Professors Neda Maghbouleh and Jasmine Rault were featured on the UTM research podcast, View to the U. They discuss the research they are currently working on, including topics such as race, immigration, sexuality, archives, and digital humanities. The podcast provides a fascinating look into what really goes into conducting a research study.
Dr. Maghbouleh’s work addresses racism and immigration, with a particular interest in groups from the broad Middle East. Her first book, The Limits of Whiteness: Iranian Americans and the Everyday Politics of Race is out in September 2017 with Stanford University Press. Research currently underway includes a SSHRC-funded project on stress and the integration of Syrian newcomer mothers in Toronto and Peel regions (with Melissa Milkie and Ito Peng); a Connaught-funded project on boundaries and inequalities in local mothers’ groups; and survey research on the “new U.S. racial and ethnic hierarchy” (with Ariela Schachter and René Flores).
Cross-appointed with ICCIT and Sociology, Rault’s research focuses on sexuality, gender, race and ethnicity as axes of power, cultural change and aesthetic potentiality. Her work takes queer feminist approaches to architecture and design, decolonizing digital research ethics and economies, and the affective politics of sexuality in transnational arts and social movements.
Neda Maghbouleh (NM): This is as our pilot study with Syrian mothers was coming to a close and as fairly mainstream researchers, methodologically speaking in sociology, we dipped our toe into something slightly inspired by a participatory action research (PAR), where researchers and participants are working really collaboratively. Though we didn’t do a full on PAR type of a project but we dipped our toe via convening a panel at that conference that included the three professors who had spearheaded the original project, a team of our RAs who had been integral into actually conducting the ethnographic work.
These were graduate students across UofT who speak Arabic and were able to really be these incredible interlocutors without whom we couldn’t have done this. We also had the voices of two mothers who were very keen to be part of the research process with us. We had invited the mothers also to join us on this panel. As you would imagine, the audience was vaguely interested in what the profs said, a little bit more interested in what our RAs shared, but keenly interested in the insights from our two research participants, the mothers.
Jasmine Rault (JR): A discovery is one that just kind of keeps happening again and again, the surprising discovery that sometimes your research participants say no and you have to be like, “Oh, that’s not just obstructive. Let’s think of that as generative in some way.” Sometimes they say, “Yes, but,” and that “but” is a more complicated and awesome way of saying no. It’s like, “Yeah, I’ll do that with you if you change everything about your research question.” So they say yes but then they entirely change the trajectory of the research. That’s the kind of discovery that keeps me interested on a bunch of different scales.