Lectures and special events to March 18

Digging into Google Earth – one layer at a time

In April 2007, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum forged an unprecedented partnership with Google Earth to map out the carnage in Darfur in an effort to bring more attention to the region’s widespread devastation. The initiative, called “Crisis in Darfur Project,” allows Google Earth users to access high-resolution satellite imagery and photography “layers” to see first-hand the extent of the destruction and refugee displacement.

On March 12, Lisa Parks, the Beaverbrook Visiting Scholar at Media@McGill, will present a free public lecture that poses a series of critical questions about engaging with Google Earth layers and the kinds of historical and geographical knowledge they are used to produce. Like global newscasts, Google Earth interfaces appropriate satellite imagery to represent world historical events, yet they differ in that the field of representation has been opened in an unprecedented way to geographically dispersed users with various vantage points, social backgrounds and political interests.

Media@McGill free public lecture, in collaboration with the Art History and Communications Studies Speaker Series; March 12, 5:30 p.m., Arts Building, 853 Sherbrooke St. W., Room W215. For more information visit


Religions and cultures in conversation

The faculty of Religious Studies welcomes Indira Viswanathan Peterson, David B. Truman Professor of Asian Studies at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, for the inaugural lecture of its new South Asian Religions Distinguished Lectureship, established to complement the Faculty’s strong undergraduate and graduate programs on South Asia, and to encourage public understanding of South Asian religions.

“The Tamil Protestant Poetry of Vedanayaka Sastri” will explore a celebrated dramatic poem by Sastri, the first major poet of the Tamil Protestant community in Tamilnadu. A Tamil-speaker by heritage, Prof. Peterson grew up in Bombay (Mumbai), India, focusing on the study of several Indian and foreign languages, including Sanskrit, Marathi, German and Russian. She specializes in Indian literature in Sanskrit and Tamil, Hinduism and South Indian cultural history.

Inaugural South Asian Religions Distinguished Lectureship; March 6, 5:30 p.m., Birks Heritage Chapel, Birks Building, 3520 University St. For more information visit www.ara.mcgill.ca

The spotless mind explained

McGill Psychology professor Karim Nader, recently awarded an E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (see Page 1), presents his revolutionary research into memory manipulation at the Redpath Museum’s next Freaky Fridays lecture.

Dr. Nader will discuss his theory that memories, once formed, do not necessarily remain stable, and explain his deceptively simple manipulation of patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (rape survivors, war veterans and the like) – work that could revolutionize how doctors treat epilepsy, obsessive-compulsive disorder and even drug addiction. A showing of the 2004 film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which Dr. Nader’s research helped inspire, will follow the presentation.

Freaky Fridays: Dr. Karim Nader: Can we manipulate memories to treat people therapeutically? March 6, Redpath Museum Auditorium, 859 Sherbrooke St. W. The presentation begins at 4 p.m. Seating is limited. No reservations necessary. For more information, contact Ingrid Birker at 514-398-4086 (Ext. 4094) or ingrid.birker@mcgill.ca.

Competing in the global economy

The global business environment is undergoing unprecedented changes that are forcing Canadian business and government to rethink the plans, strategies and policies that have enabled Canada to develop into one of the most prosperous nations in the world.

Trade liberalization, the emergence of global value chains, enhanced international transportation systems, the democratization of technology, and the integration of capital markets around the world have all contributed to the development of an increasingly integrated and competitive global economy.

On Friday, March 6, the Desautels Business Conference will welcome Raymond Chrétien, Strategic Advisor Fasken Martineau, former Canadian Ambassador; Bruce Simpson, Director McKinsey Canada; Marcel Coté, Founding Partner, Secor; and Louise Léger, Director General, Foreign Affairs & Trade and many others to address these emerging issues.

16th Desautels Business Conference; March 6, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Centre Mont-Royal, 2200 Mansfield St. For more information, and to purchase tickets online, visit www.desautelsbc.com.

Dirty little secrets revealed

Why are albatross chicks starving even though they have full stomachs? How are fertilizers and striped bass skin lesions connected? How is tourism putting the Yucatan Peninsula’s main tourist attraction at risk? The Award-winning environmental documentary series Strange Days on Planet Earth, produced by Sea Studios Foundation in collaboration with National Geographic Television, and narrated by actor and environmentalist Edward Norton, seeks to answer these questions.

On March 18, the McGill Biology Graduate Students Association, in collaboration with the McGill Green Party and the McGill Post Graduate Students Society, presents the Strange Days episode Dirty Secrets in the Redpath Museum Auditorium. Mark Shelley, executive director of the Sea Studios Foundation, will be on hand to introduce the documentary and discuss it with the audience afterward and field questions. The screening, which is effectively the Canadian premiere of Dirty Secrets, coincides with the launch of a major campaign promoting alternatives to plastic bags.

Dirty Secrets, a new episode of the documentary series Strange Days on Planet Earth; March 18, 5 p.m. Redpath Museum Auditorium, 859 Sherbrooke St. W., Admission is free. For more information contact njboogert@gmail.com.

Calling all academics

Transdisciplinary research is an increasingly important approach to inquiry that seeks to go beyond the boundaries of existing disciplines and bring together the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities and the arts. However, little is known about the implementation, efficacy and outcomes of such approaches. The Faculty of Education invites McGill academics to a daylong workshop that will bring together experienced presenters from the natural and social sciences, the arts, business and government that have embraced, experimented with, and reflected on, the use and misuses of transdisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity and multidisciplinarity perspectives. Presenters will be Prof. Hélène Perrault, Dean, Faculty of Education; Prof. Don McLean, Dean, Schulich School of Music; Prof. Nicholas Kasirer, Dean, Faculty of Law; Prof. Martin Krieswirth, Associate Provost, Graduate Education; Prof. Laurette Dubé of the Desautels Faculty of Management, Prof. Ross Andersen, Faculty of Education; Mr. Alain Dudoit, Associate Vice-Principal, Strategic Innovation Partnerships (McGill); Dr. Jane Aubin, Scientific Director, Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis, CIHR; Professor Raymond Niaura, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University Medical School; Dr. Stuart Harshbarger, Principal Professional Staff Member, Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University; Dr. Glen D. Morgan, Psychology & Behavioral Medicine, Rockville, MD; and Dr. Pierre Bilodeau, Director, Bio Industries Division, Research Partnerships Program, NSERC. Professor Anthony Masi, Provost, will chair a closing plenary discussion on lessons learned.

Transdisciplinary research and training workshop: Moving toward and sharing the experience: Friday, March 13, Faculty Club Ballroom, 3450 McTavish St., Montreal. Free and open to all McGill academics. Registration deadline is March 6. To register and to see the workshop program visit www.mcgill.ca/transdisciplinaryworkshop.