

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Lecture Series Registration

10 AM to 12 PM
February 15 to March 29
(No lecture on March 15)

Lectures to be Virtual
Via Zoom Webinars