Lara Rosenoff Gauvin

Scholars
2011
Mentor(s): 
Study program:
Banting Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Anthropology, McGill University
Current affiliation:
McGill University
Localisation:

Lara is studying how violence and displacement in Northern Uganda have transformed the transmission of moral and cultural knowledge between generations.

Re-Membering as Social Repair: Kin, Culture and History in Rural Post-Conflict Acoliland, Northern Uganda

Recognizing culture, kin belonging and intergenerational socialization as paramount in restoring social relations and social reconstruction in rural Northern Uganda after violence and displacement, Lara uses the term re-membering as shorthand to explore how indigenous social repair practices based on Acoli concepts of personhood enact social responsibility in rural Acoliland, especially, or in resistance to, state institutions with limited reach and effectivity. She is interested in how Acoli cultural ideals, based in kinship and elaborated in intergenerational oral tradition practices, constitute sociality and law, and provides an indigenous ideal of humanity and community towards which to strive.

Lara Rosenoff Gauvin is an artist, curator and PhD student in Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. Her goals are to contribute to a place-based and critical approach to transitional justice, privileging the experiences of those who, while living at the center of conflict and repair, remain largely at the margins of debate and policy formation.

Born and raised in Montreal, Lara has been shaped by its highly political environment of public debate and creative expression. After completing her B.A. in Communication Studies at Concordia University in 1998, she worked as a photo documentarian, and in 2004 was invited to northern Uganda to participate in a film about the conflict. Her experience with day-to-day living in violence and displacement, and the relationships that she forged, eventually led her to pursue an MFA in Documentary Media at Ryerson University in Toronto. Her MFA fieldwork, with repeated visits over several years during the cease-fire, brought her in touch with both individual and community processes of reconciliation, reconstruction and social repair. This, in turn, pushed Lara to pursue her PhD in the department of Anthropology at U.B.C., known for its distinguished history of collaborative community engagement, both through exemplary scholarship and in public exhibition through the Museum of Anthropology.

Lara is committed to public engagement, and her visual and media advocacy have complemented both her life experiences in northern Uganda and her studies. She has exhibited her installation art numerous times in galleries in three Canadian provinces, at conferences in Canada, the United States and Japan, and online. In 2009, she co-initiated "Internally Displaced Person's Awareness Day" which brought together communities, scholars and artists in a public exhibition in Toronto's Dundas Square. Her academic conference presentations are complemented by advocacy lectures in person, as well as on television, radio and online. She has published in both academic journals, online in blogs, and in various newspapers. Lara is also founder and creator of the Liu Institute for Global Issues' Lobby Gallery, and co-founder of UBC's Transitional Justice Network.

Experience as a Trudeau scholar

The Trudeau Scholarship has challenged me with possibility- the possibility of how I practice research, the possibility of engagement, the possibility of collaboration, and the possibility of knowledge mobilization. This space and support for visioning what research should and can do, and how one should and can do it, has been formative in my development as an academic, but also more generally as a human being.

I found much of the impetus, courage, and guts to engage in the challenge of possibility through my relationships with other Trudeau Scholars, Mentors and Fellows, as well as with host community members, and advocacy and academic allies found around the world. These relationships were greatly facilitated by the Annual Travel and Networking Allowance.

The academic world can be frightfully oppressive and competitive, squashing out the ideal of a collaborative pursuit of knowledge to better the world. Yet, it is in the Trudeau community that this ideal is consistently pursued. This challenge, and the generous financial, social, and intellectual support to engage with it, is the legacy of my Trudeau Scholarship.

  • October 4, 2016
    Four Trudeau scholars have won a Banting fellowship for 2015-16. 2011 scholar Lara Rosenoff Gauvin’s  project "We Are Sons and Daughters of Bwoc" will dive into community knowledge translation and land rights in rural post-conflict Northern Uganda at McGill University’s Department of Anthropology.