York student wins prestigious Fulbright award

A York University graduate student has won a prestigious Fulbright scholarship for his research into public policy surrounding labour law and employment standards.

Simon Black, a PhD student in York’s Department of Political Science, received a $15,000 scholarship for a year-long project examining how labour law and employment standards are being shaped from below by organizations of low-wage workers and how this process differs across regions.

Black will spend the 2008-2009 academic year at the City University of New York, under the supervision of esteemed political scientist Frances Fox Piven.

“I’m honored to receive a Fulbright,” Black says. “This award will allow me to do much-needed comparative research on urban labour markets in Canada and the US, and the low-wage workers who are organizing to mitigate the labour market insecurity they face.”

He believes it’s important to study the roots of urban poverty in both countries. “In order to understand some of the problems we have in Toronto – which is starting to mirror the issues that larger, American cities have with gun violence and gangs – we need to understand poverty, and the conditions that create it,” says Black.

The Canada-US Fulbright Program, established in 1990, encourages scholarship on issues of importance to both countries, building overall intellectual capacity and enhancing understanding between Canada and the United States. Through its bilateral academic exchanges, outstanding students, scholars and professionals strengthen Canada-US relations by examining a wide range of subjects which are critical to the relationship between the two countries.

Operating in over 150 countries worldwide, the Fulbright program has earned a reputation as a premier international exchange. The Canada-US program operates in more than 150 countries and is supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, and the United States Department of State.

Simon Black holds a Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada doctoral fellowship in political science. He writes a politics column for the hip-hop culture magazine, POUND, with the aim of making his research accessible to urban youth.