Carleton Scholars Present Innovative Research at Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences

Carleton University scholars are taking the stage during the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences being held at the University of Ottawa. Now in its 83rd year, this event takes place May 30- June 5, 2015 and is Canada’s largest gathering of scholars across disciplines. Congress brings together academics, researchers, policy-makers and practitioners to share findings, refine ideas and build partnerships that help shape the Canada of tomorrow.

This year, presenters from Carleton are available to discuss their research before, during and following the event. They include:

Jennifer Henderson, associate professor in the Department of English Language and Literature

Saturday, May 30, 2015 at 11 a.m., Conference of the Canadian Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (CACLALS) and Conference of the Association for Canadian and Quebec Literatures (ACQL)

Settler Sense and Indigenous Resurgence

Since the 1970s, market values have reshaped the role of the nation state and what it means to be a citizen. The historic shift is defined by many in terms of loss: a loss of public things, of justifications for social provision and of egalitarian political horizons. What does it mean that this coincides with Indigenous resurgence, with the living project of rebuilding Indigenous concepts, vocabularies, value systems and practices? What does literature have to say about possibilities for allegiance in this context?

Roseann O’Reilly Runte, Carleton University president and vice-chancellor

Sunday, May 31, 2015 at 11 a.m., Conference of the Canadian Comparative Literature Association (CCLA)

Travel Narrative and Autobiography: Women Writers between Countries, Genres and Styles.

‎Over the years, women have travelled to escape economic and political hardship, to create better ‎lives or simply to discover the world. Their writings are often as much about themselves as their destinations. This paper compares very different texts by authors going to the same place.

Sometimes they exaggerated for the benefit of their readers and sometimes, they actually never left home. These tales were real enough that their readers have rushed out to purchase flights and reserve hotel rooms in countries that sometimes only exist in the author’s imagination. People know of the grand tour, the race around the world, but do they know of the great travel hoax?

Priscilla Walton, director of the Research Centre for American Studies, professor in the Department of English Language and Literature and editor of the Canadian Review of American Studies

Sunday, May 31, 2015 at 1:45 p.m., Conference of the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE)

“Lethal Injection Humour:” The Philosopher King and the Jailhouse Lawyer

Walton compares the situations of a televisual character, who becomes a type of philosophy king, with an historical figure, who develops into a jailhouse lawyer and author. The comparison offers insight into state-run executions and demonstrates how views of the death penalty have changed in 50 years, from being attacked as a state-run instrument of barbarity to being touted as a flawed but benign extension of the law as wielded by the state.

Mikhail Zherebtsov, instructor in the Department of Political Science

Monday, June 1, 2015 at 9 a.m., Conference of the Canadian Association of Slavists (CAS)

Putin 2.0 Without Government 2.0: Exploring the Underperformance of the Public Sector in Contemporary Russia

Vladimir Putin returned to the presidential office in 2012, revealing another face of the Russian executive office, risk-taking and acting decisively in the international arena. One such action, the annexation of Crimea in 2014, triggered international repercussions and resulted in sanctions from the West that furthered the economic crisis in Russia. During the course of such events, government performance becomes an issue of critical importance. Russia is attempting to overcome its second economic crisis in seven years and some experts suggest its consequences may be more severe than those of the world economic crisis of 2008-2009. Yet attempts by the government to address the new political-economic reality are not satisfactory.

Christina Williamson, PhD student in the Institute for Comparative Studies in Language, Art and Culture (ISCLAC)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015 at 8:30 a.m., Conference of the Canadian Historical Association (CHA)

The History of a Parka: How One Object Can Tell a Story

Williamson explores the story of a single Inuit parka. Sewn somewhere on Victoria Island in the High Arctic, a member of the Canadian Arctic Expedition purchased the parka in the 1910s. A decade later, while housed in the Canadian Museum of History, the parka was loaned to entertainer Juliette Gaultier de la Vérendrye as a costume for her performances in New York City and Europe. The parka is used as the thread to create a history about the fields of anthropology and museology; colonialism in Canada’s Arctic; and the interplay of performance and authenticity, ultimately telling a history of Canada in an unexpected way.

Bruce Curtis, professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Tuesday, June 2 at 1:30 p.m., Conference of the Canadian Historical Association (CHA)

“I Get Tired of Walkin’ These Streets All Dressed in Black:” Hearing African-American Sex Trade Workers, 1920-1950

The unexpected success of 1920’s Crazy Blues, the first African-American blues record ever issued, launched a recording frenzy that had talent scouts scouring black communities for singers and performers. Blues was rough music and record label scouts scooped up performers from street corners, taverns, barrelhouses and brothels. With little knowledge of what would sell and what was being sung, record companies recorded performers of all sorts, including an important number of sex workers. Some of them, such as Lucille Bogan, went on to commercial success by singing about the trade. Their music offers a rare window into dimensions of sex work rarely discussed in today’s debates.

Kimberly Pavelich and Victoria Tait, PhD students in the Department of Political Science

Tuesday, June 2, 2015 at 1:30 p.m., Conference of the Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA)

Women in Irregular Combat: The LRA and the CAF

On the surface, the employment of female soldiers in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) are seemingly unconnected. Led by Joseph Kony, the male and female soldiers of the LRA terrorized northern Ugandan communities through raids, abductions, forced marriages, rapes, tortures, murders and massacres. Conversely, Canadian female soldiers serve in a highly professionalized state military that strives to maintain a positive relationship with civilians in Canada and abroad. Despite significant variation in these cases, Tait and Pavelich note that gender is strategically operationalized in both groups, which influences the social construction of masculinity and femininity amongst their troops. This suggests that female warriors in the LRA and the CAF may share more than their disparate histories would imply.

Xiaobei Chen, associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Wednesday, June 3, 2015 at 9 a.m., Conference of the Canadian Sociological Association (CSA)

Children’s Literature and Its Effects on Racism in Canada

Children have been stakes in historical and contemporary debates over definitions of cultural identity, nation and values. Chen takes the case of children’s books and examines their effects on racism in the Canada. Children’s literature play an important role in reproducing and contesting dominant ideologies, including racism. Children’s books have worked to challenge or reproduce modes of discussion that are organized by racial logics of purity, exclusivity, incompatibility and hierarchy. Chen argues that the focus on individual racism needs to be shifted to tackling structural racism. As well, white privilege should be critically examined in children’s literature.

Ebere Ahanihu, PhD student in the School of Journalism and Communication

Wednesday, June 3, 2015 at 1:30 p.m., Conference of the Canadian Communication Association (CCA)

One-Laptop-Per-Child Initiative In Africa: An Imposition of the Demands And Logic Of The Computing Industry?

This presentation discusses the one-laptop-per-child initiative, an idea to address the digital divide between developing and developed countries. The goal of the initiative is to change the nature of classroom teaching as Africans know it. The assumption is that by giving students access to digital computers, they could gain the knowledge and skills to participate in the global economy, something that traditional approaches to African education were thought to impede. Critics question the assumption that simply disturbing tradition would facilitate these goals; it would be necessary, instead, to properly prepare teachers and academic institutions to incorporate computer technology.

Said Yaqub, PhD student in the Department of Political Science

Thursday, June 4, 2015 at 8:45 a.m., Conference of the Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA)

State Fragility and the Emergence of Extremist Islamist Groups

The problem of extremist Islamism as a threat to international security has become the focus of international relations and security studies. A great deal has been written about the nature of extremist Islamist groups (EIGs), mainly discussing root causes of their emergence and threats to international security. However, despite the fact that all EIGs have emerged in failed states, literature doesn’t provide a clear explanation for how state failure provides necessary conditions for the rise of these groups. Considering the issue, this paper specifically addresses the nature of the relationship between state fragility and the emergence of EIGs in the post-Cold War Muslim world.

Sandra Robinson, professor in the School of Journalism and Communication

Thursday, June 4, 2015 at 10:15 a.m., Conference of the Canadian Communication Association (CCA)

The Ethics Of Google’s Algorithmic Milieu

Robinson looks at Google’s powerful position as an information intermediary that filters, sorts and ranks online searches using processes that are not transparent. Google makes specific claims about its ‘algorithmic objectivity’ or the ability to return search results that are not biased. Yet, there are persistent ethical concerns about how information is automatically controlled. Researchers in the social sciences, law and humanities have challenged Google’s privacy and information retention policies, documented bias in search results and drawn attention to the potential for anti-competitive practices given its dominant market position. One perspective suggests we need clear information ethics to guide both Google and its users in the appropriate collection, use, and dissemination of information that now aggregates both personal and public information with search histories. Robinson agrees, but proposes an ethics of control as a more specific response to the growing reliance on search technology because aspects of search are really about controlling access to information available online by automatically filtering large information stores.

Amanda Clarke, assistant professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration

Thursday, June 4, 2015 at 10:30 a.m., Conference of the Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA)

‘This Tweet Does Not Represent the Official View of the Government of Canada’: Managerial and Theoretical Implications of Public Servants’ Social Media Usage

Public servants play an important role in public administration scholarship, whether as informants that support researchers seeking an insider’s account of the policy process, or as objects of inquiry in their own right. Acting outside the bounds of official communications and approval processes, individual public servants have turned to social media platforms as a new medium for sharing information on the workings of their departments and as a venue for conducting this work.

This paper identifies the kinds of information shared on these channels and the dynamics of the online communities that public servants form. What are the implications of this unofficial social media usage for the study of government? How does social media challenge conceptions of the faceless, neutral and hierarchically governed public servant?

Reisa Klein, PhD student in the School of Journalism and Communication

Thursday, June 4, 2015 at 1:30 p.m., Conference of the Canadian Communication Association (CCA)

Laughing It Off: Neo-burlesque Theatre, Striptease and the Case of the Sexual Overtones

Klein explores the use of the body in neo-burlesque theatre performance as a technique of resistance. Through the case study of the Ottawa-based group Sexual Overtones, she examines how striptease and bodily display can be used to challenge beauty standards and normative codes of gender and sexuality. Through these techniques coupled with bodily humour, performers produce pleasure in their audiences in order to make oppositional practices – such as the celebration of queer bodies, queer sexuality, old bodies and big bodies, as well as parodies of traditional forms of masculinity and hetero-normativity – lighter and funnier, thereby softening their oppositional force and appearing more tolerable. In this way, performers invert the ways striptease tends to be seen through a lens of patriarchal objectification to one in which it can advance feminist and queer politics.

Jordan Fairbairn, PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology

June 4, 1:45 p.m., Conference of the Canadian Sociological Association (CSA)

Hashtag Activism and Amplifying Conversations: Opportunities and Challenges for Violence Against Women Prevention in Social Media

Violence against women (VAW) prevention is an interdisciplinary and multi-sector field, with activists, advocates, writers, bloggers, researchers, policy- makers and front line service providers working in diverse capacities to effect social change. In recent years, digital media has emerged as an important tool for prevention work. Fairbairn explores how stakeholders doing VAW prevention work use and experience digital media, with a specific focus on Facebook and Twitter.

Greer Brabazon, master’s student in the School of Canadian Studies

Thursday, June 4, 2015 at 2 p.m., Conference of the Society for Socialist Studies (SSS)

In The Clubs: Indigenous Hip Hop as a Locator of Resistance

A recent resurgence in Indigenous community resistance has highlighted Indigenous leadership and cross-cultural partnership as priorities in combating capitalist and colonial systems of oppression. Brabazon looks at the increasing popularity of Indigenous hip hop and rap as a challenge to colonial and capitalist organizations, focusing on the use of the club/bar as a site of Indigenous and non-Indigenous relationship building.

Louisa Hawkins, master’s student in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Friday, June 5, 2015 at 9 a.m., Conference of the Canadian Sociological Association (CSA)

Robotic Interventions in Elder Care: Thinking Through the Future of Non-human Care with Elder People

In recent years, consideration has turned to finding solutions to the problem of unmet elder care requirements; one possible solution is the introduction of robotic care. The unknown future of caring will involve some mainstream manifestation of the non-human care robot, and collaboration between socially and scientifically focused researchers. Drawing on interviews with elder people regarding their understanding of and feelings about robotic interventions, this paper finds the future of non-human care to be marked by uncertainty and fear, but also by an unexpected sense of hope in the companionship of robots.

Èva Morin, master’s student in the School of Journalism and Communication

Friday, June 5, 2015 at 10:15 a.m., Conference of the Canadian Communication Association (CCA)

Instagram Vs. The Nipple: Regulation And Censorship Of The Female Body

Female breasts have always been a contested body part. They have been discussed as having symbolic social, cultural, historical and political significance and they have remained wedged in between dichotomous interpretations of their functions: either a source of nourishment for infants, or as objects of eroticism and tantalization. This push and pull has largely guided discussions surrounding breasts, limiting possibilities that go beyond the simplification of their utility and purpose, and stunting how the breast can be a subversive tool. Recently, however, the breast has become an object of protest within popular culture. Public figures, like the comedian Chelsea Handler, have brought attention to the censorship of the breast by criticizing social media platforms that regulate their exposure. The photo-sharing tool Instagram has been at the core of these criticisms, since the platform has a history of erasing photographs that feature the body part.

Morin focuses on one of the resulting discussions, that of breastfeeding, and how the maternal and erotic binary plays out within it.

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