Speaker Series

The Public Humanities Hub hosts (or co-hosts) a number of speakers each year who are actively engaged in public-facing research and community-engaged scholarship. These events include both lectures and panels and are designed to showcase exemplary forms of public scholarship. The Hub is particularly interested and open to co-sponsoring events with
departments and units on campus with advanced humanities research.

Speaker Series: Video Playlist


March 23, 2023: “Pictures of Dorian Gray: Oscar Wilde in Weimar Germany” by Yvonne Ivory.

Hosted by the Department of English Language & Literatures and co-sponsored with Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies, Art History, Visual Art and Theory, Theatre and Film, and the Centre for European Studies.

March 8-9, 2023: A public talk and graduate colloquium by Olivette Otele.

Co-sponsored with the Department of History, Political Science, English Language & Literatures, Allard Law, and the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice.

February 14, 2023: “Resisting erasure: geo-mapping destroyed and forgotten Jewish communities” with Nataliia Ivchyk, Frances Malino, and Jason Guberman-Pfeffer.

Co-sponsored with the Department of History and the Holocaust Education Committee.

January 23, 2023: “If We Had Followed the Rules, I Wouldn’t Be Here” with David Schaffer, Miriam Libicki, and Andrea Webb.

In partnership with Hillel BC and the Embassy of Israel.

November 19, 2022: “Making Space: Banning Cantonese BBQ Meats” with Imogene Lim, Christy Fong, and Denise Fong.

In partnership with Museum of Vancouver and Heritage Vancouver Society.

October 26, 2022: “Lifting from the Centre: Health and Culture in Anishinaabe Communities – talk and reception” by Tim Frandy, Assistant Professor of Nordic Studies, UBC.

Co-sponsored with the Department of Central, Eastern & Northern European Studies and the Faculty of Arts.

September 20, 2022: “Plagued to Death by Systemic Ableism: What the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Expansion of Eligibility for MAID Reveal About the Lethal Dangers of Systemic Ableism in Canada” by Heidi Janz, Associate Adjunct Professor with the John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre at the University of Alberta.

Co-sponsored with the Department of Physical Therapy, Canadian Institute for Inclusion and Citizenship, and the Department of Educational Studies.

August 30, 2022: “Critical Diversity Literacy: A View from Europe” by Alisha M.B. Heinemann, professor for diversity education and learning passages at the University of Bremen, Germany.

Co-sponsored with the Department of Educational Studies, Department of Central, Eastern & Northern European Studies, and Centre for Culture, Identity & Education.


April 19, 2022: “Frigid, Inscrutable: The Racial and Sexual Politics of Unfeeling” by Xine Yao, Lecturer in American Literature to 1900 at University College London.

Co-sponsored with the Department of English Language & Literatures.

April 7, 2022: “Speculative Futures: Artificial Intelligence Symposium” moderated by Melissa Karmen Lee (Director of Education and Public Programs, Vancouver Art Gallery) and Kavita Philip (UBC President’s Excellence Chair in Network Cultures and Professor of English). View the full Vimeo Showcase here.

  • Ramon Amaro, University College London Department of History of Art: “On Machine Learning and the Aspirations of Black Being”
  • Safiya Noble, Professor of Gender Studies and African American Studies at the University of California Los Angeles: “Taking on Big Tech: New Paradigms for New Possibilities”
  • Panel: “Telling it like it is: Spec Fic Writes Worlds”
    • Nalo Hopkinson, Professor in the School of Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia and recipient of the Ontario Arts Council Foundation Award, the John W. Campbell and Locus Awards, the World Fantasy Award, Canada’s Aurora Award, the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic and the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Award
    • Larissa Lai, Canada Research Chair in Creative Writing at the University of Calgary and recipient of the Jim Duggins Novelist’s Prize, the Lambda Literary Award, the Astraea Award, and the Otherwise Honor Book
    • Ken Liu, American author of speculative fiction and a winner of the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy awards
  • Jiayang Fan, staff writer at The New Yorker Magazine: “The Question of Taste”

Presented with the Vancouver Art Gallery and co-sponsored by the University of British Columbia’s Library and the School of Information, the English Language & Literatures Department, the President’s Excellence Chair in Network Cultures and the School of Creative Writing, with additional media support from Canadian Literature.  

November 3, 2021: “Civil Discourse in an Uncivil Age/Uncivil and Unwell in America,” Alexander Heffner, Author and Host of PBS The Open Mind.

Co-sponsored with the Department of English Language & Literatures, School of Public Policy & Global Affairs, and Political Science.

October 14, 2021: “Religion, Law & Society Roundtable,” UBC panel moderated by Sabina Magliocco, Professor of Anthropology & Director of Program in the Study of Religion at UBC

  • Carole Blackburn, UBC Anthropology: “Defending Grizzly Bear Spirit in Canadian Courts: Ktunaxa First Nation v. British Columbia
  • Robert Daum, Fellow, Wosk Centre for Dialogue, Simon Fraser University: “Harmful Speech: Aspects of Rabbinic teachings about intent, impact and culpability”
  • Julen Etxabe, Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Jurisprudence and Human Rights, Allard School of Law: “What’s the scandal? The tension between religious autonomy, human rights and the state”
  • Hoi Kong, The Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin, P.C., UBC Professor in Constitutional Law Peter A. Allard School of Law: “What’s Law Got to Do With It? Religion Through the Lens of Law”
  • Discussant: The Honourable Geoffrey B. Gomery, Justice, Supreme Court of British Columbia

Co-sponsored with the UBC Program in the Study of Religion


March 2, 2021: “A Fireside Chat with Margaret Price,” Associate Professor of English at The Ohio State University

Co-sponsored with the Women’s Health Research Cluster.

November 3, 2020: “Working in Public: Generosity and the Knowledge Commons” by Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Director of Digital Humanities and Professor of English, Michigan State University

Co-sponsored with the UBC Library as part of the “Open Scholarship in Practice” series

November 2, 2020: “Screening of The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel and Q & A with Co-Director Joel Bakan,” Professor, Allard School of Law, UBC

Co-sponsored with Allard School of Law’s International Justice & Human Rights Clinic and Centre for Business Law.

October 27, 2020: “Religion and the U.S. Presidential Election,” a UBC panel moderated by Paul Quirk, Phil Lind Chair in U.S. Politics and Representation at UBC

  • Leslie Paris, History: “Young Adult Voters, Religion, and the Culture Wars”
  • Richard Menkis, History: “Antisemitism in the Age of Trump”
  • Sunera Thobani, Asian Studies: “Islamophobia: The Politics of Hate in the U.S. Elections”
  • Tony Keddie, Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies: “Trumpvangelicals, the Bible, and Christian Nationalism”
  • Sabina Magliocco, Anthropology, Director of Program in the Study of Religion: “Magic and Politics in the 2020 Election”

Co-sponsored with the Program in the Study of Religion, and Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs


May 14, 2020: “CityLife: A Community Storytelling Project” by Tessa McWatt, Author of Shame on Me: An Anatomy of Race and Belonging and Professor of Creative Writing, University of East Anglia

Co-sponsored with UBC Creative Writing and the Centre for Community-Engaged Learning

January 28, 2020: “Exploring Environmental Humanities Through Media-Rich Visualizations” by Aleksandra Dulic, Director of the Centre for Culture and Technology and Associate Professor of the Department of Creative Studies, UBC-Okanagan

Co-sponsored with the Department of Language and Literacy Education

January 8, 2020: “George Luks, Mark Twain, and the Comic Grotesque” by Jean Lee Cole, Professor and Faculty Director of Community-Engaged Learning and Scholarship, Loyola University Maryland

Co-sponsored with the SFU Department of English and the UBC Department of English Language and Literatures and History 

November 14-15, 2019 : Lightning Talks on Public Scholarship

  • Jason Groves, Assistant Professor of Germanics, “Exposed: Public Environmental Humanities”
  • Leigh Mercer, Associate Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature, Cinema, and Media, “Hispanic Film Programming and the Film Festival Phenomenon
  • Chelsea Grimmer, Lecturer, English, “Poetry as Public Scholarship: Activist Poetics in the Time of Social Media”
  • Isaac Rivera, PhD student, Geography, “Digitizing the Sacred: Water, Struggle, and the Digital Geographies of the Ocetia Sakowin”

Co-sponsored with the UW-Simpson Center for the Humanities

October 24, 2019: “Why Humanity Needs the Humanities Now: Five Ways to Move the Humanities Into Public Space and Public Action” by Paul Yachnin, Tomlinson Professor of Shakespeare Studies, McGill University

Co-sponsored with the Department of English Language and Literatures