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Join us on Tuesday January 22nd at 10:30am for the first Visiting Speaker Series panel of the year, featuring three recent graduates of McMaster’s doctoral program in English and Cultural Studies —  Jennifer Adese, Vinh Nguyen, and S. Trimble — as well as current McMaster postdoctoral fellow Lucia Lorenzi.

The presenters will each share insights drawn from their research into histories of colonial, racial, gender, and sexual violence. In addition, each will also reflect on how it feels — what it takes — to do this work in the academy at the present time. Why is it necessary? (How) can it be sustained?


Living On: Reflections on Researching Histories of Violence

January 22 from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm

Wilson (LRW) 2001


Jennifer Adese, University of Toronto, Mississauga
Extinguishing the Dead: Colonial Archives, Anxieties, and Reflections on Researching ‘Métis’ Scrip

From the 1870s through to the 1920s, Métis families and communities across the prairies, parklands, and into the boreal forest, were broken up and dispossessed of the homelands through what at the time was referred to as the Halfbreed Scrip Commissions. The Scrip process has been extensively studied, yet substantial gaps remain in our understanding. What can a focus on the extinguishment of the dead tell us about Canada’s anxieties about itself, but also, what else might we glean from such archives as to how Métis people experienced processes of colonization? While most analyses of the Scrip focus on the implications on and for the living, through archival research and autoethnographic reflection on this troubling dimension of Canada’s colonial land regime, in this presentation, I probe extinguishment of the “Indian title” of deceased Métis people.

Vinh Nguyen, Renison College, University of Waterloo

Through the concept of “refugeetude,” this paper explores interlinked questions about the temporality of experience, psychic formation, and political possibility. Starting with the premise that lived experiences of refuge(e) constitute a form of subjectivity, and proposing an expansion of the refugee category beyond the legal definition to include a range of times, places, and subjects, this paper conceptualizes refugeetude as a coming-into-consciousness of the social, political, and historical forces that situate refugee subjects, and the acts that attempt to know, impact, and transcend this situation. Redirecting dominant perception of refugee as a temporary legal designation and a condition of social abjection towards refugee as an enduring creative force, refugeetude opens up new ways of conceptualizing refugee subjects and relationalities. Through refugeetude, we can comprehend refugee not as an irregularity or disruption of political subjecthood—a “crisis” to be resolved—but an experiential resource for developing significant and durable ways of being in, and moving through, the world.

S. Trimble, University of Toronto, St. George
Writing The End: On Story, Method, and Apocalypse  

In this talk I reflect on the process of reimagining my doctoral dissertation as a book on apocalypse films and the brutal history of transatlantic modernity. My comments are organized around three questions that represent some of the emotional, ethical, and methodological dilemmas that arose during the writing process: Where am I in this project? Is it okay to do what I’m doing? And what am I doing, anyway? These are questions about voice and identity, about archives, citational practices, scholarly fields, and Humanities-based methods. Anchored by the specificities of my work, I share some thoughts on how critique and creativity are entangled in academic writing.

Lucia Lorenzi, McMaster University
Care, For and As the Wound: Doing Difficult Work in Difficult Times
This paper is an attempt to think through the injurious nature of academic work, particularly in the field of trauma and memory studies. Working with the ideas of activists and scholars such as Christina Sharpe, adrienne maree brown, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, I try to articulate care work in the academy not only as a practice of tending to wounds, but as a praxis of living in and with the wounds themselves. This paper also queries how joy and pleasure intersect with painful work, and how to centre delight amidst difficult times.