April 7, 2016 – BLOOD


Panel #1

Aven McMaster, Ancient Studies

“Bloody Colours in the Roman World”

I’m exploring the different colour terms used for “blood” in Latin poetry, with particular attention to how the terms map onto different affective and symbolic occurrences of blood. This preliminary research is starting to focus on the ‘staining’ properties of blood, as well as the gendered connections of blood in certain types of poetry, especially that of Horace. In this presentation I summarize the basic background, give some examples, and point to where I want to take the research next.

Nawel Hamidi

“From biological fiction to legal fiction: Indigenous Elder Women’s Narrative on Oppression and Humiliation”

Colonialism, racism and sexism are dynamic processes that began historically and continue to impact in a harmful and destructive way the life of Aboriginal Women. The goal of assimilation was and is still a central element of the Indian Act. It would advance the government’s policy of genocide through the process of enfranchisement: the removal of Indian status from an individual following a set of rules based on exogamous marriages up to 1985 and “blood quantum” still in effect today. These genetic fictions have become legal fiction and still impact Indigenous women health and way of life today.

Mark Scott, Religious Studies

“Blood and Belief: Terrence Malick’s Aesthetic Theodicy in The Thin Red Line

In The Thin Red Line (1998), Terrence Malick, the famed reclusive American film director, artistically explores the problem of evil. I argue that a subtle aesthetic theodicy pervades the film, a theodicy that does not seek to solve the problem of evil, but rather hints at the transcendent dimensions of reality, which points to “another world” that lies within and beyond the barbarity of war. Through Private Witt (Jim Caviezel) and Sergeant Welsh (Sean Penn), the film wrestles with two dueling metaphysical interpretations of the blood of war: nihilistic materialism (embodied by Welsh) versus aesthetic transcendentalism (embodied by Witt).

Panel #2

Jennifer Johnson (with Shanna Peltier), Women’s Studies

“‘You ARE the Father!’: Queering Blood Relations through the Ontario Birth Certificate.”

In this brief paper I examine the birth certificate as a cultural text that signals relations of power between adults and children and between heteronormative institutions and queer families. In 2006 there was no box for a same sex parent on the official birth registration document, so although I have no blood relation whatsoever to my first child, I am THE father on this all-important document. Despite the notion that one’s familial relationship to offspring is quantifiable and knowable through bloodlines, represented through the act of birth registration, I suggest that this idea is socially constructed and that the birth certificate is one of the mechanisms for doing so.

Adam Bergquist, Theatre Arts

“Blood in Blood Relations by Sharon Pollock”

Inheritance and Violence: The moral universe of Lizzie Borden in Blood Relations. Did the circumstances in which Lizzie Borden lived lead to the inevitability of the outcome of the story in the play. The lack of her true mother’s presence and her tendency to take after her father may have something to teach us about nature vs. nurture. There are also surprising parallels between Lizzie Borden and the Grimm’s Brothers’ Cinderella.

OmiSoore Dryden, Women’s Studies

“Transnational Blood Temporalities and Anti-Black Technologies of Donation Systems.”

In this paper, I focus on the Canadian blood system, and how the concept of “safe blood” is informed by anti-black narratives of health, citizenship, and nation-making. I use a black queer diasporic analytic to explore the questions: how are national borders increasingly policed through technologies of blood and how has the definition of the “tainted/endemic body” as well as the “good donor” travelled globally?

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