Celebration of Books 2022
This year marked the eighth anniversary of the Celebration of Books. Co-hosted by UTM Library and the Office of the Vice-Principal, Research, the virtual event featured 24 titles from 19 authors and editors, who together represented 10 departments at UTM. VP Research Kent Moore started the two-hour celebration with a land acknowledgement, which was followed by a warm welcome from UTM’s Chief Librarian Shelley Hawrychuk.
“I am always truly amazed by the quality and quantity of books that we recognize at this special event,” Hawrychuk said. “I’m impressed by the wide variety of topics and it’s fascinating to see the scholarship each year.”
The first author to present was Jennifer Adese, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology. Adese presented two titles at the celebration, including Indigenous Celebrity: Entanglements with Fame (2021) co-edited with Robert Innes, as well as A People and a Nation: New Directions in Contemporary Métis Studies. The latter, a collection of essays Adese co-edited with Chris Andersen, is the first collection written entirely by Métis scholars and authors.
“This book is near and dear to our hearts,” explained Adese, who spoke with UTM News in anticipation of the event. “We have a growing group of Métis scholars in the academy that are doing work on contemporary issues—we wanted to bring together a compilation of works that could speak to what the present realities are for Métis people, and we have a wonderful range of chapters looking at everything from religious relationships to community oral histories, and, in particular, conversations on the question of identity.”
The event also featured timely work from ICCIT’s Associate Professor Tero Karppi, whose research focuses on disconnections in social media and network culture. Karppi presented two collaborative projects published in 2021. In Undoing Networks, Karppi and his co-authors develop theories of disconnection—for example, how the COVID-19 pandemic changed how we connect socially. Karppi co-edited his second book, Reckoning with Social Media, an anthology which tracks the different forms of resistance and tactics users are taking against social media platforms and their addictive and exploitive business models. (Think: big tech scandals, social media breaks, digital detoxing, user outrage, and more.)
It was also an impressive year for Language Studies. Collaborative and independent works were on display from Michael Lettieri, Simone Casini, and Salvatore Bancheri; along with Adrien Rannaud’s new book, La Révolution du magazine au Québec—a fascinating exploration of the role of women in, and the revolution of, magazines in Quebec.
Associate Professor of American Literature Melissa Gniadek shared her new title, Oceans at Home: Maritime and Domestic Fictions in Nineteenth-Century American Women’s Writing, in which Gniadek explores how women’s writings emerging from oceanic spaces negotiate histories of settler colonialism and imperialism. Citing children’s stories, an unpublished diary, a travelogue, and well-known fiction, Gniadek shows how “texts develop a ‘coastal gothic’ at the intersection of land and sea.” Concepts of home and domesticity, argues Gniadek, so central to accounts of literature by and about women in the nineteenth century U.S., are as much shaped by narratives of oceanic space and encounters as those that have more often been associated with male authors, such as whale chases and militarization.
And if you attended Research Excellence Award winner Martin Revermann’s lecture earlier this year, you’ll likely recognize his book. The Historical Studies professor introduced attendees to his 2021 monograph, Brecht and Tragedy: Radicalism, Traditionalism, Eristics. The book features previously unpublished documents, positions Brecht within ‘the tragic tradition,’ and provides close interpretive engagement with his plays. Revermann explained the attention-grabbing cover image, which features a picture of Brecht’s 1948 adaptation of Sophocles’ Antigone —a sombre stage flanked by four wood posts-as-columns topped with boiled horse skulls—in which Brecht turns the celebrated Greek stage into “barbaric theatre,” something that is instead about the waste of human life and potential. Learn more about his monograph by viewing the book launch event recording.
As the afternoon went on, authors from Political Science, Anthropology, Philosophy, and more introduced attendees to their work, and the event concluded on a note from Hawrychuk on just why this annual celebration is so important to the UTM community.
“Scholarly books contribute to our understanding of who we are and how we operate,” said Hawrychuk, “how we want to be governed, what kind of society we should be part of, and how we express ourselves.”
“We must continue to write, edit, promote, and share books — and I thank all of you for being a part of this celebration.”
Publishing a book in 2022 or early 2023? We want to hear from you! Please contact the OVPR or UTM Library and we will be sure to include you in next year’s lineup. We look forward to celebrating our authors and editors at this annual event!