University of Washington

Professional Development Symposium for Affiliated Graduate Students

Every year the Canadian Studies Center hosts a professional symposium for UW graduate students. The symposium offers a keynote lecture focused on current trends in Canadian Studies by leaders in the field and provides a select group of students with the opportunity to present their research to a small panel of experts for one-on-one feedback.

Symposium Programs


6 November 2015
2015-16 Area Studies & Indigenous Ways of Knowing Fellows Symposium
This fellowship grant is part of a broad effort to re-think the epistemological, methodological and geographical orientations of area studies, and explore the transformational encounters with Native and Indigenous intellectual traditions and frameworks. 


30 May 2014
Re-Imagining Area & International Studies in the 21st Century
Arctic Fellows Research Symposium & Reception
The Arctic Research Fellowships are supported by funding from an Arts and Sciences Grant, "Re-Imagining Area & International Studies in the 21st Century," awarded to the Canadian Studies Program, Program on Climate Change and Atmospheric Sciences.


Communities, Cultures and Cross-Border Considerations: An Interdisciplinary Canada-US Graduate Symposium
Graduate Chairs: Julia Day, Ethnomusicology and Bonnie McConnell, Ethnomusicology
Faculty Chair: Marcia Ostashewski, 2010-11 Canada-U.S. Fulbright Visiting Chair
Abstract Book 


The Promise and Politics of the Salish Sea: Exploring Transboundary Dynamics
Chairs: Barbara Bennett, School of Marine Affairs
and LeCompte-Mastenbrook, Anthropology

Re-Imagining Health Care: What we Can Learn from Canada
Chairs: Morna McEachern, School of Social Work

Canada's Role in the World
Chairs: Mihyun Seol and Jeff Cao, College of Forest Resources
Public Policy Differences Across the Canada-US Border
Chair: Kate Dunsmore, Communication
Multidisciplinary Explorations of Contemporary Quebec Society
Chairs: Clifford Tatum, Tim Pasch and Natalie Debray, Communication  

6 November 2015

2015-16 Area Studies & Indigenous Ways of Knowing Fellows Symposium

Emerging from the fruitful convergences of an emergent Arctic Studies program and on-going cross-campus projects on Native and Indigenous Studies, the Canadian Studies Center, the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program, the Jackson School of International Studies, American Indian Studies and the Comparative History of Ideas program invite graduate students to apply for support of research that contributes to a dialogue between Area Studies and Indigenous Ways of Knowing. With support from the College of Arts and Sciences.

This fellowship grant is part of a broad effort to re-think the epistemological, methodological and geographical orientations of area studies, and explore the transformational encounters with Native and Indigenous intellectual traditions and frameworks. Students were encouraged to consider projects that engage central and long-standing debates in area studies research like sovereignty, governance, territory, natural resource management, social movements, and security (to name only a few) and put these in dialogue with knowledge-systems, intellectual traditions, and Native knowledge-production as they take place in various sites throughout the world. Projects took the form of an article manuscript or an artistic, or creative work (film, video, fiction, poetry etc.). See fellows and projects below.

Iris Cristal Viveros Avendano

Iris Crystal Viveros Avendano, Ph.D. program, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies (research advisors, Angela Ginorio and Michelle Habell-Pallan, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies)
Title: "Mujer Remolino/Whirling Woman: A Decolonial Reinterpretation of Maria Sabina's Healing Ceremonies and Chants"
Abstract: Area studies have primarily relied on the tools of the modern disciplines of anthropology, geography, history, political science, and linguistics which arose at the same time as colonial expansion. Notions of the rational human underlie the epistemologies of these knowledge projects and are presumed to travel, unproblematically, across sovereign territories. This research project proposes de-colonizing such epistemologies by contextualizing the life of Mexican Indigenous healer Maria Sabina, her encounters with ethnomycologist, G.R. Wasson, and the retelling of Maria Sabina's story by contemporary people of her community in Mexico. This paper will intervene in debates around cultural sovereignty in order to construct different ways of interpretation and understanding indigenous ways of knowing.

Laura Maria De Vos

Laura Maria De Vos, Ph.D. program, English (research advisor, Dian Million, American Indian Studies)
Title: "Coastal and Coast Salish Peoples' Affective Epistemologies And Praxes of Sovereignty: A New Approach For Area Studies"
Abstract: A decolonial understanding of Area Studies organized across Western borders can partner with Indigenous Peoples to grasp the affective relational, reciprocal, responsible understanding of sovereignty which can effectively alter the Western organization of space and territory and allow for a reclaiming of Indigenous rights to territories and self-determination.

Patrick Lozar, Ph.D. program, History (research advisor, Alexandra Harmon, American Indian Studies)
Title: "Behind and Beyond the Line: Indigenous Peoples, Nation-States, and International Borders on the Columbia Plateau, 1890s-1910s"

Patrick Lozar

Abstract: My research advances an indigenous critique of the primacy of the area studies-oriented nation-state. Asserting conceptualizations of indigenous sovereignty and territoriality along the national peripheries of Canada and the US exposes the limitations, artificiality, and presumed centrality of the nation-state. Specifically, I show how native groups contested and transcended the imposition of national borders by engaging indigenous geographies.

Jason Young, Ph.D. program, Geography (research advisor, Sarah Elwood-Faustino, Geography)
Title: "Canadian Governance, Inuit Activism, and Digital Representation"

Jason Young

Abstract: This research examines how Inuit use digital technologies to intervene in international discussions about the Arctic. Broadly, the research asks what types of politics Inuit are practicing through digital media, how these practices compare with the use of digital media by Canadian political organizations to extend governance practices, and how the interaction of these different practices produces globally-accessible representations of the Arctic as an emerging geopolitical region.

Tatiana Kalaniopua Young, Ph.D. program, Anthropology (research advisor, Miriam Kahn, Anthropology)
Title: "Re-making the Passage Home: U.S. Occupation, Abandonment and Reclaiming National Lands in Contemporary Hawai'i"
Abstract: Hawaii's precarious political position as an American outpost in the political and economic affairs of the Asia-Pacific region is an important site for area studies research that includes international relations and indigenous ways of knowing. Growing international pressures to challenge imperialism, austerity and the illegal seizing of lands by colonial powers comports with grassroots concerns and actions operating within the Hawaiian Movement.

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Communities, Cultures and Cross-Border Considerations: An Interdisciplinary Canada-US Graduate Symposium

Graduate student presenters for “Indigenous Identities, Histories, and Performance” and mini-presentation morning panels. Left to right: Libby Concord (University of Victoria), Brooke Wilken (University of Victoria), and Wendi Lindquist (University of Washington).

By Julia Day and Bonnie McConnell

Julia Day and Bonnie McConnell served as co-chairs for this year’s Canada-US graduate student symposium. Both Julia and Bonnie are graduate students in ethnomusicology at the University of Washington and Canadian Studies 2010-2011 Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellows in French.

This year’s symposium included a diverse range of presentations focusing on the themes of history, culture, identity, indigenous studies, community and performance. The symposium was a great success, providing an opportunity for interaction and exchange of ideas among Canadian studies graduate students and scholars associated with many disciplines. In addition to nine University of Washington student presenters, the event attracted presenters from the University of Victoria and Emily Carr University. Michael Asch, Professor Emeritus, University of Alberta; Adjunct Professor, University of Victoria, delivered the keynote address, titled “Born for You and Me: Treaties with First Nations and the Settlement of Canada.” Marcia Ostashewski, 2010-2011 Canada-US Fulbright Visiting Chair facilitated the program.

Symposium participants learn about Frances Densmore’s Music of the Indians of British Columbia from Libby Concord (University of Victoria).

The morning panel, “Indigenous Identities, Histories, and Performance,” was chaired by Dr. Daniel Hart, American Indian Studies and Chair/Director of Canadian Studies, University of Washington. The panel featured four papers by music education and ethnomusicology students from the University of Washington and the University of Victoria. Among these were Libby Concord’s discussion of Frances Densmore’s Music of the Indians of British Columbia, and Brooke Wilken’s study of creation and recreation of cultural traditions and values in Central Alberta’s North American Indian Ecumenical Conferences and the annual Tsartlip Indian Reserve Yellow Wolf Intertribal Powwow in British Columbia.

The mini presentation panel, chaired by Dr. Michael Asch, Professor Emeritus, University of Alberta; Adjunct Professor, University of Victoria, included three University of Washington graduate students who rose to the challenge of presenting their work in seven minutes. Wendi Lindquist provided a historical description of indigenous and European American death practices in British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. Amanda Barney weighed the impact and social sustainability of geo-tourism in the communities of Fogo Island, Newfoundland. Bonnie McConnell drew attention to issues of immigration, innovation and multiculturalism in relation to Canada’s vibrant African music scene.

The afternoon panel, “Crossing Borders,” chaired by Dr. Patricia Shehan Campbell, Donald E. Peterson Professor of Music, University of Washington, brought together perspectives from the disciplines of history, art and music education. Christopher Herbert, University of Washington, addressed the parallel experiences of gold rushes in California and British Columbia (1848-1871) and how these reshaped pre-existing ideas of race, nationality and colonial societies. Sara French, Emily Carr University, chronicled her performance art piece, Norman Eberstein, enacted at the Douglas border crossing between Canada and the US. Christopher Roberts, University of Washington, explored the Smithsonian Folkways Children’s Music Collection with specific attention to children’s songs and games from French Canada, Inuit, African American and European American traditions.

“Canadian Content and Collaborations with the Smithsonian Folkways,” was a panel of special presentations featuring Dr. D.A. Sonneborn, Associate Director of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings; Dr. Patricia Shehan Campbell, Donald E. Peterson Professor of Music, University of Washington; and Margaret Asch, Co-Curator of Seeing the World of Sound: The Cover Art of Folkways Records, University of Alberta. Presentations focused on history, music, history, cover art, and educational initiatives of Smithsonian Folkways.

Symposium presenters receive instruction during the Seattle Fandango Project community music presentation. Left to right: Lummi musician Swil Kanim, Daniel Hart (Director of Canada Studies, University of Washington), Seattle Fandango Project member, Julia Day (University of Washington), Keynote speaker Michael Asch (University of Alberta, University of Victoria), and Patricia Campbell (University of Washington).

The keynote address by Dr. Michael Asch brought together many of the main themes of the symposium in a presentation titled “Born for You and Me: Treaties with First Nations and the Settlement of Canada.” Dr. Asch examined the Canadian processes of historicization of colonial settlement of lands already occupied by others and compared these with similar processes in the US.

The symposium concluded with two moving performance presentations. Members of the Seattle Fandango Project demonstrated the power of cross-border community music making by encouraging the participation of everyone present. Lummi musician and storyteller Swil Kanim closed the event with an inspirational performance that addressed the healing power of honor and self-expression.

This project was supported, in part, by funding from the Center’s Title VI grant, U.S. Department of Education, International and Foreign Language Education, and a Program Enhancement Grant, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, Government of Canada.

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The Promise and Politics of the Salish Sea: Exploring Transboundary Dynamics

by Barbara Bennett and Joyce LeCompte-Mastenbrook

Symposium co-chairs Joyce LeCompte-Mastenbrook (front, left) and Barbara Bennett with student presenters. From left (back row) Teresa Mongillo, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences; Brian Schefke, History; Morna McEachern, Social Work; Quentin Red Eagle Smith, Social Work; Rob Williams, Fulbright Chair. Photo by Lynne Barre.

Barbara Bennett and Joyce LeCompte-Mastenbrook served as co-chairs for this year’s Canadian Studies graduate student symposium. Barbara is a master’s student in Marine Affairs and Joyce is pursuing her doctorate in Anthropology; both are Canadian Studies 2009–2010 Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellows, Barbara in French and Joyce in Musqueam-Salish. LeCompte-Mastenbrook is the nation’s first FLAS Fellow in Musqueam-Salish. She is studying at the First Nations Languages Program at the University of British Columbia.

This year’s graduate student symposium celebrated and reflected upon the cultural, political and ecological significance of transboundary dynamics as seen in and around the Salish Sea, a body of water that includes both Canadian and U.S. waters. The symposium attracted students from across the UW in all stages of research to discuss their work and receive feedback from faculty and Dr. Rob Williams, 2009–2010 Canada-US Visiting Fulbright Chair.

Dr. Williams opened the symposium with a presentation on his research on killer whales and other marine mammals. Demonstrating his own bold approach to fill census gaps in our understanding of abundance of whales, dolphins and porpoises, Williams encouraged students to likewise think boldly on practical and academic levels. For students formulating their research questions, he encouraged them to follow the full scope and implications of the issues they study, not allowing governmental boundaries to impose artificial limitations on important research questions. For students who have completed their work, Dr. Williams strongly encouraged them to submit their findings for publication to assure valuable dispersal of emerging information.

Master’s student Barbara Bennett and recent UW graduate Teresa Mongillo also presented research related to the status and protection of killer whales. Both Northern and Southern resident killer whales are endangered, and the critical habitat of the Southern resident is the Salish Sea. Research and recovery planning for these iconic marine mammals provides a strong example of a transboundary topic.

Doctoral students Morna McEachern and Quentin Red Eagle Smith of the School of Social Work presented their research examining social services delivery to Indigenous and immigrant communities on both sides of the border. Brian Schefke, doctoral candidate in the Department of History, described Joseph Banks’ role in developing a network of naturalists, many of whom were responsible for the early collection and description of Pacific Northwest flora and fauna. Joyce LeCompte-Mastenbrook, doctoral student in Environmental Anthropology, presented a paper comparing early naturalists’ and Coast Salish understandings of the mountain goat.

New points of convergence emerged with each presentation: the explorations of naturalists of the 1700s are implicated in the status of marine mammal populations in the northwest today; Indigenous peoples and new immigrants on both sides of the Canada-US border face issues related to human services delivery that are in some cases a result of the border; and indigenous stories and relationships with the natural world affirm the remarkable dimensions of the wild places and animals shared by both countries. Crossing boundaries to solve environmental problems includes crossing not only political boundaries but cultural ones as well. The evening was a celebration of transboundary and multidisciplinary studies and many in attendance noted that the gathering was a unique opportunity to think broadly about the larger context in which specialized research is conducted.

This project was supported, in part, by funding from the Center’s Program Enhancement Grant, Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Government of Canada.

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Re-imagining Health Care: What We Can Learn from Canada

by Morna McEachern, May 2009

Fourth Annual Graduate Student Symposium
Participating in the Fourth Annual Graduate Student Symposium were (from left) David Pettinicchio, Sociology; Nathalie Hamel, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences; Beth Curry, Oceanography; Li Leung, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Mihyun Seol, Forest Resources; and Morna McEachern, Social Work. Jack Thompson, Public Health, and Michael Orsini, 2008–09 Canada-US Fulbright Visiting Chair, were respondents.

Morna McEachern, chair of this year's annual Canadian Studies graduate student symposium, is a doctoral candidate in the School of Social Work. Morna's dissertation focuses on sexual health education policy in the US and Canada and its political symbolism, history, and practice in relationship to teen pregnancy. She was recently honored as the first runner-up for the Enders Graduate Fellowship from the Association of Canadian Studies in the US.

In early April, six University of Washington graduate students discussed the boundaries of health care at the Fourth Annual Canadian Studies Graduate Symposium. This year’s theme, “Re-imagining Health: What Can We Learn from Canada?,” featured six presenters from a variety of academic disciplines.

David Pettinicchio, a doctoral candidate in Sociology, presented on “Ethnic Nationalism and Flight: Explaining Anglophone Out-Migration from Québec, 1971-1981,” which provided interesting insights into Québec society during the Quiet Revolution.

Li Leung, who recently graduated with a Master’s Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering, presented her study, “FAST Commercial Vehicle Crossing Times between Western Canada and the US.” Li already has four scholarly papers on the Canada-US border under consideration for publication.

Nathalie Hamel from Aquatic and Fishery Sciences was just awarded her doctorate, and presented a paper entitled “Bycatch and Beached Birds: Assessing Mortality Impacts in Coastal Net Fisheries Using Marine Bird Strandings in the Salish Sea.” The Salish Sea includes waters in the Puget Sound, the Strait of Georgia off the west coast of British Columbia, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

A recent Master in Science from Oceanography, Beth Curry, presented her study, “Freshwater Transport through the Davis Strait between 2004–2005.” Beth has conducted considerable research east of Baffin Island.

Mihyun Seol, who just advanced to doctoral candidacy in Forest Resources, presented her study, “Potential Markets for Canadian Forest Product Industry: Trade between Canada and China.”

Finally, Morna McEachern presented her research, “Children of a Common Mother: Teen Pregnancy and Political Symbols in US and Canadian Sexual Health Education Guidelines.” Morna will be conducting further research this summer in Canada.
The respondents were Michael Orsini, a University of Ottawa professor who holds the current Canada-US Fulbright Visiting Research Chair at the UW, and Jack Thompson, Public Health.

The two respondents provided participants with feedback and suggestions for enhancing the Canadian content of their presentations. The last hour of the day was devoted to a roundtable discussion during which the respondents offered practical advice to the presenters and continued an interdisciplinary discussion. After the symposium, Jack Thompson said, “The presentations incorporated both of these approaches into some very excellent and diversified presentations.”

This project was supported, in part, by funding from the Center’s Program Enhancement Grant, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.

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Canada in the World: Third Annual Grad Symposium in Canadian Studies
by Mihyun Seol, April 2008

Third Annual Canadian Studies Grad Student Symposium. From left: Julia Miller, Linguistics; Katie Leach-Kemon, Evans School; Brian Schefke, History; Li Leung, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Professor Don Alper, Western Washington University; Miyhun Seol, Forest Resources; Professor Patrick James, University of Southern California; and Morna McEachern, Social Work.

Mihyun Seol, PhD Candidate in the College of Forest Resources, co-chaired the symposium with Jeff Cao, also a doctoral candidate in the College. Mihyun’s research focuses on forest certification trends in Canada, China and the US.

I felt that this year’s symposium was able to enrich understanding of the interdisciplinary strength of Canadian Studies at the UW. In the keynote presentations, distinguished speakers, Dr. Patrick James, University of Southern California and current president of the Association for Canadian Studies in the US, and Dr. Donald Alper, director of both the Center for Canadian-American Studies and the Border Policy Research Institute at Western Washington University, impressed upon the audience the importance of cross-border research. In the student sessions, six graduate students delivered brilliant presentations covering international aid, history, linguistics, transportation, port logistics, and forest marketing.

Katie Leach-Kemon, Evans School of Public Affairs, presented what the USAID could learn from Canadian international aid models. Brian Schefke, History, presented his research on natural history and imperialism in the Oregon Country with a broad and interesting explanation focused on the role of the Hudson’s Bay Company in our region. The presentation of Dane-zaa, an endangered language in the British Columbia, was delivered by Julia Colleen Miller, Linguistics. She truly inspired everyone with her short film about the impact of her project. Li Leung, Civil and Environmental Engineering, discussed her collection of data for wait times at the Canada-US border. Susan Albrecht, International Studies, presented innovative models for port development and logistic practices. Finally, I introduced how Canada is performing a significant role in the world forest certification system based on sustainable forest management.

One of biggest outcomes from this symposium is the diversity of the research presented and the building of networks between graduate students from many disciplines who have one common thread to their work—Canada or the Canada-US relationship. It was a pleasure to serve as a co-chair with Jeff Cao for this year’s symposium.

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Canadian Studies Center
University of Washington
Box 353650
Thomson Hall, Room 503
Seattle, WA 98195-3650
T (206) 221-6374
F (206) 685-0668