Congratulations to PhD students Dana Wray and Laila Omar on receiving Best Student Paper Award and Honourable Mention from the Canadian Sociological Association

The Canadian Sociological Association (CSA) has awarded their Best Student Paper prize to PhD student Dana Wray, with an Honourable Mention going to another of our graduate students, Laila Omar. Both of the papers were originally papers written for the Second Year PhD Research Practicum course. Dana’s paper was titled,”Can Paternity Leave Policy Change Father Involvement? Evidence from the Natural Experiment of Quebec.” According to the review committee, this paper “stood out as being a particularly well designed analysis, with sophisticated methods and a critically important contribution to the sociological literature on gender, parenting and social policy.” Dana wrote the paper as part of the practicum course under the supervision of Professor Melissa Milkie and with the benefit of feedback from her peers and the instructors of the course, Professors Josee Johnston, Ron Levi and Phil Goodman.   She is also grateful for feedback from Professor Irene Boeckmann. Dana intends to submit the paper for publication this summer and was awarded a Program Summer Level Fellowship for that purpose. She will be presenting different parts of this project at CSA in June and at meetings of the American Sociological Association in August.

Abstract

A growing body of research suggests that parental leave-taking is positively associated with increased father involvement. Yet, it remains unclear how particular leave policies impact different dimensions of father involvement, as well as the causality of this relationship. This study extends previous research with a causal test of whether reserved paternity leave policy shifts father involvement across three dimensions: engagement (routine or interactive caring for children), accessibility (time in children’s presence), and responsibility (solo parenting; time engaged with or accessible to children when the mother is not present). These dimensions are operationalized using time use data from the 2005 and 2010 Canadian General Social Survey. Exploiting the ‘natural experiment’ of the reserved paternity leave policy introduced in the province of Quebec in 2006 compared to the shared parental leave entitlement offered in the rest of Canada, this research uses difference-in-differences methods to estimate the causal effect of the paternity leave policy on father-child time. The reserved paternity leave policy led to a direct increase in fathers’ responsibility for children through solo parenting, but there is no evidence of a direct effect of the policy on fathers’ engagement or accessibility. Implications of the effects of family policies on family well-being and gender inequality are discussed.

In addition to Dana Wray, Laila Omar was also honoured by the CSA with an honourable mention for her paper, “‘I Just Dream of Things Being Stable’: Exploring How Physical Displacement Affects Syrian Refugee Mothers’ Perception of Time.” The committee wrote that it wanted to recognize this paper “as a particularly valuable work in sociology, one that stood apart in the crowd” and that “contributes to sociology’s understanding of the social construction of time, while offering important lessons on the relationship between trauma and motherhood.” This was the only honourable mention awarded in the 2019 competition.

Laila’s paper was also completed as a research practicum project in the course led by Professors Johnston, Levi and Goodman. Hers was under the supervision of Professor Neda Maghbouleh and benefited from feedback from Professor Rania Salem. Laila will be presenting different parts of her project at CSA in June and ASA in August, and already presented it at the U of T Anthropology Medusa Graduate Conference in March 2019. She also intends to submit the paper for publication this summer.

Abstract

Scholars have focused significant attention on the geographical aspect of forced migration, and the consequences of refugees’ movement across space. However, they have not addressed the idea of the “future” for refugee populations who are forced to settle and to build a new life in a new country. In this article, I connect scholarship on forced migration and cultural concepts of the future in order to examine the temporal dimensions of forced migration. Using semi-structured interviews with 41 Syrian mothers who have recently arrived in Canada, this article investigates refugee mothers’ conceptualization of their and their children’s futures in Canada. I argue that forced migration and the status of “refugeeness” heavily shape newcomers’ perception of time in general, and of the future in particular. Mothers’ perceptions of the future are heavily shaped by cultural and religious orientations. Moreover, mothers deliberately “foreclose” their own timeline in order to focus on their children’s future in Canada. Finally, a sense of “scrambled timeline” is emergent: mothers cannot separate their future projections from the present nor from the past. These findings are significant for revealing how experiences of forced displacement and resettlement interact with culture to influence refugees’ perceptions of time and the future.