Professor Pamela Klassen – Australian Canadian Reconciliation Lecture
Join us as we welcome our guest speaker, Professor Pamela Klassen of the University of Toronto who will be speaking on “The Medium is the Medicine: Stories and the Work of Reconciliation in Canada”.
Professor Pamela Klassen: At a time when some governments have undertaken processes of apology, truth, and reconciliation for colonial violence and dispossession of Indigenous peoples, how can scholars in the humanities contribute to these imperfect gestures of repair? To hazard an answer to this question, I reflect on my process of narrating the story of an early-twentieth-century Anglican missionary in the Pacific Northwest who, after years of doing the work of Christian colonial settlement on Indigenous land, came to think that telepathy was the solution to everything from class warfare to religious divisions. At the same time that he experimented his way to the unorthodox metaphysics of “radio mind”, Archbishop Frederick Du Vernet was condemning the abuses of the Canadian church-state residential school system, which forcibly took Indigenous children from their families in order to assimilate them to Christianity, the English language, and acceptance of the sovereignty of the Dominion of Canada. As state-sponsored historical retellings such the multi-volume report of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission on residential schools are met with both Indigenous critiques and racist backlash, what difference do stories of the past make for our possible futures?
DATE: Thursday 3 May 2018
TIME: 6:00 pm
VENUE: Junior Common Room, Queen’s College
Professor Pamela Klassen
Vice-Dean Undergraduate & International, Faculty of Arts & Science
Pamela Klassen is Professor in the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto, where she is also Vice-Dean, Undergraduate & International in the Faculty of Arts & Science. The author of many books and articles, her most recent publications are The Story of Radio Mind: A Missionary’s Journey on Indigenous Land (U of Chicago Press, 2018) and Ekklesia: Three Inquiries in Church and State (U of Chicago Press, 2018), co-authored with Paul Christopher Johnson and Winnifred Fallers Sullivan. She currently holds the Anneliese Maier Research Award from the Humboldt Foundation in support of a five-year collaborative project entitled “Religion and Public Memory in Multicultural Societies,” undertaken together with Prof. Dr. Monique Scheer of the University of Tübingen. For more information, please see http://projects.chass.utoronto.ca/pklassen/