Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Our Sunday GG2011 Keynote Presentation

Voicing our Faith - Living our Words - Building our Communities
by Lucie Marie-Mai DuFresne, PhD

What if words actually mattered? What if they were not only descriptive but also performative? What if they created both the breadth and the limit of shared reality? How could this be?

What if each language was its own pattern of reality, unique and ultimately untranslatable. What happens when a faith community is made up of native speakers of different languages? Is it necessary that all speak with the same words? the same voice? the same intent? At what level of linguistic 'sameness' is religious 'sameness' found? Is linguistic 'sameness' mandatory? For what and for whom?

Some have argued that the language of the original text must be maintained. Others have argued for words from the heart, whatever the language spoken. This talk will explore the nature of language as a communicative code, of the politics of discourse, of textual and ritual codification and of the inherent dangers of any canonification, be they dogmatic, textual or ritual. Rather, degrees of commonality will be argued for, such that the context, intent and audience of the communicative act be the determining factors for language choice and use.

Bio: Lucie Marie-Mai DuFresne, PhD, has earned advanced degrees in both Anthropology and Religious Studies. As a fluently bilingual francophone, she teaches in both French and English in the Faculties of Arts (Religious Studies, Native Studies) and Social Sciences (Anthropology, Sociology, Women's Studies) at the University of Ottawa. As head of the Canadian Centre for Research on Women and Religion, she has organized several international conferences (Divina et Femina I, II, III) and Gaia Gathering 2008. She is currently the interim director of the Intercultural Research and Training Center and is planning its second trip to Yunnan, China, to work with indigenous minorities. She is a founding member of PFPC (Pagan Federation / Fédération Païenne Canada) and has advocated for Canadian Pagan rights and freedoms with several levels of government, municipal social services (Police, Children's Aid, psychiatric hospital) and multifaith organisations. Active in the Ottawa Pagan community since 1988, she has managed and owned occult bookstores, sponsored women's moon circles and taught Pagan and Magical Lore classes. She holds the record for the most different workshops taught at Kaleidoscope Gathering.

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