War hymn a Canadian favourite

Hattie Rhue Hatchett’s story of overcoming racial and gender discrimination prompted York University master’s student Richard George Stewardson to write his thesis about her, reports The Ottawa Citizen Nov. 11 in a story on the African-Canadian’s famous First World War popular soldiers’ hymn That Sacred Song. He was the first to study the history of musical activity in rural Ontario in such depth, and he analyzed much of Hatchett’s work. “This history reveals both the complexity of the rural community in which she lived and the ways in which her musical activities allowed her to ameliorate the negative effects of racial discrimination and contribute substantially to the community,” he wrote in his thesis, says the Citizen.

Canada’s Army

a must-read

A must-read for the niggardly federal cabinet, Jack Granatstein’s sin-filled history of political neglect and outright financial opposition to army needs, Canada’s Army is a plea for Canadians to be willing to pay for the professional force we need, begins a review in The Toronto Star Nov. 10 of the York professor emeritus and military historian’s new book.

‘Burned out’ Sea King stays home

Martin Shadwick, a defence analyst at York, said the absence of a helicopter reduces surveillance capabilities, reports The Ottawa Citizen Nov. 9 in a story on a Canadian warship going to the Arabian Sea without a Sea King. However, he points out that the Sea King community is small and has only a limited number of trained crews. “You can get into a burnout situation very quickly.”

Visser ‘an exile on the Earth’

Margaret Visser, a former classics professor at York and this year’s Massey lecturer, says she is “an exile on the Earth,” reports The Gazette in Montreal Nov. 10. “I’m a foreigner – foreign to everywhere. I come from a society that doesn’t exist any more, and I see things from without. It’s a terrible disadvantage. But what can you do with that disadvantage except turn it to your advantage?” She will talk about fate in this year’s series to be given at McGill University.

Merton redressed language mauling

Michael Higgins, who wrote his doctoral dissertation in 1979 at York on Thomas Merton, has co-written with Doug Letson, a book on the famous monk called Power and Peril: The Catholic Church at the Crossroads, reports the Tribune in Welland Nov. 9. It has stirred up controversy by arguing that the church needs to be willing to change if it is to survive. “Merton spent his life as a poet and as a writer in the process of redressing the scaring and the mauling of language. He did it not as an academic exercise, but because for him, it was a spiritual necessity,” Higgins told a church audience. Higgins is president of Jerome College, University of Waterloo.

On products that star in movies

“We live, and have lived for a long time, in a commercial, consumer culture where brands and certain advertisements become icons, or points in time,” says Alan Middleton, Schulich marketing professor, in a Globe and Mail story Nov. 9 about products starring in movies, rap videos, even Broadway. “We live in an amazingly crowded world in terms of communication, and because of the noise level, we’re got to look outside the traditional media box and be in many places, and unusual places, too.”

Nominated for arts manager award

Janice O’Briain, Schulich School of Business grad and now Victoria’s Kaleidoscope Theatre general manager, was one of two runners-up for the Pfizer Award for Emerging Arts Managers presented by the Association of Cultural Executives, reports the Times Colonist in Victoria Nov. 10. She was nominated by her former teacher Joyce Zemans, who teaches arts and media administration at Schulich.

York sets up Randal Dooley scholarship

A scholarship fund has been set up at York University in memory of Randal Dooley, a seven-year-old boy who died from child-abuse injuries in 1998, reports The Globe and Mail Nov. 12. Community members in the Jane-Finch area, where the boy lived, as well as the Jamaican Canadian Association and the Markham African-Caribbean Association raised $8,000, with a matching amount contributed by Western Union. The news was also broadcast Nov. 11 on the “John Oakley Show” and “The World Today” on Toronto’s CFRB-AM, CBC’s “News Headlines” in Toronto and “Global News”.

York student wins first Ainsworth Dyer scholarship

Andreen Dunkley, 19, a first-year English student at York, was presented with the first Ainsworth Dyer scholarship at a ceremony at Eastdale Collegiate, reports The Toronto Star Nov. 12. The scholarship was set up in memory of one of four Canadian soldiers killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan. “What happened to Ainsworth brings things into perspective,” said Dunkley upon receiving the plaque at a Remembrance Day ceremony at the high school from which she and Dyer graduated.

Four new research Chairs at York

Ottawa creates 123 new Canada Research Chairs nationwide, including four at York University as part of a $130-million cash pledge, reports The Toronto Star Nov. 12.

Made-at-York patches fly aboard shuttle

The made-in-Canada patches that will grace the arms of astronauts as they zoom into space were designed by Graham Huber, Peter Hui and Gigi Lui, third-year students in the joint design program run by York and Sheridan College’s School of Animation Arts and Design, for the crew of Space Shuttle Mission 155, reported The Ottawa Citizen Nov. 12. The news was also carried on “Newsline” on CFMT’s Chinese broadcast in Toronto Nov. 11.

Random acts of kindness

“We already have gun registry and harsh sentences for using firearms during the commission of crime. There really is little left for the state to do,” writes Alan Young, Osgoode Hall Law School professor and criminal lawyer, in a Toronto Star column Nov. 10. “However, it might be time for us to do something without the aid of state resources. My solution comes from a popular bumper sticker: ‘Commit random acts of kindness and senseless beauty.’ . . . Over the long term, random acts of kindness will prove to be more effective than any law could ever be in turning the tide of gun violence.”

Flawed evidence

Josh Greenberg of McMaster University corrects Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente’s assumption that York University Professors Frances Henry and Carol Tator, whose book Discourses of Domination she mentions in her Nov. 9 piece, are “black intellectuals.” He says “While Ms Henry and Ms Tator are, indeed, prominent in their field, they are not black. At best, this is an embarrassing journalistic oversight. At worst, it demonstrates that language is ideological and, when used carelessly by those occupying positions of influence, can reinforce the very stereotypes and myths that discourse analysis attempts to uncover.”

On air

Jack Granatstein

, professor emeritus at York University and former director and CEO of The Canadian War Museum, was a guest on CBC’s “Cross Country Check-Up” Nov. 10…. Saeed Rahnema, political scientist at York, was interviewed about Parliament considering a new UN resolution that warns of military action if Saddam Hussein does not disarm or welcome weapons inspectors, on CBC’s “Metro Morning” Nov. 11 and David Mutimer, York University political science professor, discussed the resolution on “Windsor Now” on CKLW-AM Nov. 8…. York University and Ryerson University doing very well, scoring honourable mentions in Maclean’s magazine annual rankings, reported “680 News” CFTR-AM Nov. 11 and “News” on CFRB-AM in Toronto Nov. 10…. Priscilla Uppal, novelist and York University creative writing professor, commented on accusations of plagiarism from a book by Brazilian author Moacyr Scliar against Man Booker Award-winning Life of Pi author Canadian Yann Martel Nov. 8, on “Daybreak” on CFPR-FM in Prince George, “Quebec AM” on CBVE in Quebec, “Great Northwest” on CBQ-FM in Thunder Bay, CBC’s “Metro Morning” in Toronto and “Ontario Morning.”