Professor Neda Maghbouleh and Professor Jasmine Rault Featured on UTM’s View to the U Podcast

Jasmine RaultProfessors 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.

We have included an excerpt from the podcast’s transcript below. Listen to the podcast here on Soundcloud and find the transcript here.

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.

Listen to the full podcast here and find the transcript here.

Welcome to our New Faculty

In 2017, we welcomed six new faculty members into the Department of Sociology. They cover a wide range of research and teaching areas that will both strengthen and broaden our department’s profile. Though housed across the three campuses, we welcome all of these new faculty members to join in our tri-campus intellectual community.

Dokshin, FedorProfessor Fedor Dokshin studies social movements and political behaviour with a focus on the role of organizations and social networks. He uses primarily quantitative and computational approaches. Recent research examines how emerging energy industries become politically contested and how this contestation might influence regulation and policymaking, the emergence of new industries, and the distribution of health and environmental risks.


Flores, JerryProfessor Jerry Flores  is an ethnographer who does research in the areas of intersectionality and crime, prison studies, Latina/o sociology and work on the school to prison pipeline. As a whole, his work investigates how race, class, gender, sexuality and other identities influence people’s trajectories through the educational and penal institutions. His new work will investigate issues related to mental health and policing, and the use of video ethnography.

Plys, KristinProfessor Kristin Plys’  research sits at the intersection of political economy, postcolonial theory, sociology of development, labour and labour movements, historical sociology, and global area studies. The greater part of her intellectual work analyses the historical trajectory of global capitalism as seen from working class and anti-colonial movements in the Global South. This research program has led her to take a particular interest in “Third World” political economy in the mid-20th century, shifts in the global trade balance between Early Modern Europe and Asia, and the theories of political economy that help to analyse these historical phenomena.

Jasmine RaultProfessor Jasmine Rault’s research focuses on sexuality, gender, race and ethnicity as axes of power, social change and aesthetic potentiality. Her work takes queer feminist approaches to architecture and design (both material and digital), online research ethics and economies, and questions of sexuality in transnational arts and social movements. She is currently working on the techno-social history of ‘openness’ since the late nineteenth century, and a collaborative project to reimagine online research, publishing and archiving protocols that prioritize decolonizing, trans- feminist, queer, Indigenous and Black methodologies.

Silver, MichelleProfessor Michelle Silver studies how cumulative life experiences influence health, well-being, and adaptation to later life course transitions. Her current work focuses on the relationship between work identity and retirement; perceptions about aging; embodiment, aging and resilience; and health information seeking behaviors. She is also interested in later life gender disparities in life expectancy and pensions.


Professor Gail Super’s research focuses on punishment, prisons, penal policy-making, popular punitivism, and penality. She is currently engaged in two projects which both explore aspects of crime prevention and punishment in marginalized informal (shack) settlements in Cape Town, South Africa – the one involves a court case where a community leader from an informal settlement is charged with committing a vigilante murder and, the other, an analysis of closed police dockets concerning violent forms of crime prevention and/or punishment in one of South Africa’s most densely populated poor black townships.