Social Sciences Blog
Living Cities: Bright Spots in a Darkened Landscape, Center for Spatial Data Science Developing Human Services 360 Analytical Tool
By partnering with universities to leverage data and technology, cities have emerged as bright spots of innovation. They're leading the way in tackling today's most intractable problems.
Toxic Legacies of Mill Creek Ravine: Contested Landscapes of Industrialization and Colonialism in Western Canada
My dissertation examines the relationship between industrialization (the development of infrastructure, the standardization of commodities, and the development of a labouring class) and settler colonialism in the context of early twentieth-century meat-packing plants in Edmonton, Alberta. Turning beyond the florescence of meat-packing as a dominant industry in Edmonton (1900-1940s), my research tracks how different legacies from that period endure into the present both materially and as contested objects of discourse.
Oxford Dictionaries shortlisted the wildly popular and difficult to translate Danish word “hygge” for the 2016 word of the year. According to OD, it refers to “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).”
The Division of the Social Sciences Research Grant — made possible by the Orin Williams Fund — supported my archival research trip to Honolulu, Hawaii during the summer months of 2016. The majority of my time was split between the Hawaii State Archives, the Bishop Museum, and the Hawaiian Mission Houses. Indeed, Honolulu was a thought-provoking location for delving into Hawaii's historic past, including the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when the U.S. government aided in the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy and later annexed the Hawaiian Islands.
Just before entering Kykotsmovi (Kiqötsmovi in Hopi), visitors are greeted by a colourful sign with words of welcome and warning. Here, as in every other village on the Hopi reservation in Northeastern Arizona, visitors are forbidden from taking photographs, making audio recordings, producing sketches, hiking foot trails or removing objects. In other words, no inscriptions should be made of the village, you are not welcome to walk on land that isn’t paved, and nothing should be taken from the village.
Legal scholar Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw coined the term “intersectionality” to explain, “...the various ways in which race and gender interact to shape the multiple dimensions of Black women’s...experiences.”  As such intersectionality is the central organizing theory for my dissertation in which I ask how black women activists contended with their multiple identities while working toward racial empowerment during the long struggle for civil rights.
On any given day in the United States, over 400,000 individuals are in jail awaiting trial (Wagner and Sakala 2014) at a cost of 9 billion dollars per year (Holder 2011). In addition, the combined population of local jails grew by 20% between 2000 and 2014, with 99% of the growth due to the expanded pretrial jail population (Wagner 2015).
The Dangerous Perhaps: The Reception of Derrida and Politics of Différance in the Federal Republic of Germany, 1967 to the Present
With the generous support of the Division of the Social Science’s Research Travel Grant, I was able to travel to Berlin in the summer of 2015 and make use of the vast holdings of the city’s Staatsbibliothek (state library) to complete my dissertation proposal and gather material for several chapters.
Thanks to the generous support provided by the Division of the Social Sciences 2015-2016 Research Travel Grant, I was able to conduct an immersive, year-long ethnographic research project in Ecuador for my dissertation titled “Re-Constituting the Nature of the Nation: NGOs, Biodiversity and the Defenders of the Rights of Nature in Ecuador.”
In early 2016, an application by developer Katie Ray was made available on iOS for Apple products called “Where Is Williamsburg?” (Walker 2016) The app is meant to help users find the “hippest” neighborhood in any given city, and the title of the app is a reference to the New York City neighborhood of Williamsburg, which has come to be a stand-in in the popular imagination for hipness.