Congratulations Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah! – Recipient of 2020 African Scholars Award

Akwasi Owusu-BempahCongratulations to Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah who is the recipient of a 2020 African Scholars Award! Professor Owusu-Bempah was recognized for his consistent engagement with both Canadian and international media outlets to share his research and insights on the intersections of race, crime, and criminal justice. The African Scholars Awards were created by the African Alumni Association founder and U of T alumnus Henry Ssali, and this year recognized 16 outstanding individuals for their contributions towards academic achievement, social innovation, community development, and volunteering. Professor Owusu-Bempah was awarded the Influencer’s Award, one of 7 different awards granted during the 2020 African Scholars Awards ceremony.

Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) campus. His research focuses on the intersection of race, policing, and social justice. Professor Owusu-Bempah frequently provides commentary to public and governmental agencies, community organizations, and media outlets regarding topics of race, policing, and social justice.

We’ve included a short excerpt from the article below. To read more about the recipients of the awards, click here.

‘Exceptional role models’: African Scholars Awards recognize contributions to university and society

As a child growing up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Michel Chikwanine endured unspeakable horrors of war. He witnessed the torture of his father – a human rights lawyer who was eventually murdered due to his political beliefs – and the rape of his mother. He was forced to become a child soldier at age five and a refugee at age 11.

Yet, Chikwanine retains hope for the future and a belief in positive change. He’s an activist, motivational speaker and leadership facilitator with organizations ranging from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative.

His inspiring journey and his tireless advocacy for peace and human rights were recently recognized with a Global Impact Award presented by the University of Toronto African Alumni Association during its annual African Scholars Awards ceremony. For Chikwanine, who earned a bachelor of arts specialist degree in African studies from U of T and co-authored a graphic novel, Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War, the award served as motivation to continue to work towards the betterment of society.

“As my father always said before he died – he always reminded me that great men and great women throughout history have never been praised for their money or their success, but rather for their heart and what they do for others,” Chikwanine said during the virtual event last last week.

“So I ask all of us – alumni and every part of this community – to be great, with great hearts to make this incredible life and incredible continent that we have be the best that it can be.”

Continue the article here

Congratulations Professor Melissa Milkie! – 2021 President of the Work and Family Researchers Network

Melissa MilkieCongratulations to Professor Melissa Milkie who was recently elected as President of the Work and Family Researchers Network (WFRN) for the 2021-2022 year. The WFRN seeks to connect academics who research interactions between work and the family from around the globe, facilitating collaboration and conversation while also engaging with and encouraging future work and family scholars. The WFRN also encourages policy makers and industry professionals to engage with the work of researchers in the network, promoting knowledge and understanding of work and family issues. Professor Milkie has served on the WFRN Executive Committees during 2019 and 2020, and we wish her the best in her new role as President!

Professor Melissa Milkie is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities on the UT Mississauga (UTM) campus. She is the Chair of the Tri-Campus Graduate Department. Her research focuses on culture, the work-family interface, and mental health.

Check out the latest news from the WFRN here.

Professor Anna Korteweg on View to the U – her work, research stories, and inspiration

Professor Anna Korteweg appeared on the University of Toronto Mississauga research podcast View to the U to speak about her current work, research stories, and what inspires her. In the podcast she reviewed some of the general research questions found throughout her work. Some of these question include how the labelling of immigrants by national policies and cultural discourses in the country they migrate to shapes their sense of belonging, how ideas about Muslim women become activated during debates around citizenship, and how the ongoing and evolving representations and understandings around women wearing headscarves has developed over time in certain environments. Professor Korteweg recalled some standout memories and stories from her career that shaped the direction of her work, both during the research process and her everyday life. She also spoke at length about one of her hobbies-turned-passion, knitting, which she has found to provide inspiration while she has grown in her skills as a knitter and a researcher.

When asked about how COVID-19 has impacted her work, Professor Korteweg reflected on how similar her current working conditions have been to her work prior to the pandemic, though noted that she and some colleagues sought support from one another in the form of dedicated group writing sessions. She’s found the regular, dedicated time to writing alongside others doing the same has improved hers and her colleagues’ focus, and this solution has helped them stay productive throughout the pandemic.

Professor Anna Korteweg is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities at the U of T Mississauga campus. She teaches courses in the sociology of gender, qualitative methods, and citizenship and immigration. Her research explores the interconnections between gender, ethnicity, immigration, citizenship, policy, and culture in Canadian and European contexts.

Listen to the whole podcast here.

Congratulations to Professor Neda Maghbouleh awarded Wall Scholar appointment at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies (PWIAS)

Neda MaghboulehCongratulations to Professor Neda Maghbouleh who was recently awarded a Wall Scholars Research Award from the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies (PWIAS) at the University of British Columbia. The award is a one year residency appointment at the Institute where awarded scholars have the opportunity to develop their research centered on a particular theme in a collaborative, interdisciplinary environment. The theme for the 2021-2022 awardees is Complex Systems. Professor Maghbouleh will take her sabbatical next year as she works on her research throughout this appointment at PWIAS.

During her appointment as a Wall Scholar, Professor Maghbouleh plans to develop a multilevel theory of racialized disintegration to connect the individual migrant, family, community, and nation to supranational geopolitics in a time of crisis. Her work draws on original empirical research, and she will communicate her analyses and theory by writing her second book titled Disintegration. In addition to advancing her own research, Professor Maghbouleh looks forward to collaborating with other Wall Scholars at PWIAS.

Professor Maghbouleh is an Associate Professor of Sociology with teaching duties at the UTM campus. Her work addresses racism and immigration, with a particular interest in groups from the broad MENA region. Her research focuses on the racialization of migrants from the MENA region. These topics are explored in her book, The Limits of Whiteness, and will continue to be examined through her second book in progress Disintegration.

Professor Neda Maghbouleh’s scholar profile on the PWIAS website can be found here.

Professor Scott Schieman on remote work during COVID-19, inequality, and the future of how we think about work – CBC Radio

Scott ScheimanProfessor Scott Schieman spoke with Ontario Morning’s Julianne Hazelwood on CBC Radio January 13th about his ongoing research on the impact of COVID-19 on how Canadians balance their work lives with their family and social lives. Professor Schieman began researching how workers and employers alike thought about and experienced flexible, remote work arrangements in 2019 and has since been following up with those participants throughout the pandemic. He explained that the ability to work from home has emerged as a new form of workplace inequality, generally dividing workers along socioeconomic lines. Professor Schieman remarked that workers with higher education backgrounds and income tend to have more autonomy over their work lives and are now most likely to be able to work from home.

Despite lower risk of exposure and greater financial and job security, Professor Schieman found some significant drawbacks to remote work during COVID-19. His research found that, while most Canadian workers experienced less conflict between their work and social lives – called work-family conflict – as social opportunities withered under shutdowns, those working from home continued to experience similar levels of pre-COVID work-family conflict. This was also true for those with young children at home.

Professor Schieman speculated that remote workers’ current dissatisfaction with full-time remote work may shape how flexible and remote working arrangements are viewed in the near future. Professor Schieman said the long-term impact of COVID-19 the landscape of work is still hard to predict, but expects that the pandemic will shape how workers and employers come to measure “job loyalty” and “dedication” by time spent at the office.

Professor Schieman is the Canada Research Chair in the Social Contexts of Health, a Full Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, and Chair of the Department of Sociology, St. George Campus. His research focuses on work/stratification, the work-family interface, stress, and health.

Listen to the full broadcast here.

Professor David Pettinicchio writes about disability, mental health, and the COVID-19 holiday season – article in The Conversation

Professor David Pettinicchio recently co-authored the article “What a distanced holiday season means for people with disabilities and chronic health conditions” with Professor of Sociology Michelle Maroto (University of Alberta) in The Conversation. The article outlines how many Canadians and Americans opted to spend time with friends and family over the Thanksgiving holidays against public health recommendations for the boost to mental health.

While it is true that the pandemic has resulted in a mass decline in mental health across the country, the authors drew attention to how those whose face the highest risk from COVID-19 complications face heightened strain on their mental health. For many with disabilities and chronic health conditions, the risks of COVID-19 complications outweighs any benefits of social gathering. Professor Pettinicchio and his co-author found in their research that those in high risk groups who must limit their social interaction entirely experience a dramatic decrease in mental health because of their isolation, in addition to the mental health strain already common to people with such health conditions. They note that while we all are weathering the pandemic together, not everyone has experienced the effects – positive and negative – equally, and that for as hard as socially distancing this holiday season was for all, it has been especially harder for some.

David Pettinicchio is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto with teaching responsibilities at UTM. His research focuses on social policy, social movements, and political sociology. He has recently begun research on how policy responses to COVID-19 have shaped public perceptions of government and policy, and how people with disabilities and chronic health conditions are economically impacted by the pandemic.

We’ve included an excerpt of the article below. Read the full article on The Conversation here.

What a distanced holiday season means for people with disabilities and chronic health conditions

For many, the holiday season is synonymous with family gatherings, often requiring arduous and stressful travel. This is so much a part of our culture that getting to a place to be with loved ones has been the plot of many holiday movies — from Planes, Trains and Automobiles to the countless Hallmark Channel Christmas movies now available all year long.

In a time when many people are feeling lonely and isolated, celebrations with family and friends can feel like a lifeline. This is perhaps why many Canadians and Americans ignored recommended social distancing measures over their recent Thanksgiving holidays. In Canada, gatherings related to the October holiday resulted in a spike of COVID-19 cases. The post-Thanksgiving COVID-19 spike in the United States is now being felt in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Many of those who travelled and held family gatherings for these holidays may have done so because they saw themselves as being at low risk for COVID-19 complications. They put their need for contact above contracting and spreading the virus. Such gatherings were potentially important for limiting some of the negative mental health effects related to weathering this pandemic. Indeed, half of all Canadians have reported worsening mental health since the onset of social distancing measures.

Individuals in high-risk groups are already more likely to be experiencing negative mental health effects brought on by protective measures. What might this mean as the holiday season continues to unfold?

Read the full article here

Professor Owusu-Bempah comments on police use-of-force during wellness checks – National Post article

Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah’s comments appeared in an article in the National Post titled “Police shootings in 2020: The effect on officers and those they are sworn to protect.” The article reviews the statistics of police shootings in Canada in 2020, comparing patterns among the 55 cases of this year and across some year-to-year trends. Professor Owusu-Bempah commented on how police handle wellness checks and calls involving people suffering from mental illness, noting his concern for how readily police resort to use-of-force in these situations. He said that he’d like to see police show more restraint when involved in wellness checks and mental health crises, commenting that just the presence of police increases the risk for these encounters to escalate towards violence. Professor Owusu-Bempah was among several researchers studying policing and community members impacted by police violence whose comments were included in the article.

Professor Owusu-Bempah is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities at the U of T Mississauga campus. He frequently provides commentary to public and governmental agencies, community organizations, and media outlets on topics related to his research focus: the intersection of race, policing and justice.

We’ve included an excerpt of the article below. To read the full National Post article, click here.

Police shootings in 2020: The effect on officers and those they are sworn to protect

Author of the article:
The Canadian Press
Kelly Geraldine Malone, Meredith Omstead and Liam Casey
Publishing date:
Dec 21, 2020  •  Last Updated 16 days ago  •  7 minute read

A photo and an urn sit on Christie Zebrasky’s kitchen table. Each time the Winnipeg woman goes to eat, she imagines her daughter’s face and wonders whether she’ll ever know what happened in the moments before 16-year-old Eishia Hudson was shot and killed by police.

“I can feel her presence here daily. She is not leaving Mom,” Zebrasky says with a deep sigh.

Hudson is one of 55 people who were shot by police in Canada between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30. Of those, 34 were killed.

The Canadian Press tracked each shooting using information from police, independent investigative units and independent reporting. It is a snapshot of police shootings in a year in which global movements have called for more accountability and transparency.

The vast majority of people shot by police were young men. When race could be identified, 48 per cent of people shot were Indigenous and 19 per cent were Black.

Relatives who spoke publicly about those who were shot said there were issues with mental health and addictions. Of the nine shootings that started as wellness checks, all were fatal and four were people of colour.

In five of those cases, police first used a non-lethal-weapon such as a Taser. Six of the shootings took place in the person’s home.

Wellness checks generally involve officers being dispatched to check on someone whose mental health or well-being is a concern. Critics have called for police to change how officers respond to these calls following multiple high-profile deaths in 2020.

Read the full article here

Professor Owusu-Bempah highlights lack of diversity in Canadian cannabis industry, calls to incorporate equity programs – Forbes Article

Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah recently featured in a Forbes article by Amanda Siebert titled “How Canada’s (very white) cannabis industry could learn from social equity programs in the US.” In the article, Professor Owusu-Bempah discussed how the disproportionate harm Black and Indigenous communities faced under prohibition contrasts sharply with his research revealing white men to be the dominant and clear benefactors of legalization. He argued that the Canadian government’s legalization of cannabis production and sale under the Cannabis Act has not been as effective in remedying the historic injustices under prohibition as it could be. Pointing to equity programs built into cannabis legislation in a few states south of the border, Professor Owusu-Bempah urged Canadian lawmakers to consider adopting some of these strategies into the Canadian legislation as the Cannabis Act undergoes its 3-year review. These equity programs provide free or affordable training, expedited licensing avenues, and waived licensing fees for applicants from low-income or previously criminalized communities seeking to enter the industry of cannabis sale and production. Professor Owusu-Bempah argued that actively building these equity programs into Canadian legislation may help to remedy the inequality around trade of cannabis that continues to widen.

Professor Owusu-Bempah is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities at the U of T Mississauga campus. He frequently provides commentary to public and governmental agencies, community organizations, and media outlets on topics related to his research focus: the intersection of race, policing and justice.

We have included an excerpt of this story below. Read the full article from Forbes here.

How Canada’s (Very White) Cannabis Industry Could Learn From Social Equity Programs In The U.S.

Professor David Pettinicchio reports Canadian sentiments on COVID-19 news sources – Toronto Star Article

Professor David Pettinicchio recently wrote an article featured in the Toronto Star “Do Canadians trust where they get their news about the COVID-19 pandemic?” In the article, Professor Pettinicchio reported on where Canadians get their information on the current conditions of the pandemic and how they feel about these sources. While Canadians generally trust what government officials report, they do so with some caution. Many Canadians retain skepticism towards elected politicians reporting on COVID-19 developments even. Compared to news outlets south of the border however, Canadians feel that Canadian news outlets are far more trustworthy. Professor Pettinicchio highlights the importance of the way Canadians receive new safety recommendations, information on identifying symptoms, and how to access testing and treatment as we experience our second wave of the pandemic.

David Pettinicchio is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto with teaching responsibilities at UTM. His research focuses on social policy, social movements, and political sociology. He has recently begun research on how policy responses to COVID-19 have shaped public perceptions of government and policy, and how people with disabilities and chronic health conditions are economically impacted by the pandemic.

We have included an excerpt of the article below. To read the full article, click here.

Do Canadians trust where they get their news about the COVID-19 pandemic?

Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah on persistent issues of systemic racism within RCMP in CBC News article

Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah was recently featured in a CBC News article titled RCMP’s diversity hiring remains stagnant, new figures show by Catharine Tunney. The article opens with an overview of the lack of diversity in RCMP hiring practices over the last decade. In reference to the statistics provided by the RCMP, Professor Owusu-Bempah criticized their use of “visible minority” to collapse all non-white, non-Indigenous Mounties into one category. He explained that this racist practice makes tracking how representative the RCMP is of the communities they serve impossible.

Professor Owusu-Bempah also noted that while making the RCMP representative of the populace is important for changing attitudes and behaviors within the ranks over time, the issues around systemic racism in policing institutions cannot be resolved by simply making the ranks less white. One such issue mentioned in the article by Professor Owusu-Bempah was that of ongoing harassment and discrimination of RCMP members by other Mounties, and he argued that this problem could only be resolved by holding the individuals responsible at every level of the institution.

Professor Owusu-Bempah is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities at the U of T Mississauga campus. He frequently provides commentary to public and governmental agencies, community organizations, and media outlets on topics related to his research focus: the intersection of race, policing and justice.

We’ve included an excerpt to the article below. Read the full article at CBC News here.

RCMP’s diversity hiring remains stagnant, new figures show

Updated statistics come as the national police force grapples with systemic racism

The head of the RCMP has promised to “double down” on efforts to boost diversity among its officers — but newly available statistics show those efforts haven’t borne fruit over the past decade.

The recently released diversity statistics come as the national police force grapples with a fierce debate over systemic racism in the ranks and claims that it polices racialized Canadians differently.

As of April 1, 2020, just under 12 per cent of the RCMP’s 20,000 rank-and-file members identify as visible minority, according to figures posted online late last week. That figure hasn’t changed dramatically over the past few years and remained lower than the general rate in the workforce nationwide.

The percentage of regular RCMP members who self-identified as Indigenous remains higher than the Indigenous share of the wider workforce, but that number has decreased slightly over the past nine years.

This year, 7.2 per cent of regular members identified as Indigenous — down from 7.8 per cent in 2011 — according to the new figures published on the RCMP’s website.

The force said it doesn’t track detailed employment equity data, which means it’s not clear how many officers listed as “visible minority” also identify as Black or South Asian, for example.

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto who studies race and policing, said that’s a problem.

Read the full article here

Vinuja Sritharan analyzes NBA transnational relations in context of Chinese authoritarianism and international trade relations with the US in U of T Undergraduate Sociology Journal

Vinuja Sritharan authored an article titled “The basketball diaries: A case study of the national basketball association and political repression by China” that was published in the third volume of the Undergraduate Sociology Journal (USJ). The article dissects interactions between representatives of the National Basketball Association and China’s governmental authorities during the 2019 Hong Kong protests. The emergence of Chinese authoritarianism through online platforms, Permanent Normal Trade Relations with the United States, and the NBA’s transnational influences are investigated. Vinuja explores what consequences arise from these political events – specifically Chinese authoritarianism through online surveillance – in an attempt to showcase how the globalization of markets may not always equal the liberalization of a state’s citizens.

Vinuja completed her Honours Bachelor of Arts in July of 2020, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Sociology and History at the University of Toronto. Her interests in globalized activism, the position of political actors transnationally, and the game of basketball sparked her essay “The Basketball Diaries: A Case Study of the National Basketball Association and Political Repression by China.” Vinuja is currently working towards completing her Master of Teaching degree at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education while leading youth-centred programs in her local community. In the future, Vinuja hopes to develop equity-based education policies for first-generation students interested in academia.

Read Vinuja’s article in Volume 3 of the USJ here

Victoria Barclay observes the destigmatizing work of the #MeToo movement and its intersectional failings in article in U of T Undergraduate Sociology Journal

 

Victoria Barclay recently published an article in the third volume of the Undergraduate Sociology Journal (USJ) during her 4th year titled “Race, class, and gender: The #MeToo movement & stigma.” In her article, Victoria outlines the ways that race, class, and gender can all intersect to affect stigma associated with the victimization of sexual violence. She observes how the voices of white and upper-class women in Hollywood dominating the #MeToo movement have worked to erase the experiences of racialized and lower-class women in the movement. Victoria recalls the roots of the #MeToo movement founded by Tarana Burke that was intended to destigmatize the sexual violence survivor realities of racialized women. She contrasts this history with the current picture of the movement that has served to destigmatize the victimization of only the most privileged group of women. Victoria calls for social programs and policies surrounding gender-based violence to adopt an intersectional approach and attend to lower-class and racialized experiences of sexual violence that are so routinely neglected.

Victoria Barclay is a U of T alumna class of 2020. She obtained an Honours Bachelor of Arts (with distinction) majoring in Sociology and double minoring in Political Science and Equity Studies. She is currently interning at the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario where she works alongside senior researchers to develop and support publications as well as perform qualitative and quantitative analysis. Victoria is also a Campaign Researcher for Students for Barrier-free Access, a student-led disability justice organization here at U of T. In this role, she is drafting a report on how governments and higher education institutions are both succeeding and falling short in their efforts to support students with disabilities during the ongoing pandemic. Victoria was also a Team Member of Pivot 2020 where she contributed to an urban exploration project that evaluated how Canadian cities are supporting youth well-being during and post-COVID-19. During her undergraduate career, Victoria was dedicated to her on-campus involvement notably taking part in the Undergraduate Sociology Students’ Union for three years, coordinating Woodsworth and the UTSU orientations, as well as co-founding the Woodsworth Racialized Students’ Collective. Victoria hopes to pursue a career where she can contribute to the elimination of social inequality and foster community building.

Read Victoria’s full article in Volume 3 of the USJ here

Agha Saadaf investigates the relationship between fascist ideology and 1990’s Norwegian black metal music in U of T’s Undergraduate Sociology Journal

Agha Saadaf published an article entitled “Dawn of the Black Hearts: Contextualising Fascism in Second Wave Norwegian Black Metal” in the third volume of the Undergraduate Sociology Journal (USJ). His work explores the historical context of Norwegian cultural power dynamics, the use of music to reflect political ideas, and the “lifestyle” perpetuated by prominent figures in the black metal community. Agha outlines the parallels between the subgenre culture and fascism beginning with a common fixation on strength, hierarchy, superiority, and violence. He then examines how the particular religious and cultural history of Norway and the tension between marginalized pagan traditions and the more historically recent proliferation of Christianity has become a cultural site for some in the Norwegian black metal community to justify both a “myth of ethnic or national renewal” and a desire for an exclusively white “pagan” nation. Finally, Agha explores how these ideologies that find fertile ground in both fans and creators of Norwegian black metal reach wider audiences by using the social and cultural role of music itself as a conduit.

Agha Saadaf is a 5th Year Socio-Cultural Anthropology Specialist, having written this piece in his 3rd year for “Anthropology of Youth Culture”, a course taught by Professor Marcel Danesi. He has been an editor for the Anthropology Undergraduate Journal for 2 years, having served as Editor-In-Chief in 2019-2020. As hobbies, he enjoys playing video games, weightlifting, and exploring a highly varies range of music (he does not only listen to Norwegian Black Metal). Having taken a variety courses on medical anthropology, anthropological insights on political-economy, and environmental anthropology, he now hopes to pursue a law degree to better understand the socio-political ramifications of technological innovations such as AI and biotechnology through a legal scope.

Read Agha’s full article in Volume 3 of the USJ here

Ariel Kenny explores the conditions of Toronto’s child care market and how climate change activists organize using social media in two articles in U of T Sociology Undergraduate Journal

Ariel Kenny authored two articles in the third volume of the Undergraduate Sociology Journal (USJ) published earlier this year. Their article “The family unfriendly city: The impact of public funding cuts against growing demand for child care in Toronto” reviews the child care market in Toronto in the wake of the 2019-2020 provincial budget cuts impacting the development of new daycare spaces. Their research compiled studies on the subject, government survey data, and Ontario child care policies to show how the budget cuts reduce access to accessible child care for low-income families and raise the overall cost of centre-based child care. Ariel discusses how these changes contribute to the argument that Toronto is a “family unfriendly” city that lacks the resources to adequately serve families in need even when families do qualify for child care subsidies. They suggest further study and exploration of a universal child care system is necessary to find alternative solutions for this problem.

Ariel’s second article “The climate change social (media) movement” examines the relationship between emotions related to climate change awareness and the practices environmental activists use to motivate collective action via social media. They depart from and extend upon Jem Bendell’s 2018 climate change paper Deep Adaptation, which links emotions and climate change and explores if and how emotional appeals are necessary for environmentalist organizing. Ariel progresses this argument by contextualizing the emotional barriers apparent in environmentalist organizing and discusses how social media practices may be used to overcome them. They frame these social media practices using sociological theories on social movements, alienation, and empathy rituals. They argue that social media can serve as a viable tool for environmental activist organization and acknowledge social media platforms’ effectiveness as needing further attention from social network and social movement scholars.

Ariel submitted these articles in their 5th and final year at U of T and graduated earlier this year.

Read both of Ariel’s articles in Volume 3 of the USJ here

“The hidden ways working from home is affecting our health”: Toronto Star Article by Professor Scott Schieman

Scott Scheiman

Professor Scott Schieman recently wrote an article The hidden ways working from home is affecting our health in the Toronto Star. In the article, Professor Schieman looks at how COVID-19 is changing the way workers view flexible time arrangements at work. While his research with PhD student  Philip Badawy in September 2019 showed both workers and employers viewed unstructured work favourably for different reasons – workers for the ability to choose when and from where they could do work, employees for a sign employees were dedicated to their jobs outside of paid work hours – the new impact of COVID-19 on how we do work may be changing these perceptions. Revisiting this research in March of this year to see how the implementation of flexible stay-at-home working conditions may have changed this, they found that the appeal of flexible working hours has diminished for many workers, likely because workers now have less control over the decision to work from home. Professor Schieman speculates this shift may impact how employers and employees alike approach work-from-home arrangements.

Professor Schieman is the Canada Research Chair in the Social Contexts of Health, a Full Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, and Chair of the Department of Sociology, St. George Campus. His research focuses on work/stratification, the work-family interface, stress, and health.

We have included an excerpt of the article below. Read the full article here.

The hidden ways working from home is affecting our health

Read the full article here

Report shows police are key drivers of racism against Black people: Akwasi Owusu-Bempah of UTM discusses the cycle of criminalization

Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah was recently featured in an opinion piece in The Toronto Star by columnist Shree Paradkar. The story discusses a new report by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) detailing how Toronto Police are more likely to criminalize and use violence during encounters with Black people. The article Are we OK living in a society where (yet another human rights report shows) police are key drivers of racism against Black people?, cites Professor Owusu-Bempah speaking on the OHRC report. Owusu-Bempah explains how racism enters the cycle of criminalization beginning with the overpolicing of Black communities and accumulates throughout each level of engagement with the law enforcement and court systems. He highlights how the disruption of these encounters has broad and long-lasting impacts on Black lives well after individual encounters with law enforcement, and these effects can feed back into the cycle that finds Black people at a heightened risk of being criminalized.

Professor Owusu-Bempah is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities at the U of T Mississauga campus. He frequently provides commentary to public and governmental agencies, community organizations, and media outlets on topics related to his research focus: the intersection of race, policing and justice.

We’ve included an excerpt to the article below. Read the full article in The Toronto Star here (paywall).

Are we OK living in a society where (yet another human rights report shows) police are key drivers of racism against Black people?