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Cultural Studies

Annual Cultural Studies Speakers

Each year the Cultural Studies Program organizes a series of events with nationally and internationally recognized scholars and cultural practitioners.


Min Sook Lee | Assistant Professor, Art and Social Change, Ontario College of Art and Design

MinSookLeeMin Sook Lee is an Assistant Professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design University where she teaches Art and Social Change. Her research and teaching focuses on the intersections of labour, border politics, migration, art, and social change. Min Sook is also an award-winning Canadian filmmaker with a diverse and prolific portfolio of multimedia work. Her filmography includes the Gemini nominated El Contrato (2005), which looks at the lives of Mexican migrant workers in Ontario; Tiger Spirit (2008), a personal reflection on reunification between North and South Korea and winner of the Donald Brittain Gemini for Best Social/Political Documentary; Badge of Pride (2010), which looks at how queer cops in Toronto’s police force deal with being gay in a profession that has traditionally been strongly anti-gay, and Hogtown (2005), a dissection of the politics of policing in Toronto’s city hall, which was awarded the Best Canadian Documentary prize at the Hot Docs Festival. Min Sook’s documentary The Real Inglorious Bastards (2012) was honoured with the Canadian Screen Award for Best History Documentary in 2013. Her latest documentary, Migrant Dreams (2016), a portrait of migrant workers in Canada, debuted at Hot Docs this spring.

Min Sook Lee will spend a week on campus from February 19 to 25 working with students, faculty and offering FREE  public events:

Film Screening | Tiger Spirit: A Journey Through Korea's Divided Heart

Monday, February 20, 6:00 pm | Kelowna Forum, 1317 Ethel Street, Kelowna 
Hosted by the Okanagan Korean Culture and Knowledge Society
(We regret that washrooms are not wheelchair accessible at this venue)

Research Seminar | Building Resistance Through Art

Tuesday, February 21, 12:30 pm | ARTS 368, UBCO Campus
Starting a Conversation Brown Bag Series Discussion, Hosted by the Institute for Community Engaged Research

Film Screening | Badge of Pride: Gay Cops Come Out

Wednesday, February 22, 3:30 pm | University Theatre, ADM 026, UBCO Campus
Featured event as part of OUTWeek at UBCO

Film Screening & Community Forum | Migrant Dreams: Migrant Workers Resist

Friday, February 24, 6:00 pm | Mary Irwin Theatre, RCA, 421 Cawston Ave. , Kelowna
Hosted by the AlterKnowledge Discussion Series and the Cultural Studies Annual Visiting Speaker Program.
Register here:

Thank you to our sponsors:
Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies; AlterKnowledge Discussion Series; Cultural Studies Annual Visiting Speaker Program; Equity and Inclusion Office; Institute for Community Engaged Research Community, Culture, and Global Studies (Unit 1) History and Sociology (Unit 6); University of Alberta Press; Okanagan Korean Culture and Knowledge Society; Radical Action with Migrants in Agriculture (RAMA)


Wanda NanibushWanda Nanibush - Wanda Nanibush is an Anishinaabe-kwe image and word warrior, curator, and community organizer living in her territory of Chimnising. Currently, Nanibush is a guest curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario and she is touring her exhibition, The Fifth World, which opens in January 2016 at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery. The island life allows her to finish upcoming projects: a film called A Love Letter to My People, a documentary on Gerald Vizenor, a book called Violence No More (with ARP Press), an anthology of Indigenous curatorial writing, and more.


TitleEarliest Adapters: Survivance and Indigenous Media Arts
When: Wednesday Jan. 27, 2016, 3:30-5:00pm
Where: ART 114, UBC Okanagan Campus

Indigenous media arts encompasses a large field of activity, from performative and experimental video, documentary and fiction, to sound and radio art, media-integrated performance art, and new media installations. Artists working in these mediums are often practicing what Gerald Vizenor calls survivance, a neologism, which combines “survival, resistance and presence.” This term encompasses practices that rewrite colonial histories from the perspective of Indigenous experience, visual culture, and oral history. It also encompasses experimentation with medium in order to represent Indigenous worldviews, which often favour non-linear narrative; visual abstractions of historical events; interconnectedness of body and mind, nature and culture; the politics of space; as well as cyclical and geological philosophies of time. Also, there are practices that challenge stereotypes and molar identifications based on colonial understandings of who and what Indigenous means.


Title: Art after OKA: Poetics and Politics in Contemporary Indigenous Art
When: Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, 7:00-8:30pm
Where:Kelowna Art Gallery, 1315 Water Street, Kelowna BC V1Y 9R3

The main question underlying this talk is: how do contemporary Indigenous artists engage the politics of sovereignty and land? Why is the Kahnesatake resistance of 1990 the historical marker of this shift in art? We focus on works that exhibit a poetic rather than didactic approach to the relation of politics and artistic production. We will delve into why this choice is made and how it shifts the debate on sovereignty and what it could mean. The work of artists like Rebecca Belmore, Frank Shebageget, Nadia Myre, Ursula Johnson and more will be discussed. Audience interaction will be encouraged. 

Co-Sponsors: Cultural Studies Program, Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (UBCO), Community, Culture, and Global Studies (UBCO), Kelowna Art Gallery


Harsha Walia - Harsha Walia is a South Asian author and activist, currently residing in Vancouver, on unceded Coast Salish territories. Harsha is a cofounder of the migrant justice group No One Is Illegal and the progressive South Asian network Radical Desis. She works at the Downtown Eastside Women's Center. She is also an organizer in the Annual Women’s Memorial March Committee, Defenders of the Land Network and South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy. Harsha has been named one of the most influential South Asians in BC by the Vancouver Sun and one of the ten most popular left-wing journalists by the Georgia Straight in 2010. Award-winning author Naomi Klein has called Harsha “one of Canada’s most brilliant and effective political organizers.” She is also the winner of the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives "Power of Youth" award. Harsha's writings have appeared in over fifty academic journals, anthologies, and magazines. She is the author of Undoing Border Imperialism, which is currently in its second-print run.

Title of presentation: Movements for Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice
When: Monday, October 6, from 12:30-2pm
Where: UNC Ballroom


David Chariandy - David Chariandy, PhD, who teaches in the English department at Simon Fraser University, co-founded Commodore Books, the first Black Canadian literary press in Western Canada. His debut novel, Soucouyant (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2007), was nominated for 10 literary prizes and awards, including being shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award, a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book, and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize; it was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Award. Chariandy’s forthcoming second novel, Brother, is from McClelland & Stewart.

David will be speaking as the Annual Cultural Studies Speaker on October 22, from 3:30-5pm in the University Theatre (ADM 026), as well as part of the Visiting Author Series on Oct. 21, at 7pm at the Okanagan Regional Library, Downtown Branch.

Check out this story and interview with David Chariandy, The Daily Courier, October 20 - Canada not beyond race issues yet


Helen Haig-Brown -Helen Haig-Brown (Tsilhoqot’in) is an award-winning director, director of photography and teacher, whose documentaries focus on experiences from within her own family and explore issues of land and language that are of significance to many First Nations people. Her first fictional work, The Cave, was an official selection of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and of Berlinale 2010. In 2009, The Cave was named one of Canada’s Top Ten Short Films by the Toronto International Film Festival. She presented two talks: the first entitled “Colonization’s Impact on the Indigenous Family and the Expression of Intimacy and Love” and the second entitled: “Language and Cultural Regeneration within Indigenous Communities: The Films of Helen Haig-Brown.”


Jo-Ann Episkenew - Jo-Ann Episkenew is Director of the Indigenous People’s Health Research Centre and Faculty Affiliate in Kinesiology and Health Studies at the University of Regina. Her presentations were entitled: “Embodied Storytelling, Embodied Research, and Decolonizing the Imagination” and “Applied Literature and Health Research: A Close Reading of the Human Text.


Handel Wright- Handel Kashope Wright is Canada Research Chair of Comparative Cultural Studies, Director of the Centre for Culture, Identity and Education and professor in the Educational Studies Department at the University of British Columbia, Canada


Ruth Ozeki – Ruth Ozeki is an award winning novelist and filmmaker. During her visit, she provided a writing and meditation workshop and a public talk, entitled, “Food and Fiction: Redefining Environments.”


Sherene Razack – Dr. Razack is professor of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. During her visit, she met with students in a graduate seminar and presented a public talk: “Violence Against First Nations: An Ongoing Colonialism.”



Rinaldo Walcott – Dr. Walcott holds a Canada Research Chair in Social Justice and Cultural Studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. He made two public presentations and took part in a graduate seminar. His presentations were entitled, “The Necessary Modesty of Cultural Studies” (UBC Okanagan Campus) and “Representin’: Thinking Identity in Art, Again” (Alternator Gallery).

Last reviewed shim1/29/2018 11:15:21 AM