Taking The Initiative

    Canadian Mountain Studies Initiative brings together scholars attempting to understand mountains in a global context

    April 26, 2012

    Canadian Mountain Studies Initiative brings together scholars attempting to understand mountains in a global context

    The Canadian Mountain Studies Initiative (CMSI) launched in 2011 bringing together 25 scholars from four faculties whose research, in whole or in part, attempts to understand mountains in a global context. Later this year, CMSI will host a Thinking Mountains Conference to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the International Year of Mountains.

    “Our mission is to make the University the epicentre for mountain studies research and learning,” says Zac Robinson, ’07 PhD, an alpine historian in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation (PER). “We want to offer rich and deeply nuanced experiential learning for students both on campus and in the mountains, and attract mountain scholars from around the world.”

    The initiative began to take shape in 2009 when, says Faculty of Arts professor Stephen Slemon, “A few of us met informally, and within minutes we’d begun to suspect that the University already housed world-class strengths in interdisciplinary mountain studies from across the human, social and applied sciences.”

    The group’s plan to “collectivize” required institutional support was realized when they found a champion in PER dean Kerry Mummery, ’94 PhD, who shared the dream of a mountain studies institute.

    “To me,” says Mummery, “this is the exciting first step towards the formation of an internationally-recognized institute focusing on the mountains.” The U of A’s proximity to the Rockies and a large cohort of scholars dedicated to understanding mountains in a range of contexts, positions the U of A to lead an emerging discipline that promises to vastly enrich the global understanding of mountain practices, places and people.

    To learn more about the Initiative go to www.mountains.ualberta.ca.

    – Jane Hurly