Most of us feel uneasy when we lie and feel manipulated when we are misled. Yet, lying and deception are part of life. From self-deception to hyperbole, from cheating to propaganda, from equivocation to denial, the 2014 Vanier College Humanities Symposium, running February 3 to 7, aims to explore the complex nature of lying and deceit and their implications for both the individual and society.
Keynote Speaker and Special Humanities Lecture
The Keynote Speaker, Randal Marlin from the Carleton University, will present Truth, Lies and Propaganda: Seeking Ethical Communication in an Age of Spin, on Tuesday, February 4. His address will explore truth, goodness and beauty as they apply to the ethics of personal and political communication. Another Symposium highlight will be author and former Vanier teacher, Neil Caplan, who will deliver the Special Humanities Lecture entitled, The Elusive Quest for Truth in the Israel-Palestine Conflict.
Myths for profit, Cheating and Freud
The Symposium will also feature journalist Scott Taylor who will present the film “Myths for Profit”; Mia Consalvo from Concordia University, Communications, who will intrigue students with her talk Cheating and Social Network Games: Cheating 2.0; and Vanier’s David Koloszyc whose presentation, On Truth and Lies in the Psychoanalytic Sense, will look at how Freud’s understanding of self-deception reinterprets the Enlightenment’s principles of progress, education, and liberty.
Keeping governments accountable
Guest speaker, Matthew Behrens, from Homes not Bombs, will show how grass roots efforts tackle corporate and governmental secrecy and lack of accountability, in his talk Making Visible the Invisible: How nonviolent direct action can expose, confront, and transform situations of injustice.
Lance Armstrong and his lies
On a different note, Vanier’s Sevak Manjikian will expose how Lance Armstrong’s lies and deceit harmed the image of professional cycling, and will juxtapose Armstrong’s rise and fall with a lack of ethics in certain sectors of North American society.
Town planning and secrets
On February 6, Vanier’s Brian Aboud will look at Montreal’s past in Spaces of deception: urban change and its concealments–the case of the Syrian neighbourhood in Old Montreal between 1900 and the 1930s; and David Shantz, former Chaplain of the Archambault Correctional Institute, will examine the concept of truth in the Canadian Justice system.
Facts that distort and scary science policies
The Symposium ends on Friday, February 7, with Marika Hadzipetros discussing the use and distortion of facts in conspiracy theories in Lying with Facts: Conspiracy Theories and Truth-Telling, followed by University of Ottawa biologist, Katie Gibbs, whose talk No science, No evidence, No truth, No democracy will examine changes in Canada’s science and research policies and the formation of Evidence for Democracy – a science-led, non-profit organization advocating for science and evidence-based policies in Canada.
All events take place in the Vanier Auditorium (A-103) and are open to the public.