Colloquium Nov 7: Sarah Fletcher and Angelique Lalonde

It’s wonderful that our nascent Ph.D program is so vibrant with a variety of students working across the disciplines and themes.  Monday’s colloquium will showcase this even further, as we welcome two young scholars to the podium.

Sarah Fletcher will speak to the topic of, Where is home? Using theatre to facilitate the empowerment of immigrant youth to uncover challenges and opportunities that influence wellness, and Angelique Lalonde will address Embodying Ethical Consumerism through Yoga: a “Sustainable Living Project” in Costa Rica.

You can read the abstracts for these two talks by clicking on continue.  The Colloquium is held at 11.30 on Monday November 7th in MacLaurin D103.  It is free and open to the public.

Where is home? Using theatre to facilitate the empowerment of immigrant youth to uncover challenges and opportunities that influence wellness:

Immigrant youth are often forced to navigate multiple identities in various social and cultural contexts, a process that can result in high levels of stress or tension. For the past two years a theatre project at the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society (VIRCS) has worked with immigrant youth to develop theatre pieces to present the experiences of immigrant youth to the wider community. The performances were of great value to both the youth involved and the wider community audience, but it was the process of developing the theatre pieces that highlighted the potential of this method for engaging marginalized youth in research processes. Focusing on the process of engaging youth in theatre work, this presentation will illustrate the use of theatre as a unique method that serves as both an intervention, that is a healing process, and an approach for eliciting sensitive issues that might otherwise be too difficult to discuss. The method engages marginalized youth in research and empowers them to explore their experiences. The use of theatre is highlighted as a mechanism for building a sense of connection and community among marginalized youth, facilitating discussions of difficult issues at a phenomenological level and bringing youth out of isolation.

Applying Ethical Consumerism through Yoga: a “Sustainable Living Project” in Costa Rica.

This paper considers the lived and embodied ethics of an organic farm and yoga retreat in Costa Rica framed by the owners as a “sustainable living project.” I reflect on the uneasy contradictions that emerge from the traces and tidemarks envisioned in their goal: “To build community, to structure our lives around environmentally sustainable ethics, and to promote and provide a healthy yogic lifestyle.” The stakes of studying ethics ethnographically come into play through inquiry into the legacies underlying the structural reality supporting this vision of environmental sustainability: An international tourist industry reliant on tourist as ethical consumer. I achieve this by shifting the lens of anthropological inquiry towards: 1) the ambivalent territory between anthropologist and tourist as types of consumers and 2) the place-making activities of foreign tourists and retreat organizers to whom the vision is directed as both marketing strategy and alternative/ethical lifestyle. Through the concept of irresolvable contradiction I travel into the rough anthropological terrain between an embodied ethnography attuned to lived experience and a critically attuned political economy that explores how differences are made, marked, removed, maintained and altered within the multiply occupied place of the yoga retreat. Gender, race, mobility and nationality emerge as particularly salient in the sensual unfolding afforded the participant who falls into the structure of our lives potentially rendered healthier through yoga, and the separate players who support this retreat through their labour, potentially but not explicitly included in the project’s vision under the rubric of community.

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