Faculty book launch held at RDC

By Sheldon Spackman
October 12, 2017 - 3:12pm Updated: October 12, 2017 - 9:36pm

A special book launch celebrating the recent works of College Faculty took place at the RDC Library on Thursday. The event featured the release of three books written by Dr. Laura K. Davis, Elaine Spencer and Dr. Doris MacKinnon.

Davis’ book Margaret Laurence Writes Africa and Canada is the first book to examine how Laurence addresses decolonization and nation building in 1950’s Somalia and Ghana and in 1960’s and 70’s English Canada.

Davis, an English Instructor at RDC, says her interest in Margaret Laurence began as a child when Laurence’s book The Olden Days Coat was made into a T.V. movie that Davis saw.

“I do think she’s a really important writer today, in part because of the Truth and Reconciliation and some of the things that all three of our talks today spoke about. She was really interested in Metis history and Aboriginal history and settler history and how the two come together” said Davis.

Davis hopes her book will also inspire people to read Margaret Laurence’s work if they haven’t already and “go back to Canada’s literary history and think about the importance of Canadian writers in our contemporary world.”

Elaine Spencer’s book Social Work Ethics: Progressive, Practical and Relational Approaches provides a current overview of the contexts in which social work happens, the ethical challenges that social workers face across Canada and future directions of the field.

Spencer, a Registered Clinical Social Worker and Social Work Instructor at RDC, says her book saw 15 contributors help her portray the current landscape in social work ethics across the Canadian educational scene.

“I think it’s a really good thing that students have much more careful and intentional ethics training when it comes to Social Work practice, especially given the changes in the Social Work world out in the workforce where there has been a trend in the last number of decades towards managerialism and para-professionalism.”

“The social workers are now needing to have a very strong internalized sense of their own ethics and their commitments to their own ethical behaviour, because essentially if you don’t know that you’re committing ethical errors or ethical violations, you can actually harm your clients” says Spencer.

She adds, “The book is dedicated to the clients who have been harmed by social workers and to our future students so that they can go out and do good in the world.”  

Dr. Doris MacKinnon’s book Metis Pioneers: Marie Rose Delorme Smith and Isabella Hardisty Lougheed, is a follow up to her 2012 book The identities of Marie Rose Delorme Smith: Portrait of a Metis Woman, 1861-1960. It focuses on Indigenous and women’s history by exploring the lives of two Metis women who settled in southern Alberta as the fur trade transitioned to a sedentary agricultural economy. MacKinnon, a History Instructor at RDC, says it was important for her to recognize the contributions of Metis women such as Marie Rose Delorme Smith and Isabella Hardisty Lougheed to Canadian history.

“They helped set up the first hospitals, they helped set up the first reading library societies that would then become libraries, to the entertainment on the prairies. They were involved in a lot of those first travelling entertainment shows and they would host these things in their homes cause there wasn’t the buildings.”

“For the Metis, it’s kind of an interesting story, they could sometimes choose their identity, sometimes it was chosen for them but if they could pass themselves off as non-Indigenous, sometimes that was a survival strategy.”

Elaine Spencer’s book can be ordered through the RDC Bookstore, direct ordered from Oxford University Press, Indigo, Chapters or Amazon.

Dr. Laura K. Davis’ book is available at the RDC Bookstore, at Sunworks in downtown Red Deer, from the Wilfred Laurier University Press website, Amazon or Chapters.  

Dr. Doris MacKinnon’s book is slated for release in December.

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