Documentary Production

Betrayal of Faith, the radio documentary I have been working on with producer Kevin Burns,  premiered on CBC Radio's "Ideas" show on April 3, 2024.

See documentary page on the website of CBC's Ideas

Listen to the documentary on the podcast of CBC's Ideas

Using on-site sound, period music, dramatic narration, and interviews with historians and other experts, this one-hour program takes the listener inside the dramatic story of Pierre-Anthoine Pastedechouan, an Indigenous boy taken from early colonial Canada to Angers, France in the 1620s to receive baptism and a religious education at the hands of Recollet missionaries. Pastedechouan bucked the odds by surviving his five-year stint overseas, only to face a tenuous, then tragic existence when he returned home so greatly changed.

In April 2023 Kevin and I flew to Angers, France, to tape at the Cathedrale Saint-Maurice and at La Baumette, the Recollet convent where Pastedechouan spent five years of his youth, receiving baptism and learning Latin, French, and theology, and serving as a fundraiser and language tutor in his maternal Innu language.

Kevin setting up the recording equipment in the La Baumette chapel (not the dramatic undressed cliff face) Kevin and Emma outside Cathedrale Saint-Maurice Interior of the Cathedrale Saint-Maurice

 

In my view, many of the ingredients that go into making a great book or article (for example, an eye for tiny but telling details, a strong narrative trajectory, and an ability to evoke the past – or present - in all of its complex and sensuous reality), are also critical in a documentary. I enjoy collaborating with creative people on projects of mutual interest. Please contact me if this interests you!

 

Consulting

 As an historian and religious studies scholar, I am frequently solicited to provide my opinion on matters related to my field in academic settings (such as evaluating book proposals and manuscripts for university presses, article drafts for journals, and grant applications for funding agencies, as well as weighing in on tenure and promotion cases for universities). I also enjoy engaging frequently with journalists on issues in which I have expertise and that are important to me. More recently, however, I have also been called upon to share my knowledge in legal forums. Since March 2020 I have been retained as an expert witness by Justice Canada to opine on a case involving the importation of Italian reliquaries into this country. I enjoy consulting and consider it to be (much like media work) an extension of my teaching mandate into the public realm.

If you need an expert opinion on some matter relating to Catholic history, art and architecture, beliefs and practices, or ritual objects (or that touches upon some aspect of Canadian religious history), please feel free to get in touch, using the “Contact Me” tab.

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