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Annual Cultural Studies Speakers

2011/12 - Jo-Ann Episkenew

Thursday, 3 November

“Embodied Storytelling, Embodied Research, and Decolonizing the Imagination.”
1:00pm – UNC 200
University Centre Ballroom

Modeled after institutions for delinquent children, Canada’s Indian residential schools were designed to create new physical and social worlds for Indian children, “a circle – an all-encompassing environment of resocialization” (Milloy, 1999, p. 33). That environment included not only the suppression of language and culture, but also regulation of play and suppression of the imagination. Surrender of Indigenous identities, and of course Indigenous lands, required the colonization of Indigenous peoples’ imaginations. I am a member of a research team that uses play to help Indigenous youth examine the decisions that they make that affects their health. Our goal is to help communities heal from the inter-generational effects of historical trauma. I will talk about our methodology that includes embodied storytelling as a means to achieve healing and embodied research as a pathway to knowledge.

“Applied Literature and Health Research: A Close Reading of the Human Text”
Alternator Gallery 421 Cawston Ave. Kelowna

Every day when I walk into my office at the Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre, some part of me asks, “How the heck did this happen?” You see, all of my training and all of my degrees are in English. Yet, I think (I sense? I believe?) that I belong here and that my training in English has prepared me for this work. In my talk, I will examine what life has been like as a “discipline shifter” and will discuss the possible contributions of literary studies to health research.

The Cultural Studies Annual Speaker was funded in 2011/12 by the Cultural Studies Speaker Endowment, the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies, and the Community, Culture, and Global Studies unit, with the support of the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art.



M. B.A. (with distinction), Hons. Cert., M.A. (Regina), Ph.D. magna cum laude (Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University, Greifswald, Germany) Jo-Ann Episkenew is on leave from her position as Professor of English at the First Nations University of Canada to serve as Director of the Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre. She is a Faculty Affiliate in Kinesiology and Health Studies at the University of Regina. Her research interests include applied literatures, narrative medicine, narrative policy studies, and trauma studies. She is a member of an interdisciplinary research collective awarded a four-year Operating Grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in 2009 to study health leadership in Aboriginal youth using theatre. Their research findings have been published in “Rehearsing with Reality: Exploring Health Issues with Aboriginal Youth Through Drama” that appears in a collection called Passion for Action: Building on the Strength and Innovative Changes in Child and Family Services – Voices from the Prairies (2009) and in “Forum Theatre: An Opportunity for Examining and Re-creating Indigenous Identity Through Performance as Play” in Children Under Construction: Play as Curriculum (2010). Jo-Ann’s book Taking Back Our Spirits: Indigenous Literature, Public Policy, and Healing (2009) won the Saskatchewan Book Award for Scholarly Writing in 2009 and the First Peoples Writing Award in 2010. Jo-Ann is past-president of the Association for Bibliotherapy and Applied Literatures and served as Prairie Region representative for the Canadian Association for Commonwealth Literatures and Language Studies. Currently, she is a member of the Chotro International Consultative Group, a group of scholars that organize a bi-annual conference on international Indigenous issues, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Lung Association of Saskatchewan. She also serves on the Judicial Advisory Committee for Federal Judicial appointments for the Province of Saskatchewan. Jo-Ann is a Métis woman born in Manitoba but now a long time resident of Saskatchewan where she lives with her husband Clayton and two grandchildren.

Last reviewed shim9/25/2012 6:27:21 PM