Conference Schedule | Arts Matters Conference | UNB

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UNB Fredericton

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Conference schedule

Full schedule

* Subject to change as we confirm conference events and student panels

6 p.m. | Online meet & greet

6:30 - 7 p.m. | Opening Remarks from Piluwitahasuwin Amanda Myran

7 - 7:30 p.m. | Matthew Sears (Classics & Ancient History), Times of Change and Upheaval in Ancient Greece: Lessons for Today

7:30 - 8 p.m. | Questions for speakers


8:30 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. | Morning Program: Speaker and Student Conference Panels

8:30 - 9 a.m. | Optional morning social chat / introductions

9 - 9:45 a.m.David Hofmann (Sociology) & Caitlin Hyslop-Margison (Joint Honours in Sociology & History), ARTS MATTERS: Right-Wing Extremism in Canada

10 - 11:15 a.m. | Student Panel 1

11:20am - 12:20 p.m. | Student Panel 2

Lunch Break

12:50 - 2 p.m. | Queer Environmental Futures Workshop with Sabine LeBel (Culture and Media Studies)

2:10 - 3:10 p.m. | Student Panel 3

3:20 - 4:20 p.m. | Student Panel 4

4:30 - 5:30 p.m. | Student Panel 5


10 - 10:45 a.m. | Amy Scott (Anthropology): Archaeology and Alliance: The Necessity of Interdisciplinary Collaboration when Excavating the Past.

11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. | Student Panel 6

12:20 - 1:20 p.m. | Student Panel 7

Break for prize deliberations

3 p.m. | Awards and Closing Remarks


Student Panel 1

Chair: Arti Prajapati

Title: Trans(Fat): Embodied Connection Through Writing and Art

Abstract: In this presentation I will explore the results of my honours thesis titled Trans(Fat): A Creative Narrative Project. In this project, I examined how fat transgender folks experience and resist medicalization and stigma based on their personal embodied experiences. Fat and transgender bodies are seen as problems that must be treated or cured by medical professionals, which often leads to unsafe treatment and stigma. Folks who are fat and trans have many ways of resisting this treatment and stigma for their own wellbeing.

This project draws on literature around gender, fatness, medicalization, and neoliberalism while engaging with personal narratives and artwork from two fat trans people in Fredericton. These stories explore difficult interactions with medical professionals and their personal strategies for reclaiming their identities and bodies. Themes from my analysis include: the entitlement of medical professionals, unsafe healthcare, the intersection of fat and trans identities, and the desire for community connection and alternative forms of care. The results from this study could inform medical policy and practices in the province of New Brunswick, while also providing information to fat transgender folks who have received medical care and are looking for ways to resist stigma.


Title: Forced to the Bench?: A Qualitative and Content Analysis of the Public’s Responses to the 2017 Proposed Ban to Coed Minor Hockey in New Brunswick

Abstract: In 2017, Hockey New Brunswick member and Hockey New Brunswick’s Female Council Representative, Angie McKinley, put forth a motion to ban coed minor hockey in the province (Betts, 2017). In this project, I conduct an analysis of Hockey New Brunswick’s Annual General Meeting notes and perform content and discourse analyses of media produced in response to the proposed ban in order to examine the consequences of banning coed minor hockey in New Brunswick.

I look at the (re)production and contestation of gender-based inequality and normative gender stereotypes within the sport. This research is important because, due to the rural nature of the province, the ramifications of banning coed minor hockey in New Brunswick would be severe. A ban to coed minor hockey in New Brunswick would restrict girls’ access to the sport, and largely eliminate their capacity to participate in minor hockey. This project draws on academic literature relating to the participation of youth in community-based sports, hegemonic masculinity, and gender-based inequalities present within sport.


Title: Hey Alexa: Embodied Femininity in Virtual Assistant Technologies

Abstract: The purpose of this thesis is to understand how Amazon’s Alexa as a virtual assistant technology (VA) reflects and reinforces patriarchal gender ideology about domesticity through its design and function. I aim to address the issue of the stereotypical feminine attributes rooted in domesticity of these gendered virtual assistant technologies (Morley 56; Cockburn 33; Livingstone 106; Piper 22).

My research involved a review of the development of the post-industrial, middle-class, Western, nuclear home, its impact on patriarchal ideology surrounding female domesticity, and its effects on gendered labour (Flather 349; Cowan 99; Hartmann 208). It also focused on the historical exclusion of women from the design process of early media and information technology (Cunningham 10; Bray 38; Piper 22). This thesis addresses the gendering of modern home assistant technologies that are embodied with and reflect representations of feminine domesticity, how this can have a negative impact on modern Western society, and how these technologies within the home are potent in conveying patriarchal stereotypes of feminine domesticity (Morley 20; Cowan 9; Silverstone et al. 15).

Research methods involved a close reading of Amazon’s Alexa and its primary interface, the Echo, as a cultural artefact, broken into three facets: Alexa’s disembodied voice, the design and function of Alexa/Echo, and the representation of Alexa in television advertisements. My research is conducted through a materialist and socialist feminist lens, focusing on how the embodied gender of Alexa as a virtual assistant technology perpetuates harmful stereotypes about feminine domesticity and the difficulties of this continued narrative in the modern Western social landscape. This thesis is a work in process, and major conclusions and closing arguments have yet to be fully articulated. This presentation will focus on a set of key points from the three developed chapters and conclusions thus far.


Title: “The concept of the ‘#MeToo movement’ has no place in a criminal trial”: Rape Myth Acceptance and Moral Panic in Judicial Discourse in a Post-#MeToo Era

Abstract: The current thesis examines court cases following the #MeToo movement to analyze for rape myth acceptance and jury bias. In an analysis done by Cotter and Rotenburg (2018) for Statistics Canada, they found that the average number of police reported sexual assaults increased from 59 per day before the #MeToo movement, to 74 per day in the month following the tweet from actress Alyssa Milano which was accredited for beginning the #MeToo movement.

As one of the main successes of the #MeToo movement was its ability to call out and confront rape culture, the current study aims to examine if a change was made within the criminal justice system, a system entrenched in rape culture (Thacker, 2017). 16 cases were found that mentioned the #MeToo movement in LexisNexis QuickLaw, more than half of being challenge-based cases that question jury bias as a result of the movement. The preliminary results of the study have raised the question of whether or not the #MeToo movement has created jury bias against the accused within sexual assault cases.


Student Panel 2

Chair: Fernando Aguilar

Title: Contradicting perspectives: Different professional views on the use of Section 19 conferences in New Brunswick

Abstract: Section 19 conferences in the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) are used with justice-involved youth to bring together relevant professionals, the youth, and family to discuss recommendations pertaining to the youth’s case. Professionals often include probation officers, school representatives, and social workers, and, depending on the need of the individual, others may be present (e.g., Child and Youth Advocate). In particular, considering that approximately 77% of justice-involved youth have at least one mental health diagnosis, the inclusion of clinician and advocacy groups in Section 19 conferences is essential.

Clinician and advocacy group participants in the current study (n= 9), who were part of a larger sample of professionals (N = 41), completed semi-structured qualitative interviews to evaluate the patterns of use of Section 19 conferences in New Brunswick to provide recommendations for potential areas of improvement. The semi-structured interviews covered participants' experiences, concerns, and perceptions of Section 19 conferences. Based on thematic analysis conducted on the transcribed interviews, two main themes arose: (1) limited consideration of mental health diagnoses, and (2) the lack of training on specific mental health disorders.

Participants reported that while Section 19 conferences provided an opportunity to discuss the youth’s mental health concerns with related professionals, the youth’s diagnoses were often not weighted heavily in the recommendations identified in the conferences, and these views were shared by a variety of professionals (e.g., pediatrician, Child and Youth Advocate). Many professionals highlighted the importance of further training and knowledge in the justice department for youth with mental health difficulties to better understand the impact they have on youth’s behaviour and functioning. These findings support views that more appropriate inclusion and consideration of mental health issues during Section 19 conferences could lead to the implementation of more appropriate intervention strategies.


Title: Cognitive Science in the Era of #BlackLivesMatter: Challenging race-based exclusion criteria in EEG research

Abstract: Racial discrimination is increasingly associated with poorer mental and physical health in racialized individuals. In the United States, the mediatized murder of George Floyd has triggered a resurgence of the #BlackLivesMatter (BLM) movement. Studies show that a vicarious experience of racial discrimination or racially-motivated violence can have effects just as deleterious as a direct experience of racial discrimination. Namely, racial trauma can emerge from the repeated exposure to racism, whether direct or vicarious.

Recent evidence suggests that racial trauma is conceptually different than general trauma. Thus, the current study seeks to uncover neurocognitive correlates of racial stress. Unfortunately, commonly used neuroscientific technology (i.e., electroencephalography (EEG)) is not designed with Black-identifying individuals in mind. More specifically, electrode caps used in EEG studies are not designed to ensure adhesion of the electrodes onto the participant’s scalp when they have curly or coiled hair (e.g., Type 3 and Type 4 hair). This technological limitation has justified excluding individuals with this type of hair from EEG studies for too long.

Following in the footsteps of Etienne, Laroia and colleagues (2020), we are attempting to pilot a new way of conducting EEG studies. The current study includes self-report measures of racial stress and potential protective factors to compare behavioural and neurocognitive data, but the main focus of the study is to trial inclusive EEG data collection that allows for accurate recordings of Event-Related Negativity (ERN) potentials, which are generated by a stress-sensitive region of the medial prefrontal cortex involved in social cognition, stress regulation, and executive function.

Keywords: Black Lives Matter, racial discrimination, cognitive psychology, stress


Title: Exercise adherence during COVID-19: Examining motivation and perception of barriers during a pandemic

Abstract: Although it is well established that physical activity is vital in the maintenance of good physical and mental health (Rodriguez-Avllon et al., 2019, Warburton et al., 2006), approximately 70% of Canadian adults do not reach the recommended amount of physical activity (ParticipACTION, 2019). There are a number of barriers cited that impact peoples’ ability to be active (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accessed 1/11, 2021), and it is expected that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the number and the ways people experience these barriers.

Research has examined motivations to exercise, however studies have yet to examine the relationship between grit, perceived barriers to exercise, and physical activity. This study aims to address this gap by examining university students’ exercise habits before and during the pandemic, as well as their grittiness levels, degree of self-determination, and perceptions of barriers to exercise, particularly during a pandemic. Participants are undergraduate students in introductory psychology courses at UNB who will complete an online survey.

Data will be examined using a hierarchical multiple regression analysis. By surveying who is able to be more active and which reasons participants site for inactivity, this project will examine the factors that make people better equipped to be physically active during a pandemic and in the face of barriers in general. The hypothesis for this research is that grit, the passion and perseverance for a long-term goal, and high levels of self-determination in exercise act as protection for physical activity, even in times of restriction.


Title: Improving Outcomes for Youth that Offend: Common Practices for Section 19 Conferences in New Brunswick

Abstract: Although Section 19 conferences included in the Youth Criminal Justice Act are designed to better address the needs of offending youth through a broad scope of creative, extrajudicial measures, little research has been conducted on the use and outcomes of Section 19 conferences in Canada. The current study aimed to identify strengths and weaknesses of Section 19 conferences in New Brunswick by analyzing policy and procedural documentation and through the use of semi-structured interviews conducted with key stakeholders involved in conferences (e.g., Probation Officers, Child and Youth Advocate).

From a larger sample of 41 interviews, 35 interviews highlighted a discrepancy between the mandate set by the YCJA and the common practices in New Brunswick regarding conferencing. Many professionals reported believing that Section 19 conferences can only be organized by probation officers and only when closed or open custody is being considered to provide recommendations to the court. These limited practices, in contrast to what is mandated by legislation, make a broader range of conferencing procedures difficult to actualize.

For example, some clinicians and members of advocacy groups expressed a desire to organize conferences and expand the scope of their use but the channels for such involvement are limited and may require advocacy in court. The current study showcased how discrepancies between the intent of policymakers and the practices of parties involved in implementation can occur and might be alleviated. Expanded training opportunities and best practice guidelines that allow for a wide range of professionals to organize conferences in more diverse circumstances are recommended to improve youth outcomes.


Student Panel 3

Chair: Emily Veysey

Title: #WeShallOvercome: Social Media as a Tool of Resistance in Uganda

Abstract: Inspired by the Leo Baeck Institute’s Shared History Project, this digital humanities project compiles tweets from multiple hashtags associated with Uganda’s National Unity Platform / People Power Movement. The National Unity Platform is a Ugandan progressive political party lead by musician-cum-politician Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, popularly known by his stage name Bobi Wine.

The People Power Movement is a sociopolitical movement lead by Bobi Wine, which aims to promote an agenda focused on human rights, anticorruption, and democracy amongst young Ugandans. Social media has been a major, novel force in communicating the message of both the NUP and the People Power Movement. It has also been used by these groups to organize civil protests concerned with the human rights violations of the Yoweri Museveni regime. Facebook is the primary social media used in Uganda, and Twitter is also used by many higher-profile individuals such as celebrities.

In this study, I explore the use of Twitter and Facebook by the NUP to promote their movement by selecting and organizing and posts on a timeline. I have curated a selection of tweets and posts with the most interactions for each month from the period of November 2020 to March 2021, with specific watershed moments in the movement highlighted and discussed. This timeline format enables archival of social media use by Ugandans during a modern political movement, in a clear narrative based on the order of events that took place.


Title: Grief and Gratitude: The Body as an Archive

Abstract: Through this paper and project, we aim to discuss the impact that COVID-19 has on our day-to-day lives, specifically by highlighting how grief and gratitude emanate within our bodies. This paper draws upon arts-based and heuristic research methods to highlight the personal experiences of each individual within this project, and to explore how COVID-19 has impacted our movement as dancers, artists, the ways in which we process grief and gratitude through our bodies, and, how grief and gratitude reside in our bodies.

We come together in this collaborative project to ask, can our bodies be archives of grief, trauma, gratitude, and how can we dive into ourselves to understand such bodily archival processes? As students, we have been forced to adjust to the changes presented by the pandemic. We have spent the last year grieving individually and collectively for an uncertain future; one that is beyond our control and certainly much different than what we are accustomed to. We will therefore draw from concepts of interiority and lived experiences as a site of inquiry.

Our bodies, and movement, helped us transition through the pandemic and as we continue to adjust our lifestyles, what we can learn from these changes to our everyday practice of dance, the ways we connect with one another and ourselves, and how we can utilize these changes towards new beginnings such that our isolated yet connected bodies become productive spaces for creating trans-individual solidarities.

We will utilize storytelling and photography as a way to convey our experiences, and we hope that exploring our movement collaboratively and collectively will allow us to navigate and explore new means of communication, much necessary for new beginnings.


Title: ē plūribus ūnum – Religious Ritual and Virtual Reality: Immersion, Transcendence and Group Minds in Cyberspace

Abstract: In this presentation I will examine how sensually immersive means of accessing cyberspace may open new paths to collective consciousness, group consciousnesses, and perhaps even states of human hive-mind, through transcendence of the corporeal self. Further, I shall examine in what ways these experiences are similar to those achieved through religious ritual and how notions of group consciousness and virtual reality may be seen to exist in religious ideologies. By comparing these, I recognize a deep similarity between ‘sacred worlds’ accessed through ecstatic ritual, and cyberspace accessed in VR.

I begin by exploring the human experience of self-transcendence and group unification through the lens of Emile Durkheim’s social theories and Jonathan Haidt’s “Hive Hypothesis”. Next, I will examine how immersive virtual reality technology might similarly facilitate experiences of self-transcendence and unification with a perceived ‘greater whole’. Finally, I will synthesize these prior sections to discuss how cyberspace is currently being used for religious purposes—especially in the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic—and some upcoming developments in technoetic research.


Title: Cosmologies – All Art Must be a Futurism

Abstract: The presentation is grounded upon the notion that in order to radically reimagine the terrain of our future, we must take up the challenge of Brecht to create a set of aesthetics which supposes a multitude of futures.

We must firmly believe that 'it could be any other way' - and in doing so create affective and intellectual space for change, while at the same time modernizing (or post-modernizing) him through a neuroscientific engagement with the other socially involved avant-garde artistic movement of the time - surrealism.

Under this lens, the tensions between the exploratory personal depths of surrealism and the compelling social tensions of Brechtian influenced art are both unravelled through their relation to Friston's model of our brain as constantly searching for the evidence of its own existence (and what precisely this entails.)


Student Panel 4

Chair: Ceilidh Bernon

Title: Bridging the Divide: Synthesis of Sacred and Secular in J.S. Bach’s Cantatas

Abstract: In the early decades of the 18th Century, Lutheran church music was influenced by conflicting social, political and musical forces: the aftermath of plague and starvation following the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648); the schism in Lutheran faith provoked by these horrific events; and the rise of the immensely popular genres of Italian madrigal and opera. The sacred vocal works of J. S. Bach (1685–1750) provide insight into music composed during this fraught period.

Caught between the opposing forces of Orthodox and Pietist Lutheranism, the role of music in the Lutheran service – including Bach’s cantatas – became a point of contention. While Orthodox Lutherans believed concerted music was an integral part of worship, conservative Pietists eschewed the addition of instruments, arguing this addition distracted from the text of the scriptures. Although Martin Luther’s aims for church reform considered text to be of paramount importance, his focus on the congregation as the center of the church service sanctioned the repurposing of secular music to set religious texts.

This paper will draw on the theoretical frameworks of genre and historiography to consider Bach’s Cantata BWV 61 (1714) as an example of the composer’s navigation of this contested field. I aim to show that Bach’s synthesis of elements from Italian madrigal and opera with the Lutheran musical tradition aligned with Luther’s aims for church reform, creating powerful rhetoric in an attempt to inspire and unite a divided people.


Title: Music-Making in Medieval English Nunneries: Authority, Authorship and Agency

Abstract: Despite the restrictive and narrowly prescribed gender roles prevalent during the Middle Ages in England, some women expressed agency by finding alternative means for their musical expression. One such route was the participation in monastic vocation, where women religious could experience a certain limited degree of autonomy. A wealthy cloistral community could provide women with extensive musical and literary education alongside ingrained spiritual connection through their daily musical practice of the Divine Office.

Music-making in medieval nunneries included singing antiphons, responsorials, and hymns as well as new musical compositions during worship services. Despite some notable figures such as Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179), liturgical texts and musical settings assumed to be written by nuns are retained in anonymous manuscripts. The performance of liturgical songs was led by the cantrices, whose duties included formulating liturgical celebrations for each season and both managing and preparing manuscripts.

By considering the different types of musicking that occurred in medieval English nunneries, the roles of the abbess and the cantrix, and selected surviving manuscripts of both musical compositions and commentaries on the activities in certain nunneries (such as the Abbeys of Barking, Syon, and Wherwell), I will argue that the act of composing and performing liturgical songs facilitated the establishment of leadership roles and creative outlets for women religious in a period where women’s autonomy was limited. I will consider Anne Bagnall Yardley’s (2006) and Katie Ann-Marie Bugyis’s (2017) work on the musical life of English women religious in the Middle Ages in addition to scholarship on the social and political aspects of English nunneries (Warren, 2001).

I aim to show that the community of the medieval English nunnery was one that offered a degree of agency to select women; through regular music-making, women religious could both express their devotion and explore opportunities for authorship and authority.


Title: Unprecedented Tunes: Expressivity in Musical Responses to Pandemics

Abstract: “Unprecedented times” is a common descriptor of the COVID-19 pandemic. Especially for musicians, this time is fraught with economic duress and uncertainty over the future of the field. But this is not the first time that musicians have had to contend with a pandemic and respond musically. During the frequent plagues in the Renaissance, music was even prescribed as a medical treatment (Chiu 2012). As a framing question for my essay, I ask if there are similarities in musical responses to pandemics, particularly in the realms of expressive devices and text-music connections?

In this paper I compare works that were popular during the Black Death (1346–1353), the Great Plague of London (1665), and the 1918–20 Pandemic. Specifically, I will examine “O Sancte Sebastian” by Guillaume DuFay (1397–1474), “O God, wherefore art thou so absent” by William Child (1606–1697) and “1919 Influenza Blues” performed by Essie Jenkins. These pieces vary stylistically and in their cultural and socio-political context. Given this diversity, I will look for similarities in text-music relationships and the usage of period-appropriate expressivity in comparison to the composers’ respective pre-pandemic works.

Other scholars (e.g., Chiu 2012, 2017; Macklin 2016) have looked at the effects of pandemics on music, but these studies have been focused on a single pandemic. I will perform a comparative analysis of musical expressive techniques to identify similar intensifications of expression in times of plague. I argue that musical responses across pandemics show a similar divergence in use of musical devices and change in text-music connections.


Title: Visual Language of Classical Literature: Wen Zhengming’s Peach Blossom Spring

Abstract: The retreat poet Tao Qian of the Eastern Jin dynasty is known for the ideal literary world of Taohuayuan described in his Record of the Peach Blossom Spring. The prose, which unfolds the ideal life and landscapes of an isolated farming community, has been turned into a popular Taoyuan concept in Chinese literati culture. Visual representation of Taohuayuan became a favoured subject among literati painters during the Ming dynasty.

The painter and litterateur Wen Zhengming created such a narrative handscroll, the Taoyuan wenjin tu, in his mid-eighties. Existing scholarship examines the painting's iconographical approaches to the prose by investigating symbols like the peach blossom and studies them as "textual passages" bearing qualities directly transformed from the text. While previous scholarship privileges the textual value of "literary narrative paintings," this paper argues for the scroll's unique visual language which translates the prose's textual qualities into pictorial representation.

Examining Wen's Taoyuan wenjin tu, this paper guides us through a visual journey across the painting that translates the prose's literary theme of narration, exploration, and simplicity, through the handscroll's narrative mode, inviting visual languages, and the "insipid (dan淡)" painted atmosphere respectively. By privileging the painter's unique visual approaches to the textual reference in this case, this study calls for a new way of viewing the intimate text-to-image association and the Ming dynasty poetic visuality. While iconographic approaches are one unneglectable factor to the painted "literary narratives," the painter's visual approaches to a text should also be valued.


Student Panel 5

Chair: Tabatha Armstrong

Visual art presentation.


Title: Feminist Manifesto Zine

Abstract: I am applying to the Arts Matter Undergraduate Conference to share a creative work, in the form of a zine. This is a personal feminist manifesto- inspired by Sara Ahmed and the Combahee River Collective, in the form of a zine. The artwork in the zine is a collection of unpolished, messy sketches I did as a 12 to 18-year-old as I was coming into my own as a feminist.

Growing up, I would often aim to understand my life through art rather than through something like journaling. Therefore, sketches included in this zine reflect different snapshots from moments in my life that were pivotal to my self-identifying as a feminist. In making this zine, I paired old art with my current understanding of my own and others’ feminism. This project contains themes of girlhood, friendship, privilege, nature, questioning, and growth. The attached image is a sample from my zine, where I cover the themes of power relations, violence, and ethics.


Title: Educational Barriers to Identity

Abstract: My project focusses on my dynamic perspective of claiming my culture as white woman with mixed indigenous ancestry. My art includes traditions and styles typically associated with indigenous culture. As a French, Blackfoot, and Italian woman, I explore what it means to have intercultural identity stripped away by formal conformities. I do not wish to identify as an indigenous person but value my cultural heritage. This project is a collection of multimedia works over the course of my education. I seek to challenge preconceptions of identity, sexuality, and culture. How does identity and culture change intercultural families and future generations’ perception of self? Can I lay claim to my cultural heritage?

Before receiving formal art lessons, I was privately tutored by a successful and professional indigenous artist. Through this mentorship I was encouraged to create artistic representations of my indigenous ancestors’ family stories and cultural values. While pursuing formal art education, I was confronted with conformities that changed the way I created art. I was asked to make images of people heavier or thinner, more masculine, or feminine; to suit others’ cultural background, gender, and social norms. My indigenous and LGTBQ+2 influence was described as primitive and feminine.

I am disrupting the conformities that push cultureless art by showing the change and progression of my cultural identity. I wish to claim my identity and ask where culture comes from. I ask how intercultural families pass on identity and culture to future generations. My own idea of identity has changed through my art. My art reflects me, an intercultural bisexual woman with a diverse cultural and familial background. My art includes geometric patterns from family textiles, symbolism, stories, and colors from indigenous teachers. How indigenous is indigenous enough? This project demonstrates changes I made and my progression to claim my ancestral culture.


Student Panel 6

Chair: Fernando Aguilar

Title: The Challenges of Social Equality in Higher Education

Abstract: In the history of higher education systems, there have been important challenges to provide equal academic opportunities to all students, regardless of their background. In the literature regarding social inequalities in education, it is argued that higher education is reproducing, rather than reducing social inequalities (Gegel et al. 2015; Roger Brown, 2018; Reimer and Jacob, 2010; Vikki Boliver, 2017). Pierre Bourdieu, one of the prominent theoretical contributors to the sociology of education, has contributed several social theories concerning social inequalities.

In higher education there has been a recurrent focus on ranking and prestige with other universities across the world. This highly influences students’ academic experiences in the academia systems, especially for students from multiple social dynamics. Consequently, this also impacts opportunities available for students to achieve social success. Moreover, when studying the phenomenon of social inequalities, I believe it is important to analyze it with an intersectional framework to explore the power relations in educational institutions. Therefore, my presentation aims to present the relationship between higher education and social inequalities and the benefit of studying these social issues with intersectionality as an analytical tool to challenge the academic system.


Title: Young Adults and Their Parents: The (Mis)understandings That Define Mental Illness

Abstract: Despite growing understandings of young adulthood as a prolonged transition out of adolescence, studies of young adult mental illness often divorce young adults from the family context. This study aims to understand young adult mental illness and their relationship to parents as previous studies have done with adolescents, while also considering factors unique to young adults such as increased independence, familial ambivalence, and negotiations of the parent’s role.

Using a symbolic interactionist framework, I explore and identify meanings of mental illness that are constructed in the young adult-parent relationship as told by seven young adults and nine parents in interviews. Young adults and their parents interact reflexively on their own beliefs and perceptions, and through these interactions, produce new definitions of mental illness. Distance from the parental home allows both parties to communicate more intentionally about mental illness without exposing behavioural symptoms, creating opportunities for better communication but also enforcing stigma in that symptoms are better heard about than seen.

Mental illness also signifies a source of worry, creating opportunities to fail in parental or child responsibilities. This underlies a common tendency for parents to attempt to take action in ‘solving’ the problem, despite young adult preferences for empathetic listening. While their relationships are highly variable, parents and young adults commonly define mental illness as intimate and contentious, a complication to the expected roles of both parties. Despite this, the depth of consideration and understanding these young adults and parents demonstrate for one another reveals sincere positive intentions and a desire to maintain positive relationships.

Understanding that young adults frequently remain meaningfully attached to their parents, future research should attend to their experiences of mental illness in this context. My work complicates binaries of understanding/not understanding and defines mental illness more authentically within an important relationship.


Title: Intersectionality and Equality: Access to Domestic Violence Shelter

Abstract: This paper, a photo essay, uses an intersectional lens to observe how victims of gender-based violence seeking shelter may have their access denied. My paper includes 7 pictures, which I have included below. Building upon feminist theory and praxis, notably Joanne Muzak, Jake Pyne, and Sara Ahmed, I have written this piece from my internship experience working as a crisis intervener at Crossroads for Women (Moncton) during the summer of 2020.

My main areas of analysis are dis/ability, gender, and substance use; these all intersect to impact access in crucial ways. These issues of (in)accessibility are seen in the physical infrastructure of the organization: only one room is wheelchair-accessible. Furthermore, clients are expected to be able to take care of themselves, in terms of physical and mental health. This becomes increasingly difficult with the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, where the only accessible room of the shelter has been transformed into a quarantine zone, meaning that there is no more “accessible” room.

My second point highlights the cisnormativity and heteronormativity of shelters. While trans and gender non-conforming people are allowed in the shelter, the space might not be welcoming to them. My last point highlights the intersection of other socio-structural issues that impact access: substance use. Crossroads for Women is a mostly dry shelter, meaning that clients cannot use or store drugs on the premises, due to liability. This can promote the unsafe use of drugs, as clients consume drugs in unsupervised areas.

All these examples show how the shelter is dictated by public guidelines and governmental policies. Socio-structural issues have been framed as an individual problem which prevents many people from accessing a safe shelter. I offer some possible avenues in order to move forward, but there is still a long way to go.


Title: Managing Menopause: A Qualitative Analysis of Menopause Discourse

Abstract: Sociologists such as Conrad and Schneider (1980) argue that the medicalization of women’s experiences has both positive and negative consequences. While increased recognition of medical conditions common amongst women is important, overtreatment can result when normal life processes are classified as medical problems. In recent decades, there has been an increasing prevalence and promotion of medical and naturopathic treatment options for the management of menopause symptoms.

These symptoms are commonly understood to arise from fluctuating hormone levels experienced during peri/menopause. In this research, I compared women’s accounts of menopause symptoms in online discussion boards and descriptions of these symptoms in medical literature to uncover how biomedical knowledge is both consistent and inconsistent with social understandings of menopause symptoms and their treatment. In this research I used critical discourse analysis methods to gain an in-depth understanding of the ways in which women come to interpret their personal experience with menopause, while providing special consideration to what they deemed a “menopause symptom” worthy of medical intervention.

My analysis demonstrates that women and medical professionals focus on different aspects of the experience of menopause, leaving many women to seek treatments elsewhere. Findings from this research could inform medical practices to strengthen support services available to women transitioning through menopause.


Title: Montreal’s Jewish Polity and Its Inclusive Institutionalization

Abstract: Public life in Montreal from confederation until Quebec’s quiet revolution was dominated by Catholic influence, particularly within three jurisdictions of the civil service: health care, education, and social services (including welfare, community centers and child protection). However, the quiet revolution bred the seismic expansion of Quebec’s provincial government, which in turn, diminished the cultural primacy of Catholic identity in Montreal and the influence of the Catholic parish in administering public services.

Interestingly, Montreal’s Jewish community displays a contrasting story from the city’s broader religious-political development. The Jewish community has continued to expand its institutional capacity in the aftermath of the quiet revolution with more than 400 community organizations actively serving Jewish Montrealers today. Additionally, Jewish self-identification within the city has seen an average increase in population over the past five decades. This analysis seeks to outline the external and internal processes undergirding Montreal’s Jewish polity-consolidation that have molded a politically autonomous Jewish community in Montreal’s increasingly secular context.

The external environment for which Jewish institutions were forced to adapt in Montreal showcases the influence of Quebec’s minimalist government, stratified patterns of Jewish immigration, and Quebecois cultural anti-Semitism upon the institutional completeness of Montreal’s Jewish community. The internal-inclusive leadership ethic common to the most socially salient Jewish organizations uncovers how Montreal’s Jewish polity has endured despite the widespread social secularization of post quiet revolution Quebec.


Student Panel 7

Chair: Gabrielle Levasseur

Title: MSM Determination: An Examination of the Activity Levels of the People at the Fortress of Louisbourg

Abstract: Musculoskeletal stress markers represent skeletal changes expressed by the increased muscle strain at specific insertion points on the bone. During an individual’s lifetime, there may be increased skeletal changes due to the repetitive use of specific muscles related to occupation or activity. This research focuses on individuals from the 18th century Rochefort Point cemetery at the Fortress of Louisbourg.

This research will help determine the variability in musculoskeletal stress markers across this population, which speaks to the different types of labours present in this 18th-century French colony. Historically, individuals living at Louisbourg were fishermen, sailors, blacksmiths, gardeners and soldiers, occupations that required an extensive amount of physical strength, particularly in the upper limb. For this study, the left and right humeri from 19 adult individuals were examined, specifically robusticity at the insertion point for the deltoideus muscle.

In general, most individuals showed similar robusticity between the left and right humeri; however, in some cases, the right humeri was more defined, suggesting handedness. Middle-aged adults tended to have the most robust skeletal changes, perhaps indicating their extended years of physical labour and/or extended time participating in physically demanding occupations. Interestingly, there was no difference in robusticity between the sexes suggesting a similar level of physical labour between males and females at Louisbourg.

This research is significant because it helps us better understand the types of occupations and their physical requirements at Louisbourg. This research also helps to provide more insight into the lived experience in 18th century Atlantic Canada.


Title: Life and Death in New France: How artifacts can assist in the interpretation of construction, trade, lifestyle, and burials at the 18th Century Fortress of Louisbourg

Abstract: From 1713 to 1758 the Fortress of Louisbourg served as a fortified town for soldiers, fishermen, merchants, and citizens settling primarily from France and looking to begin life in North America. With a population of over 4,000 individuals by 1745, the fortress saw numerous hardships including harsh winters, poor crop production, and was besieged twice by English forces. After the final English occupation period in 1758 the fortress was systematically deconstructed and saw the dispersal of its residents over a 10-year period.

The fortress, left destroyed and in ruins, remained deserted for over 200 years until the Government of Canada undertook a historical reconstruction of the site which remains ongoing to this day. This study will examine the lives of these 18th century individuals through artifact analysis of material goods (i.e., utensils, storage containers, decorative objects), construction materials (e.g., nails), weaponry (i.e., musket balls, gun flints), and grave items (i.e., coffin nails, hinges, buttons, coins) exhumed as part of an ongoing rescue excavation at Louisbourg due to coastal erosion.

Preliminary findings suggest that the individuals who lived within the fortified town were wealthy and in good health despite relatively poor environmental, agricultural, and building conditions. It is evident through artifact analysis of over 10,000 artifacts recovered over the past three field seasons that these individuals possessed the means of necessary survival and prosperity in Louisbourg due to this wealth and relative ease of access to imported goods. This analysis aims to create connections between the people who lived in this fortified town and the items used to construct, produce, and survive in New France.


Title: “It Ought to Make Us Think”: Examining the Impact of the Second World War on Dalhousie University

Abstract: On 10 September 1939, nine days following the German invasion of Poland, Canada declared war on Germany. Canada’s entry into the war caused uncertainty throughout the nation, not least on university campuses. The first post-war-declaration edition of Dalhousie’s student paper, the Dalhousie Gazette, encapsulated the sentiment of students and professors alike as it welcomed Dalhousie’s 904 students to “the first semester of a rather uncertain college term.” Six long years later, the Gazette would herald the dawn of a new era at Dalhousie, announcing a record-breaking enrollment of over 1100 students (compared to 654 the previous year), with “the number of ex-servicemen entering the University exceed[ing] three hundred.” This paper considers the war’s impact on Dalhousie’s administration, military presence, and student life. It argues that in each of these areas, the war increased the emphasis on the value of the wisdom obtained through education, and the responsibility of Dalhousie graduates to use that wisdom to create a better world.

This paper uses as a primary research base two resources: the Dalhousie Gazette, published twenty times per school year, and the Dalhousie yearbook, Pharos. The former gives a students’ viewpoint, and the latter a faculty perspective (in the form of yearly addresses written by each dean). These resources are invaluable to the formation of a more encompassing portrait of Dalhousie during the Second World War. Using these sources to compliment the small amount of secondary literature, the aims of this paper are threefold: to give an overview of the subject, to further a little-considered domain of wartime study, and to offer the interpretation that Dalhousie students and faculty used the war to advance rhetoric of wisdom stemming from education. Educational institutions have historically been tested, challenged, and refined by global struggles. This paper tells Dalhousie’s story.


Title: Vassa's Expedition to the Arctic by Lorenzo Serravalle and Nina Borba

Abstract: Through this video project (carried out under Professor Paul Lovejoy's supervision), we have decided to follow the Arctic expedition's voyage of 1773 commanded by Constantine John Phipps. We depict the thrilling events of this adventure through Gustavus Vassa's eyes as narrated in his autobiography, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African (1794).

Gustavus Vassa was an African man from the Igbo region who was abducted and enslaved as a child. He left his mark on history through the hardships, adventures, faith and love he narrated in his autobiography. Vassa's breathtaking and thorough account of his Arctic experience, along with the need to produce historical knowledge of African lives and their individual stories through different mediums and creative processes, led the authors to develop the video Vassa's Expedition to the Arctic.

The video was created following the methodologies of Research-Creation and Knowledge Mobilization to disseminate the narrative and perspective of an African man within a vanguardist expedition. The creators decided to produce the video in a first-person narrative, presenting Vassa as the narrator and protagonist of his own experience, as can be perceived in his book while placing the spectator in "Vassa's shoes" with the use of images and sounds. Furthermore, the idea behind the video on Vassa's Expedition to the Artic also originated from the awareness of the debate regarding the position of several Black characters' plots revolving in the sole discussion against anti-Black racism. Racism is undeniably present in all aspects of Black people's lives in Europe and the Americas. However, it needs to be perceived that Black lives do not revolve entirely and solely on it. Therefore, we decided to take another aspect of Vassa's life, portray him as the narrator, protagonist and hero of his own story in a thrilling and exciting expedition to the Arctic.