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Posted: Tuesday, October 23, 2003

New CRCs at Trent University - Backgrounder

Prof. James Conolly

Prof. Conolly, who comes to Trent from University College London, UK, is the author of numerous major works, a participant in the Çatalhöyük Research Project in Turkey, an external reviewer for the Council for British Research, as well as a GIS/IT consultant for the British School at Athens and the British Institute of Archaeology in Ankara.

His research involves examining and making a geo-spatial analysis of the colonization, settlement, and spread of early farming communities in the Aegean Islands. The research contributes to the cultural-historical context of Mediterranean pre-history and to the human social sciences.

Islands provide archaeologists with rich datasets for the exploration of themes in population history and mobility, behavioural ecology, and cultural evolution. Recent research indicating that island communities established networks of immediate and distant social interaction present fresh challenges to the study of human history.

The Aegean Islands may have hosted the earliest farming communities and state societies in Europe. The focus of Dr. Conolly's research as the Canada Research Chair in Archaeological Studies is to model the complex social and environmental variables related to the colonization and settlement of the Aegean Islands. Using an innovative, interdisciplinary approach and addressing wider themes — such as human mobility, colonization, population, and settlement dynamics — he hopes to make a major contribution to the cultural-historical context of Mediterranean pre-history and to the human social sciences.

Prof. Conolly’s Canada Research Chair will enable him to take a leadership role in Trent’s M.A. graduate program in Anthropology and extend Trent’s anthropological research focus to the Mediterranean. It will also help him to contribute to a graduate curriculum, supervise graduate students, and spearhead the development of a Ph.D. component of the graduate program. Finally, the Chair will assist in the expansion of Trent’s use of GIS and quantitative modelling as research tools.

Marrie Mumford

Prof. Marrie Mumford is a contributor to award-winning film, theatre, and music organizations, projects, and committees including the Sundance Institute, the Dreamspeakers Festival, and the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards Committee. She is the recipient of the James Buller Award for the Advancement of Aboriginal Theatre.
Her research involves investigating performance traditions from indigenous nations and renewing appreciation of Aboriginal performing arts. This ensures that skills from experienced Aboriginal performers are being transferred to future generations, thus enhancing the cultural and social life of Canada.

Under the guidance of Prof. Marrie Mumford, one of the functions of Trent’s new performance space housed in the First People’s House will be to serve as a laboratory to investigate Aboriginal stories and performance traditions. The framework for Prof. Mumford’s innovative living research involves transposing discoveries into original work. Using performance practice as a form of analysis, the creative process is exposed, and Aboriginal imaginations are nurtured in a respectful environment.

An actor, director and producer of award-winning Aboriginal works, Prof. Mumford will unite a community of learners and artists at this international centre of creativity. Invited artists will present their work, and an archive of their material will serve as an invaluable research resource. The resulting partnerships, networks, and symposia will spread awareness among the international community. In developing a graduate curriculum, supervising students, and working with faculty from other research areas, Prof. Mumford believes that this program will lay the foundation for an Aboriginal performance component within our graduate programs.

Prof. Davide Panagia

Prof. Panagia, who is coming to Trent from Postdoctoral Fellowships at Johns Hopkins University and at the University of Toronto, was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and the recipient of awards and fellowships in the areas of teaching, political science, social theory, and historical inquiry from Johns Hopkins University, Cornell University, the University of Manitoba, and The Charles S. Singleton Center in Italy.

His research involves exploring political participation through cultural forms of democratic expression, and expanding our understanding of agency and selfhood. It involves an analysis of the political unconscious of contemporary media and its effect on modern democratic culture.

As the Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies, Prof. Panagia will further develop a three part research program: Part I is entitled Festivals of Freedom: Renaissance Republicanism and Popular Festive Forms and investigates Renaissance festivals, which played key roles in the development of republican ideals of freedom. Part II is entitled Democratic Affect: On Thomas Hobbes’ Theory of Laughter, which studies the importance of laughter in political writings. Part III is entitled Composing One’s Self: David Hume In/Around Democratic Culture and focuses on David Hume’s techniques for developing character.

In this three-part approach, each theorist’s "image of political thought" is examined, revealing new standards for appraising ideas, and to determine the legitimacy of political claims. Dr. Panagia also draws from other influences, including media, literature, semiotics, communications, politics, cultural theory, philosophy, the history of science, religion, and the sociology of culture.

In addition, Prof. Panagia will work with graduate students, and help to develop a multi-media research lab dedicated to collaborative research, and to found the Canadian Association of Theory and Criticism to showcase Canadian research in cultural theory and criticism.

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Last Updated December 10, 2003