List of Presenters
Presentation Title: “Honk if you love Jesus”: Fundamentalist Christian Rhetoric & Symbolism in the 2022 Freedom Convoy
Presentation Title: "The iguana puffs up to make itself look like a man: The Cold War, Foreign Aid with bait conditions and donor credibility in Postcolonial Ghana" Abstract: “The iguana puffs up to make itself look like a man” is a South African proverb which means when something pretends to be what it is not, time and circumstance will eventually reveal its true nature. Independence and its high hopes made Ghana the symbol of Africa’s decolonization struggle. However, there are diverse forms of dependent countries which, while politically independent remain enmeshed in nets of financial and diplomatic dependency. Cold War rivalries drove the US and USSR to use aid to secure dependent allies especially in the global South. In many cases, African leaders’ choice of ideological allegiance brought them into close collaboration with the East or the West and led them to subscribe to models of development that proved disastrous for their economies. In the fight for influence in Africa, the superpowers offered economic assistance which gradually buried many African countries in external debt. By the 1980s, severe external debt crisis had led to a pause in economic reform and contributed to a decline in living standards. In Ghana, the misery of the people was termed ‘1983 Kͻm’ – (1983 hunger) – a period of hunger crisis which reflected in the protruding collarbone of most Ghanaians. Some have questioned donor credibility -- is economic aid an iguana, presented as a man, with Cold War complexities camouflaging the underlying intentions of economic aid? While there is no true answer to these questions, it is certain that, more than 60 years after independence, debt crisis continues to plague Africa.
Presentation Title: "Lament for Kaifeng, Reflections from Hangzhou: The Cultural Aftermath of the Jingkang Incident and the North-South Transition in Song Dynasty Poetry" Abstract: This paper examines the reactions from the Song Dynasty (960-1279) literati to the sudden and cataclysmic Jingkang Incident of 1127, when most of Northern China and the Imperial Capital of Kaifeng were conquered by the Jurchen Jin Dynasty (1115-1234). In particular, it looks at how these members of China’s educated elite came to terms with the trauma of this moment through their poetry, reflecting on what had been lost and questioning how they should move forward. This paper takes the perspective of three such poets, each of whom had a different relation to this moment. First was Li Qingzhao (c.1084-c.1155), one of the greatest women writers of Imperial Chinese history, who lived and wrote during the Jingkang incident and was displaced by the flight South, and used her poetry and other writings as a vessel through which she could process her grief and trauma. Second is Lu You (1125-1210), who was born during the incident but did not fully come into his own until its aftermath and instead used his poetry as a medium to fantasize about reclaiming the North and restoring the Song to its former glory. Finally there is Jiang Kui (1155-1221), whose poetry often touched on the ravages of war and somberly reflected on what had been lost but also saw the Southern Song’s lands as his true home. Ultimately in examining these three perspectives of the tragedy of the Jingkang Incident, it serves as a way through which we can see how writing and literature can be a tool to cope with and make sense of societal catastrophes and thus find a way to rebuild from them.
Presentation Title: "Ante Marković – saving the economy and losing the country"
Presentation Title: "Paradoxical representation of ‘disability’ in Classical Āyurveda"
Presentation Title: "The Great Upheaval: Religion and Politics During the War of the Three Kingdoms, 1639-1653" Abstract: The Wars of the Three Kingdoms, which engulfed England, Scotland, and Ireland in the mid-seventeenth Century, saw the clash of political ideas and, in the chaos of the event, the rise of new religious mass movements. With the war between the absolutist King Charles I and his Parliament, who fought for the privileges of their members the King attempted to erode, the state’s monopoly on religious and civil control diminished. This caused the rise of new religious and political movements, such as the Levellers and Diggers. They, in response to the political and economic crisis, began to promote radical new ideas. The average person suffered greatly under the strain of civil war, and unfair land distribution combined with the closing of the commons caused mass migration from the countryside to the city. In response to this, Puritan radicals like the Levellers proposed new definitions of people, defining them not as subjects but, as John Lillburne labeled them, “Free Borne Englishmen”, deserving of inherent rights and safety nets provided by the state, while the Diggers would go one step further, proposing a shared wealth between all peoples with public ownership of all land and the creation of a new Godly community where all people helped one another. The focus on the empowerment of common people in response to great economic hardship shows how crisis, while devastating, can also stimulate intellectual development and ultimately influence society to move in a more just direction.
Presentation Title: "Constructive Resistance, Planned Migration, Synnomic Society: Locating Diplomacy of Prophet Muhammad in Managing Social Tumult" Abstract: Social tensions and the mass movement of people have emerged as important concerns of the contemporary world. In general, based on the push and pull factors analysis, migration is perceived as a way of escape. Authorities understand it as a plague on the developed societies of the Western world. Instead of understanding it as a chance to create a synnomic society, in the last decades, refugee influxes have increasingly been met with economical, racial, and ethnic concerns. Migrants are subjected to many problems including lack of food, inadequate health care facility, and non-availability of adequate shelter worldwide, notably, state policy enabled most of this. Taking the responses of modern nation-states to migration and migrants as a departure point, this paper analyses how the seventh-century Muslim migrations can be perceived as a phase of constructive resistance mechanized by the diplomacy of Prophet Muhammad, as a subject of history. How Prophet Muhammad materialized the existence of Islam as a subcultural entity in the Meccan geopolitical space, Instead of being an object of persecution, through the mechanisms of planning, consultation, and dialogue would be one important focus of this paper. Focusing on twin migrations of Muslims to Ethiopia and Medina, this paper traces the way Prophet Muhammad planned the constructive resistance and used migrations to Ethiopia and Medina as a part of this resistance. It also discusses how Prophet used the diversity of the society formed in Medina after Muslim arrival to form and materialize his vision of the new Medina State and a synnomic society, further strengthening the Muslim resistance. The study employed a qualitative method with an approach of content analysis evaluating relevant books, studies, and articles. The result indicates that Prophet Muhammad was successful in locating Islam as a subcultural entity in Mecca and he launched effective resistance mechanisms to resolve the problems faced by his followers using migration and state-building as two phases of resistance.
Presentation Title: "Life was easier and better: Nostalgia and political power in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union" Abstract: The presentation aims at deepening the political use of nostalgia in 21st century Russia in response to the crisis of the collapse of the Soviet Union. The collapse of the USSR constitutes a collective trauma, as it affects a whole community (Herman 2015: 51, Alexander 2019: 29). Trauma survivors experience reflective nostalgia, labelled as the melancholic longing for the reassuring reality that existed before the event (Bojm 2001: 41). However, the purpose of the Russian government is to fuel nationalistic waves spreading restorative nostalgia, i.e., the desire to bring back an idyllic past (Bojm 2001: 41, Marchesini 2015: 154) based on the synthesis of Soviet severity and Imperial grandeur (Caramitti 2010: 267, Липовеский 2008: 743, Sulpasso 2021: 476). Hence, the presentation goal is to demonstrate that the Russian government deliberately manipulates feelings of nostalgia so to assert that the country is bound to become an everlasting power. Since the focus is on how the collapse of the USSR is perceived in 21st century Russia, the presentation hypothesis investigates the role of postmemory in the processes through which this crisis has been defining the country for generations (Hirsh 2019: 172).
Presentation Title: "From Great Persecution to Great Christian Empire: The Role of Martyrs in the Great Transition" Abstract: The great transformation that Christianity went through from the third to the fourth century implies a process in which religion both influenced and was influenced by social movements. While one source of influence on Christianity was the support of Constantine after his victory of Licinius, another important impact on the formation of Christian identity was the reality and literature of martyrdom. Martyrdom is one of the most influential notions in the transition from great persecution to victory discourse. The paper argues that when Early Christians experienced the great persecution of the mid-third century, they also glorified the past local and sporadic persecutions through martyrology. In so doing, their exaggerated readings of the past shaped both their history and the Christian identity of the day. The rhetoric of victimization of Christian martyrs elevated the sufferings of these persecutions beyond reality. Based on Eusebius' Martyrs of Palestine, this paper aims to explore the meaning of martyrdom, and its social and religious role especially in Eastern Christianity. The primary goal of this paper is to question how religious and cultural change takes place by incorporating both legal and martyrological documents. In so doing, it is possible to observe the interaction of religion with social and political institutions broadly, while better examining a particular moment of historical transition.
Presentation Title: "Inconclusive by Designed: Rethinking the “Ti esti” question in the Context of the Declining Greek Civilization" Abstract: It is often said that when western philosophers begin their course of inquiry about certain concepts, they usually start by asking the definitional questions, that is, the so-called “Ti esti” question (“Ti esti” is Greek for “What is”). In this conference paper, I shall argue that this idiosyncratic tendency of western philosophers from Socrates onward is not merely what Plato suggested, a by-product of their innocent curiosity; instead, this idiosyncrasy was an outcome of the reactionary aristocrats against the decline of Greek civilization. Through a comparative reading of 17 different dialogues by Plato, I will demonstrate in detail how Plato treats Socrates’ dialogue partners differently, depending on whether the dialogue is advanced by Socrates’ dialogue partners or whether the dialogue is willingly moved forward by Socrates himself. It is worth noting that within the 17 dialogues that I surveyed, there are only two works from Plato, which Socrates leads the discussion. Moreover, beyond the close engagement of primary text, I intend to enrich the readings of Plato with their respective social-historical context. Ultimately, this paper aims to provide insights regarding why Greek aristocrats perceived their civilization was in decline and how such decline was related to “Ti esti” question as a strategy of resistance rather than academic inquiry.
Augusto Machado Rocha
Presentation Title: "A Marriage of Power: The Strength in Isabelle of Castille" Abstract: This paper analyzes Isabella’s power after the 1492 expulsion of religious minorities, as one of the Queen’s actions as part of a political and social crisis. The identity imposition that came with it was a rupture from a context of coexistence among the Christians kingdoms, the Muslim territories and the religious plurality of the Iberian Peninsula. My analysis of the Alhambra Decree (1492) shows the enforcement of Castilian religious power, following what was established by the Concordia of Segovia (1475). The two documents demonstrate that the queen consolidated her power through Christianity by erasing the history of Spanish minorities. Isabella pursued the rejection of those who she believed did not conform with the Spanish Christian identity. The all-Catholic kingdom triggered the expulsion of minority groups from the Iberian Peninsula, making Isabella of Castile a central figure for the nation-building process in Spain. My contribution is to examine the discourse produced by Isabella to disparage the Jewish population. My research contributes to the existing historiography by reflecting on how Isabella’s wishes transcended her death. The consolidation of Isabella’s legacy of a Christian identity was perceived as a salvation, since it became an image of power and stability, which was constantly recovered in Spanish history as an answer to political and economic turmoils. Isabella’s marriage strengthened Castilian identity’s policy, enforcing a crisis among the non-Christian minorities, thus becoming a crux element to comprehend Spanish history.
Bo Peter Zhang
Presentation Title: "Beyond the Epidemic Villain: Disease, Pollution, and Human Animal Relations in Early Modern China"
Presentation Title: “The Online Masculine Grift As Response to Capitalism in Crisis” Abstract: So-called reactionary masculinity influencers have seen an increase in visible online popularity over the past few years, with Andrew Tate standing out as the most famous example. These manosphere influencers preach an ideology wherein the alienation experienced by men (and everyone) in late capitalism can be blamed on a devaluing of what they percieve as innate masculine tendencies. In practice these "innate" tendencies are aspects of hegemonic masculinity that continue to hold oppressive dominance over society, a dominance which these influencers seek to preserve against recent non-heteronormative progress. In so doing, they deflect attention from the true cause behind the crisis of precarity experienced in present society, capitalism. Part of this practice of hegemonic reinforcement can be found in their promotions, directly and indirectly, of the grift. By the grift I mean products and services that cannot solve the issues that they are promoted as a salve for, which is alienation from society. These products and services range from bodybuilding nutrition supplements to books on dating, courses on investment to get rich quick MLM schemes. Using Lauren Berlant's concept of cruel optimism, I argue that these ineffective grifts prey on the alienation experienced by members of the dominant demographic (white cisgendered straight men) who do not have enough access to capital to escape the precariousness of the current capitalist landscape. Far from solving these internal issues, using the pursuit of hegemonic masculine ideals to attain what Berlant refers to as "the good life" leads to inevitable failure, as hegemonic masculinity is an unattainable standard. It also serves as a vector for right-wing radicalization, as feminism and marginalized members of society (particularly those that do not conform to heteronormative standards) are used as scapegoats for an audience member's inability to exercise male dominance.
Presentation Title: "The Identity Crisis of Hutterites in North America" Abstract: The Hutterites are an Anabaptist communal group in North America. The majority of Hutterites live agrarian lives in colonies numbering around 100 members. Hutterites have subsisted for almost 500 years, partly because of their strict cultural ties and their ability to adapt to the constantly changing outer socio-cultural landscape. Hutterite socio-religious worlds appear to be counter to “mainstream” U.S. society in significant ways. Early Hutterites believed that the end times were near and that they should utilize community to steel themselves against a world of evil and suffering. Contemporary Hutterites utilize community to steel themselves against new evils like capitalism, climate change advocates, and COVID-19 restrictions. They believe the cause of these evils to be what they refer to as the One World Government, a mysterious cabal that desires power and control over everything. They seek to slowly and secretly remove freedoms, such as farmers’ rights, basic human autonomy, and religious freedoms in order to create a One World Order. For Hutterites, this is not a happy notion like the Beatles framed it in the song “Imagine.” This is a crisis of epic proportions that will bring about the end times. This paper explores how some Hutterites and Hutterite colonies are responding to notions of the New World Order and how this crisis is shaping and reshaping Hutterite identities.
Katherine St Arnaud
Presentation Title: Archetypes, Mobility, and Money: Female Representations in Weimar Film" Abstract: During the Weimar Republic, German society faced a crisis in grappling with the newfound role of women in modern society. Traditional gender roles were destabilized, and men experienced a crisis of masculinity. The New Woman represents the crisis of gender; she was a manifestation of modern femininity and a constant reminder of Germany’s diminished economic and military strength following their defeat in World War I. Films from this period reflect various attitudes towards modern women. This essay explores how Weimar film reflects social fears and anxieties about women within German society. This essay will first analyze the movement of women characters between different archetypes in a selection of popular Weimar films to demonstrate the various anxieties they are representing. The archetypes are the Garçonne, the Gretchen, the Girl, and the femme fatale. Secondly, it will consider how social class affects gender and identity transgressions of women characters. This essay will demonstrate how reading women characters as having dynamic identities and occupying multiple archetypes allows for a clearer understanding of how women navigated modernity in Weimar society.
Presentation Title: A Royal Response to Crisis: The Afterlives of Drag Responses to HIV/AIDS in Edmonton Abstract: The Imperial Court System claims to be the oldest and second largest charitable LGBTQ+ organisation in the world. Formed in San Francisco in 1965 by José Sarria, a drag queen, veteran, and first openly gay political candidate in the United States, the organisation is now represented in 86 communities across Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Each chapter crowns Empresses and Emperors from within its ranks comprised of members of drag, leather, and other queer subcultural communities. From its foundation prior to the formal decriminalisation of homosexuality, throughout the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic, and as legal and physical attacks on trans people become increasingly frequent, the court system has continuously supported its communities during times of crisis. This paper takes particular interest in the history of Edmonton’s court, the Imperial Sovereign Court of the Wild Rose. Inaugurated in 1976, the ISCWR is Canada’s second oldest court, claims to be Alberta’s longest running LGBTQ+ community organization, and was one of the first in the province to raise money for HIV/AIDS research. Inspired by the serious consideration given to ephemera by recent queer scholars and historiographers, this paper turns to the messy archives of the ISCWR—including flyers, pageant programmes, and ticket stubs—to better understand the activities and intentions of the court over the past five decades. It asks whether these activities might be framed as work of radical care, solidarity, and mutual aid for their communities as they resist and respond to crisis.
Presentation Title: Facing Conventional Nationalism Challenges in the Time of Crisis —Liberal Nationalism