Arts scholars in the media
A selection of recent media contributions by faculty members from Waterloo Arts.
Canada is diligently treading water | Christine McWebb (French Studies & Stratford Campus) writes in the Globe and Mail | December 4 2013
"We don’t need to wait for PISA results to acknowledge that we don’t do a very good job of assessing potential in the high-school years. After all, a snapshot of a 15-year-old’s performance on a standardized test on any given day cannot possibly be indicative of his or her future potential."
The pre-Digi Selfie | Aimee Morrison (English) talks on CBC's Spark program | November 24 2013
"In light of this week's news that 'selfie' was named by Oxford Dictionaries as their international Word of the Year, we speak with Aimee Morrison about the long, pre-digital history of the selfie, and what they reveal about our culture."
Proposed Senate reforms wouldn't have stopped expenses scandal | Emmett Macfarlane (Political Science) comments in CBC News | November 16 2013
"Macfarlane, who specializes in Supreme Court issues, added, 'It's very unfortunate that the Senate reform issue has been conflated with the expense scandals. The basis for Senate reform has nothing to do with Mike Duffy or the other senators.' "
JFK’s Weak Body And Strong Spirit | James Blight (History) writes in The Daily Beast | November 15 2013
"Kennedy was one of the sickliest American presidents, wracked with chronic back pain—but his metaphorical spine in standing up to the war hawks was unparalleled."
Multiculturalism changing Remembrance Day in Waterloo Region | Geoffrey Hayes (History) guest on CBC Radio's The Morning Edition | November 11 2013
Your guide to the Senate reform debate | Emmett Macfarlane (Political Science) writes in The Globe and Mail | November 11 2013
"This primer will explore the options and major points of contention facing the Court with respect to the Senate reform."
How Do You Boot a Mayor Who’s Admitted to Smoking Crack? | EmmettMacfarlane (Political Science) comments in The Atlantic | November 8 2013
" 'Our standards [for removing someone from elected office] should be higher than not being charged with a crime,' Macfarlane tells me. 'I don’t think we should reduce the concept of democracy and democratic accountability to just elections.' "
Google Street View maps London's River Thames | Colin Ellard (Psychology) comments in USA Today | November 7 2013
" 'One of the most difficult problems in using maps is making translations from the overhead view to how things look on the ground,' said Ellard. 'Street View helps people make that correlation.' "
Rob Ford reveals deep flaws in our democracy: We need an impeachment power | Emmett Macfarlane (Political Science) writes in The Globe and Mail | November 4 2013
"But a process must exist and it must reflect the fact that there is a substantive content to keeping the public’s trust between elections that exhibits a better standard than not being charged with a crime. If Premier Wynne believes that such a standard exists, then her government must put in place a law that protects it."
Let’s bring Ottawa’s political staffers out of the shadows with a code of conduct | Anna Lennox Esselment (Political Science) writes in The Globe and Mail | October 28 2013
"Canadians expect and deserve an impartial, merit-based bureaucracy, but the imperative of party government requires the rendering of political advice to elected politicians. Public servants cannot, by definition, offer political advice to ministers of the crown. Political staff fill this role and are thus crucial to ensuring a clear division of labour between those who assist with 'politics' and those who provide 'policy options' to the government of the day."
The university debate: specialize or be a generalist? | Ginny Dybenko (Stratford Campus) comments in The Globe and Mail | October 22 2013
" 'In the old days,what students would be told if they were really passionate about the arts or the humanities was to become an accountant, and then they could play with that other stuff in their spare time,' Dybenko says. 'If they’re passionate about the arts [...] then we encourage them and give them enough technology so that they can apply that in the digital age and enough business skills so that they are actually useful in the workplace.' "
Oktoberfest not true celebration of German culture, says prof | James Skidmore (Germanic & Slavic Studies) talks on CBC | October 14 2013
"Imagine you're a German in the K-W area in the 1950s and the 1960s. It was a period of time where you couldn't show a lot of pride in being German. So the festival, the idea of having Oktoberfest was, I think, a way of expressing some pride in being German that was not focused on the German-ness, the nationalism."
Prospects brighter in 2014 for new business graduates | Neil Randall (English / Games Institute) comments in The Globe and Mail | October 11 2013
Neil Randall, director of the Games Institute comments on a unique two-month assignment in which English students must produce a story in written or visual ways about a collection of data.
Confusion reigns in Egypt as Greyson, Loubani wait | Bessma Momani (Political Science) comments in The Star | October 8 2013
"It’s a typically Egyptian nightmare," says Bessma Momani of the University of Waterloo politics department. "It’s what most Egyptians have to face on a daily basis. Things never move smoothly, and there’s no real due process."
From Books to Screen | Christine McWebb (French Studies & Stratford Campus) appears on TVO The Agenda with Steve Paikin | October 7 2013
The Future of Learning | Christine McWebb (French Studies & Stratford Campus) speaks on CBC | October 4 2013
15-minute phone call cause for hope in U.S.-Iran relations | Bessma Momani (Political Science) writes in The Star | October 1 2013
Professor Momani gives a succinct and insightful summary of acrimonious U.S.-Iran relations over the past decades, concluding the article with "this moment where two doves are in power is a historic opportunity that must not be missed."
Prize-winning professor touches on creativity & the brain | Paul Thagard (Philosophy) Killam lecture featured in The Chronicle Herald | September 24 2013
"'There's a lot of disagreement about what emotions are,' said Paul Thagard, a professor of philosophy at the University of Waterloo and the director of the school's cognitive science program."
Canada slow to initiate disaster prevention programs, experts warn | Daniel Henstra (Political Science) comments in Post Media News | September 23 2013
"The good news, Henstra said, is that governments are talking, but if any progress is to be made on implementing the plan, it had better happen fast. The window of public attention opened by this summer's disasters is already closing. 'That's the problem with this type of thing: It's in everyone's interest, nobody is practically responsible, and attention is short.'"
Researchers protest political interference in science | David DeVidi (Philosophy) comments in The Record | September 18 2013
"DeVidi said in an interview that federal cuts to science isn't just an issue affecting 'academics in university.' The Harper government's decision to kill off the long-form census hurts everyday things, like this region's ability to plan for light rail transit, he said."
Is gaming good for you? | Neil Randall (English / Games Institute) guest on CBC Radio's Ontario Today | September 6 2013
Blame Your Unemployment On the Job Market, Not Universities | Kate Lawson (English) writes in Huffington Post | September 3 2013
"Of course universities should look at ways to improve the education they provide; things can always work better. But the emerging tunnel-vision around binding universities to narrow labour market outcomes devalues all of the other, equally important work that a university does."
Harper's arctic evolution | P. Whitney Lackenbauer (St Jerome's University / History) writes in the Globe and Mail | August 20 2013
"The Prime Minister will stress continuity in his government’s efforts to fulfill its Arctic platform, introduced in 2005 – but its priorities have quietly changed."
Beer Store profits $700M yearly from near monopoly, study finds | Anindya Sen (Economics) on CBC TV and online | August 12 2013
"'These findings aren't necessarily an argument to reduce beer prices, as there are arguments that higher prices play an important social policy role,' said Sen, whose study was financially supported by the Ontario Convenience Stores Association."
High birth rate among immigrant women has implications for Canada | Ana Ferrer (Economics) in The Vancouver Sun | August 8 2013
"The study aims to help governments and businesses respond to demographic changes in Canada, track the availability of workers of both genders and adjust taxpayer-support services."
Tasting colours, seeing sounds | Mike Dixon (Psychology) in The Globe and Mail | August 2 2013
"'One can think of synesthetes as having brain connections between different areas that most of us do not have,' Dr. Dixon said. 'Sound-colour synesthetes have direct connections between areas that process sound and those that process colour – hence when they hear a sound they also see a colour.'”
Will PED punishment be a real deterrent? | Philip Curry (Economics) in The Globe and Mail | August 1 2013
“'Even if they do get caught, rarely do they come out worse financially than if they’d never taken performance-enhancing drugs at all,' says economist Philip Curry, who teaches an economics of sports class at the University of Waterloo."
What do we really want to do with the Senate? | Emmett Macfarlane (Political Science) writes in Maclean's magazine | July 22 2013
"The problem with the Senate debate is that the consensus is illusory. Discounting those who are fine with the status quo or do not care, roughly half of people polled favour reform, the other half abolition."
The self-radicalized terrorist next door | Lorne Dawson (Sociology & Legal Studies) in Maclean's magazine | July 12 2013
"'Studies into their social backgrounds discovered, to put it in a nutshell, that most of the people involved are remarkably ordinary,' says Lorne L. Dawson."
Ten Tips for a Psychologically Rewarding Vacation | Collin Ellard(Psychology) writes in Psychology Today | July 6 2013
"The main idea is to shake up your preconceptions (or avoid forming any), leave your auto-pilot behind, and open your senses wide to new experiences."
Egyptian coup is nothing to celebrate | Bessma Momani (Political Science) writes in the Ottawa Citizen | July 4 2013
"What will happen when the military cannot meet the needs of the people? Militaries often resort to emergency laws to suppress liberties and get a state’s 'house in order.' This is the risk that Egyptians have taken with this coup d’état. It’s not a moment to celebrate, but one to take with great caution."
Victoria terror plot discussed on Early Edition in Vancouver | Veronica Kitchen (Political Science) on CBC Radio | July 3 2013
Were Victoria terrorist bomb suspects really ‘self-radicalized?’ Probably not| Lorne Dawson (Sociology & Legal Studies) writes in the Globe and Mail | July 3 2013
"In most cases, and in line with human nature, people have a strong need, on the one hand, to share deeply felt beliefs or passionate views with others. On the other hand, they have an equally strong need to receive the justification provided by the attention and affirmation of others."
Music to a gambler's ears: Noisy slot machines make winning more exciting (and also make us fritter more) | Mike Dixon (Psychology) and Arts colleagues in the Gambling Research Lab cited in The Daily Mail (UK) | July 2 2013
"Although sounds may have contributed to players' enjoyment of the game, sound may also lead to an overestimation of winning. Both of these effects may contribute to gambling problems..."
StatsCan's National Household Survey should have focused on particular groups (video)| Mikal Skuterud (Economics) on CTV News | June 26 2013
Private alcohol sales could lower prices, increase profits: Study | Anindya Sen (Economics) featured in CTV News | June 24 2013
"'The common public perception is if you introduce enhanced retail competition, it will lead to a reduction in profits,' Anindya Sen, an economist at the University of Waterloo, told CTVNews.ca. 'That is not true.'"
Building a Brain | Chris Eliasmith (Philosophy) interviewed on CBC Radio, Quirks & Quarks | June 23 2013
During an ugly partisan session, rays of hope for our Parliament | Emmett Macfarlane (Political Science) writes in the Globe and Mail | June 19 2013
"If Parliament is to be revitalized, a greater assertion by its members of not only their rights but also their duty to hold government to account, to act as individuals rather than herded sheep, is crucial. Beneath the noise of scandal... the last few months also bore witness to the door being cracked ever-so-slightly open towards a more functional Parliament."
With Progress Comes Dissent: Give Erdogan Space | Bessma Momani (Political Science) writes in The New York Times | June 5 2013
"Erdogan commended many of the Arab Spring uprisings that have challenged autocratic rule, so it must come as somewhat of a surprise to him that his own people harbor similar frustrations. Turkey’s poster-boy image of what a successful democracy can be in the Middle East is suddenly being challenged."
Turkey’s Summer of Discontent | Bessma Momani writes in the Canadian International Council's Open Canada site | June 3 2013
"...the basic context for the protests must be appreciated: Turkish society today is extremely polarized. Turkey has never enjoyed a high degree of social cohesion; former President Kemal Ataturk’s single-minded state building only ever papered over historic ideological and ethnic divisions."