Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Lecture and workshop on Critical Toponymy with Jean-Luc Fournier


Guest Lecture and Workshop: Critical Toponymy 

Jean-Luc Fournier: Research Toponymist, Toponymy Analyst for NRCan, Artist 

will be taking place from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 in Dunton Tower

Toponymy is defined asthe study of place names, their origins, meanings, use and typology. It is usually seen through the academic lens as a science, a field of study, as an object of research etc. Toponymy stands at the crossroads of several disciplines such as geography, etymology, linguistics, history, heritage and many others. Place names or toponyms are generally seen, as names associated to points on a Map. In actuality, they hold much more.

They serve as landmarks, which help us orient ourselves and navigate the world around us. They also carry local knowledge and often depict traits of the territory. Furthermore, they serve as memory aids and sometimes testify to humans’ intimate relationships with the land. It is a vibrant and constantly evolving discipline where humans’ imagination and conceptualization of space through daily interactions and customary practices meet, the once spoken and, the now written word on a paper map or on an interactive 2D Google Map.

Toponymy, from an Indigenous cultural perspective, originates from the stories of people that maintained strong lineages and kinship ties to the land. These rich accounts of what has been seen, heard, smelled, touched and sometimes felt and dreamed of, are integral to Indigenous people’s cultural traditions. It is archived in the oral repository and the collective memories of elders and knowledge keepers belonging to these nations. All this rich cultural knowledge is often contained in Indigenous geographical/cultural place names.

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