Events

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Jan
28
Tue
2020
UNESCO Chair in Food, Biodiversity and Sustainability Studies Launch Event
Jan 28 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Join us for the launch of the UNESCO Chair in Food, Biodiversity and Sustainability Studies.
Wilfrid Laurier University Professor Alison Blay-Palmer has been named United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Chair in Food, Biodiversity and Sustainability Studies. Led in Canada by the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, the prestigious UNESCO Chairs program promotes international inter-university cooperation in key priority areas for the agency. The chair program involves more than 781 institutions in 116 countries. It includes relatively few Canadian English-language universities, making Blay-Palmer only the fourth Ontario scholar to participate in the program.
The launch will include remarks from Sébastien Goupil, Secretary-General of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, Deborah MacLatchy, President and Vice-Chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University, Jonathan Newman, Vice-President Research, Wilfrid Laurier University, Ann Fitz-Gerald, Director BSIA and Chairholder Blay-Palmer. Remarks will be followed by a reception.
Click here for more details about the event, the UNESCO Chair and to register.

Jan
31
Fri
2020
Canadian Political Economy: Cutting Edge Issues and Debates
Jan 31 @ 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

This special workshop will introduce the forthcoming book Canadian Political Economy (Heather Whiteside, ed., University of Toronto Press) and will reflect on the field of Canadian Political Economy (CPE) more broadly. In the book, experts from a number of disciplinary backgrounds come together to explore Canada’s empirical political economy and the field’s contributions to theory and debate. Considering both historical and contemporary approaches to CPE, the contributors pay particular attention to key actors and institutions, as well as developments in Canadian political-economic policies and practices, explored through themes of changes, crises, and conflicts in CPE. Offering up-to-date interpretations, analyses, and descriptions, Canadian Political Economy is accessibly written and suitable for students and scholars. Through 17 chapters, the book’s topics include theory, history, inequality, work, free trade and fair trade, co-operatives, banking and finance, the environment, indigeneity, and the gendered politics of political economy. Linking longstanding debates with current developments, this volume represents both a state-of-the-discipline and a state-of-the-art contribution to scholarship.
The workshop will feature eight of the chapter contributors, focusing on the following themes in CPE:
Angela Carter, Waterloo: resource exploitation and environmental concerns
Bryan Evans, Ryerson: public sector restructuring
Carlo Fanelli, York: urban processes
John Peters, Laurentian: rising inequality
Julie MacArthur, Auckland: social economy and co-operatives
Heather Whiteside, Waterloo: theory and debate
Peter Graefe, McMaster: social policy transformations
Stephen McBride, McMaster: continental integration
The workshop will ask where CPE is going, what’s missing, and what’s needed for future research. We look forward to audience participation and a lively discussion of issues both current and longstanding.

Feb
3
Mon
2020
The Nationalistic and Populist Shift in Politics and National Commercial Policies: A Global Perspective
Feb 3 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

Often discussions of trade policy during the recent populist era focus either on the United States or on the Sino-U.S. trade war. Bearing in mind that governments can learn from and can react to each other’s trade policy choices, in this presentation Simon Evenett takes a different tack. A systematic, broader comparison of the recent populist episode is presented, interpreted, and questions raised about our understanding of the contemporary political economy of trade policy.
About the speaker
Simon Evenett is Professor of International Trade and Economic Development and MBA Director at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. He has taught at the Said Business School at the University of Oxford, the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan (where he was a Visiting Professor of Corporate Strategy three times), and Rutgers University. In addition, Prof. Evenett has served as a World Bank official twice, has been a Non-Resident Senior Fellow in the Economics Studies program of the Brookings Institution, and a member of the UK Competition Commission. Recently, he was the DLA Piper Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Carey School of Business, Johns Hopkins University.
Professor Evenett specializes in studying how governments tilt the commercial playing field in favour of local firms. At the start of the Global Financial Crisis, he created the Global Trade Alert initiative, the leading independent monitor of protectionism and commercial policy choice. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Yale University and a B.A. (Hons) in Economics from the University of Cambridge. He has written over 200 articles, book chapters, and volumes.

Feb
5
Wed
2020
Escaping the Frame: Migrant Workers (from Indonesia) in the Margins of Development (in Dubai)
Feb 5 @ 11:45 am – 1:00 pm

The Indonesian government focuses substantial and increasing regulatory attention on low-income overseas migrant workers during their pre-departure training and visa registration periods within Indonesia. Its migration apparatus is again active in managing and surveilling workers during their return journeys into the nation’s territory. However, the state’s migration apparatus tends to turn a blind eye to migrant workers while they are abroad. According to interviews with Indonesian migration officials, the lack of overseas capacity is entrenched in lack of infrastructure and resources, as well as geopolitical subordination to the states of labor recipient countries. For many migrant workers, this lack of state attention is not only a welcome relief, but indeed is actively sought through efforts to escape the gaze of both labor sending and receiving states. This talk examines migrants’ desires to escape state regulation in contrast with national rhetoric about the need to “strengthen state capacity” vis-à-vis migrants for the sake of development. It discusses the implications of this case for theorizing the postcolonial labor sending state’s role in transnational migration politics.
About the speaker
Rachel Silvey is a professor in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto, and the Richard Charles Lee Director of the Asian Institute at the Munk School of Global Affairs. She received her Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Washington, Seattle, and a dual B.A. from the University of California at Santa Cruz in Environmental Studies and Southeast Asian Studies. Her research focuses on gender, labour and migration with a specialization in Indonesia. She has published in the fields of migration studies, cultural and political geography, gender studies, and critical development studies. Major funded research projects have focused on migration, gender, social networks, and economic development in Indonesia; immigration and employment among Southeast Asian-Americans; migration and marginalization in Bangladesh and Indonesia; religion, rights and migrant women workers in Saudi Arabia; labor sending states in the global care economy; and most recently the climate/migration nexus.

Feb
6
Thu
2020
Social Practices of Rule-Making for International Law in the Cyber Domain
Feb 6 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm

In 2013, despite deteriorating relations between Russia and the United States and increased global contention over cybersecurity issues, participating states in the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly agreed on a landmark report endorsing the applicability of existing international law to state military use of information technology. Given these conditions, the timing of this agreement was surprising. Mark Raymond argues that state representatives engaged in a rule-governed social practice of applying old rules to new cases, and that the procedural rules governing this practice help to explain the existence, timing and form of the agreement. They also help to explain further agreements expressed in a follow-on report issued in 2015. The case study findings presented here demonstrate that social practices of rule-making are simultaneously rule-governed and politically contested, and that outcomes of these processes have been shaped by specialized rules for making, interpreting and applying rules. The effectiveness of procedural rules in shaping the outcome of a contentious, complex global security issue suggests that such rules are likely to matter even more in simpler cases dealing with less contentious issues.
About the speaker
Mark Raymond (@MRaymondonIR) is the Wick Cary Assistant Professor of International Security and Director of the Cyber Governance and Policy Center at the University of Oklahoma. He is an External Affiliate of the Ostrom Workshop at Indiana University, and a Fellow with the Center for Democracy and Technology, and was previously a Carnegie Fellow at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He is the author of Social Practices of Rule-Making in World Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019). His work appears in various academic journals including International Theory, Strategic Studies Quarterly, The Cyber Defense Review, the UC Davis Law Review, and the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs. He is also the co-editor of Organized Chaos: Reimagining the Internet (Waterloo, Canada: CIGI, 2014). He has served as a senior advisor to the United States Cyberspace Solarium Commission, testified before the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development, and participated in the UN Internet Governance Forum. His current research projects examine the politics of global rule-making, as well as Internet governance and cybersecurity governance. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto.

Feb
13
Thu
2020
Cold War Legacies: Canada as a Racial Capitalist Democracy as Discursively Traced in the Debates on the Memorial to Victims of Communism
Feb 13 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

Dr. Ngo examines Canada’s latest identity building project, the Memorial to Victims of Communism: Canada, A Land of Refuge. What image does the Canadian nation reassert of itself in its current national identity project? She argues that through the lens of racial capitalism and Cold War epistemology, Canada’s national identity is forged by conflating democracy to capitalism and in contrast with communism. In this lecture, she will briefly highlight the major events associated with the memorial and related public debates, which reveal a discursive construction of, first, racial belonging in Canada, and second, racial capitalism that is embedded within Canada’s identity of “progressive democracy” (free, humanitarian, peacekeeping) through the conflation of democracy with capitalism.
A discursive reading of the text that emerged from this project reveals the maintenance of a Canadian national identity based on circulated conflations of democracy to capitalism and the processes of racial exclusion. Canada’s national identity developed during the Cold War reflects the image of a liberal and morally superior international peacekeeper and a refugee haven. We see this enduring legacy of the Cold War in the latest national identity project, the development of the Memorial to Victims of Communism: Canada a Land of Refuge. Through this project, the Canadian state imagines itself to be a refuge, a beacon of hope, and a modern world leader. Yet the discourses that come out of this text reveal an additional, uncomfortable layer of Canada’s imagined saviour complex: Canada’s ardent anti-communism bolsters its fervent yet silent capitalism that continues the colonial project of racial subjugation, and more specifically in this case, racial exclusion. This is done by conflating capitalism, the antithesis of communism, with democracy. The narrative suggests that while Canada has saved victims of communism and may have even benefitted from exhortations of “productive refugees” contributing to the nation, these same victims cannot access the symbolic and permanent markers of national belonging as represented by permanent memorials on prominent public lands. Canada’s national identity as a democracy continues through celebratory discourses of refuge, hope, and freedom while the shadowy aspect of its identity, racial capitalism, becomes eclipsed.
About the speaker
Anh Ngo is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University. Her research interests include critical multiculturalism and critical refugee studies; the experiences of immigrant and refugee people in Canada; social policy as knowledge production and its effects on the lived experiences of individuals and groups; and social change through community action and engaged scholarship. Her work has been published in Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees and the Canadian Review of Social Policy.

Feb
26
Wed
2020
The Politics of Immigration Detention in Canada and Spain
Feb 26 @ 11:45 am – 1:00 pm

Immigration detention represents one of the most extreme sanctions in response to entering or living in a country without legal status. Yet laws, political discourses and public debates construct different narratives to legitimize the use of detention as a reasonable and fair response to human mobility. Likewise, each country configures and modifies its immigration detention system as a result of a particular combination of socio-historical, political and economic factors, geopolitical dynamics and mutations in international migration patterns. In this talk, Dr. Ballesteros Pena will discuss how Spain and Canada configure and legitimize their immigration detention complexes. She situates her analysis within the context of the proliferation of different spaces, technologies, and practices of detention and containment of people on the move both in the Global North and in the Global South. Besides comparing the forms and practices of detention adopted by Spain and Canada, she also pays particular attention to the political rationalities that underpin the contrasts and/or similarities between the two countries.
About the speaker
Ana Ballesteros Pena is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto, Canada & Faculty of Law, University of A Coruña, Spain). She holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Barcelona in Spain. Her PhD research analyzed female incarceration in the Spanish penitentiary system. Ana’s current research project Governmigration. Governing irregular immigration through detention: discourses and practices from an interdisciplinary approach analyzes the governance of irregular migrants and asylum seekers in Canada and Spain, paying particular attention to how migrants are governed in the community after detention.

Feb
27
Thu
2020
Varieties of Ignorance in Economic Policymaking
Feb 27 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

One of the puzzles that recent world events pose for scholars interested in the role of ideas and expertise in politics is the widespread and highly visible effort by many political leaders to cultivate certain kinds of willful ignorance. While we may be tempted to see this pattern as characteristic of a highly novel “post-truth” age, in this talk Dr Jacqueline Best wants to suggest that we take this troubling trend as an invitation to examine the role of ignorance more generally in political economic thinking and practice. When we look back at key moments in the history of economic policymaking, we find a variety of forms of ignorance, ranging from cluelessness to wishful thinking to outright denial. Drawing on some preliminary archival findings from her research on the early Reagan and Thatcher years, Dr Best will suggest that these different forms of ignorance were simultaneously destabilizing and productive. Focusing on the prevalence of ignorance complicates the rather teleological stories that many scholars tell about the early days of neoliberal theory and practice, highlighting the messiness and contingency of their efforts. At the same time, by examining these early moments, it becomes clear that some of these forms of ignorance were ultimately very useful in enabling policymakers to discount the political effects of their economic actions.
About the speaker 
Jacqueline Best is a Full Professor in the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa. Her research is at the intersection of international relations, political economy and social theory. She has been a visiting professor at University College, Oxford University, the University of Queensland and the University of Sheffield. Professor Best has been awarded a number of research prizes, including most recently the Leverhulme Trust’s international visiting professorship. She has recently published Governing Failure: Provisional Expertise and the Transformation of Global Development Finance with Cambridge University Press. She a currently co-editor of the journal, Review of International Political Economy.

Mar
5
Thu
2020
Informal International Relations (IIR): A Research Agenda
Mar 5 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm

This talk provides a conceptual framework and outlines a research agenda for studying informal dimensions of international relations. It argues that the concept of IIR offers a useful framework for studying unofficial aspects of international relations. The focus on informality directs attention of researchers to areas such as clientelist networks of international life which extant IR approaches are unable, and in some cases unwilling, to investigate. In addition, studying IR from the IIR perspective will open the space for fruitful dialogue between IR scholars and comparative political scientists who are already exploring informal politics at the domestic level. Finally, examining international relations from the vantage point of informality will make the IR field more inclusive as it will provide tools and discourses to capture nuances of international politics of societies in the Global South and Eastern Europe where numerous studies show informality shape even more strongly political behavior and outcomes.
About the speaker
Thomas Kwasi Tieku is an Associate Professor of Political Science in King’s University College at The University of Western Ontario (UWO) and a member of the Advisory Board of The Africa Institute at UWO. He is the former Director of African Studies at the University of Toronto where he won the Excellence of Teaching Award. He has also coordinated the Social Justice and Peace Studies (SJPS) program at King’s, served as the Lead Researcher at the Centre for International Governance Innovations (CIGI) and was 2017 Carnegie Fellow at the University of Ghana, Legon. Thomas’ current research, which is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), focuses on informal international relations, conflict mediation, peacebuilding and international organizations. He has authored, co-authored or co-edited four (4) books and over twenty-eight (28) refereed journal articles and book chapters. Thomas’ latest single-authored book is Governing Africa: 3D Analysis of the Performance of African Union (Roman & Littlefield, 2018) and co-edited book (with Katharine Coleman) is African Actors in international Security (Lynne Rienner, 2018). He has served as a consultant to a number of organizations and governments, including the World Bank Group, the UN, African Union, and Government of Canada.

Mar
6
Fri
2020
Global Turbulence: Challenges for Canada and Modern Diplomacy
Mar 6 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

About the speaker
Senator Peter M. Boehm holds a PhD in History from the University of Edinburgh, a Master of Arts in International Affairs from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University and a Bachelor of Arts in English and History from Wilfrid Laurier University.
He was Deputy Minister for the G-7 Summit and Personal Representative of the Prime Minister (Sherpa) from July 2017, until his retirement from the Public Service in September 2018. Peter Boehm had previously been Deputy Minister of International Development, Associate, and, subsequently, Senior Associate Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. From 2013 to 2017, he concurrently served as Sherpa for the G-8 and subsequent G-7 Summits, as well as the Nuclear Security Summit.
A former career foreign service officer, he served as Ambassador to Germany from 2008 to 2012 and previously as Assistant Deputy Minister for the Americas, North America and Consular Affairs. Abroad, he was Minister (political and public affairs) at the Embassy of Canada to the United States in Washington and Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States. He has held a variety of diplomatic positions including assignments in Cuba and Costa Rica.
He was National Summit Coordinator for the Santiago and Quebec Summits of the Americas, Special Envoy for the Organization of American States Democratization Mission in Peru and Personal Representative (Sherpa) of the Prime Minister for the Summit of the Americas in Mar del Plata in 2005. From 2005 to 2008, he was the senior official responsible for the annual North American Leaders’ Summit.
He was appointed to the Senate of Canada, representing the province of Ontario in October 2018.

Mar
19
Thu
2020
Current Trends in Terrorism and Insecurity in South Asia
Mar 19 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

South Asia is especially affected by the scourge of terrorism, with countries like Afghanistan, India and Pakistan listed among the top ten in the world. Although the current terrorism landscape is shaped by Islamist militancy, there are existing territorial disputes and ethnic conflicts that also flare up and develop a complex web of insecurity in the region.
The leading terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and the Taliban intend to pursue their respective goals in South Asian countries, ranging from establishing a caliphate to liberating territories. To pursue these objectives they compete as well as operate flexibly to accommodate each other. However, instead of the affected states devising common counterterrorism strategies, they adopt varying models that at times prove counter-productive to the neighboring states. This situation, in turn, intensifies insecurity among the neighboring states and provides more advantage for terrorist groups to leverage. In the absence of effective transnational cooperation, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan continue to endure the menace of terrorism.
This lecture will address the current terrorism trends in South Asia, the challenges posed, and the counterterrorism approaches adopted by the individual countries in the region.
About the speaker
Dr Dalbir Ahlawat, Department of Security Studies and Criminology, Macquarie University, Australia.
Dr Ahlawat has broad experience of working with government agencies and academic institutions. He has worked as an Honorary Associate with Macquarie University, Visiting Fellow with the University of New South Wales, and Center Associate with the University of Pittsburgh-USA. In addition, he has worked in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and International Organization for Migration.
Dr Ahlawat has over 15 years experience in conducting research on topics related to strategic and security issues. He has worked in/on Latin American countries, the United States, Africa, Asia and Australia. Based on the research outcomes, he has published three books and more than 20 research papers in journals, edited books and think tank publications. In addition to his research and publications, he has wide experience of research supervision that include PhD and Post Graduate research projects supervision.

 
 
Co-hosted with the Tshepo Institute for the Study of Contemporary Africa

Jun
1
Mon
2020
Transforming Urban Food Systems in Africa (TUFSA) Workshop
Jun 1 @ 8:00 am – Jun 2 @ 5:00 pm

By invitation only
The workshop is a response to the fact that countries across Africa are rapidly transitioning from rural to urban societies. The UN projects that 60% of people living in Africa will be in urban areas by 2050, with the urban population on the continent tripling over the next 50 years. The challenge of building inclusive and sustainable cities in the context of rapid urbanization is arguably the critical development issue of the 21st Century and creating food secure cities is key to promoting health, prosperity, equity, and ecological sustainability. The expansion of Africa’s urban population is taking place largely in secondary cities: these are broadly defined as cities with fewer than half a million people that are not national political or economic centres. The implications of secondary urbanization have recently been described by the Cities Alliance as “a real knowledge gap”, requiring much additional research not least because it poses new intellectual challenges for academic researchers and governance challenges for policy-makers.
International researchers coming from multiple points of view including food studies, urban studies, and sustainability studies, are starting to heed the call for further research into the implications for food security of rapidly growing secondary cities in Africa. The workshop will convene these researchers to observe broad trends and compare case studies from eleven countries (Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Zambia). The workshop will consist of interdisciplinary presentations by scholars, faculty, post-doctoral fellows and graduate students that elucidate the past, present and future dimensions of transforming food systems in Africa’s secondary cities and how household food security is shaped by these systems.