SFU Canada Research Chairs Seminar Series: "What is the Point of Cultural History?"

Thursday, November 26, 2009
11:30 - 12:30

Dr. Mary-Ellen Kelm, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples of North America,
Department Of History


The tendency of governments to cut funding to cultural organizations in times of fiscal restraint suggests that, for some, culture is a frivolous pursuit. How much more frivolous, then, is cultural history? Using the history of rodeo in the Canadian West as an example, this talk will sketch out the ways that history can reveal how culture builds communities, identities and relationships. Finally, it will suggest how awareness of this history can change how we think about one of the intractable social issues of our time, building new relationships with First Nations in the Canadian West.

About the Speaker

Kelm's work has examined the impacts of colonization on Aboriginal health and healing in British Columbia. She is finishing a book on rodeo as an example of Pratt's `contact zone,' in which both settler and Aboriginal communities, identities and affinities are produced and performed at small town Stampedes. Her new research returns to medical history to study the production of knowledge about Aboriginal health over the course of the 20th century.