Congratulations to Professor Jack Veugelers for winning the ASA’s Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Book Award!

Professor Jack Veugelers’ new book recently received this year’s ASA Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Book Award in the Political Sociology section. The book is titled “Empire’s Legacy: Roots of a Far-Right Affinity in Contemporary France.” Professor Jack Veugelers is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on right-wing extremism and the politics of immigration in Canada and Europe (especially France and Italy). We’ve included the abstract of the book below from his publisher, Oxford Scholarship Online:

“Building on the idea of latent political potential, this book offers an alternative interpretation of the contemporary far right. Its main thesis is that relations between colonizers and colonized implanted a legacy that, under certain conditions, translated into support for the far right in France. To make this argument, the book offers a model for the study of political potentials that combines a situational approach to identity relations, a networks approach to subcultural practice, and a historical approach to political opportunity. The early part of this book traces the origins and development of this potential among the European settlers of French Algeria. The middle part examines its transmission via voluntary associations and its channeling into mainstream parties. The latter part examines the conditions under which this potential redirected into the far right. Starting with colonial Algeria, after independence in 1962 the book moves between politics at three levels: France, the southeast region, and Toulon (which in 1995 became the largest city in postwar Europe to elect a far-right administration). Complementing economic explanations for nativism, this book argues that our understanding of modernity errs when it disregards the potency of anachronistic remnants.”

 

Congratulations to Professor Tahseen Shams for winning the 2021 ASA International Migration Section’s Thomas and Znaniecki book award

Congratulations to Professor Tahseen Shams for winning the 2021 ASA International Migration Section’s Thomas and Znaniecki Award for her book, “Here, There, and Elsewhere: The Making of Immigrant Identities in a Globalized World!”

The Thomas and Znaniecki book award is given annually to a book published within the previous two years for its “outstanding social science scholarship in the field of international migration.” In her award-winning book, Professor Shams shows how immigrants produce and experience the interconnectedness of societies in both their places of origin and in places beyond. Drawing on the South Asian Muslim American experience, Professor Shams shows how faraway foreign places can be influential in shaping the ways in which immigrants and their descendants understand themselves and are understood by others.

Professor Tahseen Shams is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and a 2020-21 Bissell-Heyd Research Fellow at the University of Toronto. Her research examines topics such as international migration, globalization, race/ethnicity, and nationalism. The overarching question that ties her research interests together is “how transnational, global forms of inequality intersect with race and ethnicity to affect immigrant groups, particularly those coming from Muslim-majority countries to the West, namely the United States and Canada.”

We’ve included the synopsis  from her book’s publisher, Stanford University Press:

“Challenging the commonly held perception that immigrants’ lives are shaped exclusively by their sending and receiving countries, Here, There, and Elsewhere breaks new ground by showing how immigrants are vectors of globalization who both produce and experience the interconnectedness of societies—not only the societies of origin and destination, but also, the societies in places beyond. Tahseen Shams posits a new concept for thinking about these places that are neither the immigrants’ homeland nor hostland—the “elsewhere.” Drawing on rich ethnographic data, interviews, and analysis of the social media activities of South Asian Muslim Americans, Shams uncovers how different dimensions of the immigrants’ ethnic and religious identities connect them to different elsewheres in places as far-ranging as the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. Yet not all places in the world are elsewheres. How a faraway foreign land becomes salient to the immigrant’s sense of self depends on an interplay of global hierarchies, homeland politics, and hostland dynamics. Referencing today’s 24-hour news cycle and the ways that social media connects diverse places and peoples at the touch of a screen, Shams traces how the homeland, hostland, and elsewhere combine to affect the ways in which immigrants and their descendants understand themselves and are understood by others.”

Congratulations to graduate students receiving SSHRC fellowships

SSHRC logoThis year, eight of our PhD students received funding from SSHRC. This funding will provide them with support for one to four years. Although all students in the University of Toronto graduate programs have a guaranteed funding package, receiving a SSHRC fellowship provides additional funding and allows them reduce the number of hours devoted to teaching and research assistantships so that they can focus on their dissertation research. All of our PhD students apply for external funding and receive training in developing proposals.

2021 SSHRC Doctoral Scholarship Recipients

Franklynn Bartol, Gender in the brain, feminism in the lab: How gender politics are shaping contemporary neuroscience
Erika Canossini, Towards a Sociology of Clemency: An Exploration of Pardons in Canada and US.
Maria Finnsdottir, Radical Women: Gendered Citizenship, National Identity, and the Scandinavian Radical Right
Elliot Fonarev, Mapping belonging in queer experiences in Canada
Jordan Foster, Fashion’s Front Row: Social Media Influencers and Status in the Digital Era
Andrew Holmes, From Protests to Parades? Shifting Directions for Canadian LGBTQ Social Movements 
Sara Hormozinejad, ‘Home’ Makers: Belonging and the Precarity of Citizenship for Afghan Migrants in Iran 
Umaima Miraj, Women and Ghadar: A Revolutionary Feminist World-Systems Analysis

Recipients from previous years among our current students

Amny Athamny, Anson Au, Phil Badaway, Tyler Bateman, James Braun, Milos Brocic, Eugene Dim, Miranda Doff, Marie-Lise Drappon-Bisson, Soli Dubash, Athena Engman, Ali Greey, Cinthya Guzman, James Jeong, Hammand Khan,  Rebecca Lennox, Gabe Menard, Andreea Mogoanu, Jean-Francois Nault, Andrew Nevin, Jaime Nikolaou, Laila Omar, Sebastien Parker, Shawn Perron, Kayla Preston, Taylor Price, Paul Pritchard, Kate Rozad, Kerri Scheer, Jillian Sunderland, Yukiko Tanaka, Samia Tecle, S.W. Underwood, and Dana Wray.

Professor Patricia Landolt in The Conversation: “Suburban monumentalism: do we change Indigenous-settler relations when there are no statues to destroy?”

Professor Patricia Landolt recently co-authored an article titled “Suburban monumentalism: How do we change Indigenous-settler relations when there are no statues to destroy?” on The Conversation. Professor Landolt argues that although suburbs are often overlooked as places of action, they have also played a role in the Indigenous dispossession and settler-colonial violence. She gives the example of suburban monumentalism in Scarborough where “historical plaques erase Indigenous histories and presence on the land.”

Professor Patricia Landolt is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto. She studies the production and reproduction systems of social exclusion and inequality associated with global migrations. Her research focuses on specific themes such as refugee-migrant political incorporation, precarious work and income insecurity, non-citizenship and precarious legal status.

We’ve included an excerpt of the article below. You can read the full article here.

Scarborough, a bustling suburban region of Toronto, has key features of suburban monumentalism. Scarborough has been a site of settlement, migration and crossing for thousands of years. It has been a disputed territory for at least 200 years as Indigenous peoples have challenged settlement on unceded land and the duplicity of the treaty process. Indigenous people continue to live and shape the area, as well as fight for return of the land.

All of this complexity and contentious political history is largely absent from Scarborough’s monuments and built environment.

Scarborough’s naming conventions weave a settler-origin story into the land. The Thomson family appears in the naming of David and Mary Thomson Collegiate, Thomson Memorial Park and in the collections of the Scarborough Historical Museum.”

Professor David Pettinicchio and PhD student Jordan Foster in The Conversation: Victoria’s Secret joins the “inclusive revolution”

David PettinicchioProfessor David Pettinichio and PhD student Jordan Foster recently co-authored an article titled “Victoria’s Secret joins the ‘inclusive revolution,’ finally realizing diversity sells” on The Conversation. The article chronicles recent trends in fashion brands using models with disabilities in their advertising. Over the past two years, brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Aerie and now Victoria’s Secret have made efforts to create more inclusive fashion.

Professor David Pettinichio is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto with teaching responsibilities at UTM. He specializes in the area of political sociology and studies the intersection of inequality and politics. Jordan Foster is a PhD student at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on the intersection of culture, consumption, media, and inequality. His dissertation is titled “The Rich Kids of Instagram: Symbolic Wealth and Social Visibility in the Digital Era”.

We’ve included an excerpt of the article below. You can read the full article here. You can also watch the TikTok video about this article here.

“We focus our attention on disability because it’s traditionally seen as inconsistent with fashion. The industry largely saw a person with disabilities as someone who can’t embody, reflect or convey beauty. In other words, disability would turn off consumers.

Our analysis over five years of three mainstream fashion magazines – VogueInStyle and Harper’s Bazaar – revealed not a single person with a disability appearing on the cover. A look at 2,500 ads in InStyle turned up similarly little.

So we turned to the recent and well-known Nike, Aerie and Tommy Hilfiger campaigns that featured a diverse cast of models, including those with a range of visible and non-visible disabilities.

Tommy Hilfiger’s campaign went a step further. The brand developed adaptive clothing specifically designed for people with disabilities — a step few others have taken.

This inclusion, though hugely important, often comes with more “sanitized” depictions of disability – creating images thought to be “more palatable” to consumers.

Professor Weiguo Zhang featured in Toronto Star article about social capital

Professor Weiguo Zhang was recently featured in an article titled “Do you have ‘social capital?’ These Mississauga men have used theirs for the greater good” by the Toronto Star. In this article, the author cites Professor Zhang as an example of someone using their social capital to help their community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Professor Weiguo Zhang is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto. He specializes in the topics of social demography, sociology of families, and social policy. His research focuses primarily on rural areas of China, investigating the relationship between national population, economic policies, and individual livelihoods.

We’ve included an excerpt of the article below. You can read the full article here.

When COVID-19 hit Mississauga, Weiguo Zhang was worried about how isolated older members of his community would be.

The sociology professor at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) campus started an online “tea house” for older Chinese residents to connect with one another.

“I have enlarged my own social network,” he said, explaining that the group started with about 20 members, and grew to 338 members.

He says that many residents who immigrated from Mainland China don’t speak fluent English or French, and during the pandemic weren’t able to visit their friends and carry out in-person routines.

“They take up all the opportunities to learn,” Zhang said, explaining that seniors in the group displayed a resilience, learning about Zoom, listening to presentations, and taking part in the intergenerational English language program.

“By bringing younger students together with older adults,” he said, it wasn’t just about learning English, but also teaching youth about Chinese culture.

Now, there are members from Toronto, Hamilton, Montreal and even B.C., and Zhang believes there’s more social capital between Chinese-Canadians than ever before.

“People are taking the opportunity to make their community stronger,” said Zhang. “It’s truly an amazing experience.”

Professor Joe Hermer in The Conversation: “Homeless encampment violence in Toronto betrays any real hope for police reform”

Joe HermerProfessor Joe Hermer recently published an article titled “Homeless encampment violence in Toronto betrays any real hope for police reform” on The Conversation. The piece argues that when police officers forcibly and violently demolished homeless encampments in parks across Toronto they broke a trust with the public that they had committed to repairing just a few months earlier. Their betrayal of public trust now calls into question their capability of caring for marginalized and vulnerable people.

Professor Joe Hermer is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Sociology Department at the University of Toronto, Scarborough. He is currently working on a project called “COVID-19 Policing and Homelessness Initiative.” His research focuses on homelessness, crime victimization, and the criminal justice system.

We’ve included an excerpt of the article below. You can read the full article here.

…The widespread criticism of these evictions focus on the human rights breaches that have occurred. But what is equally troubling is that promises made by the police to be more accountable to marginalized communities have been exposed as a fraud.

More than a year after the death of George Floyd in the United States and historic protests for police reform, it’s clear that the Toronto Police are insincere about changing how they treat historically over-policed and criminalized communities.

Just three months ago, both the Toronto police chief and mayor accepted the recommendations of Missing and Missed: Report of The Independent Civilian Review into Missing Person Investigations. The report came after an inquiry that was established in response to criticism that the police did not take missing persons reports seriously about six of the eight gay and bisexual people who were murdered by serial killer Bruce McArthur between 2010 and 2017.

In her meticulous analysis, Justice Gloria J. Epstein, an independent reviewer of the report, found that while some dedicated officers did excellent work, the overall investigation had “serious flaws” and was marred by “systematic discrimination.” The report made clear that, while those murdered were part of the LGBTQ2S+ community, “these victims were marginalized and vulnerable in a variety of ways.”

A major theme of the 151 inquiry recommendations is the absolute necessity of repairing the badly damaged trust between the Toronto Police and marginalized communities, which include racialized and Indigenous people, those experiencing homelessness and people with mental health issues.

In other words, repairing trust with the very people who are most likely to have been forced to take shelter in homeless encampments in Toronto parks in order to survive the pandemic. Those who take refuge in encampments tend to be the most vulnerable and victimized of people experiencing homelessness, and are more likely to have complex needs that are poorly served by the shelter system.

Professor David Pettinicchio recently co-authored an article titled “Canadians with disabilities are feeling left behind by pandemic policy”

David PettinicchioProfessor David Pettinicchio recently co-authored an article titled “Canadians with disabilities are feeling left behind by pandemic policy” on First Policy Response. The article reports on findings from a study he and a colleague conducted in June 2020 that found that many persons with disabilities and chronic health conditions were ineligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and faced increased costs as a result of the pandemic, putting them in a particularly vulnerable position. In response to these findings, Professor Pettinicchio calls on the policy community to re-think its strategies, and to focus on long-term wellbeing for all Canadians, including those with disabilities and chronic health conditions.

Professor David Pettinicchio is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto. He specializes in the area of political sociology and studies the intersection of inequality and politics. His work has been published in many well-known journals including Gender and Society, The Sociology Quarterly, Canadian Review of Sociology, and the British Journal of Social Psychology.

We’ve included an excerpt of the article below. You can read the full article here.

Because of low employment earnings or being completely excluded from the labour market — in addition to lack of access to credit markets (such as credit cards, mortgages and loans) — people with disabilities and chronic health conditions make use of other income supports. These include personal and household assets and government benefits, mostly from provinces. They also often face higher overall costs of living, and they experience obstacles in accessing health and personal care services.

This meant that people with disabilities and chronic health conditions were in an especially tough situation during the pandemic. Many faced increased costs, but without employment, they did not qualify for benefits such as CERB.

In June 2020, we conducted a national survey of 1,027 people with disabilities and chronic health conditions, as well as 50 in-depth follow-up interviews. We asked about their experiences with the pandemic and pandemic countermeasures, their employment and financial situations, their mental health status, and their attitudes toward government and policies during COVID-19.

People with disabilities who were employed but lost their jobs when the pandemic hit saw increased economic insecurity. Individuals in so-called “good jobs” like government and unionized jobs felt more financially secure, as did those who received CERB. However, as we show, employment does not always guarantee financial security. Half of employed respondents still worried about their economic futures.

Coupled with heightened fears of getting COVID-19, worsening economic situations also contributed to deteriorating mental health. Increased anxiety, stress and despair were associated with negative financial effects of COVID-19, greater concerns about contracting COVID-19, increased loneliness and decreased feelings of belonging.

More generally, as our findings show, people with disabilities and chronic health conditions felt left out of the policy process. Whatever policy efforts are made to mitigate social, health and economic impacts of the pandemic on this diverse community must include their voices.

The pandemic calls into question existing policies that focus on a person’s capacity to save for a rainy day — policies that ignore structural disadvantages and strict income thresholds that can keep people with disabilities out of better jobs. Now is the time to revisit and reform these systems for long-term wellbeing.

 

Professor Ito Peng begins new Partnership project titled “Care Economies in Context: Towards Sustainable Social and Economic Development”

Professor Ito Peng received news earlier this spring that she has received funding for a second large partnership project. This project, called “Care Economies in Context: Towards Sustainable Social and Economic Development,” pulls together research teams from eight different countries and has funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), The William and and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations.

Using a broad definition of “care,” this project will map and measure all paid and unpaid elements of the Care Economy in Canada and seven other countries. These countries span four global regions and represent both the Global North and the Global South. They are: Italy, Columbia, Costa Rica, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Kenya, and Senegal. Once the teams in each country have mapped and measured the individual care economies, they will conduct comparative analyses to understand the  institutions, cultures, and social and economic policies that shape differences and similarities across varying contexts. The team will then develop gender-aware macroeconomic models and other tools for policymakers who are seeking to improve models of care giving in their own jurisdictions.

This project is Professor Peng’s second large partnership project to receive funding from SSHRC. It follows her previous success with the project, Gender, Migration and the Work of Care, that focused specifically on an international comparison of the role of migrant care workers and immigration policies in shaping the structure of care. Both projects involved large teams of international researchers and partnerships with key NGO and policy partner. For this new project, Peng has partnerships with seventeen organizations including UN Women, UN Research Institute for Social Development, the International Labour Organization, The African Population and Health Research Centre, Canadian Labour Congress, International Development Research Centre of Canada, and Canada’s Ministry of Women and Gender Equality. She will lead a team of about thirty academic researchers and the project will provide training opportunities to at least fifty students and junior scholars.

Professor Ito Peng is a Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. She is also the Director of the Centre for Global Social Policy at UofT and the Canadian Research Chair in Global Social Policy. More information about the Care Economies in Context project and Professor Peng’s other research is available on the CGSP website.

 

Professor Tahseen Shams begins new SSHRC-funded research project studying interracial and interfaith relationships among South Asian Muslim Immigrants

Professor Tahseen Shams has recently begun a new research project titled “Race, Religion, and Romance: A Comparative Study of Interracial and Interfaith Unions in Canada and the United States Using the Case of South Asian Muslim Immigrants.”

The project, that was recently funded by a SSHRC Insight Grant, seeks to  “understand the personal, social, and political factors that encourage and discourage Muslim South Asian immigrants from dating and marrying outside of their communities.” Insight Grants are provided by SSHRC to faculty members whose research has the promise to “deepen, widen and increase our collective understanding of individuals and societies, as well as to inform the search for solutions to societal challenges.”

For this project, Professor Shams and her graduate students will interview 160 individuals — both Muslim South Asian immigrants and their non-Muslim, non-South Asian peers. They will then analyze the interview data to understand the opportunities and barriers to interracial and interfaith romantic relationships in Canada and the US. The project will provide depth to the scholarly literature in immigrant integration that has sometimes seen marriage as an unproblematic measure of assimilation.

Professor Tahseen Shams is an Assistant Professor of Sociology with teaching responsibilities on the St. George campus, and the 2020-21 Bissell-Heyd Research Fellow at the University of Toronto. Her research examines topics such as international migration, globalization, race/ethnicity, and nationalism. For more information on Professor Shams’ research please visit her website.

 

Professor Luisa Farah Schwartzman’s new SSHRC-funded research studies struggles over rights in the Brazilian justice system

Luisa Farah SchwartzmannProfessor Luisa Farah Schwartzman recently started a new SSHRC-funded research project titled “Bringing Democracy into the Law: Urban Inequalities and Struggles over Rights and Fairness in the Brazilian Justice System.”

For this project, Professor Farah Schwartzman and her team of graduate students will investigate the various ways in which different Brazilians negotiate rights and justice. They will focus on four cases: (1) formerly incarcerated teenage girls and their families; (2) legal professionals who seek to create and enforce the law in high-profile white collar and corruption cases (3) public defense lawyers and their clients make rights-claims through the justice system and (4) feminist social movements claiming rights through legislative change regarding femicide (gender violence, often amongst citizens). The project seeks to learn how these particular actors, who have differing goals, social and professional identities and locations in the power structure, work to extend, limit or modify the reach of the law to achieve social justice, through the enhancement of rights or reduction of privileges for themselves or for others. Through this project, Professor Schwartzman and her students will identify the intersections between democratization, struggles over justice, power structures, and the workings of the law in São Paulo, Brazil.

The project was funded through the SSHRC Insight Grant program.This funding opportunity seeks to “support and foster excellence in social sciences and humanities research intended to deepen, widen and increase our collective understanding of individuals and societies, as well as to inform the search for solutions to societal challenges.”

Professor Luisa Farah Schwartzman is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto. She specializes in the topics of race and ethnicity. In her previous work, she investigated how the classification of race, ethnicity and other social categories influence the reproduction of inequality. Although most of her work is focused on Brazil, she has also done research on other national contexts. Currently, her research addresses the relationship between “the state” and the management of social differences.

 

Three Sociology graduate students receive Harney fellowships for 2021

Congratulations to Jessica Stallone, Samia Tecle, and Man Xu, PhD students in Sociology, for receiving the R.F. Harney Graduate Research Fellowship in Ethnic, Immigration, and Pluralism Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Policy. The Harney Fellowship offers funding to advanced graduate students conducting research in areas related to citizenship, migration, and diversity.

Jessica Stallone studies the racialization of Muslims, the embedding of politics of race and gender in public debates in Canada, and nativist logics that promote Islamophobia on social media. To support her research on anti-Muslim sentiment in Canada, she was awarded a Quebec grant (FRQSC). Jessica is also the session coordinator and co-organizer for the Race and Ethnicity Research Cluster at the CSA.

 

 

 

Samia Tecle’s research focuses on immigration and refugee studies. Specifically, she studies the relationship between mobility, global inequality, and the migration controls that influence Canada’s refugee migration. Samia’s dissertation is titled “A False Bifurcation?: Understanding Canada’s Inland Asylum Determination and Refugee Resettlement as an Interconnected System”. 

 

Man Xu’s research interests lie in the areas of global migration, transnationalism, and racial and ethnic identity. In her dissertation titled “Explaining Chinese Independent Migration to Iran: Dynamic Migration Trajectories and Flexible Adaptation”, she studies the trade activities and social relations of Hui Muslim traders in Yiwu, China.

 

 

These students are joining six other PhD students from across the university as part of the Harney intellectual community. You can read more about their fellowships and the program here.

PhD student Gordon Brett recently published a piece titled “A Sociology of ‘Thinking Dispositions'”

PhD student Gordon Brett recently published a piece titled “A Sociology of ‘Thinking Dispositions'” on the academic blog Culture, Cognition, and Action (culturecog). 

In this piece, Gordon emphasizes the importance of taking into account individual variability in sociological work on dual-process cognition. From examining the claims of various cultural sociologists, Gordon shows that they “presuppose a ‘one-size fits all’ model of social actors and the workings of human cognition.” Although the term “individual differences” tends to be overlooked by sociologists because it sounds “non-sociological,” Gordon states that it nonetheless exists, is socially patterned, and is valuable for research.

Gordon Brett is a PhD candidate in Sociology and a member of the Morality, Action, and Cognition Lab (MAC Lab) at the University of Toronto. His current research focuses on creativity, cognitive styles, and the theory diagrams that sociologists use. He also examines how cognitive processes and social and cultural life interrelate.

We’ve included an excerpt of the article below. You can read the full article here.

“We can go back to the classics to find concepts that approximate thinking dispositions and propositions about how and why they are socially patterned. Georg Simmel argued that the psychological conditions of the metropolis (e.g., constant sensory stimulation, the money economy) produce citizens that (dispositionally and habitually) react “with [their] head instead of [their] heart” (2012[1905]: 25) – a more conscious, intellectual, rational, and calculating mode of thought. Relatedly, John Dewey (2002[1922], 1933) wrote about a “habit of reflection” or a “reflective disposition” born out of education and social customs.

We can also find this line of thinking in more contemporary works. Pierre Bourdieu (2000) argued that the conditions of the skholè foster a “scholastic disposition” characterized by scholastic reasoning or hypothetical thinking. Annette Lareau’s (2011) account of “concerted cultivation” found that wealthier families aimed to stimulate and encourage their children’s rational thinking and deliberate information processing to develop their “cognitive skills.” Critical realists aiming to hybridize habitus and reflexivity have argued that certain conditions (e.g., late-modernity, socialization that emphasizes contemplation) produce habiti in which reflexivity itself becomes dispositional – a reflexive habitus (Adkins, 2003; Mouzelis, 2009; Sweetman, 2003). All of these accounts broadly suggest that people in different social locations are exposed to different types of social and cultural influences which lead them to develop thinking dispositions.”

Professors Jerry Flores and Weiguo Zhang received grants for new research projects from UTM

Congratulations to Professor Jerry Flores and Professor Weiguo Zhang who have recently received funding from the University of Toronto, Mississauga for their upcoming research projects. This funding is administered by UTM’s new initiative “Black, Indigenous, and Racialized Scholar/Research Grant Program“. The purpose of this program is to support research projects that address racial inequity, the ongoing effects of racism, and social justice.

Professor Flores’ research project is titled “Broadening access to the Kaxúmbekua (way of life): Saving P’urhépecha culture across English speaking countries.” In this project, Professor Flores will be collaborating with community elder and artist, Huíchu Kuákari, in translating two key books belonging to the P’urhépecha peoples, a group of Indigenous people located in central Mexico. These translations will be the first step in a larger community-based research agenda that investigates how members of the P’urhépecha community from across the world recover their culture and resist the larger Mexican state’s racial project and multiple attempts at erasing the P’urhépecha people.

Professor Jerry Flores is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto. His areas of interest include studies of gender and crime, prison studies, alternative schools, ethnographic research methods, Latina/o sociology, and studies of race and ethnicity. He also recently published his first book titled “Caught Up: Girls, Surveillance and Wraparound Incarceration”.

Professor Zhang’s research project is titled “COVID-19 Racism against Chinese in Canada”. In this project, Professor Zhang will be conducting surveys, focus group discussions, and in-depth interviews to understand (1) the prevalence of anti-Asian racism during the COVID-19 pandemic (2) the Chinese perception of racial discrimination, and (3) the impact and coping strategies of Chinese people in Canada in response to racism. Professor Zhang hypothesizes that “those with different levels of acculturation will have a different perception of discrimination, a different attitude towards discrimination, and will adopt different means and strategies to deal or cope with discrimination”.

Professor Weiguo Zhang is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto. He specializes in the topics of social demography, sociology of families, and social policy. His research focuses primarily on rural areas of China, investigating the relationship between national population, economic policies, and individual livelihoods.

Congratulations, Professor Flores and Professor Zhang, for receiving these grants and we look forward to seeing the results of this important research!

 

Professor John Hannigan’s new book “Rise of the Spectacular: America in the 1950s” in press for July 2021

Professor John Hannigan has a new book coming out in July 2021 titled “Rise of the Spectacular: America in the 1950s”. This book is billed as a prequel to an earlier book titled “Fantasy City: Pleasure and Profit in the Postmodern Metropolis.”

Professor Hannigan is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto. He teaches courses in cultural policy, urban political economy, and environmental sociology. His previous books have been nominated for various awards and have been translated into multiple languages. The “Rise of the Spectacular” will be the fifth book that he has published.

 

We’ve included the book description from his publisher Routledge:

“In this prequel to Fantasy City: Pleasure and Profit in the Postmodern Metropolis (1998), his acclaimed book about the post-industrial city as a site of theming, branding and simulated spaces, sociologist John Hannigan travels back in time to the 1950s. Unfairly stereotyped as ‘the tranquillized decade’, America at mid-century hosted an escalating proliferation and conjunction of ‘spectacular’ events, spaces, and technologies.

Spectacularization was collectively defined by five features. It reflected and legitimated a dramatic increase in scale from the local/regional to the national. It was mediated by the increasingly popular medium of television. It exploited middle-class tension between comfortable conformity and desire for safe adventure. It celebrated technological progress, boosterism and military power. It was orchestrated and marketed by a constellation, sometimes a coalition, of entrepreneurs and dream merchants, most prominently Walt Disney. In this wide-ranging odyssey across mid-century America, Hannigan visits leisure parks (Cypress Gardens), parades (Tournament of Roses), mega-events (Squaw Valley Olympics, Century 21 Exposition), architectural styles (desert modernism), innovations (underwater photography, circular film projection) and everyday wonders (chemistry sets). Collectively, these fashioned the ‘spectacular gaze’, a prism through which Americans in the 1950s were acculturated to and conscripted into a vision of a progressive, technology-based future.

Rise of the Spectacular will appeal to architects, landscape designers, geographers, sociologists, historians, and leisure/tourism researchers, as well as non-academic readers who are by a fascinating era in history.”

Professor Joe Hermer was recently featured in an episode about homeless encampments in Trinity Bellwoods by The Agenda, TVO

Joe HermerProfessor Joe Hermer was recently featured in an episode titled “Clearing Homeless Encampments: Tensions Overflow in Trinity Bellwoods” by The Agenda, TVO. Professor Hermer, outreach worker Lorraine Lam, and mayor Michael Thompson weighed in with their thoughts regarding the recent incident at Trinity Bellwoods. In June, the police and security dismantled the homeless encampment at Trinity Bellwoods Park, leading to a loud outcry by the public. Professor Hermer described the clearing of this encampment as “unjustified” and a “bizarre police operation.”  According to Hermer, clearing homeless encampments “pushes people into more dangerous and risky situations”.  Professor Hermer also discussed the central problems of shelters and the types of people welcomed into parks by the city.

Professor Joe Hermer is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Sociology Department at the University of Toronto, Scarborough. He is currently working on a project called “COVID-19 Policing and Homelessness Initiative.” His research focuses on homelessness, crime victimization, and the criminal justice system.

You can watch the episode here.

Professor Jooyoung Lee was recently featured on CNN about gun control

Jooyoung LeeProfessor Jooyoung Lee was recently featured on CNN in a report titled: “Gun Violence Epidemic: Why Canada’s Gun Violence is Fraction of US”. Over the 4th of July weekend, there were hundreds of shootings in the US, including three mass shootings. These events have led to rising concerns over the US’ lenient gun laws and questions about why shootings are rarer in Canada. In this CNN report, experts explain that people who want to own a firearm in Canada must first undergo a lengthy process of background checks, waiting period, and strict training. Canada’s stringent requirements and continued monitoring of gun owners work to prevent the misuse of firearms. Professor Lee says that “the Canadian system recognizes that people’s lives change over time and that just because you’re fit to own a gun at one point in time does not mean that in the future you will continue to be fit.”

Professor Jooyoung Lee is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto and a faculty member in the Centre for the Study of the United States. His research deals with gun violence and its impact on young Black men in different contexts. In his latest work, he examines how murder transforms families and communities, how we can use videos to enhance research on interaction and youth experiences with guns in Toronto.

You can watch the full video here.

PhD student Kayla Preston recently published an article titled “The Black Pill: New Technology and the Male Supremacy of Involuntary Celibate Men”

PhD student Kayla Preston recently published an article titled “The Black Pill: New Technology and the Male Supremacy of Involuntary Celibate Men” in the journal of Men and Masculinities. This article examines the arguments that heterosexual incel men make regarding their attempts in finding a partner. Kayla and her co-authors collected data by qualitatively analyzing 9,062 comments on a popular incel online forum. They found that incels believed that emerging technologies, such as social media and dating apps, exacerbated their experiences of incelibacy.

Kayla is currently a PhD student in Sociology at the University of Toronto and a Junior Affiliate with the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society. Her areas of research interest include extremism, (de)radicalization, gender, political sociology and race.

We have included the abstract of the article below. You can also read the full article here.

Preston, Kayla, Michael Halpin, and Finlay Maguire. 2021. “The Black Pill: New Technology and the Male Supremacy of Involuntary Celibate Men.” Men and Masculinities. 

Abstract

“Involuntary celibates, or “incels,” are people who identify themselves by their inability to establish sexual partnerships. In this article, we use analytic abduction to qualitatively analyze 9,062 comments on a popular incel forum for heterosexual men that is characterized by extensive misogyny. Incels argue that emerging technologies reveal and compound the gender practices that produce involuntarily celibate men. First, incels argue that women’s use of dating apps accelerates hypergamy. Second, incels suggest that highly desirable men use dating apps to partner with multiple women. Third, incels assert that subordinate men inflate women’s egos and their “sexual marketplace value” through social media platforms. We argue that incels’ focus on technology reinforces essentialist views on gender, buttresses male domination, dehumanizes women, and minimizes incels’ own misogyny. We discuss findings in relation to theories of masculinity and social scientific research on the impacts of emerging technology.”

Congratulations to Franklynn Bartol, winner of the Outstanding Graduating Sociology Student, MA Award

CSA logoCongratulations to Franklynn Bartol, winner of the Outstanding Graduating Sociology Student, MA Award! This award was created by the Canadian Sociological Association in 2013 to help Sociology Departments recognize their top graduating students. As a first-year PhD student in the University of Toronto’s Sociology Department, Franklynn is an active member of the research community and has already won an impressive number of awards. Some of these include: presenting multiple times at leading social science conferences, a SSHRC Canadian Graduate Scholarship (Masters), and a Bridge Award for Outstanding Scholarship, jointly granted from Yale and University College London. Franklynn has a background in developmental neuroscience and is using that prior knowledge to examine how scientists’ beliefs about sex and gender influence their research design and interpretation of evidence. 

Professor Ellen Berrey weighs in on the debate about Critical Race Theory

Professor Ellen Berrey was recently featured in an article titled “What Is Critical Race Theory and Why Are Some People So Mad at It?” by Snopes. Over the past few months, Critical Race Theory (CRT) has become a topic that sparks heated debates among members of different political parties. In this article, Professor Berrey weighs in on the debate with her thoughts. She argues that because CRT can be generalized, this helps people better understand the disparities and dynamics across different systems. Professor Berrey, and others interviewed in this article, believe that it is important to understand these dynamics because doing so gives hope for change.

Professor Ellen Berrey is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, Mississauga and an affiliated scholar of the American Bar Foundation. Her research focuses on how law, organizational practice, and culture influence inequality. In her past projects, she has examined topics such as diversity discourse, affirmative action politics, employment discrimination litigation, corporate social responsibility, and urban gentrification.   

We’ve included an excerpt of the article below. You can read the full article here.

“Ellen Berrey, professor of sociology at the University of Toronto, told us that critical race theory helps understand these disparities because it can be generalized, meaning it can be applied across different systems to see what links them. She used the metaphor of blue-blocker sunglasses used for fishing, that filter out blue light so their wearers can more easily see fish.

“Where you point that lens, you should be able to see a set of dynamics more clearly and understand them better,” Berrey told us by phone.

“Critical race theory is strongest at explaining how broader systems interact — how do racism and classism get embedded and institutionalized in the health care system, or the legal system, or the educational system, or whatever word you wart to put in front of ‘system,’” Berrey added.”