As the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney returned to StFX, his alma mater, on September 18, 2019 to celebrate the grand opening of The Brian Mulroney Institute of Government and Mulroney Hall, speaker after speaker spoke about how transformative the $52-million state-of-the-art building and its academic programs, including a unique institution for government and leadership, is for the students of today and tomorrow.
“We are extremely grateful to Prime Minister Mulroney and his family for making this vision a reality. It’s a project that entrenches StFX as a national and international destination for leadership, receiving widespread support both at home in Canada and from around the world,” StFX Interim President Dr. Kevin Wamsley said during the opening ceremony.
“The Brian Mulroney Institute of Government and Mulroney Hall provide new opportunities for the StFX community, a platform from which we can deliver our academic mission in new and exciting ways.
“This project is an investment in people,” he said, and an investment in scholarship, research and innovation. Already, the four-storey, 93,000 square foot glass-walled building, which took two years to construct, and the academic contributions from the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government have taken StFX to the next level, Dr. Wamsley said.
Dr. Kevin Wamsley
In an emotional and inspiring speech, Mr. Mulroney told the crowd it is a special moment in his life to participate in this ceremony “marking the opening not only of splendid new buildings at StFX, a place I love, but, more importantly, the beginning of grand new opportunities for young Canadians and others from around the globe to learn, lead and help build a better world for us all.”
Mr. Mulroney personally raised $100 million to create the cornerstone of StFX’s Xaverian Commons Project, and he expressed sincere thanks and gratitude to the generosity of donors who made this day possible.
He also noted a highly impressive and generous new scholarship and bursary program, some $16 million, will help many young students acquire the education StFX founders dreamed of. Over 200 scholarships are available annually, including awards specifically designed for marginalized populations such as Aboriginal and African Nova Scotian communities.
StFX Board of Governors Chair Mike Boyd, one of a number of people to speak during the opening, remembered as a student meeting Mr. Mulroney, back on campus for his 25th Homecoming only weeks after being named Canada’s 18th prime minister.
“Then as now, he demonstrated his focus on students,” Mr. Boyd recalled.
“For us, it certainly was inspiring to see someone from a small school, someone from our school, could achieve such success.”
In her remarks, the Hon. Caroline Mulroney, MPP, Minister of Transportation and Minister of Francophone Affairs, Government of Ontario, noted how StFX really opened the world for her father.
From light-hearted to serious, the grand opening ceremonies featured many emotional moments
LEARN TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
“In many ways, StFX is where it all started for my dad,” she said, as she too offered thanks to all who helped make this day possible and subsequently for their role in helping shape the leaders of tomorrow.
“It’s here where my dad learned how to make a difference.”
The Hon. Caroline Mulroney
She said it came to no one’s surprise that StFX was to be the home for her father’s Prime Ministerial Library. But she said the family believed her dad’s legacy required something more, something that would honour the Brian Mulroneys of the future, providing young people with the skills and tools they need, providing scholarships and bursaries, insightful faculty and real world opportunity.
“When you have the tools you need, you can make a mark on the world in a way you never thought possible.
“This is our hope for the Mulroney Institute,” she said as she noted how proud and inspired her family is and how they can’t wait to see students roll up their sleeves and get to work just a like a boy from a small town on the north shore of the St. Lawrence did so many years ago.Mulroney-03-MtStFX.jpg
Mila and the Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney share a moment in the replica of Mr. Mulroney's Parliament Hill office from his nine-year tenure as Canada's 18th Prime Minister
FOUNDATION TO BUILD ON
“How blessed are we that Mr. Mulroney chose Nova Scotia, StFX, and Antigonish, to be home to this magnificent building and learning institution,” Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said in his remarks as he noted the gift Mr. Mulroney has given to a province, and a country, a learning foundation that all can build on.
“This magnificent institution could have been placed anywhere in this country. You chose to put it here. We are deeply grateful. We will never forget,” the Hon. Frank McKenna, fellow StFX graduate, former New Brunswick premier, and an instrumental part of the fundraising campaign, reiterated in his remarks.
The Hon. Frank McKenna
Make no mistake, he said, that it is here today thanks to the massive reservoir of respect for Brian Mulroney around the world.
Both he and Mr. MacNeil spoke of Mr. Mulroney’s accomplishments and contributions to the country.
Mr. Mulroney was accompanied to the opening by his wife Mila Mulroney and their family. About 300 invited guests were in attendance.
Mulroney Hall is a focal point within StFX, connecting the lower and upper campuses; the Joyce Family Atrium, the centrepiece of the building, will be a gathering place for faculty and students; the facility’s classrooms are fitted with the latest technology and a 300-seat auditorium provides a venue for music, theatre and debate. In addition, Mulroney Hall features a replica of Mr. Mulroney’s Parliament Hill office from his nine-year tenure as Canada’s 18th Prime Minister, including his papers, speeches and letters from world leaders.
To watch a livestream of the event, please see https://livestream.com/accounts/735962/events/8814206/videos/196497986
StFX University is teaming with the broader community, including the town and county of Antigonish and Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation, to create a plan for a sustainable future when it comes to climate change.
From Nov. 14-21, StFX will host Climate and Democracy Week, a week-long series of events, open to all, that will feature local and international renowned climate leaders who will host talks, workshops and facilitate activities.
A major highlight is planned for the Nov. 14th opening ceremony when StFX President Dr. Kevin Wamsley, Chief PJ Prosper of Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation, Antigonish Mayor Laurie Boucher, and Antigonish County Warden Owen McCarron launch the Climate Strategy Working Group, formally establishing a strategic plan on how to become climate ready in the region.
“This is a big deal. It’s going to be momentous,” says StFX sociology professor Dr. Riley Chisholm, who with Dr. Corrine Cash, Coady Institute senior program staff and facilitator of StFX’s Bachelor of Arts and Science in Climate and Environment Program, is co-organizing the event.
PEOPLE COMING TOGETHER
Dr. Chisholm says StFX reached out to its partners to initiate the event in the belief that together the capacity for addressing this crisis increases markedly. Good work is already happening, she says, but sometimes it’s in parallel, rather than complementary.
“This is people coming together, taking down those walls. The academy is reaching out. It’s about how we can learn from each other, how can we explore and develop solutions together.”
“We can’t not work together on this issue,” says Dr. Cash.
“Hopefully this is the beginning of bringing people together on this issue in an attempt to create cooperation and collaboration and to build on that and to try to do good things.”
Dr. Cash says a lot of people are passionate about climate, but they don’t necessarily understand it or understand what can be done or how it can be done.
The week is offering people the opportunity to become engaged.
“What excites me is the extraordinary enthusiasm we’re getting from all sectors. There’s a real want for engagement,” Dr. Chisholm says.
She says she’s particularly excited about the diversity of participants, who range from international students to local farmers, young children to Catholic nuns to health practitioners.
“It weaves all those voices together.”
HOTTER, WETTER WILDER
Following the launch of the working group, Dr. Blair Feltmate, Chair of the Government of Canada Climate Adaptation Plan, will deliver the opening keynote address on Nov. 14, entitled, “Hotter, Wetter, Wilder: Is Canada moving fast enough to keep up with a changing climate?” The talk takes place at 7 p.m. in Mulroney Hall Auditorium.
On Friday, Nov. 15, a climate week panel, A People’s School on Climate Change takes place in Dennis Hall at the Coady from 6-8 p.m.
Panelists include Kerry Prosper, Paqtnkek Elder and Knowledge Keeper; Dr. Romeo Bertoloni, Deputy Director of Country Engagement for the National Determined Contributions Partnership Support Unit, World Resources Institute; Dr. Cash; Jolene Andrews, Gitxsan-Witsuwiten Nation Indigenous Community Developer Private Consultant and artist; and Dr. Simon Addison, Principal Researcher for Climate Change, Public Policy and Resiliency, International Institute for Environment and Development.
Local community groups will also be set up in Dennis Hall that evening giving people opportunity to discuss initiatives happening in Nova Scotia as well as the kind of actions they can take.
The next day, Saturday, Nov. 16th, a Weekend People’s School takes place from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the People’s Place Library on Main Street. A number of concurrent sessions will take place with topics running the gamut from ecology and faith to a children’s art house, from climate and public health, to soil carbon sequestration in Nova Scotia, to the experience of international students from the Bahamas on being climate refugees.
Everyone can take part, and Dr. Cash says it’s exciting to see the revival of the People’s School movement—started by her granduncle Tom Boyle, and others, including Moses Coady—and that it’s once again helping bridge the gap between the community and the university, bringing knowledge to the people, and knowledge back to the university from people who live in the community.
Other highlights from the week will include the second screening in Canada of The Biggest Little Farm on Nov. 20 from 5-7 p.m. at Cineplex Theatre. The film is receiving rave reviews, and is offered free of charge.
Dr. Ashlee Cunsolo of the Labrador Institute at Memorial University will present the closing talk on Thursday, Nov. 21, entitled “Mourning Nature.”
A compelling, and almost forgotten part of Nova Scotia history, the story of Lillian Burke, who was instrumental in the development of the Chéticamp hooked-rug cottage industry in the late 1920s and early 1930s, has been brought to life in a new book by Dr. Edward Langille, a professor of French language and literature at StFX.
The Story of Lillian Burke, published by Boularderie Island Press, and released in June 2019, has been consistently listed on the 100-bestseller list in Atlantic Canada all summer.
“It’s part of Nova Scotia history that people know very little about,” says Dr. Langille, who first became intrigued by the American artisan’s life story after a chance discovery in a New Glasgow antiques store, where he happened upon some of Ms. Burke’s original hooked rug designs and started researching her life and the events that helped establish the industry in Chéticamp in 1927.
His research led to several published academic articles as well as public lectures on Ms. Burke, of Washington, DC, a friend of the Alexander Graham Bell family, whose multi-faceted career spanned five decades.
Ms. Burke came to Cape Breton after she started tutoring Bell’s grandchildren in drawing and watercolours, Dr. Langille says. She became a family friend and started spending summer holidays at the Bell estate in Baddeck. Supported by Bell’s daughters, Marian Fairchild and Elsie Grosvenor, she revived the defunct Cape Breton Home Industries founded 50 years earlier by Bell’s wife, Mabel Hubbard Bell, to generate economic development.
She visited the Acadian village of Chéticamp looking for women interested in producing hooked rugs for commissioned orders. She found not only an established rug hooking tradition, but women eager to learn new techniques. She taught them these new techniques and insisted on using only pale and soft colours and high quality wool. She designed and marketed the distinctive Chéticamp hooked rugs in New York City.
Over the years of her career, she also became a pioneer in the field of occupational therapy, having worked overseas as a ‘reconstruction aide’ during WWI and in later years as a therapist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute.
Dr. Langille, a well-respected editor, translator and literary historian, specializing in the works of Voltaire, and whose scholarship has been honoured by the French government, which awarded him the rank of Chevalier in the Ordre’ des Palmes académiques, says the idea for the book, his first with a commercial publisher, grew over a long period of time as he pieced her life together.
He says the story he found was inspiring and important, and he wanted to make it as accessible as possible.
“I want people to enjoy the story, to become wrapped up in the story of her life,” says Dr. Langille.
BOOK LAUNCHES PLANNED
Book launches for The Story of Lillian Burke will be held in Cape Breton on September 19th in Chéticamp at the Trois Pignons Museum and on September 20th in Baddeck at the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site. A third launch is planned for the StFX campus on September 27th in the McKenna Centre at 3 p.m. All are welcome to attend.
Martin Grosvenor Myers, MD, Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics, and great-grandson of Alexander Graham Bell, wrote the forward for the book and will be a guest speaker at all three launches.
“It was a great project. It never seemed like one minute of work,” says Dr. Langille.
“I got interested because it was about Acadian culture more or less and I’m always interested in that.”
He also noticed some people had been very judgemental and had accused Ms. Burke of making money on the backs of the Acadian people. “This intrigued me,” he said, prompting him to investigate further. He said his research proved this wasn’t the case. She wasn’t rich, he said, and she died still working. He says it seems that some academic historians had tarnished her reputation unfairly.
Dr. Langille says through his research he discovered a wonderful person—she wasn’t perfect, he notes—but he came to the understanding from meeting several people who knew her as well as poring through a range of sources including news clippings, her WWI personnel file, education employment reports and a number of letters, that she was a generous and kind-hearted woman.
“I thought it was an incredible story and I wanted to do justice to her.”
The Story of Lillian Burke is available at the Antigonish Five to A Dollar and on amazon.ca.
St. Francis Xavier University is introducing a new two-year diploma program, the Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Artificial Intelligence (AI), that will provide students with the opportunity to increase their knowledge and skills in the highly sought-after field of AI.
The program starts in January 2020, and is intended for students from any field who already have an undergraduate degree, which is not in computer science. The program is concentrated and rigorous, with at least half of the courses at the upper-year levels. Students will take courses in a variety of topics related to artificial intelligence, learn how AI is currently used, and develop the technical skills necessary to work in this cutting-edge field.
“Artificial intelligence is rapidly growing and is being used more and more to solve a wide variety of problems in both industry and academia. We are very excited that students at StFX will have the opportunity to participate in this timely, emerging field,” say StFX computer science faculty Dr. Iker Gondra and Dr. Man Lin.
“What’s really exciting is computer science and AI in general have so much potential applications outside computer science. There’s a big disconnect between people who have those skills and people who need them. This program can really bridge that gap,” says StFX computer science professor and Canada Research Chair in Bioinformatics Dr. Jacob Levman. “We can train people for this next generation of skills needed in these wide variety of disciplines.”
This program, they say, is ideal for students with undergraduate degrees in a wide range of different fields of study, including both the sciences and the humanities, who are seeking to complement their undergraduate education for the purposes of applying artificial intelligence to solve practical problems in their own fields, for advancing their own fields, or the AI field more generally.
From Siri to self-driving cars, technological advances that rely on artificial intelligence systems include applications such as medical diagnosis, computer-assisted translation tools, speech recognition, biometrics, entertainment, and a variety of classification and predictive technologies.
Dr. Mike Melchin, then StFX Dean of Science, says one of the things that excites him about the new program is that it could draw students from a wide range of backgrounds, including international students. “This will add a lot of breadth to the classroom experience. All the students will benefit, with the intermixing of students who come into the program from other degrees,” he says.
The new Post-Baccalaureate Diploma is well suited for StFX, he says, where the Department of Computer Science already has a high level of knowledge and expertise in this field. Several faculty members are specialists, and AI is a significant focus in the department. Another benefit to students is StFX’s smaller class sizes and the opportunity to become involved in research.
“We have this enormous amount of expertise in engaging undergraduates in research here,” Dr. Melchin says.
The faculty say artificial intelligence is an area that is in high demand, and graduates of this program will be prepared for entry into the workplace or into applied graduate programs, such as StFX’s new Master of Applied Science in Computer Science.
Statistics show an inadequate supply of, and strong demand for computer science graduates. In Canada, the Information and Communications Technology Council, an independent and neutral policy advisor to business and governments across Canada, released a report indicating Canada will need to fill about 216,000 technology-related positions by 2021, up from 2015 predictions of 182,000 by 2019.
The report says this demand stems from a steadily growing Canadian digital economy, which experienced a 2.38 per cent growth rate between 2011 and 2016, compared to the 1.17 per cent growth seen in the rest of the economy. The report also finds that over half of tech professionals in the digital economy work in non-tech industries, indicating an increased prevalence of the use of advanced technology across all sectors of the economy.
The diploma is comprised of 48 credits taken usually over four semesters and has the fundamental computer science courses required of the advanced major in computer science while also focusing on AI related courses.
Those interested in more information, or to apply are asked to email email@example.com. Deadline for applications for the program starting in January 2020 are Oct. 10, 2019 for international students and Nov. 15, 2019 for domestic students.
StFX students interested in accounting and accounting organizations looking to connect with StFX students had a terrific opportunity to network on Sept. 11, 2019 when the StFX Student Career Services and Co-op Education Offices hosted its first annual Accounting Career Day in the McKenna Centre.
StFX hosted 10 accounting organizations representing major recruiting firms from across the country during the event, which was open to first to fourth year students interested in accounting recruitment, especially the CPA designation.
StFX Student Career Services and Co-op Education Offices manager Jane MacDonald said each year the offices receive requests from organizations looking to recruit summer, co-op and new graduate students in accounting/CPA related roles.
“We would have up to 10 or 12 organizations book individual information session/meet-greets for students. Recruitment for accounting students typically starts the first full week of school with offers of employment sent to students by the end of September,” she says.
“In order to streamline the accounting student recruitment, Career Services and Co-op Education decided to have one day where all of our organizations that recruit accounting students would be able to network with students. This new setup will allow students the opportunity to meet with 10-12 organizations in a shorter time frame than attending each individual organization’s information session/meet-greet. It also assists the organizations to reach more students as some students wouldn’t attend all accounting organization information session/meet-greets.”
Ms. MacDonald says their offices had strong support from the Gerald Schwartz School of Business, especially the accounting faculty, when promoting this event to students.
CPA Atlantic School of Business generously sponsored this event and Ms. MacDonald expressed much thanks to CPA Atlantic School of Business for their support.
Anne Simpson, acclaimed author and StFX adjunct English professor, has launched a new book of poetry, Strange Attractor.
The new collection focuses on the idea of self and the many selves we are within our lifetimes.
“This one is really about the question of self—what it is, how it changes. I was curious about the fluidity of this idea of the self. Who are we when we’re children? Who are we as we age? Who are we when we have an illness? For instance, I have a series of poems about dementia, with questions from the Mini-Mental State Exam, which doctors often used, and in some cases still use, when diagnosing the illness. I thought about what it would be like to be asked these questions, and I created a character who can’t answer them. And yet the richness of her imagination is obvious to the reader. This is one strand of this book, one way of looking at the notion of self,” says Ms. Simpson, the author of four previous books of poetry: Light Falls Through You, winner of the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and the Atlantic Poetry Prize; Loop, winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize; Quick, winner of the Pat Lowther Memorial Award; and, most recently, Is.
She is also the author of two novels, Canterbury Beach and Falling, longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and winner of the Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction. Her book of essays, The Marram Grass: Poetry & Otherness, was published in 2009.
She says one thing that inspired her with this book was the ancient story of Gilgamesh, the first recorded work of literature that has come down to us. “It’s really about the friendship between Gilgamesh, the king, and Enkidu, the wild man. The poems I wrote are a way to have a conversation with another work of literature. I wrote poems from Enkidu’s point of view, poems from Gilgamesh’s point of view. It was wonderful to dig deep with each of them,” she says.
“That’s one thing that inspired me. But I have to say that I’m equally interested in the place where I live, and the ordinary stories of people, often those I’ve never met. No one would be able to see themselves in what I write, I hope, but I’m often compelled by stories. And I’m compelled by this place—northeastern Nova Scotia. It comes up so often in my writing. Could I write poems if I didn’t live here? Maybe I could, but this place haunts my work.”
Ms. Simpson says it feels wonderful to have the book published. “To have a book published is a gift these days, but to have a book of poetry published feels a lot like winning the lottery.” Poetry, she says, is not something we pay much attention to, most of the time, and yet if someone gets married, or if someone dies, we often turn to it. It contains the things we all wish we could say at those times when it is most necessary to say it.
McClelland & Stewart, now part of PenguinRandomHouse, is the publisher. Strange Attractor is available at the StFX Campus Store, the Bookmark in Halifax and Charlottetown, and on Amazon.ca.
A book launch will take place at the Red Sky Gallery at 320 Main St., Antigonish, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19th and all welcome to attend.
HURRICANE DORIAN UPDATE
Due to the expected severe weather related to Hurricane Dorian, please be aware that the StFX campus will be closed and buildings will be locked down as of 5:00 pm today, with the exception of Morrison Hall, which will remain open until 6:00 pm this evening. Essential services will remain open and operational (e.g. Security, Residences, Facilities Management).
The campus will reopen tomorrow, Sunday September 8, at 11:30 am.
We advise members of the campus community to stay indoors for the duration of the storm. If you must be outside, please take appropriate precautions to ensure your safety.
In the case of an emergency, please call 911. In the event that StFX Student Services are needed (including off-campus students), please call StFX Safety and Security – 902.867.4444.
We will continue to monitor the storm’s progress and commit to keeping the campus updated as new and relevant information arises. Please continue to monitor StFX Alerts, the StFX website, emails and social media for further updates. To sign up for StFX Alerts, visit www.alerts.stfx.ca.
SEVERE WEATHER WARNING
To the campus community –
The weather forecasts point to a stormy weekend as Hurricane Dorian passes over our region on Saturday night, bringing heavy rain and potentially damaging winds that could cause extended power outages. According to recent reports, this storm presents a strong and serious threat to our entire community. A message sent by the Town of Antigonish Is posted below for your reference.
The safety of our students and employees is our top priority. StFX staff are monitoring the storm closely, and are preparing to implement emergency response procedures should the need arise. In the meanwhile, please take note of the following information:
• We encourage the community to be prepared to stay indoors for the duration of the storm. Click here for basic tips to assist you in preparing.
• All students and employees are strongly encouraged to sign up for StFX Alerts, our emergency alert notification system. In the event of any campus closure, StFX Alerts can send a message via text, phone call, or message to a personal e-mail account. Alert messages will also be sent to all students and employees via @stfx.ca email addresses.
To sign up, visit www.alerts.stfx.ca (please note: If you have already signed up, you do not need to sign up again.)
• Employees and students living in residence should ensure windows and doors are closed, and that all large electronics such as computers are turned off during the storm. Lab instructors and researchers should prepare their time-sensitive lab research in the event of a power outage.
• Essential services will remain operational throughout the storm, including Residential Services, Safety and Security and dining services in Morrison Hall. In the event of a power outage, these services will operate via generator.
For our off-campus students, an Emergency Relief Centre will be opened if the need arises.
• A number of events scheduled for this weekend have been cancelled or rescheduled, including StFX athletics games, Welcome Week activities, and the Mulroney Hall event planned for Sunday, among other events. If you are planning to attend an activity or event this weekend, please doublecheck to ensure the activity has not been cancelled. If you must attend an event, please plan ahead to do so as safely as possible.
Finally, in the event of an emergency during the storm, the campus community is reminded to call 911. In the event that StFX student services are needed (including off-campus students), please call StFX Safety and Security – 902.867.4444.
We commit to keeping you updated as new and relevant information arises.
Message from the Town of Antigonish:
The Town of Antigonish wishes to advise residents to prepare for the severe storm that is approaching Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotia is currently under a Tropical Cyclone Warning from Hurricane Dorian and as a result, current weather predictions are showing that Antigonish will be impacted by significant rainfall and high winds from Saturday evening at 6 p.m. into early Sunday morning. Rainfall expected ranges from 50-150mm and will accumulate quickly and wind is expected reach up to 150 km/hr.
To prepare, residents should secure outdoor furniture, flower pots and garbage bins, as well as ensure windows are closed and basements and backdoors are properly secured.
In the event of an emergency related to power outages, residents are expected to be prepared to cope on your own for at least the first 72 hours. For more information on how to be properly prepared, please visit:https://www.townofantigonish.ca/protective-services.html.
For storm related issues that require immediate attention on Saturday or Sunday, please contact 902-863-2956.
The Town is expecting a high volume a high volume of calls during this weather event and we will be dealing with issues based on severity and we ask for your patience during this time.
For less severe issues or concerns, please fill out the following form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeiUaDtNI2bJlaDhWzlJxos21xFImvS...
The Town will post any updates in relation to storm warnings, power outages or flooding notices to our website at www.townofantiognish.ca and social media pages, as well as shared with local radio.
The Hive for Feminist Research Annual Lecture Series at StFX will hold its fourth annual lecture on Wednesday, September 25, 7 p.m. in Schwartz 205. The annual lecture is an initiative of the Hive for Feminist Research, an interdisciplinary research group formed in 2013 to increase the visibility and understanding of feminist research at StFX in all its diversities. A reception will follow the lecture, and all are welcome.
This year’s presenter is Dr. Rachel Hurst of the Women and Gender Studies Program, whose talk is entitled: “Settler Fantasies and Colonial ‘Before and After’ Photography.” Drawing on her experience in her previous work on cosmetic surgery and other idealized representations of women, Dr. Hurst will discuss the connections between visual culture, embodiment, and power within the vast photographic archive of Indigenous peoples from the later nineteenth and early twentieth-century North America. These photographs were taken by colonial settlers and those of European descent rather than Indigenous peoples themselves. They therefore represent the fantasies that European settlers had about Indigenous peoples, yet they were presented as objective evidence of Indigenous life and peoples, Dr. Hurst says. She argues that this archive systematically imposed European norms of gender and sexuality on Indigenous peoples. She suggests: “While there are scholars who situate gender and sexuality as central to their analyses of photographs in specific places and times, what is missing is a broad understanding of how these photographs are connected to one another across time and place – and into the present – through gender and sexuality as they are framed within a settler ‘before and after’ logic of Indigenous transformation.”
Dr. Hurst is an associate professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at StFX. She founded the Hive for Feminist Research in summer 2013 to offer a space for StFX researchers to share and discuss work. The Hive defines feminist research broadly as a type of inquiry concerned with understanding relations of power, particularly those based on gender as it intersects with race, sexuality, class, and ability.
Dr. Christina Holmes, member of the lecture committee commented, “Dr. Hurst was chosen to give this year’s lecture both to honour her contributions to feminist research at St. Francis Xavier University, as well as the importance of her current topic of research to Canadian society and how we understand reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.”
The Hive for Feminist Research Annual Lecture Series serves as a connection between all four faculties, the Coady, and the library. The lecture series runs on a three-year cycle, with a speaker from the Arts/Science/Library in year one, a speaker from Business/Education in year two, and from the Coady International Institute in year three.
Members of the Hive for Feminist Research Annual Lecture Series committee include Christina Holmes (Arts), Ann Fox (Science), Laura Lee Kearns (Education), Lori McKee (Education) and Shelley Price (Business). Gratitude extended to Meghan Landry (Library) and Naima Chowdhury (Coady) who have supported the committee in the preparations of the lecture series.
To the StFX community –
This week, Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas, bringing with it catastrophic flooding and destruction. The images of the storm and its aftermath are devastating, and our hearts go out to all who have been affected by this tragedy – especially our Bahamian students and alumni, many of whom have family and friends living in the most affected areas.
StFX’s Office of Internationalization and the Diversity Engagement Centre have organized a drop-in gathering for all students tomorrow evening, Thursday, September 5, at 5 p.m. in the Diversity Engagement Centre (Bloomfield Centre – 4th floor.) This gathering is an opportunity to talk, seek support, or simply be with other people who are also affected by this tragedy. Representatives from StFX’s Health and Counselling Centre, as well as the StFX Chaplaincy team, will attend. There will also be a discussion about how the StFX community can raise funds to respond to this disaster.
As a reminder, students needing support can contact the Health and Counselling Centre at any time by calling (902) 867-2263, or by visiting their office in 305 Bloomfield Centre. If you or someone you know has been affected by Hurricane Dorian and you need support, I strongly encourage you to reach out.
Dr. Kevin Wamsley
StFX President and Vice-Chancellor (Interim)
The smiles, and energy, were absolutely contagious as new students and their families stepped onto the StFX campus on Saturday, Aug. 31 for Welcome Day 2019. Music pumped, members of the student Orientation Crew—O-Crew for short—cheered and sang, and staff and faculty were out in full force to welcome the Class of 2023 to campus—including StFX President Dr. Kevin Wamsley, who personally greeted everyone who arrived onto campus.
The message? Welcome to the Xaverian community—it’s going to be a great year ahead!
“It’s so welcoming, it’s been great,” says Patricia O’Callaghan of Scarborough, ON, who was helping her daughter, first year student Clara O’Callaghan, register and get settled.
“It’s very good, very organized and very relaxing,” said Clara, a humanities colloquium student who decided to attend StFX because of its academic program and the vibrant community. “I liked how small it is and that you can get to know your professors. I think that will really improve my studies. I also really liked the humanities colloquium,” she says.
Pàdruig MacDonald of Miramichi, NB, a fluent Gaelic speaker who is starting in the computer science program, said he is very excited as he has always wanted to go to StFX. Both his parents, Ellen (Doyle) MacDonald and Goiridh Dòmhnullach, are alumni, and both had great things to say about their own experiences.
The values of the university also lined up with his own, including the camaraderie inherent in the community and the focus on helping one another.
Another first year student, Yuhao He Erwin of China, who will take sociology, says he had heard about StFX in high school and was drawn by the X community, and the coastline. He says his experience so far has been great. “Everybody’s been very kind. They’ve told me the must-dos at StFX and invited me to join the international society.”
“The people are so helpful, they’re so energetic,” agrees Yagmur Var, a first year engineering student from Turkey who spent the past year of high school in Nova Scotia on exchange. She says she decided to apply to StFX after coming for a campus visit. “I really liked the campus and the engineering program.”
New students and their families met StFX President Dr. Kevin Wamsley, who personally greeted each and everyone as they made their way into the Keating Centre, into a showcase designed to introduce first year students to StFX, make them feel welcome in their new home, and provide the information they need for their time at university.
Several ‘Family and Friends Information Sessions’ were held throughout the day at the Keating Centre, while the Auxiliary Arena served as a StFX Services Showcase with information booths on over 30 student services and activities with faculty and staff on hand to chat and answer questions.
Stationed all around campus, from forming a welcome tunnel at the Keating Centre to greeting outside residences, members of the O-Crew cheered as people drove into StFX, played ice breaker games with students waiting in line, answered questions, and helped people move in. The upper year students provide much support to first year students, who often arrive a bit nervous, not sure where they’re going, and perhaps a little scared. Seeing how comfortable and how much fun these students are having helps ease the transition.
Sodexo provided amazing food throughout the day, including Chef Mike Pollock’s famed seafood chowder, as students moved into residence, picked up their student IDs, and took part in a formal President’s Welcome.
COMMUNITY LIKE NO OTHER
“The day’s finally here. You’ve arrived. It’s a great pleasure to welcome you to StFX,” Dr. Wamsley told students during the President’s Welcome.
“We are so happy you chose StFX over all the other universities in the world,” he said.
“You chose us for our outstanding professors, our outstanding staff, our unique community residential atmosphere, our small class size because professors and staff will know your name, because you will have incredible leadership and service opportunities, because we will give you the tools to make a difference in this world – StFX is community like no other.”
Just as StFX is committing to helping each of its students, Dr. Wamsley also reminded the incoming class that part of the responsibility lies with them—to get involved in the community, to look out for each and to respect each other.
“We must care for each other,” he said to long applause.
He also told the students to not be afraid to speak out to their academic advisors, their professors and university staff if they need help. “That’s part of the deal…because we are here to help.
“We are thrilled that you are here.”
“We will be there to help you as you embark on this adventure. We have the same goal as you. We are committed to your academic success and providing the best undergraduate experience,” StFX Academic Vice-President & Provost Dr. Tim Hines said as he added his warm welcome to all.
“We understand and take very seriously the onus of responsibility that we as faculty and staff have. You can be assured we are up for the task of providing you with that transformational opportunity, that transformation experience that we often describe as the StFX experience.”
“You should have no doubt about one thing: each and everyone of you has the ability to succeed at StFX,” Dr. Hines said as he told students not to worry if they have butterflies in their stomach about starting a new experience. That’s normal.
“You have already proven you are the type of student we’re looking for at StFX,” he said.
Success, however, is not a given. It comes as a result of effort, sacrifice and commitment. It will be a challenge but very much doable, Dr. Hines said.
Students’ Union president Cecil VanBuskirk also welcomed the incoming class to the “start of some of the best years of your life.”
He reiterated the Students’ Union and all StFX are here to make your StFX experience valuable and life changing. “We want your StFX experience to be as incredible for you as it is for us,” he said.
Like previous speakers, he also encouraged the freshmen class to contribute their opinions, their ideas, their whole self to their StFX experience. Together, we thrive, he said.
Emma Kuzmyk, StFX Students’ Union vice president academic, served as emcee.
A recent two-day gathering on the StFX campus explored questions of disability, access, equity and education from diverse perspectives in the interest of creating and sustaining welcoming and equitable communities.
On Aug. 26th and 27th over 100 people from universities, community, government and the general public gathered at StFX’s Keating Centre for a community-university bridging event, "Disability, Access, Equity and Education: Creating Welcoming Communities."
The aim of the event was connection—coming together to learn about what is happening, and not happening, explore shared assets and resources, nourish a sense of curiosity and collectively imagine the possibilities for collaboration across sectors within rural Atlantic Canada.
The event was co-hosted by the Spatializing Care: Intersectional Disability Studies Lab at StFX in partnership with the Centre for Employment Innovation, StFX Extension Department, and StFX Faculty Development Committee, with support from a Jules Leger Award for development in pedagogical and administrative leadership.
“This is a very important time in Nova Scotia,” says Dr. Katie Aubrecht, Canada Research Chair Health Equity & Social Justice at StFX and director of the Spatializing Care Lab.
“Nova Scotia is embarking on new accessibility legislation. There is evidence to suggest progress where such provincial legislation has been enacted, but there are also lessons learned about challenges. We are in the privileged position to reflect on those lessons and have them inform action. Provincial changes are happening in relation with the Accessible Canada Act and at the same time as there is increasing attention to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). There are also changes happening within institutions. In Canadian universities, the Dimensions Program and Charter is mobilizing culture change in research and knowledge production through new equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives. All of this movement suggests a window may be open and an opportunity presented to participate in and shape discussions and directions, and define the issues.”
Dulcie McCallum, Special Advisor on the Official Canadian Delegation for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CROD), speaks at the gathering.
Event organizers noted exciting work is happening here in our communities, but it’s not always easy to find out what is happening. They say there are not well-known cross-community, cross-institutional and cross-sectoral platforms to share knowledge and engage accessibility issues.
The two days of the event were active and saw attendees engaged in conversations, presentations, workshops and panel discussions focused on disability, access, equity and inclusion.
Jess Popp of the Centre for Employment Innovation at StFX said highlights for her included the engaging discourse that happened over the two days. “People were leaning in to uncomfortable topics and questions, challenging their own practices and beliefs, and doing so with the utmost respect and passion. All aimed at exploring how we might create and sustain more equitable and accessible spaces across our communities,” she said.
“The gathering was an important reminder that we live in a complex world, and that intersections of identity preclude a single path forward but rather inspire many avenues of possibility. Unique approaches to supporting individuals is key through meaningful engagement, relationships and reciprocity.”
She says as system partners, the Centre for Employment Innovation has been collectively exploring questions similar to those that were proposed over the past two days, “in order to understand how best to support our communities amidst a changing world of work. This opportunity to come together to learn, discuss our successes and our challenges, and create deeper relationships will be of immense value as we work collectively and collaboratively across sectors towards Moses Coady’s vision of ‘a full and abundant life for all.’”
Organizers say discussions highlighted the need to include culture in conversations about accessibility, and to include changes in thinking, relationships and attitudes alongside of the need for changes to the built environment and technology. Graphic recording and facilitation was provided by Mo Drescher from BraveSpace, who captured conversations on a giant mural. Arts was also featured by local artist Anne Camozzi.
During the event, participants shared a meal prepared by the Canadian Association of Community Living (CACL) Antigonish, watched a performance of the Park Bench Players and heard from local accessibility champions Jeff Teasdale, Jim Mulcahy and Verna MacDonald.
Participants also heard about community-led and driven initiatives from representatives from Arts Health Antigonish (AHA!), Culture Alive Antigonish, Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library, X-Project, Delmore Buddy Day Learning Institute, African Descent Student Affairs at StFX., L’Arche, and Mawita’mk, We’koqma’q First Nation.
In the closing plenary, County Councillor Gary Mattie shared his personal journey and discussed the importance of understanding accessibility as an opportunity to support people and communities in growing and thriving. Antigonish Mayor Laurie Boucher shared actions and directions by the town. Special Advisor to Canada’s Delegation to the United Nations CRPD Dulcie McCallum talked about the importance of thinking about accessibility as a human rights issue. Senator Mary Coyle described the Accessible Canada Act and the value of a culture of inclusion where all people can enjoy the full rights of citizenship. Steve Estey, chair of the International Committee of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities and a StFX graduate described the need to think about how accessibility looks different outside of city centres.
While the event was considered a success, organizers noted there are areas for improvement, saying even when we think things are accessible and inclusive, they may not be and we need to be ready and willing to recognize when something is not right and make necessary changes. It’s hoped this will be the first gathering among many to come, they say.
A full house filled the Keating Centre on the morning of Aug. 28 as StFX employees gathered in fellowship and community to start the 2019-20 academic year off right with the annual Employee Breakfast.
StFX President Dr. Kevin Wamsley welcomed all new and current employees to the event, where he provided a number of campus updates and spoke about priorities for the year ahead, including welcoming students back to StFX for classes starting on Tuesday.b3.jpg
Dr. Kevin Wamsley
“You are valued employees. That’s why we are here today,” Dr. Wamsley said.
“Thank you for all that you do. I hope we all have a fantastic year ahead.”
Several senior members of the leadership team shared their thoughts on the coming year in a video message, including mentioning several celebratory events planned around the opening of Mulroney Hall in September and the milestones and anniversaries that will be marked during Homecoming 2019.
Students’ Union president Cecil VanBuskirk spoke about the initiatives council is pursuing this year, including their work to create value for students, including creating an extensive marketing strategy, a peer support program, and the Get Out The Vote campaign.b2.jpg
StFX political science professor Dr. Glenn Graham and Kim MacDonald, assistant manager of procurement services, served as the morning’s co-hosts.
StFX welcomed a major investment in health on Aug. 26 as the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, and Central Nova MP Sean Fraser were on campus to announce more than $7.7 million over eight years for the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health (NCCDH), hosted on the StFX campus.
This renewed funding is to support research and evidence-based knowledge exchange to improve health equity for Canadians, and will enable Canada's public health community to take action on the social determinants of health, helping to close the gap between those who are most and least healthy, they said.
"The work of the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health is essential in helping tackle challenges, which not long ago were not thought of as health issues. The stable funding announced today will help find new ways to improve our health care systems and to address disparities in access to health services across the country," the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor said.
While all Canadians should enjoy the benefits of good health, she said persistent health inequalities exist for many, including those with lower socioeconomic status, Indigenous peoples, sexual and racial/ethnic minorities, immigrants, and people living with physical or mental impairments, she said during a ceremony held in the foyer of StFX’s Physical Sciences building.
Investing in the NCCDH, recognized for its work on improving public health sector knowledge, skills, policy, structures and decision-making, will help advance health equity, reducing harm from social circumstances that diminish health in Canada.
Minister Petitpas Taylor said that when we talk about the social determinants of health, it’s about income, it’s about education, it’s about jobs. It’s about so, so much more.
“That’s exactly the focus being done here at StFX, at the National Collaborating Centre for the Determinants of Health.
“As Minister of Health, I see the role that the determinants of health play in people’s lives each and every day.”
As example, she said, we’ve always known that poverty is an issue, but we didn’t know how much it effected people’s health, how a number of inequalities that exist in society have a direct connection to the health of community members, from someone who can’t afford to take a day off work to visit a doctor when needed to those who must choose between buying fresh fruits and vegetables or paying rent.
The ongoing work at the NCCDH helps makes those links.
“We’ve done a lot, but there is so much more work that needs to be done so that are fewer either/or choices.”
Mr. Fraser says the work happening at the NCCDH has made a real, tangible difference in the lives of Canadians. “There’s great work that’s come out of here and it’s essential that this work continue.”
This investment, he says, will help establish some of the best practices and best research available.announcement 2019 2.jpg announcement 2019 3.jpg
Mr. Fraser also took time to thank NCCDH scientific director Dr. Claire Betker and scientific director emeritus Connie Clement for all the work they have done.
“We are so proud to host the National Collaborating Centre for the Determinants of Health at StFX,” said StFX President Dr. Kevin Wamsley as he noted the university’s own deep history of social justice and social responsibility.
"This important funding supports the critical research that plays a role in improving the health of all Canadians"
Nova Scotia Minister of Health, the Honourable Randy Delorey was also in attendance at the ceremony.
The current work of the NCCDH includes inter-sectoral partnerships on building health equity organizational capacity, interventions to integrate equity targets, opioid surveillance, housing, Indigenous reconciliation, anti-racism initiatives, healthy built environment, mental health, food security, community interventions, and early child development.
Zech Meunier, a PhD student from Oregon State University (OSU) in Corvallis, OR, is currently visiting StFX's Marine Ecology Lab where he is collaborating with Dr. Ricardo Scrosati.
He is conducting detailed surveys along the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia with the ultimate goal of explaining how coastal pelagic conditions affect the intertidal algae and invertebrates that live on our rocky shores.
These studies are, in fact, part of a larger project that will compare the coastal ocean's biological influences between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America, Dr. Scrosati says.
Mr. Meunier is supervised at OSU by Drs. Bruce Menge and Sally Hacker.
StFX’s Gerald Schwartz School of Business has signed on to become a member of the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative, starting a transformational journey toward a more sustainable and responsible business education.
PRME is a United Nations-supported initiative founded to raise the profile of sustainability in schools around the world, and to equip business students with the understanding and ability to deliver change tomorrow. Working through six principles, PRME engages business and management schools to ensure they provide future leaders with the skills needed to balance economic and sustainability goals, while drawing attention to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and aligning academic institutions with the work of the UN Global Compact.
By becoming a PRME signatory, the Schwartz School joins a worldwide network (including 19 in Canada) of business schools that have declared a commitment to responsible management education, says Dr. Brad Long, Schwartz School professor and the John T. Sears Chair in Corporate Social Responsibility, who introduced the initiative to StFX.
“Ultimately, PRME implementation boils down to embedding the values of corporate sustainability and responsibility into the daily activities of the Schwartz School of Business through a wide range of potential projects, actions, policies, and structural changes,” Dr. Long says.
“PRME is a way of holding us accountable for developing the responsible business leaders of tomorrow.”
Dr. Long says by signing on to PRME, the Schwartz School is formally acknowledging its commitment to responsible education as it aligns its teaching, research and knowledge dissemination with those concepts so its graduates are able to enter the workforce concerned about and having a skill set in social responsibility and sustainability
“We’re also being true to ourselves, to our stated strategic objectives, in the Schwartz Strategic Plan,” he says.
Dr. Long says the PRME designation will be a process of incremental change. It doesn’t radically change the BBA curriculum; rather, it’s building on it. He says there will be some new course offerings and some other courses that will develop modules that connect their topics and materials to these ideas.
The process will be guided and developed through a PRME working group of Schwartz faculty, and Dr. Long says the learning will be in the classroom and also beyond it in terms of research opportunities, conferences, guest speakers and service learning. Faculty, too, will be looking to how their own research questions can contribute to advancing sustainable development goals.
“I’m proud of the school and the faculty for seeing the value in this initiative,” Dr. Long says.
“I think it’s an important milestone in the history of the Gerald Schwartz School of Business. I look forward to seeing what comes out of it. We’re on a journey, and I’m excited to see where that takes us.”
Innovative food chemistry research on the StFX campus received a big boost with the news that human nutrition professor Dr. Marcia English has received nearly $200,000 in research funds.
Dr. English has received a $88,626 John R. Evans Leaders Fund award from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to purchase research equipment for her project, “Food Chemistry Research Platform for Investigating Aroma-active Compound Interactions in Plant-based Proteins.” She has also received $88,626 in matching funds from Research Nova Scotia.
The funding is part of over $61 million that the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, recently announced for state-of-the-art research labs and equipment through the CFI’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund. The investment supports 261 projects at 40 universities across Canada.
Dr. English says receiving the grant is important and exciting as it allows her to bring new equipment to the university to provide new research opportunities.
“The combined funding from CFI and Research Nova Scotia has provided a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer with olfactory detection (GC-MS/O) and a preparative chromatography system for protein purification to support food chemistry research at StFX,” she says.
The GC-MS/O will allow Dr. English and her research group to establish correlations between the chemical nature of specific aroma and off-flavour compounds from leguminous plant sources with the human perception of smell.
In addition, the protein purification system will enable the team to extract and purify key proteins from these plant sources, and study their biochemical interactions with aroma compounds.
“This equipment is very timely since there has been an increased interest to replace and/or reduce the levels of animal protein with plant-based proteins in traditional and novel food products,” Dr. English says.
“Moreover, this equipment has provided new opportunities to train undergraduate and graduate students at StFX with interdisciplinary skills in protein and flavour chemistry, which will be beneficial for various placements in the food industry.”
EDMONTON, A.B. — Researchers across the country need the best labs and tools to spark discoveries that lead to healthy communities, clean air and water, new job opportunities and a prosperous future. That’s why the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, today announced more than $61 million for state-of-the-art research labs and equipment through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF). This investment will support 261 projects at 40 universities across Canada.
The Fund helps exceptional university scientists conduct leading-edge research by giving them the tools and equipment they need to become leaders in their field.
The University of Alberta is receiving more than $2.2 million for 10 research infrastructure projects that will, among other things, ensure food safety, improve end-of-life care for patients, reclaim mining sites and reduce air pollution.
This investment will also help support Dr. Sandra Davidge, a pioneer in cardiovascular health in women and children at the University of Alberta. She is receiving funding for specialized imaging equipment that will enable her and her team to understand the link between low oxygen flow to an unborn baby and the risk of cardiovascular disease later in life. The team’s work will help create early interventions that will allow these babies to grow into heart-healthy adults. This is just one example of how new investments in research infrastructure trigger innovations that affect the lives of everyday Canadians.
While in Edmonton, Minister Duncan also signed the Dimensions Charter with the University of Alberta. Institutions that endorse the Charter commit to embedding the principles of equity, diversity and inclusiveness in their policies, practices, action plans and culture.
“Researchers in Canada know that cutting-edge tools and labs are necessary to make discoveries and innovate. That is why our government is announcing funding for the infrastructure needs of Canadian researchers. Their ground-breaking contributions to science and research have an enormous impact on the breakthroughs that help make our visions for a better future a reality.”
– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport
“Canada’s leading researchers require cutting-edge infrastructure to solve global challenges. At the Canada Foundation for Innovation we are proud to invest in their work and in our nation’s future.”
– Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and CEO, Canada Foundation for Innovation
“To pursue ground-breaking research initiatives that will improve the lives of Canadians, our researchers require state-of-the-art resources, facilities, and technologies—I am pleased to see this continued support for the extraordinary work being done at the University of Alberta and throughout Canada. I congratulate all of the recipients of the John R. Evans Leaders Fund and thank the Government of Canada and the Canada Foundation for Innovation for these critical investments.”
– David Turpin, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Alberta
A full list of the funded projects and stories about the facilities are available online at Innovation.ca. For updates, follow us on Twitter @InnovationCA and subscribe to our YouTube channel for videos about the CFI and its many transformative research projects.
Media Relations and Social Media Specialist
Canada Foundation for Innovation
Office of the Minister of Science and Sport
Innovation, Science, and Economic
About the Canada Foundation for Innovation
For more than 20 years, the CFI has been giving researchers the tools they need to think big and innovate. And a robust innovation system translates into jobs and new enterprises, better health, cleaner environments and, ultimately, vibrant communities. By investing in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment in Canada’s universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions, the CFI also helps to attract and retain the world’s top talent, to train the next generation of researchers and to support world-class research that strengthens the economy and improves the quality of life for all Canadians.
What do two gruesome murders in colonial Nova Scotia and descriptions of medical conditions in early Irish manuscripts have in common? Answer: The XVIth International Congress of Celtic Studies of 2019.
From July 22-26, StFX faculty, Drs. Laurie Stanley-Blackwell, Senior Research Professor, Department of History, Michael Linkletter, Chair of the Celtic Studies Department, and Ranke de Vries, Celtic Studies Department, attended this conference at Bangor University in North Wales. Dr. de Vries presented a paper, titled “Medical Material in Early Irish Literary Sources,” and Drs. Stanley-Blackwell and Linkletter co-presented on “The Gavel, Gaelic, and the Grave: Murder in Nineteenth-century Nova Scotia.”
Dr. de Vries’s presentation was based on a broader research project, which explores medieval non-medical Irish manuscript sources for evidence about medical terminology, ailments, and disease patterns in medieval Ireland. Dr. Stanley-Blackwell and Dr. Linkletter’s presentation, which examines Gaelic language use in Nova Scotia’s early court system, stems from their SSHRC-funded research into the deathways of Nova Scotia’s early Gaels.
This conference, which consisted of 131 sessions, in addition to five plenary lectures, attracted scholars from around the world “to discuss all things Celtic.” For a Canadian historian, the experience was particularly impressive. Dr. Stanley-Blackwell says, “The breadth of scholarship was sweeping and inspiring. Topics ranged from Welsh headstone inscriptions to Conchobar birth tales, post-tonic vowels in Cornish, Marian devotion in 20th-century Southern Hebrides, changelings in Irish storytelling, and contemporary Welsh and Irish language laws.”
The conference also epitomized the vibrancy and reach of StFX’s Celtic Studies program. Five of the presentations were given by alumni. In addition to Dr. Linkletter, they included Dr. Natasha Sumner of Harvard University and Dr. Anna Pagé of the University of Vienna, as well as graduate students, Emmet Taylor and Kathleen Reddy, who are enrolled in PhD programs at the University of Cork and University of Glasgow respectively. Also in attendance were two former members of the StFX Celtic Studies Department, Dr. Kristen Mills and Darán Ó Dochartaigh, and undergraduate Celtic Studies student, Lelia Houbé.
Says Dr. Linkletter, “The conference meets every four years. It provides us with a welcome opportunity to reconnect with some of our former students who are making a mark internationally.” According to Dr. de Vries, member of the Congress’s International Committee, the next conference will be hosted by Utrecht University in the Netherlands in 2023.
The Canadian Catholic Historical Association (CCHA) recently awarded the 2019 James F. Kenney Prize to Kenzie MacNeil, a 2019 graduate of the departments of History and Sociology at St. Francis Xavier University. Named in honour of the historian, former Dominion Archivist of Canada and CCHA founder James F. Kenney (1884-1946), the prize is awarded for the best essay on any aspect of the history of Catholicism in Canada written in course by an undergraduate student. Ms. MacNeil’s paper, “Fishers of Women: The Congregation of Notre Dame’s Pioneering Efforts on Female Education in Nova Scotia,” examined the important role that religious congregations had in delivering education for Catholic women in communities like eastern Nova Scotia.
CCHA President, Dr. Peter Ludlow, was very pleased with Ms. MacNeil’s paper and notes that this kind of scholarship is important in understanding how faith shaped all aspects of Canadian society. This paper helps demonstrate that “Catholic history is not merely about priests and bishops,” Dr. Ludlow noted, "but encapsulates issues like gender and ethnicity that together construct a fascinating social history.”
StFX history and Catholic studies professor Dr. Barry MacKenzie, who nominated Ms. MacNeil for the prize, was delighted with the news. “The Church, through both men and women religious, and in the way it guided the actions of the laity, played an immensely important role in the foundation and expansion of StFX, and in the region more broadly,” he commented. “Generally, that history is not well known, and so I was especially pleased that Kenzie took the initiative in telling the story of the CND sisters at Mount St. Bernard. We need to fully understand these stories, and in a more nuanced way.”