YCAR announces 2019 Undergraduate Essay Award winners

The York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR) is pleased to announce its 2019 Undergraduate Essay Award winners: Safa Warsi and Harkit Bhandal.

Safa Warsi is a fourth-year psychology major who has spent time as a research assistant in various psychology labs at York. She is interested in culture and religion, particularly the context of the experiences of minorities in North America. She received the award in the Asian Diaspora category. Professor Richard Lalonde nominated her PSYC 3890 paper, “Views on the Model Minority Stereotype in a South Asian Canadian Context,” for this award. The paper considers the model minority stereotype (MMS), which depicts Asians having certain seemingly positive attributes (e.g. competence and achievement), whilst also having seemingly negative traits (e.g. unsociability and emotional reservation). Research to date on this subject has largely focused on East Asian American samples, while Warsi’s study explores whether MMS exists in South Asian Canadian populations.

Harkit Bhandal’s love for coffee fuels what she enjoys doing most – researching, reading and writing about South Asian diasporic identities. Meghna George, Bhandal’s teaching assistant for AP/ANTH 1120, nominated her paper in the award’s Asia category. “Understandings of Military Power, Intoxication and Love in Kashmir, India” focuses on how clinicians’ and patients’ understandings of substance abuse and addiction at a drug rehabilitation clinic known as the DDC reflect an extension of and resistance to military power in the Kashmir Valley.

A fourth-year undergraduate student, Bhandal focuses the majority of her written and advocacy work on how institutions have produced a negative image of second-generation Punjabi Canadian males. She writes about how second-generation Punjabi Canadian males contest and negotiate their gender performance dependent on the institution in which they interact. Beyond her academic work, Bhandal volunteers at her local women’s shelter. She loves to journal and purchase journals she doesn’t need.

Both papers will be published later this year in New Voices on Asia, a special occasional paper series at YCAR.

Papers for the 2019-20 academic year can be submitted at any time and will be accepted until April 30, 2020.

For more information on the Undergraduate Essay Awards, visit ycar.apps01.yorku.ca/research-fellowships-awards/undergraduate-asia-and-asian-diaspora-essay-awards.