Did Lester B. Pearson get it wrong? The Liberal prime minister envisioned Canada as a nation of peacekeepers and in 1957; he won the Nobel Prize for his vision.
Now some 55 years later, Canada is suffering an identity crisis when it comes to peacekeeping and war. The concept of the Canadian soldier as peacekeeper has been transformed into that of an able and ready belligerent. Canadians are told that we are, and must be, a warrior nation.
Noah Richler, a nominee for the 2012 Governor-General’s Literary Award for Non-fiction, will discuss this narrative employed by politicians and the military when he delivers the 2012 R.B. Byers Memorial Lecture at York University on Thursday, Nov. 15. Drawing from his most recent book What We Talk About When We Talk About War, Richler will take the media to task for a revised national mythology and re-interpretation of the events of past wars, and suggest that this changing narrative about war speaks volumes about the collective consciousness of Canadians.
The lecture begins at 7pm in Room C, Osgoode Professional Development campus, 1 Dundas Stree West, Toronto. All are welcome.
In his new book, What We Talk About When We Talk About War (2012, Goose Lane Editions), Richler examines the rhetoric of conflict; how stories and information are used to convince a society to pursue a particular path, or not.
A writer and broadcaster who lives in Toronto and Nova Scotia, Richler is also the author of This Is My Country, What’s Yours? A Literary Atlas of Canada (2007), which won the 2007 British Columbia Award for Canadian Non-Fiction. The book was nominated for the 2006 Nereus Writer’s Trust Non-Fiction Prize. It was chosen as a “Best Book” by The Globe & Mail, the National Post and Amazon.ca, and was designated as one of Canada’s Top Ten Books of the Decade by Macleans.ca. He is a regular contributor to the op-ed and cultural pages of The Globe & Mail, the Toronto Star, The National Post, The Walrus and Maclean’s, and is the winner of two gold National Magazine Awards. His most recent book, What We Talk About When We Talk About War, was nominated for a 2012 Governor-General’s Literary Award for non-fiction.
The R.B. Byers Lecture will be presented annually by the York Centre for International & Security Studies and the Department of Political Science in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. The lecture celebrates the pivotal work by the late R.B. Byers, a professor of political science whose work was characterized by his creativity and intellectual openness, and placed him at the leading edge of what became a profound rethinking of security in Canada and globally.