Category Archives: public

After Oil public roundtable draws large crowd, explores vital energy transition issues

(By Oliver Rossier and Angelique Rodrigues; Original published at

What comes after oil in Alberta? What would a post-fossil fuel future look like? Would we have to dramatically re-design cities, homes and transportation systems? And how can we shift our outlook now, to be ready for when those changes come?

These were just a few of the many difficult questions explored during the After Oil public roundtable held at the Art Gallery of Alberta on August 21.

Over 200 people packed the AGA for this discussion, which was expertly moderated by Todd Hirsch, Chief Economist (ATB Financial). Guest speaker Dr. Jennifer Jacquet (Environmental Studies, New York University) challenged the audience to think about the nuances of using shame as a tool, and suggested that shaming corporations might be a way to make environmental change more possible.

Full house at the AGA for After Oil 2015

Full house at the AGA for After Oil 2015

Dr. Imre Szeman, Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies, described the importance of taking ownership of the rules of social structures related to petrocultures. Dr. Trevor Harrison, Director of the Parkland Institute, encouraged the audience to imagine redefining globalization and economic diversification. Panelist Simon O’Byrne, Vice President of Stantec’s Urban Planning, invited discussion about changing education systems to create engaged citizens and entrepreneurs. Eddy Isaacs (Chief Executive Officer, Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions) urged the audience to recognize that energy literacy is a huge factor in our democracy.

Simon O'Byrne (VP, Urban Planning, Stantec) and Michael O'Driscoll (Petrocultures Research Team)

Simon O’Byrne (VP, Urban Planning, Stantec) and Michael O’Driscoll (Petrocultures Research Team)

The success of roundtable demonstrated that the Faculty of Arts, and UAlberta as a whole, can provide vital research leadership on these critical topics.

The full event video, linked here, shows the presentation by Jacquet and her fellow After Oil panellists, followed by a Q & A with members of the audience.

The After Oil public roundtable was part of a larger After Oil School, which saw academics from around the world come together at the University of Alberta from August 19 to 22 to research and discuss the economic, political and sociological impacts of transitioning to life after oil.

Out of the conference, researchers will produce a policy brief and research paper, both of which will be available to media and the public on the After Oil website in the coming weeks.

Scroll through the After Oil Storify below to read Tweets from our panellists, audience members and After Oil school participants.

Related links:
Petrocultures website:
Storify capturing the Twitter conversation:
Introductory article by Angelique Rodrigues:
KIAS After Oil research page:
Trending topics on Twitter in Edmonton:

Media coverage (to Aug 23):
Global News Edmonton
Byline: Shallima Maharaj

CBR-AM (CBC Radio One Calgary)
Byline: Donna Mcelligott

CBC French
Byline: Genevieve Potvin


What comes after oil, for Alberta, for Canada and for the world?

Petrocultures, The Kule Institute for Advanced Study and UAlberta’s Faculty of Arts invite you to

After Oil: A Free Public Roundtable

Friday, August 21, 2015

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Art Gallery of Alberta/AGA Ledcor Theatre

Members of the public are invited to come together to engage in big picture thinking about the importance of energy for our societies, and to consider together the difficult question of energy transition.

After 150 years of solid drilling, it’s unclear how much oil is left, and the negative effects of our reliance on this fossil fuel have never been more clear than they are today. How will our societies continue to thrive and prosper once our dominant source of energy is no longer available?

In the wake of a recent dramatic change in government, this roundtable provides an opportunity to pose questions about the deeper significance of oil for the shape and character of Alberta, and to start figuring out answers to these difficult questions – before it’s too late.

The After Oil roundtable will be led by New York University Professor Jennifer Jacquet, an environmental social scientist who explores large-scale cooperation dilemmas, including climate change. Jacquet will discuss the issues raised in her compelling new book Is Shame Necessary? in the context of oil and Alberta. Each panelist will have a chance to respond before the discussion is opened up to the audience.


Moderator: Todd Hirsch (Chief Economist, ATB Financial)

Guest Speaker: Jennifer Jacquet (Environmental Studies, New York University)


Simon O’Byrne (Vice-President, Urban Planning, Stantec)
Eddy Isaacs (Chief Executive Officer, Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions)
Sheena Wilson (Petrocultures, University of Alberta)
Imre Szeman (Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies – University of Alberta)
Trevor Harrison (Director, Parkland Institute, University of Alberta)

R.S.V.P. for After Oil here.

Please note, seating is limited.

Read more about the event on the Faculty of Arts’ After Oil website.

For more information about the After Oil KIAS cluster project, click here.

For more information on the Petrocultures research group at the University of Alberta, click here.

After Oil

Don’t miss the Digital Diversity 2015: Writing, Feminism, Culture conference at UofA/MacEwan on May 7-9th

KIAS is proud to sponsor Digital Diversity 2015: Writing | Feminism | Culture, an exciting conference to celebrate the Orlando Project’s 20th Anniversary, taking place at Grant MacEwan and the University of Alberta May 7-9th. The plenary lectures (see below) are free and open to the public.

For further information and the full program see

Marie-Louise Coolahan, National University of Ireland at Galway
“The Digital Turn and Early Modern Women’s Writing”
Thursday May 7, 3:45 – 5:15 PM
CN Lecture Theatre, MacEwan U

Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Brown University
“Post-Recovery: Shadowy Absences and ‘Found Collectivity’”
Friday May 8, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Lister Evergreen, Lister Conference Center, U of A

Jo-ann Episkenew, First Nations University of Canada
“Indigenous Youths’ Relational Wellbeing in the Digital Era”
Saturday May 9, 1:30 – 3:00 PM
Lister Wild Rose, Lister Conference Center, U of A

Wendy Hui Kyong Chun is Professor and Chair of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University and Visiting Professor at Leuphana University (Luneburg, Germany). Her current book project is titled Imaginary Networks, and she is the author of Programmed Visions: Software and Memory (2011) and Control and Freedom: Power and Paranoia in the Age of Fiber Optics (2006), both with MIT Press. Her research interests encompass new media, comparative media studies, Asian-American culture, and critical theory.

Marie-Louise Coolahan, Senior Lecturer in English at the National University of Ireland, Galway, was recently awarded a European Research Council Consolidator Grant for her major digital study, RECIRC: The Reception and Circulation of Early Modern Women’s Writing, 1550-1700. She is the author of Women, Writing, and Language in Early Modern Ireland (Oxford University Press, 2010), Co-Investigator of the collaborative ’Women’s Poetry 1400-1800 in English, Gaelic, Scots, Scots Gaelic and Welsh’ project, and a former member of the Perdita Project.

Jo-Ann Episkenew is Professor of English and Director of the Indigenous People’s Health Research Centre at the First Nations University of Canada. She is part of Acting Out!, a multi-university theatre project that develops aboriginal youth leadership and intersects with her research in indigenous literature of Canada and the United States, theatre and health, and literature and public policy. Dr Episkenew is the author of Taking Back Our Spirits: Indigenous Literature, Public Policy, and Healing (University of Winnipeg Press, 2009) and co-editor of Creating Community: A Roundtable on Aboriginal Literatures (Bearpaw and Theytus, 2002).

Digital Diversity Poster-page-001

‘Unsettling Colonial Modernity: Islamicate Contexts in Focus’ conference on April 24-25, 2015

You are cordially invited to attend the opening keynote lecture of the KIAS sponsored conference, Unsettling Colonial Modernity: Islamicate Contexts in Focus, delivered by Professor Sherene Razack (University of Toronto) on Friday April 24, 6:00pm at Alberta School of Business (BUS), Room 1-09. The lecture is titled: “A Catastrophically Damaged Gene Pool”: Race, Religion and Culture in the Security Hearing.

This event is free and open to all. It will be followed by a modest reception, hosted by the University of Alberta Academic Women’s Association.

Professor Razack’s talk is part of a two-day conference held at the University of Alberta on April 24 and 25. For more information about the conference and to see the full conference program, please visit:

Opening keynote lecture by Sherene Razack (Friday, April 24)

Closing keynote lecture by Parin Dossa (Saturday, April 25)

Full conference program on FB

Full conference program on website

“Poor prognosis is associated with being religiously devout. In other words, the more religious the person, the more poor (sic) the prognosis.” (Michael Welner, psychiatrist, expert witness for the prosecution in the sentencing hearing of Omar Khadr at Guantanamo about Jihadists.)

The argument that Muslims possess a genetic incapacity for rational thought, an argument given credibility in the security hearing, requires a connection to be made between race, religion and culture. There has to be something innate (the race part) to Muslims, something they get from their religion or culture, that predisposes them to terrorism. In zones of an authorized non-legality such as Guantanamo, the argument about a pre-disposition to violence can be stitched together appealing to a repertoire of racist ideas. In this presentation, I explore the role that psychology and psychiatry play in establishing who is beyond the boundary of civilization, and thus who is an inmate of the zone where law has authorized its own suspension. In security hearings, psychologists and psychiatrists serving as expert witnesses guide the court in understanding Muslims and their religious/cultural predisposition for violence. Muslim savagery is read in the personality of the detainee, and in his practices of religiosity. Through a close reading of the sentencing of Omar Khadr by a military commission at Guantanamo, and specifically of the testimony of the psychiatrist Michael Welner, testimony that was the core of the state’s case against Khadr, I explore the key ideas of the security hearing that establish that Muslims have, in the words of Nicolai Sennels, a Far right propagandist of anti-Muslim racism, “a catastrophically damaged gene pool.”

Sherene Razack is Professor of Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. She is the author and editor several books on feminism, race, gender, settler colonialism, and imperialism, including Race, Space and the Law: Unmapping a White Settler Society (2002); Dark Threats and White Knights: The Somalia Affair, Peacekeeping and the New Imperialism (2004); Casting Out: Race and the Eviction of Muslims From Western Law and Politics (2008); and States of Race: Critical Race feminism for the 21st Century (with Malinda Smith and Sunera Thobani) (2010).

This interdisciplinary conference brings together emerging and established scholars from across Canada and around the world to discuss the post-­colonial conditions of identity formation, and cultural, social, and political transformation in diverse contexts where Muslims live. Some panel titles include “Islamophobias, (War on) Terror, and Their Rising Complexities”; “Orientalism and Its Critical Reception”; “Gender Dynamics, Religion, and Cultural Belonging”; and “Limits of Multiculturalism.” Conference keynote lectures will be delivered by Sherene Razack (University of Toronto), and Parin Dossa (Simon Fraser University). To see full conference program visit:

* Office of Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Alberta
* Faculty of Arts, University of Alberta
* Kule Institute for Advanced Study, University of Alberta
* Alberta Public Interest Research Group
* Department of Educational Policy Studies, University of Alberta

Stitched Narratives exhibition opens April 9, 2015

The Kule Institute for Advanced Study is proud to sponsor:

Stitched Narratives exhibition – April 9, 2015, to February 19, 2016
Human Ecology Gallery, Human Ecology Building, University of Alberta East Campus, Edmonton, Alberta

Dr. Anne Bissonnette, Larisa Cheladyn, Stephanie Huolt, Robyn Stobbs and Sarah Woodyard co-curators as part of the graduate course “Material Culture and Curatorship” (HECOL 668)

Stitched objects communicate powerful ideas to those who understand a needle’s language. Though they speak differently than words on a page, seamstresses’ and embroiderers’ creations are rich in cultural, historical, and social meaning. “Stitched Narratives” explores these modes of expression, unraveling hand sewing’s complex stories. From eighteenth-century gowns and quilted textiles that speak of a highly organized and skilled labour force to twentieth-century garments that link the present to the past to remember a journey of immigration, the exhibition tells woven tales and showcases the hand’s many talents.

Sponsored by The Kule Institute for Advanced Study and The Bohdan Medwidsky Ukrainian Folklore Archives.

Opening reception April 9, 2015, from 5 to 6 pm

Stitched Narratives eVite

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