ISSUE 3: RELATIONSHIPS

Relationships.

They’re everywhere. They’re everything.

Without relationships, defined by the Oxford dictionary as “the state of being connected,” we would be adrift. Unhinged. Relationships anchor us, define our place in the world and create our reason for being.

Relationships are what sustained our species, allowing us to procreate, to survive and to thrive. They are what make us human. According to research professor and self-help icon Brené Brown…

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STORIES IN THIS ISSUE

RELATIONSHIPS: Beyond Romance

Relationships.

They’re everywhere. They’re everything.

Without relationships, defined by the Oxford dictionary as “the state of being connected,” we would be adrift. Unhinged. Relationships anchor us, define our place in the world and create our reason for being.

Relationships are what sustained our species, allowing us to procreate, to survive and to thrive. They are what make us human. According to research professor and self-help icon Brené Brown, “We are hardwired to connect with others. It’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”

Relationships have resonance. If you’ve ever read Dear Abby or eavesdropped in a coffee shop, you know that we love to talk about relationships. A quick online search for “relationships” reveals that most often it’s romantic relationships that intrigue us, that make people want to engage: Sometimes they respond with anger. Sometimes they’re whimsical. Always they’re interested.

For this issue of Culturally Modified, we wanted to explore relationships beyond romance. Our investigation took us to a university in Nigeria, where theatre brings the local community together with academia. It led us to an American laundromat, where employee and filmmaker Sangsun Choi works to make the most of his fleeting interactions with customers. It took us to an ashram in the Bahamas, where we spoke with a devoted yogi about our relationship to ourselves.

One of the most profound relationships we experience in life is the one between parent and child. In this issue, Lydia Howard explores this basic need for connection in our early years. We also share the research of master’s student Hayley Aikman, who examines how society relates to non-traditional constructs of motherhood.

Our relationship to gender and between genders is rapidly changing, thanks to movements like #metoo and #timesup.

Our relationship to gender and between genders is rapidly changing, thanks to movements like #metoo and #timesup. The University of Victoria’s Sisters Rising project looks at how these relationships can usher in a new era for Indigenous girls and women.

When we think about evolving relationships, we can’t help but think about changes in technology: Are we more or less connected in this social media era? According to Member of Parliament Nathan Cullen, the answer remains to be seen: We are currently in the midst of a massive experiment about how we relate to one another.

We couldn’t round out this issue without including something about the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives and how diverse cultures relate differently to the land. Simon Fraser University professor George Nicholas takes us on an exploration of the relationship between material constructs of culture, such as artifacts, and the values we place on them, which often differ between cultures.

Our book review of Zoltan Grossman’s Unlikely Alliances looks at how First Nation and non-native communities are finding common ground in their fight to protect natural resources.

Take a moment to reflect on the relationships that surround you: Maybe it’s a child or a partner. Maybe it’s your barista or your childcare provider or the guy in the next cubicle. It could be a love-hate relationship to the device you’re holding or an unrequited relationship to Tim Horton’s chocolate-glazed doughnuts.

Without relationships, we would be nothing.

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