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Dr. Monica Eileen Patterson is an Assistant Professor in the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies at Carleton University. She earned her doctorate in Anthropology and History and a certificate in Museum Studies from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). Prior to joining the faculty at Carleton, she was a Banting Fellow at the Centre for Ethnographic Research and Exhibition in the Aftermath of Violence at Concordia University.
Patterson is co-editor of several articles and two books: Curating Difficult Knowledge: Violent Pasts in Public Places (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) and Anthrohistory: Unsettling Knowledge and Questioning Discipline (University of Michigan Press, 2011). Currently, she is working on a manuscript that examines the multiple and contested understandings of childhood in late-apartheid South Africa.
Patterson is also an investigator on the SSHRC-funded Partnership Development project, “Thinking through the Museum: Difficult Knowledge in Public” which brings together researchers, curators, artists, and community members seeking new terms of engagement for learning from histories of violence and conflict. As a scholar, curator, and activist, her work explores the intersections of memory, childhood, and violence in postcolonial Africa, and the ways in which they are represented and engaged in contemporary public spheres.
You can access Professor Patterson’s full cv and many of her publications on Academia.edu.
- Childhood, memory, and violence
- Apartheid and contemporary South Africa
- Colonization, decolonization, and comparative racisms
- Visual culture
- Museums, public history, and heritage
- Public scholarship, community engagement, and social justice
Department of Anthropology; Department of History; Institute of African Studies; School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies; Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art, and Culture (ICSLAC)
Dr. Patterson is currently accepting highly motivated graduate students and welcomes inquiries about specific areas of supervision.
Partnership Development Grant, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), “Thinking through the Museum: Difficult Knowledge in Public” (2015-2018).
Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), “Democratizing history: Remembering childhood in and after apartheid South Africa (2012-2014).
Image, Text, Sound, & Technology Grant, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), “Curating Difficult Knowledge” team grant (2010-2012).
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Concordia University, Centre for Ethnographic Research and Exhibition in the Aftermath of Violence (CEREV) and Department of History, Université de Montréal, Canada (2010-2012).
Curating Difficult Knowledge: Violent Pasts in Public Places, Erica Lehrer, Cynthia Milton, and Monica Eileen Patterson, eds. (Houndmills, Basingstoke Hampshire; New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).
Anthrohistory: Unsettling Knowledge and Questioning Discipline, Edward Murphy, David William Cohen, Chandra D. Bhimull, Fernando Coronil, Monica Eileen Patterson, and Julie Skurski, eds. (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2011).
“By and For Children: History and Healing in a Hospital Museum in KwaZulu Natal,” Curatorial Dreams: Critics Imagine Exhibitions, Erica Lehrer and Shelley Ruth Butler, eds. (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2016).
“The Ethical Murk of Using Testimony in Oral Historical Research in South Africa,” Oral History Off the Record: Toward an Ethnography of Practice. Palgrave Studies in Oral History, Anna Sheftel and Stacey Zembrzycki, eds. (New York, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).
“Teaching Tolerance Through Objects of Hatred: The Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia as Counter-Museum,” Curating Difficult Knowledge: Violent Pasts in Public Places, Erica Lehrer, Cynthia Milton, and Monica Eileen Patterson, eds. (UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).
“Childhood, Memory, and Gap: Reflections from an Anthrohistorian on George Perec’s W or the Memory of Childhood,” Anthrohistory: Unsettling Knowledge and Questioning Discipline, Edward Murphy, David William Cohen, et al., eds. (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2011).
“A Prefatory Piece,” with Chandra Bhimull and Edward Murphy, Anthrohistory: Unsettling Knowledge and Questioning Discipline, Edward Murphy, David William Cohen, et al., eds. (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2011).
“Youth Struggle,” The Art of Truth-Telling about Authoritarian Rule, Ksenija Bilibja, Jo Ellen Fair, Cynthia Milton, and Leigh Payne, eds. (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2005).
12 “Interventions,” Responsibility in Crisis: Knowledge Politics and Global Publics, David William Cohen and Michael D. Kennedy, eds. (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2004).
Online Journal Publications
“Spring breakers import Cuban rum, cigars and racist curios,” The Conversation, 25, Feb, 2019.
“with Erica Lehrer. Anthropology News. American Anthropological Association, In Focus, (September 2011).
“Memory Across Generations: The Future of ‘Never Again,’” Journal of the International Institute, vol. 10, no. 2 (Winter 2003).
“Reconciliation as a Continuing and Differentiated Process,” Journal of the International Institute, vol. 9, no. 2 (Winter 2002).
“Saartjie Baartman/Sarah Bartman,” “Bantu Education,” “Anton Lembede,” and “Soweto Student Uprising,” Encyclopedia of South Africa, Krista Johnson and Sean Jacobs, eds. (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Press, 2011).
Conference Report Contributions
“Addressing Inequalities and Children’s Right to Play,” in “Response to Shaking the Movers VII Report”, Children’s Rights Academic Network (Spring 2015): 33-37.
Children’s Rights in Africa, in collaboration with students from my Advanced Topics seminar, “The History of ‘the African Child’” exhibited at the annual Institute of African Studies conference, “Human Rights and the Public Sphere”, Carleton University, Ottawa (March 4-5, 2016), curator.
Palestinian-Canadian Life Stories, online exhibit (2012-14), curatorial advisor.
Contested Childhoods in Apartheid South Africa: Linking Past and Present, Ethnographic Terminalia, 110th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association. Montréal (November 16-20, 2011), curator.
Apartheid and Resistance: An Exhibit in Honor of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, for his visit to receive the Wallenberg Medal for Outstanding Humanitarianism. Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library, University of Michigan (Oct. 10-Dec. 19, 2008), curator.
The Girl Child in South Africa, in collaboration with 15 girls from the Children’s Resource Centre, Cape Town, South Africa (October-December 2006), co-curator.
Public Humanities Projects
“Profane Perambulations,” an experimental walking tour of Ottawa’s Parliamentary Precinct, speaker and co-organizer (September 26, 2016).
“A Storyteller’s Story.” Executive Producer with Erica Lehrer for CDK Productions. Dir: Florencia Marchetti and Alejandro Yoshizawa. Authored an online “Viewer’s Guide for A Storyteller’s Story” (2012).
“Talking about Tourists and Heritage that Hurts: A Conversation with Joy Sather-Wagstaff,” a 35-minute interview with Sather-Wagstaff, keynote speaker for Concordia’s Annual Lecture in Public History (Dec. 1, 2011).
“Using Objects of Intolerance to Teach Tolerance: An Interview with David Pilgrim, founding director of the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia in Big Rapids, Michigan,” in collaboration with Caroline Kunzle. 15-minute broadcast on CKUT 90.3 FM as part of the “Radio Works!” series of the Life Stories Montréal Oral History Project (Aired March 28, 2011).
Recent Invited Talks and Keynotes
“Revealing the Past,” Luncheon address. 23rd Annual Underhill Graduate Student Colloquium, History Department, Carleton University (March 9, 2016).
“Curating Difficult Knowledge with Children,” Museum Openings: Caring for Difficult Knowledge Within and Beyond the Canadian Museum for Human Rights Invitational Workshop, University of Winnipeg (Sept 19-21, 2014).
“From Golliwogs to Gangstas: Historicizing Racial Caricatures of African Americans,” in Panel titled “Little Black Sambos, Cigar Store Indians…and Lucky Jews with Coins? Minorities, Kitsch, and Stereotypes on Both Sides of the Atlantic,” 23rd Annual Jewish Culture Festival, Krakow, Poland (July 2, 2013).
“Toward a Public History of Childhood in South Africa,” Keynote Address. College of Arts and Humanities 50th Anniversary Celebration, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida (March 19, 2013).
“Unsettling the Dominant Myths of Healing: The Power of ‘Good Stories’ in South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission” Culture and Mental Health Research Unit Meetings, Division of Social and Cultural Psychiatry, McGill University, Montréal (February 20, 2013).
Conferences and Colloquia Organized
“Decolonizing Curatorial Pedagogies,” a workshop for SSHRC PDG project “Thinking through the Museum: Difficult Knowledge in Public,” Carleton University (April 15-19, 2016).
“Collaboration – Exhibition – Research” Work Group, Convenor, 9th Annual Hemispheric Institute Encuentro, Montréal, Canada (June 21-28, 2014).
“Children’s Art from the Past and Present: An Interdisciplinary Workshop,” Centre for Ethnographic Research and Exhibition in the Aftermath of Violence (CEREV), Concordia University (April 11, 2014).
“Plundered Cultures, Stolen Heritage,” International Conference, Concordia University (October 7-9, 2013).
“Reimagining the Transnational in African Studies,” Montréal African Studies Working Group Inaugural Conference, McGill and Concordia Universities. (April 28-May 1, 2013).
-CHST 1000: “Introduction to Child Studies: Childhoods in the Global Context”
-CHST 4003/AFRI 4003/HIST 4915: “History of ‘the African Child’” Advanced Topics Seminar
-CHST 3004: “Practicum in Community Settings”
-CHST 3101: “Research Seminar”
Vivianna Boilès-Léonard, “Anti-Apartheid commemoration: The politics of memory and heritage value in South Africa” (PhD, Anthropology, ongoing).
Lameck Zingano, “Contested histories: The politics of memory in postcolonial Zimbabwe” (PhD, Anthropology, ongoing).
Master of Arts
Miranda Yeo (MA in Anthropology, ongoing).
Barbara Reilly, “Monumental meaning-making: Interpreting gravestones in Ontario’s rural cemeteries” (MA, Anthropology, September 2016).
Undergraduate Honors Thesis Supervision
Selam Abebe, “‘What are You?’: An In-depth look at Mixed Race Childhood Experiences in Canada”, awarded the 2016 Provost Scholar Award for outstanding academic achievement (August 2016).
Betül Alaca, “Understanding Communities through the Eyes and Voices of Children,” awarded the Carleton University Medal in Arts for her thesis (April 2015).