Fall Lectures 2019

September 18th to October 30th 
10 am to noon

The Auditorium, The Royal Botanical Gardens 680 Plains Rd W
Click on Location Map

Understanding the 21st Century

How do we begin to understand the 21st century? Our world is a very complex and confusing place where change is happening at an ever faster pace. The speakers will cover a range of topics providing insights into this century’s problems and possibilities.

September 18th

Abigail Richardson- Schulte 

The Composer-in-Residence of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra talks about her path to becoming a composer, from being declared clinically deaf as a child to writing one of the most successful orchestral pieces in Canadian history.  Abigail shares her story, her musical storytelling and insight into her new piece for HPO’s 2019-20 opening night.  

Abigail Richardson-Schulte is one of Canada’s busiest composers.  Her work “The Hockey Sweater”, commissioned by TSO, NAC and CPO, has been performed over 120 times in Canada and France since its premiere in 2012.  Abigail won the prestigious UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers with resulting broadcasts in 35 countries and a commission from Radio France.  Other honours include the Karen Kieser Prize and the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best New Opera.  Abigail has been Affiliate Composer for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra from 2006-9 and has been Composer-in-Residence for the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra since 2012.  Aside from composing, Abigail teaches composition at the University of Toronto and assists her husband, violinist Michael Schulte, with Chamber Music Hamilton. 

September 25th

Joseph Wong

The conventional wisdom about the prospects of democracy in China is that it is unlikely, given the ruling regime’s firm grip on power and its considerable ‘performance legitimacy’. This talk argues that the regime’s strengths are the reasons why it should initiate democratic transition, sooner rather than later, and that ‘democracy-through-strength’ is not only a viable pathway but one that promotes stability and development.

Joseph Wong is the Vice Provost and Associate Vice President, International Student Experience, at the University of Toronto. As a Professor of Political Science, he is also the Ralph and Roz Halbert Professor of Innovation at the Munk School of Global Affairs. Previously, he held the Canada Research Chair in Democratization, Health and Development for two full terms, ending in 2016, and was the Director of the Asian Institute at the Munk School from 2005 to 2014. In addition to many academic articles and book chapters, Professor Wong has published four books. He leads a large-scale research project on the political economy of reach and redistribution in developing world settings, summarized in an article (2015) in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization and a (2017) TEDx talk. He has been a visiting scholar at Seoul National University, Harvard and Oxford, and has advised organizations such as the United Nations, the Economic Commission for Latin America, and the World Health Organization. Appointed a Senior Fellow of the Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada in 2011, he was awarded the Faculty of Arts and Science Outstanding Teaching Award in 2011, and was invited to be a Research Fellow at the ‘Behavioral Economics in Action at Rotman’ group in 2016. Professor Wong earned his B.A from McGill (1995) and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2001).


October 2nd

Stephen Heathorn

What do the nearly three years of negotiation and protracted political crisis after the Brexit referendum tell us about the state of British politics and society?  The referendum and subsequent developments exposed major fractures in British society that do not map onto existing political party alignments. The political landscape of the UK has been profoundly altered, and this talk will explore the shape of that landscape and speculate about some of its implications


Stephen Heathorn, a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, is Professor and Chair of the Department of History at McMaster University, specializing in British and European history, and in particular the cultural politics of nationalism and commemoration.  He received his PhD from the University of Toronto in 1996 and joined the History Department at McMaster in 2001.  In addition to 30 academic journal articles, he is the author or co-author of the following books: For Home, Country and Race: Constructing Gender, Class and Englishness in the Elementary School Classroom, 1880-1914 (2000), Earl Kitchener and Earl Haig in Twentieth Century Britain: Remembrance. Representation and Appropriation (2013), with Dave Goutor (ed.), Taking Liberties: A History of Human Rights in Canada (2013), and with Stephanie Barczewski, John Elgin, Michael Silvestri, and Michelle Tusan, Britain Since 1688: A Nation in the World (2015).   

October 16th

Karen Kidd

Canadians use many types of drugs for health and well-being and their use is increasing as our population ages. Many are not completely broken down when waste-waters are treated and are found in rivers and lakes downstream of treatment plant outfalls at levels that affect fish, aquatic insects and plants.  This talk will describe the current understanding of these impacts and what can and is being done to reduce them.

Karen Kidd is the Jarislowsky Chair in Environment and Health and a Professor at McMaster University, and an Adjunct Professor at the United Nations University – Institute for Water, Environment and Health in Hamilton. She moved to Hamilton in 2017 after 13 years at the University of New Brunswick Saint John as a Canada Research Chair in Chemical Contamination of Food Webs. Before this she was a research scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada at the Freshwater Institute in Winnipeg. Karen is an ecotoxicologist and she and her lab study the effects of human activities such as forestry, agriculture, aquaculture and municipal wastewaters on aquatic ecosystems, and the accumulation of contaminants in fish.  She serves on a number of boards, committees, and panels for national and international organizations including the Canadian Water Network, International Joint Commission, and the International Institute of Sustainable Development Experimental Lakes Area. In her spare time she is learning to fly fish.  So far the fish are safe (her words)!  More information can be found at  www.karenkiddlab.com

October 23rd

    Peter Bieling

Psychiatric disorders rank amongst the leading causes of disability world-wide, the costs are staggering and growing in both human and financial terms.  Research tells us that the origins of adult mental disorders are in childhood and adolescence.  Left undiagnosed and unchecked, these disorders can have a worsening course and long-term outcome.  This talk will review this growing problem, the reasons underlying these increases, and will focus on potential solutions to the crisis.

Peter Bieling, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University and interim Vice-President of the Mental Health and Addiction Program at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton Ontario. Dr. Bieling’s work is concentrated in the area of emerging treatments for mood disorders and quality of mental health services delivery in hospital settings. He has been awarded research funding through SSHRC, OMHF, CHSRF, and NIMH and has authored numerous articles and three books. He has taught psychological intervention, research methods, and quality improvement principles at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels locally, nationally, and internationally. He completed his B.Sc, (Hons) at the University of Victoria, M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia and Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto, and was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Centre for Cognitive Therapy.

October 30th

Lucan Way

Historically, the most stable and longest lasting democracies have been dominated by ‘white’ European citizenry, and a long tradition of scholarship, back to John Stuart Mill and earlier, has drawn a connection between homogeneous identity and stable, well-governed democracy. What then is the impact of increasing diversity in North America and Europe? I argue that it does in fact threaten established Western democracy.



Lucan Ahmad Way, Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto, received his BA from Harvard College and his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on democratization and authoritarianism in the former Soviet Union and the developing world.  His published books are Pluralism by Default: Weak Autocrats and the Rise of Competitive Politics (Johns Hopkins, 2015), that examines the sources of political competition in the former Soviet Union, and Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes after the Cold War (with Steven Levitsky), published by Cambridge University Press (2010). His work on competitive authoritarianism has been cited extensively  and has helped stimulate new and wide-ranging research into the dynamics of hybrid democratic-authoritarian rule.  He has published articles in Comparative Politics, European Journal of Political Research, Journal of Democracy, Perspectives on Politics, Politics & Society, Slavic Review, Studies in Comparative and International Development, World Politics, as well as in a number of area studies journals and edited volumes, and has written about political transitions and dictatorship for the Washington Post and Foreign Affairs.

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