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Canadian Ethnic Studies Association Seventeenth Biennial Conference

October 2-5, 2003

Banff, Alberta

Ethnicity: Space and Place

CESA held its l7th biennial conference October 2-5 at the Banff Centre in Banff, Alberta. The theme of the conference, “Ethnicity: Space and Place” provided a stimulating framework for analyzing and discussing key issues related to immigration, ethnicity and cultural diversity in Canada - one that attracted over 100 presenters, and approximately 215 participants in all.

The conference featured 36 concurrent sessions, and three plenary sessions, including a special session dedicated to discussing the implications of Statistics Canada’s 2003 Ethnic Diversity Survey. Conference presenters came from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, from across Canada, from the United States, and from abroad, representative not only of the academy, but also of artistic communities, governmental agencies, and front-line community organizations. (For example, the entire board of the Saskatchewan Multicultural Council attended the conference.)

Conference sessions addressed a wide range of issues, bringing cutting-edge perspectives from a variety of disciplines and inter-disciplines to bear on contemporary issues and challenges related to ethno-cultural diversity in Canada. There were several sessions dealing with contemporary Aboriginal issues, workplace issues, youth issues, gender issues, diasporic dynamics, racialization, ethnicity and the arts, and many more. The conference featured three keynote speakers (Peter Li; Marie McAndrew; Aritha van Herk) who, in addition to giving a major speech at a plenary event, also participated in a wrap-up plenary panel, where they highlighted key themes and issues addressed at the conference, explored unresolved problems, and suggested lines for further inquiry.

Conference activities included a western hoe-down, complete with line-dancing lessons, and a memorable field trip to Castle Mountain, the site of Ukrainian internment during the First World War, and to the Memorial site on the Bow Valley Parkway. The trip was led by Dr. Bohdan Kordan, author of Enemy Aliens, Prisoners of War: Internment in Canada during the Great War (2002).

As is traditional at CESA’s conferences, a gala banquet was held on Saturday evening, followed by entertainment featuring several local dance groups. As well, the tradition of celebrating the lifetime achievement of senior members of CESA was continued, with three senior members being so honoured. Dr. Frances Henry, Dr. Cornelius Jaenan, and Dr. Warren Kalbach all received Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Saturday evening banquet, and Dr. Anthony Rasporich, also received a special recognition award for his many years of distinguished service as co-editor of Canadian Ethnic Studies. The student winners of the Howard Palmer Memorial Scholarship [Chris Fries (University of Calgary), Lisa Grekul (University of British Columbia) and Allan Rowe (University of Alberta)] were also honoured at the banquet.

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