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McGill Reporter
November 7, 2002 - Volume 35 Number 05
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Fêting the Principal's principles

McGill Principal Bernard Shapiro's imminent retirement from academia is to be fêted at a unique and scholarly event. On Nov. 20, the University is hosting an all-day colloquium that will examine issues synonymous with Shapiro.

Called "The Evolving University: A Colloquium in Honour of Principal Bernard Shapiro," the gathering will feature twelve internationally renowned speakers, most of whom presided over institutions of higher education themselves (please see page 14 for a list of lecturers). Each presenter, including McGill's top man, will speak about the challenges universities have encountered in the past and what opportunities await in the future.

"Every speaker will offer a different perspective on higher education," says McGill Provost Luc Vinet, president of the committee of academics, staffers and governors who organized the event with the help of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, as well as Béatrice Kowaliczko, director of the Office of the Provost.

It was Vinet's planning committee that nixed holding a traditional au revoir cocktail in favour of an educational think-fest, he says. "The state of education has always been one of [Shapiro's] biggest preoccupations."

"We're using this opportunity to reflect on what lies ahead for universities and, in particular, the future of McGill," he continues, noting academics and the general public rarely have opportunities to reflect on education beyond what's on the local agenda. "This colloquium will give us an opportunity to think and debate many global issues."

Among the foreign guests who are scheduled to speak, the Right Honourable Lord Stewart Sutherland of Houndwood of the University of Edinburgh, Jean-Michel Lacroix of the Académie d'Aix-Marseille and Hanna Gray of the University of Chicago will talk of higher education in the section entitled, "International Perspectives."

Vinet encourages everyone from the McGill community to attend part or all of the lecture series. "The more people who come, the bigger the impact this colloquium is bound to have," he says.

Not to mention the closing cocktail party will give people an opportunity to say thanks to Shapiro for leading McGill over the past years, Vinet says. "Everyone is welcome to come shake the Principal's hand."

The Evolving University unfolds on Nov. 20 in Redpath Hall, (3549 McTavish St.), from 9 am to 6 pm. No registration is required. For more information, please call 398-2658.

Visser-al reaction to fate

Photo Margaret Visser

Sometimes events are just meant to be. The bus being late, meeting a cute boy at the fruit stand, getting a cold.

If over thousands of years we fought for freedom, why do we now, more than ever, feel caught in a web of events we cannot change? This cycle of inevitability, or fatalism, in which modern folks feel bound is the latest topic to pass under Margaret Visser's steady gaze.

The author of best-selling books Much Depends on Dinner and The Geometry of Love, Visser challenges these fatalistic notions in this year's CBC Massey Lectures, "Beyond Fate." Metaphors in language and thought, conceptions of space and time, biology, love and shame are held up to the light by Visser in her characteristically approachable and engaging manner. By becoming aware of how we manifest fatalism in our behaviours, perhaps we can loosen its sway over us.

For the first time, all five Massey lectures will be presented live across Canada, from different universities. Visser will be presenting the fourth lecture, "Transgression," at McGill in Moyse Hall, Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 8:00 pm. Tickets for the event are already gone, so if you haven't already claimed one, well, maybe it was meant to be…

You can listen to all the broadcasts on CBC Radio One's Ideas, 9:00 pm, from November 18 - 20. The House of Anansi Press will be publishing the lectures as a book, which will be available in bookstores as well as at the lecture.

"Archi's digest"

Photo Ben Katchor's work

The name of the talk is "The Great Museum Cafeterias of the Western World." The profession of the speaker is A) an architect B) a food critic C) a comic book artist.

The answer is C, but Ben Katchor is no ordinary graphic novelest. The creator of "The Jew of New York" and "Julius Kniple, Real Estate Photographer" is lauded internationally for his wry examinations of daily life.

With a regular strip in the design-focused Metropolis Mag-azine and a book titled Cheap Novelties: The Pleasures of Urban Decay, Katchor's preoccupations are somewhat different than purveyors of spandex-clad "zock! pow!" narratives.

"There's a growing interest in the architecture field for his work," said Greg Hildebrande, an architecture master's student who, along with fellow student Jan Schotte, invited Katchor to speak at McGill as the William Hobart Molson lecturer.

"Architecture texts tend to be very dry - what's refreshing about his stories is that he deals with things that architects think about all of the time."

Hildebrande isn't entirely sure what approach Katchor will bring to the topic of museum cafeterias - Katchor seems to be rather spontaneous in his lecture style.

"It's an examination of art theory and the effects of cafeteria design and the consumption of food on the appreciation of art," said Hildebrande. "I'm really looking forward to what he has to say. He seems unpredictable."

As to why a comic book artist was chosen for an architecture lecture? Hildebrande admits that he's a fan, but also felt that Katchor could bring a new perspective.

"That's something we want to do more of - get more cross-pollination between disciplines," he said.

"The Great Museum Cafeterias of the Western World" with Ben Katchor: 6:30 pm, Nov. 11, Macdonald-Harrington Building, 815 Sherbrooke Street West, Rm G10. Info: 398-6704.

Silent Auction: Do I hear $100? Hello?


Get a jump-start on Christmas shopping this year by chasing down bargains at the Faculty of Management's second annual silent auction. Held on Nov. 14, the event will feature a slew of items that are waiting to be gift-wrapped and put under trees.

The auction is being organized by management lecturer Vivian Vaupshas and communications assistant Kate Maguire to help raise funds for McGill's 2002 Centraide campaign.

"Last year, about 100 people showed up and we raised $4,780 for Centraide," says Maguire. "Hopefully, we'll double that amount this year."

Over 100 items have already been donated for bidding. Some of the lots that will be up for grabs include: artworks, a massage at the McGill Sports Clinic, overnight stays at hotels, museum passes, restaurant or shopping certificates, CDs, DVDs, as well as L'Oréal perfumes and cosmetics.

Big-ticket items will feature a $300 membership to McGill's Faculty Club and two weekends for two in Mont-Tremblant.

Maguire is encouraging everyone from the McGill community to donate items to the auction. "Get creative and crazy," she says. "Offer to bake one dessert per month or to cook a meal for two."

She's also asking any McGill employee connected to the private sector, via friends and family, to get their relations to provide goods and services. "Restaurant and hotel certificates are always big," she suggests.

Those short on time should note they don't have to stick around for the full auction. "You can place a bid and leave," Maguire says. "If you leave your coordinates, we'll let you know if yours was the winning bid."

The auction will also serve as a cocktail party. Beer or wine will practically be given away $2 per glass. All proceeds will be going to Centraide as part of a committed effort by McGill students, staff and faculty to raise $250,000 for the charity by December 1.

Bidding at the Faculty of Management's silent auction begins at 4 pm on the 6th floor lounge of the Bronfman Building, (1001 Sherbrooke St. W). The $2 admission includes one beverage. To donate items, please contact Kate Maguire at 398-2133, kate.maguire@mcgill.ca or Vivian Vaupshas at 398-4007, vivian.vaupshas@mcgill.ca. For more information on the McGill Centraide Campaign, please consult www.mcgill.ca/centraide.

Watching human rights

Photo Kenneth Roth

Human Rights Watch is the second-largest human rights organization in the world - 200 people in about a dozen offices around the globe do research on issues that range from racial discrimination in the USA to Venezuelan prison conditions to Albanian refugee stories.

Kenneth Roth, executive director, will give a talk at McGill on "The 'War on Terror': a global human rights perspective" today, Nov. 7, at the Moot Court, Chancellor Day Hall, from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. Roth will speak on the advantages and disadvantages of a war in Iraq. Sociology prof James Ron, who worked for Human Rights Watch, says Roth's talk will be interesting "because he's not 100 percent against the war, he doesn't take a position." Roth claims "there are good human rights reasons for going to war," adds Ron. Nonetheless, "you have to think through all the implications of going to war." Not to mention what happens after a war. Who takes responsibility to reconstruct Iraq or look after refugees?

The talk is sponsored by the McGill Peace Studies Committee, faculties of Arts and Law, and the Arsenault Foundation. The Foundation has given McGill $100,000 US to look into building up a peace studies program and bring in speakers on peace-related themes. A minor in peace studies, and possibly a major, could be in place by next year.

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