Dr. Laurie K. Bertram is a scholar specializing in histories of gender, material culture, trauma, and memory in Canada and the global North. Her forthcoming book with University of Toronto Press uses everyday forms of expression, including baking, clothing and ghost stories, to understand the evolution of Icelandic immigrant popular culture and identity in North America, from 1873 onwards. In addition to this project, her new scholarly research explores the long and complex history of Indigenous-Icelandic relations in the global North. Using images, stories and objects, including textile, fishing and transport technologies, this project maps material cultural exchange, trade and intermarriage between Iceland and North America over a 1000-year long period. This project joins a larger interdisciplinary re-conceptualization of the North as a relatively fluid region with a history that unsettles more strictly divided “New” and “Old” World chronologies of migration, trade, conflict and cultural exchange.
As a curator, Bertram’s gallery-based practice often focuses on the interplay between marginalized objects, spaces and images and traumatic memory and absence. Her new traveling exhibit: Pioneer Ladies [of the evening] redeploys mug shots and objects associated with sentiment and preciousness to examine the relationship between “heritage” and violence against women on the margins. Click here for more information on the show.
Image courtesy of the Edmonton Sun, 2012