Four contract faculty granted CUPE 3903 Research Leaves

graphic showing research terms

Four contract faculty members have been granted CUPE 3903 Research Leaves. Kalli Paakspuu, Aleksandar Lukac, Andrea Medovarski and Alex Levant will use the leaves to pursue their research.

“We are delighted that four contract faculty members have been granted CUPE Research Leaves to continue to pursue their innovative research programs,” said Walter Tholen, associate vice-president research.

Kalli Paakspuu will expand on her doctoral dissertation, “Rhetorics of Colonialism in Visual Documents,” completed at the University of Toronto in the Dept. of Humanities, Social Sciences and Social Justice in Education. Successfully defended with no changes in December, 2013. Her research traced the shifting rhetorics of image practices as political forces impacted, enabled or disabled cultural mediation, realism and field studies in portraits, illustrations and photography, looking back to Oglala Lakota chief Red Cloud. Her current focus is on photography’s recuperative role in the intergenerational trauma of war, displacement and loss within the Estonian/Canadian community.

PhD candidate Aleksandar Lukac (MFA ’95) will examine the “Theatre of Dissent,” a study which examines whether political theatre can precondition social change through its power to temporarily dislodge the sense of collective identity from its audience (by virtue of invoking identification with singular characters). Particular focus will be paid to the application of social media into live performance as a method of directly engaging the audience in political discourse.

Andrea Medovarski (MA ’06, PhD’07 ) will pursue a project titled “Art and Unmanageability: Cultural Representations of the Middle Passage,” in which she explores cultural representations of the Middle Passage, the violent transplantation of African peoples to the “New World” aboard slave ships. Medovarski will look at how the Middle passage is representable and on what terms. Her study will examine what it means to “make available” and make visible the Middle Passage through representation.

Alex Levant (PhD ’07) will trace the revival and development of “Activity Theory,” an interdisciplinary methodological approach to the study of the origin and development of the mind, identity and the self. Its core proposition is that these are neither strictly biological nor discursive phenomena, but develop only in the context of specific social practices – activities in which individuals are embedded. The objective of the project is to produce an account of the development of this body of thought and to place it in conversation with other contemporary theories of subjectivity.

The purpose of a research leave is to provide an opportunity for members of the CUPE 3903 Conversion Pool to concentrate on research, dissertation completion and/or publication so that their academic profile will be more conducive to a full-time faculty appointment.

Until this year, the eligible applicants have been limited to members of the conversion pool: three awards per year. This year, a fourth award was added for an active contract faculty member. The leaves commenced Sept. 1.