Category Archives: graduate students

Border Studies – Where Do We Draw the Line?

Social Sciences & Humanities Annual Research Conversations

Lois Harder, Professor and Associate Dean Research – Faculty of Arts

Border Studies – Where Do We Draw the Line?

You’re invited to attend four 10 minute talks on a diverse range of interesting, important and topical border studies topics. A reception and doctoral poster fair will follow. 

Date and time:
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 4:30 pm 
Location: Room 150, TELUS Centre, University of Alberta
Free admission. Everyone welcome

The Politics of Immigration and the Re-bordering of Canadian Citizenship and Identity 
Yasmeen Abu-Laban, Faculty of Arts
Talk addresses ethnicity, citizenship status, anti-racism and surveillance topics to assess recent policy shifts and trends governing immigration and multiculturalism in Canada, with a special emphasis on the period since 2000. Considerable evidence suggests there are distinct and hardening forms of social exclusion and inequality in Canada.  In this sense, there is a re-bordering of Canadian citizenship and identity occurring in the 21st century.

Borders Between Professionals and the Enabling of Corporate Corruption
Royston Greenwood, Alberta School of Business
A striking feature of recent cases of corporate corruption is the inability of professionals and professional firms (such as audit firms, rating agencies, investment analysts and law firms) to recognize and publicize that corruption. The failure by professionals to detect corporate corruption may be the result of institutional ascription within professional networks. Institutional ascription occurs as professionals ascribe probity and diligence to the behaviour of other professionals. One underlying cause may be the lack of appropriate borders between professional firms, and between firms and their clients.

The Systemic Disadvantage of First Nations Children: By Accident or by Design?
Cindy Blackstock, Faculty of Extension

Poverty, poor housing, substance misuse complicated by inequitable services undermine the success of First Nations children. All of these factors can be addressed using evidence based approaches and yet progress has been marginal. This raises the question of whether the chronic disadvantage experienced by First Nations children is by accident or by design.

Work-Life Boundaries: The Next Generation
Janet Fast, Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences
The last several decades of scholarship focused on the ‘spillover’ across traditional boundaries between paid work and other aspects of workers’ lives focused on paid work and child care responsibilities—with practice aimed at strategies for maintaining separation between these two (public/private) spheres. Now, with an aging population focus is turning to the increasing numbers of Canadians who must integrate paid work with elder care, sometimes in addition to child care—with practice now focused on achieving better work-life integration. Janet will reflect on the social and institutional drivers and implications of these trends in the face of even faster workforce aging and increasing emphasis on global economic competitiveness.


New course: The Pilgrimage to Mecca!

University of Alberta students, check out this great new course being offered this Fall term by Dr. Jocelyn Hendrickson, at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Register here!

Pilgrimage Flyer INT D 425_530-1275x1650

KIAS and Latitude 53 present: Performing Research/ Practicing Performance

Upcoming Performance Event!Material-Theresa-018

Location: Latitude 53
Time: Friday June 14, 7:30-10 pm


This special performance event is being organized in conjunction with Performing Research/ Practicing Performance, a special “practice/theory” Spring Session course funded by the Kule Institute for Advanced Study and hosted by the Department of Art and Design at the University of Alberta. In this course students examined performance art from theoretical, historical, and practical perspectives. They developed an understanding of performance as critical cultural practice that interrogates connections between time, action, space, and the body.  As well as ongoing course work, the students participated in master classes with interdisciplinary performance artists and curators, learning to both write about and do performance art in an expanded context.  These performances are the culmination of their course.



Photo credits: Michael Woolley

KIAS dissertation award recipient in the Top 12 UAlberta Research Stories

Congratulations to Marianne Clark, one of our 2012 Kule Institute Dissertation Award recipients, the UAlberta News story that described her work on women’s experiences in public changing rooms was one of the top 12 most read stories of 2012.
You can read more about this story and see the ranking here:

Many thanks to Gillian Edwards for the tip on the story, as well as for all her work getting things organized in the KIAS office before heading to Calgary to take up her new position. Much appreciated!

Happy New Year to all!

It’s Kule Dialogue Season!

Well, the semester has sprung and with it comes events and happenings all across the University of Alberta campus. KIAS is no different – we have events coming up like mad!

The first one of the season is the Kule Dialogue for one of our wonderful doctoral scholars, Sandra Joy Friesen, who works in the department of Music. The first Kule Dialogue will take place this Thursday in Convocation Hall in the Old Arts Building. If you aren’t in Edmonton, or have kids that are tying you down, or can’t get to campus, get online! KIAS will be live-streaming the presentation, with a liveblog so you can submit questions for the Q&A portion!

The Kule Dialogues program presents “…In Realms of Arts and Perception”, with KIAS Doctoral Scholar Sandra Joy Friesen. This lecture-recital is an invitation into evocative sound worlds and intriguing notations created by modern composers. It features three works that illustrate developments in musical form, technique, sound and notation, and how these artistic explorations are manifested through performance. The lecture highlights how contemporary pianists extend their musical understanding beyond conventional notation and their technique beyond the keyboard. The program includes Gilles Tremblay’s fascination with piano timbre in traçantes…auprès…au loin (1976), the pictorial score of Treatise by Cornelius Cardew (1967) and extraordinary sounds from the prepared piano in transplants (2004) by Scott Smallwood.

When: September 13, 2012 at 7:00pm

Where: Convocation Hall, Old Arts Building

Refreshments will be served and all are welcome.

The Themes.

For each research cycle, KIAS will be working within three research themes that will guide the projects, events, conferences, and day-to-day proceedings of the institute. The themes are modern and interesting, and will allow for research that will directly impact the society which KIAS is a part of. Through a large-scale consultation, KIAS tweaked and adapted the themes to represent three specific areas of research, while allowing for a wide range of topics to be examined. In no particular order, we invite you to examine these themes and explore how your own research may fit into these lines of questioning.

As an interdisciplinary research institute, KIAS genuinely believes that research is at its best when it works across departments and faculties.

Stewardship of the Planet

The World Bank has predicted that by 2030 more than a billion people in the developing world will belong to the “global middle class,” up from just 400 million in 2005. That’s a good thing. But it will be a hard thing for the planet if those people are eating meat and driving gasoline-powered cars at the same rate as Americans now do. It’s too late to keep the new middle class from being born; it’s not too late to change how they and the rest of us will produce food and energy.

                                              Robert Kunzig, National Geographic (January 2011)

Ethically informed stewardship of the planet can be pursued from a number of points of view and in a variety of contexts, but there is an urgency to examine the issue now, and to propose tenable responses to this challenge.  Recent months have seen ecological catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, food riots in Africa and India, renewed focus on global population growth, and a heightened concern for mitigation of environmental risk.  The questions posed below frame some of the major issues. Researchers and creative/performative artists are invited to consider these as the basis for their grant proposals, or may propose others that align with the overall theme. 

  • What defines ethical environmental stewardship?
  • What are the ethical limits of development?
  • What roles should Albertans assume as informed environmental citizens?
  • What does environmental sustainability mean as the global population approaches seven billion?
  • How can responsible, sustainable development occur in an increasingly interdependent world where competitive demands for such things as energy, metals, minerals, food, fiber, and water are accelerating? How can these demands be mitigated, reduced, or eliminated?
  • What are the social, political, economic, and cultural implications of the potential crisis in global food supply that may arise from climate change and other factors?
  • What are the environmental implications of gas and oil development and the pursuit of affordable energy in a climate-change world?
  • How has the politics of food been used in the past to advance political objectives?

Place, Belonging, and Otherness

Talking about place, where we belong, is a constant subject for many of us. We want to know if it is possible to live on the earth peacefully. Is it possible to sustain life? Can we embrace an ethos of sustainability that is not solely about the appropriate care of world’s resources, but is also about the creation of meaning—the making of lives that we feel are worth living.

                                          bell hooks, Belonging: A Culture of Place (2009)

bell hooks eloquently encapsulates a foundational human concern to understand one’s place in, not only the physical world, but also in the social spaces in which we move, and to which we may feel affinity or distance. The theme of Place, Belonging, and Otherness encourages an examination of a broad range of relationships in order to better understand the human social condition, whether in the early twenty-first century or at antecedent historical points. Researchers and creative/performative artists are invited to consider these as the basis for their grant proposals, or may propose others that align with the overall theme.

  •  What is the meaning of place, and how has it been constructed historically? How is it being constructed today?
  • What is the social and political force of narratives of belonging and otherness?
  • How has the movement of peoples, especially during periods of great social duress (e.g., war, revolutions, and natural disasters) affected notions of place and belonging?
  • How do borders and boundaries constrain, or produce, notions of personal and group identity?
  • How do place and belonging affect spirituality? How do borders and boundaries affect diasporic and minority communities in Alberta and beyond?
  • How do they affect people with disabilities?
  • How do they affect indigenous peoples in Canada?
  • How has the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms shaped notions of place and belonging in Canadian society? (2012 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Charter’s passage into law.)

Culture, Media, Technology

As the unity of the modern world becomes increasingly a technological rather than a social affair, the techniques of the arts provide the most valuable means of insight into the real direction of our own collective purposes.

                                       Marshall McLuhan, The Mechanical Bride (1951)

 In an age saturated with new technologies and a proliferation of representational media, there is a need to reconsider both traditional forms of cultural expression and new ones enabled by technological advancement. This topic encourages an engagement of the imaginative, material, and social conditions of arts’ production and reception. The questions posed below frame some of the major issues. Researchers and creative/performative artists are invited to consider these as the basis for their grant proposals, or may propose others that align with the overall theme.

  • How will live theatre and music performance as well as traditional approaches to presentation of the visual arts evolve as technology increases its hold on our discretionary ‘free’ time?
  • What strategies can be employed to ensure the preservation of live cultural interaction?
  • How will print-based literary works evolve in a time of technological changes and multi-media representations? How will the folkloric arts?
  • How have evolving social patterns and economic models affected artistic creations?
  • How are the arts making use of new technologies to develop innovative and novel artistic forms and expressions?
  • How can education in the arts, and through the arts, influence the quality of life within and beyond the borders of Alberta?
  • How has the critical intelligence of media theorist, and Edmonton native, Marshall McLuhan, advanced our understanding of the power of the media in our everyday lives? (2011 marks the one-hundredth anniversary of McLuhan’s birth.)

Greetings from KIAS

KIAS is excited to begin its life as a leader in Social Sciences, Humanities, and Fine Arts research both at the University of Alberta and beyond. KIAS has a clear goal and mission: to facilitate transformational interdisciplinary and comparative research at the highest level. KIAS will push boundaries in an effort to increase collaboration and cooperation between faculties, departments, scholars, students, campuses, and society.

We hope that this will be a space for informal discussion and feedback about the work of KIAS. We want to encourage researchers to meet new colleagues and for the public to become involved in research that can affect their own lives.

KIAS looks forward to working with all of you and to getting the ball rolling on ground-breaking outcomes.