Renowned French sociologist to deliver keynote at Glendon

Renowned French sociologist Alain Touraine will be the honorary president and keynote speaker at Glendon’s upcoming international colloquium at York, titled "Canada and the Americas: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Transculturality", on April 24 and 25 in Glendon Hall’s Ballroom on the Glendon campus.

On April 24, Glendon Principal Kenneth McRoberts will open the conference at 9am with Touraine, who will deliver his address. The following day Touraine will receive an honorary doctorate of laws from York at a private ceremony.

Right: Alain Touraine

Touraine is a research director at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris and is best known for his work on social movements. He has authored over 30 books, a number of which have been translated into English, including A new paradigm for understanding today’s world (Polity Press, 2007), Beyond Neoliberalism (Polity Press, 2001), Can We Live Together?: Equality and Difference (Stanford University Press, 2000), Critique of Modernity (Blackwell, 1996) and Workers Movement (Cambridge University Press, 1987).

The topic of his latest book, Penser Autrement (Fayard, 2007) or Thinking in a Different Way, not yet published in English, is particularly relevant to the colliquium, said Glendon international studies Professor Afef Benessaieh, one of the conference coordinators. The book discusses the need for transformation in the light of changes that have affected private and public life as well as the collapse of social structures brought about by globalization.

"Canada and the Americas: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Transculturality" is an international, multilingual colloquium with an interdisciplinary approach that offers researchers an opportunity to develop partnerships with scholars from Ontario, Quebec and Latin America.

The colloquium panels will explore five different themes in four languages, translated simultaneously: "Towards a Transcultural Indigeneity", "Experiences of Translation Across the Americas", "Interculturality, Transculturality and Globalization", "Migration in Global Cities" and "Hemispheric Imaginaries: creolitéé, mestizaje, americanidade or hybridity?".

Right: Afef Benessaieh

From 10:15am to 12:15pm on April 24, the first panel – "Multiculturalism, Interculturality, Transculturality" – will discuss the conceptual and practical challenges raised by the notion of culture in diverse modern societies and whether terms such as multiculturalism, interculturality and transculturality are relevant in Latin American and Canadian contexts. 

Benessaieh will chair the panel, which will be made up of Université du Québec à Montréal Professor Marc Chevrier, Carleton University Professor Pascal Gin (BA ’94), Universidad Central de Venezuela Professor Daniel Mato, Lisa Khoo, senior producer of CBC’s "The Current", and Nicolas van Schendel, a researcher at the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) in Quebec.

Transculturality as literary and artistic imaginaries in relation to identities such as Creoles, mestizos and the notion of a hemispheric sense of Americaneity, will be discussed in the second panel, "Hemispheric Imaginaries: ‘Creolité’, ‘Mestizaje’, ‘Americaneidade’ or Hybridity?", from 2 to 4pm. Professor Jean-François Côté of the Université du Québec will chair the panel, while Professor Patrick Imbert of the University of Ottawa will be the discussant. The panellists will be Professor Zilá Bernd of Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) in Brazil, Professor Winfried Siemerling of the Université de Sherbrooke, Sarah Phillips Casteel of the University of Carleton, Professor Diana Taylor of New York University and Professor Dot Tuer of the Ontario College of Art and Design university.

Left: María Constanza Guzmán

On Friday, from 8:30 to 10am, there will be a ceremony to confer an honorary doctorate on Touraine in the Glendon Senate Chamber. Following the ceremony, the third panel will look at "Migration in Global Cities", 10:15am to 12:15pm. This panel will stage a discussion among participants on the concept of highly culturally diverse global cities as well as assesses the socio-cultural reconfigurations brought by migrations in cities such as Toronto, Montreal, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. Professor Julie-Anne Boudreau (MA ’97), Canada Research Chair in the City and Issues of Insecurity, of INRS will chair the event.

Right: Rosalind Gill

The panel will be comprised of political science Professor Judith Hellman and doctoral student Brigitte Cairus from York, researcher Pablo Hermansen, research coordinator Alejandra Rasse and researcher Rodrigo Salcedo of the School of Design of the Pontifica Catholic University of Chile, Professor Daniel Schugurensky and PhD candidate Jorge Ginieniewicz of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto and Professor Armando Silva of the Universidad Externado de Colombia.

From 2 to 4pm, the fourth panel will discuss "Experiences of Translation Across the Americas" looking at translation in regard to points of cultural crossings and contact, as well as translational creative practices – aesthetic, pedagogical etc. Professor María Constanza Guzmán of Glendon’s School of Translation will chair the event, while her colleague Rosalind Gill will be the discussant.

Left: Marc Lesage

The panellists will be York PhD candidate Lyse Hébert, Professor Lillian de Paula of the Federal University of Espírito Santo in Brazil, Professor Joshua M. Price of Binghamtom University in New York and Professor Patricia Willson of the Universidad de Buenos Aires.

The final panel will explore "Closure on Multidisciplinary Perspectives in Transculturality", from 4:30 to 5:30pm and will include a round table with Touraine and conference panel coordinators Benessaieh, Boudreau, Côté, Guzmán and Glendon sociology Professor Marc Lesage.

For more information, contact Afef Benessaieh in the Department of International Studies at Glendon at or visit the "Canada and the Americas: Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives on Transculturality" colloquium Web site.

Registration fees (breakfasts and coffee breaks included): York students $5/day or $10 for 2 days; students from other post-secondary institutions $15/day or $25 for both days; any other registrants $30/day or $55 for both days.

To register, send an e-mail to: with your name, telephone number, university/company affiliation (if any), and whether you will be attending one or both days.