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Looking for new reading material? The Faculty of Arts and Science has got you covered

The 'Our Books' project has compiled a list of recently published work from faculty researchers
May 20, 2020
By Elisabeth Faure

For many of us, the COVID-19 quarantine has led to an increase in at-home hobbies.

From yoga to finger-painting to cooking projects, we find ourselves with more time on our hands to pursue interests we might not typically have time for – including reading a book.

The Faculty of Arts and Science’s Our Books project, launched this year, highlights the published works of its faculty members.

With a rich variety of offerings from across its 27 units, books span the humanities, sciences, and social sciences.

We caught up with a few professors to learn more about their work.

Run away with the circus from the comfort of home

20190111PatrickLerouxPortrait005 Louis Patrick Leroux, professor,departments of english and études françaises, and associate dean of research, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

“I have been interested in contemporaneity in relation to the past, but also in anticipation of what possible futures we can ascribe to it. As my body ages and my capacity for flight wanes, it is the contemporary circus that catches my eye and on which I project myself,” says Louis Patrick Leroux, co-author of Contemporary Circus (with Katie Lavers and Jon Burtt).

Leroux, a professor in the departments of english and études françaises and associate dean of research in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, is an internationally recognized expert in circus studies. He and his Australian co-authors drew on the experiences of 24 practitioners to create a portrait of contemporary circus trends and practices around the world.

“Contemporary circus, while drawing on many traditional practices, apparatuses, and a number of their spectacular conventions,” Leroux explains, “tends to have sidelined animals and instead emphasizes the performance of exceptional human acrobatic feats, ingenuity, or spectacular inventiveness, drawing on contemporary forms of dance, theatre, opera, burlesque, computer programing or even immersive experiences.”


Leroux says the book allowed artists to discuss their dreams and preoccupations.

“There is very little talk of institutions, of networking, of policy. These creators are mostly looking forward to new challenges. They focus on transformative ideals, on resistance and artistic integrity.”

“Right now, during confinement, these artists are all grounded, waiting for the moment where they will again be able to take risks we can only dream about.”

Co-creation across disciplines; why it matters

20140107EncuentroLizMillervg Elizabeth Miller, professor, department of communication studies.

"Our book speaks to the challenges, the pitfalls, the protocols and the diverse practices of learning to work with communities rather than for communities,” says Elizabeth Miller, a professor in the department of communication studies.

Miller co-authored Going Public: the Art of Participatory Practice, with Concordia colleagues Edward Little, a professor in the department of theatre, and Steven High, a professor in the history department. The book explores diverse approaches to co-creation when working with a range of communities.

Miller is a documentarian whose films focus on timely issues such as refugee rights, water privatization, and climate change.

“When we think of ‘going public’, you have to ask yourself – who’s going? And to what public?” Miller explains. “These are complicated issues when you’re working with youth with refugee experience, because they often haven’t had the opportunity to shape their representation on their own terms. And who is listening to their story, that really matters.”


The authors spoke to over 39 socially engaged scholars and artists from around the world, to explore the ways in which they grapple with ethics, aesthetics, voice, power dynamics, safety, emergent technologies and impact. Case studies look at topics ranging from Indigenous rights to gentrification and violence against women.

Going Public is a resource for anyone who wants to engage in meaningful collaborations with community partners.”

From peace to violence: one community’s interethnic conflict

Max Bergholz published his first book, Violence as a Generative Force: Identity, Nationalism, and Memory in a Balkan Community, in 2016. It has since won numerous awards. The Bosnian translation came out 2018.

 “In this book, I tell the story of the descent of a once peaceful community into extreme violence during the summer of 1941,” says Bergholz, associate professor in the department of history.

violencemaxbergholz620 Max Bergholz, associate professor, department of history

While discussing the book, Bergholz recalls an encounter he had during the book’s promotional tour in Bosnia during 2019.

A man who had lived through the events recounted in the book asked Bergholz, “Tell me – after what they did to us, how are we ever supposed to live together again?”

“I didn’t have an obvious answer,” Bergholz recalled. “I told him that no one book can heal wounds this deep. But I believe moving forward as a community can only happen if there is courage to first look back, and reconsider how we tell the story of the violent past.”

Later on that night, Bergholz reflected once again on the encounter.

“I realized that in this exchange between historian and subject, what I had to say was not very important.”

“Of much greater significance was simply the act of being there. The real transformative power that afternoon was the encounter itself, of having taken the time to make the history I tried to tell available to those who – unlike professional historians in North America and elsewhere – must face its often crippling shadows on a daily basis as they try to live their lives. ”

Something for everyone

These are just a sample of the books available to readers – with over 55 titles, Our Books has something for any reader.

So if you’ve been meaning to crack open a good book, what are you waiting for?

Discover more publications from the Faculty of Arts and Science on the
Our Books website.


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