Five LA&PS professors awarded SSHRC Connection Grants

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Five professors at York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS) have been awarded 2019 Connection Grants by the Government of Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

The grants respond to objectives of the SSHRC Connection Program, which include increasing accessibility and use of social sciences and humanities research knowledge among academic and non-academic audiences.

The grantees’ projects are as varied in scope as they are in format, ranging from a virtual archive of the Spanish Civil War, to an international conference that promotes alternatives to capitalism and systems of oppression.

“SSHRC Connection Grants help our researchers bring their findings to the world. The support that they offer to help researchers share ideas with each other, and with the public,” said Lily Cho, associate dean, Global and Community Engagement. “I am thrilled that LA&PS researchers have been so successful in this round of competition. The award winners in this competition will make an impact by sharing their research discoveries within and beyond the university.”

The SSHRC Connection Grant recipients

Adrian Shubert

Adrian Shubert is a professor and undergraduate program director for the Department of History at LA&PS. He was awarded a Connection Grant in the amount of $33,222 to carry out a project called “Confronting a difficult past: The virtual Spanish Civil War.” The project consists of creating an online exhibition of the Spanish Civil War, which will be complemented by a symposium when the exhibition is launched.

“Creating an online exhibition of the Spanish Civil War is a complex undertaking. I have a multidisciplinary team based in Spain, the U.K. and the United States, as well as in Canada, in addition to three research assistants,” Shubert said. “As this is a digital public history project, we also require special expertise and the ability to acquire use rights from a variety of museums, libraries and archives. Without the Connection Grant, this project would not have been possible.”

The Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund is also a project partner. This fund commemorates the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion, which was comprised of an estimated 1,500 Canadians who volunteered and traveled to Spain to support the democratically elected government against anti-fascist forces during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39).

Linda Peake

Linda Peake, professor in the Department of Social Science, is director of the City Institute at York University. She was offered a Connection Grant in the amount of $24,709 to hold the Summer Institute in Urban Studies (SIUS) at York University and the University of Toronto between June 14 and 18.

“The event will bring scholars together to exchange knowledge on how we can put our diverse and multi-disciplinary research on urban life in the 21st century to work at a supra-national scale and increase the accessibility and use of urban research knowledge among non-academic audiences,” said Peake.

SIUS 2020 will run over an intensive four days of presentations, discussion and field-based activity, specifically designed to offer scholarly mentoring and leadership for the very best new global generation of scholars.

Audrey Laurin-Lamothe

Audrey Laurin-Lamothe is an assistant professor in the Department of Social Science. Her Connection Grant of $24,250 is being used to organize The Great Transition: Building Utopias, a conference that will take place in Montreal from May 21 to 24. The conference has three main objectives: (1) promoting alternatives to capitalism and to the many different systems of oppression; (2) equipping social movements and transformative initiatives by sharing experiences and knowledge; (3) reinforcing ties between critical academics and militant organizations, as well as between francophone and anglophone networks.

“The SSHRC Connection Grant allows me to facilitate the exchange of knowledge between academics and grassroots movements,” said Laurin-Lamothe. “This kind of an event gives me the possibility to bring together a variety of experiences, approaches and theoretical debates from which I can build my own research agenda and facilitate the dissemination of the research in both francophone and anglophone critical networks.” 

Alison Crosby is an associate professor in the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies. She was offered a $25,000 Connection Grant to organize a workshop called “Remembering and Memorializing Violence: Transnational Feminist Dialogues.” Running from June 12 to 14, the conference is co-hosted by the Centre for Feminist Research (CFR) at York University, and the Department of Equity Studies, University of Toronto. It will bring together 23 feminist scholars, students, activists, artists and curators working on the remembrance and memorialization of colonial, imperial, militarized and state violence in varied spaces and places to explore how their work is shaped by, in conversation with and/or informing, transnational feminist thought.

The organizing committee includes Heather Evans, a PhD candidate in Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies at York, along with York faculty members Carmela Murdocca and Honor Ford-Smith, Shahrzad Mojab (OISE/Equity Studies, U of T), and Malathi de Alwis (University of Colombo).

“It is our hope that this workshop will stimulate participants’ thinking about what a transnational feminist lens might reveal about the contested space of remembrance and memorialization, its role in shaping our social and political realities, and how communities affected by violence resist, mobilize and enact agency,” said Crosby. “We conversely hope that the workshop also generates insights into what the lens of remembrance and memorialization may illuminate about our transnational feminist engagements, scholarly, artistic, activist and otherwise.”

Merouan Mekouar is an associate professor in the Department of Social Sciences. He has received a Connection Grant in the amount of $21,635 to lead a ground-breaking workshop on new forms for authoritarian practices in North Africa and the Middle East. He will be working alongside Ozgun Topak, assistant professor in the Department of Social Sciences. Their workshop, scheduled at York University from August 27 to 28 will provide the first systematic, critical and comparative assessment of the new mechanisms of micro-practices of authoritarian control in the MENA region. It aims to bring leading MENA country experts to provide a historically grounded analysis of the evolution of authoritarian practices, especially since the critical juncture of the 2011 uprisings. The analysis of 17 MENA countries will be included in this workshop: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Israel/Palestine, Qatar, Tunisia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

The workshop brings together a total of 20 participants from nine different countries. Participants include PhD candidates, emerging academics and established scholars as well as international journalists and government officials. The workshop will serve to build ties between participants (and their respective institutions) and allow the organic development of future research collaborations.

“In LA&PS, our faculty members are committed to research that has a real-world impact on people’s lives,” said David Cuff, director, Strategic Research & Partnerships, LA&PS. “These events provide ideal platforms for bringing innovative research to audiences that otherwise may not be able to access these insights.”