FES Research Day

When: Friday March 10
Where: FES Lounge, ground floor of HNES Building, outside Room 137

The FES Faculty and PhD Research Symposium and Celebration is a day-long event which highlights the breadth of research in FES. The event will include presentations, panel discussions, and talks delivered by keynote speakers Roger Keil and Syrus Marcus Ware.

10:00 – 10:15 Welcome & Coffee
10:15 – 11:15 PhD Panel 1
Natalia Britto dos Santos – Valuing nature equitably: beyond monetary values
Qasim Hersi Farah - The Stability/Sustainability Dynamics: The Case of Marine Environmental Management in Somalia
Tracy Timmins – A comparison of different conceptions of animal agency and their political and ethical implications
Discussant: Lewis Molot
11:15 – 11:30 Coffee Break
 11:30 – 12:00  Presentation 
 Camille Turner
 12:00 – 12:15   Launch #1
 Peter Mulvihill & Harris Ali
 12:15 – 12:45  Break for Lunch
 12:45 – 1:45   Keynote #1 (and Lunch) 
 Roger Keil - Canadian Suburbia: From the Periphery of Empire to the Frontier of the Sub/Urban Century
1:45 - 2:00   Launch #2
 Deborah McGregor - Indigenous Environmental Justice Website
 2:00 – 2:20  Presentation
 Cal Lakhan – The Waste Wiki Project: Accessibility in Waste Research
 2:20 – 2:35  Coffee Break
 2:35 – 2:50  Launch #3
 Laura Taylor
 2:50 – 3:50  PhD Panel 2
 Julie Chamberlain – Neighbourhood as experimental field: A critical reading of the ‘urban laboratory’
 Benjamin Kapron – Settler Grounded Normativity: Learning Settler Decolonization through Engagement with Land
 Parastou Saberi
 Discussant: Sarah Flicker
 3:50 – 4:20  Keynote #2
 Syrus Marcus Ware - Vanier Scholar presentation


Natalia Britto dos Santos – Valuing nature equitably: beyond monetary values

Nature is essential to human well-being, providing material and non-material benefits. Ecosystem valuation interest has increased steadily, initially focused on providing monetary valuation of nature and its services, raising debates regarding the appropriateness of these measures in different conditions. However, monetary valuation alone cannot capture the whole variety of nature benefits, and relying only on monetary values can lead to underestimation as well as environmental and social injustice. As we face the Anthropocene, the planetary crisis calls for urgent changes in how we perceive and value nature.

This paper will explore that nature values are realized by people not only as instrumental (people’s satisfaction) or intrinsic (nature per se), but also through relational values arising from nontangible relationships. Further, I will discuss the need to incorporate a plurality of valuation languages and knowledge sources to better understand ecological, socio-cultural and monetary values, considering specific conditions under which approaches may or not be appropriate. Otherwise, we might disregard important values, especially those less tangible and difficult to measure. This conversation is of utmost importance since all values are equally relevant to understand nature benefits to humans and then make wise, social, environmental and climate just decisions regarding urgent planetary challenges.

The Stability/Sustainability Dynamics: The Case of Marine Environmental Management in Somalia

In this chapter, I introduce my audiences to the social, political, economic and environmental dynamics of Somalia. I describe the impacts of the civil war, from 1990-2014, on these four areas. I highlight the Somalia’s clan system and the connection, between coastal communities’ lifestyles and marine geography. Furthermore, I describe Somalia’s foreign relations’ networks and their domestic influence networks and the roles of various foreign forces in destabilizing the country. In this study, I highlight, (but will investigate and analyse in chapter 3, 4 & 5) the link between Somali government policies and an array of its socio-political and economic stakeholders at the international/regional, national, and provincial/local levels.

Tracy Timmins – A comparison of different conceptions of animal agency and their political and ethical implications

Agency is typically understood to mean being able to “will” one’s own actions. Traditionally, western philosophers have argued that only (some) humans have agency due to their ability to use language and reason about their actions. However, some animal studies scholars believe that nonhuman animals have agency since they make things happen according to their own desires. Others still, conceive that all life forms are agents. Latour has the most inclusive conception of agency as it includes all organisms and things that have affects. Conversely, it has been argued that not even humans are agents since everything we do is a result of everything that came before.

Conceptions of agency are linked to ethical theories. For example, in the Kantian tradition only those who are agents are thought to be able to act ethically and only agents are worthy of ethical concern. In another example, the opportunity to exercise one’s agency may be a fundamental need of sentient beings. Therefore, conceptions of agency and who is deemed to be an agent has ethical consequences. In this paper, I explore different conceptions of agency, how they relate to human and nonhuman animals, and their political and ethical implications.

This paper is a work in progress and is based on Tracy’s second comprehensive area on animal agency.

Roger Keil - Canadian Suburbia: From the Periphery of Empire to the Frontier of the Sub/Urban Century

Canadian suburbia was originally a product of the rapid growth of cities in the periphery of the British Empire. Working class immigrants often self-built their housing on the poorly serviced but surveyed lots of the industrializing cities; later generations of European immigrants moved from crammed inner city quarters to post World War 2 subdivisions in the periphery, now opened up by inter-regional highways, sewer and water services and soft infrastructures such
as schools. Many moved to residential areas around emerging assembly plants of the Fordist period. Supported by federal housing programs, suburban single family homes became the standard of an Anglo-Saxon settler society in which landed property reigned supreme as an economic reality and ideological icon or arrival.

By contrast, in recent decades, the suburbs and exurbs of Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver have become the chief destinations of new generations of immigrants, mostly from non-European countries. This has changed the social composition, meaning and politics of suburbia fundamentally. The Canadian sub/urban periphery is now a prime site of the formation of globalized suburban constellations that define this century.

Cal Lakhan – The Waste Wiki Project: Accessibility in Waste Research

The management of municipal solid waste in Canada poses significant environmental, economic and social challenges for municipalities. At present, residential recycling programs cost more than 1.5 billion dollars annually to operate, but divert less than 40% of generated material. Local governments grapple with the seemingly dichotomous objectives of increasing diversion while containing material management costs, and must work collaboratively with a range of stakeholders to achieve mutually agreeable outcomes. As such, there is an acute need for information transparency and knowledge sharing, to ensure that stakeholders are “on the same page” and can work collaboratively towards economically and environmentally preferable solutions. However, access to information, particularly the data that is collected on Canada’s residential recycling programs, is largely a “black box”. While a wealth of data exists, few have the ability to make sense of what this information is telling, or where to find it. It is with this in mind that the “Waste Wiki Project” was conceptualized - The waste wiki is a university run/operated research project that attempts to bridge the gap between academia, industry and government in issues surrounding waste.

Presently partnered with more than 300 municipalities and national packaging producers, the “Waste Wiki” is a free open access platform for data, waste related literature and analytical tools that is made available to the public. At present, the Waste Wiki is home to more than 3500+ studies on waste, and provides users with the ability to access and interface with data from national stewardship programs for a range of residential and commercial waste streams.

Borrowing heavily from the “wiki” concept, the “Waste Wiki”’s goal is to remove the barriers surrounding access to information and serving as a common consolidation point for information pertinent to Canada’s waste management sector.

The “democratization” and “accessibility” of research are the core principles that guide the Waste Wiki project. Every stakeholder, big or small, should have the ability to access information and interface with data in a meaningful and informed way. The long term goal of the Waste Wiki is to serve as a conduit between academia and the broader waste sector, connecting the two areas in a way that is relevant, but communicating research in a way that accessible for everyone.

Julie Chamberlain – Neighbourhood as experimental field: A critical reading of the ‘urban laboratory’

The concept of the ‘urban laboratory’ has enjoyed some popularity in urban development projects in recent years, as a 2014 International Journal of Urban and Regional Research special issue on the topic reflects. Both a discourse and a structure, the urban laboratory has been used to frame projects as experimental, change-oriented, and site-specific (Karvonen & van Heur, 2014). The Hamburg International Building Exhibition (2006-2013) is an example, as it declared the neighbourhood of Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg to be a laboratory for “real-time research and development” (IBA Hamburg, 2015). In this paper I explore what is accomplished by such framing, considering the racialization, disinvestment, and intense stigmatization that Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg has experienced for decades. Based on a small study of the project’s publications, I put the International Building Exhibition’s strategies and claims in conversation with a critical analysis of the laboratory and the history of the neighbourhood. I take my cue from German scholars of colour who assert that urban research must take persistent racism and colonialism seriously and that the “societal praxis of dehistoricization” must be challenged (Ha, 2003). I argue that the urban laboratory functions as a performative concept, producing a site of containment manipulation that is part of a broader pattern of attempted control of racialized people in and through urban space.

Benjamin Kapron – Settler Grounded Normativity: Learning Settler Decolonization through Engagement with Land

This paper responds to my perspective that settlers purportedly interested in decolonization tend to focus on the material redistribution of land, without significantly engaging with understandings that Land has agency to be a decolonial collaborator and/or teacher―understandings which are present in (some) Indigenous discussions of decolonization. I take up Glen Coulthard’s (2014) definitions of “grounded normativity” in Red Skin, White Masks to develop three tenets for a theoretical framework for settlers to engage with Land as part of their decolonial praxis―a settler grounded normativity: coming to understand (1) that humans are interrelated with Land; (2) that interrelationality demands ethical relationships; and (3) that these ethical relationships can be learned through engagement with Land. As part of this theoretical framework, I utilize the concept of cacophony that Jodi A. Byrd (2011) develops in The Transit of Empire to consider how colonialism, interacting with other structures of oppression, impacts differing peoples and beings in different places and times creating cacophonous oppressions that ought to not be reduced to each other. Cacophony calls for situated ethics that acknowledge differences meaning that settler grounded normativity cannot clearly define settler roles in decolonization, but instead offers direction for settlers to find particular situated paths for transforming relationships in real decolonial ways. This work is informed by my own developing engagement with Land.

Syrus Marcus Ware - Vanier Scholar presentation

My name is Syrus Marcus Ware and I am a Vanier scholar, artist, and activist. I am currently in my third year of doctoral studies. My work is generally focused on (1) the disjuncture of progressive policy frameworks and funding structures for equity-seeking populations and (2) the ability to use those frameworks in a way that improves the life and work chances of those who need them most. My research contributes to the following areas: critical race theory, disability studies, museum studies, contemporary art practice and environmental studies. I bring these areas of research into conversation by considering their relevance to racialized artists with disabilities working within the contemporary art milieu.

My proposed research seeks to address the existing limitations in the field of disability arts by exploring the development of a contemporary disability arts movement alongside both the institutional infrastructures that fund and present this work as well as the lived experiences of disabled artists of colour. I am interested in investigating disability and race within the Canadian arts community as this has been widely under researched. Additionally, I am interested in challenging the expectation that a conversation about disability is always already one about the body/mind, or access to services or programs designed to support the functioning of that body/mind. Instead, I would like to consider the creative practices and lived experiences
of a group of artists who experience disability and racialization as part of their lives. My work will elucidate the ways in which the social processes that produce race and disability are tangibly created through artistic practices.