Research Lecture Series

Yvon Dandurand

Justice and Peace Building: Transforming Criminal Justice Institutions in Conflict-Afflicted Societies

  Yvon Lecture

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“A roadmap for breaking the violence at the country level necessarily includes restoring confidence and transforming the institutions that provide citizen security, justice, and jobs.”
— World Bank’s 2011 World Development Report

The future of peace often rests on the success of efforts to establish some modicum of security, rebuild national institutions, and restore their public legitimacy and credibility. The success of the peace process is also dependent on the ability of existing institutions to deal with the problem of impunity.In a post‐conflict situation, the typically limited capacity of the justice system to address the problem of impunity for major crimes committed before, during, or since the conflict remains a serious issue. It weakens the credibility and legitimacy of justice institutions and may lead to a resurgence of the conflict.

Recent scholarship on these issues reveals that efforts to promote rule of law and human rights based justice and security reforms in any context often lead to very disappointing results. Nonetheless, criminology and applied research can play a very important role in the process of institution building in conflict afflicted societies.

UFV criminologist Yvon Dandurand, drawing on his own experience in post-conflict societies, will provide some examples of useful interventions, offer reflections on lessons learned over the last decade, and leave you with a message of cautious optimism.

Dr. Prabhjot Parmar 

"Dark-Skinned Warriors": India and the Great War

  Prabhjot Parmar
  Dr. Prabhjot Parmar

The loss of the colonized subjects fighting for one set of Europeans against the other in the First World War is rarely a subject of attention. With the exception of Canadians and Australians, there is a remarkable inadequacy of attention paid to the experiences of soldiers transported from colonial settings, including India, to the very middle of the imperial turf. This paper examines a variety of cultural representations and selected autobiographic narratives of Indian soldiers to amplify the contribution they made and to complicate the existing discourse on the First World War. Between 1914 and 1918, Indian soldiers wrote and received thousands of letters that were subject to military censorship. I examine selected “memory traces from the past” (Hirsch & Spitzer) as literary artefacts and as corpus of social history to unravel insights into text and extra-textual reality, war and violence, and oppression and resistance. A scrutiny of selected letters provides a rigorous critique of the regulatory practices put in place for controlling Indian soldiers in various hospitals in England. I argue that by conflating discipline with confinement, some of the hospitals were transformed into carceral spaces for controlling the subjectivities of soldiers. Together with soldiers’ letters, archival documents, photographs, and architecture, I also analyze fictionalized texts to study the intersection of history, testimony, and literary traditions. To complicate the dialectical association of sahib and subaltern with the conjoining of caste politics, I engage with letters to examine evocations of social divisions on the Front, in the hospitals, and in the meticulous record of censored mail. Furthermore, the paper briefly draws attention to epistolary references or exchanges in folk songs and poetry. Exploring the narrative of “birhon” [pain of separation], I closely study the enduring legacy of love, trauma and the Great War in Punjabi poetry that disrupts the largely masculine narrative to draw attention to the devastating impact of war on women at home in India. ‌

Dr. Lenore Newman with Dr. Denver Nixon

Agricultural Land Reserve at 40: Land loss and fragmentation in the Fraser River Basin


For 40 years, the Agricultural Land Reserve has shaped land use in British Columbia. This talk will address how the ALR has changed over the last four decades, and how it continues to underpin both the local food movement and a robust industrial agricultural industry. Over the past year, Dr. Newman and post-doctoral scholar Dr. Denver Nixon have been examining the ALR, and will report on issues such as overall land loss, fragmentation, subdivision, and the impact of non-farm residential uses of ALR lands. Dr. Newman will address emerging edge issues, and explore potential futures for this critical element of our landscape. Using data drawn from earlier exploration of the local food movement, Dr. Newman will argue that Vancouver’s robust culinary culture depends on farming that takes place on the rural/urban fringe. Lessons from the ALR will be presented as a model that could work well elsewhere, and we will also discuss some of the future research that is needed to maintain a healthy ALR for centuries to come.

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Dr. Stan Manu, Mathematics

Roles of Language(s) in Bilingual Students' Understanding of Mathematics

   Dr. Stan Manu

Every teacher is a language teacher. In other words, the lifeblood of learning in many content areas. The K-12 mathematics curriculum has a language for describing “mathematical practices” that focuses primarily on mathematical understanding and reasoning. In classroom situations where English-language learners are involved, the tasks can be immensely complex. Addressing issues of language in content learning and teaching these is crucial. This lecture will attempt to share and contribute to the above discussion by looking at a particular bilingual situation where young mathematics students switch or alternate frequently between two languages during problem-solving discussions. In this type of bilingual situation, students learn mathematics in a dominant second language that has no direct or precise translation to their own native language. If teachers have a thorough understanding of how language and content interact within a specific content area, they are better equipped to make well-informed decisions about learning and teaching. As found with the Tongan bilingual students, if these students are allowed the flexibility of language switching, and thus access to appropriate terms and images in either language, they can be declared in no way mathematically disadvantaged from their monolingual counterparts.

Dr. Stan Manu has been with the UFV Mathematics and Statistics department January 2011. He is originally from the South Pacific island nation of Tonga, where he did his undergrad in maths and physics. He did his master’s at the University of Idaho, and his PhD in mathematics education at UBC. His research interests are in the areas of curriculum development, assessment, and teaching and learning of mathematics, and the use of language(s) in mathematics particularly within a bilingual context.

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Dr. Noham Weinberg, Chemistry

Molecular Modeling and Bizarre Chemistry of High Pressures

  Dr. Noham Weinberg

It is well established and generally recognized that temperature has a profound effect on chemical reactions. Every Grade 12 chemistry student reaction rates double, triple, or even quadruple with every 10 degrees increase in temperature; it does not require high school chemistry to know that food is safer if kept in coolers or refrigerators. Chemical effects of high pressures are far less known, even to professional chemists. However, although more subtle, these effects are no less profound than the effects of temperature. To people not familiar with them, some of these effects may appear quite weird and unusual. For example, exposed to very high pressures, typical non-metals, such as hydrogen or nitrogen, become metals, like iron or mercury. In the UFV Molecular Modeling Lab, we use methods of computational chemistry to predict chemical effects of high pressures and gauge them quantitatively.

Dr. Noham Weinberg received an MSc in physical chemistry from Moscow State University in 1976 and a PhD in theoretical chemistry from Zelinsky Institute of Organic Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, in 1981. He joined the Chemistry department of the then University College of the Fraser Valley in 1994. The UFV Molecular Modeling Lab was established on his initiative in 2001. More than 50 UFV students received research training in this lab.

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Dr. Hugh Brody, Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Studies

Found in Translation: How Many Words are there for Show? Reflections on the place of language in the destiny of culture.

  Dr. Hugh Brody

This year, Hugh Brody has begun to explore some of the experience and ideas that have come with his work on language — both loss and recovery.

In this lecture, he will look at what it means to have a language that comes from hunting rather than farming; and how the impacts of cultural change and loss can be accompanied by extraordinary strengths and creativity.His lecture will begin with words for snow, but move into the power of shamanic dreaming and the way so many aboriginal peoples use the new to give fresh meaning to the old.

Born in the north of England, where he spent much of his childhood exploring landscape and fishing, Hugh Brody was educated at Trinity College, Oxford, and subsequently taught at Queen’s University, Belfast, and the University of Cambridge. He came to Canada for the first time in 1969, when, as a government researcher, he lived on Edmonton’s skid. Before coming to UFV, he was a freelance anthropologist, writer, and film maker. He has been involved in land rights and aboriginal research in the USA, India, Australia, and Southern Africa, as well as across Canada. His books include Maps and Dreams, Living Arctic, and The Other Side of Eden. His films include Nineteen Nineteen, Time Immemorial, The Washing of Tears, Hunters and Bombers, Inside Australia, and The Meaning of Life.

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Dr. Heather Davis-Fisch, English/Theatre

Competing Performances, Competing Histories: Survival Cannibalism and the Franklin Expedition

  Dr. Heather Davis-Fisch

When Sir John Franklin’s 1845 expedition in search of a Northwest Passage disappeared in the central Arctic, it left few hysical traces but a remarkable archive of performative remains. These performances generate critical insights into how hose affected by the expedition’s disappearance understood the losses they experienced, and show how performance unctions as a repository of cultural knowledge.This lecture will trace how allegations that survival cannibalism occurred among the expedition’s final survivors were vehemently denied by Charles Dickens in a series of rhetorically compelling editorials, preserved in Inuit oral histories of finding human remains at macabre campsites, and overwritten by Dickens’s electrifying performance in Wilkie Collins’s 1857 play The Frozen Deep. These three examples testify to the remarkable power of performance to preserve cultural memory, but also reveal that this power can be dangerous: today Dickens’s performances serve as an ethical injunction against the misuse of performance as a tool of historical revision.Heather Davis-Fisch is cross-appointed faculty member in the UFV Theatre and English departments. She received her PhD in Theatre from the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph and was, in 2010-11, a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow in the Theatre and Film department at the University of British Columbia. She is the author of Loss and Cultural Remains in Performance: The Ghosts of the Franklin Expedition (Palgrave Macmillan).

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Dr. Gregory Schmaltz, Biology

Competition and maternal effects in group-living birds

Dr. Gregory Schmaltz  

Competition and maternal effects in group-living birds.Although most bird species exhibit a mating system similar to humans (social monogamy), there are exceptions to the rule. Smooth-billed anis are communally breeding birds that live in groups of up to 17 adults. What is unusual is that all female group members lay their eggs in the same nest. This nest-sharing habit has important consequences for these birds. For instance, females compete for access to the incubated clutch of eggs by burying each other’s eggs under leaves and nesting material. Males or females may also decide to toss eggs out of the joint nest.

Nonetheless, group members co-operate after the egg tossing/burial stage and share incubation, territory defence, and care of young, though not evenly. During his talk, Greg Schmaltz will examine some of the potential reasons as to why these birds decide to live in groups. He will also highlight various types of conflicts that are part of this unusual mating system.

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Davida Kidd, Visual Arts

Who Needs Art When You Have a View Like This

Davida Kidd’s latest body of work features an array of images that engage in biting double entendres. 

Davida Kidd  

It was inspired by a billboard Kidd read when driving across the Cambie Street Bridge that exclaimed “Who Needs Art When You Have a View Like This!” In keeping with Kidd’s practice of constructing sets and staging subjects, she creates large-scale photographic images that use digital collage to combine multiple objects, images, and views. 

Davida Kidd’s practice addresses themes of the blurred line between illusion and reality. She cultivates the ambiguous moments at which subjects become invented by the viewer.

Born in Edmonton, Davida Kidd received her BFA and MVA in Print Media from the University of Alberta, where she specialized in Print Media, Photography, Digital Imaging and Installation. Kidd is currently an instructor in the UFV Visual Arts department. She was awarded the prestigious Grand Prix at the 2003 International Print Triennial in Poland and recently received a major project grant from the Canada Council of the Arts. 

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Dr. Derek Harnett, Physic

Exotic Bound States of the Strong Nuclear Force

  Dr. Derek Harnett

For centuries, scientists have searched for the fundamental building blocks of matter. In this pursuit, significant progress has been made. We now know that (macroscopic) matter is composed of molecules; molecules, in turn, are built from atoms; atoms are bound states of electrons and nuclei; and nuclei are just collections of protons and neutrons.  In the 1970s, physicists discovered that protons and neutrons are themselves assembled from even smaller bits of matter called quarks.  The force responsible for bundling quarks together is called the strong nuclear force, and its mathematical description is provided by a theory called quantum chromodynamics (QCD).

In addition to protons and neutrons, QCD predicts the existence of a wealth of other strongly bound particles, many of which have been found; however, there are several varieties that continue to defy conclusive experimental detection.  These hypothetical particles are collectively referred to as exotics.  Do they actually exist?  If so, then why are we having so much difficulty finding them?  If not, then what are the implications for QCD?

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Dr. Chris Bertram, Kinesiology and Physical Education

Finding Strengths, Building Hope: Strength-based interventions for children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)

Dr. Chris Bertram  

Intervention programs for children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) have traditionally focused on the commonly cited deficits in cognitive ability, intellectual capacity, or on direct attempts to adapt social behaviors. Such programs have met with limited success and there is a growing consensus that new and innovative approaches are needed. Toward this end, we have developed two novel intervention programs (FAST Club and Brain Gamers) at the University of the Fraser Valley that seek to identify existing strengths in children with FASD, and to develop these strengths to the fullest capacity of the individual. Our project is a part of nation-wide multidisciplinary collaboration that was recently funded by two separate Network Centres of Excellence — NeuroDevNet and GRAND

An overview of the projects will be discussed along with some preliminary data that suggest that targeted approaches to intervention based on an individual's strengths can lead to neuroplastic changes in children with FASD.

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Dr. Trevor Carolan, English

Ecosystems, mandalas, watersheds, and citizenship:
The works of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and environmental activist Gary Snyder

  Dr. Trevor Carolan

As a founding father of the international Environmental Movement, Snyder’s approach to global ecology is informed by his upbringing and connection with peoples in the Cascade Range that overlooks UFV, trans-Pacific poets, land and wilderness sustainability issues, cross-cultural anthropology, Mahayana Buddhism, lived experiences with “the bush”, and his scholarly connections with the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Dr. Carolan will consider Snyder’s contributions to what citizenship might mean in the current global age, in particular his conception of planetary ecological stewardship as a form of citizenship.

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Dr. Peter Raabe, Philosophy and Political Science

Change your brain, change your mind?

  Dr. Peter Raabe

Drawing on existing psychiatry literature, empirical evidence, and a case study, Dr. Raabe’s lecture considers mental illness through a philosophical lens. It defines the ontology of mental illness or mental disorder in non-biomedical terms, as consisting of problematic propositional mental content rather than organic brain malfunction. This allows for a causal theory of mental disorder to be located within the parameters of existential difficulties rather than biological pathology, and contradicts the arguments made in defence of the necessity of psychotropic medications for the alleviation of mental distress. This in turn indicates support for the argument that mental disorders can betreated, if not cured, by means of philosophy.

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Dr. Olav Lian, Geogrpahy

Understanding the timing and nature of climatically-driven landscape change in western Canada by reading the landscape’s solar birth certificate

 Dr. Olav Lian  

Dr. Lian’s research looks at how the landscape in western Canada adjusted after the last ice age, and how it has responded to subsequent changes in climate. By understanding how the physical environment has responded to past changes in climate, it may be possible to predict the impact of future changes on the stability of our fragile landscape. To help find when these changes happened, and to be able to link them to intervals of past climate change, Dr. Lian uses a technique called luminescence dating, which allows one to date when grains of sand buried within a landscape were last exposed to sunlight — or when that landscape was last unstable. He will explain how our physical environment has changed over the past 12,000 years, and how it might change in the future.

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Dr. Adrienne Chan, Social Work and Human Services

What does social justice mean to the university?

 Dr. Adrienne Chan  

Dr. Chan's broad research goal is to identify how social justice is conceptualized and implemented through policy and practice. Most universities in Canada appear to have articulated the basic ‘pillars’ of social justice but there are continuing problems with exclusionary and discriminatory practices on campus. Policies and practices that are consistent with social justice principles include those that facilitate access, equity, and the elimination of barriers to participation in education. These terms are often simple to say and difficult to exhibit in practice.

Learn more about Dr. Chan

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