2019-20 Schedule

Talks start at 5:00 pm  (come at 4:45 if you wish to get refreshment from the bar)

Everyone Welcome!    See abstracts below

Second talk of 2020!!

NEW LOCATION!!!! Kingston Brew Pub (upstairs room)!!

11 March 2020 (Wednesday) 5 pm (also at Brew Pub)

Martin Hand, Professor, Sociology, Queen’s U

The Selfie Age: why do we make and share so many images of personal life?   

Since the 2010s there has been an extraordinary rise in the volume of personal photographic images being taken and posted online. The convergence of smartphones, social media platforms, and personal photography has enabled a situation in which images of ourselves occupy a pivotal role in everyday communication. Photography has arguably become more intimate – for most Canadians, the smartphone is a permanent attachment and social media platforms are increasingly integrated into their everyday lives – making images a component of almost everything they do. This raises many questions for the sociologist, from how contemporary societies will remember the past to how individuals must constantly curate their visual selves. This talk will document the rise and current prevalence of these visual communications technologies in everyday life, and discuss some of the most significant social implications for how we understand memory, time, and ourselves in contemporary society.


5 February 2020 (Wednesday) — 5 pm

Katherine McKittrick, Professor, Dept of Gender Studies, Queen’s University

Footnotes (Books and Papers Scattered About the Floor): On the Politics of Citation in Black Studies

This paper explores the politics of citation in black studies. Taking its cue from the work of Richard Iton, Lisa Lowe, Sylvia Wynter, and others, the discussion will address how referencing, footnoting, and other forms of citation are tied to diasporic literacy and liberation. The paper is also embedded with a cautionary tale that addresses how ownership and authenticity underpin some notational infrastructures—even those citational projects that are committed to challenging calcified and normative knowledge systems.



20 November 2019

Shelley Arnott

Salty waters: How winter road salt use is impacting freshwater lakes

Extensive use of NaCl to de-ice winter roads has been linked to widespread increases in chloride concentrations in lakes and streams. Road salt use in Canada increased by more than 50% from 1995 to 2009, with an estimated 7 million tonnes of salt being applied to paved surfaces each winter. Although most soft water lakes on the Canadian Shield have current chloride concentrations below 40 mg/L, well below the water quality guidelines for protecting aquatic life (120 mg Cl/L), our research indicates that zooplankton, a key component of aquatic food webs, may be vulnerable. We conducted laboratory experiments on 6 Daphnia species and found that they had reduced reproduction and increased mortality at chloride concentrations below the current water quality guideline for chloride. We also analyzed cladoceran remains in lake sediments from a roadside lake and detected shifts in species composition coincident with the onset of road salt use in the region.  To determine if zooplankton in Shield lakes are more sensitive to road salt than zooplankton in other regions, we conducted a global salt experiment where field mesocosm experiments were conducted in 16 different locations in Canada, USA, and Europe. While there was some variation in sensitivity to road salt among sites, at most sites, we detected reduced abundance of assemblages at concentrations well-below current water quality guidelines for chloride. These results suggest that more effort to limit road salt use is warranted.


2 October 2019

Lisa Kerr

Abolishing or Rebranding: Inside the legal battle to end solitary confinement in Canada’s prisons

The legislative provisions that have long governed solitary confinement in federal prisons – coined “administrative segregation” in the Act – were controversial on the day they were passed in 1992. In the decades following, the flaws of the scheme were chronicled in multiple government reports and scholarly publications, along with media investigations into the deaths of vulnerable inmates like Ashley Smith and Eddie Snowshoe in segregation cells. In 2018, courts in both BC and Ontario declared the provisions unconstitutional, leading the current government to pass Bill C83 in the summer of 2019. The new law still allows for the separation of inmates from the general population, and it still allows a significant degree of cellular isolation. The question now is whether the new law really abolishes solitary – as the Liberal government maintains – or whether Bill C83 will reproduce the well-documented harms and dysfunction of this practice. This talk will chronicle the rise of the social and legal movements against solitary, and comment on the degree of change that these movements have achieved.

Autumn 2019 poster with address and border