Mount Allison professor named Canada Research Chair in Intercultural Encounter
Dr. Lauren Beck to establish Centre for Early Modern Visual Culture on campus, seeks to incorporate Indigenous knowledge in transatlantic studiesSACKVILLE, NB — A Mount Allison University professor in the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures has been named the University’s newest Canada Research Chair. Dr. Lauren Beck, who is an associate professor in Hispanic studies and a transatlantic scholar and studies the expansion of Europe into the Americas internationally, is the Canada Research Chair in Intercultural Encounter. The announcement was made as part of national announcement on Nov. 2.
Beck’s research examines, in part, the ways text and image media have contributed to western representations of Indigenous people throughout history, beginning in the early modern period (15th-18th centuries). Her work aims to give more attention to Indigenous practices and incorporate this knowledge into academic learning and research, so that scholarship includes and responds to minority and non-European voices and perspectives.
“Dr. Beck is an internationally-known scholar in her field,” says Mount Allison Provost and Vice-President, Academic and Research Dr. Jeff Ollerhead. “Her work on transatlantic culture, with a focus on incorporating Indigenous and other underrepresented voices in academic publications, is important for many disciplines and our society as a whole. I congratulate her on being named the Canada Research Chair in Intercultural Encounter.”
One of Beck’s main focuses will be on North and South American place names and the practices and patterns of European-Indigenous exchanges of knowledge during the early modern period. A map exhibition, Canada before Confederation: Early Maps and Exploration , looking at early Canada and Indigenous knowledge and place names in conjunction with this study is currently on display at Mount Allison’s RP Bell Library until December 15.
The exhibition is also appearing internationally at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, the University of Minnesota, Bishop’s College School (Sherbrooke, QC), Fort York (Toronto, ON), and at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, NS, where Beck is also helping to organize a related conference this month. Both the exhibition and the related conference received support from The Canadian History Fund.
“Being named Canada Research Chair and having this kind of support around my research program is a wonderful honour,” says Beck. “As a transatlantic scholar, I think it’s important to incorporate the knowledge of traditionally underrepresented groups such as women and Indigenous peoples into our understanding and give more attention to their experiences throughout history. These kinds of opportunities and research supports will help change how we think about history and what we value about it.”
Beck was also received the Kislak Fellowship for the study of history and cultures of the early Americas from the Library of Congress in Washington this fall. The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress awards fellowships annually for independent scholars, students, and college and university faculty to conduct research based on items from their Kislak Collection, a major collection of rare books, manuscripts, historic documents, maps and art of the Americas. The collection contains some of the earliest records of Indigenous peoples in North America and superb objects from the discovery, contact, and colonial periods, especially for Florida, the Caribbean, and Mesoamerica.
In addition to being named a Canada Research Chair, Beck has received a grant through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s JR Evans Leaders Fund, also announced on Nov. 2. With this additional funding, Mount Allison will become home to the Centre for Early Modern Visual Culture, a physical and virtual resource for scholars, students, and the public. Several Mount Allison students will work as research assistants in the Centre, enriching their undergraduate experience.
The Canada Research Chair (CRC) program is a national research program funded by the federal government. Chairholders aim to achieve research excellence in engineering and the natural sciences, health sciences, humanities, and social sciences.