Radical Humanism in Times of Crisis, Part 3 – Is Russell Brand the Socrates of Our Time?

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In this video, the final of a three-part series, Dr. Todd Dufresne, Dr. Carol-Ann Farkas, and Dr. Shoshannah Bryn Jones Square discuss tricksters, comedians, Indigenous knowledge, and the role of scholarship in addressing the climate emergency and COVID-19.

*****The book shown in the video is actually Trickster Drift. I am referring to Son of a Trickster.****

Todd is a Professor of Philosophy at Lakehead University (CA) and, most recently, author of The Democracy of Suffering: Life on the Edge of Catastrophe, Philosophy in the Anthropocene (2019). Carol-Ann is a Professor of English and the Director of Writing Programs in the School of Arts and Sciences at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS). She is the the editor of Reading the Psychosomatic in Medical and Popular Culture: Something, Nothing, Everything (Routledge 2017), and her current research focuses on the ways in which we turn to popular media to learn about, and cope with, eco-anxiety. She is currently co-authoring a chapter for The Routledge Handbook of Health and Media (2021)—“Climate Health is Human Health: Working Through Eco-Anxiety With the Written Word in Print and Digital Media”—with Bryn. Bryn is an Interdisciplinary Instructor in the Faculty of Arts at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and an editor for Epilogue magazine. She is currently co-authoring a chapter for the Routledge Handbook of Health and Media, as you know from above, and she is also co-editing a collected volume, Intersex and the Health and Medical Humanities (2021), with Dr. Katelyn Dykstra. Thank you so much to the very talented Johanna Hauterville for editing this video (which would have taken me my entire life)!!

Empathy, Eco-Anxiety, and Activism: Radical Humanism in the Face of Climate Change and Social Upheaval (2/4)

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In this video, part two of four, Dr. Todd Dufresne, Dr. Carol-Ann Farkas, and Dr. Shoshannah Bryn Jones Square discuss the role of scholarship in addressing the climate emergency and COVID-19.

Todd is a Professor of Philosophy at Lakehead University (CA) and, most recently, author of The Democracy of Suffering: Life on the Edge of Catastrophe, Philosophy in the Anthropocene (2019).

Carol-Ann is a Professor of English and the Director of Writing Programs in the School of Arts and Sciences at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS). She is the the editor of Reading the Psychosomatic in Medical and Popular Culture: Something, Nothing, Everything (Routledge 2017), and her current research focuses on the ways in which we turn to popular media to learn about, and cope with, eco-anxiety. She is currently co-authoring a chapter for The Routledge Handbook of Health and Media (2021)—“Climate Health is Human Health: Working Through Eco-Anxiety With the Written Word in Print and Digital Media”—with Bryn.

Bryn is an Interdisciplinary Instructor in the Faculty of Arts at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and an editor for Epilogue magazine. She is currently co-authoring a chapter for the Routledge Handbook of Health and Media, as you know from above, and she is also co-editing a collected volume, Intersex and the Health and Medical Humanities (2021), with Dr. Katelyn Dykstra.

Thank you so much to the very talented Johanna Hauterville for editing this video (which would have taken me my entire life)!

A Conversation with Dr. Todd Dufresne, Dr. Carol-Ann Farkas, and Dr. Shoshannah Bryn Jones Square, Part One: Empathy, Eco-Anxiety, and Activism: Radical Humanism in the Face of Climate Change and Social Upheaval, Part One

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In this video, part one of four, Dr. Todd Dufresne, Dr. Carol-Ann Farkas, and Dr. Shoshannah Bryn Jones Square discuss the role of scholarship in addressing the climate emergency and COVID-19.

Todd is a Professor of Philosophy at Lakehead University (CA) and, most recently, author of The Democracy of Suffering: Life on the Edge of Catastrophe, Philosophy in the Anthropocene (2019).

Carol-Ann is a Professor of English and the Director of Writing Programs in the School of Arts and Sciences at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS). She is the the editor of Reading the Psychosomatic in Medical and Popular Culture: Something, Nothing, Everything (Routledge 2017), and her current research focuses on the ways in which we turn to popular media to learn about, and cope with, eco-anxiety. She is currently co-authoring a chapter for The Routledge Handbook of Health and Media (2021)—“Climate Health is Human Health: Working Through Eco-Anxiety With the Written Word in Print and Digital Media”—with Bryn.

Bryn is an Interdisciplinary Instructor in the Faculty of Arts at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and an editor for Epilogue magazine. She is currently co-authoring a chapter for the Routledge Handbook of Health and Media, as you know from above, and she is also co-editing a collected volume, Intersex and the Health and Medical Humanities (2021), with Dr. Katelyn Dykstra.

Thank you so much to the very talented Johanna Hauterville for editing this video!

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Incarceration, Prison Reform, Empathy, and Hope: An Interview with Yves Réal Côté

Many thanks to Alana Abramson for editing Metamorphosis and for introducing me to Yves. As Alana writes, “this book is for social science students, researchers, and faculty and anyone interested in trauma, transformation, and criminal justice.”

Thank you also to Wade Deisman, and for everyone on the team, for introducing me to Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s vital Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program.

Robyn Maynard, Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present (2017):

Incarceration is a form of captivity. Besides murder by police—the destruction of the body and the ending of life—it is the ultimate deprivation of liberty that can be inflicted by the state. Prisons are not only places of profound suffering, but they also make any participation in society’s social, economic and political life impossible. The populations that make up prisons make clear the fault lines of societal devaluation: there are no federal prisons composed mostly of wealthy, able-bodied, cisgender men. As incarcerated populations grow, jails and prisons are increasingly populated with those who have been deemed disposable: Black and Indigenous communities, people with cognitive disabilities and mental health problems and people with drug addictions. Incarceration does not impact all communities equally. For Black and Indigenous communities, incarceration is merely an extension of practices of captivity that date back centuries. (109)

In solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Marie-Claude Landry, Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC), explains in “We Must Put an End to the Use of Solitary Confinement in Federal Prisons” (2017) that the CHRC “has long held that placing vulnerable individuals in solitary confinement denies them their human rights, and for those with mental health issues, it can lead to irreparable harm”; however, Correctional Services Canada nevertheless “continues to deny that their actions can cause profound damage.” We need “[t]o be better, and to do better” when it comes to the rights of prisoners, Landry insists, “we absolutely need to acknowledge, understand and address the vicious cycle of neglect and abuse that exists both outside our prisons, and within them.” “Every person on Canadian soil,” Landry continues, “whether they are in our prison system or in our immigration system, deserves to be treated with human dignity, and to have full access to Canada’s human rights protections.”

In her TEDx Talk, “Why US Prisons Need to Abolish Solitary Confinement” (2015), civil rights lawyer Laura Rovner refers to solitary confinement as a “prolonged social death” that “undermines core values of the justice system.” Prisoners are locked in a “cement closet,” “a cell the size of a bathroom”; there is no scenery, no human interaction, no communication with others or the outside world, and the damage to mental and physical health is severe (some self-harm, others commit suicide, many experience irreparable damage to their eyesight and vocal chords, and many lose their grasp on who they are and no longer feel connected to the larger world, so much so that some doubt that they even exist (Rovner).

In her powerful TED Talk, “What a World Without Prisons Could Look Like” (2018), activist architect (and my hero) Deanna Van Buren rightly argues that “[i]nstead of prisons, we should be building spaces to amplify restorative justice.”

A few corrections (oops!):

  1. Deanna Van Buren‘s name is written incorrectly in the video (my apologies – I need to learn how to edit videos) and should be written as I have it here.
  2. Around 35:50, I mention that incarceration can affect individuals on a physiological level (and had some difficulty pronouncing the word) and then go on to discuss the psychological effects. My brain stopped working temporarily, which is not uncommon.
  3. In the final quotation from Robyn Maynard ‘s Policing Black Lives, there should be a space between “social” and “economic.” Obsessive compulsive? Yes.

Yves Réal Côté

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Watch out for my forthcoming video interview with the very inspiring Yves Réal Côté! Yves will speak about his experiences in the prison system and about his important book Metamorphosis: The Road to Change

About

My name is Yves Réal Côté. Since the age of 11, I have spent most of my life in institutions. I am what is known as a “lifer” serving the most severe sentence available in Canada, life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years. That means I will be under supervision by the government of Canada until my death.  In fact, I am serving two life sentences. My crimes consist of the use of violence in the community and in prison. In 1989, I took a life in Ottawa and was convicted of first-degree murder. In 1995, I received another life sentence for a murder I committed in a maximum-security institution. Two days after having been found guilty of the first murder and sentenced to life in prison, I received another sentence of 14 years for two bank robberies and one year for attempting to escape prison. In December 2013, after serving nearly 32 years in prison, I was released to reside in a halfway house on day parole. I am re-integrating into society as a responsible and contributing citizen. Writing my book, Metamorphosis: The Road to Change, is part of the transformative process I have been going through for many years.

I have been in 18 different federal institutions at every level of security: minimum security, medium security, maximum-security and super maximum known as the Special Handling Unit (SHU). I am covered with tattoos, and some say that I have a threatening image, an evil look. While I served my time in prison, I adapted well. I adapted myself to a point where I would go unnoticed. In the “outside” world it would be impossible for me to pass as “normal” with my physical appearance.  Today, however, the majority of people who take the time to sit down and have a conversation with me see me as a very intelligent man with potential to do good and to help others. It would be such a waste if my life experiences could not be used to reduce the suffering of others.

I strongly believe that sharing my story can make a difference for others. I have spoken in university and community settings and received heartfelt feedback. I would have never thought that it would be possible for me to make such a positive impact on people. Some people have told me that hearing my story reduced their prejudice towards offenders and prison. Others said they were scared to death when they learned that a murderer would be addressing their class. After hearing my story, their fear had completely gone away.

I have written hundreds of pages over the years I have spent in prison, many of them during my time in solitary confinement. I have also been writing since I have been released. This book contains a snapshot of my life and my thoughts on many topics. Some of what I have written may shock certain people and, if you feel offended, I apologize in advance. My purpose is not to please or to displease anybody nor trash anyone or the criminal justice system. Although some of my reflections may seem negative, my goals are to share my truth, take responsibility for my actions and, perhaps, help and inspire others in their change.

I am a simple man writing about making change, friendship, love, racism, religion, crime and punishment, and, naturally, incarceration. Many parts of this book have been very difficult to write. However, in a society where it seems we have lost common sense to fear and everything seems artificial, I am convinced that this book will be able to help some of you better understand the world in which prisoners live and what needs to change. 

I have participated in countless programs while incarcerated. I achieved the equivalent of a high school diploma and have completed eight college courses in psychology, philosophy, and sociology.  Despite years of correctional programs and some education, I am not an expert in any of the subjects that I am going to write about. However, I have enough lived experiences to give an informed opinion on things that touch us all. My friend and colleague, Alana Abramson, has agreed to contribute related academic insights and help edit this work. 

Welcome to the 8th International Conference on Arts & Humanities (ICOAH), 21 to 22 September 2021!

The International Institute of Knowledge Management (TIIKM) in collaboration with Concordia University (Montreal, Canada) is pleased to invite abstracts for its 8th International Conference on Arts and Humanities (ICOAH) 2021, which will be held on 21-22 September 2021 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The theme of the conference is “Health.” 

The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us of our profound interconnectedness—we are all experiencing the effects of the pandemic and are suffering collectively (and in unison with the planet). Put simply, “we are in it together”; “health is everyone’s business,” across and beyond disciplinary distinctions. How can the arts and humanities contribute to understanding and promoting health? How can we engage creatively, collaboratively, and inclusively in health discourse? In what ways can traditional, contemporary, narrative, and artistic medical practices converge in healing individuals, societies, and the environment?   

ICOAH 2021 will be a global platform for artists, researchers, academics, educators, art administrators, policymakers, advocates, media specialists, cultural community activists, and social scientists to collaborate in exploring the many aspects of health and the roles of the arts and humanities in understanding and promoting health. Join us and share your ongoing projects, creations, research, knowledge, questions, and experiences. We welcome abstracts of 150 to 200 words. Proposals may include papers, workshops, panels, and art presentations on (but not limited to):

  • Creativity, imagination, advocacy, and activism in the health humanities 
  • The convergence of traditional and contemporary approaches to healing and wellness
  • Arts intervention; arts and social prescribing
  • Injury, illness, pain, loss, suffering, and despair in the arts
  • Epidemics response and prevention in the health humanities 
  • Disability and society
  • Neurodiversity, society, the arts, and education 
  • Hope, dignity, and resilience
  • Digital humanities and health
  • Arts and rehabilitation
  • Aging and the arts
  • Social, emotional, physical, occupational wellness
  • Human health and the health of the planet
  • Philosophy of medicine and health, bioethics
  • Healthcare policy; healthcare discrimination 
  • Perception studies in the health humanities
  • Narrative medicine; graphic medicine
  • Stories, embodiment, and health
  • Storytelling, human rights, and societal health
  • “Visionary medicine” (Sayantani DasGupta)
  • Art therapies, creative approaches to healing
  • Music, sound, and healing
  • Literary studies on health, bibliotherapy 
  • Literature of illness
  • Literature and mental health
  • The mind-body connection
  • Synesthesia, subjectivity, and empathy
  • Quantum theory and consciousness
  • Neuroscience and spirituality
  • Health and religion 
  • Spirituality in medical practice / spiritual medicine
  • Compassion and empathy training in health and medicine
  • Earth-related illness
  • Land rights and human rights; land dispossession; climate crisis
  • Intergenerational trauma
  • Indigenous health humanities
  • Indigenous literature and healing
  • Indigenous knowledge, ways of being, and healing
  • Decolonization 
  • Reframing narratives
  • Memory, narrative, nostalgia, and mental illness
  • Receptive listening
  • Community/communal healing
  • Communal storytelling
  • Movement broadly construed (social movements, motion, energy, flow, waves, Reiki)


These and all other topics in the arts and humanities are welcome. 

Please send us your art and research abstracts by 20 May 2021. All submissions will be evaluated in a double-blind review process by a committee of internationally recognized scholars. Acceptance notification will be sent by 3 June 2021. Accepted researchers must register by the final registration deadline, 22 July 2021, in order to present at the conference. Full paper submission deadline (for conference proceedings) will be on 15 October 2021.

Please send any questions to the conference organizers:

Ms. Ganeesha Kirineliya, Operations Executive

ganeesha@tiikm.com 

Dr. Eldad Tsabary, Conference Chair

eldad.tsabary@concordia.ca  

Dr. Shoshannah Bryn Jones Square, Keynote Speaker

shoshannah.jonessquare@kpu.ca  

For more information visit the conference’s website:


Disciplines are open and may include the following:

Interdisciplinary Humanities

Health humanities

Medical humanities

Digital humanities

Ecological humanities

Ethno-cultural studies

Gender and Women’s studies  

Library studies

Area studies

Museology

Art in Society

Art history

Art therapies

Art curation and conservation

Art, society and social media

Literature

Liberal arts

Area and cultural studies

Information and museum studies

Folk and traditional arts

Classical arts

Creative writing

Research-creation in Visual and Performing Arts

Dance, Drama, Film, Theatre

Music, music education, music and technology

Installation art, robotic art, bioart 

Jazz, classical music, popular music

Sound design, electroacoustic music

Sound art, soundscape

Computation art

Stagecraft

Studio art, ceramics

Drawing, painting

Photography

Sculpture

Print media

Fibres and material practices


New Technologies and Arts

New Media, Internet, and digital arts

Moving pictures: cinema, film, television, video, multimedia

Design technologies

Spatial and architectonic arts

The art of games and gaming

Online cultures, social networks and the arts

Multimedia, mixed media and multimodal arts

The creative industries in a post-industrial or knowledge society

Digital media arts and education

Journalism, Media and Mass Communications

Media concepts, theories and methods

Journalism and the news

Media’s role in public relations and marketing

Media and youth

Social Media

Media platform and genre studies 

Arts Education

Teaching and learning arts practices

Multimodal literacies, multiliteracies in arts education

Literacy and the literary education

Arts pedagogies

Art history: purpose and pedagogy

Creative arts in the humanities

Art as self-inquiry

Applied arts

Architecture

Fashion design and textile

Graphic design

Industrial design

Interior design

Humanities and Social Sciences

Anthropology  

Archaeology

History

Political science

Sociology

Cultural studies

Languages

Geography

Literature and related disciplines

Law and justice

Philosophy and religion

Political science

Reconciliation and peacebuilding

The 8th International Conference on Arts and Humanities – 21 to 22 September, 2021

The International Institute of Knowledge Management (TIIKM) in collaboration with Concordia University (Montreal, Canada) is pleased to invite abstracts for its 8th International Conference on Arts and Humanities (ICOAH) 2021, which will be held on 21-22 September 2021 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The theme of the conference is “Health.” 

The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us of our profound interconnectedness—we are all experiencing the effects of the pandemic and are suffering collectively (and in unison with the planet). Put simply, “we are in it together”; “health is everyone’s business,” across and beyond disciplinary distinctions. How can the arts and humanities contribute to understanding and promoting health? How can we engage creatively, collaboratively, and inclusively in health discourse? In what ways can traditional, contemporary, narrative, and artistic medical practices converge in healing individuals, societies, and the environment?   

Please see the link below for further details. We look forward to receiving your abstracts!

“Segregation and Solitary Confinement: Advocates Concerned about COVID-19 Spike in Manitoba’s Only Federal Prison,” CTV News, Winnipeg, Friday, January 1, 2021

https://winnipeg.ctvnews.ca/segregation-and-solitary-confinement-advocates-concerned-about-covid-19-spike-in-manitoba-s-only-federal-prison-1.5250633

“Redesigning Our World” – Please come check this out and have your minds blown by an incredible group of students. They are going to save the world!!

TRUTHOUT: “Incarcerated Women Are Punished for Their Trauma with Solitary Confinement,” 12 December 2020