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Research Projects

Research is at the heart of EUC. The time and effort that faculty members devote to securing research funding and to engaging in knowledge mobilization activities help our faculty, postdoctoral fellows/visitors, and students get involved in innovative research that showcases the interdisciplinarity and the broad relevance of our work. Our research culture, however, goes far beyond the money raised from external sources. From the wide array of activities, research, and publications that emerge from the Faculty, it has one of the most diverse and active research cultures at York.

Find a Project

Principal Investigator: Lisa Myers

Funding: York Research Chair

Term: 2021-2026

The research will focus on contemporary Indigenous art considering the varied values and functions of elements, such as medicine plants and language, sound, and knowledge. A project team will be built to consider the culturally specific approaches of contemporary Indigenous media artists, and to understand and constitute collections/archives of Indigenous media art. Specific activities will include: 1) researching the ‘informal archives’ that result from Indigenous video art and film production in order to articulate preservation protocols and the function and care of Indigenous collections; 2) leading research creation as a form of inquiry into Indigenous archival content; 3) mobilizing knowledge using digital arts (image, audio and video) to constitute new collections that reflect social histories and language revitalization (this will involve using the Wild Garden Media Centre at EUC); and, 4) gathering a media arts research cluster of Elders, scholars, students, and communities to work with and create Indigenous archives.

Principal Investigator: Tarmo Remmel.

Funding: NSERC Discovery Grant.

Term: 2021-2026.

The project is developing an explicit logic and corresponding software to extend morphological segmentation to depict a true 3D characterization of landscapes. Methods will be subject to sensitivity analysis and will be used to compare the effects and recovery of landscape processes such as fire, harvesting, and forest road building activities, and to identify critical structural differences among them. Improvements will benefit appraisals of database accuracy, carbon accounting, and inform forest management planning.

street performance

Principal Investigator: Jinthana Haritaworn

Funding: SSHRC Insight Grant.

Term: 2021-2026.

The project examines the contributions that multiple marginalized communities are making to help their societies survive and recover from the pandemic. It proposes that those who have experienced and, often, led intersecting movements for justice are in an ideal position to innovate critiques and responses that can benefit everyone. The objective is to explore alternative paradigms of quarantine that create greater safety for all, and to make contributions to scholarly debates on intersectionality, social movements, queer activism, archives, HIV/AIDS, polyamory, affect and mutual aid, as well as public debates on health education, police violence, transformative justice and community organizing.

Principal Investigator: Gregory Thiemann

Funding: NSERC Discovery Grant.

Term: 2021-2026.

The proposed research involves testing hypotheses around the environmental drivers and ecological consequences of individual specialization, using the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) as a model species and target for conservation. As a long­-lived top predator in a dynamic habitat, polar bears demonstrate several characteristics that promote individual specialization: interspecific competition is low, intraspecific competition may be strong, and individual foraging behaviour is highly variable. As a species that relies on the annual sea ice as its primary habitat, the polar bear is also vulnerable to demographic decline attributable to climatic warming. By identifying the factors contributing to individual fitness in an Arctic top predator, the research will lead to advancement in animal ecology and inform policy and action aimed at the conservation of polar bears, a species of significant cultural and economic importance in Canada.

river between two mountains

Principal Investigator: Deborah McGregor/Co-Investigator: Lisa Myers.

Funding: SSHRC Insight Grant.

Term: 2021-2025.

The project aims to define what it means to "live well" from a self-determined Indigenous perspective. Building on previous SSHRC-funded research, the project team will focus specifically on the Anishinaabek concept of mino-mnaamodzawin (well-being with all life) as a
framework for envisioning Indigenous-derived climate futures for the benefit of not only Indigenous peoples but of all society and the natural world. The project will document and advance existing understandings of mino-mnaamodzawin in the face of climate change (knowledge gathering); revitalize Indigenous (Anishinaabek) knowledge, and share Indigenous climate change knowledge with Indigenous communities, governments, policy-makers, academics, climate scientists/researchers, ENGO's, and the public.

Solar panels

Project Investigator: Mark Winfield.

Funding: SSHRC Insight Grant.

Term: 2021-2023.

The proposed project will build on and expand the research, Canadian and international partnerships and networks, and knowledge mobilization infrastructure in the area of sustainable energy transitions and climate change policy. The major outputs of the project will include two books: 1) an edited volume on low-carbon sustainable energy transitions in the age of populism and pandemic that will bring together an interdisciplinary team of leading researchers on climate change policy and low-carbon energy system transitions; and 2) a monograph that will examine wider long-term sustainability transition challenges for Ontario in the context of populism and COVID-19.

people sitting next to a tent

Principal Investigator: Lisa Myers.

Funding: SSHRC Insight Development Grant.

Term: 2021-2023.

The project is the first exploration of the informal archives that result from the work of Indigenous artists and filmmakers. Since these important archives hold linguistic, social and environmental histories related to Indigenous rights and interests in Canada, their care is of particular interest to First Nation communities, researchers, artists and museum professionals. Care of such collections will include making them accessible to communities and researchers. Through research ­creation in curatorial practice and socially engaged art approaches, the archival research will inform two art exhibitions and result in curatorial and academic writing.

Principal Investigator: Sarah Flicker.

Funding: SSHRC New Frontiers Research Fund.

Term: 2021-2023.

The project brings together an international and interdisciplinary team of scholars with expertise in participatory methods, sexuality, and global health research. The project’s multi-method, multidisciplinary, and multi-site research will examine how COVID-19 is redefining risk and re-forming youth sexuality in Australia, Canada, and the United States, all countries with liberal democracies with comparable discourses and debates surrounding youth sexuality, but starkly different experiences of and responses to the pandemic. Results will be used to develop site-specific and transnational briefings, videos, podcasts, and other resources to help sex educators, parents and youth navigate social norms, health risks, and sexual relationships during (and, eventually, in the wake of a pandemic.

aerial view of a forest in autumn

Principal Investigator: Dayna Nadine Scott.

Funding: SSHRC New Frontiers in Research Fund.

Term: 2021-2023.

Resource conflicts and legal uncertainties have dominated the political landscape over the last decade; conflicts over extraction and its infrastructures have intensified, catalyzing a fierce Indigenous resurgence. As Scott and the research team conceived this project, hereditary leaders were blocking a pipeline company from accessing their lands, inspiring solidarity actions that blocked rail lines, ports, highways, and political offices. The situation dramatically demonstrated that when corporate interests thrust contested projects onto Indigenous homelands - even with governmental approvals – they must contend with Indigenous governing authority. The project asks: How can the “just transition” to sustainable economies be imagined and infrastructured to foreground Indigenous governance systems? This project offers an agenda for fundamentally re-making our socio-technical systems; for both conceptualizing and building infrastructure otherwise.

a group of people in a field

Principal Investigator: Lisa Myers.

Funding: SSHRC Connection Grant.

Term: 2021-2022.

This podcast creation project is an outreach and knowledge mobilization initiative of Finding Flowers with main focus on researching, replanting and caring for the more-than-twenty Medicine and Butterfly Garden artworks created across Canada by the late Mi'kmaw/Beothuk and 2-Spirit artist Mike MacDonald. MacDonald's gardens were originally planted, and some continue to exist, surrounded by different plant life and languages across the land we know as Canada. Distinct from colonial conceptions of gardens, MacDonald conceived his gardens as art installations, and as spaces for community contemplation and environmental reflection. In this connection, the project will create a sound and conversation-based archive of Indigenous languages, gardens and contemporary art created by Indigenous people, promoting the diverse practices and knowledge of Indigenous artists and Knowledge Holders, such as Mike MacDonald.

a hand holding a brush dipped in paint

Principal Investigator: Sarah Flicker. Partner: Sketch Working Arts.

Funding: SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant.

Term: 2021-2023.

The project aims to build on and actualize the knowledge and learning surfaced and generated by Sketch Working Arts' Making with Place youth artist researchers, to disseminate key stories and findings, and identify pathways forward for the Sketch agency, and community arts practice.This work is grounded in, and will inform interactions of, the Sketch Theory of Change (ToC). The Sketch ToC seeks to capture the pathways and outcomes through which young people can engage and express in the arts, develop increased agency and capacity, navigate and manage challenges, and organize action in community.We seek to mobilize knowledge, and further co-create and activate understandings of these processes of change, with the youth who are living and leading this work.

Indigenous Economics

Principal Investigator: Peter Victor.

Funding: SSHRC Connection Grant.

Term: 2021-2022.

The project supports the first collaborative Indigenous Economics Conference held in partnership by the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics (CANSEE) and Indigenous Climate Action (ICA). The Assembly that took place virtually from June 10-12, 2021 brought together scholars, students, business leaders, organizers, policy-makers and community members to develop and share educational resources that sit at the intersection of Indigenous rights and climate justice. The aim of the Assembly is to promote Indigenous voices as agents of change and knowledge-keepers, and to amplify contributions to knowledge both within academia and among community practitioners. In line with SSHRC's Indigenous Research guidelines, the Assembly has been created by and with Indigenous Peoples, and will place great emphasis on lived experience, the co-creation of knowledge, and identifying and addressing community needs.

Principal Investigator: Sarah Flicker

Funding: York Research Chair

Term: 2020-2025

The overarching goal of the research program is to improve the sexual and reproductive health outcomes of youth communities with a special emphasis on those communities that experience heightened vulnerabilities as a result of historic and ongoing structural and interpersonal violence. Focusing on improving structural, social and political environments that create the conditions for health to flourish, the specific objectives of the research chair program are to: improve the health of individuals and communities by documenting, implementing and sharing youth-led solutions to intractable health challenges using community-based participatory research methodologies; take leadership in the scholarship of community-engaged, ethical, decolonizing participatory research practices; build the research capacity of communities, academics and trainees to engage in policy-relevant community-based participatory health research; and mobilize youth-centred, transnational networks and solutions for improving sexual and reproductive health.

Principal Investigator: Sheila Colla

Funding: York Research Chair

Term: 2020-2025

The research program over the next five years continues to combine ecology, citizen science, policy and biocultural understanding to better address pollinator conservation and management challenges. The broad objectives are to: investigate differential success of native pollinators subject to multiple environmental stressors; develop new conservation frameworks to incorporate different types of knowledge to better understand and solve conservation challenges; and develop an evidence-based, collaborative, multi-stakeholder national pollinator strategy. The research program aims to add to the basic understanding of ecological requirements, population dynamics and habitat use for native pollinator species but also have implications in understanding differential responses to stressors by co-occurring wildlife species. The project team is implementing recovery strategies and habitat restoration with a much better understanding of the inter-specific differences with respect to vulnerability, ecological needs and behaviour. They are targeting conservation efforts for declining bumblebee species to be more effective and efficient and are creating new interdisciplinary frameworks and methodologies to incorporate and co-produce different types of knowledge and strategies to guide policy development to incorporate scientific evidence in a collaborative way.

young people talking at a table

Principal Investigator: Deborah McGregor. Co-Investigators: Dayna Scott and Martha Stiegman.

Funding: Canada Research Chair.

Term: 2020-2025.

The Indigenous Environmental Justice (IEJ) research and outreach project aims to develop a distinctive EJ framework that is informed by Indigenous knowledge systems, laws, concepts of justice and the lived experiences of Indigenous peoples. It serves as a resource for community members, students, activists and scholars towards contributing to the development of the EJ framework. It aims to: support communities fighting an environmental injustice; provide resources to teachers and schools that are interested in educating their students about the concept of Indigenous environmental justice, and; continually create opportunities for inclusive dialogue on how to move toward greater justice.

Action Dignity manifestation

Project Investigator: Jennifer Hyndman. Partner: ActionDignity.

Funding: SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant.

Term: 2020-2022.

The project seeks to unpack the links between the migration status of meat packers and their experience of COVID-19. Reports in the media and by community advocates, including partner organization, ActionDignity, indicate that the workforce is composed of almost entirely of migrant and immigrant workers: both Temporary Foreign Workers from the Philippines and resettled refugees from Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Sudan; yet exact information about the current legal status of workers is unknown. The project aims to document exactly who works at these plants, under what conditions, and with what impacts at the Cargill plant in High River and JBS Foods in Brooks, Alberta.

Talking Treaties

Principal Investigator: Martha Stiegman.

Funding: SSHRC Connection Grant.

Term: 2020-2023.

This is a knowledge translation project that leverages the research of the Indigenous-led Talking Treaties community arts project to instigate, amplify, and enrich public discussion on our treaty responsibilities as settler and Indigenous residents of Tkaron:to. The overarching goal is to activate along-neglected treaty obligation to "polish the Covenant Chain" (an Indigenous metaphor for renewing treaty relationships) by helping Torontonians learn the history of their agreements with Indigenous peoples and with the Land, an important first step towards rectifying and renewing these relationships in the present and for the future. Toronto is a diverse city located on the traditional territory of multiple Indigenous nations and subject to several historic treaties and modern land claims that are understood in sometimes conflicting ways. The project focuses on the historical significance and contemporary relevance of three key intercultural agreements that underpin relations in Toronto today: the Covenant Chain/1764 Treaty of Niagara, the Dish with One Spoon, and the so-called Toronto Purchase of 1787/1805.

part of a puppet on the ground

Principal Investigator: Andil Gosine.

Funding: SSHRC Connections Grant.

Term: 2020-2022.

"Everything Slackens In A Wreck" is a line from Khal Torabully's "Coolitude" which expresses Indentures' experience of rebuilding and reinventing their lives during the period of indentureship. Trapped in the dehumanizing conditions of the Indentureship program, migrants nevertheless also simultaneously worked against tenets of caste and gender that had been punishing to them in South Asia. Indo-Caribbean women, for example, found ways to assert new forms of economic, political and sexual autonomy that would endure to the present. Possibilities always open up in the fissures created by crisis, and the framework of this exhibition bears broader relevance, as evidenced in 2020 by the myriad responses to the pandemic and the stunning force of the Black Lives Matter movement; however bad things get, the human spirit and our survivalist drive force new shifts and invent new paths. Torabully's phrase is understood in this project as an observation more than aspiration---an acceptance of Michel Foucault's contention that resistance is an always present counterpart to power. This project records and weighs the mechanics of what slackens in a wreck---and optimistically imagines what comes after. This new project will include an exhibition at the Ford Foundation Gallery in New York in 2021

solar panels and a windmill

Principal Investigator: Mark Winfield

Funding: SSHRC Connections Grant.

Term: 2020-2022.

The project provides opportunities and platforms for researchers and practitioners to make connections between findings arising through different research projects and aids in setting future research agendas, including the impact of COVID-19 on low-carbon energy transitions. The subjects addressed through these projects have included energy efficiency, smart grids, energy storage, community energy planning and distributed energy resources, transportation and climate change, and inter-provincial cooperation on climate and energy policy. The project takes place at a critical point for Canada, where low-carbon energy transitions are already under stress from recently elected populist provincial governments. The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced some of those pressures in significant ways.

man painting Housing is a Human right

Principal Investigator: Luisa Sotomayor. Partner: City of Toronto.

Funding: SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant.

Term: 2020-2022.

The main goal of this Partnership Engage Grant (PEG) project is to build a strong research collaboration between managers and policy officers at the City of Toronto's Shelter Support and Housing Administration (SSHA) division and faculty and researchers at York University to develop evidence-based approaches to public engagement and community dialogue about homelessness. More specifically, the project seeks to: examine the SSHA's current methods and tools of public engagement for the introduction of a new shelter; identify and compare effective practices from relevant national and international cases, and; develop a report with recommendations and a toolkit for practitioners aimed to improve future practices and inform decision-making at SSHA and across the City of Toronto divisions involved in the delivery of homeless housing and services.

fishing ships in a harbour

Principal Investigator: Peter Vandergeest/Co-Investigator: Philip Kelly.

Funding: SSHRC Insight Grant.

Term: 2019-2024.

The research sets out to examine marine fisheries work, focusing on fisheries based out of Thailand and Taiwan that have been identified as having large numbers of migrant workers and instances of labour abuse. In particular, it aims to understand labour issues as experienced by workers and worker support organizations. These experiences are placed in the context of both the global seafood supply chains (or production networks) and the 'reproduction networks' that link migrant workers with their families and communities in source areas. The research is linked to another project titled "Sweatships at Sea:  Labour reform in the Thai seafood supply chain via hybrid global governance" led by Alin Kadfak at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. 

Principal Investigator: Gail Fraser.

Funding: SSHRC Insight Grant.

Term: 2019-2023.

The project focuses on the regulatory processes leading to decisions to permit exploratory offshore drilling in or adjacent to marine protected areas. It aims to assess decision-making processes by drawing on comparative international cases that highlight how eastern Canadian offshore oil governance practices can be strengthened to permit more robust public engagement in the development process and curtail subsequent political conflict. The project will use a qualitative, multi-case study approach that compares and contrasts regulatory decisions where call for bids overlapped with a marine protected area in four comparable jurisdictions: Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand.

indigenous people blocking a railway

Principal Investigator: Sarah Rotz.

Funding: SSHRC Insight Development Grant.

Term: 2019-2022.

The purpose of this RAIR Collective research project is to support grassroots Indigenous rematriation and (re)connection to land. It supports the convergence of food sovereign peoples in ways that advance dialogue and action for Indigenous land rematriation. This work centres Indigenous women and two-spirit presence, experiences and relationships to land and traditional territories. In turn, the work is grounded in emergent feminist, decolonial, and activist methodologies.

Group of people with flowers

Co-Principal Investigators: Sheila Colla and Lisa Myers.

Funding: SSHRC New Frontiers in Research Fund.

Term: 2019-2022.

Dubbed as Finding Flowers, this interdisciplinary research project integrates art, ecology and education. Inspired by the work of the late Mi’kmaq artist Mike MacDonald, Finding Flowers grows, revitalizes and cares for native pollinator gardens as art installations, and as spaces for community contemplation and knowledge co-production. Working alongside pre-existing gardens created by MacDonald during 1995 and 2003, Finding Flowers is focused in preserving, expanding and building new Indigenous Pollinator Gardens at various locations across Canada. The project partners with local organizations such as BUSH Gallery (BC), Dalhousie University (NS), Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery (ON), Maloca Garden York University (ON), Mount St Vincent University (NS), Musagetes (ON), Ociciwan (AB), SKETCH Working Arts (ON), Walter Phillips Gallery (AB), Woodland Cultural Centre (ON).

Principal Investigator: Martin Bunch/Co-Investigator: Peter Victor.

Funding: SSHRC Insight Development Grant.

Term: 2019-2021.

The Ecological Footprint Initiative is a partnership between the Global Footprint Network and York researchers who are working to enhance the accounting methodology and improve data on which the concept of ecological footprint is based. The goal is for York to become the global data center for the National Ecological Footprint Accounts, starting in 2019, and to lead an international network focused on making ecological footprint more accepted, accessible, and policy relevant. The research makes significant contribution to the development and implementation of resource allocation, protection, and measurement policies in Canada and around the world.  Given the success of the Ecological Footprint narrative on an international scale, the research will reach a broad and diverse audience that will provide new ways to improve individual behaviour towards achieving environmental sustainability.

Principal Investigator: Jennifer Foster/Co-Investigator: Gail Fraser.

Funding: SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant.

Term: 2019-2021.

The project unites established researchers from York University with conservation managers from the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and students to address pressing issues on Toronto's Leslie Street Spit, one of Canada's most celebrated "urban wilderness" landscapes. It combines innovative methodologies to develop an advanced understanding of human relationships with the Leslie Street Spit and to identify strategies for channeling ecologically andsocially sustainable options for the future. It will explore park users' activities, preferences and ideals, with a view to creating policies, plans and designs for the Spit that help protect its ecological attributes.

Book cover: Assetization - Turning Things into Assets in Technoscientific Capitalism

Principal Investigator: Kean Birch.

Funding: SSHRC Insight Grant.

Term: 2018-2023.

This project examines the extent, manifestation, and policy implications of ‘rentiership’ in contemporary, technoscientific capitalism. Rentiership is defined as the capture of value from the ownership and/or control of assets, rather than the production of new goods and services. It involves fieldwork on the following sectors in different countries: social media (San Francisco, USA); biotech (South East England, UK); and artificial intelligence (Toronto, Canada).

Principal Investigator: Lewis Molot

Funding: NSERC

Term: 2018-2022

The key driver of cyanobacteria bloom formation is the onset of anoxia (defined as complete loss of dissolved oxygen and nitrate) at the sediment/water boundary which results in release of ferrous iron into overlying water. The discovery of this formation has important management implications because blooms can be averted by preventing complete loss of dissolved oxygen at the sediment/water boundary. This allows managers to set phosphorus targets that protect oxygen levels. The project continues a survey of metabolically essential trace metals in lakes across Canada to fill in gaps, especially in eutrophic lakes. Preliminary evidence indicates that very low concentrations of certain trace metals (molybdenum, iron and possibly cobalt) can limit growth of cyanobacteria in eutrophic lakes in some regions when nitrogen is in short supply.

Principal Investigator: Patricia Ellie Perkins.

Funding: QES/Universities Canada.

Term: 2018-2021.

This Climate Justice Project aims to build a research network of 18 or more low and middle-income-country (LMIC) and Canadian emerging scholars (PhD researchers and post-doctoral fellows) working to address the injustices resulting from global climate change through participatory democratic governance. It will also introduce them to the ongoing Economics for the Anthropocene (E4A) program (see e4a-net.org), and also to the global Queen Elizabeth Scholars (QES) network. The QES training of emerging scholars includes applied-research and learning-by-doing through the E4A’s innovative pedagogical approach, which involves experiential education, research internships, retreats, field research preparation and joint research seminars with graduate students at York University, McGill University, and the University of Vermont. The QES program has opened up opportunities of the E4A program to LMIC researchers and has made it possible for Canadian E4A researchers to expand their academic and civil society networks in LMICs.

Principal Investigator:

Ilan Kapoor. Funding: SSHRC.

Term: 2018-2021.

The research aims to investigate how, and to what extent, psychoanalysis intersects with international development; and to identify and analyze examples and case studies of psychoanalytic phenomena from both the Geography/Development Studies literature and the international programs of development organizations based on field work. Particular attention will be paid to illustrating psychoanalytic operations in development theory and practice, so as to make the point that trauma is not just an "inner" condition to development, but is externally materialized in institutional policies and programs. Based on field work, the research will focus on the activities of international development institutions (World Bank, UK Department for International Development, and development NGOs in India).

Principal Investigator: Linda Peake.

Funding: SSHRC Partnership Grant.

Term: 2017-2023.

Situated within the dynamic early 21st century context of urbanization, this GenUrb project conducts research and engages in public education and policy enrichment in seven strategically chosen cities (Cairo, Cochabamba, Georgetown (Guyana), Ibadan, Mumbai, Ramallah, and Shanghai) in lower-middle-income countries to advance understanding of how the relationship between poverty and inequality is being transformed, focusing in particular on how this is reconstituting gender relations and women’s right to the city.

painting of refugees

Principal Investigator: Jennifer Hyndman

Funding: SSHRC Insight Grant.

Term: 2017-2022.

The overall aim of the project is to produce and share new knowledge about private refugee sponsorship in Canada. Since March 2016, and at the September 2016 UN Summit in New York City on refugees and migrants, the federal government has committed to ‘exporting’ its expertise about Canada’s unique private resettlement program for refugees. At present, however, very little is known about what characteristics of place and people are correlated with and sustain ongoing sponsorship by private citizens, whether in cities and more rural areas. This project will fill a gap in the scholarly literature, but will also have several applications in policy and practice. In 2016, Canada is expected to resettle 44,800 refugees (Casasola, 2016), more than ever before in a single year; almost half of these will be privately-sponsored in whole or part.

Principal Investigator: Jennifer Korosi.

Funding: NSERC.

Term: 2017-2022.

The research investigates how lakes are changing in response to thawing permafrost in the Taiga Plains and Mackenzie Delta Uplands regions (Northwest Territories) using lake sediment cores as natural archives of long-term environmental change.

Book cover Black Canadians

Principal Investigator: Joseph Mensah

Funding: SSHRC.

Term: 2017-2022.

The study examines the return intentions of African immigrants in Canada, drawing on the experiences of Ghanaians and Somalis in Toronto and Vancouver.  More pointedly, the project seeks to understand the intersections of African immigrants’ integration, transnationalism, and return intentions, and to predict the background and spatio-temporal attributes of African immigrants who are more likely to return to their home countries.

Principal Investigator: Sarah Flicker.

Funding: SSHRC Insight Development Grant.

Term: 2017-2021.

The project focuses on what people can learn from the perspective of teachers about the implementation and enactment of a controversial updated health curriculum in Canada's largest province. The interdisciplinary team brings together researchers with backgrounds and expertise in environmental studies, education, public health, women's studies, youth studies, sociology, social work and nursing from across the province. An action research approach has been adopted that draws from the fields of curriculum studies, public health, policy studies, gender and sexuality studies, as well as equity studies. The team recently published their research report: Changing the Rules: Ontario Teacher Reflections on Implementing Shifting Health and Physical Education Curricula co-authored by Sarah Flicker, Marilou Gagnon, Jen Gilbert, Adrian Guta, Katie MacEntee, Vanessa Oliver, Chris Sanders, Alanna Goldstein, Hannah Maitland, Karine Malenfant, Martha Newbigging, Sarah Switzer, Daya Williams and John Antoniw. The project is funded by an Insight Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. (SSHRC).

TTC bus

Co-Principal Investigator: Roger Keil

Funding: SSHRC

Term: 2017-2021

The StudentMoveTO is a research and partnership project based at Ryerson University focusing on an improved understanding of the travel behaviour of 600,000 post-secondary students in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) in Ontario, Canada. The project explores transportation patterns of post-secondary students, and the potential social and environmental influences on their travel behaviour, and the effect of students’ travel on their social well-being and urban systems. Through partnerships between students, researchers, universities, policy makers, and communities, new pathways will be created for public policy development, institutional planning and enhanced student support services.

family with four kids

Principal Investigator: Valerie Preston. Collaborator: Lucia Lo.

Funding: SSHRC Partnership Grant.

Term: 2016-2022.

Established in 2016, Building Migrant Resilience in Cities (BMRC-IRMU) is a research partnership and a multi-sector collaboration. It draws on over 20 years of experience in bringing together a range of key actors working on issues of immigration and settlement through CERIS, a leading Ontario network of migration and settlement researchers, practitioners, and policymakers. This unique initiative explores the concept of social resilience to examine how institutions can facilitate migrant settlement in urban areas across Quebec and Ontario. The project is generating new knowledge for academic debate and discussion that will be made readily available to decision-makers and practitioners who strive to enhance migrant settlement.

Principal Investigator: Alice Hovorka.

Funding: SSHRC Insight Grant.

Term: 2016-2023.

How do we think about animals? Where do we put them and where do they belong? How do we interact with them and are these human-animal relations good, bad, otherwise? How might we understand the lives of animals in terms of their circumstances and experiences, welfare and rights to achieve sustainable and just interspecies relations? The Lives of Animals research group investigates animal governance and the networks of actors, knowledges, structures, practices, and outcomes that shape human management of animals. Case studies of various companion, domestic, and wild animals in Botswana and Canada serve to explore the positionality of animals as influential actors that reflect some theoretical and empirical interest in species relations of power.

bee sitting on a flower

Principal Investigator: Sheila Colla.

Funding: W. Garfield Weston Foundation.

Term: 2016-2022.

Interviews and farm tours were done with conservation program Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) participants. These interviews took place in Norfolk County, Ontario where previous work showed bee richness to be positively impacted on the land of ALUS farmers when compared to non-ALUS sites. Nine semi-structured, in person interviews with growers in Southern Ontario were conducted and transcribed to gather qualitative data on the following themes: Farm history and grower education, current grower pollination strategies, attitudes toward native pollinators, knowledge of native pollinators and pollinator habitat, grower support and knowledge networks, and understanding the role of biodiversity on the farm.  The goal of the survey is to characterize the relationships between demographic, land management, and pollination services variables and 6 concepts were hypothesized that impact the likelihood of adopting biodiversity and bee friendly practices. These are:  (1) awareness of bees; (2) beliefs around threats to native bees; (3) perceptions about contributions of native bees; (4) perceived vulnerability to changes in the honeybee industry; (5) social networks; and (6) practical barriers.

slum next to a modern office building

Principal Investigator: Raju Das.

Funding: SSHRC Insight Grant.

Term: 2016-2022.

Geographically uneven development (GUD) is an enduring problem worldwide. Its urgency is more apparent in the context of the recent phase of industrialization occurring in the South since the onset of the neoliberal form of capitalism. This industrialization, which takes different forms, including transplantation of large-scale industry into rural areas, creating newly industrialized cities, is occurring in many parts of India, in which state’s earlier role in promoting equality between areas (and groups/classes) is relatively diminished since 1991. This new context raises a specific question: how does this pattern of industrialization cause uneven development between newly created urban areas and rural areas, and within the rural periphery? This multi-year project involves much theoretical work, to guide the empirical component of the project. It intends to produce a thoroughgoing, rigorous critique of some of the existing views on uneven development and to provide an alternative framework to understand it.

Principal Investigator: Sheila Colla.

Funding: NSERC Discovery Grant.

Term: 2016-2022.

The savethebumbblebees lab is comprised of members from both the Department of Biology and the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change. As a lab, the project team is interested in all aspects of native pollinator conservation. Research is interdisciplinary, including ecology, conservation biology, policy and citizen science. Please take a look at our site, and hopefully learn a little more about our research, bumblebees, and conservation efforts in general. Related projects have generously been funded by The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, The Province of Ontario, MITACS and The Liber Ero Fellowship Program. Research partners include BumbleBeeWatch.org, The Nature Conservancy of Canada, Friends of the Earth Canada, Wildlife Preservation Canada, Ontario Nature and The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

airport workers manifesting

Principal Investigator: Steven Tufts

Funding: SSHRC.

Term: 2016-2021.

The research aims to provide an analysis of the rise of populism in the context of austerity politics in North America as well as the implications for labour movements in terms of engagement with forms of both left- and right-wing populism.

Principal Investigator: Abidin Kusno.

Funding: SSHRC.

Term: 2016-2021.

The research builds on the insights of current scholarship from critical geography and anthropology of infrastructure to make sense of a social formation (such as Jakarta) in which environmental degradation, informality and lack of planning have led to both disaster and opportunities as well as modes of governing society.

Principal Investigator: Alison Bain.

Funding: SSHRC Insight Grant.

Term: 2016-2021.

This research addresses key knowledge gaps regarding the lives, service needs, and place-making practices of suburban Canadian LGBTQ2S (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, and Two-Spirit) populations. The dearth of attention to sexuality among suburban scholars and the limited investigation of the suburbs by geographers of sexualities means that little is known about the LGBTQ2S populations living there, or how to situate them within changing suburban landscapes. In Canada, this inattention has significant implications: a limited understanding of the spatial, embodied and discursive dimensions of everyday queer lives in suburbia; an inadequate grasp of the support services and the socially inclusive policymaking needed at the municipal and metropolitan scales; and an inability to imagine suburbia as a queer location. This research uses queer and intersectionality theories to document the geographies of queer suburban lives as they intersect with other minority identity markers (e.g., ethnicity, racialization, class, gender, and age) in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.

group of people discussing a slideshow

Principal Investigator: Philip Kelly.

Funding: SSHRC Insight Grant.

Term: 2015-2022.

The research project is interested in transnational economic practices that fall outside either the mainstream economy of corporate trade and investment or the private flows of remittances between family members. The study seeks those linkages that depend on the social networks created by migration and which generate or promote collectivized or non-monetized forms of well-being. This includes: humanitarian fundraising for typhoon victims; collective financing of social infrastructure such as school or clinics; the donation of volunteer skilled labour by members of the Filipino diaspora who return to the Philippines; networks of unpaid labour to care for children and the elderly; the fostering of alternative economic imaginaries through activism; the creation of channels to export products from small-scale and sustainable enterprises in the Philippines. The research profiles these kinds of practices, assesses them critically, and seeks to foster the expansion of socially beneficial transnational economic practices.

group of people sitting on the floor

Principal Investigator: Ranu Basu

Funding: SSHRC Insight Grant.

Term: 2015-20/22.

The project traces the geopolitical impacts of forced displacement on cities and schools through questions of conflict and displacement in Havana, Toronto, and Kolkata. The research explores the interrelationship between the quality of state-based education, the subalterity of displacement, and the implications which these issues have for the urban public realm.  State funded public education (within capitalist and anti-capitalist orientations), long valued as a critical tool for reducing inequality, promoting economic mobility and advocating for social justice, can have an ongoing transformative effect on the evolution of the public realm.

Principal Investigator: Jinthana Haritaworn.

Funding: Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities.

Term: 2015-2021.

The five-year study explores collective experiences of belonging and displacement among queer and trans Black people, Indigenous people and people of colour (QTBIPOC) who live, work or play in Toronto. Using digital maps, the study sheds light on alternative forms of taking space and making space that are currently emerging in QTBIPOC communities. The project is being designed and conducted collaboratively with three EUC graduate students, Rio Rodriguez, whose MES major portfolio is a QTBIPOC mapping project on the Toronto gay Village and the Zona Colonial in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Syrus Marcus Ware, who is doing a PhD on disability arts; and Alvis Choi, whose MES major portfolio is on queer of colour performance, as well as Ghaida Moussa, who is doing a PhD on disability justice in Social and Political Thought.

Project Investigator: Sarah Flicker. Partner: Native Youth Sexual Health Network (NYSHN).

Funding: CIHR Operating Grant.

Term: 2015-2021.

The research aims to (1) Understand the landscape, feasibility and readiness of communities across Canada to incorporate HIV prevention content into diverse Indigenous gatherings; (2) Build the research and health promotion capacities of 9 Indigenous SHC youth leaders and 3 trainees, as well as other youth in their communities; (3) Evaluate satisfaction and comfort level with SHC among youth participants; (4) Assess the intentions of youth at different Indigenous gatherings to: (a) engage in sexual practices; (b) use drugs and alcohol and (c) adopt harm reduction strategies; (5) Qualitatively understand community perceptions (e.g., youth, elders, adults) of the SHC and doing HIV outreach at Indigenous gatherings; (6) Disseminate a digital and print "wise practice" toolkit on doing culturally-safe peer lead HIV prevention outreach with Indigenous youth at communal gatherings. The project reaches "high risk" youth with information and resources to prevent the further spread of HIV and other STIs. The community partner, NYSHN, has developed a unique peer-lead intervention called the "Sexy Health Carnival" (SHC) that takes a strengths-based approach to promoting Indigenous youth health at pow wows, Métis gatherings and Inuit festivals. Pilot tests demonstrated that it is capable of reaching youth who (based on their sexual and drug histories) may be at significant risk for HIV with an approach that they appreciate.

Co-Principal Investigator: Sarah Flicker .

Funding: IDRC/SSHRC.

Term: 2014-2021.

This international and interdisciplinary partnership based at McGill University brings together government and community-based organizations focusing on girls and young women, 40 co-applicants and collaborators from 14 post-secondary institutions in Canada and South Africa and a network of stakeholder partners located in both countries. The partnership seeks to examine and learn from the contexts in which communities of girls and young women are subject to exceptionally high rates of sexual violence. In the Canadian context, this grouping refers to self-identified young Indigenous girls/women, including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit, status or non-status, beneficiary or non-beneficiary, and includes Indigenous girls and young women who identify as Trans, Two Spirit, or gender non-conforming. In the South African context, the partners are working with girls and young women of a range of sexualities who belong to two of the official government designated groups, Black and Coloured (mixed race), and who live in rural areas. The partnership is supported by International Partnerships for Sustainable Societies (IPaSS), a joint initiative between the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Co-Investigators: Patricia Perkins and Peter Victor.

Funding: SSHRC.

Term: 2014-2021.

Human beings have had such a powerful impact on planetary environmental systems since the Industrial Revolution that scientists say Earth has entered a new geologic age: the Anthropocene, the era of humanity and its effects on Earth. York and University of Vermont are collaborating on a six-year $2.5M SSHRC Partnership grant led by Peter Brown of McGill to develop a doctoral curriculum designed to produce leaders who can help lighten humanity's footprint on the planet's fragile ecosystems. The program, called Economics for the Anthropocene (E4A), provides resources for up to 60 graduate students to explore theoretical and practical aspects of ecological economics, drawing on a broad range of disciplines and experiential learning with a strong environmental focus.