On February 7 and 8, the Faculty hosted a special symposium in honour of Professor Roderick A. Macdonald, OC. The bilingual event, entitled “The Unbounded Level of the Mind: Rod Macdonald’s Legal Imagination,” became an opportunity for participants—professors, students, lawyers, judges, members of government and the general public—to delve enthusiastically into Macdonald’s rich scholarship and discuss its implications for future research.
« Ce furent deux journées extraordinaires pour exprimer toute notre affection et notre gratitude à l’endroit de Roderick Macdonald, » said Dean Daniel Jutras.
As a professor at the Faculty since 1979, including four years as Dean, Rod Macdonald is well known to generations of students, colleagues and friends throughout Quebec, across Canada and around the world. Small wonder, then, that registrations for the event poured in quickly, and the Moot Court was packed to capacity with many more participants following the proceedings by direct webcast.
Organized by Professor Richard Janda and a dedicated team of volunteers, the Symposium consisted of a series of seven panel discussions spread over two days—on such themes of ‘Producing Fairness,’ ‘Pluralizing the Subject’ and ‘Kaleidoscopic Federalism’—punctuated by a book launch (Andrée Lajoie’s La vie intellectuelle de Rod Macdonald : un engagement) and a number of collegial meals, evening receptions and even a few musical interludes.
Many of Macdonald’s colleagues at the Faculty of Law participated in the conference; several shared their observations afterwards. As Professor Margaret Somerville aptly put it, “Rod has been a catalyst for so many of us, but I don’t think we had ever realized the depth, breadth and cumulative effect of his impact before the last two days.”
For Professor Marie Manikis, who joined the Faculty last fall, it was the chance “to experience McGill’s distinct ethos, and its evolution, through incredible academic analyses, songs, narratives and first-hand experiences. As a new member of Faculty, this wonderful event was the best integration session I could have wished for.”
The Symposium also inspired reflection on the future of the Faculty. Professor Mark Antaki, for instance, was left pondering “how to turn and keep turning the charisma of people like Rod into the grace that infuses, or ought to infuse, communities and institutions such as ours.”
In the end, as Professor Vincent Forray articulated it, the event was “moving, heart-quaking, overwhelming, mind-shaking and incredibly stimulating. We heard a lot about justice, but it was also, maybe more than anything else, about love.”
The entire proceedings were filmed and can be viewed, split into panels and events, on McGill University’s media server: bcooltv.mcgill.ca/ListRecordings.aspx?CourseID=9695
Here is a sample of the photos taken over the course of the two day symposium, showing some of the panelists and participants at the event. Our thanks to photographers Lysanne Larose, Steven Weise and Owen Egan. Click on each pictures to view them in full.
Symposium participant Steven O. Weise has shared his full collection of symposium photos online.
Those interested in finding out more about the André Lajoie’s book, see La vie intellectuelle de Roderick Macdonald : un engagement (Éditions Thémis)