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CMU Welcomes Writer, Film-maker Larry Krotz

What are the ethical and social implications of our actions in the world? As Westerners, what help are we providing in third-world countries like Africa and what are the effects of our actions?

 On Monday, December 5, in the Conference Room on CMU’s south campus, guest Larry Krotz will speak on his research on AIDS in Kenya and about outsiders in Africa. Through his two books on these topics, titled Piecing the Puzzle and The Uncertain Business of Doing Good, Larry will read and discuss his perspective on the ethical and social implications of development projects in Africa.

“It’s exciting to have him coming because he’s an excellent communicator on social justice and development issues, in particular on AIDS and outsiders in Africa,” says Paul Dyck, Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences and Associate Professor of English at CMU.

Larry Krotz is a writer and documentary film maker, whose primary focus in his works has been to reveal how our actions affect the world.  He is well-travelled, and is quite familiar with Africa – Kenya, Zimbabwe and Angola in particular – as well as the Canadian north, where he has explored and become accustomed to First Nations communities and traditions. As a young adult, he spent a year in Canada’s arctic working with Inuit students in Churchill, Manitoba.

Krotz graduated with a BA in political science from York University’s Glendon College, in 1972. He moved to Winnipeg shortly after and became a writer, publishing his first book about Manitoba prisons called Waiting for the Ice Cream Man in 1976, collaborating with photographer John Paskievich.

He has written many articles and features since then; his journalism has made appearances in The Globe & Mail, Weekend magazine, Western Living, Quest, the United Church Observer, Canadian Geographic, Saturday Night, Equinox, and Border Crossings. His documentary videos have featured stories about community histories of Manitoba’s north, civil war in Angola, and a 1998 film titled Searching for Hawa’s Secret for the National Film Board of Canada which included footage from his trips to Kenya, Zimbabwe and Tanzania. Krotz has also written non-fiction books about First Nations communities, a self-help guide for middle aged men, a novel titled Shutter Speed, and other works.

His new book, Piecing the Puzzle, will be highlighted during his discussion at CMU. Piecing the Puzzle is the story about the origin of AIDS and the thirty years following its discovery. His book highlights the struggle and battle against the AIDS epidemic, and how it has defined the last decades in both Africa and the world. 

The Uncertain Business of Doing Good, also featured in his presentation, examines NGO, scientist and peacekeeper projects that are done with the intention of helping Africa. He examines thought provoking questions about the nature of these actions and what drives our motivation as western outsiders. Krotz offers views on how we have come to see Africa and whether our help has been offered the right way.

In discussing our actions and their implications on the world around us, Larry Krotz will encourage his audience to reflect on the way we think about Africa and challenge  us to change our thinking around international development projects. 

Released Dec. 2, 2011