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Indigenous Challenges and Opportunities in Canada and Brazil

lynmario

Presenter 1 (Canadian): Sean Meades (Glendon/York) Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig

Reclaiming selves, re-centring relationships: Cultivating epistemic pluralism at Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig

Canada’s Indian Residential Schools, active throughout the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, enacted a policy of cultural genocide aiming to strip indigenous children of their languages, cultures, and traditional knowledge (Miller 1996). In the wake of the damage perpetuated by the schools upon indigenous civilizations, many communities and nations are mobilizing to take control of their own education. In that tradition, Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig (SKG) is an Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) controlled post-secondary institutions tasked with recovering that which was lost throughout the residential school era. With a focus on decolonized, Anishinaabe-centred approaches to curriculum, pedagogy, and leadership development, SKG is still remarkable for the multicultural makeup of its classrooms. Without falling back on either appeasement or guilt, instructors emphasize the place of belonging offered every person within Anishinaabe philosophical frameworks. Through its contributions to advancing epistemic and ontological pluralism, SKG leads students to reconceptualise approaches to identity embedded within the western academic tradition, and fundamentally calls into question assumptions about our relationship to the state, and to each other.

Miller, J.R. (1996). Shingwauk’s vision: A history of native residential schools. Toronto: University of Toronto Press

Presenter 2 (Canadian): Jessica Jacobson-Konefall (Queen’s) Terril Calder’s Repercussions: Indigenizing the Civic Archive

Metis artist Terril Calder’s stop-motion animation Repercussions treats the intersections between audiovisual literacy and civic culture in Canada through an Indigenous lens. In this vein, transnational literacies emerge through Calder’s work in her aesthetic surpassing of epistemic limits. Calder, using marionette puppets, portrays Indigenous figures interacting with psychic, archival, and material civic spaces. Repercussions treats these spaces in an audiovisual movement of Indigenous cultural resurgence—“enabling at once the epistemic limit of an existing set of conditions to become palpably perceptible, marked off in their historical particularity” (Chow 19), and surpassed. Within this general framing I am discussing Repercussions in terms of transnational literacy via three key themes: capture, captivation, and civic archive.

I am interested in how questions of transnational literacy intersect with ubiquitous image-capture and audiovisual captivation in the continuous reframing of the civic archive, and the making of new realities. My understanding of literacy has been vexed with the notion of interpretation figured as the demystifying of the given. This assumption of “giveness” across agonistic social histories and relationships attends practices and understandings of cross-cultural hermeneutics in potentially violent ways. In the context of Canada as a settler nation, and Indigenous decolonization, Indigenous artistic practices of image-capture and captivation together creatively contend with such practices and understandings. Calder’s work explores aesthetic civic consciousness focusing on the social geography of Canadian cities, the relationality of Indigenous peoples and settlers in Canadian cities, and Indigenous media aesthetics as practices of cultural resurgence in the settler city. Repercussions engages the practice of civic literacy in the domain of new media, supporting the emergence of a transnational civic archive, and enabling the productive reframing and resurgence of Indigenous epistemologies of civic space.

Works Cited

Chow, Rey. “When Reflexivity Becomes Porn: Mutations of a Mondernist Theoretical Practice.” Entanglements, Or, Transmedial Thinking About Capture. Durham: Duke University Press, 2012. Print.

BIO: Jessica Jacobson-Konefall is a PhD Candidate in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University at Kingston, Canada. Her research focuses on how Indigenous new media art shapes and defies notions of identity and community in Canadian cities. She teaches in the English Department at the University of Winnipeg, and her work has been published in journals such as Extensions: The Online Journal of Embodiment and Technology and AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples. She has forthcoming book chapters in The Oxford Handbook of Screendance Studies and Transforming Our Practices: American Indian Art, Pedagogies, and Philosophies.

Presenter 3: Jamille Pinheiro Dias Ph.D. candidate in Modern Languages University of São Paulo

In times of bloody land disputes between indigenous groups and cattle ranchers, loggers, miners and agribusiness lobbyists supported by federal authorities, the teaching of indigenous history and culture – made compulsory in Brazil by the Law 11.645/2008 – should be regarded as one of the most pressing issues in the curriculum in the country. In this gloomy and paradoxical scenario, there are indigenous-focused films that might enable viewers to look critically at the ways in which indigenous peoples are portrayed in mainstream media. This presentation will address some of the challenges faced by, and possibilities brought about by, “The Hyperwomen” (2011) and “Xapiri” (2012), two award-winning pictures shot among specific communities of the Carib-speaking Kuikuro – inhabiting the upper reaches of the Xingu River in Mato Grosso – and the Tupi-speaking Yanomami – living in Roraima, in the Northwest Amazon. How do these films featuring shamanism and ritual explore territories that move beyond ethnographic documentary bounds, pointing to something other than fiction or nonfiction modes?  Additionally, to what extent can they crosscut bodily senses and conceptual frameworks in a way that might help one unlearn assumptions and expectations forged by national and developmentalist concerns? Rather than explain shamanism and ritual, “The Hyperwomen” and “Xapiri” translate in both content and form the dynamics of such Amerindian practices through experimentation with the visible and the invisible, the audible and the inaudible. Each in its own particular way, these films engage us with different “real worlds” rather than “imaginary ways of ‘seeing the world'” (Viveiros de Castro 2004), providing us with an opportunity to rethink and reframe audiovisual literacy in relation to indigenous peoples in the 21st century.

Debater 1: Lynn Mario Menezes de Sousa (USP)

Open Discussion

Reclaiming selves, re-centring relationships – Sean Brookfield Meades

seanmeadesCultivating epistemic pluralism at Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig by Sean Brookfield Meades York University/Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig

Canada’s Indian Residential Schools, active throughout the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, enacted a policy of cultural genocide aiming to strip indigenous children of their languages, cultures, and traditional knowledge (Miller 1996). In the wake of the damage perpetuated by the schools upon indigenous civilizations, many communities and nations are mobilizing to take control of their own education. In that tradition, Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig (SKG) is an Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) controlled post-secondary institutions tasked with recovering that which was lost throughout the residential school era. With a focus on decolonized, Anishinaabe-centred approaches to curriculum, pedagogy, and leadership development, SKG is still remarkable for the multicultural makeup of its classrooms. Without falling back on either appeasement or guilt, instructors emphasize the place of belonging offered every person within Anishinaabe philosophical frameworks. Through its contributions to advancing epistemic and ontological pluralism, SKG leads students to reconceptualise approaches to identity embedded within the western academic tradition, and fundamentally calls into question assumptions about our relationship to the state, and to each other.

Miller, J.R. (1996). Shingwauk’s vision: A history of native residential schools. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Terril Calder’s Repercussions: Indigenizing the Civic Archive – Jessica Jacobson-Konefall

Metis artist Terril Calder’s stop-motion animation Repercussions treats the intersections between audiovisual literacy and civic culture in Canada through an Indigenous lens. In this vein, transnational literacies emerge through Calder’s work in her aesthetic surpassing of epistemic limits. Calder, using marionette puppets, portrays Indigenous figures interacting with psychic, archival, and material civic spaces. Repercussions treats these spaces in an audiovisual movement of Indigenous cultural resurgence—“enabling at once the epistemic limit of an existing set of conditions to become palpably perceptible, marked off in their historical particularity” (Chow 19), and surpassed. Within this general framing I am discussing jessicaRepercussions in terms of transnational literacy via three key themes: capture, captivation, and civic archive.

I am interested in how questions of transnational literacy intersect with ubiquitous image-capture and audiovisual captivation in the continuous reframing of the civic archive, and the making of new realities. My understanding of literacy has been vexed with the notion of interpretation figured as the demystifying of the given. This assumption of “giveness” across agonistic social histories and relationships attends practices and understandings of cross-cultural hermeneutics in potentially violent ways. In the context of Canada as a settler nation, and Indigenous decolonization, Indigenous artistic practices of image-capture and captivation together creatively contend with such practices and understandings. Calder’s work explores aesthetic civic consciousness focusing on the social geography of Canadian cities, the relationality of Indigenous peoples and settlers in Canadian cities, and Indigenous media aesthetics as practices of cultural resurgence in the settler city. Repercussions engages the practice of civic literacy in the domain of new media, supporting the emergence of a transnational civic archive, and enabling the productive reframing and resurgence of Indigenous epistemologies of civic space.

Works Cited

 Chow, Rey. “When Reflexivity Becomes Porn: Mutations of a Mondernist Theoretical Practice.” Entanglements, Or, Transmedial Thinking About Capture. Durham: Duke University Press, 2012. Print.

BIO: Jessica Jacobson-Konefall is a PhD Candidate in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University at Kingston, Canada. Her research focuses on how Indigenous new media art shapes and defies notions of identity and community in Canadian cities. She teaches in the English Department at the University of Winnipeg, and her work has been published in journals such as Extensions: The Online Journal of Embodiment and Technology and AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples. She has forthcoming book chapters in The Oxford Handbook of Screendance Studies and Transforming Our Practices: American Indian Art, Pedagogies, and Philosophies.

“Transculturalism”, “nation-state” and “border crossings”: how are they understood in Brazil and Canada?

sergiovanderlei

Presenter 1: Vanderlei Zacchi (UFS)

Presenter 2 : Lynn Mario T M de Souza (USP)

Presenter 4 Riley McGuire (Manitoba)

Debater 1: Brian Morgan (Glendon/York) Jamille Pinheiro Dias (USP)

Audience Discussion

What is the role of culture in literatures and literacies, as understood and taught in Canada and Brazil?

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Presenter 1 (Canadian):  Ian Martin (Glendon/York)

Presenter 2 (Canadian): Bruno Cornellier (Winnipeg)

Presenter 3 (Brazilian): Roberto Bezerra da Silva (UFS)

Presenter 4 (Brazilian): Roseanne Tavares (UFAL)

Debater 1: Neil Besner (Winnipeg)

Debater 2: Nara Takaki (UFMS)

Audience Discussion

Meaning making and cultural difference: teaching English literatures in the Brazilian context – Roberto Bezerra da Silva

robertoTeaching literatures in English in Brazil has traditionally been the domain and practice of undergraduate courses which for the most part prepare pre-service teachers to work with the language, not literature. The fact that the discipline is not included in the official curriculum and the absence of guidelines or policies to that end can only partially explain the virtual effacement of the literary text in secondary schools. At least two other reasons may account for this vacuum: a) the widespread perception of an incompatibility between literary texts and the needs or possibilities of inexperienced learners who are still making sense of simple statements in English; b) a pervasive distrust of literary literacy that has been waning even the reading of Brazilian texts on the premise that teaching the language is more important, tenable and urgent for the job market.

The current policy for language and literature teaching in secondary schools was presented by the Ministry of Education through the national guidelines for the curriculum (OCEM) published in 2006, a document that became the primary reference for the designing of undergraduate curricula in dialogue with the official parameters. Considering that both the chapter on literature and the one dedicated to foreign languages reveal a clear intent to steer away from the pedagogical principles that had been previously upheld (PCN, 1999; PCN+, 2002), this presentation offers a comparative analysis of the revisions introduced in those subject areas, particularly in relation to the centrality of meaning making in both proposals. On doing so, I come to produce an interpretation of my own practice as a response to the tensions that underline such dialogue in its attempt to articulate a methodological frame for meaning making grounded on the notion of cultural difference (BHABHA, 1988).

The Development of Agency in a New Literacies Proposal for Teacher Education in Brazil

walkyriaThe Development of Agency in a New Literacies Proposal for Teacher Education in Brazil

Presenter: Walkyria Monte Mór (USP)

Debater 1 (Canadian): Ian Martin (Glendon/York)

Debater 2 (Brazilian): Paulo Stella (UFAL)

General Discussion

Walkyria’s response

Audiovisual literacy across real worlds: (Un)learning through recent indigenous-focused films in Brazil

jamilleJamille Pinheiro Dias Ph.D. candidate in Modern LanguagesUniversity of São Paulo

In times of bloody land disputes between indigenous groups and cattle ranchers, loggers, miners and agribusiness lobbyists supported by federal authorities, the teaching of indigenous history and culture – made compulsory in Brazil by the Law 11.645/2008 – should be regarded as one of the most pressing issues in the curriculum in the country. In this gloomy and paradoxical scenario, there are indigenous-focused films that might enable viewers to look critically at the ways in which indigenous peoples are portrayed in mainstream media.

This presentation will address some of the challenges faced by, and possibilities brought about by, “The Hyperwomen” (2011) and “Xapiri” (2012), two award-winning pictures shot among specific communities of the Carib-speaking Kuikuro – inhabiting the upper reaches of the Xingu River in Mato Grosso – and the Tupi-speaking Yanomami – living in Roraima, in the Northwest Amazon. How do these films featuring shamanism and ritual explore territories that move beyond ethnographic documentary bounds, pointing to something other than fiction or nonfiction modes?

Additionally, to what extent can they crosscut bodily senses and conceptual frameworks in a way that might help one unlearn assumptions and expectations forged by national and developmentalist concerns? Rather than explain shamanism and ritual, “The Hyperwomen” and “Xapiri” translate in both content and form the dynamics of such Amerindian practices through experimentation with the visible and the invisible, the audible and the inaudible. Each in its own particular way, these films engage us with different “real worlds” rather than “imaginary ways of ‘seeing the world'” (Viveiros de Castro 2004), providing us with an opportunity to rethink and reframe audiovisual literacy in relation to indigenous peoples in the 21st century.

English language learning, internationalization and neoliberalism in higher education in Canada – Jonathon Luke

lukeIn recent years the spread and influence of the English language worldwide has rapidly accelerated, in large part due to processes of globalization and late capitalism. This has prompted much debate and discussion about English as a world language and its effects on local languages, socioeconomic mobility, and English language teaching worldwide (e.g., Crystal, Canagarajah, Holliday, Jenkins, Kubota, Phillipson, Pennycook). Recent national education and language policies implemented in numerous countries reflect and generate interest and debate in English broadly, but it is by examining how these policies are taken up in particular local contexts that we gain palpable insight into how global discourses interact with local discourses, strategies and practices to construct English locally both symbolically and instrumentally. However, this spatial turn to the local is further complexified by increased potential, virtual and actual global mobility. As citizens previously bound in large part to national or regional spaces journey farther and wider with greater frequency, the notion of locality must be adapted beyond the rootedness of the modern era to include a wider range of transnational spaces of habitation, community, employment and education.

To this end several researchers in applied linguistics, literacy and sociolinguistics (e.g., Blommaert, Collins, Heller, Park, Pennycook, Wee) have challenged modernist and nationalist conceptions of language, calling for an increased sensitivity to language understood as mobile resources whose indexical value in a given interaction is tied to particular local spaces of occurrence. My own research focuses on how these indexical values construct language ideological assemblages of English among international students in late stages of tertiary education as they prepare to transition into the labour market.

Participants in the Ciência sem Fronteiras programme of international scholarships for Brazilian students of science and technology who travel to English speaking countries or study in English-speaking institutions in other countries are exposed to a range of language policies (both explicit and implicit, overt and covert) emanating from multiple sources of authority at international, national, regional and more immediate scale levels. My research is ethnographic by design and paradigm, and examines the function and perceived value of English for students on these scholarships at Canadian universities. I am particularly interested in exploring the plurality of perspectives on English simultaneously held by these students and the role of space in their discursive constitution. Multi-sited ethnographic observation and interviews will allow me to thoroughly explore the various discourses of English in these students’ lives, while participant journals will provide detailed records of their actual English use. An examination of relevant policy literature from source and host countries and educational institutions will provide a picture of larger scale perspectives on English that inform their daily experience. This study will present a rich and detailed account of English for these young people both as they perceive it, and how it is actually realized in their lives. As such, its findings are highly relevant to researchers across a range of disciplines including applied linguistics, cultural studies, education, globalization studies, and sociolinguistics who are interested in the position, function and value of English in today’s era of globalization, and questions of language education, testing and other policies that surround it.

 

 

Rethinking the Place of Identity Politics in Canadian and American Literary Criticism – Riley McGuire

mcguireThis paper interrogates the position of identity politics, both theoretically and in practice, in contemporary Canadian and American literary criticism, to advocate for recognition of the continued value of identarian concerns in humanities scholarship. A definition of identity politics as a “term denominating the strategic use of cultural – or collective – identities in a vast array of forms of social practice,”[1] specifically those related to post-secondary education in Canada and the United States, will serve as the context for an examination of current critiques of the use of identity politics in institutionalized studies of literature and representation. Criticism of identity politics has been virtually co-extensive with the inception of the term, as fears that an emphasis on difference would interfere with potential alliances between marginalized subjectivities, perpetuate essentializing stereotypes, and cause other social damage were given voice. Recently, identity politics have become the target for those who argue for traditional humanities scholarship, dismissing identity politics as justification for self-interest groups to attack the canon, and thereby compromise disciplinary standards. One critic attributes the decline of North American English departments partially to the substitution of “the books themselves [for] a scattered array of secondary considerations (identity studies, abstruse theory, sexuality, film and popular culture)” and the increase of “enterprising students coming from immigrant backgrounds […] with only slender connections to Western culture” and with less interest in studying texts “representative of a special national interest.”[2] Provocatively, the increasingly globalized composition of North American campuses is positioned as a co-conspirator with a problematized interest in identity. These types of critiques and their implicit denial that Western humanities scholarship has predominantly functioned through identity politics—with mainly white males studying other mainly white male authors—belie primarily unfounded anxieties, as exemplified, for instance, by paraphrasing R. Radhakrishnan, who reveals the historical intersection of the decline of authorial authority and the rise of postcolonialism.[3] Dismissals of a supposedly toxic interest in identity require challenging (especially as these critiques are bolstered by calls from more radical factions of academia for a post-identity politics) as identity politics remain pertinent for professional development, pedagogical approaches, and the formation of collectives inside and outside of the academy. A culture of intellectual possibility that acknowledges that the uncritical championing of identity above all else is just as hazardous as the uncritical erasure of identity is necessary in fostering an academic climate that allows for adaptability and diversity in content and constitution.


[1] Kaltmeier, Olaf and Sebastian Thies. “Spectres of Multiculturalism: Conceptualizing the Field of Identity Politics in the Americas,” Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies, 7.2 (2012): 223-240. Web.

[2] Chace, William. “The Decline of the English Department: How it happened and what could be done to reverse it,” The American Scholar. Phi Beta Kappa Society. Autumn 2009. Web. 2 July 2013. Emphasis added.

[3] Radhakrishnan, R. “Postcoloniality and the Boundaries of Identity,” Callaloo, 16.4 (1993): 750-771. Web.