Prof hopeful we can fix our ecological mistakes
The school of environmental studies has a new director.
Dr. Eric Higgs comes to UVic from
Edmonton, where hes spent the last 11 years teaching in the
University of Albertas departments of philosophy and anthropology.
Much of his work is in ecological restoration the repair
and sustainable maintenance of ecosystems.
The idea that we can work to
heal some of the wounds that weve created on land and in water
provides me with tremendous hope, he says. It means
that we can fix not only physical damage, but that we can also restore
the spirit. In fact, ecological restoration seems to be a salutary
activity in every way.
Trained as a philosopher and ecological
planner, Higgs is interested in the ethical issues involved in restoring
ecosystems. He also looks at how humans relate to the environment
and how the environment changes over time.
One of his current projects looks
at Jasper National Park, replicating photos taken 80 years ago to
create the parks first topographic map. The new photos from
the same locations will provide a comprehensive portrait of how
the landscape has changed. In order to restore the park we
need to know where it has come from, he says. How have
things changed both culturally and ecologically? How do human activities
affect the park?
Another major interest for Higgs is
the effect of technology. He and University of Alberta doctoral
student Claudio Aporta are studying how technology affects Inuit
hunters in the Igloolik region of Nunavut. As a practical component,
Higgs and Aporta are interested in helping reduce the number of
life-threatening instances of loss and disorientation, especially
among young hunters.
In the fall of 2000 Higgs and co-editors
Andrew Light and David Strong published Technology and the Good
Life, a book of critical essays on the work of Albert Borgmann,
a major figure in the philosophy of technology. His book on ecological
restoration, Nature by Design, will be published by MIT Press early
This is Higgs second appointment
at UVic; in September 2000 he visited the school as a Lansdowne
lecturer for five months. I loved being at UVic, he
recalls. The work I did here was truly interdisciplinary and
I had some of the best conversations with people. As well, I spent
my childhood in B.C. and the West Coast really left its mark on
me. So when this director position came up I jumped at the chance.
Well-used passport an asset for business prof
A wall-sized world map and numerous Lonely Planet travel guides
are the first clues that Dr. Saul Klein, Landsdowne professor of
international business, has travelled and lived in many parts of
Born in Zimbabwe, Klein has visited
over 40 countries and spent a significant time in many of them.
After earning his BA in economics from the Hebrew University of
Jeruselum, Klein moved to Canada for his MA and PhD in marketing
and international business from the University of Toronto. Since
then hes taught in South Africa, Australia, France, the U.S.
and Singapore before ending up at UVic last August.
Having so many stamps in his passport
is a distinct asset in Kleins line of work. He studies how
businesses in developing economies can become more efficient.
My area of interest for the
last 10 years has been international business with a strong focus
on emerging markets, he says. I look at whats
happening in the fast-growing regions of the world. Countries
such as China, Poland, South Africa and Mexico have emerging markets
with strong competitive elements, he says.
Kleins frequent travels and
global connections have helped him become a recognized and internationally
published researcher. And in the classroom, students benefit from
his first-hand experience with economic trends and conflicts in
many countries. This semester, hes teaching a course on international
marketing and emerging markets.
Kleins latest research focuses
on economic restructuring in China, specifically on the effects
of business restructuring and government. Unless government
reforms and the practices of the organizations in China catch up
to other countries, it could ultimately retard the success of their
The decision to base his young family
in Victoria brings Klein a sense of security and peace. Hell
continue to monitor international economic trends, but from afar.
For now, his travel books are taking a well-deserved rest.
Ukrainian cultural historian finds home at UVic
It was a circuitous route that brought Dr. Serhy Yekelchyk from
his native Ukraine to UVic, where last September he assumed a joint
appointment in the departments of history and Germanic and Russian
Yekelchyk had earned his BA and MA
and was conducting research on the construction of national identities
in late imperial Russia in 1991 when the Soviet Union was dissolved
and Ukraine was plunged into bankruptcy.
It was not a good time to be
a university researcher, says Yekelchyk. But my life
changed overnight when I received a fellowship to continue my research
at Monash University in Australia.
From 1995 to 2000 Yekelchyk attended
the University of Alberta, where he earned his PhD. He spent the
next year on a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan,
where he taught Russian history and pursued research on the construction
of cultural and historical memory in Ukraine during the Stalinist
I feel I have found a unique
fit at UVic, says Yekelchyk, I am amazed at the strong
student interest in Russian history here. Perhaps it has something
to do with our geographical and historical closeness. Many students
are interested in Russian exploration of the region and the Russian
history of Alaska.
Yekelchyk studies nationalism as a
cultural phenomenon, drawing from a wide variety of sources including
novels, opera, and paintings to illuminate how the past was represented
and how those representations were received by people.
Hes just completed a book manuscript
on historical memory under Stalin examining how Stalinist authorities
manipulated representations of the past.
For example, there was a very
popular historical novel set in the 17th century which was edited
many times by the authorities in order to portray Ukraine as a junior
friend of the Great Russian people, he explains. It
was supposed to create a feeling of solidarity with Russia. It was
popular with Ukrainian readers, but they ignored the intended ideological
message and enjoyed it as a portrayal of their own glorious past.