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Dr. Susan Minsos

Dr. Susan Minsos, PhD 

Canadian Published Author

Website & Blog: 


Contact Address:

14327 MacKenzie Drive NW

Edmonton Alberta T5R 5V6

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Professional Synopsis

Academic, Canadianist, Philosopher, Theorist, Essayist, Dr. Minsos is a published Canadian Writer of seven interdisciplinary print and audiobooks, including four novels and three academic works. Methodology for all books centres on the theory of manners: Homo sapiens’ overriding instinct to build power structures (culture clubs), for which dominators can set and administer harmonizing club manners, is evident in all but the most solipsistic literature. 


Topics, lectures, illustrations reflect her philosophical perspective. Minsos’s academic background in Canadian theatre, (MA thesis, James Reaney’s Trilogy, The Donnellys, and reviewer of Canadian drama for NeWest Magazine) and her PhD thesis on the Canadian novel of manners in English (doctoral dissertation focus, Sara Jeannette Duncan) invest her fiction and nonfiction with a distinctive and innovative dramatic style.


Curiosity about why literature presents different cultural manners has given Minsos her philosophical focus. Manners reflect dominators and compiliors' attitudes to what will create harmony within the herd and, in the face of the herd's affordances, speak to the herd's cultural honesty, deception, cruelty, or kindness as the herd seeks to survive. She calls the asymmetrical tit-for-tat matrix game we play to socialize, Weird Tit-for-Tat, because the matrix social game has three moves instead of the expected two. Selection and evolution have favoured animals to make herds. (Image art ©Stephen Gibb; Flammarion Engraving, 1888)

Scroll down for a Q. and A., offering an explanation of affordances, manners, domination and culture clubs (power structures).


Publications - Print & Audio

DELC, Audiobook - Sky Walker, Tehawennihárhos Charter. In production.

Reader: Elijah Lucian. Production manager: Eric Svilpis, Evius Studios. Producer: DELC Ltd.

CELA and Eschia Books, Audiobook - Sky Walker, Tehawennihárhos. Book 1. Mark Demeda, Reader. David Stinson, Production Manager. Available for borrowing at CELA libraries. Book 1 chosen for audio recording by the Book Publishers Association of Alberta. 

Three Rascals Press - Culture Clubs: The Real Fate of Societies. Kindle and paperback available on Amazon Prime.

Margaret E. Atwood@MargaretAtwood Nov 25, 2022. Culture Clubs: The Real Fate of Societies by Susan Minsos. ⁦@PhillipsPOBrien A propos of left-right convergences. Plus a bonus: Are women funny? [Check out]

Culture Clubs: The Real Fate of Societies

DELC - Sky Walker Tehawennihárhos: Charter, Mohawk Trilogy, Book 3

Foreword Magazine Review Rating: 5 stars out of 5  "[Charter's] lovable, intricate characters and the challenges that they face every day, from protecting their lands to safeguarding their hearts, are an irresistible draw." Lillian Brown - Sky Walker Tehawennihárhos and the Battle of Vinegar Hill, Book 2, DELC, producer. Elijah Lucian, reader. Eric Svilpis, production manager. - Sky Walker Tehawennihárhos, DELC, producer. Elijah Lucian, reader. Eric Svilpis, production manager.

Eschia Books - Sky Walker Tehawennihárhos, Mohawk Trilogy, Book 1

Dragon Hill Publishing - Sky Walker Tehawennihárhos and the Battle of Vinegar Hill, Mohawk Trilogy, Book 2. Writer awarded Canadian 150-year commemorative pin for books 1 and 2 of the trilogy, recognizing their contribution to Indigenous Truth and Reconciliation. Lectures to public (on the Grand River Navigation Company's scandal), sponsored by Government of Canada grant, given at the University of Alberta, and later, at MacEwan University during her tenure at the latter as Writer-in-Residence.  

Spotted Cow Press – Squire Davis and the Crazy River

Spotted Cow Press - Weird Tit-for-Tat: The Game of Our Lives

Podcast with Bob Chelmick (CKUA) about the matrix game of socialization, producer, Spotted Cow Press

Spotted Cow Press - Culture Clubs: The Art of Living Together

Published, Human Universals and Cultural Illusions – focus on Canada and Japan, published in Reports of Serial Lectures on Canadian Studies. Tokyo: Meiji University, Centre for International Programs. As Coordinator of the Canadian Studies program at the University of Alberta, Dr Minsos was invited to lecture at Meiji University. 

Guest presenter/speakerBritish Association of Canadian Studies, Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, UK. Topic: English-Canadian speech and British expressions, presenterCanadian Studies representative, Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, with Chandra Mohan; guest speaker, University of Seattle, Washington; University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon; guest speaker, Winning Women Conference, Calgary; guest speaker, Super Saturday, University of Alberta; guest speaker, University of Alberta and MacEwan University.

ERA. PhD Dissertation. Narration, Dialogue, and Plot Structure in Duncan's The Path of a Star, The Imperialist and Set in Authority

Great Plains Quarterly – Reviewer, “The History of Prairie Theatre” by E. Ross Stuart. 

Canada Theatre Review. Author. "The International Fallacy at the House Shocter Built."

ERA. MA Thesis. Toward a Myth of Community: James Reaney's Trilogy: The Donnellys

Canada New Play Reviews, Principal Reviewer, NeWest Magazine.

Summer (for teens) and Winter (for High School teachers in Public and Catholic High School systems, Edmonton) drama classes and exhibition, and An Introduction to New Canadian Playwrights, done consecutively. Co-creator, with Sally Williams. Sponsored by Government of Alberta. 

Formal Education

Doctor of Philosophy - English (Canadian) Literature 

University of Alberta | Edmonton, Alberta

Master of Arts - English (Canadian) Drama 

University of Alberta | Edmonton, Alberta 

Bachelor of Arts - English and Philosophy

Western University | London, Ontario 

Image by Stephanie Harvey

In Conversation With

Dr. Minsos

Q:     What gives your philosophy credibility?

M:         Reading, I suppose. If, like me, you'd spent ten thousand (+) hours studying manners – the novels, plays, histories of this culture, or that culture, in this era, or that era – you too would find yourself wondering whence manners come. And wherefore?

Q:     Wherefore should we care about this issue. . . where manners come from?

M:      . . . And what they're good for. Manners are fascinating. Harmonizing. Manners are fluid. Manners adapt to changing conditions. That's what makes them fascinating.

Q:     What do you mean "fluid"?

M:            Flexible sapiens fluidly (often unconsciously and not rationally) adopts the appropriate manners to fit into any given culture club he/she wants (or is forced) to join. The knitting club, the sports team, the family, the nation, the religion, the corporation, – all clubs have their own laws, policies, rules, civilities, and customs, which I umbrella under the term manners. manners give a group harmony. Everyone knows how to behave to fit in. But domination (those who set manners) depends on affordances. Affordance is another word for total environmental context, from the personal to the external. Affordances determine dominators..

Q:     Stop. Be specific. What are affordances?   

A:      Environment. Climate change. Economies. Enemies. Age. Health. All Contexts. Zeitgeist. All the factors you face today as you make your choices about your relationship to the herd's leadership. Psychologist James J Gibson coined the term affordance in his 1966 book, The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems. The affordances of the environment are what the environment offers the animal, what it provides or furnishes, either for good or ill. In reaction to affordances, dominators tailor a club's manners to fit the herd's common purpose.

Q:     In general, what is a club's common purpose?

A:          Same as the individual's. Safety. Survival. Renewal. Alliances. Conquer the enemy. Trade with the rival. If you're competing in a zero-sum game (hockey), beat the competition. If not, maybe trade commodities. Currently, as experts warn, sapiens might want to manage the deep-learning potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Will we choose national dominators who try to halt the deep-learning research? Or do we fear other nations or rogue states will charge ahead with their own research, leaving ours to bite the dust? We are up against some big choices.

Q:     We are. So who are the most culturally agile? Men or women?

M:           In socialization, the role that women and children play is certainly the most overlooked. Hence the big mistake.

Q:     What is the big mistake?

M.       Whatever socialization is about, mothers and children are intimately involved. Plus. Some game theorists muse about socialization's happening with no central authority. Mums and kids know that's a big joke. Remember your mum? She set the house rules. As a mathematical premise in game theory, cooperate-don't cooperate is too restrictive – a non-starter in explaining the fount of socialization.

Q.     Why?

M.      Our fates are tied not only to a conscious and rational (see John Nash) ability to cooperate but also to an instinctive, very simple three-cornered game we play in our search for authority. Children play Weird Tit-for-Tat. Children play the game of life to survive. The search for authority is inherent. Weird Tit-for-Tat builds power structures, which I call culture clubs. We come full circle: Culture clubs have dominators. Dominators set manners. My novels are illustrative: they describe culture clubs' forming and re-forming. The narratives detail various manners' codes, which dominators have set to try to ensure a particular culture club's survival. Manners are the culture club's policies, laws, and civilities, polite idioms, and they are both kind and/or cruel, depending on how they are applied to any given individual. Example: Colonial manners were kind to individual Anglo-American settlers, but cruel to to individual Indigenous and First Nations. See the Mohawk Trilogy.

Three Fates as Weirdo Sisters,

oil on canvas

©Kiff Holland FCA, CSMA, RI (HON)

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