Monthly Archives: March 2015

Find out what Kule Scholars have been up to! KIAS’ spring newsletter is now online

Dear friends of the Kule Institute for Advanced Study,

The 2014 – 2015 Winter term is well underway. What have Kule Scholars been doing? This Newsletter is to update you on some of the research projects and events supported over the last months by KIAS:

Kule Celebration and Announcement of 2015 Research Clusters

KIAS reached a threshold moment this year in awarding a total of $500,000 to six outstanding Clusters across the social sciences, humanities and fine arts under its new Research Cluster Grant program. On the institute’s 5th anniversary celebration KIAS brought social science, arts and humanities researchers together at the TIMMS Centre to celebrate the visionary contributions of the Kules and to announce the 2015 Cluster Grant recipients whose projects span multiple areas, including water, the environment, social, cultural and political issues and modern and indigenous languages. The formal program featured congratulatory remarks from MLA Matt Jeneroux (Edmonton South-West, Chair of the Capital Region Caucus), Lorne Babiuk (VP Research) and Lesley Cormack (Dean, Faculty of Arts), short project presentations from the Cluster recipients, as well as Ukrainian folk music performed by the Enterprise Quartet honoring the Kules. Alberta Premier Jim Prentice sent a letter of congratulations to the institute. About 100 people attended the event, including the founding benefactors Drs. Peter and Doris Kule. For short summaries of the cluster projects see


Dean Cormack providing remarks at the Kule Celebration

New Collaborations

KIAS partnered with the Interdisciplinary Centre for Culture and Creativity (ICCC) at the University of Saskatchewan to announce a joint research team building grant opportunity for teams at both the University of Alberta and the University of Saskatchewan. This opportunity is designed to encourage the formation of research teams spanning both universities. For details please see

KIAS is also collaborating with CHCI, centerNet and the University of Western Sydney to organize a symposium for new scholars interested in the digital humanities. The two-day unconference event is timed to take place before DH 2015 ( at the University of Western Sydney in Sydney. For further information see

Born Before and After the Collapse: Soviet Past and post-Soviet Present as Interpreted by Two Generations in Russia, Romania and Ukraine

Eduard Baidaus, a PhD candidate at the Department of History and Classics presented a Kule Dialogue talk about the perception of Soviet past and post-Soviet present by Soviet-born adults and post-Soviet youth in these three countries. The talk centered on the interpretation of the Soviet foreign policy, perception of the Great Patriotic War, attitudes towards the Communist traditions and the assessment of political and territorial separatism in the former Yugoslavia and Soviet Union’s republics.

Engagement Scholarship Consortium (ESC) Conference

The 15th annual conference of the Engagement Scholarship Consortium (ESC) was held on October 5 – 8, 2014. This was the first time the conference had been held outside the United States. Hosted by the Faculty of Extension and championed by Dr. Lois Gander, it brought together academics and community members from nine countries to discuss and demonstrate how interactions between universities and communities are changing. This conference explored a number of reasons why universities and communities choose to work together and what is needed for effective collaboration. These discussions contributed to greater understanding of the scope and potential of university-community engagement.

Falling Walls Lab UAlberta 2014

Falling Walls is an international format originating from Germany for young researchers from all disciplines to showcase their innovative ideas in three minutes in front of a distinguished jury with members from academia, business and government. The U of A was one of only 20 universities invited by the Falling Walls Foundation to host an international lab in 2014. The three winners of the U of A lab (organized by the Office of the Vice-President Research) advanced to the international finale in Berlin, where one of them (Nermeen Youssef) ended up taking second place with her presentation called ‘Breaking the Wall of Type 1 Diabetes’. The presentations from the U of A lab can be viewed on the UAlberta Youtube channel

( under the Falling Walls Lab UAlberta 2014 playlist.

Forum and Exhibition Around Free Press, Freedom of Speech and Charlie Hebdo

Guest speakers from a wide variety of areas (Political Science, MLCS, Centre for Constitutional Studies, History & Classics, Globe and Mail, Metro Edmonton) offered their perspectives on the impact of the attacks in Paris this past January before opening the discussion to the audience. An exhibition (displayed in the Arts Hallway and EPL) gathered visual information about the magazine Charlie Hebdo, the tradition of insolent caricatures in France, controversies about the representation of religious and political figures in a wider context, reactions from all over the world illustrating the symbolic impact of murdering Charlie’s cartoonists, and a number of perspectives collected on campus. More information at

Charlie Hebdo Exhibition

The Charlie Hebdo exhibition on display at EPL

Homonationalism and the Biopolitics of Polygamy

The Department of Women’s and Gender Studies brought Suzanne Lenon (University of Lethbridge) as speaker to its second annual Valentine’s Day with Feminism Lecture. Lenon discussed the 2011 Polygamy Reference as a site of biopolitical anxiety assuaged (in part) through its own gestures of homonational inclusion, that is the enfolding of lesbian and gay subjects to preserve and protect monogamous marriage against the specter of polygamy’s degeneracy. Her lecture explored the entangled histories of colonialism, race and empire that underpin this legal decision, and which enable the Court to mobilize a homonational critique of polygamy in the first place.

Social & Cultural Innovation Hackathon

KIAS sponsored the inaugural Tomorrow’s Ideas, Now: Social & Cultural Innovation Hackathon that took place in November as part of the 2nd annual Festival of Undergraduate Research & Creative Activities. The weekend opened with a keynote address by Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell. On Saturday, eleven energetic students from across disciplines came together to develop solutions to such questions as “How do we make electronic communications more accessible to students with disabilities?” and “How can we combat social isolation on campus by creating a more inclusive and supportive atmosphere?” Within a matter of hours, the student teams hacked their way toward prototypes: a “social geocaching” app, meant to help students document and share life on campus, a new electronic notetaking platform for students with disabilities, and “Stories without Borders,” a storytelling platform that aims to connect students through their personal stories.

SSHRC Stories and Successes 2014

The Office of the Vice-President Research and KIAS organized an event to celebrate SSHRC funded researchers and graduate students at the University of Alberta. Award recipients shared research through posters and talks and attendees also heard from SSHRC’s new Vice-President of Future Challenges, Ursula Gobel. The event featured three presentations by SSHRC-funded faculty members on the theme of Emerging Technologies: Competing Needs and Challenges. For further information see

Two Talks by Dr. Steven Salaita

Professor Steven Salaita is at the centre of international discussion around academic censorship. KIAS supported the Department of English and Film Studies to bring Dr. Salaita to the U of A, where he gave two talks: “Silencing Dissent: Palestine, Digital Activism, Academic Freedom, and the Decline of the Public University” and “Palestine, Indigenous Peoples, and the Public Intellectual”.

Unscrambling Sub(urban) Growth

As a part of the City-Region Studies Centre’s Regional Planning Speakers Series, Unscrambling Sub(urban) Growth was organized at the Art Gallery of Alberta as part of a research project led by Dr. Sandeep Agrawal. The purpose of the research project, sponsored by the Alberta Land Institute and KIAS, is to develop a “state of knowledge” report that identifies criteria by which sustainable urban or suburban growth can be evaluated, clarifies mechanisms to foster sustainable growth, and describes the key research gaps in understanding the benefits and costs of urban form.

Check our web site or contact us for more information:



Free film screening of ‘The Shape of a Heart: A Gypsy Love Story’ with musical performance today at 5pm. Free pop and popcorn!

EUCE film screening with a musical performance:

The Shape of a Heart – A Gypsy Love Story
presented by the EUCE, in conjunction with the Faculty of Education and with kind support by the Kule Institute for Advanced Study (KIAS)

27 March, 5:00-8:30 PM
Telus Centre, Room 150, University of Alberta

The film screening will be opened with a musical performance by:
Micheal Butch, lead singer of Toronto’s The Gypsy Rebels

The event is free, everyone is welcome.
Light refreshments will be provided.

“THE SHAPE OF A HEART – A Gypsy Love Story” is a long form vérité documentary chronicling Micheal Butch’s struggle with the changes taking place within himself and his community. Filmed over three years the documentary is an intensely intimate portrait of a family caught up in the shifting tides of desires and fears within the Romani community of Toronto. The documentary is the result of many years of ethnographic fieldwork among the Rom Kalderas of Paris, Toronto and New York.

Produced by: David Murray, Chantal Hilaire, Micheal Butch
Directed by: David Murray
Researcher: Chantal Hilaire Ph.D

The Shape of a Heart_poster_pdf-page-001

Chad Gaffield public lecture: The Surprising Ascendance of Digital Humanities: Why now? What’s next?

The Surprising Ascendance of Digital Humanities: Why now? What’s next?
Dr. Chad Gaffield
March 31, 2015
9 – 10:30 AM
Education North 2-115
Recently, there has been widespread discussion about whether humans have modified the environment enough to have pushed us into a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene. We suggest that the rise of the digital has pushed humanity into a new cultural epoch: the Digicine. Digital technologies and environments are transforming cultures, identities, art, education and even ourselves.
Humanists, social scientists, and artists are well situated to provide spatial, temporal, and social context for the Digicine, because we cannot understand its impacts without exploring the origins, emergence, and futures of humanity in a digital world.
Dr. Chad Gaffield is Professor of History and University Research Chair in Digital Scholarship, University of Ottawa, and past President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).
This presentation is made possible by a collaboration between the Kule Institute for Advanced Study, Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Education, and the Canadian Institute for Research Computing in the Arts (CIRCA).
Chad Gaffield Poster Final-page-001

Opportunity for Digital Scholars Offered by CHCI, centerNet, and UWS – Apply by April 20, 2015 (UPDATED)

New Scholars Seminar in Digital Humanities

June 29-30th, 2015 at the University of Western Sydney

CHCI, centerNet and UWS are collaborating to organize a pre-conference seminar for new scholars interested in the digital humanities. They have arranged for support for up to 10 scholars from outside Australia and 5 scholars resident in Australia to help with the costs of transportation and accommodation to the seminar in Sydney. An additional 10 bursaries are available under a separate scheme for research students from the University of Western Sydney.

What is the New Scholars Seminar?

The NSS is a two-day unconference event on Monday and Tuesday, June 29th and 30th connected with public events on Building Communities and Networks in the Humanities. The events are for new scholars to meet and develop research collaborations in the digital humanities. The agenda for the unconference events will be set by the participants. The events are timed to take place before DH 2015 ( at the University of Western Sydney in Sydney, Australia.

Who would participate?
For the purposes of this seminar a “new scholar” is defined as someone who is either a graduate student or someone who has received their PhD within the last 5 years (or longer if a case is made for career interruption). Postdoctoral fellows and people in alternative academic positions are welcome to apply.

Participation will be by reviewed application and accommodation/travel support will be limited to 15 people, including 10 affiliated with CHCI and 5 participants from Australia.

How does one apply?

Applications are due by April 2oth. Applications include i) a Statement of Research that outlines your research interests in digital humanities; ii) a letter of support from a CHCI centre/institute director (not required for Australian / NZ applicants), including a statement specifying the matching funds the centre will offer to supplement the $1,250 combined CHCI and centerNet contributions toward the applicant’s trip; and iii) a short two-page CV. Applications should be sent to the Kule Institute for Advanced Study <> at the University of Alberta.

What sort of support will be provided?

CHCI and centerNet have negotiated a support package for participants, encouraging matching support from the applicant’s home institution.

  • CHCI will provide $750 USD in support for up to 10 participants outside Australia who are sponsored by CHCI institutes. centerNet will provide a further $250 USD in support for these participants.
  • CHCI will provide $250 USD in support for up to 5 participants resident in Australia. Preference will be given to those affiliated with a centre that is a member of the Australasian Consortium of Humanities Research Centres (ACHRC).
  • Students from UWS should apply to the UWS bursary scheme, which will be internally advertised.
  • The sponsoring CHCI institutes are expected to provide matching support to the applicants if they are accepted.
  • Successful applicants will be provided with catering during the 2-day seminar.
  • Successful applicants will also be provided with a conference registration subsidy of $100 per new scholar (reducing the cost to $295 AUD, which includes full conference catering).

The Kule Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Alberta is organizing this seminar on behalf of CHCI and centerNet. Rachel Hendery (Senior Lecturer in Digital Humanities, UWS) and Geoffrey Rockwell (Director, Kule Institute for Advanced Study, University of Alberta, Canada) will convene the New Scholars Seminar.

New Scholars Seminar Programme:

The programme for the seminar will be developed by the participants once accepted and coordinated by the Kule Institute for Advanced Study. The idea is to empower new scholars to develop their own research directions and collaborations. There will therefore be two phases:

  1. Before the on-site portion of the Seminar there will be an online component. Participants will share their Statements and negotiate what will happen during the seminar. We expect there will be clusters of research interests that emerge which can form the intellectual backbone of the Seminar. KIAS will coordinate an online conversation that will encourage leadership to emerge from within the group so that the actual structure of the on-site days will be primarily organized by the participants.
  2. The on-site portion of the Seminar will take place over two days before the DH2015 conference (29 and 30 June). The program will include short presentations by participants addressing issues identified in online discussion and unconference activities. Also included will be a panel of senior researchers from the DH community discussing careers in the digital humanities and an opportunity to talk with these researchers in small groups.