The Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies is a 21st-century research engine for the study of Canada and Canada in the world. We support York faculty, post-docs, graduate students, along with adjunct faculty and visiting fellows in critical, diverse and collaborative research leading to engaged research partnerships and projects, publications and intellectual exchange. The Robarts Centre provides leadership, funding, presentation and publication opportunities for graduate students through our Research Clusters and the Northern Studies Training Program.
As Research Associates, York graduate students have access to a list of opportunities to attend events, join interdisciplinary networks, and have additional academic experiences besides what is available in their programs. Launching in autumn 2021, Research Associates can take part in our new Robarts Connects Series, which aims at connecting York graduate students with each other, connecting your studies with your future, and connecting your research with unavoidable research themes in the contemporary Canadian landscape.
Scholars who have completed a PhD may apply (with sponsorship from a Faculty Associate at the Robarts Centre) to become a Research Associate for a two-year term. Research Associates are expected to present their work during their period of affiliation and are particularly encouraged to do so at the annual graduate student conference.
To join, please visit: https://robarts.info.yorku.ca/become-a-member/
Biographies and Research Profiles
(A)(li)ttle bit of this and that, Ali's interests are in the applications of technology within research and education. Since moving to Toronto in 2006, Ali has worked within a variety of companies dedicated to scaling some application of education technology. Ali is also pursuing his PhD studies in communications and culture. As a side, Ali also enjoys cultural studies and his work with such literature began during his formative years in Dubai when he sought to understand his family's diasporic identity - he engaged with texts from the Middle East, East Africa and the Indo-Pak and crystallized his understandings through a Masters in Sociology. When asked to describe himself, Ali said, "I fear water far more than I fear thirst : my thirst is my own but the water is not. I am in control of what I sip but not of what happens beyond the sip. Once I take a sip, I tacitly consent to be a slave of the water’s desire and at any moment it may choose to do with me whatsoever it may please. I live with and in this fear, a fear that reminds me to respect all that is around me.”
Michael Akladios is a Ph.D candidate in history at York University, working under the supervision of Dr. Roberto Perin. Michael's dissertation examines the transnational, pluricultural, and ecumenical history of Coptic Orthodox Christian immigrants, first in Egypt and then later in the first and largest immigrant communities in Toronto, Montreal, and New York. He charts this groups' immigration, settlement, integration, and associational activities since 1945. In addition to his doctoral research, Michael is the founder and project manager of the Coptic Canadian History Project (CCHP), a non-profit public history and community outreach organization affiliated with the Department of History and the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections, York University Libraries.
Research Interests: Canadian History; Immigration and Ethnicity in North America; Middle East Studies; Coptic Studies; Transnationalism and Diaspora; Race and Racism.
Seyedmohsen Alavi is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Faculty of Environmental Studies.
Janice J. Anderson is a PhD candidate in Humanities at York University in Toronto. Her doctoral research, “Being Otherwise: Black Women’s Literary Interventions into Radical Being, Knowledge and Power,” considers self-fashioning and world-making in Black women’s intellectual traditions and literatures in the Americas. This research is supported by a Joseph Bombardier Scholarship. Her areas of research interest include the Black Radical Tradition, Black feminism/womanism, Black aesthetics and Black literatures. “I am grateful to the Robarts Centre for the support and space to examine Blackness in a Canadian context. Here I can further develop a scholarly practice that adheres to Canadian geographer Katherine Mc Kittrick’s admonishments to shift “our analytic frame away from the lone site of the suffering [Black] body” and “toward co-relational texts, practices, and narratives that emphasize black life” (McKittrick 2014). When the weather permits Anderson is an avid skier and member of the National Brotherhood of Skiers the oldest and largest Black ski club in world
Megan is currently completing a M.A. in Health, with a Specialization in Policy and Equity, at York University. She recently completed an Honours BSocSc in Criminology and the Social Science of Health from the University of Ottawa. Megan’s research focuses on the health inequities incarcerated individuals in Canada experience and the systemic health inequities of the criminal justice system fostered by present policies. Megan sees her research as an opportunity to promote human rights and more equitable criminal justice policies.
Research Interests: health equity, criminal justice reform, health policy, health and well-being of incarcerated individuals, human rights.
Amy Barlow is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Politics at York University, specializing in International Relations and Comparative Politics. She holds an M.A. in Political Science and an H.B.A. in Political Science and History from the University of Toronto. Amy’s doctoral research comparatively examines the Canadian and American governmental emphasis on Islamic fundamentalist terrorism rather than white nationalist terrorism. Amy argues that governmental, mainstream media, and social media discourses produce and reproduce a narrative based on racial bias that causes a myopic view of threats that has fomented the unintended consequence of the rise of white nationalist terrorism.
Building on my training in fine arts (Haute Ecole des Arts du Rhin, Strasbourg) and interdisciplinary Masters in Fine Arts, Critical Disability Studies, and STS (York), my research interests revolve around bodies and visual production. Previous and ongoing projects address mobilizations of disabled bodies in contemporary art and aspects of consent in research and in art production. My doctoral work explores the construction of normal and abnormal embodiments through the social and material processes that shape the creation of biomedical visualizations. As a female-dominated field, the invisibility of medical illustrators as agents of knowledge creation contributes to the perception of medical images as unfiltered representations of the scientific truth of bodies. Drawing on archival and ethnographic research in Canadian and US graduate programs in medical illustration, my dissertation, entitled Making Bodies, Making Kin: Story-telling and the Professionalization of Medical Illustrators in North America, examines the role of disciplinary histories, narratives, and kinship metaphors in the training and professionalization of medical illustrators from the 20th century to the present.
Sophie Bisson is an opera singer and a doctoral candidate at York University where she is a graduate research associate of the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies (RCCS) and co-editor of RCCS’s Canada Watch (Spring 2022 edition). She is also the creator and editor of the online Encyclopedia of Canadian Opera (spring 2022).
A recipient of the Sunnuz Sarah Taheri Graduate Award in Fine Arts and a Helen Carswell Research Grant, she has written numerous reviews and articles featuring Canadian musical content. She has presented on topics that include how institutional policies influence the creation of opera in Canada, re-righting the wrongs of Louis Riel’s Kuyas, the evolution and themes of the Canadian aria, and articles on the revival of Claude Vivier’s opera Kopernikus. She also presents on and guides others through the challenges and possible solutions for disseminating large-scale digital humanities projects in music and in the arts in general.
Sophie’s dissertation examines the representation of women in nine twenty-first century Canadian operas and her Helen Carswell research project revisits Canadian operatic history with an inclusive lens to highlight Black opera companies, works, and artists.
Research Interests: Digital Humanities, Italian and Canadian opera (representation, gender, race), decolonising curriculum, music reception, and music in Canadian internment camps.
Dr. Sarah Blacker is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Anthropology, and a Research Associate at the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies. Her book manuscript in progress, Warding off Disease: Racialization and Health in Settler Colonial Canada, examines how public health and genomics initiatives tailored to racialized communities can exacerbate, rather than ameliorate, health inequities. She is currently teaching SOSC 3121 “Race and Health” in the Health & Society Program at York.
Miranda is currently completing an MA in Development Studies at York University. Miranda had the opportunity to "grow up" in three different Western Canadian provinces (Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia), all of which inspired her interest in the interplay between resource development and regulatory policy.
Miranda's research interests include regulatory policy, treaty rights, extraction development, resource governance, and impact assessments
Jean-Philippe Carlos is Ph.D. in History (University of Sherbrooke, 2020). He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at York University in Toronto, where he works under the supervision of Professor Marcel Martel. Specializing in the intellectual and political history of Quebec and Canada in the 20th century, he is particularly interested in the history of ideas in French-speaking communities, socio-political movements, the history of economic thought and historiographical debates.
As part of his postdoctoral project, he studies the integration of economic experts within the high political spheres of the Quebec state during the Quiet Revolution, including their networks, ideas and strategies of influence. From a comparative perspective, he wants to compare the Quebec model to the Ontario model, in order to find out whether the two provinces share similarities in the development of scientific expertise and the deployment of economic technocracy in the second half of the 20th century.
Zachary Consitt is a History PhD candidate at York University specializing in Canadian cultural and sport history in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Specifically, his dissertation focusses on how Canada used the occasion of the Olympics to unify the country and display its perceptions of modernity to the world by hosting, participating, and excelling in the international sporting spectacle. Canadian federal interest also extended to promoting nationwide fitness campaigns by funding the popular arm’s length agency, ParticipACTION. He is a recipient of the 2021-22 Avie Bennett Historica Canada Dissertation Scholarship in Canadian History.
Arshad Desai holds a B.A. in History and the Black Canadian Studies Certificate from York University. As an undergraduate student at York, Ash co-founded the Harriet Tubman Junior Fellows initiative and organized the inaugural “Blackness in the Academy” Symposium.
With an emphasis on oral history, he seeks to uncover the role of Black Canadian activism in Southern African liberation movements in the mid-twentieth century. The role of Canadian Black organizations in the transnational struggle against anti-apartheid is important for its influence on Black activism’s eventual pivot towards combating systemic racism in Canada.
Born in South Africa to a Black anti-apartheid Freedom Fighter, Ash knows the importance of oral history and its necessity in retelling the narratives of Freedom Fighters. He seeks to emphasize the importance of Canadian Black activism both within Canada and in African liberation movements.
Patrick Desjardins is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at York University. Employing a comparative perspective, his dissertation asks, “Why do some federal countries exhibit greater intergovernmental accountability than others”? Focusing on the nexus of representation of federated units in national legislatures and regionalism as a political force, he compares the politics of intergovernmental accountability in Canada, Australia, Austria and Switzerland by relating each country’s intergovernmental accountability regimes to the representation of federated units in national legislatures.
Dissertation aside, Patrick is also interested in Canadian language policy and politics, varieties of federalism(s), federalism and social policy, and the influence of federalism on civil society.
Jeff is a PhD candidate in the Communication and Culture program at York University. His current research focuses on participatory cultures and digital technology, specifically dealing with identity and representation in Canadian podcasting and the use of sound as a primary epistemological tool for decolonizing historical narratives.
Frances is a first year PhD student in Art History and Visual Culture at York University and an independent curator of photography. Her research revolves around the relationship between images and texts and currently focuses on transnational photojournalistic representations of Canada.
Alana Duggan is a PhD student in Art History and Visual Culture. Her research focuses on settler colonial studies and a critique of 19th-century imperial visual culture and the establishment of colonial cultural institutions in Canada.
Dr. NseAbasi NsikakAbasi Etim is a PhD candidate in Department of Biology of York University. With previous degrees in Animal Physiology, she has undertaken to study the impacts of environmental pollutants, particularly zinc on aquatic environment, using zebrafish as a model. She believes that findings from her research will help address some environmental issues within and outside Canada and also help in creating a safe environment for animals and humans.
Joshua Falek is a PhD candidate in Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies. They have been published in journals including the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies and Cultural Studies. Their research explores the contingencies of the recent recognition of non-binary embodiment by the Canadian state and the relations between this recognition and anti-Black colonial affective infrastructures.
Karl Gardner is an organizer, educator, and student committed to migrant justice and Indigenous solidarity. He is pursuing a PhD in Political Science at York University, where he engages in research on social movements, citizenship and immigration, and municipal politics in Canada. Specifically, his work focuses on the relationship between migrant justice movements and sanctuary city policies in Canada, and the potential to envision a new local politics of citizenship and solidarity within and against state-defined categories of migrant ‘il/legality’. His side projects touch on theories and practices Indigenous-settler solidarity; settler colonialism and the Canadian identity; and neoliberalism, gentrification, and ‘social mixing’ policies in Toronto.
Research Interests: citizenship and immigration; social movements; sanctuary cities; Canadian politics; municipal politics; settler colonialism; decolonization
David is a PhD candidate (ABD) at York U History, specializing in Canadian, Western Cultural, and Social History. His primary focus is on the cultural and subcultural history of drug use in Canada and around the world.
Natasha Henry is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at York University. The 2018 Vanier Scholar is researching the enslavement of African people in early Ontario. Her publications include Emancipation Day: Celebrating Freedom in Canada (June 2010), Talking about Freedom: Celebrating Freedom in Canada (2012) and several entries for the Canadian Encyclopedia on African Canadian history. Through her various professional, academic, and community roles, Natasha’s work is grounded in her commitment to research, collect, preserve, and disseminate the histories Black Canadians.
Ph.D Student, Digital Media, Research Associate
Racelar Ho is a PhD student in Digital Media at York University under supervision by Professor Graham Wakefield. She completed her master’s degree of Experimental Art and bachelor degree of Architecture and Landscape Design from Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts(GAFA) with prominent achievements on both research and creation and also studied in Sculpture Creation at Sungshin Women University as an exchange student.
As a researcher, she primarily focuses on 'the viability of digital games as an independent genre of fine arts', 'the history, development, and discourses features of computer-generated arts', 'the influence of dialogues methodologies between creators and audiences under infinite virtual environments' and seeks a way to smooth the gaps within science and humanities.
As an artist, to construct a hybrid-infinite world to express her poetic thoughts about Zen dialogues in different dimensions and to explore the idealistic world of transcendent beings are vital aims of her creation. This is the world which separates into four sections - objective realm, subjective realm, transcendental subjective realm, and transcendent objective realm - to reflect and observe the world of life existence.
Alexander is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History, specializing in Canadian, American, and Cultural history. His research focuses on the commodification of pizza in Toronto, Ontario and Buffalo, New York between 1950 and 1990. He charts Italian immigration, business formation, consumption patterns, and the creation of pizza as a uniquely Canadian food.
Aqeel Ihsan is a Ph.D. History Candidate at York University, specializing in Migration and Food History. His research interests focus on the South Asian diaspora currently residing in Canada. His doctoral dissertation seeks to conduct a food history of Toronto by placing ‘smelly cuisines’ at the center and chronologically tracing the history of the most prominent site where South Asian immigrants, beginning in the early 1970s, could purchase and consume South Asian foodstuffs, the Gerrard India Bazaar.
Anne Jackson is a 4th year PhD candidate in CDS with a research thesis in unconscious biases in film and television towards people with disabilities as portrayed in modern film and televsion. She completed her masters in Inclusive Design at OCADU, 2015 creating a practice based research project; scuba diving with a disability, a documentary film about Tom scuba diving with quadriplegia. She has created more short documentaries on the subject of reducing the divide between able/disable
By profession, Anne Jackson is an IT Accessibility Consultant working in all electronic media to help make the world a more inclusive place.
Azeezah completed a BSc (Hons) at the University of Toronto in Health Studies. She is pursuing a Masters in Health with a specialization in Health Policy and Equity. Azeezah's current research focuses on special education policies and their relation to the school to prison pipeline in Ontario. Throughout her academic career and through her work in the non-profit sector, Azeezah also developed an interest in disability rights, transforming public education, and sustainable, community-based programming. Azeezah uses an intersectional lens to inform her research and aims to do the same in policy and practice, to the best of her ability.
Cassandra Jesik (she/her) is currently a student in the M.A. Art History program at York University. Her current work centres on Canadian artist Joyce Wieland’s depictions of the Arctic during the 1970s and early 1980s. As a researcher, Cassandra is passionate about bringing attention to handicrafts and textile arts, which have been historically neglected from the canon of art history. Interested in exploring ideas of sovereignty, land and politics, Cassandra aspires to work as a curator, envisioning exhibitions as a way to challenge current discourses and amplify underrepresented voices.
Whether in the field of health, human rights, or disability rights, Cindy Jiang's passion is working with people to create community. Cindy conducted research for the Strength in Unity (Vancouver site) project, a national men’s mental health research study looking at how to reduce the stigma of mental illness among Asian men in Canada. While working in the non-profit sector, she co-developed and implemented a social enterprise and skills training program, Threadworks, for people with disabilities in Vancouver. This program empowered participants used their newly learned skills to earn income in addition to their social benefits.
She has worked organizations such as the Centre for Excellence for Women’s Health, Simon Fraser University, Craftworks Society, the Fraser Health Authority, the Provincial Health Services Authority, and York University. Her research interests include social inequities in health, particularly mental health and disability health promotion.
Currently, she is in the first year of her PhD program in Critical Disability Studies at York.
Abraham Joseph completed his Master of Arts (MA) in health policy and equity at York University in June 2020 and is now a doctoral student in the same program. His research explores intersections of power and mental health policy. He is interested in the ways in which power dynamics influence our ability to live safe, healthy (physically, mentally, socially), fulfilling, and meaningful lives.
Benjamin is a PhD candidate in the Department of Politics at York University with a focus in security studies. He is currently supervised by Gabrielle Slowey (Robarts Director) and is researching the use and development of surveillance technologies in the Canadian Arctic within a critical security framework. Specifically, Benjamin is examining how these technologies are expected to contribute to the defence of Canada's Arctic sovereignty and whether they represent a continuation or new defence strategy by the Canadian state.
Research Interests: International Relations; Security Studies; Political Economy; Canadian politics; Labour Studies.
Shruti is attached to York University’s PhD program in the Gender, Feminist and Women’s studies department. Her training includes an interdisciplinary background in business management and women’s studies. She has over ten years of experience in gender research that includes evaluation projects on social policy and non-profit governance. Shruti’s specific interests include Informal, care work performed by immigrant women and their interactions with multiple stakeholders like family, state, local government and social economy. At York, she teaches in the fields of gender, work and social economy basics, including governance issues of co-operatives, non-profits, and civil society organizations.
Alia Karim is a Ph. D candidate in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. She has a Master of Environmental Studies from Dalhousie University and Honours Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Mount Allison University.
Her research interests include Indigenous labour, Canadian labour movements, labour-community coalitions, labour geography, anti-colonial, anti-racist and feminist political economy, and eco-socialism. She is currently exploring the relations between humans, nature, and economic ‘growth’ in the fields of Indigenous studies, Marxist ecology, eco-feminism, and ecological economics.
In her doctoral research, she will further investigate the ‘hidden’ histories of Indigenous labourers in Canada and their importance in the national economy, relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous workers, and consider how non-Indigenous people can learn from Indigenous worldviews about the relations between land, production, and all living beings (including non-human beings). She has recently written about the Just Transition movement for an energy transition that protects workers and centers social equity, and how immigrant and racialized women are organizing against precarious work.
In addition to her academic research, she is the coordinator of the Fight for $15 and Fairness campaign at York University, and she is VP Campaigns in the York University Graduate Students’ Association.
Ryan is a PhD candidate in the Department of Politics at York University with a focus on urban governance and politics. He is currently supervised by Karen Murray and is researching the intergovernmental relationship between the province of Ontario and the City of Toronto during the last 25 years of state neoliberalization. Specifically, Ryan is examining how this intergovernmental relationship is used to further depoliticize and de-democratize governance and decision-making processes in the City of Toronto. Most recently, he has explored creative city discourse and critical urban theory in Toronto, resulting in the (forthcoming) article “Morality on Tap: The Production and Consumption of Morality by “’Vegandale’” in the Canadian Journal of Urban Research.
Research Interests: urban governance; political economy; Canadian politics; actually-existing neoliberalism; neoliberalism; democracy; critical urban theory.
Michael is a PhD student is the Faculty of Education. Michael has presented at international and national conferences on issues relating to education, sustainability, politics and housing. He has over a decade of experience in positions of leadership and management, serving as an Executive Director, President, Board Member and Office Manager for various organizations. Michael has been the recipient of over 20 awards and scholarships for his professional and academic work. He is currently completing his dissertation research on environmental education and post-secondary students.
Zainab Khan is a M.A student in the Department of Health, specializing in Health Policy and Equity. She has obtained an Honours B.Sc in Health Studies, with a Pre-Clinical Specialization at the University of Waterloo (2020). Her current research focuses on the impact of Islamophobia on the mental-wellbeing of post-secondary students. She aims to understand the perspectives of students at York University to determine the effect that targeted discrimination has on Muslim minorities.
Hailey Kobrin is a writer and researcher currently investigating affect in food and performance studies in connection to Jewish identity.
Evangeline Kroon is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Politics at York University where her interests include elections and the environment, women and violence within popular culture, as well as gender and its role in Canadian politics. Her current research looks at Green party success in Guelph, Ontario and the political, environmental, and gendered aspects that contributed to this success. More broadly, her research traces the history of Green party success in Canada, Western Europe, and Oceania. Prior to coming to York, Evangeline examined narratives of violence against women in post-apocalyptic pop-culture to earn her MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice Policy at the University of Guelph.
Research Interests: Politics and Government; Elections; Canadian Politics; Environment; Climate Change; Feminist Theory; Gender Issues; European Politics; Violence and Society, Popular Culture
Danielle Landry is a PhD Candidate in Sociology at York University. Landry's SSHRC-funded doctoral research focuses on the activist knowledge-practices of psychiatric consumer/survivor businesses in Ontario in the 1990s. Most recently, her work has been published in: Relations Industrielles/Industrial Relations, Curriculum Inquiry, Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, Disability & Society, and Studies in the Education of Adults. She teaches courses in Mad Studies and Disability Studies at Ryerson University. She was the 2020 recipient of the Wilhelm Cohnstaedt Social Justice Award.
Research Interests: Mad studies; disability studies; sociology of health and illness; work and labour; social movements.
Stephanie Latella is a PhD candidate in Social and Political Thought at York University. Situated in the fields of white settler colonial studies, queer of colour critique, and cultural studies, her work concerns nationalism in Quebec from the 1960s to the present. Her dissertation project examines how narratives of the October Crisis construct race, gender, and sexuality in different political and historical moments from 1970 to the present.
Michael Laurentius is a Doctoral Student within the Department of Science and Technology Studies. Prior to this, they received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and a Master of Arts in Science and Technology Studies. Their Master's work focused on how Canadian Cold War technological projects redefined and reconstructed the classical modernist narrative though the exploitation of the inherent tensions within said narrative. For their Doctoral work, they are in the preliminary stages of examining shifts and tensions within Canada's atomic cultural history, narratives, and imaginaries during the period that roughly corresponds with America's Early and High Atomic Culture (1942 - 1963).
Research Interests: Atomic cultural history; science, technology, and identity; concepts of modernity; Cold War narratives; technological imaginaries.
Through diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), design thinking (DT) and critical disability studies (CDS) lenses -- my PhD research focuses on the microeconomic business case for accessibility. Microeconomic data being more down-to-earth, and therefore more convincing to the business-minded than macroeconomic data, my proposed PhD research will produce powerful new ammunition to advance the accessibility cause in Canada and internationally. While qualitative data is very important, especially for interpreting and contextualizing quantitative data, it is quantitative oriented research that provide the critical constituent elements of the business case for accessibility. Therefore, my PhD dissertation will focus on the history of the business case for accessibility.
Building on her previous degrees in ecotoxicology and paleolimnology, Amanda is currently completing her PhD in the Graduate Geography Program on the influence of time, seasonality, and climate change on mining-related arsenic toxicity. While her current research is focused on lakes impacted by legacy mining contamination from the infamous Giant Mine near Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, her broader research interests include both natural sciences and intersectional environmentalism, particularly through the lens of environmental (in)justice as it relates to Canada’s northern communities and resource extractive industries.
Rachel is a PhD Candidate (ABD) in the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change at York University.
Bill Lu is a Master’s Student in the Glendon School of Public and International Affairs at York University. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University. He completed an international exchange semester abroad in Tel Aviv University, Israel, where he studied Middle-Eastern history with a focus on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Bill speaks English, French and Mandarin Chinese. His research interests include the social determinants of health, critical policy studies, and racism and discrimination in the Canadian context. Currently, he is working on a project examining the impact of anti-Asian racism in Canada in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keywords: Public policy; Canada; Asian Canadian Diaspora; social determinants of health; Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Annie Luong is a graduate student in Humanities. Her central research topic explores utopian and dystopian literature.
Signy Lynch is working on her Ph.D in the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies at York. Her research investigates how direct audience address in contemporary performance can help audience members and performers to negotiate the complexities of inhabiting a twenty-first century globalized Canada. Signy is a member of the Centre for Spectatorship at the University of Toronto and a board member at Cahoots Theatre which has just finished celebrating 30 years of staging diversity in Toronto.
Research Interests: contemporary Canadian theatre and performance, intercultural performance, digital performance, performer-audience relations, popular culture, and politics and performance
Dani is a doctoral candidate in Politics at York University. Her research interests lie in the intersections of citizenships/nationalism and carework, with a particular focus on the political economy of the Filipinx labour diaspora in Canada.
Sophia is a second year PhD student with the sociolegal studies department. Her research examines the circulation of public health narratives during the COVID-19 pandemic alongside other crisis narratives (i.e., Black Lives Matter movement) in Canada. Her goal is to reveal hypocrisies and contradictions within dominant frameworks and examine the implications of our response to the global health crisis for racial violence and the value of human life.
Christopher McAteer is a PhD student in Social and Political Thought at York University with research interests in the aesthetics of wilderness and the politics of the Canadian Arctic. He holds a BMus from the Royal Academy of Music, London, and an MA in International Relations from Queen's University, Belfast.
Christopher's interdisciplinary research draws on his academic and artistic backgrounds to radically critique how we imagine the Canadian Arctic. He is interested in the political meaning and uses of the idea of wilderness and how indigenous Northern artists are decolonizing prevalent Arctic imaginaries.
As a composer his work has been performed across the UK and Ireland, receiving awards including the Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize (2013) and West Cork Festival Composition Bursary (2014). During 2015, he wrote the libretto and score for a new opera based on the life of Roger Casement, with funding from Arts Council Ireland. He was a Moving on Music Emerging Artist during 2017/18. His music has been performed by ensembles including the Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestra of Opera North, Kirkos Ensemble, and Royal Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra.
Research Interests:Arctic studies; international relations theory; post-colonialism; post-humanism; human geography; politics of wilderness; cinema studies; music studies..
Kate Moo King-Curtis is a Humanities MA student at York University with extensive experience in the arts and film. She completed an Honours research project titled "Youth Support Imaginings" using arts-methods with youth, for the Children, Childhood and Youth Hons. BA program at York University.
Future Goals: Practice-based research in Art Therapy to develop VR tools with and for children and youth.
Research Interests: Art therapy, mental health, children and youth studies, youth agency in research, intersectionality, technological equity, critical theory.
Vanessa is a first year PhD student in the Humanities intending to study Caribbean studies within the Canadian context.
Santina completed a BSc (Hons) in Psychology at Acadia University and is currently pursuing a M.A. in Health Policy and Equity within the School of Health Policy and Management at York University. Under the supervision of Dr. Claudia Chaufan, Santina’s research is focused on Canada’s policy response to public health emergencies and its impact on the mental health of frontline health care workers, with particular interest in the 2003 SARS epidemic and the present COVID-19 pandemic. Santina is an active member of the York University community, mental health advocate, and avid learner who is dedicated to the pursuit of health equity through policy reform.
Research Interests: health policy and equity, mental health, mental health and social inequity, health care working conditions, mental health reform, emergency policy response.
Mara Nagy hold a BSocSc, Hons, from the University of Ottawa, in Conflict Studies and Human Rights. She also holds a BEd and an MEd, both from York University. She is currently embarking on a PhD at York, and her doctoral research is set to take her into areas of migration, memory, education, urban (and suburban) culture, and socioanthropology, as she looks into the demographic shifts in South Scarborough over the last century, exploring the push and pull factors, as well as the social and political impacts these changes have had on the area. She will additionally be looking into R. H. King Academy in Scarborough (the oldest high school in the city) as a case study on how schools adapt to meet the needs of these changes, and especially how the first-generation student's relationship with their family and this cultural intersection is impacted by their schooling. She has previously worked in politics and in education, and hopes to use these experiences to inform her research as well.
Océane is a master's student from Montreal. She is interested in how Afro-Canadians create and sustain their [dual] identity online.
Ify Okadigbo is a decolonial afro feminist scholar with interest in social justice, equality, and choice. I believe it is the responsibility of everyone especially women, to create a world where gender equality becomes the norm.
With over a decade’s worth of eclectic career, research and personal experience living in communities that are historically hostile to women, I am committed to being a part of the solution towards creating more equitable lives for women to occupy spaces, live freely, and dismantle patriarchy.
Jake Okechukwu Effoduh is a PhD candidate at the Osgoode Hall Law School of York University. His doctorate research is on the Legitimization of Artificial Intelligence for Human Rights in Anglophone Africa. He holds master’s degrees in law from the University of Oxford in the UK, and from York University in Canada.
Effoduh has been a human rights lawyer for over a decade, with a demonstrated history of advocacy across domestic, regional, and international human rights systems including the ECOWAS Court, the African Human Rights Commission, and the United Nations Human Rights Council. He has gained programmatic, research and academic experiences from working across 21 African countries. He has also delivered lectures at the University of Abuja in Nigeria, Ontario Tech University in Canada, University of Cape Town in South Africa, University of Oxford in the UK, and York University where he also serves as Teaching Assistant in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies.
Joanna L. Pearce is a Ph.D. candidate in history at York University, working with Dr. Carolyn Podruchny. Her dissertation, “Which naught but the light of knowledge can dispel”: Experiencing Blindness in Nineteenth-Century Ontario, examines the experiences of blind people who did not attend residential schools. Her previous research, on the establishment of free education for blind children in Nova Scotia, was published in the Journal of the Canadian Historical Association in 2012. She is a recipient of the 2015-2016 Avie Bennett Historica Chair scholarship for research in Canadian History. She received her Master's degree in history from Dalhousie University. Her MA thesis, titled "Fighting in the Dark: Charles Frederick Fraser and the Halifax Asylum for the Blind, 1850-1915," has been cited twice on wikipedia. Sadly, both articles are stubs.
Pamela is a graduate student working towards her MA in political science and a certificate in democratic administration. She completed a Bachelor of Arts (honours) at Queen's University, graduating with distinction while majoring in political studies and a minor in classical studies. For her honour's thesis she examined the landscape of Big Data and surveillance, comparatively investigating the dynamics underpinning dataification of societies in the US and China. Her current research includes areas such as critical data studies, political economy, political sociology, (new) media, and the ways in which feminist and decolonial thought can inform the production of knowledge and its application in policy and society.
Evania Pietrangelo-Porco is a PhD Candidate in the Department of History at York University. Her research interests include twentieth century Canadian history, nineteenth and twentieth century Gender/Feminist history, and North American Indigenous history. She is the recipient of the Women's Canadian Historical Society of Toronto Graduate Scholarship (2021), the Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS-Master’s Scholarship (2019-2020), the CSN-RÉC Best Undergraduate Essay Prize (2019), and the Odessa Prize for the Study of Canada (2018-2019).
Julia Polyck-O’Neill is an artist, curator, critic, poet, and writer. A former lecturer at the Obama Institute at Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz (2017-18), international fellow of the Electronic Literature Organization, and fellow of the Editing Modernism in Canada project, she is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Postdoctoral Fellow in the department of Visual Art and Art History and the Sensorium Centre for Digital Arts and Technology at York University where she studies digital, feminist approaches to interdisciplinary artists’ archives for her project, Potential Archives: Envisioning the Future of the Interdisciplinary Artist Archive in Canada. She is currently developing a monograph based on her SSHRC-supported dissertation, Rematerializing the Immaterial: A Comparative Study of Vancouver’s Conceptual Visual Arts and Writing, which she completed at Brock University. Her writing has been published in Zeitschrift für Ästhetik und Allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft (The Journal for Aesthetics and General Art History), English Studies in Canada, DeGruyter Open Cultural Studies, BC Studies, Canadian Literature, Avant Canada: Poets, Prophets, Revolutionaries (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2019), and other places.
Venilla Rajaguru is a Board Director of Science for Peace (Canada), and the Chair of a pan-university research-working group on Ocean Frontiers under Science for Peace. She also serves as an honorary council member of the International Peace Bureau (Geneva); and has previously served as the honorary Chair of ASEAN Secretariat Women’s Wing (ASEAN) 2009-2011. While she is on the last phase of completing her Ph. D dissertation at York University (Canada), she has been contracted as a Course Director at York for undergraduate courses on ‘Science and Technology Issues in Global Development’ (Dept. of Science & Technology Studies) and ‘Natural Resource Management’ (Environmental Studies).
Her educational background is in Science & Technology Studies, International Law and International Development. Her former degrees are from the University of Oxford and Cornell. She is the winner of the 2016 Vivienne-Poy Award for doctoral research on Asia; recipient of the Ontario Graduate Scholarship for doctoral research in 2014; and Rhodes Scholar 1992. Her previous work experience spans public communications, radio news broadcasting, community outreach, and corporate social responsibility consulting. After getting back to academia, her research focus is on the S & T of transboundary infrastructure development, particularly those concerning maritime regions, peace regimes, regional and international security. Her publications include a book of poems, research based articles on the socio-politics of Southeast Asia, and on the S & T of artificial island constructions.
Research Interests: Transboundary infrastructure development and transnational/International Relations; Regional, International and Collective Security; Peace Regimes, pacification and global governance; S & T policies entangled with global development and foreign policies; Natural resources governance, sustainable development goals (United Nations SDGs) and multilateral joint development; International Development, and International Law
Kate Reid is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Children Childhood & Youth Studies at York University on a research project entitled, Connecting Culture and Childhood: Using Musical Arts Programming to Promote Belonging for Young Newcomers in the GTA. This study investigates how participation in the Nai Children’s Choir impacts the resettlement experiences and well-being of newcomer and refugee children in Canada. As the Principle Investigator on a SSHRC Explore Grant and the Co-Investigator on a grant from the Child and Youth Refugee Research Coalition (CYRRC), Kate also conducts songwriting and recording research with newcomer and refugee children using a methodology they developed called, “collaborative ethnographic songwriting.” As a participatory qualitative research-creation method used to collect, analyze, and disseminate research data through music, collaborative ethnographic songwriting supports individuals in narrating and documenting their lived experiences in song
Steven Rita-Procter received his PhD from the English Department at York University with a specialization in transitional justice and memory studies. His dissertation, “Narratology, Rhetoric, and Transitional Justice: the Function of Narrative in Redressing the Legacy of Mass Atrocities” considered the history-writing aspect of transitional justice reports and the complex ways in which truth commissions and human rights tribunals shape the political, cultural, and ideological contexts according to which national traumas are absorbed into the cultural storytelling process. He has published on a wide and interdisciplinary range of topics, including: impunity laws and the politics of exposing human rights perpetrators, the ethics of extrajudicial human rights activism, the architecture of genocide memorials, the protest art of Kent Monkman and León Ferrari, the poetry of Juan Gelman, and post-atrocity archival practises. Steven has attended several human rights tribunals as both an honourary witness and as a trial monitor and has worked as a testimonial archivist for Residential School survivors.
Siobhan Saravanamuttu is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Politics at York University. Her doctoral research examines employment policy and social assistance for intellectually disabled workers in Ontario. More broadly she is interested in the historic and present-day practices of institutionalization and eugenics in Canada and their linkages to contemporary state-funded disability services and programs.
Claudia Sicondolfo lives and works as a guest in Tkaronto. She is a Vanier Scholar and PhD Candidate in Cinema and Media Studies at York University. Her research projects address topics ranging from film festivals, screen publics, youth and digital media cultures, decolonizing research methodologies and affect in the creative industries. Her doctoral research project examines curatorial modes in pedagogy, community outreach, and audience engagement within contemporary digital screen initiatives and film festivals in Canada. Her writing has been published in Public and Senses of Cinema, in addition to various book anthologies. She is a researcher on the Archive/Counter-Archive SSHRC Partnership Project.
Raj Singh is a guitarist, percussionist, and doctoral candidate in Ethnomusicology in the Department of Music. Raj received her BA Hons. in English, BFA in Music, MA in Music at York University.
Her Master’s research focused on the cajón and its place in Afro-Peruvian music and cultural heritage. Her major research paper explored how the cajón’s cultural impact remains bound to notions of Afro-Peruvian heritage, representation and identity. She also examined the integration and role of the cajón in Spanish Flamenco, and the repercussions it had on Afro-Peruvian musicians as it became the most adaptable and sought after percussion instrument in Flamenco performance.
Her doctoral thesis focuses on Inuit Modernity and how Inuit musicians in Canada innovate and re-contextualize traditional music by incorporating contemporary musical forms to include new realms of lived experiences. Her doctoral work also interrogates notions of tradition in both western and Indigenous thought, gender, identity, language, and issues of race as they relate to communal notions of belonging. Raj conducts collaborative research through the Mobilizing Inuit Cultural Heritage (MICH) SSHRC Partnership Grant.
Ph.D. Student, Critical Disability Studies, Research Associate
Under the supervision of Geoffrey Reaume, Kira’s current research explores the experiences of children in Canadian provincial asylums from the period of 1870-1940. Her dissertation, Institutionalizing Mad Children in Canada 1870-1940, will blend both traditional historical narrative styles and fictional writing. Kira received her master’s degree at Carleton University in Public History, where she wrote a novella on patient experiences at the Brockville Asylum and an accompanying reflection. This research has been presented globally at the University of Tampere (Finland), the National Council for Public History (Las Vegas, NV), and the University of New Brunswick.
Kira also works as a historian for both the public and private sectors, focusing on Métis and Inuit histories, and is one of the founding members of the Psychiatric Survivor Oral History Archive, where she works with a collective of individuals seeking to preserve the community’s histories.
Lorena Snyder is a Ph.D. student in the school of socio-political thought with research on decolonization of mental health for indigenous Canadians.
Michelle Sraha-Yeboah is a doctoral candidate at York University in Social and Political Thought. Her research examines medical histories of racial and colonial violence, mental health care service use disparities and holistic wellbeing. Her work is particularly concerned with the intersections of socio-historical and political factors impacting Black Canadians’ mental healthcare service use patterns and treatment preferences. She attends to Black feminist theorizations of care to achieve anti-racist and decolonial mental healthcare service delivery for Africans in the Diaspora.
Geetha Sukumaran a doctoral student in the Humanities program at York University and is the founder of Conflict and Food Studies. Her research focuses on narratives of conflict and food in Tamil writing from Sri Lanka and the connected diaspora. Her broader research interests include war, and trauma, food studies, culture and poetry. She is a Tamil poet and a bilingual translator in Tamil and English. Her first collection of poems Otrai pakadaiyil enchum nampikkai, was published in 2014. Her English translation of Ahilan's poetry Then There Were No Witnesses was published by Mawenzi House, Toronto (2018). Her recent book Tea: A Concoction of Dissonance, published by Dhauli Books (2021), is a collaboration with the poet Ahilan and artist Vaidheki. She is the recipient of the SPARROW R Thyagarajan award for her poetry.
Laura Tanguay is a second year PhD student in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. In her doctoral research, she investigates environmental histories and repercussions of the DEW Line, which sprawls across the Arctic. Engaging with concepts of environmental justice, militarization, and institutionalized 'othering,' she connects facets of neoliberalism with public complacency in the disruption of natural landscapes for state-driven capitalistic interests.
Patrick is a PhD student at York’s Social and Political Thought Programme. Broadly speaking, his research projects cohere around the structural relation between anti-Blackness and settler-colonialism; the politics of knowledge within settler-colonial epistemological formations (which he analyzes through his concept of necro-epistemology); and the ontology of race. His doctoral research attempts to theorize the biosocial formation of race by situating current research in epigenetics alongside Black and Indigenous theories of temporality and embodiment. Mobilizing epigenetics as way to think through and complicate temporalities of biosocial racialization, his research demonstrates how sites of so-called ‘historical’ trauma epigenetically manifest into and beyond the present, theorizing the body as a bio-temporal accretion enmeshed within (rather than extricated from) the longue durée of settler-colonialism, conquest, and slavery.
Research Interests: settler-colonial studies; Black studies – particularly Afropessimism; biopolitics; science and technology studies; posthumanism; abolitionist university studies; and the history of ideas.
Brent Toye is a PhD candidate in the Department of Politics studying the political economy of education and training in Canada. His work focuses on how powerful private interests interact with state institutions and shape public policy. His dissertation research looks at the role of large firms and dominant economic sectors in different subnational jurisdictions and how they influence regional training and labour market regimes. His side projects include a comparative study of fiscal federalism and its relationship to ‘financialization’ and the modern debt state.
Research Interests:Comparative political economy; skill formation; Canadian political economy; comparative federalism; labour market policy; financialization; fiscal federalism; fiscal policy .
Davis Vallesi is a Ph.D. candidate in the Communication & Culture program at York, currently completing his dissertation entitled, "Trudeau Squared: A Comparative Media Analysis of Canadian Federal Elections." His research strives to explore key issues regarding the Canadian media landscape, political process, and modern conceptions of democratic citizenship. He also serves as an instructor at the York Writing Centre and as a Teaching Commons Tutor at the York Teaching Commons.
Evan Vipond is a Ph.D. Candidate in Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies at York University. Evan’s work is interdisciplinary and engages with trans theory, feminist theory, critical race theory, queer theory, political theory, and cultural theory. Their doctoral project, Trans Liberalism: Trans Rights and the U.S. Military, critical examines advocacy efforts to lift the U.S. military’s trans ban. Evan has conducted both academy- and community-based research with trans and nonbinary people throughout Ontario. Their work has been published in a/b: Auto/Biography Studies (2018), Canadian Review of Social Policy (2017), Gender and Education (2017), Queer Cats Journal of LGBT Studies (2016), Western Journal of Legal Studies (2015), and Theory in Action (2015). Research interests includes neoliberalism, trans rights and politics, and trans representation in mainstream media.
Brianna Wiens (she/her) is a doctoral candidate in Communication and Culture and co-director of the qcollaborative (http://www.qcollaborative.com/), a feminist design lab. Her SSHRC-supported dissertation research draws on her mixed-race queer activist-scholar experience to analyze the movement of stories from #MeToo as they circulate among various spheres of power, developing praxes for analyzing and contributing to networked social movements. Wiens's collaborative work has recently appeared in NECSUS, Feminist Media Studies, and Digital Studies/Le Champ Numériqe, and she is a co-editor of the forthcoming collection Networked Feminist Activisms: Activist Assemblies and Digital Practices (Lexington Books 2021).
Harshita Yalamarty is a PhD candidate in Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies at York University, Toronto (Tkaronto) Canada. She is an international student from India. Her doctoral work examines the experiences of marriage migrant women from India to Canada, in relation to migration policies, expectations of household and care labour, as well as caste communities in the diaspora. She is also involved in community conversations around migrant workers’ rights, Indigenous rights and settler colonialism and Hindu right-wing mobilization in India and Canada. She is a teaching assistant at York University and has also taught at University of Delhi.
Ani Yedigaryan has obtained a Specialized Honours BA and MA in Political Science, from York University. Her Masters research project focused on how the Armenian lobby groups in Canada and the United States have come to shape the collective memory of the Armenian genocide. Currently, Ani is a Doctoral student in the Department of Humanities. Her Doctoral research project focuses on the Armenian genocide, in particular, how the memory of the genocide affects political identity formation amongst Armenian diasporan groups in Canada and the United States. Her general research interests are in the field of memory studies, genocide, historical memory, politics of trauma, identity formation, identity politics, transnationalism, grassroots activism, social justice, pedagogy, ethics, forgetting, politics of commemoration, politics of denial, accountability, critical theory, ethnographic and qualitative research. She is particularly interested in the works of Paul Ricoeur, Maurice Halbwachs, Jenny Edkins, Milton Esman, Jan Assman, Roger Simon to name a few. Her theoretical interests are grounded in the Frankfurt School of thought, particularly, Hokhimer, Honneth, Gramsci, Arendt, and Adorno