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http://www.concordia.ca/content/shared/en/news/main/stories/2014/09/03/national-prize-concordiagrad.html

National prize for doctoral dissertation goes to Concordia grad

Eric Weissman recognized for outstanding research on self-governed homeless communities
September 3, 2014
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By Christian Durand

Eric Weissman spent nearly 13 years researching and filming his subject matter employing an interdisciplinary approach to critical and reflexive storytelling Eric Weissman spent nearly 13 years researching and filming his subject matter employing an interdisciplinary approach to critical and reflexive storytelling. | Photo by Nigel Dickson


Over the last year Eric Weissman successfully defended his PhD thesis, was awarded Concordia’s Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation Prize in Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and was invited to be a visiting scholar at the Institute for the Medical Humanities in the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas.

To top it all off, the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (CAGS) announced on September 3 that Weissman had won the 2014 CAGS Distinguished Dissertation Award for the areas of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. The award honours Canadian doctoral dissertations that make unusually significant and original contributions to their academic fields.

Weissman recently accepted a position as a sessional faculty member at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George British Colombia. Weissman recently accepted a position as a sessional faculty member at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George British Colombia.

And you thought Matthew McConaughey was having a good run.

“This is the most prestigious award presented in Canada recognizing dissertation research and Eric is very deserving,” says Paula Wood-Adams, dean of Graduate Studies. “His work exemplifies the role that doctoral research can have in society and the type of outstanding research that is taking place at a graduate level here at Concordia. I’m very proud that he is one of ours!”

Weissman conducted his ethnographic research on the relationship between housing and homelessness as part of Concordia’s Individualized Program (INDI) beginning in 2009. At INDI, he built on nearly a decade of researching and filming his subject matter, employing an interdisciplinary approach to critical and reflexive storytelling.

“I did this PhD because I valued it intrinsically, as part of how I understood myself -- a vocation in the strongest sense of the word,” explains Weissman. “But my drive to complete it expediently and thoroughly is more an homage to the effort and courtesy shown me by the people who have opened their lives to my lens and pen, than to any personal quality I might possess.”

Ketra Schmitt, director of the INDI program, is not surprised by the recognition. “When he defended his thesis last December we were blown away and knew that his work was something special. Eric’s dissertation is at the heart of what we are trying to accomplish with the Individualized Program, which is to promote innovative approaches to issues outside the normal boundaries of research.”

Weissman recently accepted a position as a sessional faculty member in sociology at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George, British Columbia, where he will continue his ethnographic research in urban social problems. Currently he focuses on how visually supported ethnographic storytelling helps communities imagine solutions to poverty, addictions and homelessness. Weissman plans to continue in applied forms of research and teaching as his career evolves.




Learn more about Eric Weissman’s ongoing Reflexivity Project.



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