Written by guest blogger, Angela Lee.


IV Meat

Science and technology have indisputably allowed humans to live healthier and wealthier than ever before. However, there is also a dark underside to this unprecedented prosperity. The unforeseen, unintended, and often unwelcome consequences of scientific and technological interventions are often overlooked in the enthusiasm about both their actual accomplishments and promissory potentials. Negative consequences are particularly apparent in the realm of food and agriculture, where rampant environmental degradation, shocking animal cruelty, and persistent social injustices have been some of the steep prices paid for cheaper, faster, more abundant, and more processed food.

Food is important to all of us, whether we like it or not, and to choose what we eat—whether in the form of indulgence or abstention—is to make inherent choices about ecological destruction, public health, global hunger, and animal welfare, whether intentionally or otherwise. Recent market trends suggest that consumers are becoming more attentive to the broader implications of their dietary choices, both individually and in the aggregate. Beyond growing environmental- and health-consciousness and awareness of farmed animal suffering, burgeoning interest in vegetarianism and veganism have also been driven by the increasing viability of vegetarian and vegan diets, enabled in part by innovations in the area of cellular agriculture.

However, in addition to the traditional dichotomy of meat-eaters and plant-eaters, we are now seeing the formation of a murky space in between, attributable to a cadre of new and emerging scientific and technological developments currently at various stages of research and development. Examples include in vitro meat (also popularly referred to as “cultured meat” or “clean meat”, amongst other names), “animal-free dairy products”, and “chickenless eggs”. Each of these promises to reduce or eliminate the death and suffering of living bodies in the production of flesh food and other animal products. The reality, though, might be slightly more complicated.

In vitro meat (IVM) is derived from a tissue engineering process that involves growing muscle tissue using starter stem cells from live animals, which are put into a culture medium where they proliferate with the help of a bioreactor, eventually becoming an edible flesh food. There are currently several different labs and startups around the world working towards making mass-produced IVM a commercial reality, including Memphis Meats, SuperMeat, and MosaMeat. IVM has already generated a great deal of attention and interest in the media, by investors, and within academia, with discourses about animal welfare, environmental sustainability, human health, and food safety being commonly invoked as strong arguments in favour of IVM and other related products. Yet, there is also a palpable unease about these kinds of technological interventions, and a range of important considerations that need to be thought through and debated within public discourse before they are adopted en masse as viable and appropriate alternatives to conventional modes of production and consumption.

Law plays a pivotal role in mediating the trajectory of new technologies. Unfortunately, in this particular context, the law has struggled to keep pace with the rapid pace of technological development, exacerbated by the already fragmented nature of the food law and policy landscape. Ethical considerations may also be falling by the wayside in the rush to embrace technological fixes for complicated problems. The goal of building a just, sustainable, and equitable food future for all is by no means a simple undertaking, and will require a multiplicity of voices, strategies, and tools in order to get there.

Critical perspectives, including feminist ones, have worked to shed light on the fact that dominant discourses, structures of power, and institutional biases can obscure the reality that a rising scientific and technological tide does not necessarily raise all ships. Indeed, the distribution of the burdens and benefits of technologies are often profoundly uneven. Despite their claims to objectivity and neutrality, science and technology can themselves function as forms of ideology—infused with a particular set of implicit assumptions—with the knowledge and outcomes they produce being partial and incomplete as a result. In an effort to provide a more nuanced consideration of the broader, systemic implications of IVM and other similar developments, my recent article in the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, “Meat-ing Demand: Is In Vitro Meat a Pragmatic, Problematic, or Paradoxical Solution?” engages an ecofeminist perspective in addressing the question of whether IVM truly is a silver bullet, or whether it simply represents the trading of one set of problems for another. At this fork in the road, I encourage you to take pause before picking up the fork on your plate and reflect on the intra-generational, inter-generational, and inter-species injustices associated with food production and consumption, and the myriad ways they intersect.


Angela Lee is a PhD candidate at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. Her doctoral research focuses on issues related to the environment, technology, animals, feminism, and food. She co-teaches a seminar on Food Law at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, and is co-editing a forthcoming volume on Food Law in Canada. Her article “Meat-ing Demand: Is In Vitro Meat a Pragmatic, Problematic, or Paradoxical Solution?” can be found in the latest issue of the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law. Read it here: https://doi.org/10.3138/cjwl.30.1.1.

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Written by guest blogger, Marc Raymond.


Our Sunhi

My essay in the most recent issue of the Canadian Journal of Film Studies, “Women Stripped Bare: Rape in the Films of Hong Sang-soo,” seems to be particularly timely given the current “Me Too” movement, which has recently spread into South Korea as well, including the film industry. This was, as is often the case, almost completely accidental, as I first came up with the idea for the piece many years ago. However, I qualify this with an “almost” because I do think there is an overlap between my reasons for thinking of the topic and the eventual cultural upheaval we are witnessing, especially here in South Korea.

One of the most disturbing stories to emerge from the local industry is the case of Kim Ki-duk, the director of the massive art house success Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring back in 2004 and a regular of the international festival circuit ever since. Domestically, Kim has always had a much more problematic reputation, in part because of accusations of misogyny, but he has also been defended as an authentic, working class artist who bravely deals with aspects of Korean society that the genteel middle class would prefer to ignore (see Hye Seung Chung’s 2012 monograph for the most elaborate articulation of this position). However, recent allegations of multiple and widespread sexual assaults on Kim’s sets have made this position much more difficult to defend and caused many to reconsider and re-evaluate their relationship to his work (for example, see this review of Kim’s most recent film by critic Pierce Conran). I have always found Kim’s work overrated and have been frequently critical of his films, but the revelations did cause me to think about my own relationship to film artists and how this will be impacted going forward.

The original idea for my essay on rape in Hong’s films did not come from one of his works; rather, it was from the 1999 film Lies, directed by Jang Sun-woo, a controversial filmmaker who was in many ways Kim Ki-duk’s predecessor, although one with a much more refined social conscience. There is a scene in which an 18-year-old high school student is asked by her older lover why she decided to start an affair with him. She responds that she would probably have been raped soon anyways, so she decided to choose to have sex first. It is a darkly humorous line, seemingly hyperbolic, but one which resonated. Indeed, sexual violence seemed omnipresent in Korean cinema, both currently and going back over the previous decades. I had just completed a stylistic analysis of Hong’s films and was looking to write about something more thematic. So, I began to wonder if the subject of sexual assault was worth exploring. I had noticed that representations of sexuality had disappeared from his work after featuring prominently earlier, and once I began to think about the role of rape in his narratives, the more striking and even pervasive it seemed. It even seemed slightly perverse that it had not yet been discussed.

Thus, I do think there is an incidental connection between my interest in writing this article and the current revaluation of the film industry. Looking at the essay now, I am thankful that its claims for the potential progressiveness of Hong’s early depictions of sexual violence are exclusively textual and not part of a broader attempt to defend him as an artist. I am also glad that there is a critique of the later films, especially in the professor-student relationships of Oki’s Movie and Our Sunhi, although it is likely that this will seem too weak if this aspect of Hong’s films (and its connection to his personal behaviour) becomes more of an issue. Ultimately, I hope it provides a contribution to the debate around not only Hong’s work or Korean cinema, but also in the analysis of sexual assault in texts more generally, especially in those cases where this violence is hidden in plain sight.


Marc Raymond is an associate professor in the Department of Communication at Kwangwoon University in Seoul, South Korea. He is the author of Hollywood’s New Yorker: The Making of Martin Scorsese (SUNY Press, 2013) and has published essays in the journals Canadian Journal of Film Studies, Film Criticism, Film History, Jump Cut, New Review of Film and Television Studies, and Style. His article “Women Stripped Bare: Rape in the Films of Hong Sang-soo” can be found in the latest issue of the Canadian Journal of Film Studies. Read it here: https://doi.org/10.3138/CJFS.26.1.2017-0003.

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Photo of Kate Burlingham

Kate M. Burlingham is an expert in US foreign relations and global history, and an assistant professor of history at California State University, Fullerton. Her article, “From Hearing to Heresy: The Temporary Slavery Commission, the Congregational Church, and the Foundations of Anti-Colonial Organizing in Angola,” appeared in the most recent issue of the Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d’histoire, a themed issue discussing New Histories of Twentieth-Century Decolonization.

We asked Dr. Burlingham what prompted her to pursue a career in history.

“Throughout much of my early schooling, I had excellent history teachers. In high school, we took frequent field trips to the Boston Public Library to comb through microfilm. Those were experiences I loved and that shaped my course decisions when I arrived at college. It helped to be surrounded by beautiful libraries; I grew up in Cambridge MA at a time when anyone could walk into the Harvard libraries to do research or study. I also grew up in a family that valued history as a field of study and as a way to understand the present.”

Dr. Burlingham notes that this is not always the case. “As a professor, I’m often having to ‘sell’ the major for the skills it gives you, regardless if students intend to pursue a career in history. That was never a justification I had to make.”

Dr. Burlingham told us that her historical interests are wide-ranging, but she is particularly interested in the actions of Americans outside of the United States and the sometimes unexpected results of these actions. “[T]his [interest] really began in graduate school when I observed that I was the only American historian taking classes in non-western history. For example, most of my colleagues in African history courses who weren’t Africanists were Europeanists or from other disciplines. Given the role of the US in the world, I think it is imperative that US historians also be compelled to take global history and area studies courses.” These classroom experiences made her curious as to how the US looked to outsiders. “Such a perspective,” she explained, “has allowed me to move in and out of the categories historians usually use to label themselves. For me, it makes things more interesting because I’m constantly learning from a wide body of scholars who aren’t always talking to each other but should be.”

Dr. Burlingham’s article in the CJH/ACH examines the importance of Congregational Missions and Mission schools in creating a political network in Angola that became central to the nation’s independence movement. She notes, however, that this was not the intent of the Congregational Mission. “Missionaries, at least at this early date, were not discussing the end of colonial order but rather its reform. It’s not until decades later that you get a post-WWII generation of missionaries who have more ‘revolutionary’ ideas about the end of European colonialism and even then, often for practical reasons, they tended to be relatively cautious in calling for an end to the colonialism.”

Another key aspect to the narrative told in “From Hearing to Heresy” is the Report on Employment of Native Labor in Portuguese Africa, also known as the Ross Report. This report was presented to the League of Nations’ Temporary Slavery Commission and exposed the inhumane forced labour policies of Portuguese Angola to the growing international community. We asked Dr. Burlingham what brought her to the Ross Report.

“I came across references to the Ross Report when I was doing research for my dissertation in Portugal and Angola on the larger history of the Congregational Missions in Angola. The Report itself, and references to it, linger in official Portuguese government correspondence for years after it happened. I think for government officials it demonstrated to them all the things they feared would come from Protestant missionary work in Angola [and] so was a useful reference point for them to come back to over and over.”

Portugal’s reaction to the report, and their subsequent embarrassment on the international stage, prompted them to react violently in Angola. The state blamed the Congregational Missions and Protestant Angolans for the report and set out to diminish the missions’ influence and presence. Asked if she thought there was any way to avoid the heavily nationalistic response Portugal had to the Report, Dr. Burlingham replied, “That’s hard to say with any certainty but I’d be inclined to say no. At the moment when discussions in the League of Nations were occurring there is extreme European concern that the League would become an extra-national power that would dictate what should happen within nations’ domestic affairs. It’s that kind of fear that eventually kept the United States out of the League. Add to that concern, the image of a rising US superpower and a decline in European hegemony, of which Portugal owned a smaller piece at this point, and you have a recipe for a nationalist backlash.” She added that it is also possible that Portugal was “doubtful whether other European powers would come to their rescue or if they would use them as a sacrificial lamb on the path toward trying to convince the world that colonialism was truly humanitarian.”

Kate M. Burlingham’s article, “From Hearing to Heresy: The Temporary Slavery Commission, the Congregational Church, and the Foundations of Anti-Colonial Organizing in Africa,” is available FREE to read for a limited time: https://doi.org/10.3138/cjh.ach.52.3.02.

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Written by guest blogger, MaryCatherine McDonald.



photograph of a piece of art that takes military uniforms and transforms them into images on paper

“Gentlemen” by Drew Cameron www.combatpaper.org.
Photograph by Zen Cohen www.zencohenprojects.com

In her wonderful essay, “Philosophical Plumbing” – in which Mary Midgley compares philosophy with, well, plumbing – Midgley writes, “when the concepts that we are living by function badly, they do not usually drop audibly through the ceiling or swamp the kitchen floor. They just quietly distort and obstruct our thinking.” It’s a haunting idea – that conceptual mistakes can be so invisibly insidious and corrosive. When we think about things like oppression, we often focus primarily on the victims of that oppression, as we should. But we also need to pay attention to the fact that oppressive structures do not only impact individuals – they infect our ideas, and by extension everything that is touched by those ideas.

Something that I struggle with when teaching the philosophy of gender is getting my students to understand the ways in which structures designed to oppress women or other minority groups eventually impact all of us. Though women are certainly oppressed by the stereotyping, fragmentation, and objectification of patriarchal society, the damage does not end here. The oppressive structures of power also influence the concepts within that patriarchal society, giving birth to all sorts of other flawed ideas. Because we are still so focused on who is oppressed and who is to blame for that oppression, we miss the way in which gendered norms infect all areas of our lives.

How are the concepts that we are living by functioning badly? And how might we fix them? To continue the plumbing analogy, we first must find the source of the leak. It is in this spirit that I began thinking about the history of combat trauma, and the ways in which our ideas of trauma in general have their roots in pernicious concepts about gender and weakness. If our current classification of PTSD begins with hysteria – a diagnosis deeply rooted in misogyny – how might this impact the way that we understand the phenomenon?

In the paper, I explore the ways in which we have used the oppressive structures at work within our understanding of PTSD to systematically undermine those who suffer from it. To silence them, negate their experience, and prolong their suffering. It’s not the gender of the soldiers at issue here – it is the way that gender informs our understanding of combat trauma. How do conceptions of femininity (in a pejorative sense) and weakness get imported from history into clinical and societal understandings of trauma today? Finally, what might happen when we free our understanding of combat trauma from these insidious concepts? We come to see it as it really is: an adaptive response to an overwhelming experience that is rooted in an impulse to survive, a response borne of strength, not weakness.


MaryCatherine McDonald is an assistant professor of philosophy at Old Dominion University. Her research lies at the junction of phenomenology and psychology. She has recently published essays on the phenomenology of combat trauma, the history of post-traumatic stress disorder, and moral injury. Her latest article, “Hysterical Girls: Combat Trauma as a Feminist Issue,” appears in the Spring 2018 issue of IJFAB: International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics and is available here: http://bit.ly/ijfab111a.

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Written by guest blogger, Meredith Terretta.


In November 1959, Ernest Ouandié, the Vice-President of the Union of the Populations of Cameroon (UPC), wrote from exile in Cairo to Ralph Millner, British Queen’s Counsel and activist lawyer who had defended Kwame Nkrumah (later Ghana’s first president) against allegations of inciting labour riots in late 1940s Accra. Ouandié asked for Millner’s assistance in an upcoming trial in British Cameroons of two UPC organizers and labour activists from French Cameroon who had been detained in the British territory for overstaying their transit visas by a mere 24 hours. Based on the outcome of previous trials of UPC activists in British territory, Ouandié believed that if Mayoa Beck and Louis-Fernand Yopa were found guilty of the charges against them, they would be declared “prohibited immigrants” and escorted into the custody of Franco-Cameroonian security forces across the Anglo-French boundary. Here they would certainly be arrested again for posing a threat to state security. Convictions for crimes such as these in the politically charged atmosphere of French Cameroon’s decolonization resulted in the severest of punishments including life imprisonment with hard labour, and execution. Ouandié asked Millner to defend Beck and Yopa on the charges against them, but also to prepare a request for their political asylum in British territory, or their deportation to independent Ghana — rather than to French Cameroon — in case they were convicted.

I discovered Ouandié’s letter in 2016 at the Institute for Commonwealth Studies Library among Millner’s personal papers and was excited that it backed up what I already knew: lawyers who defended Africans in colonial courtrooms throughout Africa during the age of decolonization worked together across national and imperial borders. Looking at these activities from a cross-border perspective entirely reshaped my historical understanding of Africa’s decolonization.

Since 2010 I had been interested in how anticolonial activism across the African continent linked to networks elsewhere, as well as how it brought together internationalists who had adopted the then-novel concept of universal human rights. As I started this project, I knew I wanted to prioritize sources other than the usual official colonial records in order to gain access to the views of those who stood apart from imperial authorities. I began with the case files and correspondence of activists such as African political agitators, anticolonialist lawyers, and leaders of the first transnational NGOs such as International League of the Rights of Man, the Movement for Colonial Freedom, or the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. I learned which lawyers had devoted the height of their careers to the anticolonial cause, and read their trial records and memoirs.

The most exciting letters I found were the ones that revealed that French and British activist lawyers corresponded with each other, and that African inhabitants of French-controlled territories engaged British citizens as defense lawyers; that Indian lawyers represented Africans in colonial Kenya and Tanganyika; and that Caribbean-born lawyers with British or French citizenship were among those who took up the anticolonial cause through law. I also found plenty of evidence that showed how British and French officials saw coordinated, international legal activism as a threat. This is starkly clear in the recently discovered and released Migrated Archive of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of Great Britain — the colonial records that the British took with them as the empire decolonized.

My array of sources presented Africa’s decolonization as reaching beyond the imperially-bordered stories historians have gathered from research in state and colonial records. I realized that if I reconceived of Africa’s decolonization as an international legal strategy, I could demonstrate that activist lawyers and their African clients implemented this strategy to transform the law — upon which colonial administrators had, until now, relied to govern — into an instrument of contestation and ultimately liberation.

African political leaders and their anticolonialist defense lawyers contributed to three internationally transformative projects gathering momentum after the Second World War: decolonization, the Cold War, and human rights. Because of my new perspective on the transregional legal activism in Africa at this time, I reached three ground-breaking conclusions about the way that anticolonial legal activism worked with these factors.

First, revolutionary African anticolonialism was expressed in a practice of legal activism that sought to make the law accessible not only to elites, but to the colonial subjects who, until this moment, the law had subjugated, controlled, and guaranteed fewer rights. The International Association of Democratic Lawyers articulated this strategy most clearly in using the phrase “human rights,” in 1947, to orient its vision of the law’s potential to dismantle imperial power.

Second, the Cold War front in 1940s and 1950s Africa was much smaller — although no less potent — than the armed struggles and proxy wars that characterized it in the 1960s and 1970s. In the earlier period, the Cold War took root in the lawyers who represented the interests of Africans seeking to shape how the law would look once territories decolonized. Here, the figure of Dudley Thompson, the British-Jamaican lawyer who seems to have served as unwilling informant for the British colonial government, depicts poignantly how the Cold War front fissured personal relationships and subverted loyalties.

Finally, though in 1940s and 1950s Africa the international legal strategy that most successfully invoked human rights operated in the service of a revolutionary, socialist and Pan-Africanist agenda, in the late 1950s the formation (with CIA funds) of the International Commission of Jurists gave rise to a new international legal strategy to neutralize that of activists. In the ICJ’s international legal strategy, human rights and the rule of law — rather than its democratization — were the primary objectives. It was a strategy that preserved the law’s power to uphold the status quo rather than undo it. Its emphasis on individual rights weakened the ability of collective projects — like those explored in my article — to transform the structural inequalities that colonialism had established.

The exciting possibility that arises from these findings is that decolonizing Africa may be where human rights were first transformed from a project for economic, social, and racial equality into the liberal project of individual rights protections that emerged in the late 1970s. My article only gestures toward this possibility, but the empirical evidence I’ve mustered here is sufficient, I hope, to encourage further investigation.


Photo of author Meredith Terretta

Meredith Terretta holds the Gordon F. Henderson Research Chair in Human Rights and is an associate professor of history at the University of Ottawa. She is currently working on a book tentatively titled Activism at the Fringes of Empire: Rogue Lawyers and Rights Activists In and Out of Twentieth Century Africa. She is Vice-President of the Canadian Association of African Studies. Her latest article, “Anti-Colonial Lawyering, Postwar Human Rights, and Decolonization across Imperial Boundaries in Africa,” appears in issue 52.3 of the Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d’histoire and is available here for FREE for a limited time: https://doi.org/10.3138/cjh.ach.52.3.03.

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Grounding Ourselves: On Bill C-16 and Symbolic Legislation

January 26, 2018

Written by guest blogger, Florence Ashley. Image by Nelly Wat I was presenting at the Pride Canada National Conference held in Montreal less than a year ago. My presentation centered on my paper “Don’t be so hateful: The insufficiency of anti-discrimination and hate crime laws in improving trans well-being” which was recently published by the […]

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The Order of the British Empire after the British Empire

January 11, 2018
Toby Harper

Written by guest blogger, Toby Harper.   2017 was the centenary of the Order of the British Empire. Lloyd George’s war government created it in 1917 to recognize the voluntary civilian war effort in Britain and throughout the British Empire. At the time it was without precedent in the British honours system. It was distributed […]

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Indulgence, Scandal, and Feminist Indignation: Katherine Turner on what draws her to Daphne du Maurier

December 21, 2017

Written by guest blogger, Katherine Turner. Cover of Mary Anne by Daphne du Maurier I first became aware of Mary Anne Clarke when I was asked to edit a group of scandalous memoirs by 18th-century and Regency women (Women’s Court and Society Memoirs, published in 2010 by Pickering and Chatto, now Routledge). Although writing the voluminous […]

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Modern Drama Editor R. Darren Gobert Answers the Proust Questionnaire

December 11, 2017

R. Darren Gobert is the author of The Mind-Body Stage (Stanford University Press), The Theatre of Caryl Churchill (Bloomsbury), and numerous articles on modern and contemporary drama, dramatic and performance theory, and the philosophy of theatre. His honours include best-book prizes from the Canadian Association for Theatre Research and the American Society for Theatre Research, […]

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Empowering Diversity

November 7, 2017

Written by guest blogger, Dr. Walter Schultz. Dr. Walter Schultz. Empowering diversity, thereby securing a multicultural society, may depend on how we retain the unique human person within the context of family, ethnicity and culture. How do we reconcile or, if need be, overcome individualism and collectivism? The person, developed and sustained within community, is […]

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