Celebrating research in Arts

The research achievements of faculty members in York University’s Faculty of Arts were celebrated at the March session of the Council of the Faculty of Arts. As in the previous year, more than 50 books published in 2004 were exhibited, and the list of journal articles and chapters in books published in 2004, were presented in a PowerPoint slide show.

Right: More than 50 books published in 2004 by Arts faculty were on display.

The disciplines, themes and subjects covered by these research publications are testimony of the vibrant research culture in the Faculty of Arts and the quest for research excellence by its faculty. In fact, how to improve on strategies for supporting research excellence while recognizing the importance of faculty members’ teaching obligations was the topic of a panel discussion which also took place during the council. The consensus among participants was that research and teaching go hand-in-hand and that an active research agenda finds its way into the classroom.

On this topic, Shannon Caulfield, graduate student in the Division of Humanities, made a thoughtful presentation and highlighted that both undergraduate and graduate students value active research engagement. Her experience as editorial assistant for the prestigious journal Isis (History of Science) prompted her to reflect on students’ eagerness to know what it means to do ‘research’ rather than ‘homework’.

Left: Shannon Caulfield

The faculty members present at the council addressed a number of themes. Professor Daphne Winland, Department of Anthropology, outlined the many ways she has successfully integrated her community-based research with classroom teaching, while Professor Nancy Mandell, Department of Sociology, explored possibilities of establishing an engaging collaborative and interdisciplinary research culture, including faculty and students, while squarely addressing the fact that most social science and humanities research depends on the originality and vision of individual researchers.

That research is serious, fun and can be entertainingly communicated was demonstrated by the keynote speaker, Professor Steven Flusty from the Department of Geography. His lecture, based on insights from his 2004 book, titled De-Coca-Colonization: making the globe from the inside out, was clearly the highlight of the research event. In a PowerPoint presentation, Flusty reminded the audience of the importance of paying attention to “globalization” from below. He pointed out how ordinary people actively participate in furthering globalization making it part of everyday life. The result, he emphasized, is a richer life experience for all, leading to unintended contact with a world faraway.

Right: Steven Flusty

A lively discussion ensued with some skepticism being expressed by members of the audience about the explanatory power of a theoretical model which viewed globalization from a local perspective and as a first and foremost cultural phenomenon. Flusty readily agreed that his analysis of globalization is just one, albeit neglected, way of studying globalization and its ramifications.

The event ended with a reception, giving everybody the opportunity for further debate and mingling, as well as another chance to review the book exhibition and the information available on the many research support services in the Faculty of Arts. For more information, visit the Faculty of Arts Web site.

This story was submitted to YFile by Irmgard Steinisch, associate dean, Faculty of Arts.