Event Date: October 28, 2020 - 5:30pm to 9:00pm
Location: Ottawa Art Gallery and online
**Postponed. We are postponing our “#WhatIsDemocracy?” event due to the ongoing labour dispute at the University of Ottawa. Thank you for your interest; please stay tuned.**
CIPS and the Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue present
The Centre for International Policy Studies and the Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue, in collaboration with the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG), the Canadian Film Institute, and iVote/jeVote, invite you to the Ottawa premiere of the award-winning film, What Is Democracy? directed by Astra Taylor.
This event will take place online. In addition, a planned film screening – covid-19 safety measures permitting – will take place at the Alma Duncan Salon at the OAG.
The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with Celina Caesar-Chavannes, Marie-Eve Desrosiers, Larisa Kurtović and Joshua Nichols. We will also be joined by Astra Taylor, the film director, and Tom McSorley, the executive director of the Canadian Film Institute. The panel will be moderated by Anoush F. Terjanian.
Register for the online viewing: Eventbrite
Screening begins at 5:30 pm (film duration 1 hr 47 min)
Panel discussion from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Coming at a moment of profound political and social crisis, What Is Democracy? reflects on a word we too often take for granted.
Director Astra Taylor’s idiosyncratic, philosophical journey spans millennia and continents: from ancient Athens’ groundbreaking experiment in self-government to capitalism’s roots in medieval Italy; from modern-day Greece grappling with financial collapse and a mounting refugee crisis to the United States reckoning with its racist past and the growing gap between rich and poor.
Featuring a diverse cast—including celebrated theorists, trauma surgeons, activists, factory workers, asylum seekers, and former prime ministers—this urgent film connects the past and the present, the emotional and the intellectual, the personal and the political, in order to provoke and inspire. If we want to live in democracy, we must first ask what the word even means.
Celina Caesar-Chavannes is the Senior Advisor, EDI Initiatives and Adjunct Lecturer at Queen’s University. She is a Doctor of Philosophy student in Organizational Leadership and was previously an elected Member of Parliament for Whitby. She holds a Bachelor of Science, an MBA in Health Care Management, an Executive MBA from Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and is completing her PhD in Organizational Leadership at Northcentral University. From 2015 to October 2019, Celina was an elected Member of Parliament for Whitby, and served as Parliamentary Secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development. While in politics her advocacy and vulnerability helped shape policy related to mental health, equity and justice.
Marie-Eve Desrosiers is an Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) at the University of Ottawa. She holds the Research Chair in International Francophonie on political aspirations and movements in Francophone Africa. She specialises in security and governance issues. More specifically, she studies political crises and conflicts, authoritarianism, political mobilization, and the relationship between state and society in the Great Lakes and Francophone Africa. She is also interested in Canadian foreign policy and international aid. Her research has been published in African Affairs, Comparative Politics, Ethnopolitics and the Journal of International Relations and Development Studies, among others.
Larisa Kurtović is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology in the School of Sociological and Anthropological Studies at the University of Ottawa. She earned her Ph.D. and MA in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Her undergraduate studies took place at DePaul University in Chicago in the Department of International Studies, where she also taught as an Adjunct Professor between 2012 and 2014. Prior to coming to the University of Ottawa, she spent a year at Cornell University as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Mellon-Sawyer seminar on “Political Will.” Her research is located at the intersection of political anthropology, postsocialist studies, and contemporary social and political theory.
Joshua Nichols is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Alberta. He holds a B.A. (Hons.) in political science and an M.A. in sociology from the University of Alberta; a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Toronto; a J.D. from the University of British Columbia; and a Ph.D. in law from the University of Victoria. He is a member of the Law Society of British Columbia. His research centers on the deeply complicated and (all too often) conflictual constitutional relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples.
Astra Taylor is a filmmaker, writer, and political organizer. She is the director of the philosophical documentaries What Is Democracy?, Examined Life (TIFF 2008), and Zizek! (TIFF 2005); the author of the American Book Award winner The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age; and a co-founder of the Debt Collective. She has written for The New York Times, The London Review of Books, The Guardian, The Walrus, The Baffler, n+1, and many other outlets. She is a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow and a former touring member of the band Neutral Milk Hotel. Her newest book, Democracy May Not Exist, but We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone, was released in May 2019.
Tom McSorley is the Executive Director of the Canadian Film Institute. He is also an Adjunct Research Professor of Film Studies at Carleton University, and the film critic for CBC Radio One’s “Ottawa Morning.” McSorley is the editor of numerous books and has published articles and book chapters on Canadian and international cinema for various international film journals and magazines.
Moderator and Organiser:
Anoush Fraser Terjanian is the Assistant Vice-Dean, Partnerships and Research Networks, at uOttawa’s Faculty of Social Sciences and Research Associate at CIPS. Her research and teaching have focused on the early theories and institutions of capitalism and modern democracy. Her first book, Commerce and Its Discontents in Eighteenth-Century French Political Thought (Cambridge UP), offers a prehistory to Piketty’s Le capital au XXIème siècle. As the founding director of the US Social Science Research Council’s ‘Anxieties of Democracy’ programme, she led and funded a diverse team of over 75 interdisciplinary researchers to produce and broadcast a better understanding of the dilemmas of legitimacy and capacity faced by established democracies. Terjanian was appointed to the Governing Council of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) in 2018.