Laurier Milton Lecture Series

Wilfrid Laurier University is pleased to partner with the Town of Milton and the Milton Public Library to present the sixth
Laurier Milton Lecture Series.

2014-15 Schedule and Registration

Online Registration

For more information, contact the Milton Public Library at 905-875-2665.

 Date Speaker Title and Abstract
October 8, 2014

Dr. Rhoda Howard-Hassmann
Department of Global Studies, Faculty of Arts

Extraordinary Progress and Glaring Gaps: Women's International Human Rights since 1970
This lecture discusses progress and problems in universal women's rights since 1970, focusing both on the international law of women's rights and on developments in Canada. It discusses ongoing debates about women's rights, such as the meaning of cultural relativism; women's position in religion; and debates about such matters as abortion, prostitution, and traditional practices.  It also discusses new women's issues such as the effects of globalization on women and whether humanitarian law sufficiently takes into account the interests of women and girls. 

November 12, 2014Dr. Mark Humphries, Department of History, Faculty of Arts

The Shell Shock Enigma
As ex-Canadian soldiers struggle with PTSD in the aftermath of the war in Afghanistan, we should remember that these are not the first generation of soldiers to suffer from war related mental illness. Between 1914 and 1918, more than 15,000 Canadians were diagnosed with what was then called shell shock. In this lecture Professor Humphries will explore the hidden psychological history of the Great War, the factors that provoked soldiers to breakdown, and the complex questions which shell shock posed for military authorities. Are there lessons we can take from history that might help us develop more effective policies today?

January 14, 2015Dr. Christopher Alcantara, Political Science, Faculty of Arts

Can Property Rights Substantially Reduce Aboriginal Poverty on Canadian Indian Reserves?
It's no secret that many Indigenous communities across Canada have long struggled with extreme poverty, grim employment prospects, and political dysfunction.  To what extent can stronger forms of individual property rights alleviate some of these conditions? In this lecture, Dr. Christopher Alcantara will examine existing property regimes on Canadian Indian reserves and discuss how they have created both barriers and opportunities for Indigenous wealth creation and self-determination.  He will also describe and assess some alternatives to these existing property rights, including proposed federal legislation that will allow some Indigenous communities to introduce fee simple ownership to their members.

February 11, 2015Dr. Jennifer Long, Anthropology, Faculty of Arts

Immigration and Settlement Programming in Southwestern Ontario  
This talk provides a background of immigration to southwestern Ontario, the changing dynamic of both the people and the system, and what this means for medium-sized cities (not just Toronto). Based on research conducted in London, Dr. Long discusses her findings and the recommendations for settlement and integration services from the perspective of newcomers and service providers.

March 11, 2015

Dr. Lee Willingham & The Laurier Singers, Faculty of Music

Community Music at Laurier
Re-established in 2006, the Laurier Singers, directed by Dr. Lee Willingham, is a 28-voice auditioned choir from the Faculty of Music that specializes in repertoire suitable for smaller ensembles. This lecture-demonstration will present the choir singing repertoire that they are presenting during this academic season along with an illustrated model of Community Music activities at Laurier. Presenter Bio:

April 8, 2015Dr. Sonnet L'Abbé, Laurier Writer in Residence

The Pleasure of Metaphor - A Reading and Lecture
Aristotle suggested that being able to make metaphors was about having an "eye for resemblances" and that only those gifted with this special ability became poets. Others argue that making metaphor is not only the realm of the poet but is the foundation for all linguistic expression. In this combined reading/lecture I will interweave a discussion of neuroscientific theories of how metaphor works on the brain with poems and a meditation on the sensual body's inhabitance of language.


April 22, 2015Dr. Ken Maly, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Faculty of Science

Exploring the Fourth State of Matter: The Design and Preparation of New Liquid Crystalline Materials A liquid crystal is a state of matter with properties between that of a solid and a liquid: it exhibits some degree of molecular ordering (like a solid), yet still maintains some fluidity and allows molecular motions (like a liquid).  The unique properties of these phases make them useful in a variety of applications, ranging from display technologies to solar cells.  In this lecture, I will provide a brief introduction to this class of materials and explain what types of compounds display liquid crystalline phases and how these materials can be used in electronic devices.  I will also highlight some of our research efforts that focus on the design and preparation of new liquid crystals using techniques in organic chemistry.

May 13, 2015 Dr. Sarah Wilner, Marketing, School of Business and Economics

First Person Simulation: Using Immersion to Communicate Consumer Experience
Innovators know that understanding the target consumer is not only an important part of developing welcome new products and services, but also a vital differentiator in the marketplace. Yet many managers are charged with discerning needs or solving problems that they cannot relate to, for example: developing new drugs for a medical condition that (s)he knows about in theory but has never been diagnosed with; developing a software interface for low-tech consumers; or creating offerings for consumers in other cultures. While traditional market research, such as surveys and point of purchase data may help in learning more about those consumers, they are less effective at helping managers to connect with consumers' experiences, needs, or frustrations. First person simulation is a technique that helps managers better understand the end consumer as well as communicate key consumer information to those who rarely interact with the target (e.g. executives); are unfamiliar with the consumer (i.e. in the case of new markets) or may be reluctant to accept proposed solutions.

Event Details

  • Location: Milton Centre for the Arts, 1010 Main Street East, Milton
    *All lectures are held in the MinMaxx Hall
  • Time: 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Admission: Free

Note: Some or all of the lectures may be filmed and televised on TVCOGECO.


The lecture series is a partnership between the Town of Milton, Wilfrid Laurier University and the Milton Public Library.


Wilfrid Laurier has long supported the public role of academics to bring their knowledge and thinking outside of the classroom. The Laurier Milton Lecture Series provides a wonderful opportunity to engage in a public dialogue with citizens of Milton on a broad array of important topics.

The presentations showcase a range of the current research being conducted at Laurier, and include members of four different Faculties, representing eight different University Departments/Programs.

Biographies of Presenters

  • Dr. Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann

Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann is Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights, jointly appointed to the Department of Global Studies and the Balsillie School of International Affairs. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Her most recent books include Reparations to Africa (2008) and Can Globalization Promote Human Rights? (2010), as well as her co-edited Economic Rights in Canada and the United States (2006) and The Age of Apology (2008). She maintains a website on political apologies as well as a blog, Rights&Rightlessness, which can be accessed at

  • Dr. Mark Humphries

Mark Humphries is the Dunkley Chair in War and the Canadian Experience at Wilfrid Laurier University and director of the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies. He has published five books and more than a dozen article on the social and operational history of the First World War, including a book of Arthur Currie's personal papers and tactical studies on training and doctrine in the Canadian Corps. He is currently finishing the first detailed study of shell shock in the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

  • Dr. Ken Maly

Ken Maly obtained his BSc in Chemistry at Queen's University.  He stayed at Queen's for his PhD studies, and then went to the Université de Montréal for an NSERC postdoctoral fellowship.  He began his independent career at Laurier in 2006 as an Assistant Professor, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2011. He is currently serving as Associate Dean (Priorities & Planning) for the Faculty of Science at Laurier.  Dr. Maly's research interests are in using synthetic organic chemistry to design and prepare new materials and to understand how changes in molecular structure influence the properties of the resulting materials

  • Dr. Christopher Alcantara

Christopher Alcantara is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Wilfrid Laurier University. His main research interests are in the fields of Indigenous-settler relations and politics, territorial governance in the Canadian north, federalism and multilevel governance, public policy and administration, and more recently, Canadian voting behaviour.  He has written numerous journal articles and book chapters, as well as two books, Negotiating the Deal: Comprehensive Land Claims Agreements in Canada (UTP: 2013) and Beyond the Indian Act: Restoring Aboriginal Property Rights (MQUP: 2010), the latter of which was coauthored with Tom Flanagan and Andre Le Dressay.  His research was a finalist for the Donald Smiley Prize in 2014, the Donner Prize in 2011 and the McMenemy Prize in 2013 and has won the J.E. Hodgetts Award for best article in the journal, Canadian Public Administration, and the David Watson Memorial Award for "the paper published in the Queen's Law Journal judged to make the most significant contribution to legal scholarship."

  • Dr. Jennifer Long

Jennifer Long is a sessional faculty member at Wilfrid Laurier University.  She has a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Western Ontario specializing in migration and ethnic relations. Her research concerns first-hand experiences of immigration and settlement processes from the perspectives of newcomers and settlement service providers. Dr. Long also runs a consulting practice (JP Long Consulting) and works with clients to develop qualitative research and to deliver training on intercultural relations.

  • Dr. Lee Willingham

Dr. Willingham is an Associate Professor in the Music Faculty at Laurier. Lee arrived at Laurier in September, 2004, to coordinate the music education and choral programs. From 1998 to 2004, he was on the faculty of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto, teaching in the preservice program in music education. Prior to that, he taught in the public high school system, and was coordinator of music for the Scarborough Board of Education. He is the founding director of the Bell'Arte Singers of Toronto, and conducted the choir for twenty years. Willingham served as the principal of the OISE/UT Summer Music program for a number of years, providing certification programs for teachers in music. Currently, Dr. Willingham coordinates the graduate program in Community Music and directs the Laurier Centre for Music in the Community. A contributor of chapters, papers, and articles to a number of publications, Willingham was for ten years the editor of the Canadian Music Education/Musicien éducator au Canada he co-edited the book, Creativity and Music Education. He is a past president and Honourary Life Member of the Ontario Music Educators' Association. Willingham has guest conducted many choirs, most recently in Budapest, Hungary, and Regina, Saskatchewan. He has given papers in conferences this year in Hungary, Salvador and Porto Alegre, Brazil.

  • Dr. Sonnet L'Abbé

Sonnet L'Abbé, Ph.D. is the 2015 Edna Staebler Writer-In-Residence at Wilfrid Laurier University. She is the author of two collections of poetry, A Strange Relief and Killarnoe, both published by McClelland and Stewart. She was the 2017StartsNow! Artist-in-Motion in 2013 and is the 2014 guest editor of Best Canadian Poetry. She is now at work on Sentient Mental Flower Book and Sonnet's Shakespeare, her third and fourth collections of poems. L'Abbé has reviewed fiction and poetry for the Globe and Mail, and has taught writing at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies and at the University of British Columbia.

  • Dr. Sarah Wilner

Dr. Sarah Wilner is Assistant Professor of Marketing and a seasoned marketing professional, with two decades' experience in public-sector marketing management prior to returning to academia.  Dr. Wilner's primary research focus is on the intersection of marketing and consumer behavior in the context of product design and development. She is interested in how managers interpret consumers' wants and needs in order to develop products and services for them, and the market dynamics that result. Currently, she is examining design's role in changing the cultural meanings of stigmatized consumption practices; firms' product design and development processes; the role of empathy in product development and issues related to sustainable new products and services.