Research is reshaping the way we live and think. Meet distinguished members of the faculties at UVic and learn about their research interests. Find out what's new and shape your understanding of the world around you.
The series is presented in partnership with the Greater Victoria Public Library, the Division of Continuing Studies and the Faculties of Education, Engineering, Fine Arts, Graduate Studies, Human and Social Development, Humanities, Law, Science and Social Sciences.
All lectures are held at the Greater Victoria Public Library, Central Branch, 735 Broughton Street. Parking is available underground and you are welcome to bring a bag lunch.
Kids, Comics and Critical Thinking: Engaging the Post Millennials
Friday, Jan. 16: 12:30 to 1:45 pm, Central Library, Broughton Street
Speaker: Deborah Begoray, PhD, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Course Code: ASDS280 2015S E01
Do you remember 9/11? The John Kennedy assassination? The attack on Pearl Harbour? Today’s middle school students were all born in this millennium! They are growing up in a very different world that can make their education particularly challenging. One major aspect of the world of young adolescents is their immersion in visual and multimedia information that can convey useful ideas, but can also aggressively target them to sell products and ideas. Advertisements can foster risky health behaviours and have a major impact on adolescents’ physical, mental and emotional wellness. Post-millennials more than any preceding generation need to develop a critical perspective when dealing with the media. This presentation will demonstrate how engaging adolescents in the creation and comprehension of comic book style graphic novels can develop skills in writing, reading, visual literacies and collaboration, leading ultimately to the ability to become active, empowered, and critical citizens in the post millennial world.
Dr. Deborah L. Begoray, PhD, is a Professor of Literacy in the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria. She is a recipient of Faculty of Education teaching and research excellence awards. She integrates her research findings into her classroom teaching and involves her students in her research. She works extensively with pre-service teachers and with in-service teachers who are pursuing graduate degrees. Her current research involves the investigation of how adolescents involved in creating graphic novels for use with their peers respond to their experiences. She also works with Indigenous communities. Dr. Begoray’s teaching and research takes her to Victoria schools, to interior British Columbia locations and to Europe where she works with interdisciplinary teams addressing literacy, media and health topics.
Connecting Eyes to the Pancreas: How Studying Rare Eye Diseases May Lead to Treatments for Diabetes
Friday, Jan. 23: 12:30 to 1:45 pm, Central Library, Broughton Street
Speaker: Perry Howard, PhD, Departments of Biology and Biochemistry and Microbiology, UVic
Course Code: ASDS268 2015S E01
Aniridia is a rare form of eye disease in which patients are born with partial or no irises as well as a variety of other developmental defects. Although most patients begin life with poor vision, many will lose their sight over time. In this presentation, we will discuss what we know about the cause of this disease, the work by the Howard and Chow labs developing new ways to treat the disease, and how understanding this rare disorder may help us to understand and treat more common diseases like diabetes.
Dr. Perry Howard is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology, as well as the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology. He obtained his BSc from Waterloo University, and a PhD in Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto under the mentorship of Dr. Peter Ray at the Hospital for Sick Children. Following a post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Tony Pawson at Mount Sinai Hospital, where he worked on signaling mechanisms in cancer cells, he joined the Biology and Biochemistry/Microbiology Departments at UVic in 2003. His lab studies gene expression in stem cells in the hope of identifying ways to manipulate this process for therapeutic benefit. In particular, they are interested in developing ways to treat Aniridia.
Developing New Technology for Archaeology: A Partnership Between Engineering and the Social Sciences
Friday, Jan. 30: 12:30 to 1:45 pm, Central Library, Broughton Street
Alison Proctor, PhD, Department of Mechanical Engineering, UVic
Course Code: ASDS281 2015S E01
In 2009, the Engineering Department at the University of Victoria obtained funding to purchase an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) to be used for engineering research. AUVs were a relatively new technology and the research objective was to demonstrate prototype sensors on this vehicle. At the time, no one knew that five years later we would be using this same vehicle for a completely different purpose: a collaboration with the Department of Anthropology to look for signs of ancient civilizations off the coast of British Columbia, hidden beneath more than 100m of sea water. Archaeologist Quentin Mackie learned of our AUV team through our participation in the 2012 search for Sir John Franklin’s missing ships (one of which was found this year). Last year, he approached our team with a proposition: take the AUV to the Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area, use side scan sonar to survey ancient river channels, now under water, and look for signs of fishing weirs used by people living on those lands more than 14,000 years ago. The resulting survey produced some exciting discoveries that include potential fishing weirs as well as potential habitation areas. It also produced a host of new engineering challenges to solve before we can return next summer to further inspect the sites, hoping to prove that we have discovered the oldest archaeological sites in Canada and that people were already inhabiting Haida Gwaii at the end of the last ice age.
Dr. Alison Proctor grew up in BC and started her underwater adventures by becoming a certified diver at 17 and working as a diving instructor until 1997. In 2001, she obtained a degree in Aerospace Engineering from Embry Riddle Aeronautical School in Daytona Beach, and went on to obtain a master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. While at Georgia Tech, Alison worked extensively with unmanned aerial vehicles, specializing in flight dynamics and autonomous control systems. In 2005, Alison returned to Canada working as a research engineer on underwater vehicles, under the direction of Dr. Colin Bradley at UVic. While at UVic, Alison gained experience as a Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle (ROV) pilot working with the Saab Sea Eye Falcon ROV. Since 2010, Alison has been working extensively with AUVs, helping to develop an AUV research program at UVic. In 2014, Alison received her PhD for her work on autonomous and remotely piloted underwater vehicles.
The Three Components of the Golden Elixir: Mirror Neurons, Tai Chi Chuan and Choral Singing
Friday, Feb. 13: 12:30 to 1:45pm, Central Library, Broughton Street
Speaker: Adam Jonathan Con, PhD, School of Music, UVic
Course Code: ASDS267 2015S E01
In the world of musical theatre, the term “Triple Threat” refers to an artist who is equally strong in singing, acting and dancing. In the world of choral singing, Dr. Con combines and applies the research from three elements (Mirror Neurons, Tai Chi Chuan and Choral Singing) to provide a powerful elixir fostering a better quality of life.
Dr. Adam Jonathan Con serves as Assistant Professor of Music and Music Education at UVic’s School of Music. He is reviewed by his peers as an inspirational leader, visionary, respected teacher of choral conducting and Tai Chi Chuan, and leader in the advocacy of music education. A native of Vancouver and a third generation Chinese Canadian, his holistic approach to choral music through a unique blend of kinesthetic whole body movement and eastern philosophy continues to inspire singers of all ages in mind, body and spirit. His motto is “Music is more than notes in motion; music is notes in Emotion”. In high demand in the United States and Canada both as a guest conductor and teacher of choral conducting, Dr. Con has presented at numerous provincial, state, national and international conferences.
Reconciliation through Repatriation: Art and Truth in the Wake of Canada’s Residential Schools
Friday, Feb. 20: 12:30 to 1:45 pm, Central Library, Broughton Street
Speaker: Andrea Walsh, PhD, Department of Anthropology, UVic
Course Code: ASDS240 2015S E01
Between 1958 and 1964, children who attended the Alberni Indian Residential School on Vancouver Island created paintings with artist Robert Aller as part of extracurricular art classes. Fifty years later, these paintings resurfaced through a donation to the University of Victoria. An intensive search for the people who created the 75 paintings began in 2012 and focused on the repatriation to survivors and their families. From this multi-year collaboration between the university and survivors, the paintings have been displayed in two exhibitions and brought out twice to the public through Truth and Reconciliation Commission regional and national events. In this talk Dr. Wash will consider the unique approach to curating this material culture, and witnessing of the legacy of residential schools in Canada through art.
Dr. Andrea N. Walsh (Canadian: Irish, British, Scottish, Nlaka'pamux and Sxhow’ow’hamel ancestry). Her community-based academic research with contemporary Indigenous artists has focused on urban Indigenous artists working in the areas of conceptual art, installation, photography, painting and video/film. Both her research and art practice focus on the intersection of Indigenous and non-Indigenous experiences of space and place, histories and identities. At the University of Victoria, she directs the annual contemporary Salish Artist in Residence Program. Her curatorial work on contemporary art includes Transporters at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (2008) and Salish Reflections at the Legacy Art Gallery (2014).
In 2000, she began a long-term collaboration with the Osoyoos Museum Society (OMS) and the Osoyoos Indian Band to research and document a rare collection of aboriginal children’s art from the Inkameep Day School (1931–1942). Her work with Indigenous children’s art from the residential school era continues through community and collections based research projects. Most recently, she has led with Survivors of the Alberni Indian Residential School, the repatriation of a collection of paintings created by children at the school between 1958 and 1964. She is the principle investigator on a SSHRC institution and community-based project to identify residential school art collections across Canada with the question of what role this body of objects and images might play in redress in the wake of residential schooling. She was appointed to the role of Honourary Witness to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in April of 2012.
Cross, Star and Crescent: Christians, Jews and Muslims in Spain, 711 to 1609
Friday, Feb. 27: 12:30 to 1:45 pm, Central Library, Broughton Street
Speaker: Gregory Andrachuk, PhD, Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies, UVic
Course Code: ASDS259 2015S E01
In the early eighth century, Spain was invaded by a Muslim force that, within a decade, had taken control of almost the entire Hispanic peninsula and which thereby put a sudden end to the Visigothic kingdom in which Christians and Jews had lived in uneasy peace. This cataclysmic event began a period of 900 years of intermittent peace and war, brutality and generosity, cultural brilliance and ignorance, and accommodation and repression, as the Christian forces struggled to complete their Reconquest. By 1492, the re-Christianization of Spain seemed complete with the fall of the last Muslim kingdom (Granada) and the expulsion of the Jews. But this was not the end of the story because the proscription of both Islam and Judaism had far-reaching social and economic consequences.
Dr. Gregory Andrachuk is Professor of Hispanic Studies. He has acted as Chair of the Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies, founded the annual Colloquium in Hispanic and Italian Studies (now about to mark its 30th year) and was a co-founder of the program in Medieval Studies. While his prime area of research is the Middle Ages, he has published widely on the literature of Spain from the 13th to the 20th centuries with special emphasis on the religious theatre of the Reformation period and the fiction of the late 15th and early 16th centuries. His recent research in this area has concentrated on the social and literary connections of a great Valencian family, the Cardona Marqueses of Guadalest, whose land was tenanted and worked by Muslims.
Judges Gone Wrong: Judicial Independence and Responsibility Past and Present
Friday, March 6: 12:30 to 1:45 pm, Central Library, Broughton Street
Speaker: John McLaren, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Law, UVic
Course Code: ASDS255 2015S E01
The independence of the judiciary is taken for granted in both Canada and the United Kingdom. In fact, that important element in what we understand as the Rule of Law was only achieved after a great deal of struggle in England in the 17th century, in the Act of Settlement of 1701, and within the settler British Empire (Canada, Australia and New Zealand) between 1830 and 1860. Elsewhere in that Empire, executive control of the colonial judiciary has lasted into the 21st century, although within a vastly diminished set of territories. From time to time judicial independence has become an issue in actions and appeals connected with charges of judicial misconduct and disciplinary action taken against judges by executive or legislative authority. In this talk, Professor McLaren will examine several cases involving the both the historical and contemporary relationship between judicial independence and the disciplining of judges in England, Canada and other territories in the British Empire and Commonwealth. He will compare the various institutional mechanisms for handling these matters and discuss the quality of the decisions rendered.
Professor John McLaren joined the faculty of Law as Lansdowne Professor of Law in 1987. Prior to his appointment he taught at the University of Saskatchewan from 1964 to 1971, the University of Windsor Faculty of Law from 1971 to 1975, and the University of Calgary from 1975 to 1987. He was Dean of Law at the University of Windsor, 1972 to 1975, and founding Dean of Law at the University of Calgary, 1975-1984. Professor McLaren has also been a Visiting Fellow at Darwin College, Cambridge and the Australian National University. His major areas of interest are Canadian and colonial legal history. He has published widely in those fields. In recent years this work has included a monograph: Dewigged, Bothered and Bewildered: British Colonial Judges on Trial 1800-1900, (2011). This book was sponsored jointly by the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History and the Forbes Society for Australian Legal History and relates to the subject of his lecture. More recently, he published an edited book of essays (with Shaunnagh Dorsett), Legal Histories of the British Empire: Law, Engagement and Legacies (2014) on a series of themes in British comparative colonial legal history. He was a founder of the Canadian Law and Society Association, served on the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, has been involved in law reform endeavours and is active in refugee work. In his leisure hours he dances the Morris. Professor McLaren has retired and is professor emeritus.
Heroin-Assisted Treatment and Drug Policy: Possibility for Change
Friday, March 27: 12:30 to 1:45 pm, Central Library, Broughton Street
Speaker: Susan Boyd, PhD, Faculty of Human and Social Development, UVic
Course Code: ASDS282 2015S E01
This presentation will examine the regulation of heroin in a Canadian context, heroin-assisted treatment (HAT) clinical trials and programs in and outside of Canada, and advocacy for permanent HAT programs in Canada. Drawing on historical research on heroin, qualitative findings from focus groups with people who use heroin and have participated in two heroin-assisted treatment clinical trials in Vancouver BC, and ongoing Charter challenges to provide HAT, this lecture will provide food for thought about drug policy in Canada.
Dr. Susan Boyd, PhD, Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Human and Social Development, University of Victoria, teaches courses on drug law and policy, theory and research methodology. Her research interests include drug law and policy, drug scares, women and maternal-state conflicts, film and media representations, activism and heroin-assisted treatment. She is the author and co-author of a number of books, including Killer Weed: Marijuana Grow Ops, Media and Justice (2014); Raise Shit!: Social Action Saving Lives (2009); Hooked: Drug War Films from Britain, Canada and the US (2008); From Witches to Crack Moms: Women, Drug Law and Policy (2004); and Mothers and Illicit Drugs: Transcending the Myths (1999). She has also published work in a number of scientific journals, and her academic background is augmented by her outreach work and community activism working with harm-reduction and end prohibition groups.
Buddha in the Brain: How Eastern Contemplative Traditions Can Inform a Western Science of the Mind
Friday, April 10: 12:30 to 1:45 pm, Central Library, Broughton Street
Speaker: Colette Smart, PhD, Department of Psychology UVic
Course Code: ASDS240 2015S E02
Contemplative neuroscience, or the study of how meditation affects body, mind and brain, has become a hot topic in the last decade. This is seen not only in the amount of scientific research focused on this topic, but also in the level of public interest in meditation as evidenced by entire issues of Time magazine and other news publications devoted to this topic. In this talk, Dr. Smart will discuss some of the emerging findings from this field, dispel some myths, and highlight the challenges faced by the bringing together of Eastern and Western approaches to the mind.
Dr. Colette Smart is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology and Research Affiliate at the Centre on Aging at UVic. She is a clinical neuropsychologist who worked in full-time clinical practice before moving to academia, and as a result she is particularly interested in addressing research questions with an applied focus. Bringing together her training as a psychologist and 16 years of experience practicing and teaching meditation, Dr. Smart studies the impact of contemplative practice on the capacity for self-regulation by studying "expert" meditators. This information is then used to inform development of interventions for individuals with neurologic illness or injury who have difficulties in self-regulation. Her work has included providing mindfulness training for people with traumatic brain injury, older adults with cognitive concerns, and teens and adults with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
Radical Rawls and Climate Change: A New Kind of Liberalism for a Warming World
Friday, April 17: 12:30 to 1:45 pm, Central Library, Broughton Street
Speaker: Jonathan Weiss, LLM candidate, Faculty of Law, UVic
Course Code: ASDS279 2015S E01
This lecture has been cancelled.
Climate change is real, happening fast, and humans are causing it. Unless we act soon, climate change could lead to environmental, economic and social meltdown of an unprecedented magnitude. But even though we are becoming increasingly aware that “business as usual” may lead to destruction, it is proving extremely difficult for us to change our ways. We need to change how we think about climate change. Ironically, for such a real, physical threat, this means that we must turn to philosophy. Given that our biggest institutions are already liberal, the highly influential liberal political philosophy of John Rawls (1921-2002) provides us with maximum leverage for changing the status quo. By performing a radical, internal critique of Rawls’ philosophy, we can take his philosophy to the next level: what I call “Radical Rawls”. Radical Rawls addresses climate change in a new way. It identifies a unique principle of climate justice that secures the universal human right to a healthy climate; moreover, it does so equally for all people, even those in distant countries and future generations. Thus, Radical Rawls enables action that is both necessary and just and that will protect both ourselves and our descendants from harm.
Jonathan Weiss is completing his LLM in Law and Society at UVic, having obtained his JD from UVic in 2013. Before coming to Victoria, Jonathan obtained his AB, summa cum laude, in Psychology: Mind, Brain and Behavior from Harvard in 2005. After Harvard, he studied classical languages and literatures at UBC and pursued graduate studies in the history and philosophy of science at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was the Eben Fiske Scholar. Jonathan’s research interests range widely, encompassing legal and political philosophy, international law and cognitive science. He has co-authored articles in The Journal of Memory and Language and Memory & Cognition. Further, Jonathan has presented his research at annual meetings of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society and the National Institute of Mental Health.