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New Publication: Report of an Inquiry into an Injustice: Begade Shutagot’ine and the Sahtu Treaty

In April, Department of Native Studies professor Peter Kulchyski launched his new book Report of an Inquiry into an Injustice: Begade Shutagot’ine and the Sahtu Treaty at McNally Robinson Booksellers Grant Park location. The event was hosted by Warren Cariou, Department of English, Theatre, Film & Media and Director of the Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture.

The book, a critique of the land claims process in northern Canada, chronicles Kulchyski’s experiences with the Begade Shutagot’ine, a small community of a few hundred people living in and around Tulita (formerly Fort Norman), on the Mackenzie River in the heart of Canada’s Northwest Territories. Despite their formal objections and boycott of the agreement, the band and their lands were included in the Sahtu treaty, a modern comprehensive land claims agreement negotiated between the Government of Canada and the Sahtu Tribal Council, representing Dene and Metis peoples of the region. While both Treaty Eleven (1921) and the Sahtu Treaty (1994) purport to extinguish Begade Shutagot’ine Aboriginal title, oral history and documented attempts to exclude themselves from the treaty strongly challenge the validity of that extinguishment.

Structured as a series of briefs to an inquiry into the Begade Shutagot’ine’s claim, this book documents the negotiation and implementation of the Sahtu treaty and amasses evidence of historical and continued presence and land use to make eminently clear that the Begade Shutagot’ine are the continued owners of the land by law: they have not extinguished title to their traditional territories; they continue to exercise their customs, practices, and traditions on those territories; and they have a fundamental right to be consulted on, and refuse or be compensated for, development projects on those territories. Kulchyski bears eloquent witness to the Begade Shutagot’ine people’s two-decade struggle for land rights, which have been blatantly ignored by federal and territorial authorities for too long.

Kulchyski has spent many years travelling to the north, where he has not only interviewed elders and politicians, but also participated in daily life. These experiences, along with his time as a non-Indigenous student in a government-run Residential high school in northern Manitoba, have helped to shape his writing, research, and teaching. He has written and edited many books on Indigenous rights and politics including Aboriginal Rights Are Not Human Rights: In Defence of Indigenous Struggles (2013) and Like the Sound of a Drum: Aboriginal Cultural Politics in Denendeh and Nunavut (2005).

On April 10, 2018, Kulchyski was presented with the Dr. John M. Bowman Memorial Winnipeg Rh Institute Foundation Award, in recognition of outstanding research accomplishments as an established University of Manitoba faculty member. At the event, he provided a presentation on Bush Ethics: Decolonizing the University that raised broad concerns about how university practices remain complicit with colonialism, and conversely how universities can assist in the struggle to decolonize.

Report of an Inquiry into an Injustice: Begade Shutagot’ine and the Sahtu Treaty
By Peter Kulchyski
University of Manitoba Press, 2018
$24.95 paperback
Available online and in stores.

Posted in Publications.

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New Publication: Mathilda

Mary Shelley’s novel Mathilda may not be as well known as her earlier novel Frankenstein, but for associate professor Michelle Faubert (English, Theatre, Film & Media) it has become a most important work. Faubert has recently published a new critical edition of the novel for Broadview Press. This edition encourages scholarly reconsideration of a novel that has often been stereotyped as biographical, and explores its greater importance to Romantic debates about suicide.

The novel is the story of one woman’s existential struggle after learning of her father’s incestuous desire for her. In fact, Mathildaand Frankenstein share many thematic characteristics: both concern parental abandonment; both contribute to the Gothic form through themes of incest, insanity, suicidality, monstrosity, and isolation; and both are written in the form of a series of letters. However, Mathilda was not published until 1959, 140 years after Shelley wrote it—in part because Shelley’s own father, William Godwin, suppressed it.

Critics have applauded this Broadview Press paperback edition saying it helps to make a primarily neglected text widely available to both scholars and the public, likely becoming the standard classroom text for the study of the original novel. Faubert provides extensive contextual material in her critical introduction and appendices, which include contemporary sources on Romantic-era suicide debates, biographical details about Shelley and her family, and discussions of incest themes in the Gothic genre. Excerpts of works by Mary Wollstonecraft (Shelley’s mother), William Godwin, William Wordsworth, Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley (Shelley’s husband), and others add perspective and depth to the text of the novel itself.

Faubert holds a SSHRC Insight Grant in Romanticism and Revolutionary Suicide and has previously edited Mary, A Fiction and the The Wrongs of Woman, or Maria by Mary Wollstonecraft (2012) and authored Rhyming Reason: The Poetry of Romantic-Era Psychologists (The Enlightened World) (2009) among others.


Mathilda by Mary Shelley
Edited by Michelle Faubert
Broadview Press, 2017
$17.95 print, $12.95 PDF or ePub
Available online.

Posted in Publications.

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Revealing the power of stories

A simple story can have the power to bring people together. Warren Cariou experienced this first hand as the Canada Research Chair he held for the past ten years in Narrative, Community and Indigenous Cultures has allowed him to learn from, work with and become dear friends with some amazing individuals across Canada. Cariou’s research focus was on the interpretation of traditional and contemporary Indigenous stories. Working with Indigenous storytellers and writers, he researched how Indigenous communities are defined and sustained by their stories and through various innovative projects, he helped to preserve neglected Indigenous stories of the past and bring them to the attention of a new generation of Canadians.

Group photo with Warren Cariou, Louis Bird, and CCWOC technician

Left to right: Warren Cariou, Omushkego Cree Elder Louis Bird, and CCWOC technician Teddy Zegeye-Gebrehiwot

Cariou is a Professor in English, Theatre, Film & Media, the Director of the Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture (CCWOC) and a writer, editor, filmmaker and photographer. The resources of the Chair provided the opportunity to make connections with storytellers and Elders from Cree, Métis, Lakota, Kaina and Anishinaabe communities. And, it has led to the gathering of scholars, an influence on the publishing of Indigenous works, multiple workshops and publications, and one very significant and influential relationship in Cariou’s life.

As part of the research program, Cariou began a series of colloquia focused on the principles of editing texts by Indigenous writers, called the First Voices, First Texts research group. He tells us that, “The team of editors and writers that I gathered has gone on to make a significant difference in the way that Indigenous texts are edited and marketed in North America.” This core group was also one inspiration for the creation of the Indigenous Literary Studies Association, of which Cariou was the inaugural President. The editorial principles developed by this group became important for many publishers who are committed to indigenizing the publishing process. Most directly, they were the foundation of the First Voices, First Texts book series (University of Manitoba Press), of which Cariou is General Editor. This series publishes critical editions of “lost classics” of Indigenous literature that have been unjustly neglected or have been previously published in inaccurate or inappropriate forms. To date, there are four volumes and plans for several more volumes in the future.

In addition, Cariou has been involved as a consultant and faculty member of the Indigenous Editors’ Circle, a series of workshops geared toward giving editors the necessary tools to work sensitively with Indigenous authors. Cariou explains that, “Editors from across Canada and the U.S. have taken part in these workshops, and I am confident that significant policy changes at publishing houses have arisen as a result of this work”.

Since its inception in 2008, the CCWOC has focused on developing artistic practice–especially storytelling and creative writing–as well as scholarly research on oral cultures. This mandate is very complementary to Cariou’s CRC work and he was able to provide examples of where they have intersected. Over the years, the CCWOC has hosted several storytellers-in-residence, and some have been Indigenous. “I had the opportunity to learn from the amazing Lakota/Kiowa Apache storyteller Dovie Thomason for an entire term in winter 2016,” he says. From this experience, Cariou published one scholarly article about Thomason, and is now working on a longer study of her work. He adds, “Without the CCWOC residency I would not have had the opportunity to learn from this brilliant and gifted artist”.

The CCWOC was also a crucial part of Cariou’s collaboration with Niigaanwewidam Sinclair, Associate Professor, Native Studies on an anthology, Manitowapow: Aboriginal Stories from the Land of Water.“CCWOC staff and students helped us in the gargantuan task of collecting, collating and editing all of the Indigenous writing we could find within the boundaries of what is now called Manitoba. The team discovered many previously forgotten stories by writers from our home territory that can now be preserved and shared,” said Cariou. The book went on to be the bestselling book by a Manitoba publisher in 2013, and won theOn the Same Page award.

Upon reflection, Cariou mentions that there is one relationship that stands above all others. “Perhaps the most important work I have done during the CRC has been my ongoing collaboration with Omushkego Cree Elder Louis Bird, who is renowned as one of the great storytellers in his community,” says Cariou. They have been documenting and studying the Omushkego storytelling traditions and environmental philosophies. Cariou is in the process of consolidating this large volume of work and plans to share it with Bird’s community so that the Omushkego people can maintain control over the legacy of their Elders and their traditions. “It has been a huge privilege to learn about Omushkego culture and practises on the land from Louis Bird, and to record many of his conversations and storytelling sessions. During my decade of work with Mr. Bird I was very happy to see that many of my students and colleagues also developed strong connections with him. For me, research that is focused on Indigenous cultures is primarily about fostering and building relationships. I am so happy that the CRC position enabled me to develop this rich and fascinating relationship, and I look forward to continuing this work for as long as possible.” Bird and Cariou taught a Cree Stories course together at U of M in 2010 and in 2017, the University awarded Bird an honorary doctorate. Cariou was thrilled, “This was a wonderful validation of his work, and I know that he appreciated the gesture greatly. He now likes to tease me by reminding me that he is a doctor too.”

Cariou will stay on as Director at the CCWOC for the next three years and is committed to continuing his work with Elder Louis Bird. He plans to expand his bitumen photography practice “Petrography” – another unique medium used to share stories – which he started after visiting the Indigenous community of Fort McKay during his research. He looks forward to working with the CCWOC’s next writer-in-residence, of who he would give no hints, and is working to find inventive ways to bring together Indigenous spoken word artists with Elders, to see what kinds of amazing new stories they can develop together.

Posted in CRC Spotlight.

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Arts researcher helping to fund a future for children

This article original was published on UMToday.

John Loxley, a Professor in Economics, began advising the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada (FNCFCSC) and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) in the early 2000s. His economics background in International Development and Community Economic Development has been beneficial in studying the financing of First Nations child welfare. In Canada, Indigenous children make up less than 10 per cent of all children, but represent about half of those in foster care. Indigenous children thus have a much higher chance of being separated from their families, communities, and cultures.

Loxley shares his motivations for studying child welfare from an economic perspective, “Children are being taken into care at an incredible rate. In addition to the social effects this causes, there are also direct economic impacts on the children now and in the future as well as an indirect impact on society now and in the future. The cost of foster care in terms of human and financial resources is very high. Through our modeling, we have found that much can be saved if you instead put programs in place to prevent foster care. In our funding models, we promote a shift away from the emphasis of protection and apprehension to a more positive and proactive focus on prevention and family retention”.

In 2005, Loxley was a co-author of Wen:de a multidisciplinary research project and national policy review on First Nations child and family services. This led to Alberta and later Manitoba introducing a new approach to funding by the Federal Government focussing on enhanced prevention. However, at the urging of the FNCFCSC and the AFN, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal reviewed the funding model and ruled that there was not enough being done to end discrimination against First Nations children. Loxley worked with the FNCFCSC and AFN as they oversaw implementation of practices and in 2015, he was asked to provide evidence in front of the Tribunal. In the past year, Loxley worked with the Manitoba Regional Advisory Committee on Child Welfare, which represents First Nations child welfare authorities and agencies, the two levels of government, and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs to help review and identify gaps in the funding model in Manitoba. In October 2017, he released his latest report and recommendations on the Development of a New Federal/Provincial Funding Model for First Nations CFS in Manitoba. In 2016 and again in early 2018, the Tribunal continued to rule in favour of the agencies and re-stated that the government has still not done enough to move things forward.

On February 14, 2018, the Federal Government announced plans to develop a Recognition and Implementation of Rights Framework. It is hoped that this Framework will include new legislation, policy, and funding on the rights of all Indigenous people including addressing child welfare. In the 2018 Federal Budget, the Liberal government committed $1.4 billion over six years for First Nations child and family services, with an emphasis on preventative care. Loxley’s report was one of the documents reviewed by the government during this process and he is encouraged that the research may have “contributed, even in a small way, to help move things forward for Indigenous children across Canada”.

This week, Loxley will be presenting his report at A Way Forward, the Regional Meeting on First Nations Child and Family Services in Manitoba presented by the Southern First Nations Network of Care and the First Nations of Northern Manitoba Child and Family Services Authority. This three-day meeting provides an opportunity for all CFS stakeholders to come together and develop a path toward reforming, resolving, and reconciling the CFS system in Manitoba.

Posted in Research Check-in.

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Threads in the Sash: The Story of the Métis People

Assistant Professor Fred Shore from the Department of Native Studies has published a new book of cultural history with Pemmican Publications, Canada’s eminent Métis publishing house: Threads in the Sash: The Story of the Métis People.

Drawing upon years of teaching Métis courses at the University of Manitoba, as well as at the University of Saskatchewan, Professor Shore combs the threads of history to explore and explain aspects of Métis history and culture – from the origins of a nation through the fur trade to the importance of the Red River settlement in Manitoba to Métis proliferation in Canada.

Combining meticulous research with an approachable, engaging style, the book answers questions such as: Where did the Métis come from? Why are the people who were once denounced as “half-breeds” now recognized as Indigenous people? How much of our province did they build? The book is expected to be a strong curriculum resource in addition to being a popular book with wider audiences.

Threads in the Sash launched this month, with several events taking place in Winnipeg. Professor Shore kicked off the University of Manitoba’s Indigenous Awareness Month on March 5 with a presentation based on the book. A launch and reading was also held at McNally Robinson Booksellers Grant Park location.

Professor Shore is the second longest serving faculty member in Native Studies, having been with the department since 1985. His experiences and research areas are many, but primarily include Métis history and political issues of Indigenous people throughout Canada.


Threads in the Sash: The Story of the Métis People
By Fred J. Shore
Pemmican Publications, 2017

Paperback $20.95

Available in stores and online.

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Representation in Action: Canadian MPs in the constituencies

Royce Koop, associate professor of political studies, has just published a new book on contemporary Canadian politics along with collaborators Heather Bastedo (president of Public Square Research) and Kelly Blidook (Memorial University).

Representation in Action: Canadian MPs in the Constituencies examines the work MPs do both in their constituencies and in Ottawa as they represent their constituents. As the authors note, survey data indicates that while Canadians feel MPs do an excellent job representing their political parties, they do a poor job of representing their constituents. MPs are often characterized as “trained seals,” helpless to do anything other than take commands from party leaders.

Representation in Action challenges these views and argues that the ways these politicians represent their constituents are as diverse as Canada itself. The book identifies many of these activities, and then discusses what influences the differences in style and focus. Drawing on original observation and interviews with eleven MPs and featuring detailed in-depth case studies of Leon Benoit, Tony Clement, and Megan Leslie, this book shows how MPs develop their own distinctive approaches to the role of people’s representative when addressing policy concerns, assisting constituents with issues, and generally connecting with those who elect them.

Readers will enjoy following along on the cross Canada travels of the authors while they observed MPs in action from Vegreville, Alberta, to Halifax, Nova Scotia; from isolated Thompson, Manitoba, to the urban core of Toronto, Ontario. And, as they observed a variety of activities from hostile public meetings to a day in their Ottawa office; from local door knocking to Question Period. While they looked for patterns in their activities, they sought to understand and portray the MPs as individuals and demonstrate how their personal experiences and ridings influence their representational style.

This is the first book to use intensive participant-observation methods to study Canadian MPs and representation, and has been hailed as “diligent, innovative, and engaging” by reviewers. It will be of interest to scholars – and lay-readers – interested in the practice and quality of representation, democracy, parliament, and politics in Canada.

Royce Koop is also the author of Grassroots Liberals: Organizing for Local and National Politics (for which he was awarded the Seymour Martin Lipset Best Book Prize by the American Political Science Association for Grassroots Liberals), and co-editor of Parties, Elections, and the Future of Canadian Politics. Koop writes a regular op-ed for the Winnipeg Free Press on hot topics in politics.


Representation in Action: Canadian MPs in the Constituencies
By Royce Koop, Heather Bastedo and Kelly Blidook
UBC Press, 2018

$32.95, EPUB & PDF. $75.00, Hardcover.

Available online. View a free sample chapter.

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Translating a Career into Academics

Alice Coates has always been interested in the way people communicate. The way people use language creatively and how they use it to discuss themselves has remained a point of interest for her, she says, “for me, linguistics is really a discipline that touches almost every aspect of life in some way, and that’s fascinating.”

Coates comes to the University of Manitoba after earning both a BA Hons French from University College London and a MA Translation and Interpreting from Macquarie University. She is currently working on her PhD in Linguistics at the University of Manitoba, under the supervision of Dr. Verónica Loureiro-Rodríguez.

She has worked as a translator and an interpreter, as well as a caregiver for persons with special needs. She says of her time in the workforce, “The translation industry often reflects ideas of the value of one mode of expression over another. It also reflects the demand and supply of professional language skills among the world’s languages. It has brought me into contact with many multilingual, multicultural people who work in a variety of settings, and I think has taught me some of the non-monetary value of intercultural communication.” Coates also says that her time as a special needs worker introduced her to how relationships are built and needs are met through language. These previous roles have served to sharpen her interest in the field of Linguistics which has led her to her current PhD program.

Coates’ work in Linguistics looks to language attitudes (opinions, ideas, and prejudices toward a language) and second language learning in a community context. A language, or speech, community refers to a community where a language is less spoken than it once was, yet the language is still part of the cultural heritage of that community. In this light, Coates is focusing on Athapaskan languages, specifically Dene Yatie. Athapaskan is a large family of Indigenous languages of North America located primarily in the north-west. In Canada, it is principally found in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. She adds, “This area of study is interesting to me because I don’t think of language as having variable value, just as people don’t, but everyday experiences often reflect differently on these ideas. I wonder how linguistics might provide answers to that.”

She feels her research will take her into 2022 and looks in the future to contribute to the understanding of the relationship between what language does and expresses, and the integrity and well-being of language communities.

Posted in Graduate Student Profile.

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Problem gambling: self-compassion and winning the next hand

Dan Bailis is a Professor and current Head of the Department of Psychology and is a Research Affiliate with the Centre on Aging and the Health, Leisure & Human Performance Research Institute. His research interests are in the area of social psychology and health.

Bailis has been studying if self-compassion facilitates or prevents problem gambling. The research is sponsored by Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation through the Manitoba Gambling Research Program (MGRP).

From a psychological perspective, the main focus of the research is self-compassion. Bailis explains the essence of this topic, “If you think of a time when you felt compassion for someone in difficulty or need, someone who was suffering, and then imagine turning that same feeling onto yourself at a time when you were in difficulty or need, that’s what it is. It’s a tendency to treat yourself with kindness and forgiveness during personal struggles, rather than self-criticism or blame”. Existing research makes it clear that self-compassion helps people to respond adaptively to a wide range of personal difficulties, after they have occurred. But, the question that first interested him was how self-compassion transmits to taking chances with losses and failures that haven’t happened yet. That drew him to gambling decisions as a context for discovering how self-compassion relates to taking risks.

He became interested in this when he realized that self-compassion, when looking at future decisions involving risk, was not necessarily a good thing. Bailis adds, “If you know you will forgive yourself before the loss has happened, are you not more likely to take a foolish risk in the first place? Are you not more likely to yield to certain temptations you know you should avoid? Are you not less able to learn from bad things that happen to you because the negativity of that experience is dampened by your self-compassion?” Yet, self-compassion is also linked to self-care – in the same way that compassion for others is linked to helping people who are in need. “There’s a tension built right into the core of the concept, and I began to wonder which aspect of self-compassion would win out in a risk-taking situation: the aspect that gives you a license to take risks, or the aspect that gives you an ability to walk away.”

The majority of the research was run in a Psychology laboratory environment, with student-participants, who were pre-screened on measures of self-compassion and problem gambling severity before performing a computerized gambling task. After the first study in 2015-16, and with additional support from MGRP, they were able to run a replication by setting up booths on the main floor of the McPhillips Street Station and Club Regent Casinos in Winnipeg. This allowed for very different participants that led to very different results. “We had more older adults in the casino study (ages ranged from 18-85, with the mean being 53 years), and we had more individuals with severe gambling risk. These groups showed a beneficial effect of self-compassion on their decision-making. This was a sharp contrast to the harmful effect we found repeatedly among our student-participants with moderate gambling risk. Our findings indicate that self-compassion seems to help people who have lived longer or are likely to have suffered more during their life from problem gambling. But, among people at an earlier stage of both life and problem gambling, the same self-compassion seems to accelerate risk-taking and delay learning from previous mistakes.”

The research has been quite a collaborative effort. After completing the study proposal, Bailis worked on the implementation with a former doctoral student and post-doctoral associate, Dr. Ben Schellenberg, of the University of Ottawa. Three Psychology honours students, Alanna Single, Nic Brais, and Cindy Foster, have completed thesis projects and a Psychology Undergraduate Research Experience summer project as part of this research; and three other students, Mariel Morden, Karis Cochrane, and Ingrid Anakeu-Kaké have contributed as Research Assistants. Bailis is grateful for the substantial efforts and contributions these students and now co-authors have made over the past two and half years.

In total, more than 6,000 people were screened and more than 700 were tested for this project. Now that the grant period has finished, Bailis indicates they will be working for at least the next year on further analyzing, reporting, and publishing the results. A report to Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries and the MGRP will become public following peer review.

Bailis now looks to the future. “Our results so far suggest that different participant-groups reliably show beneficial or harmful effects of self-compassion. I think it is difficult to reconcile our findings with the idea that self-compassion is innately a good or bad quality, or one that should be encouraged or discouraged across the board. Rather, it’s a mindset that opens up different possibilities in different situations. That means we have a lot more work to do to understand how situations harness self-compassionate thinking in go/no-go decisions, like winning the next hand versus avoiding debt or disaster. We can then expand this out to a broader set of risk-taking decisions such as personal relationship questions, disclosing secrets, health behaviours from tooth flossing to safe sex, academic coping, and eating behaviours”.

Through this research, Bailis is meeting more colleagues and students actively studying self-compassion and he is hoping that will lead to future opportunities, “They’re looking at everything from human performance to human resources to bio-markers to interventions in mental health. Bringing this group together in some way would be an exciting next step, and a stimulus to all our lines of work in this area.”

Posted in Research Check-in.

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Successful SSHRC Insight Development Grant Announcements (2017)

Members of the Faculty of Arts will undertake two Insight Development research projects thanks to SSHRC funding.

Benjamin Collins (Anthropology)*:  Refining the Middle-to-Later Stone Age Transition: The Perspective from Grassridge Rockshelter, South Africa

Dr. Benjamin Collins (right), with co-investigator Dr. Christopher Ames

Dr. Benjamin Collins (right), with co-investigator Dr. Christopher Ames

The investigators will continue their study of how humans and human ancestors adapted to periods of rapid climate change over the past 50,000 years in the interior of southern Africa. Their project, the Grassridge Archaeological and Palaeoenvironmental Project (GAPP), brings together a team of interdisciplinary researchers from North America, South Africa, and Europe to excavate, analyse, and interpret the Pleistocene and Holocene occupations at Grassridge Rockshelter located in the interior of the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

The grant provides for the expansion of research at Grassridge over the next two years, facilitating further excavations at the site,  along with a suite of high resolution laboratory analyses. Collaborations with researchers in Canada include isotopic analysis of ostrich eggshells and ostrich eggshell beads with Dr. Norman Halden of the Faculty of Earth Sciences at the University of Manitoba, and a study of bead manufacture with Dr. April Nowell at the University of Victoria. These studies will report on the scale and nature of social networks during these periods in southern Africa. The funding will also provide opportunities for Canadian students to participate in future excavations and research at Grassridge. GAPP’s ongoing research provides novel insight into the technological and social adaptations people were using to survive, and thrive, during this climatically unpredictable period.

*with co-investigator Christopher Ames (Anthropology), University of Victoria

Danielle Dubois (Religion): Marguerite Porete in the Italian, French, and English Historical Record, 15th­-19th Century

Dr. Danielle Dubois

Dr. Danielle Dubois

How did intellectuals from the 15th to the 19th century use the medieval past as a tool to advance political ideologies and construct historical knowledge? Dubois’ research takes medieval author Marguerite Porete, burned by the French Inquisition, as a case study. After her death, Porete’s book, The Mirror of Simple Souls, continued to circulate anonymously in multiple languages. Given the lack of known historical references to Porete, scholars assumed that she had been forgotten. The newly discovered sources presented by Dubois overturn this narrative and provide evidence that religious officials, historians, archeologists, and literary writers alternatively presented Marguerite Porete as a heretic or a hero to suit their own ideological goals. Dubois seeks to show how Porete’s presence in the historical record reveals how the Italians, French, and English use historical memory to mobilize religious and national sentiment.

Posted in Grants.

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Successful SSHRC Insight Grant Applicants (2017)

2017 was a particularly successful year for the Faculty of Arts’ Insight Grant applicants. Our eight successful applicants (57%) received a total of more than $1.5 million in research funding. As a result, eight new Insight-funded research projects will be undertaken in the Faculty of Arts over the next 5 years.

Annette Desmarais (Sociology): Changing Farmland Tenure and Food Sovereignty on the Canadian Prairies.


Dr. Annette Desmarais

Responding to urgent calls from farmers’ organizations, communities, politicians, and academics, this project investigates the Canadian implications of the global “land grab” of farms by agri-business corporations and other financial entities, in order to determine the ways in which financial investment in farmland is changing on the Canadian prairies. Specific objectives include documenting changes in farmland ownership patterns in the Canadian prairies, analyzing the social impacts and environmental implications of changing farmland ownership, and examining social and policy responses to these changes. The research will provide a Canadian perspective — currently sorely lacking — to the international network of scholars and civil society groups involved in land issues research and policy development.



Robert Hoppa (Anthropology): Reconsidering Old Age in Medieval Denmark: New Palaeodemographic Reconstructions.

Dr. Robert Hoppa

Dr. Robert Hoppa

The question of how long humans lived in the past has been explored by physical anthropologists primarily through the analysis of human skeletal remains recovered archaeologically and the subfield of palaeodemography (the study of the changes in pre-modern populations to determine the influences on the lifespan and health of earlier peoples). Accurate and reliable estimation of individual chronological age and life history events can help paint a picture of overall living conditions and well-being in past populations. This research examines trends in aging adults associated with indicators of disease and trauma in both rural and urban settings from the early to late Medieval period in Denmark.


Brooke Milne (Anthropology): The Analytical Quandary of Chert Quarries: A Multi-Scalar Approach using GIS Modelling, Archaeo-Geophysics, Lithic Provenance, and Debitage Analysis to Understand Palaeo-Eskimo Lithic Technological Organization and Novice Skill on Southern Baffin Island.

Dr. Brooke Milne

Dr. Brooke Milne

Stone quarries are important archaeological sites where we can gather information on mobile hunter-gatherers. However, there tend to be few studies on them. As a result, beliefs about the economics of general quarrying activities are frequently based on hypothetical models that few researchers have questioned. Milne’s research has shown that these models do not accurately reflect actual processes of quarry use, toolstone acquisition, or the social implications of quarry visits in the seasonal movement of people across the Arctic landscape. This project seeks to locate, investigate, and connect Arctic stone quarries back to related habitation sites to better understand not only the movement of people, but also the technological and social aspects of tool construction and use.


Raymond Perry (Psychology): Motivation-Enhancing Treatments and Mind Mapping: An Attribution-based Intervention to Facilitate College Students’ Engagement and Persistence in Online Learning Environments.

Dr. Raymond Perry

Dr. Raymond Perry

With the arrival of online learning technologies, postsecondary institutions have opportunities to provide motivationally-enhancing treatments to large numbers of students in undergraduate programs or in campus-wide academic assistance programs and teaching and learning centres. However, to date, little has been done to build “motivation-enhancers” that can help improve an individual’s motivation to change into these initiatives to encourage student engagement and persistence. This program of research will develop student-centered motivation interventions for online learning environments and instruction. Results will benefit students, instructors, and academic departments, and counter the “massification” of higher education.



Nicole Rosen (Linguistics): Mapping linguistic variation in the Canadian Prairies.


Dr. Nicole Rosen

Perhaps because of the geography, settlement patterns, and ethnic make-up of the Canadian Prairies, very little is known about Prairies English and how it fits into the standard template of Canadian English nationally. This project investigates language transfer effects and the influence of geographic, social and linguistic isolation on language variation, change, and transmission on the Canadian Prairies. Settler populations (including Mennonites, Hutterites, Ukrainians, etc.) were largely isolated for decades, developing their own linguistic and social identity, but switched to English mid-twentieth century, due primarily to societal and economic pressures. We are currently at a point in history where we can still interview generations who spoke a heritage language as their first language, but this population is aging. It is urgent to gather data on second language transfer, language use, and identity now, before only standard Canadian English speakers remain.


 Myroslav Shkandrij: The Ukrainian “Galicia” Division: Framing the Narratives.


Dr. Myroslav Shkandrij

This project analyzes a controversial episode in the Second World War and the conflict’s aftermath – the origin, activity, and postwar fate of the Ukrainian “Galicia” Division of the Waffen-SS. Ukraine, Russia, and Poland support contesting narratives of the episode. The challenge today is to produce a balanced account of wartime events and postwar discussions that merges the available information, including archival sources, personal accounts, and media coverage. This study uses the theoretical and methodological tools developed by collective and cultural memory studies, and by literary studies, to examine the evidence and differing past narratives.


Katherine Starzyk (Psychology): The socioemotional reconciliation barometer: a tool for tracking reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Dr. Katherine Starzyk

Dr. Katherine Starzyk

Reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians is an urgent and compelling task for Canadians. Supported by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, this project seeks to understand how Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians conceive of reconciliation, and to then develop a rigorous reconciliation barometer appropriate for Canada. Although such barometers of reconciliation exist in three other countries, they cannot be directly imported for use in Canada because of cultural and historical specificities. In extensive consultation with a variety of stakeholder groups, Starzyk will design a barometer for Canada that will enable researchers to track the state of reconciliation in Canada. This research will be of interest to academics, on-the-ground practitioners working at non-governmental agencies, governments, political organizations such as the United Nations, social groups, and media—as well as the general Canadian public.

Lori Wilkinson (Sociology): Finding home: the secondary migration of refugee children, youth and their families in Canada.

Dr. Lori Wilkinson

Dr. Lori Wilkinson

Since 2004, Canada has welcomed over 122,000 refugees, the second highest of all industrialized nations. However, we know very little about refugees’ lives once they have arrived in the country. Evidence suggests that new refugees migrate between provinces at higher rates  than other newcomers do, especially within their first three years after arrival. We do not know the extent to which this occurs, how it may differ among refugee groups, or by type of family unit. This project will assess the extent to which secondary migration occurs among refugees and identify trends among those who do move. It will pay particular attention to the experiences of children, youth, and their families. The results of this project will allow for the development of new theoretical frameworks that can contribute to more understanding of secondary migration, and will allow governments, aid agencies, and policy makers to better meet the needs of newcomer refugees.

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