Lunchtime Research Seminar Series offers diverse topics to chew on

The School of Social Sciences is hosting its annual Lunchtime Research Seminar Series on a wide variety of topics, from shapeshifting research and globalizing organic food to a post-apartheid look at South Africa. The seminars take place on various days throughout the week, from noon to 1:30pm, until the end of March in the Atkinson Building.

Left: Barbara Cameron

Political science Professor Barbara Cameron will present a seminar titled "Social Rights in a Multinational Federation: the Canadian Dilemma" on Wednesday, Jan. 30 in Crowe Room 109. Cameron will argue that the Canadian federal system operates to counterpose social rights at a Canada-wide level to the protections of the French-speaking national minority. This creates a dilemma for those advocating an extension of social rights and favours those social interests seeking a reduced role for the state in social welfare. The paper explores the roots of the dilemma, the approaches taken historically to address it and the alternatives advanced by social rights advocates. 

Cameron’s research focuses on problems of democratic accountability in the Canadian political system; social rights and intergovernmental relations; the intersections of law and politics; and gender and public policy. She is currently conducting research within the framework of the "Social Rights Accountability Project" funded through the SSHRC Community University Research Alliance program.

Right: Carolyn Bassett

On Monday, Feb. 4, Carolyn Bassett, who teaches a course on the political economy of work in York’s School of Social Sciences, takes the podium in Room 005C with her topic, "The South African People’s Budget Campaign as a Challenge to Neo-Liberalism". Bassett will examine the People’s Budget Campaign in South Africa, seeking to analyze its relationship with neo-liberal restructuring. She says the people’s budget project reflects a complex interaction with neo-liberal ideas about policies and policy processes.

Basset has conducted extensive research on South Africa’s economic transition, focusing on the role of organized labour, and has published several articles on the topic.

Left: David Wood

On Wednesday, Feb. 27, Professor Emeritus David Wood will present "Conservation Authorities and the Conservation of Ontario Local History" in Crowe Room 109. In the 1940s and 1950s, a number of conservation authorities were established by the Ontario Department of Planning and Development. Each authority was to produce a report, based on its main river watershed, that documented the characteristics of its territory. "A rather unique inclusion was a detailed history of the settlement and development of the area from the beginning of agricultural settlement through to the end of the 19th century," said Wood, who will discuss the quality of this historical record and its importance as an authoritative account of the shaping of many parts of Southern Ontario.

Two of Wood’s more recently published books include Places of Last Resort: The Extension of the Farm Frontier into the Boreal Woods (McGill Queen’s UP, 2006) and Making Ontario: Agricultural colonization and Landscape Re-Creation before the Railway (McGill Queen’s UP, 2000).

Right: Lisa F. Clark

On Monday, March 10, Lisa F. Clark, coordinator for the Gender and Work Database and a postdoctoral Fellow under York Canada Research Chair Leah F. Vosko, will present, "Globalizing Organic Food: Regulating Organic in Regional and Global Trade Agreements" in Leith Room 004.

"Over the past decade the market for organic food in North America and elsewhere has shown high levels of growth, resulting in expanding levels of global trade," said Clark. "While its expansion has been received positively by some advocates, others express more reservation over the incorporation of organic food into the global trade regime, since it is subject to the same trade agreements as other globally traded agricultural products."

Clark’s presentation will explore the implications that NAFTA, and select agreements administered through the World Trade Organization, have for the traditional commitments of organic food and agriculture. 

Clark’s research interests include youth employment in Canada, the political economy of food, social movements and international trade.

Right: Patricia O’Riley

On Thursday, March 20, York Race, Ethnicity & Indigeneity Professor Patricia O’Riley will explore, "Shapeshifting Research with Aboriginal Peoples: Regenertion of Lower Stl’atl’imx Language and Culture" in Crowe Room 109. O’Riley discusses how the Lower Stl’atl’imx in British Columbia are moving beyond decolonizing to shapeshifting/indigenizing the hugely asymmetrical academic researcher/Aboriginal Peoples power relations of Eurocentric research and university-initiated research toward more respectful and reciprocal research practices in order to meet the urgent needs facing their communities. 

O’Riley’s teaching and research interests are transdisciplinary: indigenizing research methodology; indigenous technologies; community and environmental sustainability; poststructural theories/practices; and curriculum theory. She is the author of Technology, Culture and Socioeconomics: A Rhizoanalysis of Educational Discourses and a co-editor of Speaking for Ourselves: Environmental Justice in Canada, to be published in 2008.

Left: Salim Vally 

On Wednesday, March 26, Salim Vally, a visiting scholar in York’s School of Social Sciences until August when he’ll return to his post as a senior researcher in South Africa, will present, "’Race’, Class and State in Post-Apartheid South Africa – A Conceptual Analysis" in Crowe Room 109.

"In this article I attempt to understand why social class has been largely ignored from analytical taxonomies in post-apartheid South Africa," said Vally. "The elision of social class as an analytical category impoverishes social analyses and has profound implications for social transformation."

Salim is active in solidarity, social justice and solidarity movements and is a board member of various professional organizations in South Africa. He is also the co-ordinator of the Education Rights Project which works with communities in 200 townships and informal settlements around the country.

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