‘A vital way for artists and researchers to come together’
Emilie St. Hilaire is a student in Concordia's Humanities PhD Program.
Where does the work of humanities scholars fit in an era of a-disciplinarity? That’s the question that organizers posed at the Humanities PhD Program’s graduate conference last weekend.
Dirty Disciplines, Wild Knowledges took place from March 24 to 26 at various locations on Concordia’s downtown Sir George Williams Campus. Part of the funding was provided through the School of Graduate Studies’ Graduate Community Building Fund.
The three-day event celebrated the approaching 45th anniversary of the Humanities PhD program, in Concordia’s Faculty of Arts and Science. It was open to graduate students, faculty, unaffiliated researchers, artists and activists who muddy the waters of disciplinary bounds and produce knowledge in the wild.
Two distinguished alumni delivered keynote presentations.
David Jhave Johnston (PhD 11) recently published a book with MIT Press entitled Aesthetic Animism: Digital Poetry's Ontological Implications, based on his dissertation. Johnston’s talk connected topics from his past and present work as an artist, researcher and teacher:
Kahente Horn-Miller (MA 02, PhD 08), Indigenous scholar and assistant professor at Carleton University, began her presentation with a powerful performance of the Skywoman narrative, “We Are In Her And She Is In Us.”
Horn-Miller then beautifully contextualized the performance with a reading that wove together the theoretical, personal and mythological.
‘A forum for radical thinking’
On the opening night of the conference, the Living Interdisciplinarity showcase of research-creation by current students and alumni highlighted the artistic practices and diversity of work in the Humanities PhD Program.
The showcase featured installations, printmaking, film, sculpture, readings and performances. This one-night exhibition invited attendees to experience and appreciate the unbounded talent of these Concordia-affiliated artists.
Darian Stahl is one of the PhD students who participated.
“Because the program is so diverse and spread across numerous departments on both Concordia campuses, creating our own central exhibition is a vital way for us to come together as artists and researchers,” she says.
“It’s great to feel supported by my community and it’s important to me to know what my peers are working on.”
In foregrounding the mandate of the Humanities Program to Experiment Boldly and Mix It Up, the showcase strengthened ties between students, faculty members, alumni and Concordia’s broader interdisciplinary community.
Conference attendee Marc Wieser described the conference as a catalyst for rethinking research, art and knowledge production both in and outside the academy.
“As a forum for radical thinking, subversive methodologies and institutional critique, the conference was a crossroads for Concordia and international thinkers and makers to compare notes and create new paths.”
Learn more about Concordia’s Humanities PhD Program.