A Media@McGill round-table discussion
Wednesday, April 13, 2016, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Leacock 232, McGill University
Free and open to the general public. Reception following.
On March 24th, former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi was acquitted of all charges in a highly mediatized sexual assault trial. Apart from its significant social and legal ramifications, the Ghomeshi “scandal,” as it has been qualified by various news outlets, involved complex media relations between all actors involved, and sometimes their audiences.
This Media@McGill round-table discussion is the first in a new series of events called Media@McGill on Top of the News. It offers an occasion to cast a critical gaze upon the numerous “media moments” surrounding the events leading up to and during the recent Ghomeshi trial.
McGill University professors join two Montreal journalists who covered different stories emerging from the sexual assault allegations and trial in French and English media. The panelists are: journalists Sue Montgomery (former Montreal Gazette journalist and co-initiator of #BeenRapedNeverReported) and Francine Pelletier (Le Devoir and co-founder of La Vie en Rose); Professor Carrie Rentschler, William Dawson Scholar of Feminist Media Studies; Professor Alanna Thain, Director of the Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies (IGSF); and Professor Robert Leckey, William Dawson Scholar and Director, Paul-André Crépeau Centre for Private and Comparative Law. The round-table discussion will be moderated by Professor Jenny Burman, Chair of the Department of Art History and Communication Studies.
Francine Pelletier has worked as a journalist for over 30 years, both in print and for electronic media, both in French as well as in English.
Her career includes co-founding and acting as editor-in-chief of the women’s monthly magazine La Vie en rose, co-hosting CBC’s flagship current affairs program, “The Fifth Estate,” as well as writing and directing numerous documentary films.
Francine Pelletier is also a weekly columnist with Le Devoir, Quebec's only independent daily. She also teaches at Concordia University's journalism department.
Sue Montgomery was a flight attendant and prison guard before becoming an award-winning journalist. Some of the highlights of her 30-year career were covering the Velvet Revolution in the former Czechoslovakia, the independence of Namibia, post-genocide Rwanda, the 2004 coup d’état and 2010 earthquake in Haiti. She covered a number of high-profile court cases, including Canada’s first war crimes trial in which the accused, a Rwandan genocidaire, was found guilty and sentenced to life. In 2014, she co-created the Twitter hashtag #BeenRapedNeverReported, which began a global discussion about gender-based violence and led to important social policy changes. She was named in 2015 as one of 15 Montrealers changing the world. Last year, amid massive cutbacks in the PostMedia newspaper chain, she left her job at the Montreal Gazette but continues to fight for social justice via social media. She is a long-distance Masters swimmer and loves to cook.
Carrie Rentschler is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies, and William Dawson Scholar of Feminist Media Studies. She holds a B.A. (Minn.), and a M.A., Ph.D. (Ill.-Urbana-Champaign)
Professor Rentschler’s research examines the relationship between mass-mediated representations of suffering and models of citizenship, the gender politics of environmental security and its publicity, the diverse media activism practices of social movements, women’s self-defense as a form of feminist pedagogy, and the gendered politics of fear. Her first book, Second Wounds: Victims Rights and the Media in the U.S. (Duke University Press, 2011), retells the recent history of crime and disaster media from the perspective of victims’ rights reforms and publicity practices. She is currently writing a book on the 1964 Kitty Genovese murder (where 38 New Yorkers supposedly looked on and did nothing) and its cultural legacies of failed witnessing.
Alanna Thain is Associate Professor of Cultural Studies and World Cinemas in the Department of English and Director of the Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies. She directs the Moving Image Research Laboratory (MIRL), devoted to the study of bodies in motion across forms of media. Through the MIRL she runs “Cinema Out of the Box!”, a research-creation project on new expanded cinema, consisting of a completely bicycle-powered, mobile cinema that holds guerrilla screenings in unexpected sites in the city. She is the author of Bodies in Time: Suspense, Affect, Cinema, forthcoming from the University of Minnesota Press. Her work addresses questions of time, embodiment and media across contemporary cinema, dance and performance, including work by David Lynch, Tino Sehgal, Norman McLaren, Dave St-Pierre, William Kentridge and more, and has appeared in journals such as differences, Parallax, Dance Research Journal, and Intermédialités. Her essay, “Tendering the Flesh: The ABCs of Dave St. Pierre’s Contemporary Utopias”(TDR/ The Drama Review, May 2014) co-authored with Virginia Preston, won the Richard Plant Award for Best Essay in English from Canadian Association of Theatre Research. She is currently completing a book on Norman McLaren. Her SSHRC-funded major research project, “Anarchival Outbursts: Dance and the Practices of Post-Digital Cinema” (2014-18), considers dance movement in screen dance and other contemporary productions as a key site for negotiating new potentials of embodiment in the digital age. Her most recent publication in the Visual Anthropology Review is “A Bird’s Eye View of Leviathan”.
Robert Leckey is a full professor and William Dawson Scholar in the Faculty of Law; he became director of the Paul-André Crépeau Centre for Private and Comparative Law in August 2014. He teaches constitutional law and family law.
He joined the Faculty of Law in July 2006 and was named a William Dawson Scholar by McGill University in 2011. He has been a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada since 2003 and serves on the editorial boards for Les Ateliers de l’éthique, the Canadian Journal of Law and Society, and the Review of Constitutional Studies. From 2008-2011, he chaired the McGill Equity Subcommittee on Queer People. In 2010-2011, he served as director of research for the Inquiry Commission on the Process for Appointing Judges (the Bastarache Commission). From 2011 to 2015, he was the president of Egale Canada. From 2011 to 2016, he chaired its Legal Issues Committee.
Robert Leckey conducts research in constitutional law, family law, and comparative law. He is editor of a collection entitled After Legal Equality: Family, Sex, Kinship (Routledge, 2015). His monograph Bills of Rights in the Common Lawappeared in Cambridge University Press’s Studies in Constitutional Law in 2015.
Jenny Burman is an Associate Professor in Communication Studies and a Media@McGill member. She has a Ph.D. in Social and Political Thought from York University (2002). Prof. Burman writes and teaches in the areas of transnational cultural studies, diaspora studies, multi/interculturalism, and urban transformations. She completed a SSHRC-funded research project entitled “Mobile Citizenship, Immobilized Migrants: Detention and Deportation in Canada, Oppositional Activism in Toronto and Montréal”, in 2010. She is part of two FQRSC research groups: Media and Urban Life in Montreal (PI: Will Straw), and Feminist studies of social movements and their cultural infrastructures (PI: Carrie Rentschler). She is pursuing two independent research projects currently: one on vernacular multiculturalism in Canada, and one on the social abandonment of racialized women in Vancouver and Los Angeles.