Department of Communication Arts Colloquium
Featuring Dr. Shana McDonald and Dr. David Janzen
Light refreshments will be provided.
Dr. Janzen will discuss his work toward “Conceptualizing the Environment in Crisis.” How we respond to the environmental crisis is conditioned by how we conceptualize and narrate the problem. And how we conceptualize and narrate the problem is conditioned by often implicit assumptions about the relationship among environmental knowledge, subjectivity, and social change. This paper develops a critical comparison of two dominant narratives of environmental crisis (what I call didactic and political economic models); in particular, it shows that they are limited to reactive responses to environmental crisis. This paper then argues for (and gives examples of) a third, transformative understanding--one that builds on new conceptions of political subjectivity, and emphasizes diverse, creative and collaborative practices, particularly those that resonate with feminist and indigenous perspectives.
David Janzen’s research and teaching emphasize the power of collectivity and creativity. His work examines topics related to equality, environment, indigenous studies and digital media. He is completing a book-length study on theories of crisis and political subjectivity, and is currently developing a collaborative project that brings together indigenous communities, soil scientists, and critical theorists to examine soil as a form of media. David is also a musician, poet, and writer.
Dr. MacDonald will discuss her recent SSHRC funded project 'The Personal is Aesthetic', which looks at the history of feminist media activism between the 1970s and the present. Looking specifically at feminist media speaking against sexual harassment and abuse she will take up the significant tactics used by the recent #MeToo movement and outline parallels between it and earlier work by artist-activists like Suzanne Lacy and Yoko Ono. The talk will suggest that current digital feminist hashtag activism, like its predecessors in earlier feminist eras, employs lived experience or what Diana Taylor terms "vital acts of transfer" (2003) in order to create dialogue and a sense of community among feminists. In doing so, this work pushes back against the dominant discourse of sexual harassment and assault, offering new avenues of discussion.
Shana MacDonald's interdisciplinary scholarship is situated between film, media and performance studies, and examines intersectional feminism within social and digital media, popular culture, cinema, performance, and public art. She is the PI for SSHRC funded Insight Development Grant 'The Personal is Aesthetic: The Formal Politics of Feminist Film and Media" (2018-2020). Shana is an internationally curated artist who explores the community-building potential of practice-based research through her work with the qcollaborative, a feminist design lab dedicated to developing new forms of relationality through technologies of public performance.
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