This morning I received an invitation from George Elliott Clarke , Toronto’s Poet Laureate, to participate in the Canada Seminar at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. George, who is the E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto, will be William Lyon Mackenzie King Visiting Professor of Canadian Studies and Canada Seminar Chair for the coming academic year.
The Canada Seminar examines Canadian social, economic, cultural, and political issues in their domestic and international dimensions. Presentations are made by public figures, scholars, artists, and experts in various fields to provide Harvard faculty and students, and the broader community, a look at Canadian scholarly and public life. It seeks to enhance the understanding of one of the United States’ closest allies and largest trading partners, and to provide a forum for the lively exchange of ideas on a wide range of issues. Because Canada and the United States must respond to similar economic and social challenges with distinctly different frameworks and historical legacies, the study of Canadian issues offers rich opportunities for scholars engaged in comparative studies. The seminar has presented numerous distinguished speakers including Canadian Supreme Court Justice Madame Rosalie Abella; political philosophers, Charles Taylor and Will Kymlicka; Matthew Teitelbaum, director and CEO of the Art Gallery of Ontario; and interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, the Honorable Bob Rae.
Needless to say, the lineup will look very different while George is at Harvard! My talk, “The (Revolving) Door of No Return: Memory, Migration, & Magical Thinking,” will take place on February 24, 2014.