Our collective public memory is what shapes Dr. Angela Failler’s research on the 1985 Air India bombings, the largest mass murder in Canadian history.
“The 1985 Air India bombings are an underrepresented history in the Canadian context, despite the fact that the majority of the 331 people who were killed were Canadian,” Failler says.
“Many Canadians still remember the bombings, if at all, as a ‘foreign event.’ I argue that this has to do with the dominant view that Canadian identity, or Canadian-ness, is equated with whiteness.”
The associate professor and former women’s and gender studies department chair at the University of Winnipeg (U of W) is writing a sole-authored book on the public memory of the bombings.
Last May, she led a discussion at Cinematheque on the use of art and photography to frame the public memory of the Air India bombings.
Failler is a Chancellor’s Research Chair and teaches and supervises for the master’s program in cultural studies, and is a research affiliate with the Institute for Women’s and Gender Studies.
Failler also serves on the editorial board of the international journal Review of Education, Pedagogy and Cultural Studies. She teaches in the areas of feminist theory, cultural studies, queer theory, and embodiment and subjectivity. In 2012 she won the Clifford J. Robson Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence.
Failler did her undergraduate studies at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, earned her master’s through a joint program at Dalhousie University, Mount Saint Vincent University, St. Mary’s University and did her PhD at York University.
AREA OF RESEARCH: Culture, public memory, queer theory, contemporary feminist thought.
NUMBER OF PEER-REVIEWED ARTICLES PUBLISHED: I have had a number of co-edited books, peer-reviewed articles, and a co-edited journal issues published, as well as other non-traditional forms of publication including web-essays, blog posts, op-eds, and radio interviews. To me, however, quality and not quantity is what matters!
LOWEST GRADE IN UNIVERSITY: I think I got a C or a C+ in a required statistics course that I left until the end of my undergraduate degree (and that was probably a generous estimation of my performance). I rarely use quantitative methodologies in my research. Maybe that’s why!
WORST TEACHING MOMENT: I showed up a half an hour late to the very first class that I ever taught at U of W. It was a night class and I thought they started at 6:30 p.m.! The students were incredibly patient and stayed until I got there, but I had some explaining to do…
FAVOURITE THING ABOUT WINNIPEG: I am always impressed with the arts and culture scene here, and I love how politically engaged many Winnipeggers are. For a small city it has a lot going on.
BOOK RECOMMENDATION: I am currently enjoying Mini Aodla Freeman’s Life Among the Qallunaat, which was recently re-issued by the University of Manitoba Press. It is humorous, painful and poignant all at once – a great work of indigenous literature.
Published in Volume 70, Number 19 of The Uniter (February 11, 2016)