Mario Di Paolantonio

Associate Professor

PhD - University of Toronto; MA - University of Toronto; BA - University of Toronto

Location(s) / Contact Info:

211, Winters College - WC
Keele Campus
Phone: 416-736-2100 Ext. 88616


Faculty & School/Dept

  • Faculty of Education -
      • Faculty of Graduate Studies, Education - Culture
    • Faculty of Graduate Studies, Humanities - Comparative perspectives & cultural boundarie
  • Faculty of Graduate Studies, Social & Political Thought -

Courses Taught

  • Democracy & Education: Public formation and the humanities (GS/EDUC 5616)
  • Education and Social Justice in Postmodernity (GS/EDUC 5615)
  • Ethical Possibilities in Education (GS/EDUC 5620)
  • What Is Education For? (ED/EDST 1000)

Selected Publications

Research Projects

‘Re-emerging Pasts: Forums for Truth-telling in Contemporary Argentina and Chile’

Role: Co-Investigator

Amount funded: $£184,399

Year Funded: 2015

Duration: 2015-2017

Funded by: Economic and Social Research Council Grant (ESRC, UK)

Professor Vikki Bell (University of London-Goldsmiths) and Professor Mario Di Paolantonio (York University), have been awarded an Economic and Social Research Council Grant (ESRC, UK), worth £184,399, for their project, ‘Re-emerging Pasts: Forums for Truth-telling in Contemporary Argentina and Chile.’ This research project adopts an innovative theoretical framework within which to study how - by what processes, according to what criteria, and subject to what kinds of verification – new truths emerge about the political violence that took place in the 70s and 80s in Argentina and Chile. Although that period of violence is now past, many facets of it remain unresolved; new truths and new accounts of it continue to emerge. The research will consider a range of diverse sites, understanding them as “forums for telling.” Its premise is that the importance of telling the past is intimately linked with Justice, but that this “juris-diction” is not confined to legal forums, since the work of speaking justice (and justly) also takes place elsewhere. Our hypothesis, drawing on the work of Isabelle Stengers, is that truths about the past are of different kinds at different sites because they have to pass through different processes of hypothesising, conditions of “testing” and collective reflection before they are affirmed and allowed to emerge as true. Thus the production of truth at a museum of memory differs both in process and in terms of the truths it seeks and can affirm, from the production of truth by courts of law, or by the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team's attempts to establish identities through the testing of human remains or DNA. We follow such processes not in order to argue a familiar stance that all truth is socially constructed, but to study more vigorously and closely what the specific processes of truth production are at different sites. Indeed, the “social” or human element in the processes of producing knowledge is not denied but is acknowledged and therefore has to be negotiated. But the different forums approach this task differently, and involve distinct material and human witnesses, different procedures and place different constraints on the objects of their interrogations. In studying these processes we ask: What candidates emerge to tell the truth about the past? Which truths are allowed to emerge at the different sites? How are they understood as relevant to the forum that debates their status? What ‘tests’ must they pass in order to attain their status as true? How are emergent truths presented, arranged and mediated for consumption? How is their status challenged? The importance of these questions becomes apparent when one considers the pedagogic dimensions of the activities at stake. The project thus highlights the pedagogic and inter-generational dimension. What do the different forums understand as the relation between the production of truth and the presentation or pedagogical curation of the story of the past as a wider societal imperative? How do they agree to present their work domestically and internationally, including digitally? How do they seek to overcome the dangers of making a spectacle of the past, or else using it within a strategic instrumentalisation that insists that listening repeatedly to horrors of past violence will inoculate us from ever repeating the past wrongs?


  • Commemorative Pedagogical Practices: Exploring the Public Educational Potential of Law and Memorial Art Practices for Addressing the Unsettled Past, SSHRC Standard Research Grant - 2009-2012
  • Re-emerging Pasts: Forums for Truth-telling in Contemporary Argentina and Chile, Economic and Social Research Council - 2015-2017
  • Justice Demands’ and the Negotiated Process of Art-Work Production, Arts & Humanities - 2006-2008

Professional Affiliations

  • International Research Associate with the Centro de Estudios en Pedagogias Contemporaneas (CEPEC), AND the Escuela de Humanidades (EHU) at the Universidad Nacional de San Martin (UNSAM), Buenos Aires, Argentina.