Postdoctoral Fellowships in the History of Sexuality

Postdoctoral Fellowships in the History of Sexuality

 The Centre for the History of European Discourses at the University of Queensland (Australia) is looking for well-qualified candidates whom it can support as applicants to the University of Queensland´s Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme, which offers full-time research-only positions for a period of three years beginning in January 2012. A team of researchers within the Centre is currently working on topics in the intellectual and cultural history of sexuality. Continue reading

Report on the Inaugural Conference for Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada

On October 22 and 23, the Living Archives project held its first public event since being awarded Community University Research Alliance (CURA) funding earlier in 2010.  For those who weren’t able to attend, and for those who were but who want a reminder, below is a report on the conference proceedings.

Friday morning began with a team meeting.  It was announced that seven people would be joining the team.  The team now includes 31 scholars, advocates, and community members working throughout Canada and internationally. Later in the meeting, team member, Frank Stahnisch, described a workshop on the history of eugenics and brain psychiatry that is to be held in Banff on June 21, 2011.  More information will be sent out as we approach June.  Finally, the team received a presentation from Colette Leung, a research assistant in the Program in Humanities Computing at Alberta, on the five-year strategy for building the Living Archives website.  Work has already begun on the website, and we expect it eventually to become a very valuable resource for information and research on the history of eugenics.  The next team meeting and public event has been scheduled for May 5 – 7 in Edmonton.  Details to come soon. Continue reading

Huntington Society of Canada Conference 2010

I know this is a bit short notice, but the Huntington’s Society of Canada is hosting their annual conference in Edmonton. Starting today (Thursday) at 7:30 pm at the Sutton Place Hotel, the conference will attempt to highlight both the current research around Huntington disease and the lived experience of those with Huntington. Continue reading

Accommodating Exam Anxiety

On the November 9 edition of The Current, there was a very interesting discussion about the accommodation of disabled students in universities.
The discussion centred on a recent case at the University of Manitoba.  Gábor Lukács, an assistant professor in the Mathematics Department, has gone to court to try to overturn the University’s decision to award a PhD to a student with extreme exam anxiety that he believes has not met the academic requirements for obtaining the degree. Continue reading

UNDERCOVERED – A Play Based on 1981 Pieces Bathhouse Raid in Edmonton

EXPOSURE 2010 presents …

November 15, Catalyst Theatre, Edmonton

by Nick Green
directed by Michelle Kennedy

Sheldon Elter
Shannon Blanchet
Chris Craddock
Frank Zotter
Mat Hulshof

The first peek into Nick Green’s newest play. Undercovered documents the journey of several members of the Edmonton Police Force during the investigations into the Pisces Spa leading up to the infamous raid which took place on May 30th, 1981, an event that shook its way into Edmonton’s queer history. The further they dig, the more questions arise, probing into morality, privacy, and the subjectivity of the law. Are things really black and white? And how does the law function in the grey area?

November 15, 2010 – 8pm

TICKETS: Pay What You Will
Tickets available at the door only

Eugenics and the Firewall: Canada’s Nasty Little Secret

A book by Jane Harris-Zsovan will be launch on Wednesday November 17th 1:30 – 3:30

It’s a dirty little secret the heirs to Alberta’s populist legacy don’t want Canadians to talk about. In 1928, the non-partisan United Farmers of Alberta passed the first Sexual Sterilization Act. The UFA’s successor, the Social Credit Party, led by radio evangelist WilliamAberhart, and later by his protégé Ernest Manning, removed the need to obtain consent to sterilize “mental defectives” or Huntington’s Chorea patients with dementia.

Continue reading

Health Ethics Seminar on November 19, 2010

For your information.

Ethical Challenges at the Beginning of Life: 3 Recent Cases Involving Newborns with Serious Genetic Disorders

Anna C. Zadunayski, LLB
Clinical Ethicist
Alberta Children’s Hospital
Alberta Health Services
Calgary & South Zone
Friday, 19 November 2010 12:00—12:45pm
Room 2-07 Heritage Medical Research Centre
Available via Telehealth by contacting 780-492-6676 or or your local provider at least 2 business days prior to the event
For more information, please call 780-492-6676 or visit
Abstract follows

Growth attenuation working group’s “compromise” in the Hastings Center Report

The growth attenuation working group comprised by Seattle Children’s hospital has published an article in the November-December issue of the Hastings Center Report.

Its abstract is as follows:

Our working group sought to engage the underlying ethical and policy considerations of growth attenuation—that is, administration of short-term, high-dose estrogen to close growth plates, thereby permanently limiting height. We hoped to move beyond staking out positions with divisive and polarizing rhetoric about growth attenuation in order to find common ground and better identify and understand the areas of deep disagreement. In this paper, we offer sympathetic accounts of differing views so that those who hold a particular view can better understand others’ concerns. We also reach for a middle ground—a moral compromise based on respect for sustained disagreement rather than on consensus. Most of our group agreed to the compromise that growth attenuation can be morally permissible under specific conditions and after thorough consideration.

There are also pieces by Norman Fost, Eva Feder Kittay, and two parents.

There’s also a column by Alice Dreger.

I Hate “Special Needs”

Of course I don’t hate so called people with “special needs”; I hate the label “special needs”.  I’m no fan of other forms of “politically correct” language (for example, visually impaired, partially sighted, or people with disabilities).  But at least I can understand the motivations behind employing these terms.  The word blind (to the uninformed) connotes the complete absence of sight.  I would rather expand the widely-accepted meaning of the word blind, but I get the motivation behind introducing a term that suggests an inability to see very well without being completely blind.  Similarly, I understand the desire to want to emphasize that the physical variation isn’t the entire person.  I don’t like the way the phrase “people with disabilities” implies that the person possesses the disability rather than it being imposed by social factors, but we do wrong if we fail to acknowledge anything more about a person than the physical variation that results in disability, and “people first language” is trying to address that wrong.

That said, I can’t find worthwhile motivations behind the use of the term “special needs”, and I strongly reject the sentiment expressed by the term.  What it implies is that there is a group of people who possess a set of needs that differ from… differ from whom? From those who are normal I suppose.  What is overlooked by this attitude is the ways in which social factors (e.g., power and status) can shape needs and determine which ones get marked off as “special”.

Continue reading

Feeling Guilt for Feeling Hope

One of the most common questions random strangers at bus stops, cab drivers, airport staff, and anyone else in my presence long enough to make the absence of small talk slightly awkward will ask me as a blind person is: “so there’s nothing they can do?” There are some very interesting assumptions built into this question.

This question assumes that, if “they” could do something, then I wouldn’t be blind.  It assumes that I want them to do something.  It assumes that it is someone else that needs to do something, and because the “they” refers to doctors and/or scientists, the question assumes that the “thing” that needs doing relates to treatment and/or cure.

I’ve been thinking about this more lately because of a couple of emails sent to my inbox in the last two days.  The first was forwarded to me by a family member.  It was originally sent out by “the Foundation Fighting Blindness”, and the second was a CTV News story sent to a blind-related listserv I subscribe to.

Continue reading

2011-2012 Sheldon Chumir Foundation Internship in Ethics in Leadership

The following announcement may be of interest to many What Sorts readers.

The Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership is seeking applicants for the 2011 -2012 Sheldon Chumir Foundation Internship in Ethics in Leadership.

Applications are invited from senior university or college students or graduates in any field relevant to ethics in leadership for an internship with the Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership. A completed or nearly completed Master’s degree will be an asset. Interns work with the Foundation on research, program development and implementation, publications, public engagement, and related administrative support.

The Foundation seeks Interns who display a deep understanding of ethics in leadership and public life together with imagination and creativity of thought, demonstrated experience in working with the community, strong organizational skills, superior writing skills and a personal commitment to the Foundation’s mission.

The stipend for the nine-month period is $34,200. In certain circumstances, and by mutual agreement, the internship period can be extended by up to three months.

Applications must include:

• a brief essay (not more than 1500 words) describing the applicant’s interest in and views on ethics in leadership, how this subject is related to his/her academic program and career plans, and what ideas, knowledge and skills the applicant would bring to the work of the Foundation;

• a curriculum vitae; and

• names and contact information for three referees who have been asked to send letters of support directly to the Foundation.

The deadline for receipt of application packages by the Foundation is March 14, 2011. Applications which are not complete by this date will not be considered. The successful candidate will be notified by May 15, 2011, with the internship to commence on or about September 12, 2011. The Foundation reserves the right not to make an appointment of Intern in any given year, or to make more than one appointment, if appropriate.

Please send applications to:

The Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership

Suite 970, 1202 Centre Street S.

Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2G 5A5

Phone: 403-244-6666; Fax: 403-244-5596

Post-Conference Technical Things

Last week, the Living Archives group held a conference that took place over the span of two days: Friday, October 22, and Saturday, October 23. This conference allowed for many partners to meet up, as busy schedules so rarely allow.

From a technical standpoint, the conference was also an opportunity for an introduction of a website development plan, which was presented to associated members. This website looks to incorporate archives (image, document, video, and physical) with public interface, and a back-end research interface, allowing scholars and researchers access to documents that for various reasons aren’t in the public domain. As well, a proposal for a series of learning or discovery modules was set forward, which would look to recontextualize archival material with educational and interactive elements, presenting information in new and interesting ways.

For those with access to the Living Archives Wiki, the plan and associated presentation are available on the wiki.