Meet our Director
Kim Nelson is the Director of the Humanities Research Group and an Associate Professor in the School of Creative Arts at the University of Windsor. She is a filmmaker with an interest in historiography and the philosophy of history, as well as spectatorship, expanded/live cinema and immersive, participatory and performance modes of exhibition as they relate to documentary film. Her work has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Ontario Arts Council and she has received awards from The Windsor Endowment for the Arts and the Emerging Award for Excellence in Scholarship, Research and Creative Activity at the University of Windsor.
Kim's feature-length documentaries have screened at international film festivals and on university campuses in Canada, the US and Europe, as well as online with KCET in the US. She has held fellowships with the DAAD at the Filmuniversität Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF, in Potsdam, Germany, The Humanities Research Group at the University of Windsor, and the Cinema Research Institute at NYU. She has been a board member and programmer at the Windsor International Film Festival since 2010. Her published work includes short fiction that appeared in The Windsor Review.
DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE FALL 2020
Over the summer I read historian Jason Moore on issues related to the climate crisis and the geological age that we are living in, whether we call it the Anthropocene, Capitalocene, or other. He blames our current ecological predicament on Cartesian dualism and the misunderstanding that humans are somehow separate from nature.
Indeed, such a distinction between human actions and environment, between our physicality and intellect, seems very misguided in this current moment of molecular and racial reckoning. Many are now grasping how our bodies shape our experience and how we are treated. Some are grappling, for the first time, our vulnerabilities to sickness and also how our bodies involuntarily speak, framing boundaries for our opportunities and possibilities, creating contexts for what we do and think.
My last notable pre-lockdown experience was having the pleasure of seeing a large HRG audience at a memorable talk by the incomparable Sook-Yin Lee. It was a wonderful evening in a week accompanied by the sense of walls closing in, as we all adjusted to the collective experience of being caught up in events that make history. Our plans for the HRG in 2020-2021 were overturned as we embraced a new normal, one ripe for HRG engagement.
This year our theme is Embodied Experience. We will present Dr. Lydia Miljan, who will explore “Primate Politics” as a way to unpack some of the behaviour we see in contemporary politics, globally and in Canada. Humanities Week will be in November again this year, featuring a roundtable on research for students, and events showcasing Social Work’s Dr. Camisha Sibblis on anti-Black racism, and acclaimed author Dr. Emma Donoghue, whose latest best-selling book, The Pull of the Stars, published in July 2020, is about the flu pandemic of 1918.
What will 2021 bring? Unclear, but we can say that for the HRG it will include talks by President’s Indigenous Scholar Dr. Ashley Glassburn on Indigenous Feminism and 2020-2021 HRG Fellow Dr. Adrian Guta on his HRG supported research. We will greet the new year in January with an evening featuring one of the world’s leading intellectuals, Canada’s own Naomi Klein. The HRG is excited to offer this opportunity to discuss the issues of the day with this award winning author of seven New York Times bestselling books. A vibrant and influential thinker who has always addressed issues of equity and justice, all of which intersect body and mind. She will speak to and answer questions from our HRG audience from inside our interconnected pods.
Finally, we are excited to partner with the Outstanding Scholars program and Dr. Simon du Toit to offer events tailored for this cohort and open to all. Outstanding Scholars (OS) places high-achieving students into paid positions as research assistants. Available in every major, OS students complete research or creative projects in support of faculty research goals. For more information please go to www.uwindsor.ca/outstandingscholars/. An enthusiastic welcome to all of the Outstanding Scholars who will be joining us this year.
It is quite a pivot to move the HRG experience onto screens. The HRG has always been dedicated to gathering to listen, question, talk and think, because congregating and being present in our bodies is so important to thinking through things and because we are social animals. But until such time as we can reassemble and safely expose ourselves to each other’s germs and ideas, we will assemble online.
We will send links to these online talks by email through the listserv so it is more important than ever to be on the HRG email list. If you would like to join, please email a request to sign up to HRGmail@uwindsor.ca. In addition, we will post links to our website before the events at uwindsor.ca/hrg.
In closing, I’d like to thank everyone who supports the HRG. Thank you to the HRG Advisory Board, including the HRG student Advisory Board, all of whom are essential to the HRG brain trust. Thanks to the Daily News for helping us to get the word out. As ever, huge props to Yvonne Zimmerman for all of her hard work and unflagging enthusiasm. The HRG would also like to thank Dean Marcello Guarini for his commitment and encouragement of the HRG’s mandate, alongside the entire Dean’s Office of FAHSS. Much gratitude to President Rob Gordon and the Office of the President, and Provost Douglas Kneale and the Provost’s Office for their fulsome support of our efforts to engage wide-ranging and relevant ideas from across the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Most of all, we would like to thank our wonderful, thoughtful, and engaged audience of students, faculty, staff, and community members, who give us purpose and inspiration. Wishing everyone good health, expansive ideas, and adequate bandwidth. I hope to see and hear you this year via my computer screen.