2023 Events

Institute Events

Canada’s Scourge: Understanding and Confronting Islamophobia | November 27, 2023 at 6:00 PM | SFU Harbour Centre Room 1900

Presented by Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies

In January 2017, forty-six people were attacked in the Great Mosque of Quebec during evening prayer killing six people, seriously injuring five and leaving many others traumatized. Unfortunately, this attack was neither first nor the last. In the years that followed, a series of other violent attacks against Muslim communities have targeted communities in Edmonton, Saskatoon, London, Mississauga, Toronto, and other locations across the country.

The alarming increase in harassment, threats, and attacks against Muslims (who comprise approximately 5% of Canada’s population) has galvanized communities to raise awareness about Islamophobia and its proliferation in media, politics and society. This month, following extensive site visits, interviews, public meetings, and solicited accounts and testimonies, the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights issued its report Combatting Hate: Islamophobia and Its Impact on Muslims in Canada. The damning conclusion is that rampant “Islamophobia is costing Canadian Muslims their peace of mind, their physical well-being, and even their lives.”

This reception and moderated discussion with our esteemed speakers will delve into the characteristics of this toxic phenomenon, the various ways it can be confronted, and how the communities most impacted can be supported.


Hasan Alam is a labour and human rights lawyer. He co-founded the Islamophobia Legal Assistance Hotline, which provides free and confidential legal support to those impacted by Islamophobia in British Columbia. Additionally, Hasan serves as the Vice President of the BC Civil Liberties Association. He is one of many members of the Muslim Community who made submissions on Islamophobia at the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights.

Itrath Syed is a member of the local Muslim community and an Instructor of Women’s Studies at Langara College. Her MA in Gender Studies from UBC explored the gendered and racialized construction of the Muslim community in the media discourse surrounding the Islamic Arbitration or “Shariah” debate in Ontario.

Dr. Tammara Soma MCIP RPP is an Assistant Professor at the School of Resource and Environmental Management (Planning program) at Simon Fraser University and Research Director of the Food Systems Lab. Originally hailing from Indonesia, she conducts research on food system planning, food security, and the circular food economy. Dr. Soma is routinely featured in international and local media (The Guardian, BBC, CBC, TVO, CTV, National Observer, Chatelaine and more) and is the co-director of the CBC documentary “Food is My Teacher.” In 2021, the Food Systems Lab was recognized as one of the four women-run projects that are redefining agriculture by the Canadian Organic Grower. Tammara was a 2021 YWCA-Scotiabank finalist for the “Women of Distinction Award” in the sustainability category, she was also named in Chatelaine magazine as one of the 10 inspiring Canadian women saving the environment. Dr. Soma is a member of the SFU Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies (CCMS) and is passionate about interfaith and intra-faith work. Her recent sold-out event at CCMS explored Islamic Eschatology and the role of the Mahdi and Messiah from Sunni, Twelver Shii, Ismaili, and Ahmadi perspectives.

Moderated by Dr. Davina Bhandar. Dr. Bhandar is an Associate Professor in Political Science at Athabasca University and an Adjunct Professor in the School of Communication SFU, where she focuses her teaching and research in anti-racism, anti-imperialism, and settler-colonial politics.

Cosponsors: The Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies at SFU, SFU’s Institute for the Humanities, SFU International Studies, and AMSA BC.

Winter of Discontent: The Russia-Ukraine War | November 21, 2023 at 6:00 PM | SFU Harbour Centre  

The Russia-Ukraine War, whose current phase began in 2022, shows no signs of abating. Ukraine’s offensive during the summer, while making limited gains, did not achieve the decisive breakthrough desired by Ukraine and its allies. The autumn weather, furthermore, will likely limit either party’s ability to launch significant military campaigns for the foreseeable future. Pressure is building on both sides, as attention fatigue sets in amongst their supporters, to end the conflict. Is peace in the short term likely, and what form will such a peace take once the conflict reaches its conclusion? These are not easy questions and require one to situate the military developments in Ukraine within the broader international context.


James Horncastle is an assistant professor in the Department of Global Humanities and holder of the Edward and Emily McWhinney Professorship in International Relations at Simon Fraser University. He is also a member of the steering committee for the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Centre for Hellenic Studies. His recent article, “Weaponization of Refugees: Why Now?” examines the reasons why the world has seen an uptick in state and non-state actors employing migrants and refugees to achieve foreign policy objectives. His research interests include: refugee and migration studies; international relations; conflict studies; history of modern Greece; and Yugoslav studies.

Grace MacInnis Lecture: “Who the Hell Would Do this Work? Reflections on Supportive Housing and Harm Reduction in Unfriendly Times” | November 15, 2023 at 6:00 PM | SFU Harbour Centre

Supportive housing and harm reduction are popular political footballs. But the delivery of services to the most needful has been fraught from the outset, even aside from the current iterations of political heat. Much of the regulatory, administrative and legal environment is ill-suited to the provision of services to the most vulnerable. The call of community is to ‘get creative’ and work in ‘gray areas’ to achieve genuinely low barrier services. However, the charitable sector is assuming an astonishing burden of risk and liability in trying to create and sustain services that are not provided for in normative models. The CEO of PHS Community Services Society reflects on current challenges and controversies in the provision of low-barrier services and what’s needed from those coming into leadership in the sector.  


Micheal Vonn is the Chief Executive Officer of PHS Community Services Society which provides supportive housing, healthcare and harm reduction for under-served people in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and Victoria. In 2003 PHS opened Insite, North America’s first legal supervised injection site. PHS is a leader in prescribed supply to combat the drug poisoning crisis and innovator in low-barrier service provision.

Micheal is a lawyer. She was the Policy Director of the BC Civil Liberties Association for 15 years. She has been an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia in the Faculty of Law and the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies where she taught civil liberties and information ethics. Micheal has an extensive background in issues ranging from national security to freedom of expression. She has been a collaborator on Big Data Surveillance, a multi-year research project led by Queens University, an Advisory Board Member of Ryerson University’s Centre for Free Expression and an Advisory Board Member of Privacy International.


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Second Annual Dr.Chinmoy Banerjee Lecture in Anti-Racism: “Anti Racism, the Labour Movement, and the role of Elected Officials” | October 30, 2023 at 6:00 PM | SFU Harbour Centre

The labour movement was built internationally with the idea of an injury to one being an injury to all. Building unions and fighting collectively for workers’ rights has been integral to the fight for a just society throughout the existence of capitalism. This has required the rank and file of the labour movement to push back against racial, gender, ethnic, and national divisions. It has required understanding that the fight against oppression is important in itself, and that oppression in any form is poisonous to the solidarity that is indispensable to successfully fight back against the capitalist class and the elite to win victories for the rest of us.

Racism, and anti-Black racism in particular, has been a prized tool of the capitalist class in the United States and North America in their efforts to divide working people and exploit them. In fighting back, radical Black, white, and immigrant workers and socialists played a decisive role in educating their fellow workers and the wider working class, putting forward strategies based in class-struggle unionism, and demonstrating the self-sacrifice needed for such movements.

Today, you can easily find many elected officials, especially in supposedly progressive parties, who say that they are against racism and sexism and other forms of oppression. However, “progressive” politicians use their platform neither to expose the overtly corporate and right-wing elected officials nor to call for and help build grassroots rallies or actions that can activate ordinary working people. Instead, they will do the bidding of big business, defend the status quo, and become strike-breakers. The entire multiracial, multi-gender working class needs leaders who will adopt a fighting approach — we need politicians who will fight alongside the working class.


Kshama Sawant is the first elected socialist in Seattle in nearly a century. She was first elected to the Seattle City Council in 2013, running openly as a member of Socialist Alternative, long before Bernie Sanders and AOC were household names. She is currently the longest-serving sitting Seattle Councilmember. Kshama only accepts the average worker’s wage, and after taxes, donates the rest of her six-figure City Council salary to a solidarity fund for worker organizing and social movements.

An outspoken socialist who has taken no corporate campaign money, Kshama has won four elections defeating Seattle’s elite, corporate landlords, and some of the most powerful corporations in the world like Amazon, who have spent millions of dollars to try and unseat her. Winning these elections also meant overcoming the opposition of the city’s Democratic Party, who have attempted to defeat Kshama by running both big-business-backed and self-described “progressive” candidates against her. Socialist Alternative and Kshama have consistently clarified that despite their differences, both Democrats and Republicans serve the wealthy, and that working people need a new party of their own.

Socialist Alternative and Kshama have used her elected office to help lead movements that have won historic working-class victories. Alongside rank-and-file union members and other workers, they made Seattle the first major city to gain the $15/hour minimum wage in 2014, and won the Amazon Tax in 2020 on big business to fund affordable housing and Green New Deal programs.

As a socialist who herself has been a rank-and-file union member, Kshama has unwaveringly used her office to fight alongside rank-and-file union members and workers fighting for a union. Alongside Starbucks workers, Kshama’s office fought to win a unanimous City Council resolution in 2022 in support of the Starbucks union drive.

Kshama was the lone Councilmember who vocally stood with Seattle’s grocery workers fighting to keep their $4/hour pandemic hazard pay, against repeated attempts by Democrats to repeal it while themselves staying safe at home over Zoom meetings. Shamefully, it was a self-described “Labor Democrat” and Latina Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda who originally sponsored legislation to repeal this grocery worker hazard pay. As Kshama said during her vote, “Today is the seventh time the Democrats have put legislation to end hazard pay on the Council’s agenda since July 27 of last year… Compare this to how, in the last forty years, the Washington State Democrats have not once put ending the statewide ban on rent control up for a vote.”

By mobilizing renters and union members, Kshama’s office has spearheaded a whole series of landmark renters’ rights, such as requiring a six-month notice for rent increases, mandating landlords to pay relocation assistance of three months’ rent upon forcing tenants to leave due to rent increases over 10 percent, a ban on evictions in winter months, and a ban on evictions of schoolchildren and public school workers during the school year.

Her office has a long track record of building united working-class struggle against discrimination and oppression: replacing Seattle’s Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day; making Seattle the first-ever jurisdiction outside South Asia with a ban on caste discrimination; making Seattle and abortion sanctuary and fully funding abortion needs for anyone in the city, in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s repeal of Roe v. Wade; banning police use of chokeholds, chemical weapons, and other so-called “crowd control” devices, a victory won in the midst of the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement.

Nobody in Seattle has caused more headaches for big business, the billionaire class, and the political establishment over the past ten years than Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative, and the working-people’s movements they have built. Referring to the successful mobilization of rank-and-file renters, longtime corporate landlord lobbyist Jamie Durkan said that every dollar that corporate landlords had spent over the last decade lobbying the Seattle City Council was wasted because of “Sawant’s army.”

Every single one of the victories has been won by Socialist Alternative and Kshama’s office mobilizing rank-and-file union members and progressive labor unions, non-unionized workers, renters, and community members. They would not have been won by having illusions in the Democratic Party, which while is different from the openly anti-worker and right-wing Republican Party, is very hostile to working-class movements. “I wear the badge of socialist with honor,” she declared in her January 2014 inauguration speech. She promised at that time: “There will be no backroom deals with corporations or their political servants. There will be no rotten sell-out of the people I represent.” Now, after a decade in office, instead of running for reelection she is helping launch Workers Strike Back, an independent movement organizing in workplaces and on the streets against the bosses and their political servants.

Roundtable to follow with Anjali Appadurai, Michael Ma, Yameena Zaidi (Teaching Support Staff Union), moderated by Samir Gandesha

Anjali Appadurai is a climate justice organizer and campaigner. She got her start organizing youth movements from around the world to ensure that Global South social movements' demands were heard in the halls of power. Today, Anjali is Campaigns Director at the Climate Emergency Unit and runs the Padma Centre for Climate Justice, a project that brings together diasporic communities to build power around issues of climate and economic justice. Anjali has also engaged with the electoral system, running as an NDP candidate in the 2021 federal election and as a candidate in the 2022 BCNDP leadership race.

Michael C.K. Ma is a faculty member in the Department of Criminology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, British Columbia. He works in the area of social justice, community advocacy, anti-racism, and harm reduction. His current research is in the area of drug use. He is a founding member of The Social Justice Centre,, and a current member of the Vancouver District Labour Council. In the past he was very active with the Chinese Canadian National Council - Toronto Chapter and the Metro Network for Social Justice. His academic training is in sculpture, art history, and social/political thought. Michael is a member of the West Coast Coalition Against Racism (WCCAR).

Yameena Zaidi is an organizer with the Teaching Support Staff Union and the Contract Worker Justice coalition fighting to end the outsourcing of food and cleaning services at SFU. As a Master’s student in the School of Communication, she studies the evolving strategies of gig workers’ unions in India.

The lecture is co-sponsored by Dr.Hari Sharma Foundation, the West Coast Coalition Against Racism (WCCAR) and South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD), and the Vancouver and District Labour Council 

Apocalyptic Anxieties: 40th Anniversary Conference of the Institute for the Humanities | October 27 - 29 | SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts

This conference brings together psychoanalysts, psychoanalytic and political theorists and social scientists from a multiplicity of traditions and orientations to examine contemporary apocalyptic anxieties. We focus on how unconscious mechanisms contribute to conceptualize, understand and reinvent the various forms of apocalypses and dematerializations that traverse the present time.


Friday, October 27
Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre

9:30 AM - 9:45 AM
Coffee and Tea

9:45 AM - 10:00 AM
Opening Remarks and Traditional Land Acknowledgement

Panel 1 10:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Geopolitical Anxieties: Colonialism, War, Terror
Chair: Alexis Wolfe

We Hear an Angel: Oedipal Empire, Rematriation, and Land Back
Wayne Wapeemukwa

Wayne Wapeemukwa is a Mellon Fellow in philosophy at the Pennsylvania State University. His dissertation, “Partisans of the Soil: Racial Capitalism and Métis Dispossession” draws from Indigenous philosophy and a fresh interpretation of Marx’s late research on ecology to explore intersectional Indigenous identity in the nineteenth-century northwest. He has forthcoming publications in Parapraxis as well as the Journal of Speculative Philosophy.

Terror Environments and the Outside of the War
Svitlana Matviyenko

Svitlana Matviyenko is an Assistant Professor of Critical Media Analysis in the School of Communication. She is a co-editor of two collections, The Imaginary App (MIT Press, 2014) and Lacan and the Posthuman (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). She is a co-author of Cyberwar and Revolution: Digital Subterfuge in Global Capitalism (Minnesota UP, 2019).

Anxiety in Precarity Capitalism: A Radical Feminist Lacanian Perspective
Claudia Leeb

Dr. Leeb is an Associate Professor of Political Theory in the School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs at Washington State University. Her recent and forthcoming books include: Contesting the Far Right: A Psychoanalytic and Feminist Critical Theory Perspective (Columbia University Press, New Directions in Critical Theory Series, in press); Power: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, under contract); Power and Feminist Agency in Capitalism: Toward a New Theory of the Political Subject (Oxford University Press, 2017) for which she received the ASCINA (Austrian Scientists and Scholars in North America) Award for research excellence; The Politics of Repressed Guilt: The Tragedy of Austrian Silence (Edinburgh University Press, 2018). She has published numerous articles in journals, including in Political Theory, Perspectives on Politics, Constellations, and Theory & Event. She has also contributed to numerous volumes on early Frankfurt school critical theory and feminist thought. 

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM


Keynote 1:00 PM – 2:15 PM
Adrian Ivakhiv
From the Angel of Apocalyptic History to the Optimism of the Will: Climate Hope via Benjamin, Gramsci, Mbembe, and Stengers
Chair: Am Johal

Adrian Ivakhiv is Professor of Environmental Thought and Culture at the University of Vermont, where he co-leads EcoCultureLab, a collaboratory for ecology, arts, and the future. His books include Shadowing the Anthropocene: Eco-Realism for Turbulent Times (2018), Ecologies of the Moving Image: Cinema, Affect, Nature (2013), Claiming Sacred Ground: Pilgrims and Politics at Glastonbury and Sedona (2001), and the co-edited Routledge Handbook of Ecomedia Studies (2023). He co-edits Media+Environment journal and in 2022-23 is a Fulbright Scholar (Germany/Ukraine) and Cinepoetics Fellow at Freie Universität Berlin. He begins his tenure as the J. S. Woodworth Chair of the Humanities at Simon Fraser University in June, 2024.

2:15 PM - 2:30 PM

Panel 2 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM
(Im)Possible Worlds
Chair: Sanem Guvenc-Salgirli

From Apocalyptic Anxieties to Post-apocalyptic Desires: Lessons From the Climate Crisis
Lucas Pohl

Dr. Lucas Pohl is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Geography at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. His research mediates between Lacanian psychoanalysis, continental philosophy, and human geography with an on social- and spatial theories, built environments and urban political ecologies.

Everybody Wants to Rule the World: Earth as the Last Utopia or the Site of Purgatory?
Am Johal

Am Johal is Director of SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement and Co-Director of SFU’s Community Engaged Research Initiative. He is the author of Ecological Metapolitics: Badiou and the Anthropocene, and co-author with Matt Hern and Joe Sacco of Global Warming and the Sweetness of Life: A Tar Sands Tale. He has taught courses at SFU in Graduate Liberal Studies, School for Contemporary Arts and the Semester in Dialogue.

Four Theses for the Apocalypse
Hilda Fernandez-Alvarez

  1. Mother earth is not your Oedipal mother.
  2. Assumption of the second death to live better.
  3. Residues need location and responsibility.
  4. Conditions to affirm collective desire.

Dr. Hilda Fernandez is a Lacanian psychoanalyst based in Vancouver, Canada. Her research focuses on the theory and practice of psychoanalysis, socio-spatial practices, love and politics. She co-founded the Lacan Salon in September 2007, and currently serves as co-president. She is co-editor of Lamella, a section of the Journal Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society.


Negation and Negationism
Marco Antonio Coutinho Jorge

Dr. Marco Antonio Couthinho is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, professor at the University of the State of Rio de Janeiro. He is the founder and director of Corpo Freudiano, School of Psychoanalisis section Rio de Janeiro and is the author of more than ten books on the fundamentals of theory and clinical practice of psychoanalysis, the formation of analysts and the connection between art and psychoanalysis.From The Lonely Crowd to The Cyber Mob: Loneliness and Apocalyptic Anxiety.


Institute for the Humanities 40th Anniversary Celebration

Waldorf Hotel Friday
8:00 PM - 1:00 AM



Saturday, October 28

Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema 

9:45 AM - 10:00 AM
Coffee and Tea


Panel 3 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Living in the Endtimes
Moral Injury, the Slime of History, and Apocalyptic Anxieties

Shierry Weber Nicholsen
Chair: Endre Koritar

Shierry Weber Nicholsen is a psychoanalyst in private practice in Seattle. She is the author of Exact Imagination, Late Work (on Adorno’s aesthetics) and The Love of Nature and the End of the World (on environmental concern) and the translator of works by Adorno and Habermas and, most recently, Benjamin’s Berlin Childhood. She is currently at work on a book on moral injury.

The Dynamics of Hypocrisy, and the Struggle to Live Within the Truth
Jay Frankel

Jay Frankel is an Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor and Clinical Consultant in the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis; Faculty at the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, and at the Trauma Studies Program at the Manhattan Institute for Psychoanalysis, both in New York; Associate Editor, and previously Executive Editor, of Psychoanalytic Dialogues; co-author of Relational Child Psychotherapy.

Love in the End Times of the World: Capital’s Jouissance and Anxiety of the Subject
David Pavón-Cuéllar

David Pavón-Cuéllar is a Mexican Marxist philosopher and critical psychologist. His last books include Psychoanalysis and Revolution: Critical Psychology for Liberation Movements (with Ian Parker, 1968 Press, 2021), and Marxism and Psychoanalysis: In or Against Psychology? (Routledge, 2017).

From The Lonely Crowd to The Cyber Mob: Loneliness and Apocalyptic Anxiety
Ilene Philipson

Ilene Philipson holds doctorates in sociology, clinical psychology, and psychoanalysis. She is a training and supervising analyst at the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles, and a supervising analyst at the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis.

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Keynote 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Large-Scale Narcissism, Smaller Planet
Lewis R. Gordon
Chair: Samir Gandesha

Lewis R. Gordon is Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Global Affairs and Head of the Department of Philosophy at UCONN-Storrs; Honorary President of the Global Center for Advanced Studies; and Distinguished Scholar at The Most Honourable PJ Patterson Centre for Africa-Caribbean Advocacy at The University of the West Indies, Mona. He co-edits the journal Philosophy and Global Affairs and the Routledge-India book series Academics, Politics and Society in the Post-Covid World. He is the author of many books, including, more recently, Freedom, Justice, and Decolonization (Routledge, 2021); Fear of Black Consciousness (Farrar, Straus and Giroux and Penguin Books, 2022); Black Existentialism and Decolonizing Knowledge: Writings of Lewis R. Gordon, edited by Rozena Maart and Sayan Dey (Bloomsbury, 2023); and the pamphlet “Not Bad for an N—, No?”/ «Pas mal pour un N—, n’est-ce pas? » (Daraja Press, 2023), with translations also in Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Portuguese, and Spanish. His accolades include the 2022 Eminent Scholar Award from the Global Development Studies division of the International Studies Association.

Panel 4 2:30 PM  – 4:00 pm
Institutions, Love, Resistance––A Round-table Discussion
Johan Hartle
Chair: Kit Fortune

Benjamin Mayer Foulkes Holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Mexico’s National Autonomous University. He has worked as a private-practice psychoanalyst in Mexico City since 1999. Mayer is additionally the Founding Director of 17, Instituto de Estudios Críticos where he devised, inaugurated and oversees the master’s, doctorate and post-doctorate programs in Critical Theory. He is founding Co-Director (alongside Alberto Moreiras and Davide Tarizzo) of Política Común, a journal edited online from the University of Michigan. chronicles program (1991-1993).

Hilda Fernandez
Hilda is a Co-founder of the Lacan Salon

Samir Gandesha
Samir is the Director of the Institute for the Humanities

4:00 PM – 4:15 PM

Panel 5 4:15 PM – 6:30 PM
Aesthetic Anxiety
Benjamin and Chatbots: Against Tech Apocalypse
Alex Taek-Gwang Lee
Chair: Jeff Derksen

Alex Taek-Gwang Lee is a professor of cultural studies and a founding director of the Center for Technology in Humanities at Kyung Hee University, Korea. He edited the third volume of The Idea of Communism (2016) and Deleuze, Guattari and the Schizoanalysis of Postmedia (2023). He published articles in journals such as Telos, Deleuze and Guattari Studies and Philosophy Today, and chapters in The Bloomsbury Handbook of World Theory (2021), Thinking with Animation (2021), Back to the ’30s?: Recurring Crises of Capitalism, Liberalism and Democracy(2020) and Balibar/Wallerstein’s “Race, Nation, Class”: Rereading a Dialogue for Our Times (2018).

Anxiety of Digital Disintegration
Jaleh Mansoor

Jaleh Mansoor is a writer and an associate professor of Art History at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, where she teaches modern and contemporary art history with an emphasis on Post WWII European Art.

Anxiety, Alienation and Exile: Adorno and Said on Lateness
Surti Singh 

Surti Singh is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Villanova University. Her research interests include Frankfurt School Critical Theory, Psychoanalysis, Feminist Philosophy, and Aesthetics. From 2018-2022 she was Principal Investigator of the Mellon Foundation funded project, “Extimacies: Critical Theory from the Global South.” She currently serves as the President of the Association for Adorno Studies.

Subjects of Anxiety
Alessandra Capperdoni

Alessandra Capperdoni was born in Italy, where she studied Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures (English, German, French, and Italian Studies). She has taught a wide range of courses in the departments of English and Women’s Studies at SFU, where she was Ruth Wynn Woodward Lecturer in 2009–2010, before joining the Department of Humanities.

Sunday Oct 29

Sunday, October 29
9:30 – 12:00 pm
Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema

Panel 6 10:00 AM – 12:00 pm
Ecocide: Debt, Lack and Waste
DysUnited panel by Clint Burnham, Todd Dean, Risa Mandell, Joseph Scalia III, Rana Sioufi

Chair: Lucas Pohl

Note: this will be a HYBRID (in-person and on Zoom) panel to accommodate members of DysUnited who will not travel for environmental reasons.

Clint Burnham is professor of English at Simon Fraser University. He is the author of many books, including Lacan and the Environment (2021, Palgrave, co-edited with Paul Kingsbury), White Lie (2021, Anvil), and Does the Internet Have an Unconscious? Slavoj Žižek and Digital Culture (2018, Bloomsbury Academic).

Todd Dean is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in St. Louis, MO. He is on the faculty of the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute, and has been on the editorial boards of the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association and Division/Review.

Risa Mandell practices clinical social work psychotherapy with people in their 20s and 30s, volunteers at a wildlife rehab center and advocates to transform medical research to address the rights, health and wellbeing of all beings and the planet through education, research and advocacy. She is a composting, improv & paradox aficionado.

Joseph Scalia III, Psya.D. is a psychoanalyst, an Analyst of the Lacanian School of Psychoanalysis, as well as a student of object relations theory. Scalia is also an environmental and political activist working toward a new terra & demos.

Rana Sioufi is a supervising psychologist at Rose Hill Psychological Services in New York City. In the field of social psychology, she has published on internal migration, ethnolinguistic vitality, and acculturation. Her current research interests involve the use of psychoanalytic theory and practice to inform our understanding of how we shape and are shaped by our social, cultural, as well as natural environments.

12:00 PM

Closing Round table 12:00 - 1:30


Sponsored by the Polis and Psyche Lecture Series

Institute for the Humanities. Simon Fraser University

With Thanks to our Co-Sponsors:

  • The Simons Foundation Canada
  • Dean of Arts and Social Sciences, FASS
  • The Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture & Society
  • The Joanne Brown Symposium in Violence and its Alternatives, SFU
  • The Department of Global Humanities, SFU
  • The J. S. Woodsworth Chair in the Humanities, SFU
  • The School of Contemporary Arts, SFU
  • The Vancity Office for Community Engagement, SFU
  • The Lacan Salon
  • David Lam Centre
  • Psychoanalysis and Politics
  • SFU-Vancouver
  • History, SFU
  • Sociology, SFU
  • The School of Communications, SFU
  • English, SFU
  • SFU Libraries
  • The Dr. Hari Sharma Foundation
  • Dr. Sharon Luk, SSHRCC CRC-Geographies of Racialization
  • Centre for Muslim Studies, SFU
  • Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, SFU
  • World Languages and Literatures
  • The Graduate Liberal Studies   


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Adorno’s (Non-)Identity Politics | October 6, 2023 at 8:30 PM | Roundhouse Community Centre

T.W. Adorno was born 120 years ago this month. His impact in, fields such as musicology, sociology, philosophy, art and aesthetics and literary studies has been enormous. This symposium, co-hosted by the Journal of Adorno Studies based at SFU, will focus on the implications of this thoughts for environmentalism, the important role by the image of the child and his important contribution to (non-) identity politics.


Samir Gandesha, Director, Institute for the Humanities
Chair and Respondent: Jaleh Mansoor, Art History, U.B.C.

Jaleh Mansoor is a writer and an associate professor of Art History at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, where she teaches modern and contemporary art history with an emphasis on Post WWII European Art.

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2023 Thakore Visiting Scholar Award Honouring Dr. Prakash Amte and Dr. Mandakini Amte | October 3, 2023 at 6:00 PM | Morris J. Wosk Centre

The Thakore Visiting Scholar Award has been awarded annually since 1991 at Simon Fraser University. It honours individuals who have devoted their lives to “creativity, commitment and a deep concern for truth in public life, which includes but is not limited to, showing the connection between academic values and critical public spirit.” Each year, a remarkable individual, whose life and work embodies Mahatma Gandhi’s principals of social justice, non-violence, environmental conservation, conflict resolution and world peace, is honoured at SFU with the award.­­

This year the recipients of this award are Dr. Prakash Amte and Dr. Mandakini Amte, who are being honoured for their invaluable work with Lok Birdari Prakalp (LBP), a non-profit, social project involving a hospital, school, and animal orphanage in India.

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Screening of the Bollywood Movie Dr. Prakash Baba Amte “The Real Hero” | October 1, 2023 at 2:00 PM | SFU Harbour Centre

Institute for the Humanities at SFU along with W.A.C Bennett Library, KVP Entertainers, Avishkar Arts, and the Thakore Charitable Foundation cordially invite you to the screening of Dr. Prakash Baba Amte “The Real Hero” In Marathi with English subtitles.

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100 Years of Georg Lukács’s History and Class Consciousness: An International Conference | Sept 13 - 15 | Budapest, Hungary

Organized by Eötvös Loránd University, Faculty of Humanities and co-sponsored by SFU's Institute for the Humanities.

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of History and Class Consciousness the conference addresses the topicality and relevance of Hungary’s most influential philosopher anew. The keynotes and panels explore the historical context, the theoretical dimensions, and the actuality of Lukács’ masterpiece.


  • Rüdiger Dannemann, Internationale Georg Lukács Gesellschaft
  • Ágnes Erdélyi, Lukács Archive International Foundation
  • Samir Gandesha, Institute for the Humanities, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver
  • Johan Hartle, Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien
  • Tyrus Miller, School of Humanities, University of California, Irvine
  • Csaba Olay, Eötvös Loránd University Budapest, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungarian Society of Philosophy

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The right to be counted: The Urban poor and the politics of Resettlement in Delhi | Jul 26th @ 12:00PM–1:30PM | SFU Harbour centre

Presented by Hari Sharma Foundation and co-sponsored by SFU's Institute for the Humanities.


In the last 30 years, Delhi, the capital of India, has displaced over 1.5 million poor people. Resettlement and welfare services are available—but exclusively so, as the city deems much of the population ineligible for civic benefits. The Right to Be Counted examines how Delhi’s urban poor, in an effort to gain visibility from the local state, incrementally stake their claims to a house and life in the city. Contributing to debates about the contradictions of state governmentality and the citizenship projects of the poor in Delhi, this book explores social suffering, logistics, and the logic of political mobilizations that emanate from processes of displacement and resettlement. Sanjeev Routray draws upon fieldwork conducted in various low-income neighborhoods throughout the 2010s to describe the process of claims-making as an attempt by the political community of the poor to assert its existence and numerical strength, and demonstrates how this struggle to be counted constitutes the systematic, protracted, and incremental political process by which the poor claim their substantive entitlements and become entrenched in the city. Analyzing various social, political, and economic relationships, as well as kinship networks and solidarity linkages across the political and social spectrum, this book traces the ways the poor work to gain a foothold in Delhi and establish agency for themselves.


  • Sanjeev Routray


  • Priti Narayan (Centre for India and South Asia Research, UBC)
  • Sara Shneiderman (Department of Anthropology/School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, UBC)

Lacan Salon Clinical Seminar: "What Makes a Psychoanalyst?" | Mar 18–Jun 17 @ 10:30AM–12:30PM | SFU Harbour Centre

Organized by the Lacan Salon and co-sponored by SFU's Institute for the Humanities.

In this seminar, we will read central texts by Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan that pertain to the question of what makes a psychoanalyst and what inheres a psychoanalytic practice. We will also read contemporary texts to explore, within our present circumstances, the hurdles and opportunities for developing a Freudo-Lacanian practice of psychoanalysis in Vancouver, BC.

This Seminar is primarily for people who have lived experience with psychoanalysis, as analysands and as clinicians, and who are interested in making Freudo-Lacanian psychoanalysis possible as a practice in this region.


  1. Mar 18: "Formation of the Analyst: Between Desire and End of Analysis"
  2. Apr 8: "End of Analysis and the Pass"
  3. Apr 22: "The uFnction of the Analyst: Style and Semblance of Object A"
  4. May 6: "How Does an Analyst Listen: The Ethics of Psychoanalysis"
  5. May 20: "Variations of Psychoanalytic Intervention"
  6. Jun 3: "School: Communities Beyond the Psychology of the Masses"
  7. Jun 17: "Conclusions and the Future"


Presented by Centre for Free Expression and co-sponsored by Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Institute for the Humanities at Simon Fraser University, and PEN Canada.

Antisemitism is resurgent in our age of social media, identity politics, and populism. In his new book, Antisemitism: An ancient hatred in the age of identity politics, Philip Slayton looks at the history of antisemitism and how it is being turbocharged today. An award-winning writer, lawyer, and former law dean, Slayton suggests a way forward that challenges conventional wisdom. Join Philip in conversation with Samir Gandesha, Director of the Institute for the Humanities at Simon Fraser University and author of Spectres of Fascism.

Roundtable Discussion: “A Hundred Years Later: Asian Racialization and the Violence of Inclusion” | May 15 @ 3:00PM | WCC 420, SFU Centre for Dialogue

Organized by the Canada Research Chair and co-sponsored by SFU's David Lam Centre, Institute for the Humanities, Department of Geography, Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, and Global Asia Program.

Coinciding with the centenary this year of the (anti-) Chinese Immigration Act in Canada, roundtable participants will reflect on the contradictions of Asian racialization in the context of contemporary crises: What are the broader structural violences that have been exacerbated rather than resolved in the political shift from formal racial exclusion to inclusion in dominant settler societies? How has “inclusion” deepened forms of Asian exclusion? How do these complex dynamics operate in multiethnic and multiracial communities across North America?


  • Iyko Day, Elizabeth C. Small Professor and Chair of English and Interim Chair of the Department of Critical Race and Political Economy, Mount Holyoke College
  • Nadine Attewell, Associate Professor of GSWS and Director of the Global Asia Program, SFU
  • Davina Bhandar, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Athabasca University; Adjunct Faculty in GSWS and School of Communication, SFU
  • May Farrales (moderator), Assistant Professor of Geography and GSWS, SFU
  • Sharon Luk, Associate Professor of Geography and Canada Research Chair 2, SFU


Presented by Centre for Free Expression and co-sponsored by American Association of University Professors, Canadian Association of University Teachers, Institute for the Humanities at Simon Fraser University, and PEN Canada.

Increasingly, scholars of a nation’s history, politics, and culture are challenged as anti-national or hostile to the dominant religion, ethnicity, and culture. This panel will look at the growing challenges faced by scholars of China. When does critical disagreement become an attack on academic freedom? What can universities do to protect the integrity of scholarly work in such a deeply fraught environment?


  • Andrew Nathan, Professor of Political Science, and Chair, Steering Committee, Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University. His books include China’s Search for Security, co-authored with Andrew Scobell (Columbia)
  • Meg Rithmire, Associate Professor of Business Administration, Harvard University. Author of Land Bargains and Chinese Capitalism (Cambridge)
  • Rory Truex, Assistant Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University. Author of Making Autocracy Work: Representation and Responsiveness in Modern China (Cambridge)


Henry Reichman, Professor Emeritus of History, California State University, East Bay. Author of Understanding Academic Freedom (Johns Hopkins). Former Vice-President, American Association of University Professors.

"Divesting From Cancel Culture on the Left" | May 1 @ 6:00PM | The Wise Hall & Lounge, Vancouver, BC

Co-hosted and co-sponsored by SFU’s Institute for the Humanities and The Fucking Cancelled Podcast.

A symposium on cancel culture with Jay Lesoleil and Clementine Morrigan of the Fucking Cancelled podcast, with special guests Sarah Blackmore, Thomas Kemple, Kier Adrian Gray, and Tara McGowan-Ross. Cancel culture is a culture of harassment, punishment, dehumanization, and exile that has a profound impact on our communities, our relationships, our ability to effectively organize, and our personal mental health and wellbeing. This symposium will explore the problems with cancel culture and discuss what we could be doing instead.


  • Jay Lesoleil and Clementine Morrigan, The Fucking Cancelled Podcast
  • Tara McGowan-Ross, Author of Nothing Will Be Different
  • Thomas Kemple, UBC
  • Sarah Blackmore, RCC
  • Kier Adrian Gray, Author


Approximately hundred delegates attended a week-long symposium in Vancouver from April 21 to 26, 2023, from India, the United Kingdom, France, Middle East, the United States, and of course, from across Canada. The symposium provided a forum for thinkers to gather and reflect on the progress made and challenges experienced over the past twenty years since the International Dalit Conference was hosted in Vancouver in May 2003.

Presented by Chetna Association of Canada and Ambedkarite International Coordination Society and cosponsored by Centre for India and South Asia (CISAR) at University of British Columbia, Institute for the Humanities at Simon Fraser University, Hari Sharma Foundation, South Asian Studies Institute (SASI) at The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhism and Contemporary Society at University of British Columbia, South Asian Studies Institute, University of the Fraser Valley, President’s Office, University of Victoria, Department of History at University of British Columbia, David Lam Center at Simon Fraser University, Public Humanities Hub at University of British Columbia, and Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

Specific areas of focus for the Dr. Ambedkar Symposium on Emancipation (2023):

  • Access, opportunities, and challenges for social and economic development of the youth, both in India and abroad.
  • Reflecting and building on strategies developed through prior conferences and research for taking the caravan forward and advancing political, economical, and social interests of marginalized communities.
  • Evaluating the role of Buddhism for emancipation and re-strategizing in context of the emerging realities.

learn more about ASE 2023


Organized and co-sponsored by SFU’s SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies, Institute for the Humanities, and Department of Global Humanities. This programming is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).

This workshop invites students to join a discussion on late 20th century dictatorships in Southern Europe (Spain, Greece, and Portugal); the emergence of authoritarian regimes, censorship, youth movements fighting for the reinstatement of democracy, and the cultural production of these years. The discussion will also explore the legacies of that era in contemporary politics along with relevant references made in contemporary culture.


Professor Kostis Kornetis teaches contemporary history at the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM). He has taught at Brown University, New York University, and the University of Sheffield, and was CONEX-Marie Curie Experienced Fellow at Carlos III, Madrid, and Santander Fellow in Iberian Studies at St. Antony’s College, Oxford.


Eirini D. Kotsovili studied History, Hispanic studies at McGill University (B.A.) and Literature at University of Oxford (M.St, D.Phil), where she was also Junior Dean (Somerville College). She is a member of the Stavros Niarchos Centre for Hellenic Studies, the Institute for the Humanities, as well as an Associate member of the Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies.

Unveiling of George Rammell’s “Chambers of Predetermined Outcomes: Gatekeepers of Justice” | Mar 21 @ 7:00PM | Longhouse Council of Native Ministry

Join us for an unveiling of George Rammell’s sculptural work “Chambers of Predetermined Outcomes: Gatekeepers of Justice” by Rueben George of the Tsleil-Waututh nation. The unveiling is followed by a discussion with the artist and introductory statements by panelists Rueben George, Alex Phillips, and Michelle Silongan on the TMX struggle, political art, and injunction culture. Rammell’s sculpture has been funded through the British Columbia Arts Council.


George Rammell was born in Cranbrook, BC. He studied at the Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr University of Art and Design) from 1971-75 and has been active as a sculptor and art instructor since 1975. He taught sculpture at Emily Carr University and worked as a studio sculptor for Haida Artist Bill Reid, amongst other prominent artists. For 24 years he taught sculpture and drawing in the Studio Art Faculty at Capilano University. Rammell is currently immersed in a body of activist art in support of Indigenous nations who are opposed to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.


  • Rueben George of the Tsleil-­Waututh Nation is an Indigenous community organizer and spiritual leader. He is a Sun Dance Chief and the grandson of Chief Dan George, the Oscar nominated and universally respected First Nations spiritual leader. Rueben has worked across Canada and the United States facilitating workshops on healing and wellness. In every project Rueben works on, he is sure to incorporate his culture and spirituality. In his present position as director of community development for the Tsliel-Waututh Nation, Rueben oversees the education, social services, employment and training, youth and Elders programs, family support programs and the Tsliel Waututh Nation Daycare and Early Childhood Learning Centre.
  • Alex Phillips is a sculptor, writer, and Associate Professor at Emily Carr University where she teaches visual art and anthropology. Alex chairs the Human Rights and International Solidarity Committee of the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators, which represents 10,000 teachers across BCs colleges and universities. She has represented Emily Carr’s faculty on its Board of Governors for eight years.
  • Michelle Silongan is a lawyer practicing in criminal defence and civil litigation on the territories of the Kwantlen, Musqueam, Katzie, Semiahmoo, Tsawwassen, Qayqayt and Kwikwetlem peoples. Her clients include Indigenous and environmental activists being prosecuted on criminal charges or for contempt of court, including at the Trans Mountain pipeline and Fairy Creek. She is also a Steering Committee member for the Law Union of BC and a member of its Movement Legal Support Subcommittee, which provides legal support and Know Your Rights trainings to activists. Michelle holds a BA from UBC, a Master of Public Policy from SFU, and an LLB (Hons) from Queen Mary, University of London.


Ian Angus is Professor Emeritus from the Department of Global Humanities at Simon Fraser University. He has published in the areas of contemporary philosophy, Canadian Studies, and communication theory. A Festschrift on his work has been edited by Samir Gandesha and Peyman Vahabzadeh: “Crossing Borders: Essays in Honour of Ian H. Angus, “Beyond Phenomenology and Critique” (Arbeiter Ring, 2020). His most recent book is “Groundwork of Phenomenological Marxism: Crisis, Body, World” (Lexington Books, 2021).

"Reflections on the Grid Diagram of Work Rotations at Clinique de la Borde" | Mar 14 @ 7:00PM–9:00PM | Room 7000, SFU Harbour Centre

Organized by the Lacan Salon and co-sponsored by SFU's Institute for the Humanities.

A special session of the Lacan Salon with Gary Genosko (Ontario Tech University), who will be talking about the recently co-translated Felix Guattari paper “The Grid.”

Symposium: "The Woman, Life, Freedom Uprising" | Mar 3 @ 9:00AM–8:00PM | ICBC Concourse Room, SFU Centre for Dialogue

Organized by SFU's School of Communication and co-sponsored by SFU's FCAT, Department of History, Department of World Languages and Literatures, Institute for the Humanities, Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies, Faculty of Communication, Art, and Technology, EDI Working Group, Iranian Club, and The Caucus.

Waving headscarves in the air in the cemetery in Kurdistan, women and men chanted “Jin, Jiyan, Azadi” (Woman, Life, Freedom) to protest the brutal murder of Jina (Mahsa) Amini under police custody. That was the moment that fueled what would become the “Woman, Life, Freedom uprising” in Iran, followed by waves of countrywide protests initiated by women activists inside Iran. The movement has brought different socio-political dissidents together, aiming to undermine the long-lasting theocratic regime in Iran and seeking freedom and justice. Almost six months after the birth of “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement, we are gathering to collectively reflect on the multiple grievances that caused the uprising and the horizons that it opens up to the future. This symposium aims to critically engage with the questions that might illuminate the possible directions that the uprising might take in the months or years to come.


  • Kristin Soraya Batmanghelichi (University of Oslo), Mothers of "Martyrs": Publicizing Dissent in Sorrow
  • Azam Khatam (York University), Jina Movement in Iran: A Youth Uprising beyond the Large Cities
  • Peyman Vahabzadeh (University of Victoria), Woman Life Freedom: An Alternative View
  • Frieda Afary (Librarian, writer, and independent scholar based in Los Angeles), How Can the Current Uprising in Iran Move in the Direction of an Actual Feminist Revolution?  
  • Sama Khosravi Ooryad (University of Gothenburg), Intentional Ignorance, Political Epistemicide: The Violence of Representation and Co-option in the Woman, Life, Freedom Movement
  • Jaffer Sheyholislami (Carleton University), Struggle for Linguistic Justice and Freedom in the Face of Assimilationist Policies in Iran: Kurdish as an Example

learn more about the symposium

“Society Must Be Defended. Society must be attacked”: Foucault as a Critic of Schmitt | Mar 2 @ 6:00PM | Room 7000, SFU Harbour Centre

Co-sponsored by SFU's Institute for the Humanities and Vancity Office of Community Engagement.

In a 1998 essay entitled Karl und Carl, Mario Tronti defined the meeting between Marx and Schmitt as “impossible and necessary.” A few lines later, he added that these constituted: “two forms of agonic, ‘polemical’ thought: not only with regard to practical action but also to theoretical research as war.” In addition to the juxtaposition between Marx and Schmitt, these same words can help us draw another comparison which so far has been almost not investigated: the one between Foucault and Schmitt. This association is defined by an impossibility and, at the same time, by a necessity. Foucault and Schmitt are in fact certainly distant: not only from a political point of view, but also from a philological one. Nevertheless, what we will do—through the examination of the “Fonds Michel Foucault,” the unpublished manuscripts located at the Bibliothèque nationale de France—is exactly to demonstrate that the thought of the German jurist can be understood as a necessary refractive prism through which a specific phase of Foucault’s production can be analyzed. More precisely, it will be shown that one of the theoretical lines, that implicitly underpin Foucault’s lectures Society Must Be Defended, can be identified in a critical dialogue with Schmitt. Or, differently said, we can notice that the Foucaultian’s polemocritical model has some relevant theoretical proximity with Schmitt’s theory of the political, but in fact develops as a radical critique of it. 


Valentina Antoniol holds a PhD in Political Philosophy from the University of Bologna, in joint supervision with the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) of Paris, with a dissertation focused on the concept of war from the work of Michel Foucault and Carl Schmitt. Currently, she is a post-doc researcher in Political Philosophy at the University of Bologna and Visiting Scholar at CUNY, with a project aimed at investigating the relationship between conflict, urban spaces, and architecture, starting from a critical redefinition of the concept of stasis. She is author of various essays, including “Biopolitics Beyond Foucault. A Critic of Agamben’s Analysis of the Pandemic,” in Soft Power(2023), and “Civil War and Modernity. Foucault, an Anti-Schmittian Genealogy,” in Politica & Società (2021). Her book Foucault as a Critic of Schmitt. Genealogies and War is forthcoming in Italian and French in 2023.

Panel Discussion: "The Hidden Costs of Canada’s Fossil Energy Expansion" | Jan 26 @ 6:30PM | Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, SFU

Co-sponsored by SFU’s Institute for the Humanities, Faculty for Future, Protect the Planet, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives - BC Office, SFU350, and Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust.

About the panel

Canada continues to spend billions of dollars expanding our fossil energy infrastructure. For example, the cost of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion has ballooned from $4.5 to $26 billion since the project was bought by the Canadian government in 2018. This panel will examine some of the hidden costs of such projects including costs to Indigenous rights, health and social costs through increasing emissions and future costs associated with selling the project in a world transitioning away from fossil energy.


Elodie Jacquet, Manager of Knowledge and Practice at Simon Fraser University’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. 


  • Kevin Cromar, program director at the Marron Institute of Urban Management and an Associate Professor of Environmental Medicine and Population Health at New York University Grossman School of Medicine.
  • Eugene Kung, staff lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law Association.
  • Erin Hansen, manager of the Sacred Trust Initiative and policy advisor at the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in their Treaty, Lands and Resources Department.
  • Marc Lee, senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and co-director of the Climate Justice Project, a research partnership with UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning.
  • Chloe Hartley, policy analyst with the Sacred Trust Initiative.

Film Screening: “We Have Not Come Here to Die” | Jan 17 @ 5:30PM | Room 1700, SFU Harbour Centre

Presented by Chetna Association of Canada and in partnership with the Institute for the Humanities at SFU and the Center for India and South Asia Research at UBC.


Rohith Vemula, a Dalit Ph.D research scholar and activist at University of Hyderabad who was persecuted by the university administration and Hindu supremacists, died of suicide on January 17, 2016. His suicide note, which argued against the “value of a man being reduced to his immediate identity” galvanized student politics and solidarity movements. The ensuing outrage gave rise to protests across India, calling the neglectful treatment and systemic oppression faced by Dalit people into question, and encouraging solidarity with minority groups facing similar discrimination from Hindu nationalists, students, administration and aligned governing authorities.


Deepa Dhanraj is a writer and award-winning filmmaker based in Bangalore, South India. She has been actively involved with the women’s movement, with a focus on political participation, health, and education, since 1980. Deepa has taught video to women activists from South-East Asia and regularly lectures on media theory in both academic and public settings across India. She was one of the lead researchers on a multi-centered research study, ‘Minority Women Negotiating Citizenship’. Deepa is also the founder of Bangalore-based filmmaking collective Yugantar, an organisation that produced films about women’s labour and domestic conditions in Southern India. In addition to her extensive work on women’s rights, her activism also extends to issues related to education, particularly problems faced by children who are first generation learners.

J. S. Woodsworth Events


In the context of the climate crisis and what has been referred to as the “great redistribution” of life on earth, this talk considers human and more-than-human mobility from the perspective of climate solidarity. Part travelogue, part poetics statement, the talk is grounded in the author’s participation in an ongoing, yearly walk in solidarity with refugees and asylum seekers. It also takes stock of the author’s current position, in the middle of writing a long poem called The Middle, which itself engages with pilgrimage and mobility through a re-writing of Dante’s Purgatorio.


Stephen Collis is the author of a dozen books of poetry and prose, including The Commons (2008), the BC Book Prize winning On the Material (2010), Once in Blockadia (2016), and Almost Islands: Phyllis Webb and the Pursuit of the Unwritten (2018)—all published by Talonbooks. A History of the Theories of Rain (2021) was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for poetry, and in 2019, Collis was the recipient of the Writers’ Trust of Canada Latner Poetry Prize. He lives near Vancouver, on unceded Coast Salish Territory, and teaches poetry and poetics at Simon Fraser University.