Student Research Blog


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.


What is "hygge?" A Study in Scandinavia: Q&A with PhD Candidate Janet Connor

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).”



Public Health and Infectious Diseases in the Pacific Basin’s “Sanitary Sieve,” 1860-1914

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.


Collecting Hopi: Researching Proprietary Tribal Knowledge

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.


The National Council of Negro Women has been there even when our story has not been told...

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.” [1] 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.


The Unintended Impact of Pretrial Detention on Case Outcomes: Evidence from NYC Arraignments

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.   


Ecuador’s Defenders of the Rights of Nature

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.”


Reputation as Resource and Constraint in Urban Neighborhoods

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.


De-stereotyping Taiwan

A Japanese agricultural official in the 1930s quipped, “What can be done with incentives in Taiwan has to be done with coercion in Korea.” This offhand remark appears to contain a grain of truth in retrospect. Not only do we know that Koreans were definitely more recalcitrant during colonial rule, but we also observe a greater degree of colonial nostalgia in Taiwan into the present. Is this difference the result of “national character?” In contemporary academic discourse, any such stereotypical designation would be immediately criticized for being an “essentialist” approach.