2021 Events

Institute Events


Friends, colleagues, students, and community associates are gathering together to remember and commemorate Jerry Zaslove, professor emeritus at Simon Fraser University in the departments of English and Humanities from 1965 until his retirement in 2000. Professor Zaslove was the founding director of the Institute for the Humanities from 1983 until 2000. He was also one of the founders of the SFU Prague Field School and its director for years. In 2012 he was appointed the Simons Chair in the Graduate Liberal Studies program and in 2017 the Simons Fellow in GLS, where he actively mentored students until his death on June 23, 2021.

Jerry was a lover of literature, especially German, Czech, and Russian, and could speak tirelessly about Kafka, Brecht, Wolf, Dostoyevsky, Bakhtin, and Voloshinov. He was a lover of the arts, be it photography, film, theatre, installations, or music. He took great delight in pop-up children's books and the world of cartoon satire. A long time Deep Cove resident, where he and his wife Sibylle raised their children, and later North Vancouver, he loved the west coast but felt equally at home in cities such as Prague and Berlin, where he could re-connect with some of his longtime cherished friends. He was indeed a mensch.

People who represent various areas of Jerry's life have been asked to offer their tributes to this remarkable human being who was a beloved and respected member of our communities.


  • Charles Robert Simard
  • Ian Angus
  • Derek Simons
  • Arvind Thakore
  • Bob Russell
  • Gary Teeple
  • Alan Whitehorn
  • Morgan Young
  • Glenn Deefholts
  • Kerstin Stuerzbecher
  • Jeff Wall
  • Ken Seigneurie
  • Alessandra Capperdoni


Eleanor Stebner


Co-sponsored by the Institute for the Humanities, Edmonton Public Library, Milton Public Library, Thunder Bay Public Library, Toronto Public Library, Vancouver Public Library

Samir Gandesha in conversation with Charles Reeve

Samir Gandesha is a prominent Canadian public intellectual and Director of the Institute for the Humanities at Simon Fraser University. He is the author and editor of numerous books, most recently Spectres of Fascism: Historical, Theoretical and International Perspectives.  He writes regularly for openDemocracyCanadian DimensionEspace Art ActuelTruthoutVancouver Sun, the Globe and Mail, and Los Angeles Review of Books. Join Samir in conversation with Charles Reeve, Associate Professor and Chair of Liberal Studies at OCAD University.


Organized and sponsored by SFU's Institute for the Humanities and cosponsored by Ricochet Media

The summer of 2021 was historic for British Columbia. The province was hit by a so-called “heat dome” that led to never-before-seen temperatures across BC. The town of Lytton reached 49.6°C, the hottest temperature ever recorded in Canada; the next day the town burned to the ground.

It was also a long, hot summer of discontent in the forests of Vancouver Island as determined efforts to stop old-growth logging at Fairy Creek was met with RCMP violence and over 1000 arrests. This made it the single largest civil-disobedience action in Canadian history, surpassing the protests of 1993 at Clayoquot Sound which were dubbed the “War in the Woods.” The urgency of the land protection efforts at Fairy Creek is made clear by the climate crisis and this unprecedented heat wave.

There are vitally important questions of Indigenous sovereignty at stake. A crucial question was whether the Indian-Act-created band councils or hereditary leadership were upholding their responsibility to protect the land for future generations. In the case of Fairy Creek, the Pacheedaht were not unanimous on the question of strategy with the council favouring existing logging contracts and requesting that the forest guardians leave, on the one hand, and elders such as Bill Jones leading the frontlines to protect the ancient forests against the Teal-Jones logging company, on the other. 

This panel will include a diversity of voices: journalists, legal scholars, Indigenous land defenders, and Afro-Canadian activists, to consider the various complexities and challenges of Fairy Creek in the context of the unfolding climate emergency.


  • Rainbow Eyes is a land defender at Fairy Creek and member of the Da'naxda'xw-Awaetlala First Nation near Knight Inlet on Vancouver Island.
  • Jerome Turner is a journalist at Ricochet) covers national and provincial issues with a focus on First Nations. Born and raised in Hazelton, B.C., he is of Gitxsan and Swedish descent. 
  • Aaron Neil Bourne is an Afro-Indo-Caribbean, small-business owner, storyteller, artist, investigative journalist, wizard, filmmaker, illustrator, videographer, and kayak guide who is working on a short film series that will, in part, explore the microcosm that is Fairy Creek Blockade.
  • Elder Bill Jones is band member of the Pacheedaht First Nation in the area and a leading member of the Rainforest Flying Squad of protestors who are fighting for the survival of this sacred territory.


Rita Wong is an Associate Professor in Critical and Cultural Studies at Emily Carr University who respects the relationships between contemporary poetics, water justice, ecology, and decolonization.


Organized by SFU's Institute for the Humanities, and co-sponsored by the Geopolitical Economy Research GroupDr. Hari Sharma Foundation, and the Indian Farmers and Workers Support Group

Indian farmers protests against the Modi Governments efforts to corporatize Indian agriculture have been unprecedented in their scale and intensity. Despite government and media efforts to discredit them and heavy handed repression, they have attracted support from all over the country and have persisted. What is at stake in them? What do they tell us about the state of Indian agriculture and economy and of Indian politics? Why should the rest of the world be interested?

The event will address the political, social, and economic dimensions and global ramifications of the Indian Farmers’ strike. Panelists to speak for 15 min followed by open discussion and Q&A.


  • Shreya Sinha is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, working on the political economy of development and agrarian change in India. 
  • Ajay Gudavarthy is a political theorist, analyst, and columnist in India. He is also an Associate Professor in political science at Centre for Political Studies, JNU, New Delhi.
  • Prabhat Patnaik is an Indian Marxist economist and political commentator, and taught at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning in the School of Social Sciences at JNU in New Delhi, from 1974 until his retirement in 2010.


Radhika Desai is Professor at the Department of Political Studies, and Director, Geopolitical Economy Research Group, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.


Cosponsored by 45+ centers or departments at 40+ Universities

Contributing Cosponsors: Northwestern, Stockton, UPenn, Black, Brown, and Queer Studies, Harvard, U of Washington, Seattle, Princeton, Stanford, UC Santa Cruz, Ohio State, McMaster, Simon Fraser, UT Austin, Cornell, UC Berkely, Syracuse, Emory, UC San Diego, NYU, U Illinois Urbana-Champaign, UMass, Boston

Supporting Cosponsors: Boston College, Columbia, Concordia, Dalhousie, Drew, Georgetown, Lehigh, Rutgers, Polis Project, St Mary’s, U Amsterdam, U Chicago, U Colorado-Boulder, U Göttingen, U Illinois, Chicago, U Manitoba, U Mass, Amherst, U Michigan, USC, U Toronto, U Virginia, U Wisconsin-Madison, York


  • Ananda Patwardhan
  • Ayesha Kidwai
  • Banu Subramaniam
  • Bhanwar Meghwanshi
  • Christophe Jaffrelot
  • Kavita Krishan
  • Meena Kandasamy
  • Mohammad Junaid
  • Nandini Sunder
  • Neha Dixit
  • P. Sivakami

In panels on Caste, Gender & Sexuality, Political Economy, Science, and Propaganda


A series of panel discussions hosted by the Institute for the Humanities at SFU featuring leading activists and thinkers addressing the short and long emergencies facing our society, including how the pandemic has exacerbated or exposed previously-existing injustices. Topics to be discussed include the climate emergency; the inadequacies of existing public health care systems; big tech, surveillance and policing; as well as how to achieve an economic recovery that reduces rather than widens inequality. In the final session, we will bring together leading figures from movements for systemic change to discuss the lessons from the pandemic for all those interested in building a more just world.


Dec 15: What does a just recovery for Canada and the world look like? (Speakers; Nayeli Jimenez, Thea Riofrancos, Matthew Green)

Just before the current session of Parliament got underway, it was reported that Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government was shelving $100 billion worth of investments in green economy infrastructure in order to prioritize Canada’s recovery from COVID-19. Rather than counterpose measures to deal with the pandemic and the longer-term emergency of climate change, a new generation of activists across the country and internationally are demanding a Just Recovery. What are the key demands needed to win a just recovery, how do they relate to the pre-existing campaigns for a Green New Deal, and how can we use this perilous political moment to strengthen movements for a just transition and systemic change? Join the SFU Institute for Humanities for an online presentation and discussion with some of North America’s leading activists and thinkers on these pressing issues. 

This session was cosponsored by Ricochet Media and SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement

Feb 24: The Pandemic and the Future of Public Health: Surviving COVID-19 and preparing for the next crisis (Speakers; Colleen Fuller, Stephane Bilodeau, Ishmam Bhuiyan)

Earlier this year COVID-19 tore through long-term care facilities in B.C. and across Canada, leaving a trail of death and shock in its wake. The pandemic exposed the crisis of elder care in our society, a crisis exacerbated by privatization and precarious low-paid work in this vital sector. More generally, the pandemic has shown there remain big gaps in our public health care system, from preventative health to pharma and dental care and elder care, Canada is far from the ideal of truly universal and comprehensive health care.

Apr 21: Economic Recovery: Is it time for basic income? (Speakers; Floyd Marinescu, John Clarke)

But how are you going to pay for it? This has been the incredulous, reflexive response to any proposals for progressive reform throughout the neoliberal era. So when the pandemic hit last year, activists had to push hard before governments yielded any substantial income replacement payments to the most vulnerable and those hit hardest by COVID-related losses. The experience with the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) has reignited debate over proposals for a Universal Basic Income (UBI). This is a question on which progressive voices have been divided. While some see UBI as a necessary step forward, others warn it could pave the way for yet more neoliberal restructuring and cuts.

May 5: The Pandemic and the Police: A Panel Discussion on COVID, the surveillance state and the future of movements to defund (Speakers; Kelley Lee, Taz Khandwani, Jessica Quijano)

Earlier this month, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that pandemic stay-at-home orders meant that anyone could be stopped and asked by police where they were going. Montreal and other urban centres in Quebec have been strict curfews for months, while in B.C. Premier John Horgan announced his government would also be authorizing police to do random checks on people travelling within the province but that they would “consult” people of colour to make sure such measures weren’t discriminatory. Meanwhile, under the banner of “anti lockdown” movements, the far right and other political forces opposed to mask wearing and other public health measures have rallied with impunity in ever greater numbers across Canada. Debates about surveillance and policing take place in the context of a North America––wide Black Lives Matter movement and a renewal of demands to defund or abolish police forces altogether. Join us for a wide-ranging panel and discussion. 

Jun 16: Never let a good crisis go to waste: How the left can win big after the pandemic (Speakers; Niki Ashton, Kshama Sawant, Bhaskar Sunkara, Vladimir Safatle)

The response of governments around the world to COVID-19 has exposed many of the myths upholding neoliberalism, as it turns out governments can mobilize unprecedented public resources to respond to a crisis. That said, in almost every jurisdiction the pandemic has seen widening inequality, soaring profits for the billionaire class, and a disproportionate share of the burden—whether measured in deaths, job losses, or highly exploited precarious labour—shouldered by working class and racialized populations. As we come out of the pandemic, there’s a growing sense that a “return to normal” isn’t what’s needed and that systemic inequality must be overcome. And yet most efforts to begin to truly transform society—Bernie Sanders’ run for the U.S. presidency, Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the UK Labour Party, ‘left-populist’ experiments like Podemos in Spain—have still fallen short. 


Organized by Dr. Hari Sharma Foundation and Indian Farmers and Workers Support Group

Co-sponsored by Institute for the Humanities, SFU; South Asian Studies Institute, University of Fraser Valley; South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD), Vancouver; Democracy, Equality and Secularism in South Asia (DESSA), Winnipeg; Punjabi Literary and Cultural Association, Winnipeg; Gursharan Singh Memorial Lecture Committee, Vancouver 


  • Councillor Jean Swanson
  • Jerry Dias
  • Councillor Chuck Puchmayr
  • Stephen Von Sychowski


Organized by SFU's Institute for the Humanities and co-sponsored by SFU's Vancity Office for Community Engagement

Contrary to claims that phenomenology is methodologically unfit for interrogating nature, I propose a generative conception of phenomenology that would, counterintuitively, base it on a mythic view of nature. This affords a positive reinterpretation of Horkheimer and Adorno’s claim that “enlightenment reverts to mythology,” and as a kind of ‘reenchantment’ it is fraught with risk. But far from indicting phenomenology, it points to its potential for a higher critical perspective that can own up fully to the normative implications of its horizons. Such an approach is implicitly taken by Merleau-Ponty in his Nature lectures, where he sketched out a dialectical view of biological development that is broadly congruent with 21st-century views of an ‘extended’ evolutionary synthesis, including an openness to neo-Lamarckian transformism. Merleau-Ponty pursued this as way to work out the dialectical ontology required by ‘historical materialism’ broadly construed, and the results are methodologically inseparable from the normativity of this motivation. Merleau-Ponty’s interest in nature has substantial affinities with the current revival of universal history in the ‘deep’ sense of integrating human and natural history. Although his specific achievements were limited, his phenomenological approach can provide a viable basis for pursuing deep history, answering objections concerning its universal purport, and addressing worries about the ‘politicization’ of natural science that the pursuit of deep history with any sort of ‘emancipatory intent’ would seem to inevitably involve.


Bryan Smyth (PhD, McGill) has taught philosophy at the University of Mississippi since 2013. His research deals primarily with phenomenology and Critical Theory, and how these traditions intersect with regard to nature and history. He published Merleau-Ponty’s Existential Phenomenology and the Realization of Philosophy in 2014 (Bloomsbury), and is working on a follow-up volume entitled Hyperdialectical Materialism: Nature and History in Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology. His annotated translation of Merleau-Ponty’s Le monde sensible et le monde de l’expression appeared in 2020 (Northwestern), and he is currently translating its companion volume, Recherches sur l’usage littéraire du langage. He is co-editing a volume of new essays on phenomenology and Marxism (Lexington), and preparing a monograph entitled Incarnating the Good: Rethinking Heroism as an Embodied Phenomenon. He is President of the Society for Existential and Phenomenological Theory and Culture, serves on the editorial board of Heroism Studies, and is Critical Theory Reviews Editor for Symposium.


Politicians increasingly affirm that addressing Canada's legacy of colonialism, and achieving racial justice for Indigenous peoples, requires transformative social, economic, and cultural change. Every day we see evidence of the need for bold action whether it be the lack of access to clean drinking water, the disproportionate presence of Indigenous people within the criminal justice system, reduced educational and economic opportunities, and many other realities. But despite political rhetoric that promises change, and some incremental progress, the fact remains that this transformative change is yet to happen. Why has this urgently needed change been so slow in coming? What should governments, Indigenous peoples, and the public be doing today to drive forward the real change that is needed? What role can the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples play in this work? The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, P.C., Q.C., M.P. (Puglaas)––Canada's first Indigenous Minister of Justice and Attorney General, and Canada's first elected female Independent Member of Parliament––will answer these questions, and others, while sharing insights from her unique experience as an Indigenous and Canadian politician and leader.


The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould was first elected as the Member of Parliament for the new constituency of Vancouver Granville on October 19, 2015. On November 4, 2015, Ms. Wilson-Raybould was appointed the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada making her the first Indigenous person to serve in this portfolio. She then served as Minister of Veterans Affairs of Canada from January 14, 2019 until her resignation on February 12, 2019. Following the 2019 election she was re-elected as the Independent Member of Parliament for Vancouver Granville, making her the only Independent in the 43rd Parliament. Ms. Wilson-Raybould is a lawyer, advocate, and leader among British Columbia’s First Nations. She has a strong reputation as a bridge builder between communities, and a champion of good governance and accountability. Prior to entering politics, she was a provincial crown prosecutor in Vancouver and later served as an advisor at the BC Treaty Commission, a body established to oversee complex treaty negotiations between First Nations and the Crown. In 2004, she was elected as Commissioner by the Chiefs of the First Nations Summit. In 2009, Ms. Wilson-Raybould was elected Regional Chief of the BC Assembly of First Nations, where she devoted herself to the advancement of First Nations governance, fair access to land and resources, as well as improved education and health care services. She was re-elected as Regional Chief in 2012 and served until 2015, holding responsibilities for governance and nation building on the Assembly of First Nations Executive. Ms. Wilson-Raybould also served two terms as a councillor for the We Wai Kai Nation. An active volunteer in her community, Ms. Wilson-Raybould has served as a Director for Capilano College, the Minerva Foundation for B.C. Women, the Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre, and the National Centre for First Nations Governance. She was also a director on the First Nations Lands Advisory Board and Chair of the First Nations Finance Authority. Ms. Wilson-Raybould is a descendant of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk and Laich-Kwil-Tach peoples, which are part of the Kwakwaka’wakw and also known as the Kwak’wala speaking peoples. She is a member of the We Wai Kai Nation. Her traditional name, Puglaas, means "woman born to noble people.”


  • Samir Gandesha is currently associate professor in the Department of the Humanities and the Director of the Institute for the Humanities at Simon Fraser University. He specializes in modern European thought and culture, with a particular emphasis on the relation between politics, aesthetics, and psychoanalysis. He has contributed chapters to numerous volumes including The Cambridge Companion to Adorno (2003), Herbert Marcuse: A Critical Reader (2004), The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Thought (2014), The Sage Handbook on Frankfurt School Critical Theory (2018), The Bloomsbury Companion to Marx (2018), as well as to a wide range of journals including Political TheoryNew German CritiqueConstellationsInternational Forum of PsychoanalysisThe American Journal of PsychoanalysisLogosKant StudienPhilosophy and Social Criticism, the European Legacy, the European Journal of Social Theory, Discipline Filosofiche, Estudios PoliticosZeitschrift für kritische TheorieRadical Philosophy, and Constelaciones: Revista de Teoria Critica.
  • Svend Robinson was one of the longest-serving federal Members of Parliament (MP) in British Columbia history, representing the community of Burnaby, including SFU, with the New Democratic Party for over twenty-five years (1979–2004). Since leaving federal politics, he has continued this tradition of public service internationally, and for almost a decade has worked with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, based in Switzerland. From his first election at the age of 27, Svend has charted a number of important firsts: he remains the only MP to be imprisoned for civil disobedience, at Clayoquot Sound in 1993; and was Canada’s first openly gay MP. His experiences of standing in solidarity with Cuba and the Palestinian people in occupied Israeli territory; being adopted into the Haida Nation in 1985; running for the leadership of his party in 1995; and tackling Big Pharma, bring an important perspective that will enrich ongoing discussions within and beyond the university community.


This book is concerned with the connection between the formal structure of agency and the formal structure of genocide. The contributors employ philosophical approaches to explore the idea of genocidal violence as a structural element in the world. Do mechanisms or structures in nation-states produce types of national citizens that are more susceptible to genocidal projects? There are powerful arguments within philosophy that in order to be the subjects of our own lives, we must constitute ourselves specifically as national subjects and organize ourselves into nation states. Additionally, there are other genocidal structures of human society that spill beyond historically limited episodes. The chapters in this volume address the significance—moral, ethical, political—of the fact that our very form of agency suggests or requires these structures. The contributors touch on topics including birthright citizenship, contemporary mass incarceration, anti-black racism, and late capitalism.

Logics of Genocide will be of interest to scholars and advanced students working in philosophy, critical theory, genocide studies, Holocaust and Jewish studies, history, and anthropology.


  • Anne O’Byrne is associate professor of philosophy at Stony Brook University. In addition to several translations of Jean-Luc Nancy and various articles at the intersection of ontology of politics, she is the author of Natality and Finitude (Indiana University Press, 2010) and with Hugh Silverman, the editor of Subject and Simulations (Lexington Books, 2013). 
  • Martin Shuster is associate professor of philosophy at Goucher College in Baltimore, MD, where he also holds the professorship of Judaic studies and Justice and where he directs the Center for Geographies of Justice. In addition to many articles, he is the author of Autonomy after Auschwitz: Adorno, German Idealism, and Modernity (University of Chicago Press, 2014), New Television: The Aesthetics and Politics of a Genre (University of Chicago Press, 2017), and How to Measure a World? A Philosophy of Judaism (Indiana University Press, 2021). 
  • Jill Stauffer is associate professor and director of the Peace, Justice, and Human Rights program at Haverford College. In addition to many articles, she is the author of Ethical Loneliness: The Injustice of Not Being Heard (Columbia University Press, 2015) and the editor, with Bettina Bergo, of Nietzsche and Levinas: After the Death of a Certain God (Columbia University Press, 2009). 


In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Italians endured the Black Death, climate change, banking collapse, chronic war, political turmoil and a Catholic Church in disarray. In the midst of these significant and overlapping crises, where did they turn for solutions? The humanities. As a curriculum of study, the humanities first emerged in the context of these crises. But more importantly, it emerged as a response to them. In this talk, Dr. Emily O’Brien will explore the many ways in which Renaissance Italian humanists served as first responders in an age of sustained crisis. They did so by translating a curriculum rich in history, rhetoric, moral philosophy, and poetry into practical tools and innovative solutions for tackling the problems of their day. More than just a tour of Renaissance Italy, this story carries a critical message for us today as we face the challenges of Covid-19 and our other 21st-century crises: now more than ever, we need the humanities.


Emily O'Brien is an Associate Professor in the History and Humanities Departments at SFU. Her research focuses on the intersection of politics and intellectual culture in fifteenth-century Italy and, in particular, in the Renaissance papacy.  She has published several articles and essays on the writings of Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini (Pope Pius II) and a monograph entitled The Commentaries of Pope Pius II (1458-1464) and the Crisis of the Fifteenth-Century Papacy (University of Toronto Press, 2015). Her current book project focus on civic consciousness and the reception of Cicero's De Officiis in Renaissance Italy.


Crossing Borders: Essays in Honour of Ian H. Angus is a collection of original and cutting-edge essays by thirteen outstanding and diverse Canadian and International scholars that engage with Professor Ian Angus's rich contributions to three distinct, albeit overlapping, fields: Canadian Studies, Phenomenology and Critical Theory, and Communication and Media Studies. These contributions are distinct, unique, and have had resonance across the intellectual landscape-over the thirty years that Angus has been teaching communications, philosophy, Canadian Studies, theory, and humanities first in the United States and then in Canada.

About Ian Angus

Ian Angus is Professor Emeritus at Simon Fraser University. He has published in the areas of contemporary philosophy, Canadian Studies, and communication theory. His most recent book is Groundwork of Phenomenological Marxism: Crisis, Body, World (Lexington Books, 2021).


  • Samir Gandesha is currently Associate Professor in the Department of the Humanities and the Director of the Institute for the Humanities at Simon Fraser University. He specializes in modern European thought and culture, with a particular emphasis on the relation between politics, aesthetics, and psychoanalysis.
  • Peyman Vahabzadeh is Professor of Sociology at University of Victoria. His most recent books are Violence and Nonviolence: Conceptual Excursions into Phantom Opposites (University of Toronto Press, 2019) and A Rebel’s Journey: Mostafa Sho‘aiyan and Revolutionary Theory in Iran (OneWorld, 2019).


  • Daniel Adleman is Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Toronto, where he teaches Writing for Social Change, A Brief History of Persuasion, and Digital Rhetoric at Harold Innis College. His work has been published in European Journal of PsychoanalysisCultural StudiesCanadian Review of American Studies, and Canadian Literature Quarterly.
  • Stephen Collis is the author of a dozen books of poetry and prose, including The Commons (Talonbooks 2008), the BC Book Prize winning On the Material (Talonbooks 2010), Once in Blockadia (Talonbooks 2016), and Almost Islands: Phyllis Webb and the Pursuit of the Unwritten (Talonbooks 2018). In 2019, he was awarded the Latner Writers’ Trust of Canada Poetry Prize in recognition of his body of work. In 2021, Talonbooks will publish A History of the Theories of Rain. He lives near Vancouver, on unceded Coast Salish Territory, and teaches poetry and poetics at Simon Fraser University. 
  • Kevin Michael DeLuca is a Professor in the Dept of Communication at the University of Utah. He is the author of the book Image Politics and dozens of articles in journals such as Environmental Communication, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, and Culture, Theory & Critique. Since the beginning of his studies under Ian Angus, DeLuca's scholarship has centered on a sustained exploration of humanity’s relations with the natural world and how those relations are mediated by media. 
  • Hilda Fernandez-Alvarez is a Lacanian psychoanalyst based in Vancouver, BC, with vast clinical experience with diverse populations in public and private settings in Mexico and Canada. Her research has been published internationally in articles and book chapters and focuses on the theory and practice of psychoanalysis, trauma, discursive and socio-spatial practices, love and politics. She co-founded the Lacan Salon in 2007 and currently acts as its clinical director. She is an associate at the Institute for the Humanities at and registered with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors.  
  • Len Findlay is Distinguished University Professor Emeritus and a founding and ongoing member of the Indigenous Humanities Group at the University of Saskatchewan. Trained in nineteenth-century European elite and radical cultural theory and production, his more recent Canadianist work engages with the Indigenous/settler interface, historically and currently, the distinctiveness and endangerment of the humanities in Canada, and with connections and tensions between academic freedom and the decolonizing of Canadian universities.
  • Lenore Langsdorf is Professor Emerita at Stony Brook University and Research Professor at The University of Texas at San Antonio. Her work uses phenomenology, in the tradition stemming from the work of Edmund Husserl, with the current post-phenomenological (or, pragmatist phenomenological) orientation developed by Don Ihde. Her focus, within that tradition, is on sociopolitical phenomena and moral reasoning.
  • Johannes Maerk, PhD. University of Innsbruck Austria (Political Philosophy), is the Director of the Viennese Ideaz Institute, Professorial Lecturer at the Diplomatic Academy Vienna, Lecturer at the University of Vienna, and Professor at the University of Quintana Roo, Mexico (leave of absence). His research interests are non-western and comparative social sciences (political thought, IR), epistemology, South-South relations, and development issues.
  • George Rammell was born in 1952 in Cranbrook. B.C. He studied at the Vancouver School of Art (ECUAD) from 1971–75 and has been active as a sculptor and art instructor since 1975. In addition to three European sculpture symposia Rammell has participated in 18 exhibitions including solo exhibitions at the Burnaby Art gallery and the Charles H. Scott Gallery in Vancouver. Rammell is currently immersed in a body of activist art in support of Indigenous nations who are opposed to the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion.
  • Jerry Zaslove is a retired teacher and writer who studied Comparative Literature at Western Reserve University and the University of Washington. Since 1965, he has taught Literature, Humanities, and the Social History of Art at Simon Fraser University.


Hackers as vital disruptors, inspiring a new wave of activism in which ordinary citizens take back democracy.

Hackers have a bad reputation, as shady deployers of bots and destroyers of infrastructure. In Coding Democracy, Maureen Webb offers another view. Hackers, she argues, can be vital disruptors. Hacking is becoming a practice, an ethos, and a metaphor for a new wave of activism in which ordinary citizens are inventing new forms of distributed, decentralized democracy for a digital era. Confronted with concentrations of power, mass surveillance, and authoritarianism enabled by new technology, the hacking movement is trying to “build out” democracy into cyberspace.


Maureen Webb is a labour, human rights and constitutional lawyer. Her book, Coding Democracy: How Hackers Are Disrupting Power, Surveillance and Authoritarianism, published in 2020 by The MIT Press, made Wired magazine’s “Thirteen Must Read Books for Spring 2020” list. Also the author of Illusions of Security: Global Surveillance and Democracy in the Post 9-11 World (San Francisco: City Lights, 2007), Maureen’s work has been praised by voices as diverse as Craig Newmark, Randi Weingarten, Cory Doctorow, Andrew Feenberg, Jeremy Waldron, and Mark Danner. She’s been invited to speak in many venues, including Chatham House, Virtual Futures, the Oxford Literary Festival, the London Front Line club, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the World Affairs Council of California, and most recently the Toronto International Festival of Authors. Part of the activist community in BC, she’s served on the boards of Lawyers Rights Watch Canada and the BC Civil Liberties Association, and from time to time, taught public interest law at UBC law school. In addition to her writing about technology and democracy, she’s written many pieces on the human rights dimensions of national security. An article she published on the Canadian Anti-terrorism Act was cited extensively in the trial judgment in R. v. Khawaja


How to act today politically? Is it possible to change things, people, society? And now, what to do? An intellectual and his contradictions. The film expresses our anxiety and exasperation with the political situation not only in Brazil but also in the entire world. The extreme right wing grows every day. Left activists and intellectuals simply do not know how to react. The University seems more and more distant from the outskirts’ people. Each political and social group speaks its own language. So, now, in this chaotic and dystopian scenery, what should we do? Fiction and reality are mixed in this urgent search for answers.


  • Vladimir Safatle is a Professor of Philosophy and Psychology at University of São Paulo, has been a visiting scholar at UC - Berkeley, and an invited professor at Université de Paris VII, Paris VIII, Toulouse, and Louvain. 
  • John Abromeit is a Professor of History at the State University of New York, Buffalo State. He is the author of Max Horkheimer and the Foundations of the Frankfurt School (Cambridge UP, 2011) and co-editor of Transformations of Populism in Europe and the Americas: History and Recent Tendencies (Bloomsbury, 2016).
  • Miriam Madureira is currently a Professor of Philosophy at the Humanities Department of the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Cuajimalpa, in Mexico City, and has been a Fellow of the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften of the Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt am Main.
  • Samir Gandesha is currently Associate Professor in the Department of the Humanities and the Director of the Institute for the Humanities at Simon Fraser University. He specializes in modern European thought and culture, with a particular emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries.


Sponsored by SFU’s David Lam Centre, with support from SFU School for International Studies, Institute for Humanities, and School of Communication

Following the 8 November election, some of the losing candidates appear to have planned protests and even a court case about their perception that the election process was full of ‘irregularities’ and ‘fraud’. They vowed to confront the Election Commission in court. Their prolonged agitation inspired and enabled the senior General to warn that there must be changes in the process. Then in the early morning of 1 February, when Parliament was reassembling, he had Ang Suu Kyi and a number of election-winners arrested. Day by day the restrictions of a martial law were put into place, restrictions quite familiar to people over 30 but a shock to the 15-year old’s who expected something quite different. Will this look like the martial law which lasted 49 years, starting from 1962?


Robert Anderson Works on the tension between development and sustainability, and particularly how conflict resulting from this tension can be successfully negotiated with better long-term outcomes. He has been guiding and funding a project in Myanmar since 2000 through which a network of young environmentalists is preparing to play a policy-making role. He is also a founder of a new graduate Program in Environmental Studies at the University of Yangon, with the assistance of IDRC. He has been visiting Myanmar since 1962. Having taught at SFU since 1977, he is a founder of the Development & Sustainability Program in the Faculty of Environment. He is also a professor emeritus in SFU’s School of Communication. He was awarded a PhD in anthropology by the University of Chicago in 1971.


Organized by SFU's Institute for the Humanities & co-sponsored by SFU's Vancity Office for Community Engagement

In recent years social media have become the main platform where new artistic talents but also black activists are imposing themselves in Italian culture. This multi-media lecture explores the role of Black girls in Italy and their contribution in a variety of fields including the world-renowned Italian fashion and beauty industries, the role of Black artists in the music and entertainment industry. Social Media Entrepreneurship has emerged as an important strategy for Afro-Italians seeking to advance new narratives about Blackness and its inclusion within the material and symbolic boundaries of Italy. At the same time, Afro-Italian entrepreneurship is transforming Italian material culture, and, by extension, the meanings of Italianness itself.


Fred Kudjo Kuwornu is a filmmaker activist-producer-educator, born and raised in Italy and based in Brooklyn. His mother is an Italian Jew, and his father is a Ghanaian surgeon who lived in Italy since the early 60’s. Fred Kuwornu holds a Master of Arts in Political Science at the University of Bologna, Italy with a focus on sociology and mass communication studies.Kuwornu produced and directed the Award-winning documentary Inside Buffalo (“Best Documentary” at the Black Berlin International Cinema Festival). Inside Buffalo had viewings at the Pentagon, the Library of Congress and it received a letter of congratulations by President Barack Obama. In 2016, he released Blaxploitalian 100 Years of Black in Italian Cinema, a diasporic, hybrid, historical, critical, dimensional and cosmopolitan documentary about actors of African descent in Italian cinema. He is developing the project Blaq IT (the Black Italians Timeline). In 2020, he was the voice over for the Italian version of the Netflix educational show Bookmarks-Celebrating Black Voices. Kuwornu believes using film and other art forms are essential tools for building a more inclusive society. For more details on Fred Kuwornu’s biography, please visit


Organized by SFU's Institute for the Humanities & co-sponsored by SFU's Vancity Office for Community Engagement

This multi-media lecture aims to give a reasoned answer considering the nature of American institutional systemic racism structurally and statistically different from the Italian one, offering the audience of the event a cultural and semantic framework to interpret the current condition in Italy with the contest of the past of Italian Colonialism. When was racism born in Italy? Who are the Afro-Italian activists? Which is the composition and history of Black Italy? Is there any collective memory of the Italian past? On which battle is black activism in Italy engaged?


Fred Kudjo Kuwornu is a filmmaker activist-producer-educator, born and raised in Italy and based in Brooklyn. His mother is an Italian Jew, and his father is a Ghanaian surgeon who lived in Italy since the early 60’s. Fred Kuwornu holds a Master of Arts in Political Science at the University of Bologna, Italy with a focus on sociology and mass communication studies.Kuwornu produced and directed the Award-winning documentary Inside Buffalo (“Best Documentary” at the Black Berlin International Cinema Festival). Inside Buffalo had viewings at the Pentagon, the Library of Congress and it received a letter of congratulations by President Barack Obama. In 2016, he released Blaxploitalian 100 Years of Black in Italian Cinema, a diasporic, hybrid, historical, critical, dimensional and cosmopolitan documentary about actors of African descent in Italian cinema. He is developing the project Blaq IT (the Black Italians Timeline). In 2020, he was the voice over for the Italian version of the Netflix educational show Bookmarks-Celebrating Black Voices. Kuwornu believes using film and other art forms are essential tools for building a more inclusive society. For more details on Fred Kuwornu’s biography, please visit