Welcome to the January 2024 edition of the EUC Research Update - bringing you highlights from research activities at York's Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change. We invite you to view our past updates on our Research News page.
Alison Bain on re-examining the relationship between the urban and its cultures.
Nastassia Pratt on exploring the intersection of public space planning and the neoliberal thrust of tourism development in the Caribbean region.
Accolades and Acknowledgements
Thaís Henriques Dias is our new visiting scholar at EUC through the York International's Visiting Research Trainee (IVRT) program. She is a doctoral researcher in Sociology and Law in the field of Socio-Environmental Rural and Urban Conflicts at Fluminense Federal University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She is working with Professor Ellie Perkins on her comparative research on the Geopolitics of Mining and Dispossession in Brazil and Canada with the aim of studying the Canadian mining model and the conflicts related to it as well as the pattern of performance by Canadian mining companies in Brazil.
Her research is supported by the Doctoral Study Abroad Program sponsored by the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel which is a foundation linked to the Brazilian Ministry of Education that coordinates efforts to improve the quality of Brazil's faculty and staff in higher education through grant programs.
Siobhan Speiran joined EUC as our new postdoctoral visitor, continuing her collaboration with Professor Alice Hovorka, who served as her Ph.D. supervisor at Queen's University, and with the Project Investigator for The Lives of Animals Research Group. A wild animal welfare scholar and animal geographer, Speiran conducts transdisciplinary research at the intersection of primate welfare, conservation, and sustainable tourism in Costa Rican wildlife sanctuaries.
Her Ph.D. explored the lives of monkeys at these sites with regard to their rehabilitation and care. She also investigated how sanctuaries and primates are perceived by tourists, community members, and conservation practitioners. Her postdoctoral research builds upon this foundation, with a focus on the transspecies caregiving vital to voluntourism and rehabilitation programs in wildlife sanctuaries. Passionate about science communication, her research is shared on Instagram as @theanimalwelfarist and on her website: theanimalwelfarist.ca.
It is with much sadness that we share the news of EUC PhD candidate Megan Whitney’s passing in December 2023 from cancer. Megan graduated from the MES program in 2020 and was doing a PhD in Geography, with research focused on elephant-human relations in Thailand.
As Geography Program Director Steve Tufts acknowledged in his message to the EUC community: “Megan was not only a brilliant young scholar but had a kindness that was appreciated by everyone. . . the world must be a better place and Megan was dedicated to this endeavour”.
Megan was also a dedicated animal advocate and Toronto Humane Society staff member. On behalf of EUC, we send our sincerest condolences to Megan’s family, friends, and to our EUC community. Thanks to YCAR for organizing a memorial program for Megan celebrating her exceptional life.
Publications and Reports
Baril, É. (2023). Citizen-rentier-ship: Delivering the Undocumented to Labour Platforms in Paris. Antipode.
Calvert, A., Gutowsky, S., Fifield, D., Burgess, N., Bryant, R., Fraser, G. et al. (2024). Inter-colony variation in predation, mercury burden and adult survival in a declining seabird. Science of The Total Environment. Vol. 911. 168549.
Das, R. (2023). The Good and the Bad in David Harvey’s Popular Marxism. Critical Sociology, 49 (7-8), 1079-1094.
Haritaworn, J. (2023). Queere Geographien, koloniale Geographien: Urbane Gerechtigkeit in Toronto. 10.14361/9783839456224-017.
Kapoor, I. and Cavanagh, S. (2024). "Missing in Action: Where’s the Unconscious in Anti-Racist ‘Unconscious Bias Training’?” Humanities 13, no. 1: 18.
Keil, R. (2024). Covid, Contagion and Comparative Urban Research in The Routledge Handbook of Comparative Global Urban Studies, 1st Ed, Edited by P. Le Galès and J. Robinson. Routledge, London.
Kaika, M., Keil, R., Mandler, T. and Tzanisis, Y. (2023). The Urbanization of Nature underneath and beyond ‘the city’. Reflections on the book Turning up the Heat: Urban Political Ecology for a climate emergency. Tracce urbane. Rivista italiana transdisciplinare di studi urbani, 14, 41-59.
Komljenovic, J., Sellar, S. Birch, K. and Hansen, M. (2024). Assetisation of higher education's digital disruption in World Yearbook of Education 2024. First Edition, Routledge, London.
Marschke, M. and Vandergeest, P. (2023) Migrant workers in Irish fisheries: exploring the contradictions through the lens of racial capitalism, Global Social Challenges Journal, 2: 146–167.
Monchalin, R., Lesperance, A., Flicker, S., Forrest, S., Allan, E. A., & Xavier, C. G. (2023). Taking the Sexy Health Carnival across Turtle Island. AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, 19(4), 804-813.
Montero, S. and Sotomayor, L. (2024). Judicialization and urban politics: Citizens, politicians and judges in the suspension of Transmilenio by the Séptima in Bogotá. EURE (Santiago), 50 (149), 1-20.
Ogunjo, S., Olusola, A. and Olusegun, C. (2023). Predicting River Discharge in the Niger River Basin: A Deep Learning Approach. Applied Sciences. 14. 12. 10.3390/app14010012.
Smyth, A. (2024) Making futures in Oaxaca: Remittances in the diverse economies of social reproduction. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 00, 1–13.
Thornley, I. (2023). “Cracks, Gaps, and Oil Spills in the Settler-Colonial Symbolic Order: Confronting Socio-Ecological Antagonism in Canada.” English Studies in Canada (ESC), 47, no. 2-3: 9-35.
Thornley, I. (2023). “The Settler-Colonial Jouissance of Western Alienation: Mapping the Ideological Terrain of Canadian Pipeline Politics.” Canadian Literature, 253: 120-147.
EUC Events and Media Coverage
On Friday, January 26, Mark Winfield along with Stephen Hill and James Gaede launched their new edited book on Sustainable Energy Transitions in Canada (UBC Press, 2023). Framed through the relationship between decarbonization and energy sustainability and justice, the book brings together experts from across the country to share their perspectives on leading theories and practices. The book is a valuable resource for scholars, practitioners and policymakers involved in climate change, energy transitions, sustainability and environmental policy. It is also recommended for advanced courses on climate change, energy and environmental policy, and individuals looking for crucial insights into navigating Canada’s evolving energy landscape. An open-access edition of the volume is available to facilitate adoptions in senior undergraduate and graduate courses in climate change and energy policy, economics, law and politics.
On Tuesday, January 30, 12:30 pm, EUC visiting scholar Patricia Silva Gomes will deliver an in-person talk on Brasilia, Utopia and Peripheral Urbanization at York University's Dahdaleh Building 0006. She is working with Roger Keil on her research focusing on the interiorization of the urban network in Brazil's Cerrado biome, a vast region experiencing rapid growth and urbanization due to the expansion of the mechanized agricultural frontier. Her study critically explores the consequences of the urbanization process, considering its impacts on rural areas in terms of urban, environmental, and social aspects.
On Wednesday, January 31, 11 am, Session 3 of EUC's Degrowth Seminar Series will focus on Degrowth in the City: Urbanization and Planning for Degrowth. Discussion will focus on the implications of a degrowth future for cities, in particular around planning theory and practice as well as housing issues. Speakers include Jin Xue, Professor in urban and regional sustainability planning at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning (BYREG), Norwegian University of Life Sciences and Federico Savini, Associate Professor in Environmental Planning, Institutions, and Politics at the University of Amsterdam to be moderated by Luisa Sotomayor, EUC Associate Professor and Director of the CITY Institute at York University. In case you missed Sessions 1 & 2, you can watch (or re-watch) them on EUC's Seminar Series webpage or EUC's YouTube Channel. Session 4 on Degrowth and systems: Back to the caves or back to the future? will be held on Monday, February 12 with Julia Steinberg (University of Lausanne in Switzerland), Toni Ruuska (University of Helsinki) to be moderated by Mark Winfield.
Also on Wednesday, January 31, 12pm, the York University Alumni Scholars' Hub @ Hom, presents EUC Professor Joseph Mensah, who will give a talk on Getting to Know Africa and its People: Confronting Popular Stereotypes.
Mensah will present on the continent of Africa and its people and culture in an effort to subvert prevailing negative stereotypes surrounding Africa.
February is Black History Month! The theme for this year 2024 is Black Excellence: A Heritage to Celebrate - a Future to Build. People across Canada participate in Black History Month events and festivities to honour the legacy of Black people in Canada and their communities.
At EUC, our Black Inclusion Action Plan 2020-25 is a living document informed by dialogues undertaken within the faculty in 2020-21 and by ongoing consultations with EUC Faculty Council and Equity Committee, EUC staff, the EUC Black Caucus, EUC Equity Research Assistants, and others within the York University community.
We have opened up a Black Community Space (launched in October 2023 at HNES 248) through the guidance of the EUC Black Caucus, the Equity Space Dialogue and ongoing consultations with the EUC Black community. On Tuesday, January 30, 12:30pm, EUC in collaboration with Black Excellence at York University invites students to participate in the Black Voices, Black Stories: Film Screening & Storytelling Event, which aims to create a space that resonates with the diverse narratives within the Black community, celebrating the richness of Black voices and creativity through the powerful medium of film and storytelling.
The Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, in collaboration with Black Excellence at York University (BE YU - https://students.yorku.ca/be-yu), invites students to participate in the Film Screening & Storytelling Event, scheduled for January 30th , 2024 from 12:30pm to 2:00pm within HNES 248, which aims to create a space that resonates with the diverse narratives within the Black community, celebrating the richness of Black voices and creativity through the powerful medium of film and storytelling.
We also have a Black Mentorship Program which was developed through insightful consultations with the EUC community. The program aims to promote diversity in green careers, reduce bias and discrimination, foster a more inclusive school and workplace culture, and support professional growth and development for Black EUC students. The pilot program will run from January to April 2024.
EUC Professor Andil Gosine will exhibit his third curatorial project titled "The Plural of He" from March 15-July 21 at Leslie Lohman Museum of Art in New York, following on his very successful "everything slackens" and "Kelly Sinnapah Mary" exhibits! Both were notable "top picks" and widely critically acclaimed shows. He also recently curated "Wendy Nanan" at the Art Museum of the Americas in DC, as featured in Caribbean Beat.
Through newly commissioned works by five artists, "The Plural of He" explores the life and work of Colin Robinson (1961–2021), the Trinidadian American poet, critic, and unsung hero of social and sexual liberation movements in New York, the Caribbean, and the world. Displayed alongside archival objects, the commissioned works respond to records of Robinson’s personal history, from carnival costumes and calypso music to love letters and agitprop. Lauded as a godfather of the LGBTQIA+ movement by many fellow activists, Robinson can be remembered richly through his archives, which shine a light on his complicated character. Each of the commissioned works engages a specific part of the archives to reveal different dimensions of his person.
The curation is part of Prof. Gosine's SSHRC project and features EUC PhD student Natalie Wood and MES alumna Amber Williams-King.
Ranu Basu virtually participated in a Canadian Studies seminar on the theme Educate for peace that discussed the collaborative experience between York University and the University of Havana in December 2023.
The event is part of her research on ‘Subalterity, Education and Welfare Cities’ that traces the geopolitical impacts of forced displacement on cities and schools through questions of conflict and displacement in Havana, Toronto, and Kolkata. Seminar participants included researchers from Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences - FLACSO - La Habana, Cuba.
Sheila Colla, Laurence Packer and the achievements of the Centre for Bee Ecology, Evolution and Conservation (BEEc) were included in Research Infosource's - Canada's Innovation Leaders 2023.
Colla is cited as among the first to quantitatively document the decline of native bees in Canada, which has led to federal and provincial policy to protect important pollinator species.
Laurence Packer who also studies native bees has built the largest Canadian bee collection, currently estimated at over 500,000 specimens from around the world.
Raju Das penned an article On the Conditions of Workers and Peasants in India: What is to be done today? He emphasizes the need for worker-peasant alliance against capitalism and the fight for socialism based on non-immediate demands or transitional demands that bridge the gap between current level of consciousness/action and socialist consciousness/ action and that will help workers and peasant to form their government.
A version of this text was presented in Fall 2023 at the National Seminar on the Crisis of the Natural Rubber Sector in India, organized by Public Policy Research Institute, Thiruvananthapuram.
Calvin Lakhan provided an overview of a study he is conducting on consumer attitudes towards sustainable package labeling. The study revealed the importance of accurate and verifiable sustainability claims indicating that there is a clear need for more information and education on sustainability issues as it relates to packaging. Corporate responsibility is also acknowledged emphasizing the need for companies to act sustainably and transparently. Further, improving consumer education could accordingly enhance the understanding and appreciation of sustainability claims, potentially leading to more informed purchasing decisions. He has another related study on Package Labeling Influence on Purchasing Decisions.
Brian Waters, EUC PhD Candidate, recently presented a talk on Decentralized Water Markets and Seasonality in Freetown, Sierra Leone. In this paper presentation, he explored the water markets of the informal settlements in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
The research project sought to understand people's choice of water sources for future projects to be rooted in the consumers' preferences and habits. The results of his survey showed a distinct change in water sources by season, indicating how vital a temporal component is to understanding and improving water sources. In the conduct of this project, he worked with local disaster management organizations to map and inventory water sources in 8 communities across Freetown, Sierra Leone.
The EUC Research Update is compiled by the Research Office at EUC: Associate Dean Research, Graduate & Global Affairs (Interim) Carlota McAllister, Research Officer Rhoda Reyes, and Work-Study Students Xinyu Mei and Lorraine Wong. Thanks to Paul Tran for the web design and development.
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