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Faculty of Humanities

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Dr. Victor KupermanLinguistics Professor Victor Kuperman - mining the web for big data

The world's largest collection of free data is located right at our fingertips. But what's to be done when the desired sample size is so vast it could take weeks, months or even years to collect and process via conventional Internet browsing? Enter McMaster assistant professor Victor Kuperman. Throughout the past year, Kuperman and two McMaster PhD candidates have been reading and studying roughly 1.8 million blogs and webpages from 340,000 websites around the globe using a fleet of high-powered computers in Togo Salmon Hall. The sites are personal, commercial and governmental in nature. Full Story.


image of writingHumanities Essay Prize winners for Term 1 2014/15 announced

Congratulations to our winners (listed alphabetically) Melsen Babe “Alberta's Crude Oil, 1948-1958: A History of Deregulation and Unsustainable Development” (History 4CM3); Danielle Beatty “Multiculturalism: An Illusion of Diversity within a Framework of Oppression” (English 2M06); Alison Dobslaw “Conflict and Improvement” (History 1CC3); Rebecca Due “'A Marriage Waiting to Happen': Canada's Commission of Conservation and Urban Planning” (History 4CM3); Cierra Fasken “Establishing the Global Commons” (English 2Z03); and Laura Noble “Activism Project: Reflective Paper” (Women’s Studies 1A03).


Dr. Henry GirouxMIIETL names Henry A. Giroux the Paulo Freire Chair in Critical Pedagogy

McMaster Institute for Innovation and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (MIIETL) has established a series of honorary chairs representing scholars whose research has made significant advancements in studies of education. The first appointment is Henry A. Giroux as the Paulo Freire Chair in Critical Pedagogy. In celebration, MIIETL is holding an event on March 18th 4:30pm-6pm in the MIIETL classroom (5th floor Mills Library) where Sut Jhally of MIT will deliver his talk “Beyond the Ivory Tower: Cultural Politics and Public Pedagogy."

This latest recognition of Dr. Giroux (Department of English & Cultural Studies) follows the recent announcement that he will be receivng a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Educational Research Association (read more), as well as an honorary doctorate and two major awards from Chapman University (details).


Library shelvesCan robots trust humans?

Communication Studies and Multimedia professor David Harris Smith's hitchBOT, the hitchhiking robot, has made headlines across Canada, the US, Netherlands and Germany and just recently finished a tour of Germany last month. Dr. David Harris Smith will talk about hitchBOT in the McMaster Alumni Lager Lecture "Can Robots Trust Humans?" on March 12 More information here.


Humanities Academic Advising Sign'No matter what you’re dealing with, come and see us' - McMaster releases new McMaster’s new Student Mental Health and Well-Being Strategy

Humanities Academic Advisor, Jackie Osterman, has helped students through just about everything during her nearly 30-year career at McMaster: course conflicts, missed exams and figuring out degree requirements, among other things. Over the last number of years, however, Osterman and her colleagues have seen a rise in the number of students needing help with the impact of mental illness on their academics. “Mental health issues are now the number one medical reason for us seeing a student,” said Osterman. It’s this change in the nature of academic advising that led Osterman and others to advocate for more mental health training and resources for front-line university staff – one of five key recommendations in McMaster’s new Student Mental Health and Well-Being Strategy. Read full story here.


Library shelvesHidden gems on display at Mills Library, if you can find them

There are 10 new works of art on display at Mills Library, but you’ll have to look hard to find them. Hidden among the shelves and designed to look like books, the pieces are actually works of conceptual art created by students in Sally McKay’s third year Studio Arts class, New Directions in Painting and Drawing. “It’s a different way of thinking about the art experience for both the audience and the creators,” says McKay, a professor in the School of the Arts. “It may be that hardly anyone sees this art, but those who do will have a different kind of experience and a surprise because they’re not expecting these little objects that look like books on the outside, but have all kinds of surprises on the inside.” More


Jin Lu and Cassandra FergusonReady to ignite: Hamilton Artists Inc. honours four McMaster artists

Hamilton Artists Inc. and McMaster's Studio Art Program have once again joined forces to honour outstanding graduating students with a professionally mounted show, Ignition. This year's Ignition artists and winners of the Hamilton Artists Inc. Award for Distinction in the McMaster Studio Art Program are Jin Lu, Cassandra Ferguson (pictured left), Heather Vida-Moore and Alana Petrella. The four students will also receive a shared studio space for a year, donated by 270 Sherman, along with a $100 honorarium. More


Sarah Brophy & Janice HladkiWhat does a ‘selfie’ say about you?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But more than a thousand words were used to discuss this picture phenomenon at a recent McMaster University workshop. A group of 40 students gave their thoughts about so-called "selfie culture," the trendy passion of taking pictures of oneself and posting them on social media. The students at the session called 'Our Selfies, Ourselves?' were asked why they think selfies are so prevalent and what the trend suggests about our culture. The workshop at the McMaster Museum of Art was hosted by English and Cultural Studies professor Sarah Brophy and Theatre and Film Studies professor Janice Hladki (see left for their 'selfies'). They are co-curators of an exhibition called 'This is Me, This is Also Me' that also delves into the subject. Read the story in the Hamilton Spectator.


HitchBotThis trip won't go off without a hitch: hitchBot heads to Germany

Traffic on the Autobahn may slow a bit next month when hitchBOT and its human parents arrive in Germany to test how drivers there respond to the chatty, robotic hitchhiker’s quest for free rides and conversation. Riding a crest of popularity and success from hitchBOT’s successful hitchhiking tour across Canada, McMaster’s David Harris Smith and his collaborator from Ryerson University, Frauke Zeller — both of them communications professors — are taking their creation over the ocean. They appeared Tuesday on City TV’s Breakfast Television to talk about the trip. Read full story.


Stephen O’Connor and Benjamin LeeMultimedia students crowdfund TV pilot thesis project

The Earth is only a year away from destruction, but there’s no panic in the streets because only a handful of people know it. And those people aren’t interested in sharing that information with anyone. It sounds like the plot of a new HBO thriller, but it’s actually the synopsis of a show being produced by Alexander Shahviri, Benjamin Lee and Stephen O’Connor of McMaster multimedia students for their fourth-year thesis project. Read full story.


Dr. Karen BalcomTeaching the ABCs of activism

Each fall, on the first day of class, Karen Balcom shares the story of the Hummingbird with her students. In the story, a forest fire rages out of control. All the animals watch, immobilized, as the flames spread; all except one little Hummingbird. Instead, the hummingbird flies back and forth to the river, releasing tiny droplets of water one by one onto the fire. The animals ask, ‘what do you think you can do? You are too little, this fire is too big.” The Hummingbird replies, “I’m doing the best that I can.” This is the message Balcom, an associate professor of history and instructor in McMaster’s Gender Studies and Feminist Research program, wants students to take away from her first year Women’s Studies course, “Women Transforming the World.” Read more.


Canadian news media: Three months. Three reporters. Three integrity issues in the national spotlight

Dr. Terry Flynn (Department of Communication Studies and Multimedia) is among Canada’s leading public relations / communications management scholars. He was the first Canadian to ever be elected to the board of trustees of the Arthur W. Page Society — the leading global association of chief communications officers — and was recently named a board member of the prestigious Institute for Public Relations. In 2014, Flynn was named one of the Top 50 Social Media Marketing Influencers on Twitter by Vocus Research, a global communications research company. He recently sat down with McMaster's Daily News to discuss the allegations and improprieties surrounding Amanda Lang, Leslie Roberts and Jian Ghomeshi. Read the article here.


HitchBotHitchBot Contributes Words to Live by in 2015 for McLean's Magazine

HitchBot, the incredible travelling robot (co-created by Multimedia Professor, David Harris-Smith), who made international media waves this summer by hitchhiking alone across Canada, was one of 100 notable Canadians asked to contribute to McLean's Magazine #2015in15Words Challenge. See more.


Paul BarrettPaul Barrett using 'digital humanities' to study Canadian author Austin Clarke

Banting Fellow Paul Barrett wants to know why literary critics and researchers do not often consider Canadian author Austin Clarke’s novels and writing as part of the Canadian literary landscape. Often regarded as Canada’s first multicultural writer, Austin Clarke was born in St. James, Barbados and moved to Toronto in 1955 — going on to become a prominent writer, teacher, journalist and civil servant. However, his work has never received the critical reception of his contemporaries, argues Barrett. More


Red WilsonRed Wilson invests $2.5 million in the study of Canadian history at McMaster

Red Wilson’s latest gift to McMaster is a catalyst for revitalizing the study and promotion of Canadian history, an area where Wilson has established himself as a champion. The gift from the Wilson Foundation supports the renewal of the L.R. Wilson Institute for Canadian History, ultimately allowing more Canadians to learn new stories about their past, says Wilson, a graduate, recipient of an honorary doctorate and former chancellor of McMaster. More

 


Sir Edward GreyWar and Peace, and the conference that never was...

“They didn’t fall into war, it wasn’t an accident, it wasn’t inevitable - they made decisions.” What could have happened if Europe’s statesmen had come together for a moment before the First World War was declared 100 years ago?  As universities across the country plan commemoration ceremonies, McMaster’s Department of History and the Wilson Institute have collaborated on a new approach to honour the anniversary. Humanities PR intern, Kayla Cockburn met with History Professor, Stephen Heathorn, to discuss the History department's enactment of a peace conference that could have changed the course of history. More


Art Exhibition Poster'This is Me, This is Also Me' at the McMaster Museum of Art

Curated by Dr. Janice Hladki (School of the Arts) and Dr. Sarah Brophy (English & Cultural Studies), this group exhibition focuses on self-representation and self-portraiture. Bringing together a thought-provoking mix of Canadian-based and international works, the exhibition addresses critical or interrogated self-representation in relation to multiple selves, the self-other relation, and the constitution of gender, sexuality, critical embodiment, race, and Indigeneity. The curators consider how representations of displacement, doubling, recognition and mis-recognition, and mutability unsettle ideas about memory and countermemory in autobiographical art. November 6 -March 21, with a series of related events. More details


Matthew WoolhouseMeet Writer-in-Residence, Hal Niedzviecki

Hal Niedzviecki is the writer of culturally challenging works of non-fiction, is the author of three novels and the co-founder of Broken Pencil, the magazine of zine culture, and has published in newspapers and magazines across the world. Writing, he says, is the only thing he’s ever been good at – and even if you don’t think you’re good at it, you should be doing it too. He is the 2014/14 Mabel Pugh Taylor Writer-in-Residence in the Department of English & Cultural Studies. Humanities PR intern, Em Kwissa, recently sat down with him to talk...Read the conversation.


Matthew WoolhouseCombining dance and technology for Parkinson’s therapy

Dance has been shown to help improve the quality of life for sufferers of Parkinson’s disease, and a team of researchers, led by Dr. Matthew Woolhouse of the School of the Arts at McMaster is working on bringing therapeutic dance into the home. The team has been closely collaborating with Hamilton City Ballet Dance for Parkinson’s, a local group that provides regular therapeutic sessions. Read More. (Click image to watch video).



Ellen AmsterMiddle East historian brings global perspective to Hannah Chair

An historian of Middle East medicine has been appointed as the Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine. Ellen Amster joined McMaster on Oct. 1 from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she had been a professor of history since 2003. The purpose of the Hannah Chair is to develop scholarship in the history of medicine, and to encourage McMaster students (including medical students) to become interested in the history of the discipline. Read more.


Henry GirouxHenry Giroux Appointed Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest

Henry A. Giroux has been appointed as the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest, the first of its kind in Canada. Dr. Giroux continues as director of the McMaster Centre for Scholarship in the Public Interest – a McMaster based research centre focused on cultural, political, social, and ecological concerns.


HitchbothitchBOT Hitchhiking Robot Creators Selected for Innovation Award

Congratulations to Assistant Professor David Harris Smith, a professor in the Department of Communications Studies and Multimedia who was awarded the Silicon Valley Technology & Entrepreneurship Forum 2014 Innovation Award. The award is in recognition of his work on hitchBOT, a collaborative McMaster-Ryerson project that created a hitchhiking robot that made it's way from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Victoria, British Columbia in the summer of 2014. Read more


English and Cultural Studies Professor Named to College of New Scholars

The Royal Society of Canada has named three McMaster faculty members including Sarah Brophy, a Professor of English and Cultural Studies, to the College of New Scholars. The College is Canada’s first national system of multidisciplinary recognition for the next generation of intellectuals. Congratulations Dr. Brophy! Read more


Daily News LogoMajor Canada-Wide Doctoral and Post-Doctoral Scholarships Announced

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships are Canada's most prestigious awards for doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows (respectively), working in the health sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and social sciences and humanities. McMaster's nine Vanier Scholarship winners for the 20140-17 term include Clorinde Peters (English and Cultural Studies), and McMaster's only Banting Fellow, Paul Barrett, is also from the Department of English and Cultural Studies. Read more.


Deana SumanacHumanities Graduates Inspire Current Students with Tales of Career Success

The Humanities Target Learning and Experiential Education Centre offers lots of events to help students explore their career options with the help of visiting professionals in a wide range of fields.. The Centre has also created a database of video interviews with Humanities graduates talking about their career paths and how their humanities education helped them achieve their professional goals. To watch the videos, visit our Alumni Career Interviews web site.

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Site Updated:March 16, 2015