Congratulations to Professor Tahseen Shams who has been awarded a 2020-2021 Bissell-Heyd Research Fellowship for the Centre for the Study of the United States

Congratulations to Professor Tahseen Shams who recently received a 2020-2021 Bissell-Heyd Research Fellowship for the Centre for the Study of the United States at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. The goal of her research is to examine and elaborate on the impacts of racial and social injustice, drawing from immigrants’ experiences in the United States and Canada.

Professor Shams plans to study the ways in which international and transnational social inequalities intersect with race and ethnicity to affect immigrants’ life experiences and identities. For her fellowship period, she will work on her next book project Searching for Halal Love, which aims to study immigrants’ marital lives. She will examine what native-born North Americans and immigrants think about dating and marriage as well as the factors that motivate them to form friendships and relationships. The research will be conducted via interviews and the analysis of manuscripts.

For her research event, Professor Shams proposes to have a one-day conference consisting of three research-based panels as well as one discussion forum, which will include distinguished scholars from various disciplines. The conference will aim to situate topics of race, immigration, and nationalism within a globalized context. Each panel will have invited guests, a U of T faculty, and a graduate student. Faculty members and students from the Munk School of Global Affairs as well as other departments are widely invited to attend the event.

The first panel of the conference will discuss the types of racism in the US and abroad. The second panel will discuss the severe impacts of surveillance. The third panel will discuss racial disparities in the context of health crises. Lastly, the discussion forum will talk about ways in which the academia can build and bolster solidarity amongst minority groups both in schools and within a globalized context.

Professor Shams is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities on the St. George Campus. Her research focuses on immigration, globalization, race, ethnicity, and nationalism.

Professor Melissa Milkie on Canadian fathers and housework and child care

Professor Melissa Milkie recently co-wrote an article in The Conversation discussing the shift in housework amid the COVID-19 pandemic. She and her co-investigators have found that fathers have begun to do a greater share of the housework and complete more parental tasks at home than they had done before the pandemic.

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.

We have posted an excerpt of the article below. The full story is available on the website here.

Canadian dads are doing more at home than before the coronavirus pandemic

July 21, 2020 2.56pm EDT

Authors: Kevin Shafer / Casey Scheibling /

Over the past few months, everyday housework, like cooking and washing dishes, has multiplied and most parents have become responsible for teaching their kids. Given the uneven distribution of these tasks before the pandemic, much of this extra work has fallen squarely on mothers.

Our work looks at trends in housework and child care during the early stages of the pandemic in Canada as one way to measure how it might disproportionately harm women.

Housework and child care are important markers of equity for a few reasons. Family responsibilities often default to mothers, negatively impacting their career and economic opportunities. Women’s physical and mental health is linked to how equally partners share family-related tasks. Romantic relationship quality and stability are also tied to perceptions of equity in housework and child care.

Housework and child care

We surveyed nearly 1,250 Canadian mothers and fathers about family and work arrangements before and during the pandemic. Because of the substantial gender gaps in housework and child care before COVID-19, we looked at the perception of how much domestic work Canadian fathers were doing immediately before the pandemic in May 2020, about a month and a half after public health orders took effect.

When it came to preparing meals, cleaning and shopping for essentials, a small proportion of men were perceived as reducing their portion, most did about the same and a sizeable minority increased their share. Indeed, in the central tasks of preparing meals, doing dishes and housecleaning, about twice as many men increased their share as decreased it…

…Persistent inequality in domestic labour has many sources — all of which could be amplified during the pandemic. Gender pay gaps, particularly among parents, often cause families to privilege the careers of fathers over mothers. Societal expectations and the lack of policy supports, like access to affordable child care, pressure many women to reduce their hours or quit working in order to care for young children.

Read the full article…

Professor David Pettinicchio on Canadians with disabilities and chronic health conditions feeling left behind amid the COVID-19 pandemic

David PettinicchioProfessor David Pettinicchio recently co-wrote an op-ed in The Toronto Star discussing the negative impacts wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic on Canadians with disabilities and long-term chronic health conditions.  Although most people with disabilities and chronic health conditions who applied for the CERB found the process accessible, they expressed anxieties about what will happen in the future. Professor Pettinicchio explains that it is crucial for organizations to provide ample support and for policies to cater to their needs in order to achieve meaningful outcomes.

Professor David Pettinicchio is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities on the UT Mississauga (UTM) campus. His research focuses on social policy, social movements, and political sociology. 

We have posted an excerpt of the article below. The full story is available on The Star website here.

Canadians with disabilities, chronic health conditions feel left behind by pandemic

Mon., July 13, 2020

Governments have a responsibility to address the specific challenges people with disabilities and chronic health conditions have and continue to face during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Not only is this population more likely to contract COVID-19, it is also more negatively affected by the social distancing measures put in place to limit its spread. Economic and social supports for people with disabilities have been particularly limited, making their road to recovery far less certain.

Unfortunately, almost no systematic data exists on how Canadians with disabilities and chronic health conditions have fared during the pandemic. We recently conducted a survey of 1,000 Canadians with disabilities and chronic health issues. We find that these Canadians are struggling and don’t think the government is doing enough to help.

About 19 per cent of those surveyed felt left behind by government or business responses to COVID-19. Many cited a lack of financial support from the government, a loss of services, and not having any voice in developing social distancing policies.

Read the full article… 

Professor Sida Liu on China’s legal system and its components

Sida LiuProfessor Sida Liu recently spoke to UTM News regarding the case of two Canadians facing espionage charges in China. Professor Liu is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities on the UT Mississauga (UTM) campus. He is a faculty fellow at the American Bar Foundation. He is also an affiliated scholar of the U.S.-Asia Law Institute at New York University School of Law and an affiliated scholar of the Center on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School. His research focuses on the sociology of law, social organizations, social theory, and globalization.

We have posted an excerpt of the article below. The full story is available on UTM News website here.

Lawyers for Canadians charged with spying in China can only make minimal difference, says UTM legal expert

Monday, July 13, 2020 – 11:04am

Patricia Lonergan

A U of T Mississauga expert on China’s legal system says a more coordinated effort is needed to raise attention worldwide about Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, two Canadians facing espionage charges in China.

“The more international attention on their trials, the better,” says Sida Liu, an associate professor of sociology. He says the broader attention could put some pressure on the Chinese government and courts to conduct as close to a fair trial as possible, adding that this is not just a problem between China and Canada, but is instead part of a larger political conflict that could affect everyone.

After being detained for over a year in China, last month the two Canadians were charged with spying. The formal charges came on the heels of a decision by British Columbia’s Supreme Court to dismiss an application from Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou to avoid extradition to the United States.

Now that Spavor and Kovrig have been prosecuted, the cases will be transferred to the courts. While both face spying-related charges, they were charged separately in different jurisdictions. Kovrig’s case will transfer to Beijing while Spavor’s will go to Dandong.

Normally the courts have three to six months to conduct a trial and reach a decision once a case has been transferred, but because this is a national security case, the courts could extend that timeframe, Liu says.

Read the full article…

Professor Jennifer Adese on raising awareness of Métis women’s stories in Canada

Professor Jennifer Adese recently spoke to U of T News on the importance of raising awareness of Métis women and their stories within a Canadian context. Professor Adese explains that it is crucial to look into the historical accounts of Métis girls and women, examining the reasons why Métis, as a whole, were mistreated and oppressed. In order to stand in solidarity with minority communities, raising awareness of these issues is essential.

Professor Jennifer Adese is an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities at the UT Mississauga (UTM) Campus. Her research focuses on the intersection of Indigenous Studies, Cultural Studies, and Critical Race Theory.

We have posted an excerpt of the article below. The full story is available on the U of T News website here.

With a focus on women, U of T researcher aims to raise awareness of Métis issues in Canada

July 09, 2020

By Carla DeMarco

An Indigenous scholar’s long-standing research related to Métis women comes at a pivotal moment when understanding and standing in solidarity with people who are oppressed is crucial.

Jennifer Adese, an associate professor in the department of sociology at the University of Toronto Mississauga, has dedicated her efforts to Indigenous research throughout her academic career. However, it was attending the National Aboriginal Women’s Summit (NAWS) in 2012 that cemented her focus on the experiences of Métis women.

“It was at these proceedings in Ottawa that Indigenous women collectively came together to call on the provincial premiers in attendance to use their power to push the federal government to commit to a national inquiry on the high rates of Indigenous women who have gone missing…” said Adese during a recent interview for the VIEW to the U podcast.

“I had the privilege to sit alongside these women as they met with different members of government, other Indigenous organizations and even with United Nations representatives, and it gave me a pretty life-changing insight (into) the complex public strategies of resilience practised by Métis women.”

Read the full article…

Professor Julius Haag on violence and the inappropriate labelling of criminalization

Professor Julius Haag recently responded to a specific tweet on Twitter from Jamil Jivani. This tweet response, along with several other ones, including one by professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, was picked up by CBC news. In his response to the tweet from Jamil Jivani, Professor Haag mentions the dangers of inappropriately labelling marginalized and criminalized people as ‘young gangsters.’

Professor Haag is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, of Sociology at the University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities on the UT Mississauga (UTM) campus. He has expertise on the intersection of youth justice, race, ethnicity, policing, and criminology.

We have posted an excerpt of the article below. The full story is available on the CBC News website here.

Ford-appointed adviser defends tweet on gun violence saying calls to defund police ‘out of touch’

Jul 13, 2020

Laura Howells

An adviser to the Ontario government on outreach to at-risk communities is responding to a wave of online criticism for his tweet blaming heightened gun violence on “young gangsters” starting online “drama.”

Jamil Jivani, the Ford government-appointed “advocate for community opportunities,” made the comments after a violent weekend of shootings in Toronto. Jivani also disparaged calls to defund the police.

“One reason gun violence is up again: during COVID a lot of young gangsters were talking trash on Instagram and YouTube, making videos about rivals, starting e-drama,” Jivani said on Twitter Sunday.

…Julius Haag, sociology professor at the University of Toronto, called the comment “shameful.”

“There’s no clear evidence that conflicts on social media are a widespread vector for real-world violence,” Haag said in a tweet.

“Describing marginalized and criminalized young people as ‘young gangsters’ is both callous and dangerous.”

Read the full article…

Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah on reducing unnecessary interactions between the public and the police

Akwasi Owusu-BempahProfessor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah recently spoke to CBC News on limiting unnecessary interactions between the public and the police force. Professor Owusu-Bempah says that this is an important step to take because some of these unnecessary interactions have resulted in violence. Professor Owusu-Bempah explains that other agencies may be more suitable to complete some of the tasks.

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

We have posted an excerpt of the article below. The full story is available on the CBC News website here.

$46M in active civil lawsuits against Windsor police, malicious prosecution and negligence among claims

Jul 14, 2020

There are currently 12 open civil lawsuits against the Windsor Police Service totalling more than $46 million and those involve allegations such as collusion, malicious prosecution, assault and negligence, CBC News has learned.

Documents obtained through multiple freedom of information requests also show Windsor taxpayers have paid out $1.2 million, between 2006 and 2019, to victims who made accusations of malicious prosecution, wrongful arrest and assault relating to city cops. It involved 64 lawsuits and the confidential payouts are actually larger because that $1.2 million figure doesn’t include what the city’s insurers end up compensating.

“I think we need to consider the dollar amounts in the context of the calls for defunding the police we’re hearing at the moment,” said Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto Mississauga.

Police are being asked to do too many different things, he said, and that means more officer interactions with the public when other agencies may be more appropriate to respond.

“The less we have police presence in the lives of people where it doesn’t need to be, the less likely we are to have the types of assaults and violence that lead to these lawsuits,” said Owusu-Bempah.

Watch as Akwasi Owusu-Bempah explains why reducing unnecessary interactions between the police and the public is a good thing:

Read the full article… 

Professor Ethan Fosse on the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in the US

Professor Ethan Fosse recently appeared alongside Amish Adalja and Willy Lowry on the podcast Beyond the Headlines to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in the US. Professor Fosse explains that the pandemic requires a redirection towards thinking of caring for the welfare of the community in contrast to the message pushed by Republicans in the US who stressed individual freedom and rights.

Beyond the Headlines is a weekly podcast created and hosted by students from the Masters of Public Policy at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. This podcast is hosted by James Haines-Young.

Professor Ethan Fosse is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities on the UT Scarborough (UTSC) campus. His research focuses on social change, quantitative methods, and demography.

The episode is available on the The National News website here and embedded below. Professor Fosse’s portion begins at minute 7.31.

Beyond the Headlines: how did the US coronavirus outbreak become the world’s worst?

You can also listen to the full episode here. You can also listen to the podcast on Spotify, Google Podcasts or iHeartRadio. You can also find the episode on Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Deezer, RadioPublic, or Stitcher.

PhD candidate Cinthya Guzman on routine disruption amid the COVID-19 pandemic

PhD candidate Cinthya Guzman recently published an article in Contexts Magazine on routine disruption amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Her previous research focused on ways in which contexts shape routinization regarding the lives of 100 Canadians. Following up with her research participants, PhD candidate Cinthya’s work now also examines the impact of routine changes wrought by COVID-19.

Cinthya Guzman is a PhD candidate of Sociology at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on sociological theory, culture, and gender.

We have posted an excerpt of the article below. The full story is available on the Contexts Magazine website here.

“Routine Disruption during COVID-19” by Cinthya Guzman

“The pandemic hit like a shock – it is not a change. A change is expecting Winter after Spring. This is like getting hit with a blizzard during Summer – you do not immediately know how to proceed.”

A year ago, I conducted research on 100 Canadians. I wanted to learn about the contexts that shape routines and emotional experiences, like boredom. The study used a 10-day experience sampling method (ESM) and interviews to provide a window into daily lives. Some had very routinized lives, others less so. Habits, I found, led to divergent experiences of boredom. People who constantly kept busy did not struggle with lulls; rather, they relished the opportunity to always find something new to do. Those who did not have similar habits often struggled to find purpose in activities outside of their routines.

Given the dramatic social impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, I followed up with the participants. This time, I sought to capture the impact of social distancing measures on our daily lives. These measures, while absolutely necessary for public health, have dramatically altered interaction and time-use patterns. We are physically constrained in ways never experienced before. As one participant put it, our social lives have become ‘smaller.’ But there are also opportunities to expand our social worlds in new and creative ways. The crisis, as the participant expressed, has completely shifted the forms of social contact. This has led to clear impacts on the self – namely, our routines, habits, interactions, and emotions. In highlighting these, I want to suggest ways in which people’s lives have changed from a year ago.

Radical disruptions to routines

The pandemic has caused incredible disruptions to daily routines and lives. Last year, the majority of participants were either employed, seeking employment, or retired. Now, many participants are unemployed or employed but absent from work.

Many participants now crave the normalcy of work life – independent of the economic security it brings. Although they feel far less rushed compared to a year ago, they are now more bored, anxious, and stressed. They feel that they lost the central organizing axis in their lives. The pandemic, they feel, has disrupted their sense of control. Leisure activities have also become far less pleasurable. Boredom, under these conditions, is a constant reminder that their time no longer earns them a living and is therefore less productive. Time, they emphasize, now moves painstakingly slow.

Read the full article…

Professor Nicholas Spence’s Connaught-funded research studies intra-group differences among Indigenous Peoples in Canada

Professor Nicholas Spence recently received a Connaught New Researcher Award for his project, “The Impact of Social Context (Income Inequality) on Health Among Indigenous Peoples in Canada.” 

The project begins with the understanding that for some Indigenous Peoples in Canada the standard of living is comparable in many respects to that of developing countries but that there, nonetheless, exists great variation across different communities. Professor Spence’s research will study the intra-group differences among Indigenous Peoples in Canada by assessing the impact of social context (community) on health outcomes. He will explore the role of relative deprivation, as operationalized by income inequality (i.e., the degree to which income is distributed among people in a community), in understanding health among Indigenous Peoples. 

Professor Spence will achieve his goals by analyzing three existing datasets (e.g., surveys and census data) that contain data about both on-reserve and off-reserve Indigenous peoples in Canada. They include the 2017 Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS), which is a cross-sectional national survey of 24,220 First Nations people living off-reserve, Métis, and Inuit; the 2016 Census of the Population (CP); and the 2015/16 First Nations Regional Health Survey Phase 3, which is a cross-sectional national survey of 23,167 individuals across First Nations communities in Canada. 

This research will advance understanding of the social determinants of Indigenous Peoples’ health, by focusing on the effect of the social environment within a multilevel framework. It will increase knowledge on the role of relative deprivation and income distributions in health outcomes of Indigenous Peoples and shed light on the pathways that link the social environment with health. Overall, this research will speak to fundamental debates, including the relative importance of individual determinants of health versus contextual determinants of health, the complex interactions between them, as well as psychosocial and behavioural explanations of health. Moreover, this approach will enhance understanding of how health outcomes are created and manifest in marginalized peoples. This novel research may also provide evidence for regional and national policy aimed at reducing inequality, which is sensitive to the heterogeneity of the health outcomes and socioeconomic contexts of Indigenous Peoples, across communities in Canada. 

Professor Spence is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities on the UT Scarborough (UTSC) Campus. His research focuses on social inequality, health, and well-being. He has published various books and scholarly articles in journals such as theAmerican Journal of Epidemiology, Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Cancer, Obesity Research and Clinical Practice, Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, amongst many others. 

 

Professor Dan Silver on Canada’s arts sector and its need for transformative action

Dan SilverProfessor Dan Silver recently co-authored an op-ed in The Globe and Mail about the need to invest in arts as a form of building Canadian infrastructure. Looking to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) as a model, the authors suggest that the Canadian arts sector requires major investment with co-ordination across different levels of government to support the arts in a post-lockdown world. This significant change would lead to cultural renewal, diversity, and expansion.

Professor Silver is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities on the UT Scarborough (UTSC) Campus. His research focuses on theories, urban environments, culture, and cultural policies.

We have posted an excerpt of the article below. The full story is available on The Globe and Mail News website here.

Canada’s arts sector needs transformative action similar to Works Progress Administration

Daniel Silver is a professor of sociology at the University of Toronto. Gail Lord is president of Lord Cultural Resources. Mark S. Fox is associate director for research at U of T’s School of Cities.

With unemployment approaching levels not seen since the Great Depression, it is time for bold initiatives. The federal government is wisely considering a major stimulus package geared toward improving the country’s infrastructure. Yet to have maximum impact, it is necessary to expand the notion of infrastructure beyond the physical. Our society is built not only on roads, bridges and cables, but also on music, stories and images. We need a 21st-century Canadian version of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration.

The original WPA pushed the boundaries of what counts as infrastructure. It employed workers to build hospitals, post offices, parks, auditoriums, government buildings and much more – many of which became iconic and are still in use today, such as Los Angeles’s Griffith Observatory. But the WPA also sparked one of the most dramatic expansions and diversifications of culture the world has ever seen, through subsidizing the production of visual art, music, theatre, literature, film, crafts, folklore documentation and arts education programs.

The results were astonishing, resulting in some 2,500 murals, more than 100,000 paintings, millions of posters, over 17,000 sculptures, 6,000 music teachers and 225,000 concerts. Much of this flowering took root in underserved marginalized communities and rural areas.

Read the full article…

Congratulations to Professor Tahseen Shams whose article received an honourable mention in the Global and Transnational Sociology Section of the ASA

Congratulations to Professor Tahseen Shams who recently received an honourable mention from the Global and Transnational Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association (ASA) for her scholarly article titled “Successful yet Precarious: South Asian Muslim Americans, Islamophobia, and the Model Minority Myth” in Sociological Perspectives. Professor Shams received the honourable mention for her excellence of writing and discussion in a sociological topic.

Professor Shams is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities on the St. George Campus. Her research focuses on immigration, globalization, race, ethnicity, and nationalism.

We have posted the abstract and the citation of the article below. The article can be accessed through U of T Libraries: https://doi-org.myaccess.library.utoronto.ca/10.1177/0731121419895006.

Tahseen Shams, “Successful yet Precarious: South Asian Muslim Americans, Islamophobia, and the Model Minority Myth,” Sociological Perspectives, (December 2019): 1-17.

Precariousness is the notion that unstable and temporary employment can induce feelings of vulnerability and insecurity. As a “successful” minority because of their high education levels and economic attainments, South Asian Americans can hardly be described as precarious. However, ethnographic observations reveal a collective precariousness felt by this group. Despite measures of success, their positionality as a racialized and stigmatized religious “Other” induces in them an insecurity akin to that felt by those un(der)employed. They fear that despite their achievements, they can be discriminated against in their workplace because of their race and religion. This anxiety influences their education and career choices, and political engagements. Theoretically, precariousness is largely conceptualized as a phenomenon contained within national borders. However, South Asian Muslim Americans’ precariousness is influenced by that of Muslims of other nationalities abroad, underscoring the transnational dimension of precariousness and how it can extend beyond immediate networks and physical borders.

Read the full article here…

Congratulations to Professor Sharla Alegria for receiving the Outstanding Article Award in the Sociology of Inequality, Poverty, and Mobility section of the ASA

Congratulations to Professor Sharla Alegria who recently received the Outstanding Article Award in her co-authored scholarly article titled “Gender Pay Gaps in US Federal Science Agencies: An Organizational Approach” in the American Journal of Sociology. This award honours scholarly articles with excellence of writing and discussion in a sociological topic. Professor Alegria, alongside co-authors received the award in the section of Inequality, Poverty, and Mobility of the American Sociological Association (ASA).

Professor Alegria is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities on the St. George campus. Professor Alegria’s research focuses on work, race, class, gender, science, and technology.

We have posted the abstract and the citation of the article below. The article can be accessed through U of T Libraries: https://doi-org.myaccess.library.utoronto.ca/10.1086/705514.

Laurel Smith-Doerr, Sharla AlegriaKaye Husbands FealingDebra Fitzpatrick, and Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, “Gender Pay Gaps in U.S. Federal Science Agencies: An Organizational Approach,” American Journal of Sociology 125, no. 2 (September 2019): 534-576.

This study advances understanding of gender pay gaps by examining organizational variation. The gender pay gap literature supplies mechanisms but does not attend to organizational variation; the gender and science literature provides insights on the role of masculinist culture in disciplines but misses pay gap mechanisms. A data set of federal workers allows comparison of men and women in the same jobs and workplaces. Agencies associated with traditionally masculine (engineering, physical sciences) and gender-neutral (biological, interdisciplinary sciences) fields differ. Pay-gap mechanisms vary: human capital differences explain a larger share in gender-neutral agencies, while at male-typed agencies men are frequently paid more than women within the same job. Although beyond the federal workers’ standardized pay scale, some interdisciplinary agencies more often pay men off grade, leading to higher earnings for men. Our theory of organizational variation helps explain local agency variation and how pay practices matter in specific organizational contexts.

Read the full article here…

Congratulations to recent PhD graduate Atsushi Narisada on receiving the Best Dissertation Award in the Sociology of Mental Health section

Congratulations to recent PhD graduate Atsushi Narisada who recently received the Best Dissertation Award for his thesis titled “The Social Antecedents and Consequences of the Sense of Distributive Justice.” This award honours dissertations with excellence of writing and discussion in a sociological topic in the Sociology of Mental Health section in the American Sociological Association (ASA).

Professor Narisada is a recent PhD graduate at the University of Toronto. He is currently an Assistant Professor at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. His research focuses on mental health, work, and social justice.

We have posted the abstract and the citation of the thesis below.

The Social Antecedents and Consequences of the Sense of Distributive Injustice

Roughly half of working adults in Canada and the United States report a sense of distributive injustice––that their earnings are unjustly too low. This evidence provides an impetus to document the antecedents and consequences of the sense of distributive injustice. More specifically, it encourages us to examine two fundamental questions in the study of distributive justice: (1) What do people think is just and why? (2) And, what are the consequences of the sense of injustice for individuals? Using population-based data, I address these questions through an interdisciplinary lens by integrating perspectives in the social psychology of distributive justice, the sociology of mental health, and occupational health psychology. I assess the first question by fusing ideas in distributive justice and the work-family interface. I argue that the conceptualization of work-related inputs can be elaborated by considering the intersection of work and family roles. Specifically, I propose a model that delineates how excessive job pressures––and the ensuing role blurring behavior and work-to-family conflict––shape the expectation for greater rewards. My findings provide an updated account of the nature of work contributions for contemporary workers that shape their ideas of what they should justly earn. The second part of the dissertation examines the consequences of underreward, focusing on the situational factors that function as moderators. In one study, I show that the relationship between underreward and job dissatisfaction is contingent on forms of security, such that the association is attenuated for those with high job and financial security, and for those employed in the public sector. The interpretation of the patterns for job security encourages the integration of the Job Demands-Resources Model and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. In another study, I examine the ways in which two dimensions of SES––education and income––moderate the effects of perceived underreward on mental and physical health. I test two competing hypotheses––buffering-resource and status-disconfirmation––that delineate the moderating role of SES. Taken together, this dissertation draws upon and integrates diverse theoretical perspectives to identify new forms of work-related contributions that shape perceptions of a fair reward and the situational factors that modify reactions to underreward.

THESIS CITATION

Atsushi Narisada, “The Social Antecedents and Consequences of the Sense of Distributive Justice,” (November 2019): 1-163.

The thesis can be accessed through U of T Libraries: https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/handle/1807/97572

Read the full thesis here…

Professor Rachel La Touche honoured with Arts and Science Teaching Award

Rachel LaToucheCongratulations to Professor Rachel La Touche who recently received an Arts and Science (A&S) Teaching Award. The prize honours “faculty members who are effective teachers and demonstrate an exceptional commitment to student learning, pedagogical engagement and teaching innovation.” Professor La Touche received the award for her commitment to bettering access and inclusivity in education overall.

Professor La Touche is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, in Sociology on the St. George Campus. Her research focuses on inequality, mental health, and teaching in higher education.

We have posted an excerpt of the article announcing Professor La Touche’s award below. The full story is available on the A&S News website here.

Four A&S faculty celebrated for their excellence in teaching

June 19, 2020

By A&S News

The University of Toronto recognized four Arts & Science faculty members today — Jill CarterRachel La ToucheSuzanne Wood and Kerry Taylor — with honours that celebrate their excellence in teaching.

Carter, La Touche and Wood are all recipients of the Early Career Teaching Award, which recognizes faculty members who are effective teachers and demonstrate an exceptional commitment to student learning, pedagogical engagement and teaching innovation.

Taylor was awarded a University of Toronto Teaching Fellowship, which allows members in the teaching stream to engage in a pedagogical project of direct benefit to students in a defined area of institutional priority. The fellowships provide the opportunity to undertake a two-year teaching and learning project, working closely with the Office of the Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education and the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation (CTSI).

…Rachel La Touche’s research examines inequality, mental health, decolonization and teaching pedagogy in higher education.

“When I tackle classroom challenges as research questions, it requires me to consider a broad spectrum of factors in student learning — such as family life, employment and learning challenges,” says La Touche, who is committed to improving access, inclusion and the overall learning environment in her classes.

In addition to her research, La Touche supervises and mentors undergraduate and graduate students and collaborates with partner institutions — and publishes — on teaching and learning pedagogy. She also volunteers as a tutor for a non-profit afterschool program.

“Receiving this award makes me hungry for the next challenge,” says La Touche. “I plan to turn my attention to developing teaching resources, assessment tools, and innovative and accessible course design for the unique needs of students and faculty in today’s higher ed.”

As for her fellow educators, La Touche encourages them to take risks in their teaching practices…

Read the full article…

Professor Joseph Hermer launches website for rapid response research on policing and homelessness amid COVID-19

Professor Joseph Hermer recently launched a website for a rapid response research initiative on policing and homelessness during the COVID-19. The initiative is funded by the Toronto COVID-19 Action Fund at the University of Toronto, Scarborough. In the following eight months, Professor Hermer and his research team will examine ways in which people experience homelessness through policing across different parts of Canada amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Professor Hermer is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities on the UT Scarborough (UTSC) campus. His research focuses on the intersection of criminal justice system, the victimization of crime, and homelessness.

We have posted a section of the website below. The initiative is available on the website here.

COVID-19 POLICING & HOMELESSNESS

A Rapid Response Research Initiative

Social institutions across Canada are changing how they operate, adjusting to the new reality of the pandemic. How is the responsibility to safeguard the lives of vulnerable people in public spaces changing police-homeless encounters?

Police officers are not social workers.

Yet, police are frequently called upon to respond to individuals, many from racialized populations, who are in distress and dire circumstances. Law enforcement has long been a primary response to abject poverty and lack of affordable shelter. But criminalisation of people who are homeless is now, even more clearly, in conflict with ensuring their health and safety.

The COVID-19 Policing and Homelessness Initiative is a rapid response research project based at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Our goal is to promote and support a move away from the criminalisation of poverty, with solutions that serve the immediate and long-term needs of the homeless.

Check out the website here…

Professor Ito Peng on why framing racism as a public health issue masks the real problem

Ito Peng

Professor Ito Peng recently spoke to Global News about racism and its implications when being framed as a public health issue. While beneficial for raising awareness, Professor Peng argues that framing racism as a health issue limits the scope of its both its roots and the work needed for society to dismantle racist systems of inequality.

Professor Peng is the Canada Research Chair in Global Social Policy. She is also a Full Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at the Department of Sociology and the School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities on the St. George campus. Professor Peng is also the Director of the Centre for Global Social Policy. Her research explores the topics of gender, family, migration, and social policy.

We have posted an excerpt of the article below. The full story is available on the Global News website here.

Should racism be treated as a public health issue? Experts explain pros and cons

June 17, 2020

By

In Canada, there has been growing support to declare racism — specifically anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism — a public health issue in the wake of recent protests against police brutality.

On Monday, the Ottawa Board of Health unanimously voted to recognize racism and discrimination as a determinant of a person’s mental and physical health. Just last week, the Toronto Board of Health voted to recognize anti-Black racism as a public health crisis.

“Racism, discrimination and stigma are associated with poorer physical, mental and emotional health and greater mortality, making anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism and racism against minorities an important public health issue,” the Ottawa motion read.

…Declaring racism a public health crisis would place “the appropriate amount of attention on the seriousness and pervasiveness of Black racism in a way that helps us all appreciate that it doesn’t just harm Black people but has reverberating impacts on all communities,” he said.

Ito Peng, a sociology professor at the University of Toronto and director of its Centre for Global Social Policy, said typically, when a declaration is made, it triggers an immediate emergency response, reaction and policy from respective government systems.

This could involve defunding police, making body cameras mandatory or requiring mental health workers to accompany officers for wellness checks and non-violent calls. Peng said these are all helpful, necessary steps — but they won’t end racism.

“The challenge of framing this issue as a public health issue is that it reduces everything down to health, and in some ways, it masks the real problem,” she said…

Read the full article…

Professor Judith Taylor on White Men and Violence

Professor Judith Taylor recently wrote an op ed in The Toronto Star discussing white men and their violence. Judith Taylor is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities on the St. George campus. Her research focuses on the intersection of feminist activism, community organizations, and social changes within public institutions.

We have posted an excerpt of the article below. The full story is available on The Star website here.

‘Murdering’ white men and the work for white women

June 16, 2020

By Judith Taylor

…Part of coming into conscious adulthood for me has been becoming aware that every week, white men will be in the news for trying to kill based on racism and sexism. We won’t name them as white men. And we won’t connect the dots to think about the systems of thought that animate their adventures in harm.

If we look just at the violent acts that have occurred in the U.S. and Canada since most of us have been in lockdown, it seems pretty clear: white men have murder on their minds. It can be police officers, or a man pretending to be a police officer. It can be a teenager animated by INCEL, or a man by his wife’s intention to divorce, but murder seems like a good option to many white men, and they feel entitled to it.

COVID-19 time provides us two legal proceedings, one for the man accused of murdering many people with a van, and one who murdered a woman in a massage parlour. We can exceptionalize these cases, but hateful ideologies underpin most white male rage, whether it leads to date rape or targeting a mosque. It’s punishment of more vulnerable others as a guiding principle or a way of life…

Read the full article…

Professor Jennifer Adese on UTM’s View to the U

Professor Jennifer Adese recently appeared on an episode of UT Mississauga (UTM)’s View to the U: An eye to UTM research Podcast to discuss about her current research on Métis women and their representation within a Canadian context. She also discusses racism and oppression as well as what it means to be an ally for minority communities.

View to the U: An eye to UTM research Podcast is a monthly podcast created by the UTM communications team and hosted by Carla DeMarco, UTM Office of Research. It features UTM faculty members from different disciplines, each discussing their topics and projects.

Professor Jennifer Adese is an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities at the UT Mississauga (UTM) Campus. Her research focuses on the intersection of Indigenous Studies, Cultural Studies, and Critical Race Theory.

We have embedded the full episode below.

 

You can also listen to the full episode here.

Immigrant communities: conforming into the majority culture and breaking down anti-Black racism

Professor Jooyoung Lee recently spoke to CBC News about anti-Black racism in immigrant communities.  He spoke of his own experience as a Korean American in Southern California who studied hip hop culture. Professor Lee is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto with teaching responsibilities on the St. George campus. He is also a faculty member in the Centre for the Study of the United States, situated within the Munk School of Global Affairs. He is a Senior Fellow in the Yale University Urban Ethnography Project. His research focuses on race, ethnicity, hip-hip culture, gun violence, and youth justice.

We have posted an excerpt of the article below. The full story is available on the CBC News website here.

For these Asian Montrealers, breaking down anti-Blackness starts at the dinner table

June 15, 2020

By Jennifer Yoon

…As a Korean American growing up in southern California and immersed in hip-hop culture, Jooyoung Lee witnessed anti-Blackness first hand.

Now an associate professor of sociology at University of Toronto who studies how gun violence affects the health of young Black men, Lee says he is not aware of evidence that Asian Canadians are any more anti-Black than Canadians from other ethnic backgrounds. But he has a deep understanding of the historical and socio-cultural roots of anti-Black sentiment in Asian immigrant communities.

Growing up, Lee witnessed the way older generations talked about racial stratification, tinged with colourism — that is, preferential attitudes toward people with lighter skin — even within different Asian communities.

Many Asian immigrants to North America, Lee said, tend to be well-educated and were able to establish small businesses soon after their arrival. There is a lot of pressure on the next generation to succeed.

There’s a belief that to achieve that success, you need to do more than just work hard, Lee says: you also need to assimilate, to position yourself close to the culture of the majority.

That means “following the rules,” Lee said, “adopting a white name, trying to align yourself as close as possible to the dominant group, so that your kids can have an easy life — a good life.”

Many Asian immigrants buy into the idea that you should “pull yourself up by the bootstraps,” said Lee. As long as you work hard, you should be able to recover from setbacks without any outside help….

Read the full article…