Past Series

2015-2016 Series

October 28, 2015
Traditional Knowledge in the Canadian North: Ways of Knowing the Past, Present, and Future –  Rebecca Gray

deer-head-silhouette-782346This talk will discuss the importance of traditional knowledge (TK) in the Canadian North, i.e., Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. Listeners will learn about the following topics: What is TK? Who are TK users? How is TK a vital component of the past, present, and future in the North? Finally, how can members of the public become aware of TK in their own lives?

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Rebecca is a 2nd year MSc student in archaeology. She is interested in subarctic and northern archaeology, oral history, and ethnoarchaeology. Her current research takes place in Grandin River, Northwest Territories, where she is studying the traditional land use of the Tłı̨chǫ Dene First Nation. Her research is made possible by collaboration with the Tłı̨chǫ elders of Behchokǫ̀, Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, and Tłı̨chǫ Research & Training Institute. She hopes to one day learn how to tan a moose hide.


November 25, 2015
From A to Zoonoses: How Disease Travel from Animals to Humans – Malcolm Ramsay

epidemicWhat are zoonoses? Ebola, SARS, and HIV dominate headlines, but often the common source of these diseases are not mentioned: animals. What makes zoonoses so dangerous, why is the prevalence of zoonoses seemingly increasing, and what research is being done to prevent future outbreaks? This talk will explore the biological and social interactions between humans and animals in order to come to terms with the prevalence and panic surrounding zoonoses today.

Ramsay (2)Malcolm is a second year MSc student in Anthropology, and is affiliated with the School of the Environment’s collaborative program in Environmental Studies. Malcolm’s passion is studying rare animals living in remote places. His NSERC-funded master’s research concerns the movement patterns and conservation biology of the world’s smallest primates: the mouse lemurs of Madagascar! Before starting at U of T, Malcolm spent 14 months working in the Ethiopian Highlands managing a research project on the behavioural ecology of gelada monkeys, another rare and wonderful primate species. Malcolm is a big fan of visual storytelling and always brings a camera with him into the field.


January 27, 2016
Animals and their By-Products: More than Just Resources – Aleksa Alaica

cowWhat is an animal? How are animals used beyond sources of food? What makes animals so integral to our understanding of the world and of ourselves, and what research is being done to address issues that impact animals? This talk will explore the social, political and ideological significance of animals and how we are coming to terms with their presence as beings that are more than just exploitable.

aleksa alaica (2)Aleksa is a third year PhD candidate in Anthropology. She is interested in pre-Columbian ideologies surrounding animals and their capacity to be used for political and ritual purposes. Her current research takes place in the Jequetepeque Valley of Peru at the Late Moche site of Huaca Colorada, where she is studying the faunal remains and animal iconography to better understand how animals were used and perceived in the past. Her research is made possible by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship and the continued collaboration with Peruvian colleagues. She hopes to one day undertake more in-depth ethnographic research on the traditional uses of camelids and guinea pig on the North Coast of Peru.

February 24, 2016
Consuming the Past: The Curious Relationships between Now and Then – Emma Yasui

yasui imageHow exactly do we consume the past? Individuals and groups from the present-day use the past for a variety of purposes, from popular fads to international politics. This talk will explore the many ways in which we make, negotiate, manipulate, and incorporate what came before us.

emma yasui (2)

Emma is a fifth-year archaeology PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology. Her dissertation concerns the place of stone tool technology in Jomon Period (ca. 16,500-2,300 BP) Japan, particularly in relation to plant resource selection, processing, and use in southwestern Hokkaido. She is currently working with collections from the Hakodate Jomon Culture Centre and Royal Ontario Museum. This research has been supported through funding from SSHRC, OGS, and the Dr. David Chu Scholarships in Asia-Pacific Studies. Emma has also been involved in the Anthropology Graduate Students’ Union as Co-President (2012-2014), the Got Anthropology? Speaker Series, and the Centre for Historical Ecology in Northeast Asia at UTM. Her previous education includes an HBSc in anthropology from Lakehead University, and an MSc in anthropology from U of T.


March 30, 2016
Indigenous Urbanness: Indigenous Women and Community in Tkaronto – Jessica Cookcommunity

What is the role of Indigenous women in urban spaces in Tkaronto? What does Indigenous community sustainability look like within an urban ‘environment’? How does an Indigenous community develop and sustain themselves as well as interact with ‘outside’ expectations of Indigenous-ness? This talk will address some of these questions of belonging, what sustainability ‘can’, or ‘could’ look like and how Indigenous women are playing a role in sustaining and ‘supplying’ cultural knowledges in Tkaronto.

CookJessica currently holds a Bachelor of Education (Indigenous Education) and a Masters in Environmental Studies from York University, focusing on Indigenous women and Cultural Resurgence in Tkaronto (Toronto). She is currently a second year PhD student in the Anthropology Department and the Collaborative Program with Women and Gender Studies. Her current research focus is on Indigenous cultural resurgence and resistance movements in the Colonial State of Canada and New Zealand, with a particular focus on the roles of Indigenous women.


April 20, 2016
Uneasy Markings: Thinking Through/Around Mental Health Stigmindma

Anti-stigma campaigns, movements, and research studies are visible throughout urban life–inescapable on the internet or on one’s commute. They appear with increasing frequency in the policies and initiatives of corporations and public institutions alike. In a critical medical anthropological take on the topic, this talk will recognize the lived experiences–and the increasingly public (and publicity-bearing) concept–of mental health stigma. How does the idea of stigma circulate in politics, advertising, and bureaucracy, and what unique power–to improve health or otherwise–does it hold in the present political economy?  Above all, what does this image of stigma obscure, and what space does it leave for the divergent voices and experiences of psychiatric consumer/survivors?

PeterMuirhead2bPeter Soles Muirhead (HBA, Simon Fraser) is a second-year medical and sociocultural anthropology MSc student at the University of Toronto, supervised by Dr. Katie Kilroy-Marac. His SSHRC-funded ethnographic and archival work in Canada concerns mental health, emotional labour, inequality, the history of psychiatry, everyday ethics, and the intimate politics of subjective transitions.  Peter’s PhD—also at U of T—will focus on similar issues in Northwestern Turkey.  Outside of the university, he has worked as a consulting medical anthropologist in hospital and healthcare design settings. Peter’s lecture is a critical examination of how stigma (as a concept) is imagined and deployed in public mental health interventions and campaigns.



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