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Our Times 3

Culture

  • The hidden cost of cuts to a French campus in Alberta

    What does a budget cut for the University of Alberta have to do with honouring the continuation of the linguistic and cultural communities that make up a multinational federation like Canada? It starts with the fact that this university is home to the only French speaking centre for higher education west of Manitoba—Faculté Saint-Jean.

  • Mental health under neoliberalism: From self-help to CBT

    The left has been pushing for greater access to mental health care for years, so for many, CBT could be viewed as an exciting success. However, we need and deserve better, beginning with solutions that target systemic causes of mental distress. Building radical futures means we must reconsider how we will support our communities, and work towards healing justice.

  • Black and Indigenous solidarity: An oral history of Maestro Fresh Wes’s ‘Nothing At All’

    To mark the 30th anniversary of “Oka,” and as global movements to end systemic racism rage on, CD’s Sean Carleton had the opportunity to speak with legendary Toronto hip hop icon Wesley Williams (better known as Maestro Fresh-Wes or Maestro) about his music and the song “Nothing At All” specifically—and what they can teach us today, if we take the time to listen.

  • On microaggressions in academia

    If someone really wants to fight oppression from inside the ivory tower, it is imperative that she carefully examines what is happening below, and steers away from the narcissistic impulse to keep attention focused on the troubles faced by the top five percent income earners in the population. To put it simply, academics are not an oppressed class.

  • Rough and Rowdy Ways: Bob Dylan confronts history

    Who is Bob Dylan in 2020? His new album, Rough and Rowdy Ways, finds him contemplating the tremendous weight of legacy and history and how to make sense of it all. Dylan tackles these questions by immersing himself in that history, becoming both subject and historian, both object of cultural critique and the critic.

  • Paying attention: Focus and distraction in the digital age

    Attention, as a dialectic of focus and distraction, has become central to understanding mediated life in the information economy. If we are our experiences, and there are more possibilities to experience than ever before, then the highly selective allocation, surrender, and capture of attention determines what we become—and all that we can become⁠—as individuals and as a society.

  • Can a pandemic be boring? Yes, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing

    Philosophers and psychologists teach us that boredom can be a good thing when it provides impetus for articulating our moral commitments and pursuing the personal and societal changes needed to realize them. There is reason to believe that is happening now. Let us hope that once the pandemic is behind us, and we’re left dealing with its fallout, we will all reap the benefits of that realignment.

  • A Decade of Playing Left-Wing: Sports Heroes of the 2010s

    While I admit to being a sucker for these “best of” exercises, as a decade came to a close the stakes were high but the “Athletes of the 2010s” lists were so utterly predictable. But here at Canadian Dimension, winning takes a back seat to building a better world. So here are my nominations for those figures at the intersection of sport and politics that mattered most in the 2010s.

  • Folk music’s radical patron: Remembering Mitch Podolak

    We all have much to thank him for. The world is a better place because of Mitch Podolak, and I am a far better, richer person after so many years of friendship with my Comrade. Mitch will live on in the years to come through the power of his inspiration and his contributions to those of us who knew him — and, indeed, to all those who, because of him, came to hear the music.

  • Colonization, resistance and popular culture

    It is perhaps naïve to assume that Premier Horgan or Prime Minister Trudeau are simply misunderstanding the history of Indigenous people. It is more realistic to frame our political leaders as willfully ignorant. But, that does not mean that we have to be. Simply watching a film … or reading a comic will not bring about reconciliation on its own. However, it is a much needed start.

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