Thomas King muses on capitalism and a healthy planet

Thomas King, an acclaimed First Nations storyteller, novelist, literary theorist, broadcaster, activist and professor, will deliver the seventh annual Ioan Davies Memorial Lecture on Sept. 20, at York’s Keele campus.

Right: Thomas King

Celebrated for pioneering the crossings of textual, political and ethnographic limits in his storytelling and literary theory, King’s exceptional career began in English and American studies. He holds a PhD in English/American studies from the University of Utah and has taught native studies at universities in Utah, California, Minnesota and Alberta in the past 25 years. He is currently a professor of native literature and creative writing at the University of Guelph. 

King’s lecture, titled "The Amazing Race: Social Responsibility, Home Construction and Bottled Water", undertakes the task of wrestling with one of the most salient questions confronting the world today – is it possible for social responsibility, capitalism and a healthy planet to co-exist in the same body politic?

King is a two-time Governor General Award nominee for his books A Coyote Columbus Story (1992) and Green Grass, Running Water (1993). In 2003 he presented his book, The Truth About Stories, as part of the prestigious Massey Lectures. In the early 1990s, King’s seminal article, "Godzilla vs. Postcolonial" revolutionized the view of native literature as merely a rejoinder to colonialism.

He is the editor of All My Relations: An Anthology of Contemporary Canadian Native Fiction and co-editor of The Native in Literature: Canadian and Comparative Perspectives. He is also well known as the creator and writer of the popular CBC Radio series, "Dead Dog Café".

The Ioan Davies Memorial Lecture commemorates the life and work of Ioan Davies (right), journalist, author and professor at York University from 1972-2000. Each year, distinguished guest lecturers examine the links between cultural expression, everyday life and political practice that Davies explored in his research, activism and various creative endeavours. Davies was the founder of the journal border/lines and author of several works of fiction. His books include Cultural Studies and Beyond: Fragments of Empire (1995), Writers in Prison (1990) and Social Mobility and Political Change (1970). As a teacher, he brought his enthusiasm and insight of theoretical engagements to his classes in the Department of Sociology and the Graduate Program in Social & Political Thought at York University. Rethinking critical cultural studies beyond its Western formations, Davies wrote extensively on post-colonial Africa and was influential in establishing the African Studies Program and the Graduate Program in Communication & Culture at York University.

The seventh annual Ioan Davies Memorial Lecture will take place at 5pm in Curtis Lecture Hall L. For more information on past lectures, visit the Ioan Davies Memorial Lecture Web site.

This year’s event was made possible with the support of the following donors: York’s Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts, Sociology Department, Humanities Department, Film Department, Bethune College, Graduate Program in Communication & Culture and Council of Masters; and Toronto design firm BaumgartJenkinson.