Brain food: McLaughlin’s popular lunch talks return today for another semester

An eclectic assortment of experts headline this semester’s series of McLaughlin College Lunch Talks. The popular series, which starts today, continues to March 2009. All talks are conducted in a casual, open environment and take place in the McLaughlin Senior Common Room, 140 McLaughlin College, at noon, unless otherwise specified. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Today’s talk, "The Lived Experience of Having Faith: A Humanbecoming Perspective", is presented by Faculty of Health nursing professor Thomas Doucet (right). This presentation reports details of a research study by internationally known nursing theorist Professor Rosemarie Rizzo Parse of Loyola University in Chicago on the lived experience of having faith, involving 10 participants living in a community. The central finding of the study is that the lived experience of having faith is a discerning conviction with perpetual alliances arising with fortitude amid adversity. The findings are discussed in relation to the "humanbecoming" school of thought and related literature. Originally from New Brunswick, Doucet earned his PhD in nursing at Loyola University Chicago. During his doctoral studies, Doucet received the Niehoff Chair Graduate Assistantship and worked under the direction of Rizzo Parse. Doucet has been teaching at York in the School of Nursing since 2006.

On Wednesday, Sept. 24 at noon, the McLaughlin Lunch Talks present "Medical Myths – Separating Fact From Fiction" by Eric Mintz, a consulting epidemiologist who is a frequent speaker and university lecturer. In his talk, Mintz examines why we are overwhelmed by a torrent of often-confusing and/or conflicting medical information. How does someone separate fact from fiction? Should we get the flu shot? Is there a cancer epidemic? How much should we worry about West Nile, bird flu and AIDS? Using these and other current medical issues as examples, Mintz will guide participants to some surprising conclusions. He will show that the prevailing wisdom is often incorrect. Examples presented will also illustrate simple but powerful tools that will allow anyone to become a confident, critical and assertive medical consumer. Mintz has been a professor at leading North American universities and has experience in both the public and private sector. He has been a leader in health policy debates in North America, appearing on numerous radio and television programs. 

York political science professor Bob MacDermid, Faculty of Arts Professor Emeritus Fred Fletcher and York honorary doctorate recipient and former New Democrat Party MP Lynn McDonald join forces to present the Canadian Pre-Election Panel on Sept. 29. The trio will examine the key issues in the Canadian election set for Oct. 14. Is an election really necessary? Why did the Conservatives and the NDP try to prevent Green Party leader Elizabeth May from participating in the televised leaders’ debate? Will Conservative leader Stephen Harper and Liberal leader Stéphane Dion succeed in changing their public images? Is a majority government a likely outcome? All three are experts in Canadian politics. This is sure to be an informative and entertaining panel.

On Monday, Oct. 6 at noon, York honorary doctorate recipient retired Lieutenant-General George Macdonald (left) will present a lunch talk titled "Current Challenges of the Canadian Forces". Macdonald served for 38 years in the Canadian Forces and following his retirement became a consultant focusing on defence and security. Throughout his career, he held many leadership positions in Ottawa, and has served with NATO forces in Germany and Norway, and with North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) in both Winnipeg and Colorado Springs. He also held the position of director of operations in the Foreign & Defence Policy Secretariat in the Privy Council Office. In his last position as vice-chief of the defence staff, Macdonald was the senior resource manager for the Department of National Defence and was responsible for strategic planning. As a result he fully understands the challenges faced by Canadian Forces in attempting to meet their objectives in Afghanistan and other parts of the world.

"Between Stigma and Status: A Study of the Social Identities of High-Achieving, Young Black Canadian Adults" is the title of the next talk on Tuesday, Oct. 7, given by Brock University sociology Professor Kevin Gosine. An alumnus of York University, Gosine (BA ‘97, PhD ‘05) has published in the areas of racial inequality in Canada, social identity and cultural studies. He is currently engaged in a collaborative research project examining racial bias and disproportionality in Ontario’s child welfare system.

On Wednesday, Oct. 15, Professor Tamir Bar-On (right), Department of Political Science, Wilfred Laurier University, will present a talk titled "Is Fascism Dead?" Fascism came crashing down in 1945 with the end of the Second World War and the official defeats of Nazi Germany, Italian fascism and the Salo Republic. Yet, did fascism really die? How was it revived in the age after its defeat? How successful were these efforts to breathe new life into fascism? This lecture will seek to argue that announcing fascism’s death is premature, while few contemporary neo-fascist movements can recreate all the characteristics of historical fascism in the epoch of its flowering from 1919 to 1945.

On Thursday, Oct. 16 from 6 to 9pm the talks switch to an evening session for the commemoration of the United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.  McLaughlin Fellow, Bhausaheb Ubale (right) is a former Ontario human rights commissioner and former Canadian human rights commissioner. Ubale heads up McLaughlin’s Human Rights & Poverty Eradication Project. The project will honour journalist Carol Goar of the Toronto Star for her efforts to give a voice to the voiceless poor people who are caught up in the vicious cycle of poverty. Goar will deliver a lecture about her work. Visit the McLaughlin College Web site for more details  

What is the best ethical theory for the 21st century? That is the subject of the Tuesday, Oct. 21 talk titled, "Ethics in the 21st Century". Broadly speaking, ethical theories are of three types: objective, subjective and situated. This presentation will analyze each type and argue that the most developed type is situated and is best for the 21st century, given the global situation over which it has to mandate. Philip MacEwen, president of the Canadian Society for the Study of Practical Ethics, teaches philosophy, biblical and classical studies at York. He has published widely in ethics and the history of ideas and is an active Fellow of McLaughlin College.

Then on Monday, Oct. 27, McLaughlin presents its Canadian Post-Election Panel. York professors Miriam Smith and Bob MacDermid, Faculty of Arts Professor Emeritus Fred Fletcher and Liberal strategist Jim Cooper will comment on the results of the Oct. 14 election. Was the result inevitable? What were the highlights of the election campaign and what were the results of the gaffs? Did Elizabeth May’s participation in the televised leaders’ debates affect the outcome? This and more will be covered in this dynamic panel presentation. 

On Thursday, Oct. 30, York political science professors Stephen Newman and Sergei Plekhanov will present the US Pre-Election Panel. How close is the US presidential election? What do the candidates need to do during the next few days to win the election? How could they have made their campaigns more effective? What are we to make of the politics of race and gender? What will be the impact for Canada and for the world? Newman and Plekhanov are York’s leading experts on US politics.

The Senior Common Room, 140 McLaughlin College, is located on the first floor at the end of the hallway where all Faculty offices are found. A complimentary light lunch is served at noon and the talks begin at about 12:15pm. Each talk is followed by a Q & A session. Most sessions finish just after 1pm and the setting is very informal. If you can’t arrive until 12:30pm, or have to leave early, that’s fine.

Students who attend eight lunch talks altogether during the fall and winter terms will receive a Certificate of Participation from McLaughlin College. Students who attend 10 talks or more will receive a Certificate of Active Participation. The certificates come in handy when applying for jobs or requesting letters of reference.

For more information on upcoming lunch talk schedules, visit the McLaughlin College Web site.